A North Vancouverite who runs a niche one-man business was recognized by the province last weekend.
Kevin Sebastian, owner of Toolcomm Technology, took home a B.C. Aboriginal Business award for Business of the Year, one-to-two person enterprise, at a gala at the Hyatt Regency in Vancouver.
Toolcomm is an electronics engineering firm that designs custom electronic hardware, firmware and software and electro-mechanical devices for industrial companies.
A member of the Gitxsan Nation, Sebastian founded the company in 2006. He said it's great to be acknowledged after years of hard work.
"I'm pretty happy about it. I've got some pretty big plans for the future and I think getting the award like this will help get my company a bit of attention which will help me achieve some of my future goals," he said.
Sebastian said he is never short on work and his list of clients includes BC Hydro. He first came up with the idea for Toolcomm while he was studying business at Camosun College. He soon realized that he would also need an engineering degree.
"I basically started from scratch, upgrading to get into electronics, and worked my way through tech school," he said.
For a while, he had five employees working for him, but in the end decided he would be better off on his own.
"Having employees put me in more of a project management role and more of an administrative type role, and that's not really what I like," he explained.
"I'm really good at what I do and typically the clients want me anyways."
The award, he added, is positive for the aboriginal community.
"Within the engineering community there are not too many First Nations people. So I think getting this type of attention also has a social benefit. First Nations people might be able to realize that there is someone who has relative success in their community in a professional area."
Another North Vancouver company was given an honourable mention in the same category.
Spirit Works is 100 per cent aboriginal owned and operated and focuses on creating authentic First Nations products including bentwood boxes and jewelry as well as furniture.
The awards have taken place for the past four years, recognizing leaders in everything from trades and construction to technology and fisheries.
"The British Columbia Aboriginal Business Awards showcase the continuing positive impact aboriginal business has on British Columbia's economic development," said Premier Christy Clark in a media release.
"The young people, businesses, joint ventures and community-owned endeavours recognized today exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit of the aboriginal community."
The awards are presented by the B.C. Achievement Foundation, an independent foundation established and endowed in 2003 by the province to celebrate community services, the arts, humanities and enterprise.