Bill Thake Memorial Award winner announced


submitted by Deanna Clark

Joe Hudson

More than 80 years ago, a teenager named Joe Hudson bought some laying hens for a high school project. This action would eventually transform the dairy and crop-based Burnbrae Farms into one of the largest egg producers in the country.

Mr. Hudson is this year’s recipient of the Bill Thake Memorial Award for Economic Development Leadership, also called the Warden’s Award. He will be honoured for his many achievements over the decades at the 15th Annual Leeds Grenville Economic Development Summit on Friday, November 17th at the North Grenville Municipal Centre. The event will feature top speakers from the region. For a full list of speakers, see the Advanced Summit Agenda

“We are very proud,” said daughter Margaret Hudson, President of Burnbrae Farms. Now retired, Joe Hudson of Burnbrae Farms is known for his philanthropy and community leadership.

A letter of support for the nomination signed by Elizabethtown-Kitley Mayor Brant Burrow, states “Mr. Hudson has been a fundamental contributor to economic development in the area for over 50 years.” Mr. Hudson has earned many awards during a career that dates back to the 1940s, including the Golden Pencil Award. This award recognizes individuals who have made a significant and worthwhile contribution to improving their community and the Canadian food industry overall. Other awards include the We Care Hall of Fame, the Canadian Grocery Business Hall of Fame and the Ontario Agriculture Hall of Fame, to name just a few.

Burnbrae Farms has become an established and integral part of Canadian agribusiness. You can find their eggs and egg products in grocery stores and restaurants across the country. Burnbrae Farms is one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies (Platinum Level) and employs approximately 1,700 workers across several provinces, including 400 employees at their facilities in Lyn and Brockville.

This is the 13th year the Award has been presented to an individual who has shown outstanding commitment and leadership resulting in the growth and vitality of the Leeds Grenville economy.

Outstanding nominees for 2023 include: Susan Alford, Township of Rideau Lakes; Judi Baril, Township of Augusta; Shelley Mitchell, Municipality of North Grenville and Terry Wills, Township of Rideau Lakes. For more information on these local leaders, see today’s edition of eNews at Since being introduced in 2011, the award has been presented to 18 individuals from across Leeds Grenville. More deserving women and men have been nominated.

Last year’s recipients were Dermid O’Farrell, of the Municipality of North Grenville, and Susan Warren, of the Township of Rideau Lakes. During his lifetime, Bill Thake was known for his leadership and mentoring skills. He served 52 consecutive years on Westport Council to set a Canada-wide record as the longest serving head of a municipality.

The Summit is hosted by the Leeds Grenville Economic Development Office in partnership with Leeds Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MP Michael Barrett, MPP Steve Clark, 1000 Islands, Valley Heartland and Grenville Community Futures development corporations, and the Eastern Workforce Innovation Board.


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