PLATTSBURGH — After going virtual in 2021, the North Country Chamber of Commerce’s annual business awards dinner was able to return in person Friday, with the theme: “A Night Out, a Formal Affair.”
The chamber encouraged the more than 350 attendees of the event to dress in ball gowns, pant suits, bow ties and tuxedos to honor the 2022 winners of Business of the Year, Businessperson of the Year, Small Business of the Year, Economic Development Partner of the Year, Trailblazer Award and Chairman Award.
BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
Nova Bus, a major employer of the North Country, was awarded the chamber’s 2022 Business of the Year Award.
Nova Bus’s Plattsburgh plant, located on Banker Road, employs over 300 people and has helped bring business to the area by producing diesel buses, hybrid buses, and the very popular LFSe+ electric buses for transit agencies in major cities across the country.
Their impact on both the regional and state economy has been major.
“One of our distinctive features is our pride in being a contributor in the Plattsburgh region,” Head of Public Affairs and External Communications at Nova Bus Christos Kritsidimas told the Press-Republican.
“That Plattsburgh and Quebec corridor is one that we value. We want to be in Plattsburgh, and we want to contribute to the economic and social advantages — we offer good paying jobs. Everytime I go to Plattsburgh, you feel that pride and recognition of our staff.”
Kritsidimas said winning the Business of the Year Award means a lot to Nova Bus and has humbled them since hearing the news.
“The general sentiment here was one of those heartfelt thank yous for recognizing what we do,” he said.
“We do it for us, and we do it for the region, but we do it because we believe in what we do. Everyone was humbled by the recognition. I don’t know who nominated us, but thank you, that was fantastic.”
After facing many challenges over the course of the pandemic, Kritsidimas said the staff at Nova Bus will appreciate the recognition
“COVID has been challenging, and it continues to be challenging. Basically what other manufacturing chains faced, we were facing them as well,” he said.
“So, good news is always welcomed. I can just imagine Monday morning, when all our staff will know — this will be an energizer.”
Despite any adversity faced due to COVID, Nova Bus landed contracts with Milwaukee, San Francisco and most recently Houston — which has put the North Country on the map as a key player in the electrification of transportation.
The bus manufacturer will be sending up to 40 of their LFSe+ buses to the Houston region and are expected to be in operation by the end of 2022.
“Electrification is where we’re heading as a communal effort in the world and the United States. We want to decrease our GHG emissions, so we’re partnering in this,” Kritsidimas said.
“Our focus right now is partnering with our transit agencies in advancing their electrification plants — we are at the beginning. And it’s a journey, you don’t just buy an electric bus, you have to prepare for electrification. So, we tell our customers to let us help you with the data we have to get you through that journey.”
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