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Ace American Industries big winner at 4th Annual Business Awards ceremony

fili@samoanews.com
Members of the business community and their guests at Saturday night’s 4th Annual Business Award ceremony, held at the Gov. H. Rex Lee Auditorium, co-sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and the Business and Professional Women of American Samoa (BPWAS). [photo: FS]

ACE American Industries was the only company to clinch two awards during the 4th Annual Business Award ceremony sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce (CoC) and Business and Professional Women of American Samoa (BPWAS).

The well-attend event was held Saturday night at the Gov. H Rex Lee Auditorium. Both awards are community- based and focused on the company's belief that its success is seeped in its relationship with the public, its customers.

The evening's co-hosts were Rep. Tapumanaia Galu Satele and Penni Utu.

Special remarks were delivered by Gov. Togiola Tulafono, who attended with First Lady Mary Ann Tulafono. (Details of the governor's remarks will be published in tomorrow's edition of Samoa News.)

PICED executive director Sandra King Young was the key speaker of the event. She encouraged the private sector to support development of students in the territory through programs, such as internships and mentoring programs, like career shadowing.

Through internship, teach students business operations and not just to get coffee and run errands, she said, and emphasized that students need more than just their education, they need to develop job skills.

She said Chamber members are the key to a sustainable future for the territory and urged business leaders to continue to support student development through the private sector.

CoC remarks for the night were offered by the board chair, David Robinson, with BPWAS president, Jennifer Jones delivering brief remarks on their joint efforts.

Joneson said that sometimes, American Samoa is considered one of the last frontiers making its way through and American Samoa itself is a small community.

"We all [should] work together to lift each other up" and support each other, she said.

Introducing the awards section of the event, chairman of the Chamber, Robinson said an important role for the Chamber is in assisting ASG to create an environment for entrepreneurs to flourish by reforming some of the existing policies that provide impediments to developing new ideas and new types of businesses.

New initiatives such as the establishment of a technology park to act as an incubator and mentoring facility for aspiring young business people should be considered, he said.

"This is a world of ever changing and advancing methods of operating a business," Robinson noted. "We should all keep up with trends and ways of conducting business in today's internationally competitive global environment."

AWARDS

For the awards, the CoC chairman said the number of the entries submitted to the judges this year are indications of the advancements that local companies continue to make in managing, promoting and running their business in an ever increasingly professional way.

Robinson further stated that it's very gratifying for the Chamber board to note that this year's awards entrants have provided a real test for the judges as the quality of nominees has been very high and selecting the winners has not been an easy task.

Unfortunately, not everyone can be a winner and those who did not win this year should not be discouraged and look to be nominated again in the future, he said, while they continue to look for new and innovative ways to run and manage their business.

(Samoa News will report later this week on Robinson's take on the current economic condition and his economic prediction for 2012).

The Malaeimi-based company, ACE American Industries won the Customer Service Award - which recognizes the company with outstanding customer service - and the Community Support Award, recognizing a firm for its contribution and service to the community.

In accepting the Customer Service Award, the company's CEO and general manager Ngaire Scratch Ho Ching said "our customers... are very important" and thanked the community for their support.

(In tomorrow's Samoa News, details of the ACE American Industries CEO remarks, which included pointed comments about the government's poor performance in customer service, as well as other areas, will be published.)

The Community Support Award was accepted by ACE American Industries' official Nadine Taufa'asau, who told the audience that the company receives a lot of requests for assistance and it does its best to provide to local organizations and schools but not all of them can be served.

She said the company is currently partnering with the local cancer coalition in a fund raising event and asked the community for their financial support.

Also awarded were:

  • Young Business Person Award, received by Tulaga Whitcombe;

  • Businesswoman of the Year went to Terry Steffany; and

  • Businessman of the Year was received by Dean Hudson.

Other recipients:

  • Green Business Award: Origin Energy

  • Non Profit Award: Pacific Islands Center for Educational Development (PICED)

  • New Business Award: American Samoa Culinary Academy

Chamber of Commerce chairman David Robinson told the crowded gathering that 140 nominations were received this year for various award categories, with a "noticeable trend" of "more and more young Samoan business people - young entrepreneurs - in diverse areas of business" being nominated.

"One of the key drivers of entrepreneurship is freedom," he said. "Freedom is about expressing yourself and having the vision and building something that you want. It must be encouraged and developed. It seems that many young Samoans are already embracing this freedom and the Chamber will do all it can to assist them."

BACKGROUND

In its fourth year of inception, the Chamber of Commerce of American Samoa's Business Awards for the first time was co-hosted with the Business and Professional Women of American Samoa (BPWAS).

The organizing committee for the event was co-chaired by Lewis Wolman and Ethan Lake, members were Danielle King and Easter Bruce of the BPWAS, and Aaron Forsgren and Carly Steffany of the CoC. Lasiandra Hall, as private-government liaison working through the Department of Commerce, was also invited and became a part of the committee.



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