Thunder Bay's KBM Resources Group was the recipient of this year’s RBC Innovation Award as Company of the Year from the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre.
Managing partner Laird Van Damme and operation principal Stephane Audet accepted the award at the Feb. 21 luncheon in Thunder Bay.
The service supply company has been catering to the natural resources industry for 40 years. One of its innovations is an environmentally friendly emulsion called Entac. It's a byproduct of the pulp and paper industry that's used on trails and roads, and to seal stockpiles and tailings ponds.
“Collaboration makes KBM’s innovation efforts successful,” Van Damme said in a press release. “The Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre facilitated our partnership with EnsSolutions, the creators of Entac, which makes this award particularly meaningful.”
Other winners are the awards luncheon were Kam Valley Industries and Cinevate. The two companies shared the Innovative Project of the Year for coming up with a product called the Axis Jib. It's a device for filmmakers that elevates a camera load of up to 50 pounds in a controlled manner from the floor to a height of eight feet.
Jon Wynn was selected as the Advisor of the Year for his role as a local mentor.
Wynn, a co-owner of an outdoor sports good store, assisted a fledgling entrepreneur, Nicole Reid of Yuley's Footwear, to growing her business by providing contacts to manufacturers, and offering suggestions on product development, marketing strategies, and shipping and distribution.
The Innovation Hero of the Year is Mathew Leitch of Lakehead University. The professor on the natural resources faculty has attracted more than $2 million in funding in build Lakehead's research capacity with a modern wood science and testing lab.