Photography by Imagery Photography
Scott Neurauter walked into Prairieland Park and one of the NSBA’s volunteers pinned a corsage on his suit jacket. “You look great,” she said as he walked into the main reception hall.
As division manager of Allnorth Consultants, Neurauter was representing his company at the NSBA’s annual awards banquet in March 2018. Allnorth was a finalist for the Safe Employer Award; later that evening finalists would gather on stage for the announcement of the winner. It was Neurauter’s second year as a finalist and the idea of giving an acceptance speech if he won was not intimidating. But he couldn’t help feeling a little anxious. The crowd had started to arrive. By the time the event started, there would be just under 700 people in attendance. These were the decision-makers in Saskatoon’s business community. He smiled at the sense of excitement in the air.
Entrepreneurship is at the heart of the evening’s celebration. The award sponsors and winners share business experiences with the crowd.
The Business Builder Awards, presented by Nutrien, are well attended for several reasons. It is fast-paced, affordable, highly entertaining, and one of the city’s premier business events. There are laughs and many smiles throughout the evening, and occasionally a politician or two may get into some verbal jousting with the Master of Ceremonies.
Entrepreneurship is at the heart of the evening’s celebration. The award sponsors and winners share business experiences with the crowd. As the award winners step up to the microphone, you can see more than just excitement in their eyes. There can be a lot of emotion built up after years of working late nights and evenings trying to address the demands of customers, negotiating with suppliers, and meeting payroll. Entrepreneurs and their management teams are a special breed. They see opportunities that others do not and are willing to try something new when others shy away from change.
But swimming against the current can be tiring. Entrepreneurs leave so much of themselves in the products and services they create and the business they’ve built. Standing in front of a microphone is a chance for self-reflection and to appreciate those who have provided support. These people are proud but genuinely grateful to Saskatoon’s business community.
Looking around the room, you’ll quickly realize this is an NSBA event. It’s more than just who is in the room. It’s the tone of the evening. People are relaxed. The conversations don’t seem forced and they have substance. It’s a place to see old friends and meet new ones. As people walk through the crowd, they meet customers and suppliers. They see their peers and mentors. It’s an opportunity to discuss the economy, politics, business, and family. This is the environment where genuine relationships are formed.
It’s a light and fun atmosphere, but the competition is always strong. NSBA members compete for 13 awards that celebrate achievement in areas such as Team Building, Young Promising Entrepreneur, and New Direction. Many successful members are nominated, and it can be humbling to win an award. “I was shocked to be given the Member of the Year Award,” remembers Ken Kreutzwieser from ICR Commercial Real Estate. “There are so many great people that support the NSBA. I’m on a few committees but like everyone else I’m just trying to do my share. It was quite an honor.”
Winning an award can bring a great deal of recognition. As Kreutzwieser recalls, “I’d get comments daily from clients and others in the business community for weeks after the banquet. At our Progress Club meeting after the event I got a standing ovation.”
People apply for NSBA awards for a number of reasons. Some like to acknowledge their staff for a significant achievement and others feel the willingness to be recognized for success is a crucial part of building business confidence in Saskatoon. There are many wonderfully successful companies as finalists for the upcoming banquet on Wednesday, March 20, 2019. It will be a time to learn more about the people and companies that are making a difference and to meet some of the most influential people in the Saskatoon business community.
Neurauter reflects on his experience on stage. “I have to admit that the first year we won, back in 2016, I was a bit nervous up there. We were competing for the Quality Management Award against companies like Hillberg and Berk, which was daunting. When they announced we won, it was a pleasant surprise. In 2018, we were honoured to win the Safe Employer Award. The other finalists were Con-Tech, CEL Electric, and Stantec so we were competing against strong companies once again. This year it was nice to win for safety, which is so important to our company culture.”
The buzz has already started around the 2019 event. Finalists have been announced and people are buying tickets and looking forward to another wonderful experience.
2019 Banquet Details
Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Location: Prairieland Park
Ticket Information: www.nsbasask.com
For more information please contact the NSBA office.
First published in the March 2019 edition of The Business Advisor.