The Penticton Chamber of Commerce is defending its decision to uphold Bad Tattoo owner Lee Agur as the 2021 business leader of the year after criticism from some members and the public.
“We expected that there might be controversy with regards to the selection, so we gave the judges in this category an option to revise their decision,” said Diane Kereluk, executive director. “After much discussion, the judges decided to stay with their decision based on all the research and discussions they had with the finalists.”
The Chamber’s business excellence awards were handed out at their gala oat the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre on Friday night.
The judges brought forward their recommendation for the recipient of the business leader of the year award prior to the provincial vaccine passport requirement. The judges then revisited their recommendation after the implementation of this new public health order and Agur’s announced position against vaccine passports and subsequent backpedal and decision to step down from his role at Bad Tattoo.
“After careful consideration and discussion with the chamber’s executive committee, the committee felt that we needed to uphold the integrity of the independent judging process and not undermine it by overruling a decision,” said Chamber president Jonathan McGraw.
“Furthermore, and most importantly, it was felt that we need to show tolerance when a fellow business leader makes a mistake. To allow one mistake, which was corrected by Mr. Agur, to overshadow all the significant contributions he made during the year for our community would not be compassionate and caring.”
The other two finalists for business person of the year were Cherry Fernandez of the South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services (SOICS) and Lee and Kevin Smith of Kettle Valley Memorial. Honourable mention went to Neil MacDonald of Sun Life Financial.
Under the category of business person of the year, the chamber’s description is: “This business professional has demonstrated exceptional success in the ownership or management of a local business through leadership, exemplary customer service, and community engagement. This individual inspires others to improve the services and/or quality of life in Penticton.”
Two judges selected Agur as the winner. According to the chamber, judges review all the nominations and spend considerable time researching each one, including reviewing websites, social media, reviews, etc. They select their top three finalists in a category. The judges then conduct a lengthy interview with each of the finalists before deciding who the winner is in the category.