The Biomass North Development Centre acknowledged 10 key contributors to advancing the use of biomass across the province during its annual general meeting and inaugural conference in North Bay this week.
From Oct. 24-26, stakeholders gathered for three days of workshops, lectures and plenary sessions to network and share best practices with the goal of advancing the use of biomass — wood waste converted into fuel — in Northern Ontario and across Canada.
Biomass North’s executive director, Dawn Lambe, said the awards "reflect some of the neat things that are happening within the bioeconomy."
She emphasized that although the awards were being handed out to specific winners in particular categories, bioeconomy stakeholders as a collective have been integral in moving the cause of biomass forward.
"Every single person in this room is a champion for the bioeconomy, because over the past five years, 10 years, 15 years of saying, ‘You really need to do this because it makes sense from an economic, social, environmental perspective,’ 15 years later, you're still saying it, and you still believe in it, and we're finally, finally, finally making things happen in Northern Ontario."
A list of the awards and their recipients follows:
Non-profit Organization of the Year: Ontario Sustainable Energy Association
This award celebrates a registered non-profit or charitable organization that has demonstrated leadership, innovation and sustainability.
Small or Medium Enterprise of the Year: Veissmann Manufacturing
This award celebrates a private sector business with fewer than 250 employees that has demonstrated leadership, innovation and sustainability.
Large Enterprise of the Year: Tembec
This award celebrates a private sector business with greater than 250 employees that has demonstrated leadership, innovation and sustainability.
Entrepreneur of the Year: Frank Benincasa of BioNorth Technologies
This award celebrates an individual that has demonstrated entrepreneurial leadership and innovation through their business venture(s).
Innovative Company of the Year: White River Forest Products
This award celebrates a company or organization that showcases innovation in their products, services or business operations.
Community Project of the Year: Whitesand First Nation
This award celebrates a municipal or First Nation community that has made an outstanding contribution to the local community needs.
Sustainable Community of the Year: Town of Kapuskasing
This award celebrates a municipality or First Nation that has incorporated sustainable practices to address the community’s triple bottom line.
Climate Action Community of the Year: Oxford County
This award celebrates a municipality or First Nation that is making an active effort to become a low or zero-carbon community.
Student Researcher of the Year: Stephanie Seymour, PhD
This award celebrates an undergraduate or graduate student who has made a significant contribution to biomass-related research.
Research and Innovation in the Bioeconomy: Canadian Wood Fibre Centre
This award celebrates an individual or organization that has applied their innovative biomass-related research into meaningful knowledge-transfer activities.
Located in North Bay, the Biomass North Development Centre promotes the development of the use of biomass by advocating for stakeholders, developing partnerships, conducting research and implementing best practices.