19th Annual Top 50 CEO Awards

19th Annual Top 50 CEO Awards
Mark Beal
Mark Beal
President, ACME Group of Companies
(St. John’s, N.L.)

“We have to truly believe in ourselves in Atlantic Canada. We can compete with anybody.”

The egg man By his own admission, Mark Beal is “just a simple man with a good team.” He’s not afraid to roll up his sleeves and work alongside his employees on the factory line—or let them know how valuable each and every one of them is to Maritime Pride Eggs.
It’s this no-nonsense approach, along with the ethic of hard work he learned from his father, that has made MPE the largest egg-grading and marketing company in Atlantic Canada.

Team player Beal runs his business by a straightforward code: “instead of driving employees, you coach them, and instead of inspiring fear, you generate enthusiasm.” If you can give your employees a true sense of purpose, he says, they’ll follow you anywhere.The company brings that same spirit to the community. MPE hosts breakfasts for needy kids and charity golf tournaments, and Beal was recognized as a top personal fundraiser for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Care is key It’s not just his employees and shareholders that Beal cares about: it’s the animals, too. MPE has responded to calls from consumers for more ethical eggs by transitioning to enriched housing, free-run, and organic farming at a rate that outpaces the rest of the country.
It’s been a challenge, but it’s been worth it. “Our efficiency is at an all-time high. We and our farmers take our social license to produce food for the public in an animal-friendly way very seriously.”

Cory Bell
Cory Bell
President & CEO
Lindsay Construction
(Dartmouth, N.S.)

“Knowing that we can help others in a meaningful way is what makes me feel the most successful.”

No limits Cory Bell is a firm believer that the best leadership is the kind that practices what it preaches. For the CEO of Lindsay Construction, that boils down to respecting others. He has a policy of personally meeting with every new employee within their first two weeks at Lindsay. This policy of mutual respect has helped foster an atmosphere at the company where every individual is empowered to grow to the best of their abilities.
It’s paid off. Employees driven to excel means a company that excels. Since Bell took the helm in 2008, Lindsay has more than tripled its annual revenues, from $65 million to a projected $200 million for the 2017 fiscal year.

Workplace culture “Employees love what we do in the community. New employees often comment, ‘I see Lindsay everywhere and I want to be a part of it.’”

The company hosts a lot of social events for employees and their families, to make everyone feel included in what Lindsay does. In the last seven years, they’ve only lost one employee to a competitor—and none who’ve worked there for more than a year.

Community matters Lindsay aspires to become a national player in the construction industry in the next five years, but Bell is keeping it firmly grounded in its Atlantic Canadian roots. Lindsay gave over $500,000 to local charities in 2016. “We are local and our profits stay in Atlantic Canada.”

Charlene Brophy
Charlene Brophy

(St. John’s, N.L.)

“We must be seen as a major player in the international market and I will continue to assess market potential, building in a systematic and data driven approach.”

Phoning it in Charlene Brophy worked as an acute care nurse in St. John’s for 15 years, where she witnessed first-hand the struggles of Newfoundland’s healthcare system in keeping up with an aging population and the increasing rate of chronic diseases.

It was the realization that the problem was a global issue, not just a local one, that inspired FONEMED’s creation and proliferation, with the company creating a cutting-edge “telehealth” software program to provide 24/7 support over the phone, including nurse advice, symptomatic triage, behavioral health and crisis counseling services.
Government funding in 2011 allowed it to conduct an R&D program for remote patient support and biometric device monitoring.

Ten million strong FONEMED now services 2,300 client groups and 10 million people, including all of Newfoundland (serving as the primary service provider for the province’s HealthLine since 2009) and markets in the U.S., Caribbean and South America. The company has exploded in growth under Brophy, expanding from nine to over 100 employees in Newfoundland since 2000.

Beating the competition Brophy notes that “the world is facing a situation without precedent: We soon will have more older people than children.” The number of companies vying for market share is also increasing. That’s why FONEMED is hustling to stay ahead, including launching a new software platform to self-schedule appointments, continue expansion into South America, Europe and Africa, and finesse partnerships.

Jason Brown
Jason Brown
CEO, YMCA of Newfoundland and Labrador
(St. John’s, N.L.)

“We don’t do things because ‘Jason says’, we make decisions and do things because the YMCA and our communities need us to.”

Saved from the brink Things were in total crisis mode when Jason Brown started as CEO of what was then the YMCA-YWCA of St. John’s in 2005.
The organization was effectively bankrupt, bleeding money and customers. “It was on the verge of disappearing forever,” he says. But the Board hired Brown to head up the flailing organization. He implemented some huge changes, including closing two locations, constructing a new 60,000 sq. ft. facility in St. John’s, launching a fundraising campaign and focusing resources for maximum effect.

Expanding horizons It worked, allowing for a $15 million collaborative capital project with Marystown and expansion of programs across the province. Between 2010 and 2016, revenue increased from $3.9 million to $6.6 million due to a huge increase in membership; government funding almost completely disappeared.
Such successes set a precedent for collaborating with municipalities: Brown says the YMCA has letters of intent from Placentia and Happy Valley-Goose Bay to open new town-owned and YMCA-run facilities in the next five years.

Keeping the momentum Brown notes that attracting money for projects is still the organization’s most significant challenge. Yet he’s optimistic the YMCA will continue to grow in the province, expanding with another $28.5 million in investments mostly via its collaboration with municipalities.
The YMCA continues to operate many other services, including child care centres and training programs for business planning, employment and entrepreneurship programming.

Lisa Browne

CEO, Stella’s Circle
(St. John’s, N.L.)

“Our workplace culture is very entrepreneurial. When something needs to happen to help a participant, it gets done.”

Singin’ in the rain Recently, the director of employment services at Stella’s Circle caught wind of a choir in the U.K. made up entirely of people living in homelessness. The director, feeling inspired, worked to develop a similar ensemble in St. John’s. It’s now one of the most renowned parts of the organization.
Lisa Browne, CEO of the non-profit, says the story is a testament to the entrepreneurship of her staff: “Stella’s Circle has created a culture where people are encouraged to pursue skills outside of their typical day-to-day activities.”

Diverse experiences Stella’s Circle, with its 117 employees and $8-million budget, focuses on three “real” areas: real homes (emergency shelter and housing support), real help (counseling services) and real work (education, training and employment opportunities for people with “minimal or broken employment histories.”
Browne says that social enterprise serves as a central offering for the organization, including the Hungry Heart Café (food services), Clean Star (commercial cleaning) and the Property Development Division (trades helpers).

Real results An evaluation of Stella’s Circle’s temporary employment service showed that every dollar spent on the program was $1.77 in savings for other systems. With the proper supports in place, more than $268,000 worth of health care services were avoided and $18,810 in justice services were saved. “In other words,” says Browne, “assisting people to become and stay employed reduces unnecessary hospitalizations and incarcerations, improving participants’ quality of life and reducing systems costs.”

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