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Multidimensional Life

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Inspiring and Rewarding Environmental Leaders


Telecommunications: Can We Talk?




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Supporting the visions of entrepreneurs one story at a time



Volume 25 | Number 4


Pat Ottmann & Tim Ottmann

On our cover… Gerry Wood, owner and president of the Wood Automotive Group


John Hardy


April 2015 $3.50

Cher Compton


Lisa Johnston & Nikki Mullett


Nancy Bielecki Melissa Arthur Denise Templeton

REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS Richard Bronstein Frank Atkins David Parker Lonnie Tate



Gerry Wood





Evelyn Dehner Renee Neil Deanna Williams

Inspiring and Rewarding Environmental Leaders



Telecommunications: Can We Talk?



Cover photo courtesy of Bookstrucker Photography

Multidimensional Life

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Colleen Wallace Nerissa McNaughton Parker Grant Cassandra McAuley Meghan Ockey Ben Freeland Eric Lowther Tiffany Burns Lisa Johnston


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Supporting the visions of entrepreneurs one story at a time



Volume 25 | Number 4


this MOnth’s FEatuREs

24 • Urbanomics | Urban Development Discussion: Land Supply

“That’s where it all begins” By John Hardy

32 • Canada’s Can We Talk? telecommunications companies have undergone a little-noticed transformation in recent years – and are quietly transforming the way business works. By Ben Freeland

40 • Regional Rocky View Regional Planning Planning Between Rocky View and the City of


Calgary Increasingly Strained By Eric Lowther

45 • Oil The Up & Down Numbers prices are just one factor By Colleen Wallace

55 • Inspiring and Rewarding Environmental Leaders

The Alberta Emerald Foundation has been recognizing achievers in environmental sustainability for over 20 years. Meet two winners from their 2014 Emerald Awards. By Nerissa McNaughton

REgulaR COluMns 14 • BySpringtime in the Rockies Richard Bronstein 16 • ByLook in the Mirror, Albertans Frank Atkins 18 • The Argument for Spending and Borrowing

64 • Juggling The Three Separate Sectors the flux of office, industrial and retail space By Parker Grant

68 • HR Diversity: It’s more than cultural differences experts weigh in on managing today’s incredibly

Partnership. P

diverse workplaces By Nerissa McNaughton

76 • Getting The Countdown to Fore! the golfer and the course ready By Parker Grant

in Alberta

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99 • Leading Business 105 • Current The Calgary Report developments for Calgary Telus Convention Centre, Tourism Calgary, Calgary Economic Development, and Innovate Calgary

110 • Marketing Matters

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Springtime in the Rockies • Richard Bronstein

Springtime in the Rockies By RICHARD BRONSTEIN


ou have to love April. Spring is in the air. It is definitely the month of mirth. April 1 this year happens to be an important anniversary of the United Nations adopting the concept of R2P – the Responsibility to Protect. Canada was very influential in pushing this as a new international norm. In fact it was former Liberal cabinet minister Lloyd Axworthy who led the charge of the right brigade. The idea is that nation states forfeit their right to absolute sovereignty within their own borders when it is shown they are failing to protect their own citizens from genocide, mass murder and other serious human rights abuses. Under R2P, the international community may intervene with force in order to protect citizens who are victimized by their home governments. The Responsibility to Protect is what motivated Canada’s military mission in Libya a few years ago and it is once again being used to justify our current military involvement against Islamic State in Iraq. Various African states are contemplating an R2P mission against Boko Haram in Nigeria. The idea is that things have to be bad, really bad, in order for R2P to kick in. But it doesn’t seem to work so well in non-democratic countries. They seem to be at war all the time so when we join in, it just makes it more fun for them. But maybe R2P could work better in democratic countries. Well, may I humbly suggest that Canada might be in need of some outside intervention these days? Consider the stain on our good name from some of these shameful events. As evidence I offer this perceptive comment by James Mirtle, a reporter for the Globe and Mail who noted on March 5, “It was another sign that the Maple Leafs’ quick, painful descent down the NHL standings has also become a descent into madness.” “Descent into madness” … that’s the kind of eloquent poetry one expects from Joseph Conrad or Ernest Hemingway, not a hockey writer. But there you have it – Leafs Nation is a failed state. Alert the UN Security Council. Activate NATO. Call in the foreign troops. Obviously the rulers of the Maple Leafs have no regard 14 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

for the well-being of our citizens because they keep staging games with pretend players, pretend management and coaches, and pretend rebuilding campaigns. The pyramids were built with fewer people than all those who have claimed a paycheque from Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment to revive this national institution. We don’t need new security legislation to protect us from terrorists – we need it to protect us from Maple Leaf oligarchs who keep enriching themselves while they continue to drive our national game into disrepute. Is there anyone out there who can save us – from ourselves? If anyone else could stand to benefit from a foreign rescue mission it might be Albertans. We’ve been governed by the Progressive Conservative Party for 44 years already. We are probably close to or already in an election campaign by the time this column appears in print. And it seems very likely this group will be in power for another four years. That’s where Alberta politics too is a “descent into madness.” No government in Canada has received as much resource revenue windfall as the Alberta government. It is also true that no government in Canada has mismanaged its largesse so poorly as successive Progressive Conservative governments of Alberta. Jim Prentice is exactly right. His “mirror, mirror on the wall” speech is probably the most truthful thing a politician ever said in Alberta, that if you keep electing us, we are going to keep doing the same thing over and over again. Which is to keep making a mess of things. In my books that makes our province a failed state and requires the presence of foreign troops to set things right. Someone has to write a heartfelt letter to the secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, and ask for foreign intervention. We are not to be trusted with our own future because we keep electing the same old gang. Remember that old bumper sticker from the 1970s? “If we ever get another boom, I promise not to p—s it away.” Well, we did, many times over. The latest iteration is the current budget difficulties of the Alberta government. Has anyone noticed a pattern here? That if you keep doing the same thing again and again, you get the same results. BiC


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Look in the Mirror, Albertans • Frank Atkins



Look in the Mirror, Albertans

have always thought that it must be very difficult to be a politician. Everything that politicians say and do is carefully scrutinized, and roundly criticized, in the press. It is not often that you see the press actually praise a politician. The exception may the CBC, which appears to try very hard to pretend that it does not love everything that Justin Trudeau does. Generally speaking, the media loves to fan the flames of any controversy involving politicians, and Premier Prentice recently felt the full brunt of this. In early March of this year, Premier Jim Prentice made what I thought was an obvious, and very truthful remark, when he said that Albertans should look in the mirror when they wish to see who to blame for the current fiscal mess in Alberta. Certainly, all Albertans have to bear the blame for the current fiscal situation, and there is no reason to think that this should exclude the members of the Prentice administration. We should all remember that it takes two sets of individuals to make a transaction. In the case of a government budget, it takes individuals who are recipients of money to ask for more, and the government to grant this request. The most obvious of those who request more money (although this is not the only group, just the one that seems to be in the news a lot) is Alberta teachers. The Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) seems to be perpetually making statements about lack of funds and classroom size

and how the children will be the ones to suffer if there is not more money for teachers. Between the ATA and the government, someone came up with a scheme at some point in the past

Premier Jim Prentice made what I thought was an obvious, and very truthful remark, when he said that Albertans should look in the mirror when they wish to see who to blame for the current fiscal mess in Alberta. whereby teachers would be granted an automatic raise based on the average rate of change in wages in Alberta, according to Statistics Canada. This cost the government an awful lot of money. However, it was somehow negotiated between the two parties involved. Alberta universities (of which I am a member) act in a similar manner to the teachers. After the Klein cuts, we asked for and received pay increases that not only made up for the cut in

16 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

wages during the early Klein years, but put us quite a bit ahead of where we had been prior to the wage cuts. This was also negotiated between two parties, one a recipient of government money, and the other the government. The list goes on and on. Alberta nurses often buy media time to explain to the public how vital of a service that they provide to Albertans. I am with them in the sense that I believe nurses provide a vital service. However, I do not understand why this has to translate into very large wage increases. Again these increases are negotiated between, and agreed to by, both the nurses and the government. Listen to groups such as the Friends of Medicare, who preach doom and gloom for the Alberta medical system if we do not pour more money into health care. The government seems to agree with this one also. The strange thing is that health care now takes the biggest portion of the government budget, but the health-care system in Alberta is badly in need of some kind of repair. We have all been asking for too much, and successive governments have been too willing to provide these increases. So, look in the mirror, Albertans, and this includes the government. It is time to stop whining about blame and finally get around to fixing the problem. BiC FRAnk AtkinS iS An ASSoCiAte pRoFeSSoR oF eConoMiCS At the UniveRSity oF CALgARy And ReSeARCh ChAiR, FinAnCe And CApitAL MARketS, At the FRontieR CentRe FoR pUBLiC poLiCy.

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the Argument for Spending and Borrowing in Alberta • Lonnie Tate

The Argument By LONNIE TATE

for Spending and Borrowing in Alberta


n the previous few columns, I have advocated a major capital spending program for Alberta that might require $50 billion in borrowing and as much as $100 billion in expenditures over the next 10 years. Is it the work of a raving tax-and-spend liberal? Not on a bet! But it would provide appropriate lifestyle alternatives for a conservative Alberta. I’m old. I know that saving is important. My wife and I did save once we knew the family was comfortable. When their infrastructure was sound, their health in good form, their education looked after and there was a roof over their heads … we saved. Along the way we financed, and worked the system like crazy. Early on, there were no luxuries. When my wife and I completed post-secondary education in 1971, our assets were two kids, budding careers and a net worth of minus $20,000. As we grew, those debts were paid off, we borrowed for big-ticket items – a basic car or two; a house and so on. By 1981, we were looking pretty prosperous; we had some pretty good assets and pretty good debt to go with them. Then we went on to pay down that debt and save. It worked. I’m writing this in our modest condo in Palm Springs. In my view, there is a corollary between where the province is today and where my wife and I were in 1981. The entire electorate knows what I am talking about. Most of us are somewhere on the debt-then-save continuum. As I said, I’m old and at the end of the continuum. Lots of others are getting there. We should think of our province in the same light. We need sensible health care, education for our children, roofs over our heads and roads to get to and from work. We have assets, arguably the most of any province in the country. What is missing is debt to fund satisfaction of our basic needs. But we don’t need debt right away. There are billions upon billions of dollars stuffed in a multitude of government nooks and crannies. Pick a number … it is something between $30 and $50 billion! 18 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

As Spock used to say: “It is not logical.” It seems we are short 100 schools in the province. There are great gaps in health care – hospital emergency rooms are full to overflowing; seniors extended care is short thousands of beds. Road systems are operating beyond capacity. And every demographic study says the problems will get worse as the population expands. But Spock had an advantage, he wasn’t dealing with nitwits. How we can have billions in the bank and allow our citizens to suffer from a poor health system is beyond comprehension. Our school systems are regressing at a time in our history when knowledge is ever more required. And still we save for the future. How illogical can you get? I read the other day where one of the nitwits said: “Our citizens are not prepared to pay for debt carrying costs.” If that thought is considered in isolation … it is true. But give them a choice between physical pain while waiting for a hospital bed and paying debt service charges, their answer changes. The same goes for raising their children to be illiterate morons versus borrowing to give them decent educations. Look! If the government borrowed $50 billion tomorrow, the annual service requirement would be less than $3 billion. That is affordable in a $50-billion budget (that will soon be $60 billion). And don’t forget there is $31 billion sitting in portfolio investments – it is in the government’s annual report. What is missing? Common sense and courage of conviction. What we get is platitudes from the past. It was Benjamin Franklin who said: “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Some of our provincial politicians are still in his world notwithstanding that was 250 years ago. Pennies are banned now – and so should politicians who think that way. Surely we can expect fundamental policies that fix what is broken and at the same time, facilitate the future. Saving can wait until the essentials of life are in hand. BiC

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Leaving a Lasting Legacy on Calgary By David Parker


hen you meet Jay Westman, you meet a man full of enthusiasm, sincere in his drive to run successful companies and a thoughtful contributor with his time and donations to so many deserving causes. Under the Jayman Built umbrella, his businesses include homebuilding, land development and the hospitality industry with hotels under the Wyndham flag and two Marriott hotels under construction in Seton that will open later this year. Although Westman is a very busy man, he still found the time to establish the Westman Centre for Real Estate Studies at the University of Calgary. He is also a great supporter of education matters at SAIT Polytechnic while maintaining a high level of involvement in many charities, focusing primarily on the MS Society and the Jay Westman points to his company’s name at the kickoff of the first RESOLVE build. A listing of the 11 homebuilders were painted on the building before construction began to represent their commitment to the Campaign. Mustard Seed. Four generations of his family have suffered from MS and Westman has been diligent in raising funds had been done to show that RESOLVE is a practical and for the society over many years. Along with his wife, Karen, achievable solution. RESOLVE will provide 3,000 keys to they have co-chaired the hugely successful annual Seeds of doors for vulnerable and homeless Calgarians. This will be Hope Gala benefiting the Mustard Seed. The Mustard Seed is done by raising $120 million, which is above and beyond one of the nine agencies within the RESOLVE Campaign and the commitment pledged by the provincial government. the funds raised from the annual Seeds of Hope Gala were Westman’s caution before jumping in with both feet was split between the Mustard Seed’s operations and their capital also relieved upon discovering just how well the nine agencies project within RESOLVE. are run – and by such talented and professional staff. Westman is clearly a busy man – so when RESOLVE cabinet To date, 11 of his fellow homebuilders have stepped up to chair Alan Norris approached him to sit on the cabinet he the table with contributions of $1.4 million each, and others had good reasons to decline. But he listened. And he was so are responding to the call. impressed when the goals were explained, he decided one Enough has been raised to represent 915 keys, that is 915 just couldn’t be too busy not to pitch in and help. individuals with a safe and affordable place to call home – He was impressed with the data and reports that have and the campaign is gaining momentum. been amassed regarding the homeless population and how Westman believes the campaign will reach its target and the information is being shared between agencies that are all leave a lasting legacy on the city. working towards a common goal. “This is just the most compelling campaign I have ever As a cabinet member on the RESOLVE Campaign since been involved in.” its beginnings, Westman was encouraged by the math that

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We’d like to recognize our Cabinet of business and community leaders for helping make RESOLVE a reality. Honorary Patrons: Dick & Lois Haskayne Steve Snyder Betty Ann Smith

Alan Norris, Chair John Brussa Trevor Daroux Stephanie Felesky Randy Findlay Charlie Fischer Jim Gray

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Bill Sembo Michelle Thrush Mac Van Wielingen Chris Wallace Jay Westman

off the top • News

It’s All About Reliability and Reputation - the dynamic success of ARCA “There’s no doubt about it!” roars the passionately committed Karen Rutherford, executive manager of Alberta Roofing Contractors Association (ARCA). “As far back as 50-plus years ago, professional commercial roofers were concerned about their industry’s profile and reputation.” She admits that much of the misunderstanding stemmed from public confusion and situations happening with small and independent residential roofers and some consumers. As Rutherford is adamant to explain, with unlimited technical detail, the highly skilled trade of commercial roofing is drastically different from the service of residential roofing. The differences are not only the concepts, techniques and materials, the specialized skills and qualifications of the trained technicians and installers, but the solid reliability of Alberta’s commercial roofing companies. “It has always been a fiercely competitive industry and even the reputable commercial roofing companies were left to work on their own. There was some cooperation and relationships but no professional networking, sharing 22 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

of industry information and collaboration, no defined and technical industry standards and certainly nothing even remotely like a formal warranty.” All that changed in 1961. A group of Calgary and Edmonton commercial roofers had a vital good idea. They collaborated and formed ARCA – a volunteer, not-for-profit group of industry professionals who continue to define specific standards and guidelines for commercial roofing product applications and numerous other ways that support and advance Alberta’s commercial roofing industry. “Today, the association is active and dynamic,” says Rutherford with professional pride. “We have 34 commercial roofing company members who employ more than 1,600 staff in Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer and Medicine Hat.” ARCA also plays an important advocacy role for the industry and is affiliated with the Canadian Roofing Contractors’ Association and the National Roofing Contractors Association in the U.S. ARCA members have a respected track record of providing the most up-to-date and highest quality of workmanship and ARCA member contractors perform more than 70 per cent of Alberta’s commercial roofing applications, new and reroof. “ARCA has also defined a formal and detailed code of standards and procedures that are valuable and referenced not only by our member companies but architects and engineers and accessible to the public. We continue to create advanced training opportunities, implement stringent safety programs in conjunction with the Alberta Construction Safety Association as well as a key industry innovation – ARCA’s development of a solid commercial roofing warranty program.” Rutherford enthusiastically highlights one particular aspect of the association’s industry role. “With five modules of technical training already in place, ARCA is about to ramp up the crucial importance of skilled trades to deliver the complex work of commercial roofing – training, standards and professional accreditation.” On April 17, 2015 the association will launch two new, exciting programs to further enhance the reputation and profile of the highly specialized industry: the Accredited Roofer of Alberta (ARA) for technical staff and installers and the Certified Roofing Professional (CRP) for the management component. “We are satisfied with ARCA’s uncompromised high standards of skilled trades, quality of workmanship, our emphasis on training and education, [and] workplace safety. Together with our solid industry warranty program, it continues to enhance the respected reputation and profile of the commercial roofing industry in Alberta.” BiC


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URBANOMICS | Urban Development Discussion

land supply “That’s where it all begins” |


upply and demand is a catchy concept but it is often misunderstood. The legendary Henry Ford said people can have the Model T in any colour – so long as it’s black. A popular marketing adage says: it’s not supply and demand if nobody’s buying! That is still the ultimate explanation for consumer decisions about everything from groceries, cars and gadgets to furniture, fashion … and new homes. The recent contentious and frosty situation about Calgary’s growth, development and housing choice and affordability seems to be thawing, thanks to the relatively recent and encouraging consultations between Calgary’s Urban Development Institute (UDI), representing a majority of Calgary’s residential developers, and city officials. Until the two groups agreed to sit down and talk, there was a stubborn standoff about various Calgary urban planning issues including the vital supply-and-demand use of land

24 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |


that area developers have been pushing for versus the targeted use that is consistent with the city’s ideology and planning strategy. Some say it is a clash between the practical housing demands of contemporary Calgary consumers versus the land supply approved by municipal ideology. In the past five months or so, since the most recent oil price slump began last year, some people have been predicting a downturn in Calgary’s economy and suggesting the convoluted short-term logic that it translates into a reduced need for Calgary to approve new land for development. “Land supply is the key. That’s where it all begins,” says David Allen, president of communities for Calgary and area at Brookfield Residential. He speaks from years of development expertise in the Calgary market and he underscores the concept of serviceable land being the linchpin to development, community growth and various aspects of the local economy.

“The availability of serviceable land determines the price of land. The price of the land determines the affordability of housing and the availability of housing choices. He fast forwards past the other domino effects of subdivision development, from municipal property taxes to consumer spending on everything from appliances to household services. “A lot of cities, like Vancouver and Toronto, wish they had Calgary’s problems about growth. The fact that we have lots of land just waiting for city approval. Land supply is not like a tap you can turn off, just because there is a momentary downturn,” he explains. “There are always economic cycles. From a developer’s perspective, there’s David Allen, president of communities for Calgary and Joe Magliocca, Ward 2 councillor, City of Calgary. area, Brookfield Residential. no such strategy as short- or long-term planning. Land supply is always a longterm vision. Most people outside the “It’s more than a generalization. The city’s urban planning industry don’t realize that the cycle from land approvals to strategy is definitely downtown development,” roars the occupancy is complex. It can easily take seven to nine years. Calgary-boosting and outspoken Joe Magliocca, councillor “There are basically four factors that directly impact the for Ward 2. “The city may not believe in ‘sprawling’ but supply of lots for construction,” Allen highlights the industry reality has to be a factor; there must be a balance and the logic about the supply of serviceable land. “First, the timing plan must be changed. Calgary is not just the downtown of the supply is crucial and ultimately determines everything core and we simply can’t tell people how and where to live. else, from a builder’s schedule for development, sales to There are about 40,000 people coming to Calgary every year. actual construction. Then there are the various stages (and They are looking for quality of life.” delays) of the regulatory process – applying for and getting Magliocca refers to Calgary stats that more than 80 per permits. There’s also infrastructure – the in-ground and cent of people have opted to live in the suburbs. other vital services to support the various needs of the land “The trend and actual numbers are proof that many development. And finally, the demand factor. You can have people don’t want to live downtown. Some do but many all the land supply, but there must be demand for the types don’t. It’s absolutely a matter of choice. We have a shortage and price points of homes that can be built on the land.” of approved land and it is squeezing both Calgary choices Canadian municipalities are required to have a Municipal and affordability. And homebuyers must have choice. If Development Plan (MDP), detailing the city’s plan for it’s a highrise, downtown condo? Fine. But if it’s a fourapproving land for development. The Plan It Calgary urban bedroom house with a double garage and a backyard, there planning master plan was passed by council in 2009. It is must be a balance. They will go wherever they find what anti-sprawl and integrated with the Calgary Transportation they’re looking for. Plan (CTP). It sets out how Calgary will evolve, develop “I prefer not to compare anything to Toronto,” he shrugs. and adjust to accommodate about 1.5 million more people “But Toronto basically leaves development to developers. moving to the city in the next 60 years. When it’s all done, the city takes it over and collects the The master plan is detailed and complex. While it does taxes.” include single-family, inner-city suburb areas, the prime Supply versus demand for approved land? The city’s focus is on “build-up” housing, like condos, and an emphasis emphasis on high-density, downtown development versus on rapid-transit expansion and high-density development, choice and affordability for Calgary homebuyers? especially near LRT stations. Although it is much too early to consider anything Mostly area developers, some urban planners, economists remotely close to a compromise, there seems to be a definite and even a few outspoken city officials share festering thaw in the standoff. BiC concerns that Plan It Calgary is flawed, particularly when it comes to limiting availability of approved land. | BUSINESS IN CALGARY April 2015 • 25


Off the Top • News

Time to Dig Out Your Green Jacket! This year the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation is thrilled to be presenting the 2015 Mike Weir Miracle Golf Drive for Kids – in partnership with the Mike Weir Foundation and Children’s Miracle Network. The events will include a kids golf tournament on Father’s Day (June 21) and then a golf clinic, golf tournament and celebration dinner with Mike Weir on June 22, 2015 at the Silver Springs Golf and Country Club, plus a sponsorship reception at the Ranchmen’s Club on June 21. All moneys raised from the event will stay locally and will support the highest priority needs of the Alberta Children’s Hospital including investments into pediatric brain health initiatives to help kids with brain illnesses and injuries. Mike Weir has used his success as a professional golfer as a platform to help other people by creating the Mike Weir Foundation. Since its inception in 2004, the Mike Weir Foundation has raised more than $5 million for children’s health and wellness in Canada. If interested in sponsoring, playing or volunteering please call: Liz Ballendine, senior director, Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation at 403 955 8828 or email lballendine@ BiC

Mike Weir

International Honours for a Special Calgary Couple

Larry and Gloria Macdonald

Generous and tireless Calgary boosters Larry and Gloria Macdonald were completely caught off-guard and surprised! Late last month, the dynamic and personable Calgary couple was internationally recognized and honoured for their lifetime of (mostly flying under the radar) caring and community support. At a special ceremony in South Carolina, the Macdonalds were awarded the Alexis de Tocqueville Award, the highest United Way Worldwide honour and the prestigious award that recognizes not only extraordinary and long-standing volunteer and philanthropic leadership in a community but making an impact with philanthropy across national borders. The list of past Award winners includes American philanthropists such as the legendary Bob Hope, the Bill Gates Family and Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Calgary’s Larry and Gloria Macdonald are the first ever winners outside of the U.S in the award’s 42-year history. “When we first heard the news, we looked around with a blank stare and we thought it was mistake,” Gloria Macdonald

told Business in Calgary. “Philanthropy has been a natural part of our family’s life for so long that the definition of community is centred here at home but it really is global. “As you start to give your definition of community is global. It is an opportunity to help improve lives in developed as well as developing parts of the world.” Larry Macdonald is chair of Vermilion Energy, which corporately supports United Way in Calgary and in France. Privately the couple has been active and supportive of the United Way in Calgary for more than 28 years and they are distinguished members of the Million Dollar Roundtable, for donating over a million dollars to United Way of Calgary and Area. In addition to giving back locally, the Macdonald’s have contributed more than $500,000 in support of United Way International and United Way in France. “When I was first asked to volunteer for United Way, I had limited knowledge about the organization or the cause,” he admits. “But it changed our life. We quickly realized that things are not rosy for everybody. Giving back is an important part of life and a lot of people, at home and around the world, need our help.” As with many philanthropists who have a genuine passion for giving back, Larry and Gloria Macdonald admit to being a bit awkward and outright uncomfortable with awards and recognition. “Although it’s flattering and very humbling, recognition for giving back does have some value,” Larry points out. He was instrumental in developing the United Way’s Major Gifts Expansion Initiative which underscores the vital and proven logic that “sometimes recognizing the philanthropy of wealthy people brings credibility and exposure to the cause and that attracts other donors and givers to get involved.” “It’s more than recognition,” Gloria says. “It’s modeling for others.” BiC | BUSINESS IN CALGARY April 2015 • 27






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off the top • News

Keynote Nazanin Afshin-Jam MacKay -International Human Rights & Democracy Activist; Author and Public Speaker; Co-Founder, Stop Child Executions; Founder, The Nazanin Foundation.

Women’s Executive Network Celebrates Top 100 Prairie Winners Awards celebrate legacy of female leaders who continually redefine what is possible Who are some of Canada’s boldest female leaders who will stop at nothing to push boundaries within their careers and organizations? This past November, the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) revealed its 2014 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winners at a gala in Toronto. A followup to the event took place on March 4, 2015, when WXN celebrated the winners from Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan at their Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Leadership Summit and Awards Gala at the Westin Calgary. These events shine a spotlight on remarkable women who are agents of change in reshaping Canadian organizations at the highest levels. “Despite ever-changing styles and tastes, great leadership is classic,” says WXN founder, Pamela Jeffery. “Top 100 Award Winners are a testament to the incredible range of female talent and leadership in Canada and proof that change is happening, with more women earning a place at the highest levels of Canadian organizations.” The Leadership Summit featured keynotes and a panel discussion from Top 100 Award Winners Andrea Robertson, president and CEO, STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society); Una Power, chief financial officer, Nexen Energy; Allison Grafton, president, Rockwood Custom Homes; Lesley-Anne Scorgie, bestselling author and founder, MeVest; and Ann Lewis-Luppino, president and CEO, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. 30 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

The awards gala also featured several guest speakers including the Honourable Jim Prentice, premier of Alberta, as well as a keynote from Nazanin Afshin-Jam MacKay, international human rights and democracy activist. The Top 100 Award Winners from Alberta were: • Debby Carreau, CEO & Founder, Inspired HR • Heather Treacy, Office Managing Partner, Calgary, Davis LLP • Andrea Goertz, SVP, Strategic Initiatives & Chief Communications and Sustainability Officer, TELUS • Una Power, Chief Financial Officer, Nexen Energy • Allison Grafton, President, Rockwood Custom Homes • Geeta Sankappanavar, President & COO, Grafton Asset Management • Joanne Alexander, SVP, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, Precision Drilling Corporation • Kate Chisholm, SVP, Legal and External Relations, Capital Power • Anne Kirker, Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP • Sherry Schluessel, Senior Managing Partner, ProCura Real Estate Services • Sharon Carry, President & CEO, Bow Valley College • Andrea Robertson, President & CEO, STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society) The full list of WXN’s 2014 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winners can be found online. BiC

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Can We Talk? • Telecommunications

Can We Talk? Canada’s telecommunications companies have undergone a little-noticed transformation in recent years – and are quietly transforming the way business works. By Ben Freeland


t is a well-known fact that telecommunications companies rank among the least-admired companies throughout much of the world. Nowhere is this truer than among Canada’s neighbours to the south, where a recent survey by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) showed that cable giants Comcast and Time Warner Cable had the lowest customer satisfaction ratings of any company across all industries, including banks, airlines, and health insurance providers. So colossally unpopular are America’s telecom titans that the consumer blog quipped that “it’s unfortunate that ACSI didn’t ask how people felt about (cartoon villains) Skeletor, Gargamel and Cobra Commander, because we get the feeling that Comcast and TWC would have had lower ratings than them as well.”

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The next frontier of telecommunications, Jacobs asserts, is machine-to-machine communications – the so-called ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT), a front on which he expects Alberta to lead the way.

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While Canada’s leading cable providers have rarely incited comparisons to ’80s cartoon antagonists, they scarcely receive much in the way of plaudits. Canada continues to trail much of the developed world (including the United States) in terms of Internet download speeds, and when telecoms appear in the news it is typically after somebody has inadvertently incurred an astronomical data roaming bill or a company has launched some sort of challenge to net neutrality. That said, the customer satisfaction picture for Canada’s wireless incumbents is far less grim than for their stateside counterparts. The introduction of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) new wireless code at the end of 2013 saw wireless phone bills drop on average by $7 per month within a year,

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Blair contends that the federal government’s new regulatory framework, which aims to ensure the presence of at least four telecom players in every region, has had a positive overall impact on service nationwide. “Telus has always been something of an outlier as a company, one that’s always been supportive of allowing foreign competition,” he asserts. “And I really have to hand it to the feds for establishing this new system. A recent study from the University of Calgary has shown that Canada has the third most competitive wireless market in the OECD, which is remarkable considering our limited population.” While consumer prices and Internet download speeds may be the most visible aspects of the telecommunications business, Telus and other providers are doing much to transform the country’s communications landscape behind the scenes. While Canada had a 4G LTE penetration rate of only eight per cent in 2013 (compared to 19 per cent in the US and a phenomenal 62 per cent in South Korea), Canada has begun to close the gap thanks to colossal infrastructure investments by Canada’s wireless providers. “We’re currently investing $3 billion a year in LTE infrastructure,” says Nauby Jacobs, vice president of products, services and content with



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Can We talk? • Telecommunications

“The additional piece of the puzzle is wallet technology, whereby you can upload your transit pass, building access passes, and even personal identity cards onto your phone. We’re developing this now. We don’t have a market launch date yet, but it’s not far off.” ~ Nauby Jacobs

Bell Mobility. “Thanks to this, we’ve extended coverage to 86 per cent of the country, and we’re aiming for 100 per cent soon.” Jacobs, like Blair, contends that Canada’s telecommunications market has truly emerged as one of the most vital and competitive in the world. “The market here is significantly ahead of most other countries, especially when you consider the vast distances we have to contend with here.” The next frontier of telecommunications, Jacobs asserts, is machine-to-machine communications – the so-called ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT), a front on which he expects Alberta to lead the way. “Alberta has always been ahead of

38 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

the curve in wireless communication, and we’re definitely expecting the province to punch above its weight in terms of industrial applications,” says Jacobs. “The most obvious application is for the resource industry. Oil pipelines, for example, are typically monitored with meters, and these meters are being converted to ‘smart’ meters that are connected to the Internet. We’re also looking at applications for drilling equipment, so that speed and irregularities can be monitored remotely and transmitted directly to the network. These types of innovations have huge productivity implications for Alberta’s leading industries.” Another transformational trend in the telecommunications

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business is so-called Push-To-Talk (PTT) – a 21st century twist on oldschool CB radio that allows for real-time communication across a wide network area at the push of a smartphone app button. PTT technology has seen a recent upsurge among construction firms and other involved in largescale projects spread over large areas, and again, Alberta has stood out as an early adopter. “Radio culture has always been huge in Alberta, and this new PTT technology has caught on very quickly,” notes Jacobs. Among its early industrial adopters is Calgary’s Graham Construction. “You don’t realize how important it is to be able to have that instant communication until you don’t have it anymore, especially on a construction site where safety is a priority and the team needs to be constantly connected,” says Danielle Bywater, Graham’s senior equipment administrator. The next phase, Jacobs asserts, is “smart cities” – a domain in which Calgary is already ahead of the game, having been cited by Maclean’s as Canada’s most wired city. Jacobs cites the French city of Nice, which last year garnered global plaudits with the launch of an extensive online smart city

platform dubbed Connected Boulevard, as an example of what Calgary could easily become within the next decade, wherein everything from traffic lights to the C-Train is interconnected via the IoT. “The technology is there and cities need to take advantage of it,” he contends. “The additional piece of the puzzle is wallet technology, whereby you can upload your transit pass, building access passes, and even personal identity cards onto your phone. We’re developing this now. We don’t have a market launch date yet, but it’s not far off.” From the consumer front to smart cities to digitally connected oil drilling and pipeline technology, Canada’s once repudiated telecommunications industry is quietly transforming Canada into a wired country par excellence in spite of geographical challenges that established wireless powerhouses like Germany, Japan and South Korea have never had to confront. “Most of what we are doing goes far beyond what people are talking about,” says Jacobs. “The Internet of Things is an innovation on par with the electrification revolution of the industrial age. We’re on the verge of some massive transformations. And it’s coming faster than most people realize.” BiC

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Rocky view Regional planning • News

Rocky View Regional Planning Regional Planning Between Rocky View and the City of Calgary Increasingly Strained BY ERIC LOwTHER


ome of the most valuable land in the province is in Rocky View County. Rocky View County is approximately one million acres surrounding Calgary on the east, north and west boundaries of the city. Rocky View landowners are a broad cross-section of people ranging from pioneering ranch families to acreage and small-town residents. More recently, significant commercial interests are also being drawn to Rocky View. The east Balzac commercial park and the CrossIron Mills retail complex in Rocky View are real success stories for the county.


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Rocky view Regional planning • News

Although Rocky View County has a history of excellent working relationships with other municipalities, some issues with the City of Calgary are increasingly strained. The question comes down to who will ultimately control development, servicing and transportation in the county of Rocky View. Within the context of provincial guidelines one would automatically hold it should be the landowners and taxpaying residents of Rocky View and their elected

representatives on their own municipal council. If the Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP) gets its way, Calgary will have much of this control even outside the city’s democratic jurisdiction. The Calgary Regional Partnership is an initiative funded largely by the province for the past 15 years that has generated the Calgary Metropolitan Plan (CMP). The budget of the CRP has grown to almost 3.5 million tax dollars per year with much of that going

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Rocky view Regional planning • News

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to compensation for the director, staff and board members. Proponents of the Calgary Metropolitan Plan are pushing hard to have it legislated into law. Calgary’s Mayor Naheed Nenshi seems to want it most of all. The decision-making protocol within the CMP gives Calgary the power to veto development and servicing concepts outside of Calgary that do not conform to Calgary’s idea of what development should be, and where and when it should take place. Rocky View believes that Mayor Nenshi’s general approach of restricting residential and commercial options to concentrated high-density urban forms results in less choice, less market competition and higher housing prices as demonstrated in many municipalities across North America. Imposing this ideology is not in the best interest of people looking to move to the region. Limiting market choice to concentrated urban forms within the city can also sterilize Rocky View land values for the majority of residents, especially agriculture landowners who may be counting on their holdings for retirement. Under the leadership of Premier Jim Prentice and Minister Diana McQueen, Rocky View 2020 hopes the province has recognized the legitimate resistance to the CMP by county taxpayers and council. Recently the provincial bureaucracy suggested another approach that would see the

Rocky view Regional planning • News

Recently the provincial bureaucracy suggested another approach that would see the implementation of a new growth management board or more direct provincial control under the broad southern regional plan. implementation of a new growth management board or more direct provincial control under the broad southern regional plan. Rocky View County reeve, Margaret Bahcheli, in her recent letter to the province, clearly articulated a number of reasons why the millions of provincial tax dollars spent every year on the Calgary Regional Partnership should be stopped. In addition, Reeve Bahcheli pointed out that adopting a recently conceived growth management board would unnecessarily increase provincial control over the region, and add more costs and layers of time-consuming bureaucracy that would not provide any real value.



Rocky view Regional planning • News

County Reeve Bahcheli stated in her February 12, 2015 letter to the minister of municipal affairs, Diana McQueen, that: “Rocky View County recognizes the need for sound regional planning, but we believe the existing statutory mechanisms, coupled with the County’s commitment to cooperation, consultation, and collaboration, negate any need for the additional layer of bureaucracy created by legislating the Calgary Metropolitan Plan.” The reeve stated in her letter to the province that Rocky View has consistently demonstrated the ability to work with neighbouring municipalities to resolve regional growth pressures. She also notes that disagreements can be effectively managed through existing legislative provisions contained within the Municipal Government Act. In addition, the reeve referred to the Intermunicipal Development Plan, which is a good statutory document set in place and jointly ratified by the both Rocky View County and the City of Calgary in 2012. These plans are broader in scope than the CMP and consider more than just Calgary’s interests. They more comprehensively include the integration of various municipalities within the region including First Nations. Under the authority of the Municipal Government Act, the Intermunicipal Development Plans (IDPs) provide an existing approved foundation for cooperation and collaboration. The IDPs acknowledge urban growth requirements and include

policy to protect areas for future urban development. Rocky View believes the existing Intermunicipal Development Plans, together with a more flexible application of the Rocky View County Plan, provides the best framework to negotiate cooperative servicing agreements. No new legislation or bureaucracy is required in this regard. The premier has heard from the mayor of Calgary. The province knows what he wants. Rocky View 2020 is encouraging support of Rocky View council’s position. Quit funding to the Calgary Regional Partnership, reduce expenses and continue to encourage collaboration within existing statutory mechanisms. Reeve Bahcheli sums it up well when she states, “Rocky View County believes that the time, energy and tax dollars that would be spent to force unwarranted legislation on neighbours can easily be replaced with a desire to apply common sense and good neighbour efforts.” Premier Prentice is showing leadership during these challenging economic times. Rocky View 2020 is asking him to extend that leadership and save millions of dollars and cease funding the CRP. It is not needed. BiC eRiC LoWtheR iS the exeCUtive diReCtoR oF RoCky vieW 2020, A gRoWing gRoUp oF LAndoWneRS And ReSidentS ShAping the FUtURe oF the RoCky vieW CoUnty.

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the Up & down numbers • Real Estate Update




Oil prices are just one factor BY COLLEEN wALLACE


s Q1 2015 comes to an end, some people and some Calgary businesses are still cautious and tread lightly about the possible good or bad impact of the oil price slump. Are there effects on everything-Calgary? On jobs? On customers in local clubs and restaurants? On car sales? At the grocery cash? On tourists? On house prices and on the Calgary real estate market? Although there is gradual rebound in some aspects of Calgary life, most business sectors are in a subtle but definite wait-and-see mode and planning for the possibility of close-to-home risk management.



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the Up & down numbers • Real Estate Update

The dynamics of real estate may be an interesting and telltale barometer. Because real estate is ultimately consumer-driven, it is also a reliable indicator of the area’s economy and listings and sales trending. The first quarter of 2015 is proving to be both a reassuring and conflicting matter of real estate stats. There was a robust Q1 surge in new listings, but the early-2015 sales are sagging may be a cause and effect result. “Calgary house prices will likely fall by close to 15 per cent,” cautions economist David Madani of Capital Economics. “Lower mortgage rates won’t prevent home sales and prices falling sharply in regions directly hit by the slump in oil Economist David Madani of Capital Economics CREB president Corinne Lyall prices. While they might support housing activity in other key markets, we fear that this will only fuel greater overvaluation, higher household debt and more overbuilding. to cushion possible oil price shock with its recent rate cut to “And there are some concerns about the longer-term 0.75 per cent from one per cent. The central bank was doing prospects for Calgary’s housing market.” its best to help with any possible fallout caused by the slump Of course Alberta’s energy sector is a vital component of and the negative consequences it could have, not only on the country’s economy. That’s why the Bank of Canada tried Calgary’s but the national economy.

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46 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

the Up & down numbers • Real Estate Update

But when it comes to specific and significant regional and local factors and indicators—like real estate—the Bank of Canada drop may not mitigate possible consequences. Madani warns that, while the drop in the rate may be good news for some sectors, it likely won’t do much for home sales and prices in real estate markets like Calgary, which are directly impacted by the oil price situation. “Home sales fell by 39 in Calgary, compared year over year. But the actual number of listings has spiked-up, dramatically,” he points out. While sales levels are drooping, the opposite is happening when it comes to new listings. New listings can be a misleading statistic, when other factors are in play. Although Calgary new listings, year to year, were up more than 37 per cent this January, compared with January 2014 new listings, the February year-to-year comparison shows an increase of only four per cent. And as of last month, CREB numbers show MLS sales were down by more than 36 per cent. CREB also tracks that the average Calgary sale price in January dropped by 0.5 per cent to $460,933 and reversed 35 consecutive months of re-sale home price gains. Madani points out that in some areas, where the slump in per-barrel oil price is not perceived as a direct and urgent factor as it is in Calgary, lower mortgage rates have turned out to help boost home sales and prices. By comparison, in Toronto and Vancouver, where consumers don’t think in terms of oil prices but the positive of having lower prices at the pump, early January stats show that sales were actually up by close to 10 per cent while the number of homes listed for sale were lower. “If the Bank of Canada cuts rates further, as we expect it will, the added stimulus from lower mortgage rates would help to support home sales in markets not affected by the oil slump. So, while slumping demand will continue to hit home sales and prices in certain oil-producing regions like Calgary and Edmonton,” he guesstimates, “lower mortgage rates will continue to prop up sales and prices in other markets less affected by the fallout from low oil prices. “All things considered, after averaging 481,000 home sales last year and with prices up by five per cent, we expect 445,000 home sales this year and house prices to decline by two per cent. Nationally, over the longer term, we still expect home prices to fall by as much as 25 per cent.” Whether the details and factors can get confusing and second guessing the possible real estate impact of the oil price slump, buying or selling Calgary real estate remains a challenging consumer issue. “It’s really important for consumers to consider what segment of the market they are buying or selling in when they make any real estate decisions,” cautions CREB president Corinne Lyall. “The inventory, demand and price movement will vary based on the community, price range and product type. According to Calgary sales for February, there was a 34 per cent decline over February 2014. While sales fell across all product types, the rate of decline was higher in the apartment and attached sectors of the city. “Everyone has different reasons for making a move and so it’s difficult to predict how buyers will react to this market. Buyers who have been waiting for more inventory to come on the market may now find what they are looking for. If they are in a position to make a buying decision, they certainly can take advantage of increased listings and the lower interest rates.” While Calgary’s ongoing oil price jitters combine with other relevant factors— like mortgage rates, buying and selling seasons and other consumer mood swings—it continues to make for an interesting and unpredictable Calgary real estate market. BiC





The Alberta/Haskayne Executive MBA program empowered me to think differently. Most importantly, the program and the people I met provided a perspective that broadened my business lens and enhanced my capacity to evaluate situations strategically. The collaborative process and level of engagement throughout the program provided me with concrete tools and insights needed to become a more effective leader.”

Geoff McFarlane, EMBA’10 Vice President and General Manager Corrpro Canada, Inc.

Where Calgary connects | BUSINESS IN CALGARY April 2015 • 47

the Multidimensional Life of gerry Wood • Cover


Multidimensional Life

Gerry Wood


The heart and soul and caring and biz smarts BY JOHN HARDY | PHOTOS BY BOOkSTRUCkER PHOTOGRAPHY


hen Gerry Wood’s voicemail picks up, he says in his familiar Scottish brogue that “I’m out selling a car right now so please leave a message.” While it’s been a few years since the owner and president of the Wood Automotive Group, which includes five car dealerships, a collision repair centre and an auto financing company, has worked the showroom floor, his voicemail says a couple of things about Wood. Gerry’s a real ‘car guy’ always interested in making a good deal and he keeps his finger on the pulse of what’s happening with his customers and the community. Quick to laugh, Wood’s larger-than-life persona is well deserved, but make no mistake Wood is grounded and deeply committed to his family, the 600plus people who work for him, his customers and to his community.

48 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

the Multidimensional Life of gerry Wood • Cover

Gerry Wood, owner and president of the Wood Automotive Group | BUSINESS IN CALGARY April 2015 • 49

the Multidimensional Life of gerry Wood • Cover

Gerry Wood’s passion and compassion overlap and are solidly rooted in the competitive car business, his community and his genuine desire to help people. Wood’s immediate family includes Elaine, his spouse of 40 years, and their three grown children, daughter Megan and sons Cailean and Rory. He often refers to his customers, his automotive colleagues and the community organizations he supports as his extended family. He continues to devote a personal and professional lifetime to integrity, honesty and a genuine concern for people. He’s a creative, visionary business leader and a Calgary success story with a work hard and get things done attitude. “If you want to get anywhere, you have to give in order to get,” Wood asserts, “and always remember how you got there! It’s the environment we grew up in and how our families are. After all, like a lot of people in our community, most of us come from somewhere else.” Wood’s passion and compassion overlap and are solidly rooted in the competitive car business, his community and his genuine desire to help people. It turned out to be a stroke of good fortune in 1969, when the young Gerry Wood ran out of money in Calgary. He left Scotland, planning to cross the U.S. and Canada on his way to visit a brother in New Guinea. Out of money, he

worked for a while in Calgary construction and eventually took a sales job at Maclin Motors following in his father’s footsteps, who owned a Ford dealership in Scotland. Wood’s rapport with people was obvious from the start. He was a natural at selling cars. Motivated, determined and smart, bigger things were in store. By 1979, the young Wood bought the Chev-Olds dealership in Vulcan. Four years later, he bought Southridge Lincoln Mercury in Calgary and changed the name to Woodridge. Then in 1987, with business partner Peter Finch, added Village Honda. Today, Calgary’s Wood Automotive Group has grown into a dynamic member of Calgary’s business community with five popular car dealerships, Woodridge Ford Lincoln, undisputedly southern Alberta’s largest Ford dealer, Advantage Ford, Okotoks Ford-Lincoln, Big 4 Motors, and Village Honda. The group also includes Cavalcade Finance and All Makes Collision Centre, one of the largest and most eco-friendly repairs shops in Calgary. Although Wood rarely gets involved in making buyer deals anymore, you can find him in the showroom or in

50 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |



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The Multidimensional Life of Gerry Wood • Cover

“Business is great, I have a wonderful family, terrific staff and I’m fortunate to be in a position to help people. Calgary is such a fabulous city for work, community and friends.” ~ Gerry Wood the service department listening and getting feedback from customers, and being actively involved in leading the strategies for Wood Automotive Group growth. By any measure, in business, in his industry and in his Calgary community, Gerry Wood is a true, self-made success story. His energy and positive attitude make it look easy but he’s far from an overnight success and things didn’t always come easy. Wood is one of those people who looks back in appreciation of the way his life is, as well as for motivation for always moving forward. “We have developed and grown a terrific group which includes Ford, Lincoln, Honda, Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler that works in sync. We are very fortunate to have a superb organization and an absolutely amazing team,” he says with affection and pride. “Since the first dealership, we have sold over 200,000 vehicles. Today, among our five dealerships, we have achieved sales of more than half-a-billion dollars per year. A lot of hard work by our staff has brought us to the point where we have a third of all retail Ford sales in Calgary. We are southern Alberta’s largest Ford dealer and Canada’s top selling Lincoln dealer. “No doubt about it, we sell a lot of vehicles but the ultimate feedback and measure of success is repeat customers. We 52 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

prioritize the experience and hope they never leave us. It’s such a thrill and still takes me by surprise when, at a dealership, event or just on the street, someone stops me in my tracks and mentions the good relationship they have with us, ever since they bought a car. “Today’s cars hold their value so much better. The technology is so sophisticated and the available consumer programs are so competitive. Look at the new Ford F-150 truck! It’s an amazing vehicle.” For Wood, cars were first a passion then the cars became a business and his business became a passion. Wood also has a passion for community and devotes much of his time and energy to Calgary charities, Calgary causes and giving back to the community. “We are so blessed with success, with our health, our family and the tremendous character of this great city!” he says with genuine emotion. Corporately as the Wood Automotive Group and privately with his wife Elaine, they actively support various Calgary causes and charities, including the Woodridge PREP Centre, dedicated to the inclusion of individuals with Down syndrome in home, school and community life, the Salvation Army and Samaritan’s Purse, the Alberta Association for Community Living that helps people with special needs find employment,

The Multidimensional Life of Gerry Wood • Cover

Gerry at the Woodridge Ford Lincoln location.

HandiBus, the SAIT Automotive Program, the Calgary Motor Dealer Association Food Bank drive, and the Ssubi Foundation which builds schools for children in Uganda. Wood, being the gregarious Scot that he is, has been a lifetime member and an active fundraiser with the Calgary Burns Club. His primary charity focus, the company’s annual Woodridge Charity Golf Tournament, raises funds for research and education for individuals with Down syndrome and the Woodridge PREP Centre (PREP - Pride, Respect, Empowerment, Progress). Elaine and Gerry Wood are extremely hands-on with this annual event. Their 33-year-old daughter, Megan, who works for the family business, was born with Down syndrome. This August will mark the 30th anniversary for the Woodridge Charity Golf Tournament ( which has raised approximately $5 million for the Woodridge PREP Centre and other Calgary causes. Successful, busy and engaged, Gerry Wood stresses that retirement is not yet an option. “Life changes, business changes, the community changes and we change right along with it. Our dealerships and the collision centre are very efficiently managed, business is good and we have

Clockwise from top left: Cailean, Rory, Megan, Gerry and Elaine

tremendous staff. Our people are growing and the simple fact is that they need less and less of me.” With oldest son Rory, a sales manager at Woodridge Ford, and other son Cailean managing All Makes Collision, the next generation is easing the load of day-to-day operations. “I now have more time for meetings, relationships within the industry and networking about relevant issues with Ford and other dealers throughout Canada and the U.S. I admit that 10 years ago I was mostly business and I didn’t make much time to relax. Now I relax more and, thanks to technology, still stay in touch with the business.” Wood claims he loves golf but he’s not very good. He is exuberant and amused about being “married 40 years and I always remember our anniversary.” His guilty pleasures include good scotch, red wine, Indian curry and travel. “Business is great, I have a wonderful family, terrific staff and I’m fortunate to be in a position to help people. Calgary is such a fabulous city for work, community and friends.” BiC | BUSINESS IN CALGARY April 2015 • 53

inspiring and Rewarding environmental Leaders • Environmental Stewardship

Inspiring and Rewarding Environmental Leaders The Alberta Emerald Foundation has been recognizing achievers in environmental sustainability for over 20 years. Meet two winners from their 2014 Emerald Awards. BY NERISSA MCNAUGHTON


s we become more and more aware of the need to protect our planet (from ourselves) and as we find creative ways to innovate environmental sustainability, the outlook for conservation of our resources becomes more positive. Yet, this is an uphill battle. When an estimated $190 million can be found to pour into the movie Pacific Rim, but epic fundraising efforts barely keep resource conservation projects afloat, it is clear humanity still has ways to go in sorting out our priorities. The Alberta Emerald Foundation (AEF) knows that rewarding and inspiring environment leaders is a great way to garner interest, respect and education about environmental issues, which is why they created the Emerald Awards. | BUSINESS IN CALGARY April 2015 • 55

Inspiring and Rewarding Environmental Leaders • Environmental Stewardship

of backgrounds and industries, including Alan Ross, partner with Borden Ladner community groups and non-profit organizaGervais LLP, is the board chair of the tions, government institutions, individuals AEF. A board member since 2010, he and businesses. was pleased and excited about assuming Bob Peel was a winner in the individual the chairmanship role. “The people on commitment category. Peel has spent his the board were a dynamic team,” he entire career focused on animal conservation praises. I thought about the nature of the and, as the Foundation points out, “How awards; honouring success within the many people can say they saved an entire environmental field was very laudable species?” Peel can. and very beneficial. For all those reasons, Peel grew up in Calgary next to the I was interested in working with the city’s famous zoo. After graduating with a Emerald Foundation and have stayed with degree in zoology in 1970, he had trouble them for several years. finding a job. So, it was back to school for This year the Foundation celebrates 24 Alan Ross, Board Chair, Alberta Emerald Peel who attended Mount Royal College for years of honouring, celebrating and motiFoundation environmental technology. Things went well vating environmentalists, in addition to from that point. He was hired as a teacher providing youth environment engageafter graduation and spend the summer holidays working ment grants and programs to raise awareness. Despite 24 for environment Canada. years of success, however, the AEF is not immune to the But then he saw the ad. changing times. The Calgary zoo was hiring an apprentice zookeeper. “Like every other not-for-profit, currently the current oil Peel thought it would be a fun thing to do for a summer. and gas economy will mean we have to redouble our efforts That summer stretched into 42 years. “I’m still between on the fundraising and awareness side. Even with 24 years, semesters,” he jokes. “It was an exciting time to start with there are people just discovering us for the first time,” says the zoo. There was a brand new generation of zookeepers Ross. “There certainly are many outstanding examples of that had just started seven years before us. I worked with environmental excellence that receive no attention. Alberta a group that was committed to changing how they kept is often reported in an unflattering light, but the Foundation animals and was committed to conservation.” and awards showcase our innovation and technology, The words “zoo” and “conservation” are not normally celebrating the hard work and dedication of the people that associated, but that is because most people don’t realize that are dedicated to protecting the environment. All of that goes zoos are not just habitats for people to observe. Zoos are a long way in changing the attitude of people coming out breeding, conservation and research facilities. Peel was part of Alberta.” of the team that envisioned a conservation centre in 1975 AEF is making a difference. Last year saw a record-setting and saw it come to life in 1983. 17 awards presented. The finalists represented a wide variety

Bob Peel | 56 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

Individual Commitment category

Environmental Stewardship

“We wanted to change the fact that too many animals were being taken from the wild to supply zoos. That had to end,” explains Peel. “But we went a step further in taking animals that needed help, breeding them and putting them back in the wild. Calgary got involved, first with whooping cranes. We are still the only facility in Canada that breeds whooping cranes. Later we got involved with the Vancouver Island marmot that was going extinct. We have definitely made a huge impact on that species. It’s looking more favourable now.” The centre is now working with sage-grouse. “They are on their way out without intervention,” says Peel sadly. “They are a tough species to propagate, but we are going to do it.” Peel retired from his senior curator position at the zoo in 2013 and was asked to stay on part time at the conservation centre until they filed the position. Once again, fate intervened. When Calgary flooded, it had a big impact on the zoo. While Peel was able to help evacuate some of the animals, his biggest impact would be continuing on at the conversation centre so efforts could be concentrated on rebuilding the zoo. He agreed. “Hats off to my colleagues at the zoo for the tremendous job they have done in restoring, changing and making the zoo better,” praises Peel. “Even when money was limited in coming in, the zoo didn’t stop conservation efforts locally and abroad.” Peel’s tireless efforts have ensured whooping cranes, marmots, sagegrouse and more will remain a vital part of Alberta’s environment, and the zoo works constantly towards enhancing the lives of animals all over the world through education, conservation and protection. “The Emerald Awards was a big surprise for me. I didn’t think [the nomination] would go anywhere, but it did,” says Peel of his AEF honour. “When I won, I was choked up. I wanted to put hundreds of zoo people up with me. I accepted the award on their behalf.”

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April 2015 • 57

inspiring and Rewarding environmental Leaders • Environmental Stewardship

Solar Energy Society of Alberta Community Group & Non-profit Association Category

Photo credit BR2 Architecture.

Another winner was the Solar Energy Society of Alberta in the community group & non-profit association category. At 39 years old, the Society is one of the oldest solar energy non-profit From left to right: Réal Bouchard - SESA Board Chair; Robyn Campbell - Alberta Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (presently the Alberta Finance Minister); associations in North America. Rob Harlan - SESA Executive Director; Warren Sarauer - SESA Past Board Chair “We were founded as a non-profit with the goal to provide objective, high-quality information on solar technologies to Albertans, and since we Performing Arts Centre and the Mosaic Centre, which is do not sell products or services, we are a unique source of the world’s most northerly net zero energy commercial information that serves the public and the small but growing building. “It’s a 30,000 square foot commercial building that solar industry,” says Rob Harlan, executive director of the is capable of generating all the energy it uses in a year,” Society. Harlan explains. “Solar is the primary energy source, along Is interest in solar energy growing in this region? “Yes, with some geothermal. It’s designed with energy efficiency absolutely,” confirms Harlan. “There is a tremendous increase in mind at every stage. It’s a wonderful example of what is in interest in Alberta as there is all over the world. I think possible. Alberta is home to a lot of net zero buildings and it’s increasingly clear to people that our existing relationship has become a national leader in this area.” with energy is not sustainable. It is too costly from a health Harlan sees a great future for solar energy. “Solar is and economic standpoint. Proven energy alternatives are incredibly exciting! Ultimately, solar energy represents an now readily available. The cost of solar systems has dropped entirely different paradigm. Presently, in Alberta, our energy dramatically. People are interested in it from a cost savings needs are being met by large facilities owned by larger standpoint but also because they are beginning to understand corporations, and the fuel is typically non-renewable. The the ramifications of global warming. A lot of people want to process of extraction and use come with substantial costs. be part of the solution, not part of the problem.” Solar power is inherently democratic. It empowers individuals Harlan cites several examples of landmark buildings that and communities to meet their own needs and to provide for use solar energy, including: The Edmonton International others. We are talking about our needs for electricity, space Airport, eight Edmonton community leagues, the Camrose heating, water heating and even transportation being met by a clean renewable resource. These are not just utopian ideas; the technology for all of this exists right now. Another big advantage is in terms of economics. Once the capital investment is amortized, the long-term savings can be quite amazing. If you look 25 years out on these systems, you see that the energy costs become minimal. This is true on a residential, commercial, and industrial scale.” The director recalls his excitement upon learning that the Solar Energy Society of Alberta had been nominated for an Emerald Award and his comments perfectly sum up the function of the Foundation: “I think the Emerald Awards are a really important opportunity for us to enjoy what is good, beautiful and hopeful around us and to be reminded that we are not alone. We are a community.” BiC Camrose Performing Arts Centre (currently under construction) is one of the landmark buildings that use solar energy.

58 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

The New Market • Recreational Properties

The New MarkeT New demographics and new reasons By Parker Grant


rends change. Families and lifeis the commute, especially for a Friday styles change. Boomers, millennials afternoon to Sunday evening break? and gen-Xers change. Attitudes “Some things never change,” says Elton change. Likes and dislikes change. Jobs, Ash, regional executive vice-president of routines and chill-times change. Re/Max of Western Canada. “Recreational Together, they may be causing slight properties will always be emotional or significant changes to the tradition investments. They are always about qualof relaxation and getaways to cottages, ity of life and they will always be about condos and recreational properties. discretionary dollars. Whether it is positive changes or “For most of last year, there was steady negative changes, it is a matter of peractivity and no big surprise. For Calgary sonal and subjective opinion. recreational property owners and buyers, Price points and the Canadian versus the popular hot spots continued popular U.S. dollar and other factors impact – Canmore, the Shuswap, Sylvan Lake the recreational property trends of and Windermere. Prices continued strong location, location, location. but during the year we noticed a shift in Elton Ash, rEgionAl ExEcutivE vicE-prEsidEnt of rE/MAx Priorities change and the rationale interest from boomers planning to retire, of WEstErn cAnAdA. for recreational properties is shifting. generation Xers (34-54 year olds) and From the investment and family inheritance aspects even millennials (young 30-somethings) with young famito rental income, expenses, capital gains taxes, getting lies considering cottages and cabins.” away from it all, disconnecting or (thanks to Wi-Fi) The annual Re/Max Recreational Property Report, pubgetting away but staying connected and working by lished each May, is not only a detailed and valuable monitor remote. and forecast of local recreational property markets but is a Even subtle but personal and important factors matter. source of comparables, detailing market activity summaries Like how the individual feels about driving. How long for 41 regions across Canada. | BUSINESS IN CALGARY April 2015 • 59

The New Market • Recreational Properties

“There are various kinds of recreational or investment property tax considerations for Canadians who own property, at home in Canada or in the U.S.” ~ Roy Berg

roy BErg, dirEctor of u.s. tAx lAW With cAlgAry-BAsEd Moodys gArtnEr tAx lAW llp.

According to the 2014 report, the average sale price for a Canmore property was $556,000, including homes and indemand condos. The seven regions of B.C.’s Shuswap were also hot for Calgary buyers last year. Average prices in the Shuswap were about $427,000 for boat access and about $450,000 for homes with road access. Central Alberta’s Sylvan Lake, about 25 kilometres west of Red Deer, is a shorter and more desirable Calgary-commute, making recreational properties pricier, with an average price for a 1,800-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom Sylvan Lake home on the water in the $750,000 range.

even the mobility of working by remote from the cottage. It’s definitely a big feature that just didn’t exist about five years ago.” People already involved in recreational properties or just starting to consider it in the Calgary area suddenly have something important in common with recreational property factors in Montreal and Toronto. Approximately five years or so ago, recreational properties in Phoenix, Scottsdale and (Whitefish) Montana were as hot with snowbirds in Calgary as they were in Florida for snowbirds in Toronto and Montreal. The American housing market collapsed. The Canadian loonie was strong and frequently at par. Recreational property deals were irresistible. Fast forward to 2015 and a lot has changed. The U.S. housing market resurgence started in 2013 and got even stronger last year. Ash “With good quality Wi-Fi in many recreational explains, “Now U.S. housing prices are near pre-recession levels. The bargains are gone. property areas, the generation that is so used And the exchange rate is in the prohibitive 20 per cent range. No doubt about it, whether it’s to being plugged-in 24-7 will be interested Arizona, Nevada or Florida, Canadian interest in U.S. recreational properties has dried up.” in being connected at the cottage or maybe Some U.S. sunbelt recreational property owners in the Calgary area are considereven the mobility of working by remote from ing the option of profit-taking by selling the cottage..” Arizona and Nevada condos and villas for a higher market value price, plus the 20 per ~ Elton Ash cent bonus of a sale in U.S. funds. It also triggers some timely U.S. recreational property caution. “We expect that the demographic switch will continue “For some U.S. vacation property owners, it’s a shock this year and technology has a lot to do with it,” Ash sugabout just how complicated a sale can get,” warns Roy Berg, gests. “Technology allows the gen-X or millennial vacation director of U.S. tax law with Calgary-based Moodys Gartner property buyer to be more rural but still be connected. With Tax Law LLP. “There are various kinds of recreational or good quality Wi-Fi in many recreational property areas, the investment property tax considerations for Canadians who generation that is so used to being plugged-in 24-7 will own property, at home in Canada or in the U.S. Dealing with be interested in being connected at the cottage or maybe the immigration and tax implications here at home or in the 60 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

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The New Market • Recreational Properties

States can get tricky and most people don’t realize some of the details until it’s too late, messy and very complicated.” For Canadians who own rental or recreational properties in popular places like Arizona, Nevada and Montana, the rules have been in place for several years, although aggressively enforced only since last July. One key example is a 183-day limit for Canadians to be in the States. Part of the new joint entry/exit system between Canada and the U.S. is both sides of the border are now tracking not only when you enter each country by land, air

Test (SPT) to determine an individual’s residency status – for extended Canadian stays in their U.S. vacation property and the filing of Form 8884 to verify resident income. “When it comes to selling U.S. recreational properties or passing them on to family, there could also be capital gains and estate tax issues,” he explains. “For example, there’s a straight 10 per cent withholding tax on the sale of a property, which may be refunded after an application is processed by the IRS.” Berg and other U.S. tax law experts suggest that it’s much simpler, cheaper and more efficient to deal with American immigration and tax matters before, instead of after the fact. “The cost” of a cottage is a much deeper “Even if you’re a Canadian and have followed all the rules and now decision than the listing price. choose to sell your American vacation property, there are also Canadian tax consequences,” Berg says. “If you or sea, but also when you leave. Until now, countries only bought when the price was low or at par and even if tracked entry and they didn’t really share information. you now sell for the same amount, with the 20 per cent “IRS tax laws are now being enforced and Canadians who exchange rate, there are foreign currency gains that are own American recreational properties and are long-term calculated by Canada. visitors may be subject to resident taxes.” He refers to filing “The recreational property tax rules can get just as the IRS Form 8884 by Canadians – the Substantial Presence tricky here at home,” he points out. “Things are a bit 62 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

The New Market • Recreational Properties

more straightforward if it’s a personal use, not incomeproducing, property. Even then, there are things to think about – like never holding a recreational property in a Canadian corporation. It will be considered taxable as an imputed benefit for all the shareholders. And recreational property owners should consider important aspects like joint tenancy and succession planning.” Seasoned recreational property owners or recent cottage and cabin owners from the Shuswap, Windermere and Gleniffer Lake to Invermere, Pigeon Lake and areas north of Calgary have some recreational property basics to consider. “The cost” of a cottage is a much deeper decision than the listing price. Personal finance consultants adamantly warn against considering recreational property as an investment – because they are very, very slow in escalating in value and are notoriously not liquid for cashing in – or an emotional decision. They suggest carefully and realistically reviewing finances and determining if, according to cash flow and savings, owning another property is logical and affordable. An important consideration is the 32 per cent guideline. The combination of mortgages, property taxes and utilities for all the properties you own should not exceed

32 per cent of your gross income. Financial institutions call it “gross debt service ratio” (GDSR). With the logic that a home is a person’s largest investment, a recreational property is the second largest investment. They are both real estate. And, even though cottages must not be considered investments, the No. 1 rule in investing is to diversify. The experts also caution that the mortgage for a cottage likely won’t be a conventional mortgage and for recreational properties, many financial institutions offer collateral mortgages, with rates more in line with consumer loans than with traditional mortgages and shorter amortizations. But personal finance experts caution that the price of a cottage or cabin is just the beginning. It’s the cost of maintaining the property that can really add up. A common mistake made by new recreational property owners is underestimating the combined annual costs of maintenance, taxes, insurance, utilities and renovations. As Elton Ash, Roy Berg and other experts agree and emphasize, aside from the emotional decision and the sunsets, hammocks, walks in the woods and enjoying good times with visiting friends and family – from Phoenix and Canmore to B.C.’s Shuswap and Invermere – recreational properties are serious (and sometimes tricky) business. BiC | BUSINESS IN CALGARY April 2015 • 63


The Three Separate Sectors • Commercial Real Estate

The Three

Separate Sectors

Juggling the flux of office, industrial and retail space BY Parker Grant


he tricky thing about Calgary’s commercial real estate is that it is (mostly) impacted by different factors than residential real estate and with commercial (unlike residential) one category type does not fit all when tracking strengths and slumps. While the ups and downs and spasms of the economy gradually or eventually impact all types of real estate, the flux in commercial real estate depends on various factors that affect the three specific types of commercial real estate: office, industrial and retail. What impacts one type, may not impact the other two. When oil prices slump and downtown-based oil companies get cautious about things like office space, it doesn’t directly affect factory, warehouse or industrial space in other Calgary quadrants. When retail takes a broadside, like the massive Target closure, it doesn’t directly affect the vacancy or the rate of AA downtown office space. Commercial real estate actually functions as three separate sectors.

64 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |


“Things have changed quickly, especially in the downtown office market,” says Joe Binfet, managing director of Colliers International in Calgary. “Especially the smaller energy and oilfield services companies with high debt to cash flow and which tend to be clustered in the downtown office area are cautious. They routinely look to cut debt anyway. Since the slump began, they have been reviewing their office space needs. Some have put surplus space up for sublease in 2015 and some have put plans and decision-making on hold. “We had positive absorption (the change in leased space) in the first three quarters of 2014 but the sagging and very slowly recovering oil prices have certainly made the first quarter of 2015 a bit of a challenge for the downtown office market. According to the most recent (January) Colliers’ Market Report, Calgary’s downtown vacancy rate ended 2014 slightly above eight per cent which is a spike from 7.3 per cent, year-over-year. The stats show that fourth-quarter

The Three Separate Sectors • Commercial Real Estate

“…aside from the slump, these are also days of labour shortages and competitive staffing. So despite the oil price situation, many companies are thinking carefully and reluctant to let good employees go. In fact, some savvy companies are upgrading to better space.” ~ Joe Binfet

absorption was negative 333,000 square feet, with most of the contraction in the primarily downtown, class AA segment of the market. The report says that, while overall absorption for the year was a positive 275,000 square feet, demand for office space in 2014 was far below downtown Calgary averages. “Throughout much of last year we were looking for signs that demand for office space might be strengthening,” the report admits. “Unfortunately, by year end all indications pointed to the opposite.” The Colliers’ numbers forecast that 2015 downtown office absorption will likely be in the range of negative 500,000 square feet. “There is downward pressure on rates but no fire sales,” Binfet points out. “Although some companies did cut operating costs, many companies are doing nothing. They are waiting for the bottom and then comes the rebound. We have not seen any major layoffs in the downtown office sector. Besides, aside from the slump, these are also days of labour shortages and competitive staffing. So despite the oil price situation, many companies are thinking carefully and reluctant to let good employees go. In fact, some savvy companies are upgrading to better space.” There is increasing reference and acknowledgment in economic development and business sectors about the diversification of Calgary business. The potent, positive reputation and profile of Calgary as an oil city is still accurate and relevant but, more and more, the city is earning a reputation for being a strong, dynamic, growing and diversified business hub for legal, financial, IT, engineering and other businesses.

Joe Binfet, managing director of Colliers International in Calgary.

The established, clichéd and new Calgary businesses have one thing in common: office space. As underscored by the recent CBRE (the world’s largest commercial real estate services firm) report, Energy Sector Trends, Global Energy Hubs, Calgary is on the world radar as one of the globe’s top energy centres. While that rank is a major plus, it has translated into high downtown office rents as the oilpatch dominates the city’s core commercial real estate market. The CBRE report underscores that, despite recent concerns about oil prices, Calgary is consistently listed as one of the top cities globally and highest in North America for prime office rents in major energy centres, based on U.S. dollars per square foot. Caracas, Venezuela heads the list at $487.50, Hong Kong is $221.50 and London is at $183.70. Calgary’s downtown office space inventory is more than 39 million square feet. Although office space rents are down 3.5 per cent from a year ago, it is 19th overall in the world, with a prime rent average of $52.40. Houston is second in North America (and 22nd globally) at $45. “Driven by an energy-based economy, Calgary remains a cornerstone of the oil and gas industry in North America,” the report says. “With the emergence of the high-tech, financial, environmental and professional services sectors, commercial real estate in Calgary is in high demand.” CBRE crunched numbers show that Calgary’s energy sector accounted for 76,900 jobs or just shy of 10 per cent of Calgary’s total employment. The energy sector also contributed $33.8 billion to Calgary’s gross domestic product. “If you’re in the oil and gas business, you know where Calgary is! And as a place to do business, Calgary has always | BUSINESS IN CALGARY April 2015 • 65

The Three Separate Sectors • Commercial Real Estate

had its cycles of booms and busts,” says Calgary commercial real estate expert and regional managing director for CBRE in Calgary, Greg Kwong. “When it comes to commercial real estate, especially office space, we still see a lot of local, national, international attention very bullish on Calgary. Our office rental rates are still highest in the country. Quite a feat, when you think about it. The total Alberta population is 3.5 million and 1.3 million are here in Calgary. “I’m amazed that even though our economy is so strong and we have such positive growth,” he says with enthusiasm, “that a relatively small market could command such attention as a premium location for office space. Even with the current oil price speed bumps, when it comes to commercial rates and activity, I’m confident that it is shortterm pain for long-term gain.” Although Kwong, Binfet, analysts and economists are confident about the recovery and the next up-cycle, they do consider commercial real estate to be a barometer about the impact of oil on Calgary’s economy and strength. “The energy industry is an essential growth engine for Calgary’s office market,” the CBRE report notes. “Calgary has seen extraordinary growth in the number of head offices over the past 10 years, increasing from 84 in 2003 to 135 by 2012, according to Calgary Economic Development. Calgary is second only to Toronto in the absolute number of head offices in Canada. But on a per capita basis, Calgary boasts 10.3 head offices per 100,000 people compared to 4.1 per 100,000 in Toronto.” The report charts that 74 per cent of the head offices in Calgary are in the energy sector, most of which are located in the downtown business area.


It varies from year to year but on average Calgary has about 125 million square feet of industrial space, mostly in the southeast and northeast quadrants of the city. Industrial real estate is most often transportation, logistics and manufacturing facilities. “The office space cautions don’t really affect industrial space,” Binfet explains. “Calgary is the distribution hub of Western Canada and distribution is fuelled by consumer confidence and consumer spending.” About 35 per cent of the industrial space has been built in the past 10 years with up-to-date energy efficiencies, building designs and site amenities to accommodate contemporary warehousing standards and transportation equipment needs.

Calgary has the gamut of retail space types including enclosed malls, strip malls and podium retail. The Calgary region is also home to one of only two new enclosed shopping centres to have been built in Canada in over 20 years. Calgary has one of the lowest retail space vacancy rates in North America and there is consistently much competition for quality retail space in all product classes. According to commercial real estate industry numbers, the U.S. average retail inventory per person is 45 square feet, while Calgary has (approximately) 25 square feet per person. Most major national and international retailers do business in Calgary. Last year, iconic American retailer Nordstrom opened its first store outside the U.S. in Calgary’s Chinook Centre. The key Calgary retail attractions include the highest personal income per capita of nearly $59,000 (Conference Board of Canada) and highest number of millionaires in Canada (Statistics Canada) – both contributing to high sales volumes. Greg Kwong, regional managing director for CBRE in Calgary.

66 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |


Images courtesy of Nordstrom, Inc.

The Three Separate Sectors • Commercial Real Estate

Most major national and international retailers do business in Calgary. Last year, iconic American retailer Nordstrom opened its first store outside the U.S. in Calgary’s Chinook Centre.

Nordstrom opened its doors at Chinook Centre in the Fall of 2014.



The experts agree about an inevitable domino effect when it comes to office, industrial or retail commercial real estate. “Ultimately it’s bound to be a trickle-down factor,” Kwong cautions. “Whatever happens in Calgary’s downtown head offices eventually means that plumbers and pipe fitters in the industrial space feel the anxiety and people tend to shop less in retail. “Oil is a commodity. Commodity prices go up and down. It’s never a good time for a slump. But the price fluctuations are on the supply side and it is short term. The demand side really hasn’t changed. No one has found a replacement for oil. That’s when I worry. If I had a dollar to invest long term, it would definitely be in Calgary,” Kwong says with confidence. BiC






Nick Moore, MBA VP Developments P: 403.452.7869 M: 403.605.9324 TF: 877.577.4634





Rob Wilcox VP Leasing P: 403.984.9881 M: 403.605.2331 TF: 877.577.4634 | BUSINESS IN CALGARY April 2015 • 67

diversity: it’s more than cultural differences • Human Resources


oday’s workplaces are an eclectic mix of races, generations and personalities. The long-trumpeted mass exit of the Baby Boomers simply did not happen as more and more Canadians remain in the workforce past their 70s. Law enforcement and military personnel switch careers to work


It’s more than cultural differences HR experts weigh in on managing today’s incredibly diverse workplaces BY NERISSA MCNAUGHTON

civilian jobs work alongside career academics. And how does Generation X relate to Generation Y and Millennials when they are all vying for the same positions? This increasingly diverse workplace must be managed in order to ensure everyone’s needs are met. Let’s take a closer look at why.

68 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

diversity: it’s more than cultural differences • Human Resources

“One of the biggest [workplace diversity] changes I’ve seen is increased cultural awareness of our differences and a willingness to understand other cultures.” ~ Jim Fries

Jim Fries, partner, Cenera 70 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

First up, we have immigration. There is no doubt that immigration has done wonderful things for our workforce, but cultural differences can cause tension.“The impact of globalization and increased communication is everywhere,” says Jim Fries, partner with Cenera, a human resources and business consulting firm. Cenera’s alliances with Career Partners International and Cornerstone International Group enables them to work through more than 150 partner firms in over 46 countries. “One of the biggest [workplace diversity] changes I’ve seen is increased cultural awareness of our differences and a willingness to understand other cultures. There is desire and interest to inform and educate the workforce on different ways we see the world of work.” Fries continues, “People are seeking to communicate internationally in a way other cultures understand. This means an increased awareness of the complexity and differences between peoples.” Then Fries brings up a very interesting point. “People are becoming savvier about cultures, even between Englishspeaking ones.” He goes on to explain that the American communication style is typically very direct and to the point. Likewise, those with military or law enforcement backgrounds tend to be more assertive and comfortable with their authority. While there is nothing wrong with this cut-to-the-chase and quick, decisive style (indeed, there are situations where this management style is critical to success) those from cultures or corporations that have a more collaborative style of decision making – where everyone discusses decisions and has input – may have a difficult time relating to a decisive boss. The on-point boss may feel he or she is not doing their job properly if they are constantly seeking input, but the subordinates can also feel like they are not being heard.



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“I think it has put a little bit of confusion in the whole management aspect. We have Baby Boomers struggling to manage our Gen Y and Gen X, but I also think it challenged the traditional structure in a good way; in collaboration and upward and downward mentoring.” ~ Wendy Giuffre

Wendy Giuffre, president and principle consultant, Wendy Ellen Inc. 72 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

When you look at it that way, there is so much more to consider when you are crafting effective business communication than where in the world you hail from or what generation you were born in. The key, as Fries points out, is to be adept at managing expectations. Corporate policies that are explicit help employees understand the intention and objectives of the policy. When the expectations of the leader are clear, and employees have an opportunity to understand those expectations, misunderstandings across all groups and styles are minimized. “There are assumptions we all bring into the workplace,” he says. “They are not right or wrong, better or worse, they are simply our expectations. We need to find ways to talk about these expectations within each person’s cultural and communication framework.” Is this happening in the workplace? “I do see a shift,” Fries confirms. “I do see people seeing the value of setting clear expectations.” It’s great to see that as a whole, we are making positive headway in workplace cultural diversity. How are we doing on the generational side of things? “Right now we have four named generations working together, which is interesting but also challenging,” smiles Wendy Giuffre, president and principle consultant of Wendy Ellen Inc. A human resources specialist with more than 20 years’ experience, Giuffre launched her company to provide complete outsourced HR services for small and medium-sized businesses. “I think it has put a little bit of confusion in the whole management aspect. We have Baby Boomers struggling to manage our Gen Y and Gen X, but I also think it challenged the traditional structure in a good way; in collaboration and upward and downward mentoring.” When asked if companies should have policies/benefits that were particular to each generation, such as the option to choose between the company contributing to your RRSP, which is good for those closer to retirement, or an extra week of vacation time, which is ideal for those with young families, Giuffre says, “I think that is brilliant. I think that is the way of the future for retention and recruiting. The key to something like that is communication. They have to understand what they are choosing along with the pros and cons. A lot of times, people don’t.” She points out ways companies are embracing diversity. “Some companies have prayer rooms. A lot of companies have social clubs. You have to be conscious of the culture to ensure certain events are inclusive and not offensive. You have to be a lot more creative nowadays from social media policy to vacation and flex time, not only for generations but also religion and race. There is a lot of thinking outside the box compared to 15 – 20 year ago. Diversity can pose a challenge, but it makes businesses a better place.”

Diversity: It’s more than cultural differences • Human Resources

“Today, diversity in the workplace is encouraged for the experiential capital it builds within organizations, providing new insights and perspectives that enable companies to better serve increasingly diversified markets.” ~ Amanda Salopek

Amanda Salopek, Partner, Salopek & Associates Ltd

74 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

Amanda Salopek, partner with Salopek & Associates Ltd., agrees that the workforce is much more diverse than it was 20 years ago. Salopek works from the Calgary office of the strategic planning, human resources, and board governance firm. “We see an increased number of women in the workforce, especially in leadership roles, and cultural diversity has increased substantially with skilled workers immigrating to Canada and organizations hiring international employees to work virtually with a team based around the world. The boardroom is no longer an all-boys club. Today, diversity in the workplace is encouraged for the experiential capital it builds within organizations, providing new insights and perspectives that enable companies to better serve increasingly diversified markets.” Like Fries and Giuffre, Salopek sees companies moving to embrace this diversity. “We see organizations going to great lengths not only to accommodate diversity, but also provide a corporate culture that enables an increasingly diversified workforce. Work hours and workspace are looking different as companies realize that the younger generation can be productive working virtually and may not need or want an office. Certain statutory holidays are no longer relevant to some employees, and as such, flexible named holidays are being implemented. Maternity leave has evolved to include paternity leave as more men decide to stay home and look after children while women remain in the workforce. Translators are being brought into the workforce to ensure effective communication and that company information is properly shared.” How has this changed the workplace? Trends that Salopek has seen across organizations include increased flexible work environments that enable employees to work where and when they feel comfortable, a relaxation of policies and procedures to accommodate a variety of work styles, promotion of work/life balance and more personalization of workspaces. Another area that greatly benefits from corporate diversity is social giving. With so many different cultures and personalities in the workplace, more and more companies are encouraging the staff to have a say in corporate giving. Some allow time off for volunteerism. “Leading-edge companies understand that the more diverse your workforce, the more effective and forward thinking your company tends to be, assuming that diversity is well managed,” concludes Salopek. “A diverse team tends to come up with more creative ideas that have been vetted by varying opinions and perspectives, which typically enhances performance.” A quick glance around any workplace shows that diversity is here is to stay, and that is a very good thing for all of us. BiC


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The Countdown to Fore! • Golf


Countdown to Fore! Getting the golfer and the course ready By Parker Grant


ears and squirrels hibernate from October to April. Unless lucky enough to head south for a few rounds, so do Calgary golfers and golf courses. Just about now, as bear and squirrel metabolisms return to normal, so does adrenalin for golfers as the many chores, tasks, routines and maintenance manoeuvres hit full swing at Calgary golf courses. While local golfers get the bags, clubs and shoes ready, scour for sales of balls and other accessories and check the times at the National Golf Academy big dome or at neighbourhood driving ranges, Calgary courses from Springbank Links, Priddis Greens, McCall Lake, Confederation Park, Shaganappi Point and Bearspaw to local favorites in between are scheduling their seasonal crews with long to-do lists and opening assignments. ’Tis (almost) the season. Calgary golf is always pending weather but most area courses plan (and hope) to be open on or around April 24. “Some golfers have been getting ready for a couple of weeks and the first stage of getting ready for the season may not be physical,” says Terry Carter, director of Calgary’s 76 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

Terry Carter, PGA golf pro and director of the National Golf Academy.

National Golf Academy, PGA golf pro, PGA of Alberta Teacher of the Year and one of the top 50 instructors in Canada. “It’s a good time to do the impossible. Think back to last year and evaluate your strengths and your weaknesses. Some people actually make a list. Invariably, how to fix swing components and scoring are near the top of the list. Whether it’s a series of lessons, the two-hour crash course on a Saturday morning or the computerized video analysis, golfers are very enthusiastic but sometimes not very realistic. Being too gung-ho and rushing yourself can be a problem. “Especially this time of year, golfers are anxious to get on the course and pick up where they left off last fall, enjoying the game. That’s great,” he says, “but it’s so important to do it right. Some golfers are so keen to get out there and

The Countdown to Fore! • Golf

“Especially this time of year, golfers are anxious to get on the course and pick up where they left off last fall, enjoying the game. That’s great, but it’s so important to do it right.” ~ Terry Carter The maintenance staff in action at Priddis Greens Golf and Country Club.

play that they overlook a crucial basic: flexibility. It is a huge part of the game and, this time of year, very important. Stretching – even if it’s not in a gym. “Being limber is a key aspect of golf. It’s easy to injure yourself at the beginning of the season, due to months of inactivity. Your brain may want to go out and start swinging, but not your back, your legs, your arms and your joints.” Carter emphasizes a caution often heard about weekend warriors. Anatomically about the many muscles and joints that are part of playing recreational golf. In the rush to get the season going, some people overlook the importance of stretching and flexibility of muscles and joints. Try holding the club with both hands and place it lengthwise on the back of | BUSINESS IN CALGARY April 2015 • 77

the Countdown to Fore! • Golf

Enjoying the day on #4 at Springbank Links Golf Club.

your neck. Next, get into a good address position and start making some backswings and through swings. This will get you moving your torso, back and shoulders. Or hold the club with one hand about midway down the shaft in a straight up and down position with your thumb on the top of the shaft. Slowly start to rotate the club to the right until it becomes parallel with the ground. Now go back to the left. If the club is too heavy, grip a little closer down on the club to make the overall weight lighter. Now switch hands. This is a great drill for building up arm muscles. Carter explains that, regardless what level of golfer, after six months of hibernation and the clubs in storage, golfers lose their touch and feel uncertain particularly about the short game and the basic knack for being able to feel the distance and how hard to hit the ball. “Some seasonal things to get ready with equipment,” he points out, “is not only polishing the clubs but checking the grips and the cleats on the shoes. Some of the grips may just need a little bit of warm soapy water and a good cleaning but playing with worn grips is no good for your game. If the grips are all slick, change them now.” This is also a hectic and exhausting season for the men and women who work long hours, getting Calgary-area golf courses ready for the season and the openings later this month. At Springbank Links, for example, general manager Kevin Heise explains that the course’s crew of 18 has its to-do list for getting the 51 acres – three acres of greens and tees, 18 acres of fairways and 27 acres of rough including more than 50,000 feet of irrigation pipe – ready for the 2015 season. “We will be ready. We will pull tarps daily when the temperatures warm up and cover them back up if the overnight lows dip,” he explains. “Then we’ll brush in topdressing sand that was applied thick for winter protection, last fall.” 78 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

Heise also shares the news that, this year, Springbank Links will offer a choice of nine-, 12- or 18-hole golf tournaments, targeting a wider range of times and budgets. And he is enthusiastic about last fall’s course renos that included resurfacing six tee boxes and installing six new pot bunkers. “Real pot bunkers,” he says with a laugh. “Hello, Scotland!” More than 34 grounds crew staff are on-the-ready for the opening of the 180 acres of Calgary’s popular Bearspaw Country Club. Aside from the long maintenance checklist like removing a half-dozen trees, tuning up water pumps and the 50,000 linear feet of irrigation pipe, Bearspaw has begun exciting expansion plans. “We are in the preliminary design phase of the construction of a new 30,000-squarefoot clubhouse, scheduled to open in 2017, as well as the expansion and renovation of the driving range and practice facilities,” explains Bearspaw general manager Blair Felesky. Aside from the opening season’s long hours for a crew of 75 on two courses, getting ready for the routines with 180,000 feet (49 kms) of irrigation pipe, six acres of bentgrass ion putting green surfaces, six acres of bentgrass on tee surfaces, 52 acres of bluegrass fairways and 80 acres of Kentucky bluegrass rough, James Beebe, golf course manager of the two golf courses at Priddis Greens Golf and Country Club, is revved and ready about exciting changes for 2015. “We just opened a new golf Performance Centre, giving members year-round access to practice, club fittings and lessons and the latest technology to enhance their golf game,” Beebe says. “This fall, we will be rebuilding two greens on the Hawk Golf Course and resurfacing all remaining Hawk Course greens with the newest variety of creeping bentgrass for superior putting green quality.” Listen! As the howling winds die down, the dirty snow banks melt away and the birds start chirping … there’s FORE in the air! BiC

45 Years Home-Grown of


Private residence, Charleswood. Photo by Ted Knude.


45 Years Home-Grown of


L-R: brothers Emilio, Nick, and Luciano Lupi. Photo by Jager & Ko Photography.


verything is different when the family name is on the door,” says Nick Lupi, president of one of Calgary’s most respected homebuilders, Lupi Luxury Homes.

The distinguished 45-year-old family business, started by Nick’s father Antonio back in 1970, has always had a customer-driven focus. From the creative and innovative designs, meticulous craftsmanship, customized details and responsive service, the needs of the Lupi Luxury Homes client has always been, and still is, their ultimate priority. The focus, approach and commitment of the second generation of Lupi family members is growing the Calgary-based company into a dynamic home-grown success story, while the Lupi priorities unconditionally remain excellence and integrity.




“My dad always taught us that doing everything with integrity and that respecting the homebuyer are, by far, the most important things we do.” ~ Nick Lupi “We have a goal to be an exceptional, ‘boutique’ homebuilder. My dad always taught us that doing everything with integrity and that respecting the homebuyer are, by far, the most important things we do. Our clients develop long-standing relationships with our family that start with a conversation about their dream home,” he explains with pride and enthusiasm. He acknowledges that, especially now, being a successful new homebuilder is not only more fiercely competitive than ever but the consumer is much more resourceful, better researched and informed. The homebuilding process constantly evolves but there are things that remain unchanged and things that set Lupi Luxury Homes and their genuinely custom-built, luxury homes apart.

Nick Lupi, president, Lupi Luxury Homes. Photo by Jager & Ko Photography.

“Sure, it’s nice to receive industry awards and acknowledgement from your peers but ultimately, our reward comes from building a house for our clients that they are proud to call home,” Nick adds. “Our pride comes from what we create for our clients and hearing from them that they are as thrilled with the finished product as we are and will be for years to come. “

It has been a pleasure working with

Lupi Luxury Homes.

Congratulations on your 45th Anniversary. | T: 403 208 4350 4 | 403.735.6123

Congratulations to Lupi Luxury Homes on 45 years of success ! THE SIGNATURE OF LUXURY HOMES


“Of course today’s technology for design and planning is far more sophisticated. The materials available and the construction techniques continue to alter the homebuilding process in general,” Lupi points out. “Some of our strong and often dramatic differences are the innovative designs of our homes, the materials we use, the luxurious finishes that are standard to us, the quality of our workmanship and the skills and qualifications of our trades. It’s all part of building a luxury home and it definitely sets us apart.” There are many elements involved in building a luxury home that make them distinctively “Lupi Luxury.” From the superior construction, meticulous framing and premium lumber, top-of-the-line windows and architectural roof lines to the elegant interiors that have the inimitable Lupi touch. Impressive kitchens and spa-like ensuites with elegant cabinets and stunning quartz and granite countertops, free-standing tubs, high ceilings, custom finish carpentry, rich hardwood, and porcelain tile are all standard items for Lupi Luxury Homes.

We count it an honour to partner with

Lupi Luxury Homes. Congratulations on your

45th Anniversary! Exceeding Customer Expectations since 2005 | 403.547.3400 Residential | Custom Homes |


Multi-Family |

Commercial | Renovations | Electrical Planning/Design

Theses two pages - 8 Rockcliff Grove Show Home. Photo by Ted Knude.

Impressive kitchens and spa-like ensuites with elegant cabinets and stunning quartz and granite countertops, free-standing tubs, porcelain tile ‌ all standard items for Lupi Luxury Homes.


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Important to note is that in a Lupi Luxury Home, there is no “wasted space.” “We ensure that every square foot of the home is utilized, if not immediately then for planned-for future development. It’s something that we as homeowners feel is important and we strive to achieve that for every home we build.” Given the demands on time and resources required to maintain the high standards of quality and workmanship of building a custom luxury home, Lupi intentionally builds only about 20-25 new homes a year. “I suppose we could add more staff and adjust our scheduling but it’s not what we’re about. It’s not what we do or how we work,” Nick Lupi says with conviction. “We specialize in the relationship and communication with our buyers. Most of what we do is tailored to the individual client and this directive allows us to work closely with each client during the process of building the house of their dreams. “Half of our homes on-the-go at any given time are custom. We don’t chase after extras and up-sell and we don’t price by the square foot. We are honest from the beginning about our pricing because we appreciate that building a new home is a big, lifechanging event for most people and it’s important to us that expectations are managed and that their stress is minimized throughout the process. We’ve been fortunate that our customers understand and appreciate the time it takes to achieve the quality and workmanship of a true, custom-built luxury home.” This page: private residence, Rock Lake Estates. Photos by Ted Knude.


to the Lupi Family on 45 Years of Success. We are proud to be part of your team.

RE/MAX Real Estate (Central) is honoured to be working with the Lupi family for the past 20 years. Congratulations on 45 years of business! ~ Tony DiMarzo | 403.861.7669 |


This page: private residence, West Grove Estates. Photos by Ted Knude.

“We ensure that every square foot of the home is utilized…”

At the moment, Lupi Luxury Homes are available in West Grove Estates SW, Rock Lake Estates NW and throughout the Calgary area. They have “ready to live in” homes currently available as well as an inventory of lots to choose from. They are also doing a number of projects inner-city with home-owner supplied lots. “One of the benefits of being a customer-driven, custom-home builder is our ability to be flexible not only in how we build, but in where we build,” Lupi adds. Details are on the company’s website at

Congratulations to the Lupi Family


“We are still appreciating the master craftsmanship and loving our Lupi Luxury Homes” ~Rick & John

Sagium will simplify your life and give you peace of mind around your inances for years to come

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These two pages: private residence, Priddis. Photos by Ted Knude.

Nick Lupi admits that it’s all personal when he drops by for the final inspection or the closing of one of Lupi’s new luxury homes. He momentarily forgets the business side of his work and genuinely beams with delight when he hears spontaneous comments like “I love the countertop and those faucets,” “the ensuite is fabulous, like a spa” or “this feels like home.” Maintaining the 45-year traditions started by his father, Nick Lupi emphasizes uncompromised attention to customer service. His older brother, Luciano, oversees the company’s quality control department and manages post-possession customer service in a timely and effective manner which is a key priority for the company. “Let’s face it, a new home always feels good for the first few months. Important things like structural

Thank you to

Lupi Luxury Homes for 15 years of partnership and congratulations on your 45th Anniversary! Stampede Plumbing & Heating Experts in plumbing, heating and HVAC 10

integrity show up in year three, five, seven or longer. We produce a product that lasts. “Our philosophy is that we want to build your home right the first time. Service very much affects the perception of the homebuyer and our reputation. When there is a problem, and it doesn’t happen very often,” he smiles, “our service team responds quickly and does whatever it takes.” It is a matter of company pride and routine that a member of the Lupi family is regularly on-site and always accessible. The youngest of the three brothers, Emilio Lupi, is on-site to oversee projects and meet with clients to ensure their needs are understood, their questions are answered and that they’re kept apprised of the progress of their new home build.

To the Lupi Luxury Homes team:

Congratulations! Carmen’s Stucco Ltd. is proud and honoured of our trade partnership during our 37 years together.



Antonio, Emilio, Nick, Antonia, and Luciano Lupi.

In every sense and at every level, Lupi Luxury Homes is a family.

Congratulations to Lupi Homes on 45 Years of Business! Congratulations Lupi Luxury Homes! 45 years of business is an incredible milestone and we are proud to support you and wish you many more years of success. 403-571-4570


Call 403-236-7070 ext.207 for your free estimate on the following services: 路 Foundations 路 Basements/Garages 路 Decorative Concrete 路 Garage Coatings

Nick Lupi avoids references to family business “secrets” and grins that it’s just the way the company has done things ever since patriarch Antonio started building one home at a time, often doing some of the key manual jobs (like forming concrete and framing) by himself. He modestly admits that while his father’s ways could well be a secret to the Lupi’s long-standing reputation for quality, it is also one of the very basics entrenched in the company. “It’s not really such a secret. It’s family and it’s relationships,” he underscores with affection. “It’s a unique position that we’re in, it’s the key to all we do and is our most basic core value. In every sense and at every level, Lupi Luxury Homes is a family. “Not only the family that is my father and my two brothers but it is very much a family of our employees and subtrades. And we are only as good as they are,” he says. “Our trades are solidly skilled and very experienced. Some have been with us for more than 40 years and give us the invaluable edge of expertise and commitment. In this business, loyalty goes a long way. We have placed a lot of trust in and value the relationships we’ve developed with each of the members of our ‘family’ – one that also extends to our sales team, and the lasting relationships we are so proud to have with four decades of Lupi homeowners.”

2020 Pegasus Road NE, Calgary, Alberta T2E 8K7 Tel: 403.287.0944 • Fax: 403.287.2379 Congratulations Lupi Luxury Homes on 45 successful years!

Lupi Luxury Homes was our first client, so many thanks to Lupi Luxury Homes for 39 years of partnership and congratulations on your 45th Anniversary! 4375 – 14th Street NE Calgary, AB T2E 7A9 403-276-8071



Antonia and Antonio Lupi.

Antonio Lupi is glowingly proud of the family business he started by pushing wheelbarrows of concrete and framing homes with his own hands.

Lupi Luxury Homes Congratulations on your 45th Anniversary! | P 403-999-2944


Lupi Luxury Homes

on your 45th Anniversary. Your legacy of quality and service has proved your success and longevity. | 403.279.5898 To elevate your design, call or visit us anytime.


Although he is an innovative and business-savvy homebuilder, Nick Lupi is thrilled and humbled when he reviews the company’s project files and points out the number of referrals and repeat homebuyers. “We continue to build our reputation on the traditional family values of hard work, honesty and integrity. Our repeat customers and their referrals are a reflection of our reputation and that is the ultimate feedback.” Now, Antonio Lupi spends his well-earned retirement travelling with his wife Antonia and revelling in watching their seven granddaughters grow up. When he’s in town, he drops by the office and although things have changed since he was at the helm, he is glowingly proud of the family business he started by pushing wheelbarrows of concrete and framing homes with his own hands.

Interior ST RS


Insulation, Drywall, Texture

ongratulations Lupi Luxury Homes on your 45th anniversary!

Royal Railing Limited


Aluminum Welded Picket & Glass Railing Privacy Glass & Windwalls

Proud to partner with Lupi Luxury Homes.

Thank you, Lupi Luxury Homes, for 15 years of working together, and congratulations on 45 years in business!

Congratulations on 45 Years!

Calgary Region


Canadian Home Builders’ Association




Bay y D,, 7131 - 6th Street S.E. Calgary, g y, AB T2H 2M8 TEL: 403 403-253-2010 253 2010 * FAX: 403 403-253-2143 253 2143


Congratulations on your 45th anniversary! Thank you, Lupi Luxury Homes. 2521 – 5th Avenue NW | 403.270.2205 @RunwayofFloors |

403.280.2000 |

Congratulations on your 45th Anniversary!

Thank you Lupi Luxury Homes for 13 years of partnership and congratulations on your 45th Anniversary. | Bay 16, 21 Highfield Circle SE

Congratulations Lupi Luxury Homes!



8 Rockcliff Grove Show Home. Photo by Ted Knude.

“My dad is still a very special man of tremendous integrity and unconditional honesty but he is a man of few words. He always has been. His biggest joy is that his family is together and the business is doing well. And Christmas dinners for 26 people,” Nick chuckles. In the competitive market of building new homes, the company has crafted a meaningful and completely sincere slogan: “Building dreams with lasting relationships.” “After all,” Lupi says with personal and professional passion, “your home is your dream! And it’s one that we share. We value that our job is to make that dream a reality and it’s a responsibility we take very seriously. To be perfectly honest, when my brothers and I first joined the business, we didn’t fully understand that concept. My dad taught us not only how to swing a hammer but most importantly that our client wants to be proud of their dream home. And the goodwill we get from respecting the buyer is the best advertising we can ever have.” •

403.239.9699 |

l ud and emotiona ro p a h bot is e il er Wayne her Marble & T th anniversary of Fles General Manag d an r ne 5 w 10 O e e th m of pany, longti the staff and The celebration ars with the com been left behind, s ye ha 50 d t oi os v m a al e il er h occasion. Aft early 2014. W his legacy. unexpectedly in ay seball glove. aw ed ass and continuing p ny pa Juke m to buy his first ba cks and co d e te th an to w d te ne ca ay di W u de d Juke) cleaning tr family remain when 12-year-ol ck o Ja ag s er ar th ye fa is 50 h t os road d by It all began alm any idea of the Tile (then owne ng & vi e ha bl t ar u M ho r it he .W ent to to Fles of pocket change fetime commitm t li bi He ventured in a a be rn ld ea ou to r w rd in orde t began what sweeping the ya baseball glove bu is h ed rn ea ly trade school ahead, he not on e. school he went to gh hi of n io et pl il m and while &T n co ance of his father Flesher Marble id r Wayne, and upo fo gu e n th io ot er m nd u in ty was cast e set ked in this capaci pidly and Wayne The wheels wer or ra w e ed H . nd er pa ex sett le ness ction eyman ti owledge. The busi e. A year of significance and refle kn ry to become a journ st du in le ab gained valu at an early ag the company honing his craft ithin the company and began purchasing shares in w s on ti si po y or is ner Eleanor into senior superv retired. his wife and part d ie d was arr m ne ay when his father W 83 19 in was going on an p hi at was 1975. rs wh ne ow ew y kn it s or ay aj the alw ad to m managed within plative man. He he m which would le n te io n at co ir d m an ad a quiet ources. His petition. The Wayne Juke was ne flush with res s large and cluding the com ay in W ne d yo ha er t il ev bu of d he tackle project three steps ahea g relationships abled Flesher to en y and the lastin d it de n u an m m m m co business e respect he co and contacts and th l man, focused na Rolodex had the io pt ce ex . sy an e it look ea Wayne into orking as small and mak Flesher moulded veral years of w se of er lm aft he o e th wh , at er sh hy and strong “Over 30 years ble,” says Brent Fi “Wayne left us with a philosop ou tr of es m ti in arble & . of company GM ar ted. Flesher M unflappable even le st ro he e th at ed wh m e u u n has ass ne.” te and conti Wayne’s protégé up to us to execu t to a job well do en ow m n it is m t m “I . co er is sh ds of the h d team,” says Fi rector on the boar is di of Wayne Juke an a y it as gr ed te rv in e se th .H ayne Tile exemplifies iation of Canada tile industry, W oc e ss th A e of r bl be ar M em d an people who As a dedicated m d Terrazzo Tile l as many of the el an w on as ti y ia ar oc ss lg A Ca ng to give ction ction industry in to many and was always willi ru Calgar y Constru st n co e th e ap lped sh as a mentor entive ear. commitment he today. Wayne w or simply an att ry d st ee du n in of e e th m ti in extended b in still work with employees to be was advice, a jo is it h r d he re et de si wh n – co ce didn’t pay was a man who someone a chan times when he ne ic ay W om , on aff ec st g al in loy ng door n families. His ds during challe According to his io ow r er p ei ls th r al fo rec de r nal vi . Eleano ade him exceptio ployees could pro m em r is family members ou h m at hu th of d ea se g sure inst r and quick sen himself, makin achable manne ro app is h d an mourn his was always open ients continue to cl s. d nd an ie es fr gu d ea an ll ble & Tile nts , co ace Flesher Mar company for clie ayne that his family, employees br em to e u n ti n W ute that they co It is a tribute to even greater trib an is it , er ev passing. How has left behind. and the legacy he Flesher Marble & Tile | 105 Years | 1


The Legacy Continues…

The success of Flesher Marble & Tile is driven by the focus of providing personal service, quality craftsmanship and customer satisfaction. From thoughtful interactions with clients to genuine caring for employees, bonds between people are the glue behind this third-generation company. In today’s world of technology, a personal touch can be hard to find. The individualized care that Flesher employees incorporate into every project is the constant through 105 years of service. “I can promise you that there are no cookie-cutter projects as we love the challenge to meet the unique needs of a residential backsplash to multimillion-dollar expansions,” says Pam Juke, Wayne’s daughter and Residential Sales Manager. Another extension of the Flesher family is the Hutterite community. Wayne and his father Jack built a strong connection with this market that remains today. While outsiders are often kept at arm’s length, Wayne bridged the gap with the Hutterite community by being a trusted businessman and friend. He was

completely embraced by the community and will forever be remembered as one of their own. Communication is an integral part of the customer journey at Flesher Marble & Tile which begins when you walk through the front door at 4420 1st Street SE. From the moment the Showroom Attendant greets you a series of interactions begin. Communication with estimators, project managers, delivery personnel, tradesmen and other key staff will welcome you to the Flesher family. “My favourite part of the job is interacting with people. Whether it is a client’s first time looking at tile or finalizing details, we get the privilege of participating as a team member in your project and offering our wealth of knowledge,” says Pam. With 105 years of experience, a core group of staff and tradesmen have become the backbone of the company. All three children born to Wayne and Eleanor Juke have tile in their blood; Tom, Pam and Lisa have all been involved in the family business at various times. Today 55 employees and exclusive

Flesher Marble & Tile | 105 Years | 2

Congratulations on your TTMAC Hard Surfaces Award!




Thank you to Flesher Marble & Tile for their continued partnership and congratulations for their 105th Anniversary!

HAPPY 105TH ANNIVERSARY FROM EVERYONE AT 3405 - 9th Street SE, Calgary, AB | (403) 243-0434 Inspire. Design. Create. |

learn more at

Calgary Airport project

Proud Canadian partner with

Flesher Marble & Tile on some of Calgary’s

most prominent

tile & stone installations


Flesher Marble & Tile | 105 Years | 3

contractors make up one of Calgary’s prime resources to the tile trade. Flesher’s team, coupled with architects, designers, general contractors and homeowners, come together to offer a final product that only true craftsmanship can create. “It’s their entire experience that brings our repeat customers back,” says Eleanor. “They know they’re going to get good quality service as well as our tradesmanship.” Accepting challenges and coming up with solutions is a big part of any company. Flesher Marble & Tile takes pride in the team’s ability to bring people together with open communication to ensure customers’ expectations are met and often exceeded. “Anyone can do this work in a vacuum; it’s how you deal with adversity that is the true measure of

a quality contractor,” adds Brent Fisher, General Manager. Eleanor adds, with tears in her eyes, “Wayne’s passing has been a big challenge for our family, but is also a big challenge for our workers. It wasn’t a challenge for me to appoint Brent Fisher to the role of General Manager. Brent’s involvement in Flesher as Lead Project Manager to our busy commercial division and his years of working side by side with Wayne made this a simple and obvious choice.” Although the passing of Wayne Juke has left a big void in the long-standing organization, the Jukes believe that their family legacy distinguishes Flesher Marble & Tile from the pack and are committed to another 105 years. • 403.287.0886 Flesher Marble & Tile | 105 Years | 4

Leading Business APRIL 2015

IN THIS ISSUE... • HR tips for the savvy executive • Policy Bites • Chamber member Spotlights • Upcoming Events | BUSINESS IN CALGARY April 2015 • 99

2015 Board of


HR tips for the savvy executive

Executive Chair: Rob Hawley, Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Immediate Past Chair: Leah Lawrence, President, Clean Energy Capitalists Inc. Chair Elect: Denis Painchaud, Director, International Government Relations, Nexen Inc. Second Vice Chair: David Allen, President, Calgary Land, Brookfield Residential Properties Inc. Vice Chair, Finance: Bill Brunton, Chief Communications Officer, Calgary Board of Education CEO: Adam Legge, President and CEO, Calgary Chamber

Directors David Allen, President, Calgary Land, Brookfield Residential Properties Inc. Carlos Alvarez, Audit Partner, KPMG Lorenzo DeCicco, Vice-President, TELUS Business Solutions Rob Hawley, Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Wellington Holbrook, Executive Vice-President, ATB Financial Phil Roberts, Director of BD & Marketing, Vintri Technologies Linda Shea, Senior Vice-President, AltaLink Mike Williams, Executive Vice-President, Corporate Services, Encana James Boettcher, Chief Idea Officer, Fiasco Gelato Brent Cooper, Partner, McLeod Law LLP Management Adam Legge – President and CEO Michael Andriescu – Director of Finance and Administration Kim Koss – Vice President, Business Development Scott Crockatt – Director of Marketing and Communications Rebecca Wood – Director of Member Services Justin Smith – Director of Policy, Research and Government Relations Leading Business magazine is a co-publication of the Calgary Chamber and Business in Calgary Calgary Chamber 600, 237 8th Avenue S.E. Calgary, Alberta T2G 5C3 Phone: (403) 750-0400 Fax: (403) 266-3413


ith the current economic conditions and tighter budgets, it is important now more than ever to hire the “right fit” employees for your company. Recruiting, hiring and onboarding a new employee costs your company thousands of dollars, hiring the wrong fit employee costs your company even more. Strong, effective and savvy leaders not only know how to recruit the right employees for their company, they know how to keep them. This month, Hamish Knox, Calgary Chamber member and executive trainer at Sandler Training, breaks down the top HR mistakes that he sees leaders struggle with, and tips on how to avoid them.

Recruiting Most recruiting within an organization happens because an employee leaves the organization, and a leader is desperate to fill that role. This often results in hiring someone who “looks good,” instead of the “best fit.” The leaders I work with are given a mantra, always be recruiting. I suggest that leaders interview at least two people per week, even if there are no open roles in their organization. By consistently recruiting, a leader builds a bench that they can turn to when turnover happens. This way of recruiting also opens leaders up to finding star performers who they can add to their team, even if a position isn’t open. I’ve also found that leaders may have a good idea of what a “best-fit” person looks like in their head, but often don’t articulate that idea on paper. For that reason, I work with leaders to implement the SEARCH model, the specific Skills, Experiences, Attitudes, Results, Cognitive Abilities and Habits, that a “best-fit” person would have to qualify for an interview. They then define which areas of that SEARCH model are non-negotiable, the areas a candidate should have and the areas that would be nice to have for a particular role. The purpose of a SEARCH model is so that a leader can give a stack of resumes to anyone in their company, and that individual could sort out who was eliminated from consideration, and who advanced to the next stage of that organization’s hiring process.

Interviewing Interviewing is a leader’s version of a sales call. Unfortunately, many leaders spend as much time as it takes to walk from their office to the interview room to prepare. Members of my leadership program estimated that the total cost of recruiting, onboarding and firing a bad-fit employee cost their organizations $75,000 to $300,000 and six to 12 months of their time. An effective tool that I teach to my leadership team is called an Up Front Contract. Before even bringing a candidate in to interview, outlining the agenda for the interview and discussing the full expectations of the role prevents there being surprises during the interview process. Taking the time to do this simple step allows both you, and the candidate, to better understand if the role is a good fit, and often helps to relieve some of the anxiety that a candidate feels during an interview.

100 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

Hamish Knox, Sandler Training. Photo credit Jager & Ko. Photography

Communication Human beings tend to communicate the way that they want to be communicated with. Leaders often don’t receive feedback that their communication style may not be connecting with their employees. Investing in a communication style survey for all employees and leaders provides helpful techniques on communicating with particular personality types. Several clients of mine have invested in the Extended DISC communication style survey for their entire company. Each employee, including senior leaders, posted their individual DISC styles on their doors. Now, when a person enters any office they are able to modify their communication based on that particular person’s style.

Performance Evaluations Performance evaluations tend to get squeezed in around other tasks and are often just a “checking the box” exercise. This sort of evaluation really does not open up any sort of meaningful conversation or development opportunities, and ends up being something neither the leader nor the

employee enjoys. In a properly implemented accountability program, performance reviews happen weekly, but with a more formal monthly or at least quarterly review. This style of performance review is beneficial for a leader and an employee to make sure both are on the same page regarding that employee’s performance and development. A good performance review also creates action items, timelines for implementation and consequences for inaction on both the leader’s and employee’s part. Executive Trainer, Hamish Knox opened his own Sandler Training centre four years ago. Sandler Training is the world’s largest leadership and sales development organization with trainers in 31 countries around the world. As a leading Executive Trainer, Hamish’s clients come to him to consult, coach and train the attitudes, behaviours and techniques related to leadership, human resources, front line customer care, interpersonal communication, pre-hire evaluations and sales. For more information on Hamish Knox and Sandler Training visit | BUSINESS IN CALGARY April 2015 • 101

Policy Bites

A climate conversation with the Hon. Kyle Fawcett

The Minister was encouraged by these recent developments, and discussed the active role that his team was playing with its international counterparts ...


t appears that 2015 is shaping up to be the year that major global economies are expected to reach some form of consensus on a framework to combat climate change and reduce global carbon emissions. Exactly what form this consensus takes, which states will actively participate, and whether this will be truly a global movement or governed at the provincial or regional level, are all open questions. But movements toward a more concerted policy response are clearly afoot. Closer to home, we wanted to check in with the Honourable Kyle Fawcett, Alberta’s minister of environment and sustainable development, to see what the provincial government’s outlook was on these developments, and give the newly-minted minister a sense of how the Calgary business community was feeling on these topics. On January 16, the Chamber was pleased to welcome Minister Fawcett as a guest speaker to the Chamber’s Environment and Natural Resources policy committee meeting. The minister was encouraged by these recent developments, and discussed the active role that his team was playing with its international counterparts to ensure that Alberta makes significant contributions to emissions management strategies. In discussing “Made in Alberta” strategies, the conversation focused squarely on Alberta’s Specified Gas Emitters Regulation (SGER) and potential amendments to this program that can be expected in 2015. Not known to many outside our province, the SGER was the first greenhouse gas pricing policy in Canada when it came into force in July of 2007 – a full year before a carbon tax was implemented in British Columbia, and several months before Quebec’s pricing scheme. Under this regime, major industrial emitters are required to reduce their emissions intensity (i.e. emissions per unit of production) by up to 12 per cent relative to an established baseline. They may do so in three principal ways: an industrial emitter can improve the efficiency of its performance reducing its emissions intensity, it may purchase credits from an Alberta-based offset proj102 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

ect, or pay into a technology fund at a rate of $15 per tonne of emissions. Since the program’s inception, emissions of CO2 have been reduced by more than 50 million tonnes. While the program was set to expire at the end of 2014, the government recently extended the SGER to the end of June 2015, in order to ensure a smooth transition from the current strategy to a new framework. Minister Fawcett explained that the government is currently exploring a range of options to address climate change in a meaningful way, and heard from the committee about the importance of an increased focus on carbon capture, storage technology and energy efficiency mechanisms to address the demand side of the equation. Despite what others may say, the minister ensured Alberta’s commitment, as an energy producing province, to meaningful emissions reductions strategies.

Chamber Member Spotlights The Calgary Chamber is proud to represent many Calgary businesses large and small; this month we are highlighting some of our industry leading members.

Hopewell Residential Management LP Hopewell Residential is the residential community development, multi-family and single-family homebuilding arm of the Hopewell Group of Companies. As an award-winning developer and homebuilder, Hopewell has built a 20-year legacy of distinctively stylish homes and inspiring communities across Alberta. Their industryleading developments create rich environments and lifestyles – resulting in a family of communities that retain their high value for generations. For more information visit

Thanks The Chamber thanks the following long standing member companies for their years of support to the Calgary Chamber, and their commitment to the growth and development of Calgary.

Member name

Calgary Catholic School District The Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) is a longtime supporter of the Calgary Chamber, and is celebrating 40 years of membership this month. CCSD is the largest Catholic school district in Alberta, serving over 52,000 students in 105 schools located in Calgary, Airdrie, Cochrane, Chestermere and Rocky View County. All Calgary Catholic schools offer a well-rounded, faith-based education in a supportive, inclusive and nurturing community to meet each child’s unique needs from kindergarten through Grade 12. For more information visit

Years as a member

Calgary Catholic School District


United Way of Calgary


Peterson Instruments


Accu-Search Inc




H.B.O.T. Clinics Inc


Mythical Endeavors Ltd. o/a Pleiades Massage & Spa


Sanjel Canada Ltd.


Cadence Coffee


Canada’s Best Value Inn


Canada’s Research- Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx & D)


Indian Business Corporation

Dominion Lending Centres


Since 1987, the Indian Business Corporation (IBC) has provided development lending and financial services to First Nations’ businesses and individuals across numerous sectors and disciplines in Western Canada. Industries include agriculture, heavy equipment and transportation, service and hospitality, mining, audio and visual, and oil and gas. IBC has helped fund 2,500 business or expansion ventures, contributed to 7,000 employment opportunities and loaned nearly $70 million dollars which has fostered opportunities for success and development in the Aboriginal community. For more information visit

Impact Canopies Canada Inc.


Landscape Irrigation Solutions Ltd.


QM Pro Inc.


R.S.Powley Management Consulting Ltd. 5 Roy Olsen & Co. Ltd

5 | BUSINESS IN CALGARY April 2015 • 103

Upcoming Events One of the most important aspects of business is making new connections and growing your network. Your Calgary Chamber helps you connect to other businesses, new customers and industry icons through networking and top-tier business events. Looking for networking opportunities? Join the Calgary Chamber for one of our weekly networking breakfasts, or our monthly Business After Hours networking events. For details and to purchase tickets for any of the Calgary Chamber’s events, please visit

Wednesday, April 15, 2015 Retaining and Engaging the Millennial Workforce 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Hyatt Regency Calgary - 700 Centre Street SE Is your company struggling to adapt and hang on to your company’s millennial employees? In 10 years millennials will make up 75 per cent of the workforce, and with the baby boomer generation continuing to retire in waves, matched with the current economic conditions, retaining and capitalizing on millennials is essential to your company’s organizational growth. This enlightening panel event, featuring speakers from the Emerging Leaders Network, and hosted by the Calgary Chamber in partnership with Gen Y Inc., will teach you everything you need to know to maximize the effectiveness and retain your company’s millennial workforce.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 Calgary Chamber AGM & Open House AGM 4:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Open House 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Calgary Chamber 600, 237 8th Avenue SE All Chamber members are invited to attend the AGM and will be entitled to vote at the meeting. Directly following the AGM, the Calgary Chamber will be holding an open house available to members and non-members. Join the Chamber team and board members for a glass of wine, light refreshments and a tour of our space.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 Small Business Day The Calgary Chamber’s Small Business Week platform started 32 years ago, and has grown into one of the largest celebrations in the country. To bring more awareness to the importance of small business in our city and to better support the small business community year round, the Calgary Chamber is introducing Small Business Day. This day which will take place six months before Small Business Week will offer ideas and resources to support small businesses in their growth and success. This event is also meant to celebrate the accomplishments and successes of our small business community, and help generate excitement for Small Business Week in October.

104 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

INTERNATIONAL BUDDHIST WOMEN’S CONVENTION COMING TO CALGARY IN MAY, 2015 The 2015 World Buddhist Women’s Convention will take place at the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre (CTCC) on May 30th and 31st, 2015. Calgary has been selected to host this international event with an expected 2,000 delegates in attendance. Bringing together members from the Buddhist community, the event will welcome many first time visitors to our city, region, and country. “Canada is very honored to be the host country in 2015”, says Susan Huntley, President of the Jobo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada Women’s Federation (JSBTCWF). “We are looking forward to welcoming the many delegates as well as having the opportunity to showcase the city of Calgary, as well as Canada”. The JSBTCWF is a volunteer based, non profit organization which is part of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada with its mother temple, the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, located in Kyoto, Japan. The convention has previously been held in Hawaii and Japan. The theme for this year’s convention is “Embraced by the Oneness of Life” and the representatives attending will be women and men of all ages from countries all over the world, including Canada, United States, Hawaii, Japan and Brazil. The events and seminars

will be offered in three languages: English, Japanese and Portuguese. The convention marks the culmination of a partnership between a local Calgary Champion, Susan Huntley, working with Meetings and Conventions Calgary (MCC) to bring the event to Calgary. The Calgary Champion program is a successful local initiative that brings event organizers, venue management, and local business partners together to plan, propose, and create events to be held in Calgary. “This is a truly wonderful convention for Calgary to host”, says Jennifer Attersall, Business Development Director. “MCC and our industry partners worked together to produce the winning bid which showcases how our Team Calgary approach is successful. We are confident that the event will be their best ever!” Large international conventions are the result of a long term planning schedule and MCC helped the organizer source a local event planner and to coordinate all of the necessary components. The event will bring together business partners throughout the city and will utilize a number of hotels in Calgary in addition to the CTCC site. The two day event will generate 1.3 million dollars in direct spending towards Calgary businesses. | | BUSINESS IN CALGARY April 2015 • 105

Connecting Calgary to the World


hat makes a city a “global city?” Is it a diverse population teeming with culture, rich in history or perhaps a centre of excellence on the world stage? Some people might interpret it as a city with a diverse economy, significantly supporting the country that surrounds it with the ability to attract business investment and people from around the world. When you stop and think about it, this is Calgary, in all aspects. Calgary Economic Development plays a crucial role in keeping Calgary on the global radar from a business and investment-attraction perspective. One approach is through the effort of trade missions. As an opportunity-maker, Calgary Economic Development helps spark and fuel the growth that has made Calgary an economic powerhouse and a leader in many sectors. Connecting people and opening doors for businesses in Calgary to develop sustainable trade and investment opportunities in foreign markets is an important role. Alecia Peters is business development manager, energy, for Calgary Economic Development. She has been a key leader at recent Calgary Economic Development-supported trade missions and understands the significance of building global relationships for Calgary. “Trade missions support the international expansion efforts of our local industry which means dollars coming back into our economy in the form of jobs and revenue creation,” says Peters. “Exposing local companies to international opportunities highlights our expertise beyond our borders and raises the profile of our region on the global stage.” Calgary Economic Development supports both outbound and inbound trade missions. Outbound missions involve taking companies abroad, with the economic benefit going back to the local Calgary economy as companies expand local operations to meet international client needs. Exporters have the opportunity to build their profile in foreign markets through networking, business-to-business meetings, opportunities to initiate deals and have access to economic and government decision-makers on the ground. “2011 was the first time we led a mission to China,” says Rachel Yin, business development manager, financial services. “It was also the first official visit for Calgary and 106 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s first mission. It was very successful because it went beyond economic development. It was about investment, trade and tourism with delegates from University of Calgary, Tourism Calgary, Travel Alberta and the private sector. It was a collaborative effort and really opened the door to opportunities in China.” Since 2011, Calgary Economic Development has participated, in a supportive role, in several other trade missions to China. This has included hosting a business delegation for an investment symposium with provincial government officials with an eventual result of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China opening for business in Calgary. Last month, Calgary Economic Development joined the Consider Canada City Alliance on an investment mission to China. Inbound trade missions are equally as important. Calgary Economic Development typically hosts 20 delegations from abroad a year. These groups are interested in trade of products/services, investing in Calgary-based companies, or establishing operations in Calgary. Attracting international companies strengthens the economy as a whole because world-leading companies raise the bar, bring new technologies and establish industry best practices. After two successful years, this year’s Stampede Investment Forum will run July 5-7, 2015. The focus of this major inbound mission is investment attraction with the objective to have companies establish presence in Alberta by opening an office and/or a facility. Calgary Economic Development, Government of Alberta and Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers will host 40 delegates representing international companies from around the world. Throughout the three-day program, they will learn about the tremendous business and investment opportunities that make Alberta and Calgary one of the most attractive places to invest in Canada and North America. They will gain insight from key government officials and private sector representatives from Alberta and abroad; about Alberta’s robust energy and environment sectors. With the current state of the economy it becomes even more important to strengthen our global reputation and search for opportunities that connect our great city to high potential markets around the world. One successful trade mission at a time.

The JUNO Awards are Returning to Calgary Calgary to host the 45th annual JUNO Awards in 2016 BY CASSANDRA MCAULEY


he exciting news that Calgary will host the 45th annual JUNO Awards and JUNO Week celebrations from March 28 – April 3, 2016 was recently announced. JUNO Week 2016 will bring the festivities back to Alberta following a community-based bid led by Tourism Calgary. The JUNO Awards are returning to Calgary after the outstanding success of the 2008 JUNO Awards, and this will be the city’s second time hosting Canada’s music awards. “Calgary’s unparalleled enthusiasm and famous hospitality make it the ultimate host for Canada’s music awards,” says Allan Reid, president and CEO, CARAS and the JUNO Awards. “The city’s musical talent and passionate fans have only heightened the success of Canadian music and we are excited for what’s in store when we return in 2016 to celebrate the 45th annual JUNO Awards.” “I’m thrilled Calgarians will once again be hosting the JUNO Awards,” says Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “This is a tremendous opportunity for Calgary and our music and culture scene.” “We’re delighted that the JUNO Awards will be returning to Calgary for the first time in eight years,” says Cindy Ady,

CEO of Tourism Calgary. “2016 will be a great year for music in Calgary as we highlight Canada’s best musical talents during JUNO Week, followed by the opening of the highly anticipated National Music Centre later in the year.” From 2007 to 2014, the JUNO Awards have created a total economic impact of almost $88 million, including $11.3 million for the 2008 JUNO Awards in Calgary, $14 million for the JUNO Awards in Toronto and $10 million for the 2013 JUNO Awards in Regina. The 2016 JUNO Awards host committee, comprised of local community leaders, will be led by Tourism Calgary vice president of sales, sport and major events, Marco De Iaco. The committee will be responsible for executing the festivities in Calgary, including recruiting hundreds of volunteers required to ensure the success of the event. The 2015 JUNO Awards were broadcast from Hamilton on March 15. For more information about the JUNO Awards, visit www. To learn more about Tourism Calgary, visit | BUSINESS IN CALGARY April 2015 • 107

MEDi the Robot ®

Photo Courtesy: RxRobots



ne of the reasons children don’t get vaccinated is due to fear and anxiety associated with the pain involved in the procedure. Research completed at the University of Calgary has a method shown to decrease pain associated with vaccinations by 50 per cent while increasing vaccination rates by 10 per cent. This method is a robot called MEDi®, developed by Dr. Tanya Beran, professor, community health sciences, University of Calgary, and her company, RxRobots. RxRobots is based in Calgary and is developed to have worldwide applications. “Our company builds applications for robots to interact with children while they are having painful medical procedures done, such as vaccinations and blood tests,” says Beran. “What these applications do is tell MEDi® how to behave and talk with children, in order to distract them from the needle, the bandage, whatever is involved in the procedure. MEDi® also coaches them, using the cognitive behaviour interventions that we know from research work.” Beran says these may include role modelling, or demonstrating the behaviours for the children to learn. “Children tend to follow and interact quite intensely with the robot. It’s unusual to have a robot in a medical setting and so right there we capture the child’s attention. It helps bring their anxiety, distress, fear and pain down to a lower level. Pain is a complex kind of sensation. There might be the physical sensation of pain but there is also the psychological interpretation of pain, so children may fear having pain, even when they don’t have pain. MEDi® is there to address the fear as much as the actual sensation of pain and the anxiety around it.” To date, randomized clinical trials have been conducted for blood tests and vaccinations. Results show that not only was children’s pain decreased by 50 per cent, but vaccination rates were increased by 10 per cent. If one robot can decrease the pain children are experiencing and increase the rate of vaccinations, it’s exciting to think about the other applications MEDi® could have. “With MEDi® children became more cooperative during the procedure. There were children who first attempted vaccination under standard care but couldn’t be vaccinated,” explains Beran. “They were kicking, punching and biting the mom and the nurse who were trying to hold them down

108 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

Children who interact with MEDi® during medical procedures experience 50 per cent less pain and distress than children without MEDi®.

and do the procedure. They would become so agitated that the nurses were unable to safely vaccinate them. The nurses then asked them if they could be vaccinated with MEDi®, and all of them agreed.” The applications for MEDi® have many possibilities, with three areas already identified: pain coach, educator, and companion. “We think MEDi® has applications to ease and comfort children during any experience that they are having at the hospital and in other settings such as the dentist’s office; from X-rays to needle procedures, there is almost no limit to the possibilities.” Beran has worked with the entrepreneurial development team at Innovate Calgary to develop a business model and attract international support through extensive pitch coaching. She has received acclaim at the W21C Innovation Academy and was invited to present in Geneva at World Innovation Day for Innovation in Health where she won third prize. Innovate Calgary’s intellectual property management team managed the transfer of the technology for MEDi® to RxRobots through its new express assignment agreement. “We recently attended CES 2015 where RxRobots made it into the Business Analyst top 10,” says Mark Williams, Innovate Calgary entrepreneur-in-residence and RxRobots president and CEO. “We have big plans for this company. We are currently working to bring MEDi® to the United States but it won’t stop there; MEDi® speaks 20 languages and can be programmed to work for specific cultures.” MEDi® currently resides at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. They are using four robots that will serve as a support for the child patient, ensuring a more positive experience. To learn more about MEDi®, visit To learn more about Innovate Calgary and how it supports new and emerging technology, visit




MarketingMatters • David Parker

MarketingMatters ••••••••••••••



rent Burton, creative director at WAX, was hoping for some nicer New York weather when he travelled to the Big Apple recently as one of four Canadians selected to be on the jury for the 2015 One Show Awards that recognize and promote excellence in advertising. A good start to Burton’s year as he was also interviewed in a recent issue of India-based Outdoor Asia magazine on the affect the digital world will make on outdoor advertising. I say, “Long live billboards.” For the third year WAX was responsible for the Schmancy Awards, the Glenbow Museum’s annual fundraiser, and is currently working to raise funds for the Museum of Contemporary Art through Look 2015. •••••••••••••• Zahra Al-Harazi speaks five languages which must help when the CEO and creative director of Foundry Communications is travelling. And she travels a lot. After a long-awaited holiday in the Cayman Islands she was off to Amsterdam to visit with a new client selling its centrifugal separators to build its North American brand to the Calgary and Houston markets. Then it was off to London, U.K., as a new Canadian ambassador for UNICEF and back in April to present the first draft of her book on leadership and personal development to HarperCollins. And she finds the time to sit on a committee of the Information Technology A ssociation o f C anada.

Alive with street traffic, pubs, restaurants and four coffee shops within a stone’s throw has made the move of Tag Advertising to trendy 4th Street SW a clear winner for the Tag team, captained by owner and creative lead Todd Sloane. And they are also celebrating a great start to 2015 with additions to the client roster as well as new team members to handle the work. They are helping Vintage Restaurant Group to develop some of the branding of its new projects – the Butcher and the Baker and Township Bar and Grill; Downtown Food in branding its KillerBuzz local beer; XSENSOR, an international player in sensor technology; and a new marketing approach for the Edge School. •••••••••••••• Woodruff Sweitzer has teamed up with Canadian Lentils to roll out the Restaurant Challenge across Canada. During the month of June diners will be offered new dishes using lentils to bring awareness to Canadian Lentils and how healthy, nutritious and tasty they can be in any cuisine. Diners can win valuable prizes and participating restaurants will be rewarded for the best dish based on online votes. Susan Groeneveld, director of strategic planning at Woodruff Sweitzer, says the project is a great win for the agency that will provide tactics varying from digital executions including site and social media to in-restaurant and beyond. •••••••••••••• We’ve enjoyed a remarkably mild winter but fortunately just to the north of us it has been quite normal. A blessing for Corkscrew Media that was shooting its Ice Racer Showdown on Red Deer Lake that had contestants

110 • April 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

driving standard Dodge Neons over the frozen surface. A crew of 55 people were on hand during the frigid weather that will provide 12 one-hour episodes to be shown on CMT this fall. Other Corkscrew production units were in Mexico shooting six highlight reels f or W estJet V acations. •••••••••••••• Sheila Witt has left Pattison Outdoor where she was a senior account executive to join Twist Marketing as account services manager. She has nearly 20 years of media experience in all aspects of television production, radio and print as well as out-of-home advertising; she holds a communication and media studies/ radio and television arts diploma from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. Witt will service Twist’s regional and national clients from the Calgary office. •••••••••••••• Jump Studios has been awarded another international assignment with Mentor Europe, based out of Reading, England. The Calgary team has been asked to create a thought-provoking video to recognize the steps that can lead to a poorly executed change management program using a hybrid style of illustration, animation and typography to convey a straightforward, critical business message.

Parker’s Pick: Can’t wait to see The River, a new 3D stop-motion animation short film by Bleeding Art Industries to the Arrogant Worms song River of Snot.

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Bow Valley College is at the forefront of online education, bringing career programs to learners throughout Alberta. Soon, some of our programs will be available worldwide, allowing learners in places like China to gain the knowledge and skills they need to come to Canada and help our economy grow.

BIC April 2015  
BIC April 2015