Entrepreneur of The Year

2005 Entrepreneur Award

2007 Winner

Congratulations to B-Line Tires who are the winners of Nilson & Company’s 2006 Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Previous winners

Award Criteria

This is a program for our business clients which is designed to recognize excellence in owning and managing a private business.

The criteria include:

  1. A minimum of least five years of successful operations
  2. A track record of financial success
  3. Good human resource practices with employees
  4. A track record of innovation
  5. Strong management and executive skills

A common thread amongst our Entrepreneur-of-the-Year winners is attention to strategy.

Large corporations have several senior employees who oversee the major functions of a business: accounting, finance, administration, production, human resources, logistics, marketing and advertising and last, but not least, strategic planning and leadership. In a small entrepreneurial company, all or almost all of these functions, fall on one person – the entrepreneur-owner. The odds are small that one person would have the necessary skill-sets and plain energy to meet all of these roles successfully. The good news is that, in any given small business, not all of those functional areas are critically important. Also, the entrepreneur can “sub out” some of those functions, either to trusted employees or outside resources: the accounting and finance functions are common examples of this. Some entrepreneurs also seek help with the marketing and advertising functions.

However, strategic planning and leadership responsibilities fall squarely on the entrepreneur. This is the area that separates true entrepreneurs from small business owners who have, practically speaking, only bought themselves a job without a boss. And so we say that strategic planning separates the entrepreneur from the self-employed employee.

Strategic planning can take many forms for a small business. We have assisted some companies undertake year long processes that have resulted in an extensive document full of micro and macro plans. More simply, some companies dedicate a day or two per year to strategic matters, often in a “retreat” environment. Simpler still, some entrepreneurs take periodic “walks in the snow”, Trudeau-style, to think about the big picture. Some successful entrepreneurs are big fans of an Advisory Board, which may be as small as one person. Also, having a ”Business Coach” is a growing phenomenon.

Reading is extremely valuable. Entrepreneurs do not have mandatory continuing education forced upon them by outside bodies, but they need to self-impose the need to learn. There are endless books on strategy in the Business aisle at the local bookstore: the Book Review area of our website identifies some.

An entrepreneurial leader should inculcate a culture of strategic thought into the workplace. This lessens the load at the top, puts more ears to the ground to understand customer needs, and creates a more interesting work environment. As one CEO of a Fortune 500 company bemoaned years ago, he could wake up in the morning and decide to change the colour on the annual report from blue to green and have that done by noon. If he woke up and decided to improve customer service, thousands of people would need to get involved. Advantage — small business, which can mobilize its forces more quickly!

Lastly, remember that strategy is the cerebral side of success: the other side is hands-on implementation. You must have the emotional will as well as the hard resources to implement strategic change. Constancy of purpose drives the change engine and the entrepreneur occupies the driver’s seat.

Previous Winners


This year’s winner is Dalee Enterprises, dba B-Line Tire. The company is a wholesaler in the tire parts industry. This is a family affair with brother and sister Brian Zawadiuk and Carmen Elderton and brother-in-law David Bath, plus two other partners, Gordon Snell and Mike Bolduc.

The principals have grown the firm successfully in a competitive environment and strategically managed its evolution through merger, international currency risk, facility expansion and key hiring.

We extend our congratulations to the entire team.


The 2005 winner was Johnny Chan of the North Shore’s Eighties Restaurant.


Ellie Hender, Don Nilson, Cindy Horton

Ellie Hender & Cindy Horton

Infinity Travel Concepts


Ronald Nijdam and Don Nilson

Ronald Nijdam

The Quick Cobbler