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The visionary

It takes many long hours of hard work, dedication and devotion to become a leader in business and community. Two Squamish residents possess plenty of the above and as a result have been honoured accordingly by their peers and colleagues.

It takes many long hours of hard work, dedication and devotion to become a leader in business and community.

Two Squamish residents possess plenty of the above and as a result have been honoured accordingly by their peers and colleagues.

Last Friday (Jan. 23) the Squamish Chamber of Commerce announced Lillian Lyle of Connections Message Centre as the winner of the 2003 Business Person of the Year and Bob Brant as the winner of the 2003 Citizen of the Year.

"The members of the Chamber of Commerce have cast their votes and chosen to honour these two individuals for their outstanding contribution to the community," said Chamber president Gord Prescott.

"The awards provide an opportunity to acknowledge and thank role models like Lillian Lyle and Bob Brant who go beyond the extra mile and make a real difference."

Nominations for the awards are received in December 2003 and ballots sent out to Chamber members to vote in January 2004. The 2003 winners will be formally presented their awards at the Squamish Chamber of Commerce 70th annual General Meeting and President's Banquet on Saturday (Jan. 31).

The other nominations for the 2003 Business Person of the Year were: Gord Addison - Squamish Hostel; Fiona Dyer - Sunwolf Outdoor Centre; Julianna Egyed - Whistle Stop Boutique; and Dave Boulter - Nexen Chemicals Inc. (Squamish Remediation Project). The other nominations for the 2003 Citizen of the Year were John Harvey and Pat Wilbur.

Last year, Greg Gardner of Greg Gardner Motors Ltd. was the winner of the 2002 Business Person of the Year and Cliff Miller was chosen Citizen of the Year.

The annual awards are seen as an opportunity to acknowledge the many individuals who contribute to the community through their efforts in business, volunteerism and overall community involvement.

2003 Squamish Citizen of the Year: Bob Brant

The smiling Mr. Brant has been an active community contributor to many different community events and organizations throughout the past two decades, and like Lyle, is honoured to have been awarded this distinction.

"Especially in a community that has many different high-quality volunteer activities going on - it truly is a great honour to be recognized," said Brant.

Recently, Brant's energetic work as originator and co-chair of the Squamish Olympic Bid Task Force and heartbeat of the 2010 banners, as well as publicity/fundraising for the Squamish Trails Society are some of his recent accomplishments.

"Bob Brant is an exceptional networker and visionary leader who deserves our recognition," said Prescott.

His list of community service involvement includes terms on the boards of the Chamber of Commerce (Tourism Committee Chair), Parks and Recreation Commission, Squamish Trails Society and Big Brothers/Sisters. He and his family are also steadfast supporters of the Eagle Watch Volunteer Interpreters Program, and he served for five years on the organizing committee for the Squamish Triathlon. He has ridden in the Test of Metal Celebrity Challenge fundraiser, and is a freelance photographer/writer with a keen interest in community development and heritage.

"I believe in community. I believe in it strongly from my heart and I think it is the main strength of Squamish."

Because of his involvement in the Squamish Olympic movement, Brant has a positive outlook for the future of Squamish.

"I see the deal for the Nexen lands as a return of our birthright: the return of our oceanfront, on the land that historically housed our first commercial dock. With the incredible opportunities our setting offers us, with the tremendous skill and talent of our residents, the only thing keeping us from creating the Squamish of our dreams, would be ourselves. Collectively, I believe we are starting to own these dreams."

2003 Business Person of the Year: Lillian Lyle - Connections Message Centre

Lyle has owned and operated Connections Message Centre (CMC), a business specializing in telephone answering services and reservations, for the past 14 years.

"I was totally honoured to have even been nominated," said Lyle. "Then to be voted as the winner just blew me away. It was phenomenal for my peers to recognize me in this way - it's quite an honour."

As a result of her continuous encouragement for employees to make use of their time at Connections, many of them have gone on to other fields utilizing the skills learned while employed at CMC.

"From a business standpoint, I believe in growth as a goal of my business. I want to be able to increase service offerings to our clients so that we can hire more staff and continue to grow together."

As the current president for the Canadian Call Management Association (Cam-X) and through this association's training sessions and programs, Lil has seen Connections Message Centre win the Award of Excellence for six consecutive years. This year she received the top score in Canada for The Call Centre Award of distinction.

Her business has maintained a high level of excellent service and has "connected" many diverse businesses over the years. CMC will answer phones and take messages for clients who are unable to afford a full-time employee to do such services.

Lil has also volunteered with Squamish Days Loggers Sports on the sponsorship committee (she resigned from the position last year), is the race registrar for the Test of Metal and is a proud supporter of Big Brothers/Big Sisters, her charity of choice.

"It gives me a great deal of personal satisfaction to know that the members on the Chamber of Commerce recognize what we do for the community."

Lyle, a grandmother of eight, resides in Squamish with her husband Rod.

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