FREDERICTON – Business awards galas naturally celebrate success stories, spotlighting companies at their high moments. But many successful companies persevere through tough times and it’s worth acknowledging and celebrating them, says Phillip Curley of Hotspot Parking, the 2018 winner of the Resilience Award from the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce.
“I’m really happy that they have this award,” said Curley, HotSpot’s founder and CEO, in an interview with Huddle. “I think too often people look at businesses and say, ‘Oh wow, what a success!’ They don’t think about the fact that it didn’t happen overnight, you know? We had challenges same as everyone in their lives has challenges.”
Part of the business excellence awards the Chamber gives out each year, the Resilience Award, sponsored by Spacek, Armstrong and Norrad Chartered Professional Accountants, recognizes a business that has overcome a major challenge that wasn’t just financial in nature. The winners are selected by a committee chaired by the Chamber’s last president and include members from the local business community and other stakeholders.
HotSpot, now in its sixth year of operation, offers services that allow commuters to avoid parking tickets by being able to pay and top-up the parking meter from their mobile device. Last summer, it added HotSpot Transit in Moncton, which allows transit users to plan trips and track the buses in real time with its free app.
The company faced difficult times in 2016, after two years of successfully onboarding many Atlantic Canadian cities to its platform.
“We kind of made a bad investment and we tried to reach a little further than our means. And at the beginning of 2017, we actually had to lay off some staff. So 2017 and 2018 have really been about building back up to where we were,” he said.
HotSpot had some suitors then, but Curley and his team decided to push through instead. The fruit of that turnaround is beginning to show. This year alone, with eight full-time employees and up to four contractors, the company signed as many clients as it did in the last four years.
And this award is a fitting recognition of that, he said.
“This is like the award that says, ‘Hey, way to persevere and get through it’,” he said. “In my personal life, that is definitely one of my biggest achievements to date.”
The Chamber also announced the finalists for the other seven categories of its 2018 Business Excellence Awards:
Credit Unions Small Business Award
- Caribbean Flavas
- Gallery 78
- Priority Personnel Inc.
Enbridge Medium Business Award
- Fredericton International Airport Authority Inc.
- Stewart McKelvey
- Wheels & Deals Canada’s Huggable Car Dealer
CBDC Southwest Large Business Award
- Go-Go Group Inc.
- The Learning Bar Inc.
Jim Gilbert’s Wheels & Deals Not-For-Profit Organization Award
- Fredericton Community Kitchen Inc.
- Meals on Wheels of Fredericton Inc.
- United Way of Centre New Brunswick
Elliott McCrea Hill Community Involvement Award
- Graystone Brewing Inc.
- Saint Mary’s Entertainment Centre
- Taylor Printing Group Inc.
Wilson Insurance Ltd. Start-Up Award
- Bowman’s Pharmasave
- Lori Clarke Interior Design Inc.
- Trailway Brewing Company Inc.
Opportunities NB (Opportunités NB) Business Person of the Year Award
- Kara Angus – Go-Go Group Inc.
- Laura O’Blenis – Stiletto Consulting Ltd.
- Robert Hatheway – The Hatheway Group