Wayne Hansen wants to encourage other Prince Albert businesses to keep going.
He grew up here, worked for SaskTel here, and now has owned his own business for several years. Thursday, Hansen was honoured with the Prince Albert Chamber of Commerce Legacy award at a ceremony attended by his wife, two daughters, friends and coworkers, as well as others in the business community.
“I’m just happy to be here, to let people know that I’ve got a great team. It’s not just me. They make me look good,” Hansen said when speaking to media after receiving his award.
Hansen was visibly emotional delivering his acceptance speech. Even though he’s known about the honour for months, he’s still “shocked” at the thought of receiving the legacy award.
“I’m really humbled. I’ll cherish this for the rest of my life.”
Hansen started his business in partnership with Barry Dutchak in the basement of Parkland Ambulance. With no other alarm monitoring companies in town, they cornered the market, working out of an eight by ten room, with enough inventory to fill an apple box.
Eventually, the business grew, and they got an offer to become an official SecureTek dealer. Dutchak chose retirement. Hansen had to decide whether to give up his SaskTel job, with its steady pay, benefits and vacation time, and take on the business full time.
“It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make,” Hansen said.
After about a year of careful consideration, he took the plunge. The business has since grown, now employing 18 full time staff and boasting an inventory storeroom of 450 square feet. His company now serves 5,000 clients, including 20 First nations bands, corrections agencies, co-ops, five school divisions and many homes and businesses.
There have been good times and bad, and it’s been harder than Hansen first thought it would be.
“I thought I could golf every Friday. That didn’t come true. I was lucky to get to golf on a weekend,” he said.
“It takes a lot of sacrifice to manage your own business through all the high and low times.”
Hansen thanked his family for their support, and his staff for the work they do. He also thanked the community for backing him for more than 20 years.
“I have to thank our customers for dealing with us. I know we have people coming in from out of the province to take our business away, so hopefully (people) will thin,k about dealing locally” he said.
“We support the community. I love this community.”
Those who introduced Hansen said it’s clear the chamber made the right choice in honouring him with the legacy award, through his business success and his donations for local community groups, charities, sporting events and building projects.
“I spoke with a current employee who thinks the world of you,” Chamber of Commerce board member Tracy Lysyk told Hansen in her introductory speech.
“You gave him an opportunity no one else ever has. It is one of the best workplaces he’s ever been in. You allow staff to work to their potential and push them a bit beyond, which has built confidence in his abilities.”
Mayor Greg Dionne also spoke highly of Hansen.
“He’s built a great team. They couldn’t have picked a better business,” Dionne said.
“I’ve bbeen to lots of events he’s sponsored. You look for that in small business.”
Hansen said the only way businesses like his have been able to be successful is through community support. He encouraged people to support their local businesses, and business owners to keep pushing forward.
“I know the economy is tough right now, but just hang in there. It’s going to get better,” he said.
“We have other great alarm companies in town and (other) businesses too That’s how we pay taxes and employ people. We need people to buy locally, keep our money here and give back to the community.”
Dionne echoed Hansen’s words.
“I’m into shopping local. That’s how you grow a community,” he said.
“Small business is the backbone of your community. I’d sooner have ten new small businesses than one big one. They’re going to spread their wings in the community and grow. That’s what it’s about, a solid community.”
Chamber names Samuel McLeod Nominees
The nominees fro the 2017 Samuel McLeod Business Awards were also revealed at the legacy brunch Thursday:
Category: Business Transformation
Sponsor: SK Ministry of the Economy
Finalists: Medi-Centre Pharmacy; Tim Hortons/Zap Holdings; Scan-Tech Alarms
Category: Community Involvement
Finalists: S.H.A.R.E/Self help and Recreation Education P.A Inc.; Gateway Mall/Santa Parade; Lake Country Co-op
Sponsor: Greenland Waste
Finalists: A2Z Safety & Training Ltd.; Riverside Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram; Reach Out Digital Media
Category: New Venture
Aspen Films; Reach Out Digital Media
Category: Non-profit organization
Sponsor: Affinity Credit Union
Finalists: Victoria Hospital Foundation; Spark Theatre; CSC/Pine Industries/SARCAN
Finalists: Ben’s Auto & House Glass; Riverside Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram; Catholic Family Service
Category: Young Entrepreneur
Sponsor: Community Futures
Finalists: Evan Jenkins – Aspen Films; Erin McAuley – Fringe Lash Lounge
Category: Female Business Leader of the Year
Sponsor: Northern Lights Casino/SIGA
Finalists: Brandi Mogg – Dr. Java’s; Shelley Gordon – 6th Avenue Car Wash & Uniglas Plus Ziebart; Roses Stewart- Victoria Square Compounding Pharmacy
Category: Male Business Leader of the Year
Finalists: Tim Longworth – Cornerstone Insurance; Dean McKim – Lake Country Co-op; Rodney Beatty Greenland Waste
Category: Business of the Year
Sponsor: Diamond North Credit Union
Finalists: Lake Country COOP; Medi-Centre Pharmacy; Riverside Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram