The Sydney and Area Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Cape Breton University, will induct four local business people into the Cape Breton Business Hall of Fame during a gala dinner Wednesday at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre.
Warren Gordon may be one of Cape Breton’s greatest ambassadors. For decades, the award-winning photographer has captured the tranquility and beauty of Cape Breton Island to create calendars that hang in kitchens around the globe. On the lengthy list of tourists smitten by the images is a professor in Osaka, Japan. “He orders a calendar every year,” says Gordon.
The enterprising photographer has also created 12 coffee table photo books, selling enough copies to be considered best sellers in Canada’s book industry. His passion for photography began when a few neighbourhood friends asked him to help out with a school yearbook. He borrowed a 35 mm camera from his dad, captured his first roll of pictures for the school project, and hasn’t looked back.
In 1974, he opened Gordon Photographic Limited, and it has been a mainstay on Charlotte Street in Sydney for nearly four decades. Starting out with a used camera and $500 in his pocket, Gordon quickly became recognized internationally for his portrait, group, industrial, aerial and landscape work. He has received many awards, including his most recent, the Pictorial Image of the Year 2012 from the Professional Photographers of Canada. The winning scene is on the cover of his 2013 calendar.
Rina Gouthro credits her parents, who are first generation Italian immigrants, for the strong work ethic that has led to her ongoing success. Gouthro, one of five siblings, was raised in the seaside community of Dominion. She was a fresh high school graduate when she was hired as a teller at Dominion Credit Union. “All I had was a pen, paper, and a willingness to learn,” says Gouthro. Skip ahead 15 years, and that ambition resulted in a management position she retains today.
Gouthro says that one of her proudest accomplishments professionally is having played an integral part in the Credit Union’s continued growth and success. That success was recognized within the community, and recently in a business section of a provincial newspaper. “Yes, Dominion Credit Union is a business, but you need to remain aware that people matter and people care. Show respect, and people will come back.”
Gouthro also knows the importance of being involved in her community and surrounding
areas. Taking great pride in her Italian heritage, Gouthro has been an active member of the Dominion Italian Club since she was in elementary school. She has also participated in Dominion Seaside Daze, fundraisers for the IWK, and many other worthy organizations. She is also a member of the Dominion Community Guest Home Board of Directors.
In 1958, Dave MacKenna left his home in Prince Edward Island to be a surveyor on the Seal Island Bridge Construction Project. Later, MacKenna worked construction projects in eastern Canada, including Quebec and Ontario. Due to a delay in the start of the Dosco Steel Mill Project in Quebec, he took temporary employment with Municipal Ready-Mix Limited on July 15, 1962.
In 1970, the existing shareholders group expressed an interest in selling their shares. MacKenna was one of five employees who joined forces to purchase the company. Today, MacKenna is the last original partner still involved in the company, which has grown to include Beechmount Quarry Limited, Millcreek Environmental Services Inc., Kelly Rock Limited, and Municipal Capital Inc.
Although MacKenna is always looking for new opportunities in business, he also looks to enhance his community by organizing and encouraging Christian activities that foster a sense of hope. The company is also generous to its community by supporting large and small endeavors.
In 1975, armed with a can-do attitude and a paint gun, Steve Lewis started to build his business in a small bay rented at a Sydney gas station that was operated by Fred Lewis. From there, he grew his reputation as being one of the best auto body repair and car painters in the area. It was when he purchased the island’s first laser frame straightening machine that success was in sight. “It set us apart from everyone else,” said Lewis.
However, Steve Lewis Auto Body wasn’t always the success it is today. It was during difficult times that Steve formed friendships that would last a lifetime. “We had a lot of help from a lot of good people, an amazing staff and close family members who have helped make Steve Lewis Auto Body the success it is today.” In return, his loyalty has been unfaltering. That intense loyalty has also spread to his family’s generosity, which began with an IWK car wash 25 years ago and this year celebrating the 6th Annual IWK 250 race in Antigonish. The Lewis family is also a friend of the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation, countless other organizations, and its community.
Established in 2002, The Cape Breton Business Hall of Fame honours individuals from the Cape Breton business community who have paved the road for future generations in Cape Breton through business achievement and community involvement. The individuals are selected from a list of nominees who have established a legacy for the community in terms of commitment, time, energy, financial support and outcomes that have broadened opportunities for others.