Cool Corporation led five awardees which were recognised Saturday night by the St Ann Chamber of Commerce at its annual banquet at Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort in Ocho Rios, St Ann.
Cool Corp, started by Joe Issa 15 years ago, was awarded the Corporate Award which, based on the criteria, has an established record in good corporate principles, and also is involved with, and supports civic and community activities.
Other awardees included Clifton Reader, who picked up the Tourism Award; Dr Derrick McDowell, Citizens Award; Dr John McDowell, Special Award and Monica McIntyre, Education Award.
Issa, who accepted the award from chamber President Horace Wildes, later told The Gleaner that it was a wonderful feeling to have been chosen this year.
“It’s an excellent feeling. We are 15 years old, we started with 80 grand ($80,000) and one gas station in St Ann’s Bay (Cool Oasis) with a business model that followed Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic, but from a Caribbean perspective with Cool.
“It’s hard to believe that 15 years later, something that started in St Ann’s Bay could have grown into what it is today; it shows that anything is possible,” Issa said.
“We have done well, we have expanded into the Caribbean region and we hope to, in the next 15 years of our life, to become a truly global company.”
Cool Corp, through its approximately 20 subsidiaries under the Cool brand, has provided hundreds of jobs and has been supporting education in a meaningful way.
Its Computers 3,000 education programme has already distributed more than 20 computers to schools with a similar amount coming in the near future.
And under the Global Education 2,000 project, emphasis is placed on improving the physical structure of schools. Cool also provides scholarships for needy rural students to attend universities abroad.
Reader, general manager at Sunset Jamaica Grande, has served the tourism industry for 26 years.
“It’s a very good feeling and I think my team at Jamaica Grande has full responsibility because they work with me on and off property to make sure of my success,” Reader said.
Reader told The Gleaner he still has a long way to go in the industry.
Meanwhile, Dr Derrick McDowell picked up the Citizens Award, which is based on outstanding and established record with civic and community affairs in St Ann. But his contributions extend beyond the borders of St Ann and, indeed, Jamaica.
McDowell, who is president of the Jamaica Orthopaedic Association, headed the first batch of Jamaican volunteers to Haiti after the earthquake earlier this year. He was also the first recipient of the John Golding Award for work in orthopaedic surgery. His work has been recognised internationally.
Dr John McDowell has given nearly 50 years’ dental service to St Ann, while McIntyre served as principal at Ocho Rios High School.