Durham College alumna named Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade Business Person of the Year

Donna McFarlane, vice-president of Communications, Marketing and External Relations at Durham College, presents Durham College Alumna Lorelei Hepburn with the Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade Business Person of the Year Award at the board’s annual awards dinner.

November 4, 2010

Durham College alumna Lorelei Hepburn continued to enjoy the fruits of her labour this month when the 1994 graduate of the college’s Environmental Technology program was named the Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade’s Business Person of the Year at its annual gala dinner on October 14.

Hepburn, the founder, president and chief executive officer of The Environmental Factor, a lawn care company specializing in pesticide- and chemical-free products, has been creating natural and environmentally friendly lawn and garden solutions for 20 years.

After starting her business from her driveway in 1991, she moved it to an industrial site in Ajax, Ont. and then expanded into other areas of Ontario and to New Brunswick and British Columbia. She is now contemplating opening another facility in Buffalo, New York and in Greece.

“I am so humbled and honoured to be included in a class of individuals and companies,” said Hepburn. “I have worked very hard at what I love to do. Success is judged in many ways. The Environmental Technology program at Durham College has opened many doors to work with other universities to develop new product for Canada and the United States.”

The award comes just months after Hepburn appeared on the popular CBC program, Dragons’ Den, a show that enables businesspeople to pitch their ideas for new business concepts and products and earn funding from a panel of Canadian business experts.

Hepburn successfully secured a deal with all five industry dragons on earlier this year, with the dragons offering to invest $250,000 in The Environmental Factor with 11 per cent royalty until accrued, followed by 5.5 per cent in perpetuity.

The show, which used a greenvention approach for the episode in which Hepburn appeared, saw her present the Nemaglobe, a spherical biodegradable container with a natural worm inside that eliminates white grubs found in grass. In the end, an appropriate contract couldn’t be reached and Hepburn walked away from the deal.

Hepburn was received the Durham College Alumni of Distinction in 2001 and is currently a member of the college’s Environmental Technology program advisory committee.

The Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade Business Person of the Year Award is celebrated annually and recognizes the business achievements of companies and individuals within the cities of Ajax and Pickering. With more than 600 members, the board represents every sector of the local economy and has established itself as a trusted voice of the business community.