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Achievement Awards Honour Homegrown Firms

20 April 2011

What does a global engineering firm with nearly 11,000 employees have in common with a 20-person company that makes hygienic computer keyboards or a family-owned oilfield equipment maker?

They're all homegrown companies and standouts in their fields, and all were honoured this week by the Edmonton Economic Development Corp. with its 2011 achievement awards.

Master Flo Valve won EEDC's Leadership Excellence Award for its "ability to engage the community and be seen as a catalyst for change," said the EEDC, which held its annual awards luncheon Monday.

The company is a big exporter of choke valves and specialty control valves for the worldwide oil and gas industry, including products designed to perform under high pressure or heat and at depths of up to 11,000 feet.

"It is one of the only three companies selling subsea chokes worldwide and is the only independent subsea choke manufacturer," EEDC said.

President Mark McNeill said the award is a tribute to the company's employees and its hometown.

It has offices in the United States, Brazil, Scotland, France, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and Malaysia, but its head office remains in Edmonton.

It competes on a global scale against oilfield equipment suppliers from the U.S. and Europe.

"It shows that an Edmonton company can truly be a strong global presence," McNeill said.

"With our offices around the world, we have guests coming into Canada and they can actually see what an Edmonton company can do in comparison to anywhere else in the world."

Stantec won EEDC's Recognition Excellence Award for increasing the visibility and recognition of Edmonton internationally.

The engineering, architectural and environmental-services consulting firm has nearly 11,000 employees with its growing presence in international markets from working on a water-treatment plant in San Francisco to designing health-care facilities in Ontario. It has 160 offices across North America, India and the United Kingdom.

"What we find really significant is just the recognition from our peers, the city, the community and the EEDC recognizing how we've been able to help build Edmonton's international profile," said Stantec vice-president and regional leader Keith Shillington.

Unlike other local firms that moved their head offices to larger cities, Stantec remains in Edmonton.

"Our CEO Bob Gomes puts it best: It works for us," Shillington said.

"There's no big, compelling reason to move. Edmonton is a good fit. We've grown up here and it's still working really, really well."

Cleankeys Inc. won the Innovation Excellence Award for developing easy-to-clean keyboards needed to run high-tech equipment in hospitals and dental facilities, which have been a prime source of infection transmission.

"They operate under the radar and are real ambassadors of innovation, community life and the science sector," the EEDC said.

"It takes just 10 seconds to wipe down our keyboard compared to a minute to wash the plastic covers now in use," Cleankeys CEO Randy Marsden told The Journal in January.