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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 28, 2009
Toronto, Ontario – The Canadian Association of Family Enterprise (CAFE) named the Bragg Group of Companies the 2009 Family Enterprise of the Year at its award luncheon held today in Toronto. The award, sponsored by KPMG Enterprise™ and RBC Royal Bank, recognizes significant achievement made within a family enterprise. The Bragg family business story was profiled along with the other two award finalists, Pizza Nova and Jarlette Health Services. On hand to accept the award for The Bragg Group was Matthew Bragg, Director of Sales in the Food Group.
“The recognition of Family as the core of our business really makes this a special honour. We are very proud of our history and equally excited about our future,” commented Bragg.
“It was the most difficult year to judge we have ever had,” says Lawrence Barns CEO of CAFE. “The Bragg family is certainly a deserving recipient for this award and a model of a thriving family business. CAFE, KPMG Enterprise and RBC were privileged to celebrate this family success story and those of our other two finalists.”
"For five generations, the Bragg Family has upheld a world class reputation that permeates throughout the entire organization," said Beth Wilson, Canadian Managing Partner for KPMG Enterprise. “We congratulate the Bragg Group on their success and hail their achievement to be named Canada's Family Enterprise of the Year."
John Bragg is the fifth generation of family entrepreneurs based in Cumberland County, Nova Scotia. He represents the first generation in Oxford Frozen Foods and the related businesses he founded in 1968. Along with John and his wife Judy, their four children -- Lee, Matthew, Carolyn and Patricia -- are also involved in the family business. The Bragg Group is comprised of Bragg Communications (Eastlink, Amtelecom, Bluewater TV Cable, Coast Cable, Delta Cable, Persona), The Food Group (Oxford Frozen Foods, Bragg Lumber Co., Cherryfield Foods/Maine Wild Blueberry Co., Peninsula Foods) Pierceys, Inland Technologies and other Bragg-owned business interests.
“It is a tremendous achievement to build a family business in which generation after generation contributes to continued growth,” said Nadia Ceciliot, national manager, Commercial Financial Services, RBC Royal Bank. “RBC is very pleased to recognize the Bragg Group of Companies for their accomplishments, and we congratulate the Bragg family for their vision and dedication to building a strong family enterprise.”
CAFE is a non-profit organization dedicated to the well being of the family in business. It was founded in 1983 by 14 entrepreneurs on the premise that family businesses share unique experiences not necessarily in non-family businesses. CAFE has grown nationally to include 14 Chapters across Canada.
Eastlink, which fall under Bragg Communications, was started in 1970 and today is the largest privately owned cable company in Canada, serving customers in all 10 provinces. In 2001, Eastlink completed the acquisition of the Shaw Cable systems in Nova Scotia, which increased the size of the business by 50%. Subsequent acquisitions in 2007 and 2008 again doubled the company's size and customer base.
In 1989, the Bragg family acquired Pierceys Building Supplies, which offers building supplies and construction products at competitive prices. A part of the Halifax skyline since 1908, Pierceys now enjoys revitalized brand awareness and excellent returns, thanks to superior customer service, efficient operations and competitive pricing. The business recently underwent an expansion, adding a fourth and fifth store in the Halifax Regional Municipality.
Inland Technologies was acquired in 2006, a well-established company with a leadership position in the recovery and recycling of spent aircraft de-icing fluid used at commercial and military airports in North America. The family also owns a variety of smaller businesses, including shopping centres and real estate, hotels, and the controlling share of a food supplement business.
John and Judy Bragg's children have been involved in the family business in one way or another as far back as the couple can remember. Lee, who learned the wild blueberry business from farming to the shop floor of the manufacturing facilities, is now Co-CEO of Eastlink. He has held this position for almost 10 years and has become well versed in business management and telecommunications technology. Today, Lee is leading the Eastlink expansion into wireless technology and products, including cellular telephone service. Matthew has held a variety of positions in the Bragg Group since graduating from Mount Allison University. He has managed factories and maintenance groups and has overseen the acquisition and integration of a wild blueberry company with both factory and wild blueberry fields. Today, Matthew is responsible for all sales in The Food Group and has been effectively building relationships with customers around the world. Carolyn works full-time in the business, running the Eastlink "on-cable" advertising business. With her sales and graphic design teams, she has successfully led this business for a number of years. Trish helps to oversee the company's wild blueberry operations in Maine with her husband Ragnar, who manages the operation. Like her siblings, Trish attends Advisory Board meetings and maintains close contact with all business developments.
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