Acknowledging awards

24 April 2015

Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent each year to simply promote movies and television shows for events like the Academy Awards and the Emmys. While superficially glamorous, the prestige is lacking with each passing year, with deeper pockets and a growing number of award shows for the entertainment industry.

It's not a surprise that any award program can be met with apathy, cynicism and even disgust. But that shouldn't always be the case.

The tunnelling industry is working to better its image and promote its strengths, of which there are many. Industry awards are particularly important to accomplish this, and the Tunnelling Association of Canada (TAC)'s Annual Achievement Awards are a great example.

Everyone on a project stands to gain from an award -- client, contractor, designer and manufacturers -- and even more importantly, the relationships among all these partners. Rewards are great for team-building, and an award carrying the prestige of wider industry approval is even more significant.

It's also important for both industry and individual companies to record the accomplishments made on projects. Beyond transportation end uses, tunnels are buried from the general population's view. Awards are not only a tool for companies to promote their work, but also a way to preserve it.

Completing a project on time and on budget is great for local publicity, but there isn't much capacity to celebrate technical innovation and groundbreaking design. This type of success is harder to promote to a wider population, and it's more valuable to promote to the industry. An award sends a signal to policy makers who can't comprehend technical accomplishments.

Entering a project for an award is smart marketing. While there is no denial here that being featured in trade magazines and conference proceedings is an integral part of marketing and public relations, there are admittedly limitations once the publication, regardless of medium, is stored upon a bookshelf or below newer copies on a reception area table. Being able to acknowledge the award-winning nature of your company enhances these marketing materials as well as other components of internal and external communications.

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2015 TAC Annual Achievement awards. Forms are available online at www.tunnelcanada. ca and require no additional materials at the time of entry. It's as simple as that. Unlike Hollywood, which devalues its awards year after year by spending an estimated USD 150M each Oscar season to campaign for its films (approximately the same price as a small sewer tunnel project in Glasgow), or award events with endless categories and gratuitious back-slapping, the TAC Achievement Awards are earned by its distinguished winners. Submit your nominations by June 1.