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Volume 24 • Number 2


Pat Ottmann & Tim Ottmann


John Hardy

On our cover…


Lisa Johnston & Nikki Mullett

JASA Economic Futures Council members David O’Brien and Todd Poland


Cher Compton


February 2014 $3.50


Nancy Bielecki Kim Hogan


Jessi Evetts

Richard Bronstein Frank Atkins David Parker Lonnie Tate Mary Savage

THIS ISSUE’S CONTRIBUTORS Heather Ramsay Stewart McDonough Andrea Mendizabal Parker Grant Nerissa McNaughton Colleen Wallace


Cover photo courtesy of Ewan Nicholson Photography Inc.


Kerri McMahon Renee Neil Bobbi Joan O’Neil Evelyn Dehner

1025, 101 6th Ave. SW Calgary, AB T2P 3P4 Tel: (403) 264-3270/Fax: (403) 264-3276 Email:



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Paying It


COVER 31 • Paying It Forward

Junior Achievement boosters David O’Brien and Todd Poland motivate Calgary students and inspire the workforce of tomorrow By John Hardy

Find us online! Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to circulation dept. 1025 101 6th Ave. SW Calgary, AB T2P 3P4 6 • February 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | @BusinessinYYC


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Volume 24 • Number 2

THIS MONTH’S FEATURES 22 • Investing in 2014

Three of Calgary’s advisers show us how savvy investors make money work By Nerissa McNaughton

38 • The ROI on MBAs

MBAs are becoming a basic requirement, particularly for certain levels of management By John Hardy

43 • The Season of Professional Style

Always dress for the job you want, not the job you have By Colleen Wallace

50 • The Green Momentum

The industry is doing a lot better than it gets credit for By Parker Grant

54 • Money Matters


Five years later, Canadians are starting to shake off the shock of 2008 and 2009 and find a sense of optimism in the economy and longer term financial planning. By Heather Ramsay

58 • The Big Business of Calgary Meetings and Conventions The guesstimated value of an out-of-town delegate is more than $330 per overnight stay By John Hardy

70 • Real Estate Update

Alberta to maintain the lead. Experts anticipate that the province will outperform in national housing this year. By Heather Ramsay


COMPANY PROFILES 71 • John Haddon Design

Designing a Lifelong Passion…John Haddon Design celebrates 30 years

77 • Q’Max Solutions Inc. 20th Anniversary

81 • NGC Compression Solutions Celebrates 10 Years

REGULAR COLUMNS 10 • Return of the Storytellers By Richard Bronstein

12 • The Mayor and the Myths By Frank Atkins

14 • U.S. Real Estate Market By Lonnie Tate

85 • Leading Business 89 • The Calgary Report

Current developments for Calgary Telus Convention Centre, Tourism Calgary, Calgary Economic Development, and Innovate Calgary

94 • Marketing Matters By David Parker

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Return of the Storytellers • Richard Bronstein


Return of the Storytellers


n March this year, the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission will hold a “national event” in Edmonton. Later this year, the final such national event will take place in Ottawa and thus draw to a close the formal process that was begun in the nation’s capital on June 2, 2008. The purpose of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was to get at the truth of what happened to native children, and their families, during the Indian residential school system that operated in Canada following the passage of the Indian Act in 1876 until the last school closed in 1996. Christian churches, mainly the Catholic Church of Canada and the Anglican Church of Canada, ran most of the schools. The best estimate is that 150,000 First Nations children attended these schools. There are said to be about 80,000 aboriginal survivors alive today who attended these schools. Did I say attended? The majority of native children attended day schools on reserve. But many First Nations communities did not have their own schools so the government made it mandatory that they go to residential schools – in other words they were forced to attend. These children were often forcibly removed from their families, taken to locations hundreds of miles from home, making visits by family members impossible. Their residences were often crude and the food and customs totally strange. They were barred from speaking their ancestral languages, depriving them of their culture. Many were exposed to physical and sexual abuse at the hands of staff. Medical care was often lacking so many children suffered serious illnesses. Many died of tuberculosis because of poor housing and malnutrition. Fires claimed some lives because the children were often locked in their rooms to prevent them from escaping. In a recent interim report, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has determined that more than 4,000 of these schoolchildren died while in the residential school system. But that number is sure to increase as commission researchers continue to pour over thousands of more documents at Library and Archives Canada, as well as provincial records and files from churches. If these facts aren’t shameful enough, there is the added 10 • February 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

insult that many died and were disposed of in anonymity. A unit of the commission has established “The Missing Children Project” to document the names of those who died and where they were buried. After years of trying to draw attention to this genocide, First Nations finally launched a class action suit against the federal government and the churches. The churches involved escaped responsibility for their actions because they pleaded the legal process would bankrupt them. But the federal government did step in and offered a system of cash compensation in 2008 for those who suffered abuse in the residential school system. Also in 2008 Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued an official apology for the actions of previous federal governments. As part of the settlement, Harper’s government agreed to set up the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which is chaired by Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair of the Court of Queen’s Bench and the first aboriginal judge in Manitoba. The purpose of the commission is to create a truthful historical record of what happened when the residential school system was in place and to open the possibility of reconciliation. I’m not sure how successful we will be on the reconciliation part, but acknowledging the truth is more than half the battle. I once met a refugee from Africa who spent some of his youth as a child soldier and I’ll never forget when he said, “Being able to tell your story is the first step from being a victim to being a survivor.” I relate to that personally because as a child of Holocaust survivors I can vouch that not a day goes by when I don’t think about the horrors my parents went through. It was also brought home when my daughter served as a research assistant for anthropology Professor Ronald Niezen of McGill University during the first national event of the commission in Winnipeg in 2010. I am also reminded of a quote by Métis leader Louis Riel: “My people will sleep for one hundred years, but when they awake, it will be the artists who give them their spirit back.” After 200 years of being muted by our society, First Nations storytellers are gaining their voice again. We will all gain by that in ways we don’t even understand yet. BiC




Wood Automotive Group:

Okotoks Ford Lincoln


The new and improved Okotoks Ford Lincoln is open and ready for business.


here is much to be said about hard work, dedication, genuine service and a passion to continually improve. Over the past 30 years, the Wood Automotive Group has been synonymous with those traits and is pleased to announce the most recent addition to the group – the opening of the new Okotoks Ford Lincoln. Having been a cornerstone in Okotoks for many years, the business had quickly outgrown its existing location and last year the timing was right to expand. The team is very proud of the new building which features 34,000 square feet, thoughtful design, integrated technology throughout and designated space for community use. Gerry Wood, president of Wood Automotive Group; and Frank Allen, general manager of Okotoks Ford Lincoln. “We wanted to ensure that we did our due diligence for this building. We have always been dedicated to providing the best products, With the most leading edge technology and resources service and experiences for our customers. We are very available, our custom shop has quickly become the envy pleased with the new building and the state-of-the-art of some,” says Frank Allen, general manager of Okotoks technologies it features,” explains Gerry Wood, president Ford Lincoln. of the Wood Automotive Group. “It was also very imporWhile Okotoks Ford Lincoln provides small-town tant that we included space for community use. We have appeal, it also offers access to the other dealerships within always believed in the importance of giving back.” the group. “With over $25 million of new and $5 million In addition to the community space on the second of used inventory, we can find exactly what our customfloor (which includes a meeting lounge, boardroom and ers are looking for. We have a very dedicated team of kitchen), the facility boasts a bright and open showemployees, many of which have been with us for years. room (with iPads at each vehicle featuring specifications, Ongoing business and referrals are the greatest complioptions and pricing), indoor service drive-thru bays for ment any business can receive,” says Mr. Wood. up to eight vehicles simultaneously (showcasing advanced In addition to the construction of the new building in alignment quick-check machines), two indoor delivery the heart of Okotoks, the former building has been combays, customer lounge, parts and service centre, office pletely renovated and is now the “Okotoks Quick Lane” spaces, and an innovative and spacious shop for mechani(tire and auto centre). The first of its kind in Canada, this cal service, auto body work and more. new business division will offer oil changes, tires, servic“Quality and convenience are paramount. That is why ing and detailing to all makes and models. we have created a truly one-stop shop for our customers. Gerry Wood is truly proud and humbled by the new We have streamlined the entire process to ensure greater ventures and his entire team. “The growth and success efficiencies and quality of service. Our customers can be of our business is the direct result of the hard work and confident that their vehicle is being serviced properly and dedication of many people. We’re excited to open our new by some of the most skilled individuals in the industry. doors to our customers and the greater community.” “Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.” ~ Henry Ford

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The Mayor and the Myths • Frank Atkins



n September of 2007 I wrote an article in this magazine titled “The Myth of Affordable Housing.” As a result, I received a great deal of angry response from the progressive end of the political spectrum. However, I still stand by my original point: there is no such thing as affordable housing; this is just a euphemism for subsidized housing. This is more than just a semantic point, especially given Mayor Nenshi’s stated number one priority for 2014. Mr. Nenshi has stated that he would like to find a way to deal with what he calls the affordable housing crisis. In listening to the mayor discuss this issue, I get the impression that the callous builders in Calgary are not building enough affordable housing. Now, if we called it subsidized housing, then we would all realize that in order to build more subsidized housing, we would require more subsidies. These would have to come from taxpayers, and this would imply higher taxes for higher subsidies to build more subsidized housing. The mayor wants it both ways; he does not want to talk higher taxes, but he wants to spend more taxpayer money. Some of this subsidized housing seems to be aimed at individuals who come here to seek employment. In a news story on January 2, 2014, 660News stated, “Economists have

The Mayor and the Myths

warned a lack of affordable housing could stifle the parade of jobseekers to the city; workers which are needed to help grow the economy.” The economists remained unnamed in this story. However, this appears to be an odd thing for any economist to say. Why should taxpayers subsidize housing for those who are coming here to seek employment? If employers are in need of new employees, and individuals are reluctant to move here due to the cost of housing, then there is a perfectly viable market solution: those in need of new employees should raise their wage rates so that new employees can afford to live here. Interestingly, this should reduce the oil and gas profits and make anti-oil progressives like Mr. Nenshi very happy. This leads to a further myth. If you read Jason Markusoff’s year-end interview with Mr. Nenshi, you will discover the following set of contradictions. (I am not attributing these contradictions to Mr. Markusoff, but rather to Mr. Nenshi.) Mr. Markusoff states, “Without major civic tax reform, city council will struggle to shift away from annual five per cent tax increases in its next multi-year budget, Mayor Naheed Nenshi indicated in a year-end interview.” He then goes on to state that Mr. Nenshi will, “…continue pushing in 2014 for a city

12 • February 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

charter that gives Calgary new revenue-generating powers….” So, instead of raising property taxes, Mr. Nenshi wants other taxing powers so that he can raise taxes in another manner. Now, there are economic arguments concerning the inefficiencies associated with reliance on property taxes, but does anyone really think that the granting of new taxing powers to the city will be accompanied by a lowering of property taxes. Anyone who believes this will also believe that any introduction of a provincial sales tax in Alberta will be accompanied by a decrease in income tax. What I think that Mr. Nenshi knows but will not admit is that running a progressive administration is very expensive. No government has any money that can be called their own; it all comes from taxpayers. Therefore, progressive administrations require higher taxes. To not admit this openly is to engage in political doublespeak. BiC


U.S. Real Estate Market • Lonnie Tate


U.S. Real Estate Market


ere (as the Americans say) is some “breaking news”: U.S. vacation property sales prices are flat. That news is somewhat different than the hype I read in the press. So, if you are thinking about a second home in the warm parts of the U.S., consider the facts in my Palm Springs community. Some background: My wife and I have a condominium at The Desert Princess in Cathedral City and we love it. It is a middle-class, gated community with a high-end finish and a good members’ golf course. There are almost 1,100 units: about 700 condominiums (for the most part two and three bedrooms averaging 1,275 square feet) and about 400 stand-alone villas (two and three bedrooms averaging 1,650 square feet). The community’s December issue of its news magazine carried an analysis of Multiple Listing Sales for the past 10 years. Cutting through a sack full of numbers, here is my synopsis: • There was a steady decline in prices from 2007 to 2012; • Average and median prices for 2013 were slightly higher than those for 2012 but the increase was not statistically significant; • Sales volumes (in all categories) for the 10 months ended October 31, 2013, were almost double those of each of the preceding three years; • Average and median sales prices in 2013 are about one third less than those realized in 2007 when sales volumes were about the same; and • In the interest of full disclosure, we bought in 2007 for about US$230,000. Our three-bedroom, 1,325-squarefoot condo would fetch $150,000 … we are bang on the averages. I draw a number of conclusions from these facts and some other anecdotal knowledge. This is not my definition of a recovery. Sale prices seem to have bottomed. Every time there is a little increase in some part of the market, the press in this valley goes crazy announcing a real estate boom. It just ain’t so!

14 • February 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

Resale inventories are shrinking. In addition to MLS sales, there have been a lot of bank foreclosure sales in the last 18 months. Generally, they sell for less than MLS listings and there is no way of telling how many have sold. There is still a fairly significant inventory of resale houses. But for a surge to take place, there has to be demand … and I think there is not much of that. This valley is a golf Mecca and has 130 golf courses – all are struggling as they compete for fewer and fewer golfers. Private course entry fees are nosediving and public and semi-private green fee prices continue to deteriorate. The decline in golf is causing weakness in this housing market. More anecdotal stuff: In the desert, my wife and I have a lot of golf buddies, bridge partners, dining friends and so on. Over the past two years, perhaps a dozen have had their units up for sale and not sold. We hear: “My price is fair, I’m waiting for my price, the market is coming to me … whatever. They are not getting any traffic through their places because their asking price is too high. Buyers, too, are prepared to wait for their price and sooner or later, those high-priced guys come to their senses. In the interim, most owners rent their places for the winter season and cover operating costs and some of their mortgage interest. Did I say mortgage interest? You bet! We know and/or meet all kinds of people who have mortgages on two or three properties and are moonlighting, or consulting or working two jobs to make ends meet. It is the American way – they are driven by interest deductibility for income tax purposes. In defining differences between the U.S. and the Canadian owners, I have a rule of 90 per cent: 90 per cent of U.S. owners have mortgages, 90 per cent of Canadians don’t. So there are a fair number of “motivated” sellers. If you find one of these folks, there is some leverage in favour of a buyer because the spouse of the seller is fed up with feeding several mortgages. To conclude, I think the time to buy has come … but there is no need to rush. The market has bottomed but is unlikely to rocket forward any time soon. If you take care, there are still a lot of good deals out there. BiC

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News • Off the Top

The Calgary Public Library Welcomes New CEO Bill Ptacek’s tenure commences February 2014 The Calgary Public Library is very pleased to announce that Bill Ptacek (pronounced puh-TASS-ic) has been appointed CEO effective February 2014. Ptacek joins the library from King County Library System in western Washington state, where his leadership and advocacy skills have played a critical role in the success of the KCLS system. He was selected as the Calgary Public Library’s CEO after an extensive search by the Calgary Public Library Board with assistance from executive recruitment firm Odgers Berndtson. The Library CEO position has been led on an interim basis by Ellen Humphrey since August 2012. During his 25-year tenure, Ptacek’s vision and tireless efforts kept KCLS in the forefront of public libraries nationally for technology and collection management, including upgrades to computer-based collection management, data and materials handling systems, public computer access, administration and library staffing models. Under Ptacek’s leadership, KCLS has seen unprecedented growth as King County experienced economic and population growth, and local municipalities voted to join the KCLS network, which operated 36 community libraries in 1990, with annual circulation above nine million items. Voter-approved capital improvement bond measures (passed in 1988 and 2004) funded new, replacement and expanded libraries, adding nearly 515,000 square feet of library space, and annual circulation grew to more than 22 million items. The news of Ptacek’s acceptance marks the completion of an extensive stakeholder and community consultation process and an international search for the Calgary Public Library. “In selecting Mr. Ptacek, the Calgary Public Library Board is assured that we have selected a strong advocate and champion for the Calgary Public

Bill Ptacek, newly appointed CEO of the Calgary Public Library

Library,” says Calgary Public Library Board chair Janet Hutchinson, “whose unique range of industry experience, significant exposure to working with

as library director in King County, including serving on the King County Board for Developmental Disabilities and the State of Washington Developmental Disabilities Life; the King County Governance Task Force; the Opportunity Trust Fund Endowment; KCTS Public Television Advisory Board; the University of Washington at Bothell Advisory Board; and the City of Bellevue Arts Commission. Under his leadership, KCLS was the Library Journal’s “Library of the Year” in 2011 and the Seattle Municipal League’s “Outstanding Civic Organization” in 2012. The Calgary Public Library is one of the largest public library systems in North America and the second largest public library system in Canada that leads the way in literacy development and fostering a lifelong love of reading. Calgarians visit the library’s 18 branches to borrow books, DVDs, e-resources and other materials more

The news of Ptacek’s acceptance marks the completion of an extensive stakeholder and community consultation process and an international search for the Calgary Public Library.

boards and government, and strong leadership of larger, more complex organizations will not only continue our history of service excellence, but also will nurture and advance the system.” Ptacek has served in leading roles in a number of local and statewide organizations prior to his role

16 • February 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

than 17 million times a year. The Calgary Public Library’s digital collection is also one of the most comprehensive in the country, which includes digital newspaper and magazine subscriptions, ebooks, online music streaming, language learning apps and interactive continuing education courses. BiC

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News • Off the Top


Bow Valley College Received Early Christmas Gift from RBC Christmas came early for Bow Valley College (BVC) thanks to RBC’s generous donation of $250,000, which will go towards the establishment of the RBC Business Accelerator Centre in Bow Valley College’s School of Business. For many entrepreneurs, creating and sustaining a unique, profitable business is daunting. However, the RBC Business Accelerator Centre aims to overcome those barriers by providing entrepreneurs with the essential foundational skills needed for business development, financial management and other key aspects of developing and operating a business. “We saw an opportunity to address a need by focusing the RBC Business Accelerator Centre on community-based entrepreneurship,” says Bow Valley College president and Bow Valley College’s School of Business. Photo courtesy of Bow Valley College. CEO Sharon Carry. “This form of entreprethrough the provision of resources, instruction, coaching neurship is already a unique strength of the college. With and mentorship. this generous support from RBC, we are ready to develop “At RBC, we believe an investment in education is one new entrepreneurs.” of the most important ways we can give back,” says Bruce The RBC Business Accelerator Centre will promote susMacKenzie, regional president, RBC Royal Bank. “Through tainability in an enriching and collaborative environment



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News • Off the Top

this donation, we are investing in the next generation of business leaders, and the growth and sustainability of the communities in which we live and work.” The centre will also provide feedback and assessment of proposals, training and skills development, and post-program followup with successful applicants. Students will spend 10 weeks in the classroom, 14 weeks developing their projects, and then six months implementing their plans. BVC’s goal is for participants to achieve an 80 per cent success rate in starting their own business, within six months of completing the program. Upon completion of the program, and implementation of the business, the graduates will be encouraged to continue to participate in events hosted by the Bow Valley College School of Business and to continue to use the resources offered through the centre. Bow Valley College School of Business dean David Allwright is excited about the opportunity that the RBC Business Accelerator Centre will bring: “This generous gift from RBC will support the college’s vision of developing and supporting community-based entrepreneurship. We look forward to our first intake of students at the RBC Business Accelerator Centre, and helping many future graduates of the program realize their dream of creating and running their own business.” BiC

Winner of the Business in Calgary Ipsos survey draw Donation made to Hull Services

John Phin, Director, Resource Development, Hull Services (left), accepts the donation cheque from Sabrina Szeto (right), winner of the Ipsos survey draw held in the fall of 2013.

Ipsos Reid recently conducted a survey among Business in Calgary readers to gain insights on what readers like about our magazine. We want to thank all survey participants for sharing their feedback. Participant Sabrina Szeto was randomly selected as our prize winner, and she graciously donated her winnings to Hull Services ($1,500 prize). BiC

Call Melissa: 403.478.5459 Email: 20 • February 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

Investing in 2014 • Investing

Investing in

2014 Three of Calgary’s advisers show us how savvy investors make money work BY NERISSA MCNAUGHTON


he only constant is change, and that is very true in the world of wealth management. These days we have many options on how to save, grow and invest our money. Three of Calgary’s investment advisers show us how to make our money work in 2014.

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Investing in 2014 • Investing

Are Stocks, Bonds and Mutual Funds still Popular Investing Options? Rob Greenidge, CFP, investment and retirement planner with RBC Financial Planning, says, “Mutual funds, stocks and bonds are all very popular and important investment options, especially with the low interest rate environment that we’re currently in. To maintain purchasing power over the long term, investments

should offer returns at least as much as the rate of inflation, which is why mutual funds, stocks and bonds are crucial for long-term investors. They can offer returns well above interest rates available on savings accounts and Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) for long-term investors with appropriate tolerances for risk.”

“To maintain purchasing power over the long term, investments should offer returns at least as much as the rate of inflation, which is why mutual funds, stocks and bonds are crucial Rob Greenidge, CFP, CIM, Investment & Retirement Planner, RBC Financial Planning

for long-term investors.” ~ Rob Greenidge

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Investing in 2014 • Investing

Warren Andrukow, MBA, CIM, director/wealth management/portfolio manager with Andrukow Wealth Management Group (Richardson GMP), agrees with Greenidge, but issues a caution. “Stocks and bonds have been popular and effective investment options for over a century, and will be for the foreseeable future. Mutual funds are also very popular (the U.S.

mutual fund industry weighs in at over $11 trillion), but investors need to be careful which ones they choose for their retirement savings as there are plenty of ‘good’ mutual funds to choose from, but unfortunately there are even more ‘bad’ ones. Examples of bad ones include those with high costs, low transparency and an investment strategy based on forecasting.”

“…investors need to be careful which ones they choose for their retirement savings as there are plenty of ‘good’ mutual funds to choose from, but unfortunately there are even more Warren Andrukow, MBA, CIM®: Director, Wealth Management, Richardson GMP Limited.

‘bad’ ones. Examples of bad ones include those with high costs, low transparency and an investment strategy based on forecasting.” ~ Warren Andrukow

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Investing in 2014 • Investing

Founder of Integrated Wealth Management Inc., Andrew H. Ruhland, CFP, CIM, says, “All three [stocks, bonds, mutual funds] are still popular, though exchange traded funds (ETFs) are rapidly eroding the market share of mutual funds based on Canadian fund fees being the highest in the world. Long-term government bonds are far

less attractive now based on a highly probable continuation of rising interest rates. Shorter-term corporate bonds are more attractive than government bonds based on relatively higher yields, and the fact that most corporations are in better financial shape than governments. Despite the challenging global economy, stocks continue to do well.”

“All three [stocks, bonds, mutual funds] are still popular, though exchange traded funds (ETFs) are rapidly eroding the market share of mutual funds based on Canadian fund fees being the highest in the world.”

Andrew H. Ruhland, CFP, CIM; Founder of Integrated Wealth Management Inc.

~ Andrew H. Ruhland

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Investing in 2014 • Investing

What Other Options Should Today’s Investors Look Into? Interestingly enough, not only does the answer to this question involve types of investing, but also the physical method used for the transactions. Greenidge explains, “Investors may want to look at managing their own investments through an online brokerage, like RBC Direct Investing, where they pay low transaction costs. These clients have shown a lot of interest in low-fee investments such as ETFs.” Ruhland also sees ETFs as a good option for self-managed funds. “ETFs are rapidly growing in popularity among selfdirected investors, but most Canadian financial advisers are |


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slow to fully embrace them simply because ETFs don’t pay advisers a regular trailer fee unless the client pays a separate fee for active management and the other wealth management services that most clients need. Transparency of fees is essential so that investors can always decide if they are receiving good value for what they’re paying.” “One of the best investment options in the Canadian marketplace is from a company by the name of Dimensional,” informs Andrukow. “Very few Canadian investors know of Dimensional, even though it is the eighth largest mutual fund company in the U.S. [A] recent edition of Barron’s magazine has a cover story which describes Dimensional as a market beater even though the firm believes it’s hard to beat the market and impossible to do it consistently. Savvy investors, or any investor for that matter, would be wise to learn more about this company and their investment strategy. In the interPROJECTS | est of full disclosure, we prescribe Dimensional investment vehicles across our entire client base as a core investment holding. The five-year returns for Dimensional’s Canadian, U.S. and international core funds have been excellent: 13.18 per cent, 15.49 per cent, and 9.86 per cent respectively.”

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“Everyone is different,” says Greenidge, “so before deciding on an investment strategy, it’s important to define your goals through some sort of financial planning process and then build an investment strategy with that in mind. Younger investors who are simply saving for retirement have the ability to be more aggressive with their investments because they have longer time horizons and can take the ups and downs that go along with a higherrisk investment strategy. Those with

Investing in 2014 • Investing

Is waiting for your near-term goals, such as making a down payment on new property, or who are near or are in retirement, may want to be less aggressive with the focus being preservation of capital and income.” For Andrukow, a sound 2014 strategy is based on seven ingredients. They are: • Evidence-based (as opposed to forecasts) • Cost effective (as opposed to high-cost mutual funds and hedge funds that have annual fees of two per cent to three per cent, or more) • Low turnover (decreases taxes owing and increases net returns) • Global diversification (don’t put all your eggs in one basket!) • Value-weighted (value stocks offer higher returns over the long term) • Small-cap inclusion (most investors only buy large companies and forfeit the benefit of increased diversification by owning large and small, not to mention the fact that small stocks consistently outperform large stocks) • Transparency (“This is one of the reasons we [Andrukow Wealth Management Group] never buy hedge funds for our clients – hedge funds offer zero transparency.”)

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Ruhland advises, “For most investors seeking a balance of growth and income with relative stability, I suggest a blend of: cash, 1-3 year high-quality corporate bonds, U.S. and Canadian blue-chip dividend paying stocks, gold and silver bullion ETFs and precious metal-related ETFs … but only after gold does its final swan dive in the next couple months. The relative weighting of each asset class depends on individual risk tolerance, time horizon and where the markets are at any given time. Markets are dynamic so your investment strategy needs to be too.”

Additional Advice

To conclude, each adviser provided a final pearl of wisdom.

Greenidge: “Because of compound growth, the sooner you can begin investing the better. Someone who begins investing as little as $25/month in an RRSP at the age of 25 will accumulate $65,620 by the age of 65, whereas someone who starts investing at 35 and puts $50/month into an RRSP would only accumulate $60,999 by the same age. Both scenarios assume a seven per cent rate of return.” Andrukow: “We continually educate our clients so that we can help them make good investment decisions, and equally important, so that we can help them avoid making the common investment mistakes. We consistently remind our clients of these common pitfalls, which have been concisely outlined in the following list, created by a long-standing industry professional, Nick Murray:” The Eight Great Behavioural Mistakes: • Over-diversification • Under-diversification • Euphoria • Panic • Leverage • Speculating when you still think you’re investing • Investing for current yield instead of for total return • Letting your cost basis dictate your investment decisions Ruhland: “All investing needs to meet the following criteria: 1) Be consistent with your values, beliefs and priorities for your life. 2) Be consistent with your TRUE risk tolerance – which is fluid, not fixed. 3) Be sufficiently focused on growth so that your portfolio will actually help you achieve your life goals. 4) Be fluid and dynamic, adjusting to the changing realities of all markets. Passive ‘buy and hold’ investing is a lazy approach, because things change every moment.” BiC

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David O’Brien (L) and Todd Poland (R). Photo by Ewan Nicholson Photography.

Paying it Forward • Cover

Paying It


Junior Achievement boosters David O’Brien and Todd Poland motivate Calgary students and inspire the workforce of tomorrow BY JOHN HARDY


here’s a fascinating, new social trend known as paying it forward. Made popular by a 10-year-old bestselling book and movie, the unusual idea has become a popular reality and is sometimes referred to as a random act of kindness. It happens without warning or fanfare; rarely involves recognition or thanks; and there are no typical situations. Customers, spontaneously, surprisingly and unexpectedly paying the bill for total strangers. Like last year at a Win-

nipeg Tim Hortons, 228 drive-thru customers anonymously ‘paid it forward’ for three hours, picking up the tab for the people behind them and then, just drove away. The coffee shop manager called it “an avalanche of kindness.” There are occasional reports about anonymous passersby paying it forward and slipping coins into expired parking meters. Or nameless diners leaving unusually large tips for shocked but delighted servers. | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2014 • 31

Paying it Forward • Cover

Nobody could have known that serendipity was already happening and that O’Brien’s creative inspiration would eventually lead to a special, pay-it-forward JASA moment. Just about the time that the Calgary senior executive was getting involved with Junior Achievement, 20-year-old Todd Poland was starting his first day as a portfolio manager with Wood Gundy in Calgary.

Of course, paying it forward is much quirkier, impulsive and different from the tremendous caring and support that is planned, formal and vitally important philanthropy. In many ways, the spirit, the thought and the generosity between philanthropy and paying it forward is somehow similar. The dynamic and innovative Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta (JASA) is founded on the principles and focus of investing in the skills and employment future of Southern Alberta’s youth. With sincere appreciation and delight, JASA is experiencing glimmers of the pay-it-forward trend. “For more than 50 years, Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta has been engaging Southern Alberta’s business and community leaders in the mission of helping students develop an entrepreneurial attitude, a solid and practical understanding of business, finance and a solid commitment to their community,” says Scott Hillier, president and CEO of JASA. “We have various programs and we try to be a link between education and the business world by giving students the confidence and knowledge they need to define personal success, enhance their workforce readiness and pursue their dreams.” He speaks with gusto and appreciation about the invaluable business and community (monetary and volunteering) support that continues to make the work of JASA possible. Hillier is a tireless, gung-ho JA booster who virtually eats, breathes and sleeps Junior Achievement and easily lapses into enthusiastically explaining and pitching the group’s focus and goals or specific details about some of the various business, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills programs offered by JA in Southern Alberta. “Economics for Success is a popular and very exciting program for students in Grades 9 and 10. It encourages them to take a closer look at the advantages of staying in school,” he underscores with his trademark positive, high energy. “It emphasizes the link between education and personal goals and helps students not only explore and manage job and career choices but make sound life decisions.” 32 • February 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

As Hillier seamlessly and effusively switches into proudly outlining JASA’s unique Investment Strategies Program (ISP), it triggers a random but perfect example of a recent pay-it-forward situation in the Calgary business community. The ISP program was inspired by Calgary business icon, RBC chair, recently retired Encana chair, philanthropist and long-term JASA supporter David O’Brien. “About 15 years ago, when I first got involved with Junior Achievement, it allowed me to finally do something relevant about something I had been concerned about for a long time,” O’Brien recalls with conviction. “There is an important gap in the education system or maybe it’s partially the poor decisions students may have made in school but teachers don’t spend enough time teaching young people about the relevance, the importance and the real impact of business and the economy.” After being introduced to Junior Achievement, the driven and focused business professional decided to walk the walk. He made a sizable personal donation and also contributed his time and expertise to inspire the creation of the groundbreaking ISP program ( which continues to be unique to JA in Alberta and will likely be adopted by other Canadian JA chapters in the next few years. Nobody could have known that serendipity was already happening and that O’Brien’s creative inspiration would eventually lead to a special, pay-it-forward JASA moment. Just about the time that the Calgary senior executive was getting involved with Junior Achievement, 20-year-old Todd Poland was starting his first day as a portfolio manager with Wood Gundy in Calgary. Eight years before that, as a typical 12 year old, growing up in the then obscure, outlying Calgary-neighbourhood of Okotoks, Poland’s father made his son a deal: to give him money that he would only use to invest in the stock market. “I kept checking the stock pages in the newspaper and picked out familiar, solid names I knew. I bought Coca-Cola and Mattel,” Poland chuckles and remembers. “But, among other reasons, my timing was lousy. I didn’t make money with either. But I remember JASA used to come and make

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Paying it Forward • Cover


Alvin Libin

David A. Bissett

Ronald N. Mannix

Jim Davidson

David O’Brien

Jack and Joan Donald

Todd Poland

N. Murray Edwards

Clayton Riddell

Richard F. Haskayne

JR Shaw

Wayne Henuset

Guy Turcotte

Sam Kolias

Mac Van Wielingen

Hal Kvisle


*As of December 31, 2013

Paying it forward by being involved in the programs of JASA is all about the interconnectivity of individuals in one another’s success. Each loop is symbolic of how philanthropic individuals reflect, or circle back, on their own success and decide to pay it forward— enabling the achievement of others and the enrichment of our communities. It’s what it’s all about. Photo by Ewan Nicholson Photography.

presentations in our high school classroom. I took some of the courses and I got interested in the financial side of the business world. “A few years after I started at Wood Gundy, JASA made an Investment Strategies Program presentation in our company’s board room,” he recalls. “I was very impressed with the work they were doing with students and I got involved, initially as a JASA volunteer in the classroom. About five years ago, I was invited to join the JASA board and one of our first duties was dealing with an ISP funding issue which was causing the program to flounder.” More than 15 years later, Poland is vice president and portfolio manager with CIBC Wood Gundy in Calgary and, as reluctant and visibly uncomfortable as he is about his generous monetary support of Junior Achievement, his initial donation to revive the Investment Strategies Program and subsequent donations currently top an exceptional $150,000. Poland is the youngest founding member of JASA’s Economic Futures Council – an exclusive group of Southern Alberta business people, who, through their financial and moral support, enable and inspire the success of Southern Alberta students in various JA programs, ultimately impact34 • February 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

ing the Canadian economy by challenging and inspiring the workforce of tomorrow. According to Hillier, “Todd Poland’s involvement and support has helped grow ISP more than fourfold in the past five years. It not only continues as one of JASA’s most popular programs for grade 8-10 students but it has proven to be so relevant and valuable that we have had steady interest from across Canada and ISP is about to become a national Junior Achievement course. And it all started here in Southern Alberta.” The interactive Investment Strategies Program is facilitated by one or more business volunteers, in collaboration with the classroom teacher, and JASA provides an extensive program kit, complete with all the tools and resources necessary for classroom delivery. Junior Achievement also matches the classroom with a trained volunteer from the financial sector who acts as a kind of group leader and mentor. As Hillier explains, the opportunity to tap into the invaluable experience, expertise, input and guidance of Southern Alberta business leaders was the reason JASA formed the Economic Futures Council. He points out that JASA respects and understands the

Paying it Forward • Cover

One of JASA’s 1,500 volunteers teaching local students basic financial literacy skills. Photo courtesy of JASA.

often hectic schedules and availability, especially of senior business people so, refreshingly, there are no Economic Futures Council meetings, no agendas, no committees and no time commitments. “It’s simply a solid group of Calgary business and philanthropic leaders, who usually don’t have the time to add to their busy days to meet and discuss JASA issues. They provide input and valuable support by lending their name, their financial support, and, if possible, their willingness to network and spread the word about Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta to their peers.” The JASA office keeps the council in the loop and up to date about JASA initiatives, where their funding and moral support is being applied and provides members of the council with recognition of their valuable contributions, and an annual stewardship report. For Todd Poland, being involved with Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta is not only bringing his supercharged life and business career full circle but enables him to pay it forward. Since Poland’s valuable early involvement in JASA and particularly ISP, David O’Brien (the respected Calgary business icon who helped create the Investment Strate-

gies Program) has been someone Poland has emulated and admired. Ironically (as Hillier explained) since members of the JASA Economic Futures Council don’t have meetings, the two Calgary businessmen didn’t know each other and never even met until the recent scheduled Business in Calgary photo shoot. “This is exactly why we started the Economic Futures Council, so our seasoned and longtime philanthropists and business leaders like David could inspire the next generation of mentors, givers and leaders like Todd, who can do extraordinary things now and well into the future,” Hillier says. “Mentoring young people is so rewarding and worthwhile,” O’Brien points out. “With their experience, judgment and motivation, business people at all levels can make such a big difference in the lives of Calgary’s young people.” He modestly concedes that, in the twilight of his several professional careers, he finds it somewhat easier to make time for getting involved in viable community projects like JASA. “It’s the cycle of work life, I suppose,” he smiles. “There’s a time when you do whatever needs doing and build a career | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2014 • 35

Paying it Forward • Cover

David O’Brien (L) and Todd Poland (R) discuss the history of Junior Achievement, and the vision of the Economic Futures Council. Photo by Ewan Nicholson Photography.

“The world has changed so much and it’s so important that young people have at least some exposure to the economy, business and the workings of the free enterprise system. The JA programs do that so well. And Todd Poland is an extraordinary, young Calgary business success story and he comes to JA earlier than most of us did. He will be a very active and superb mentor for young people.” ~ David O’Brien and raise a family and there is very little downtime. Eventually you do have the time, and the financial means, to reach out and get involved in worthwhile outside causes, like Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta. “I have 10 grandchildren and I want them to grow up with the kind of terrific support and mentorship that JASA delivers. Some things probably never change. Few students really pay much attention to the economy or business courses in school,” O’Brien observes with some regret. “But the world has changed so much and it’s so important that young people have at least some exposure to the economy, business and the workings of the free enterprise system. 36 • February 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

“The JA programs do that so well. And Todd Poland is an extraordinary, young Calgary business success story and he comes to JA earlier than most of us did. He will be a very active and superb mentor for young people.” Poland is very enthusiastic and revved about carrying on the JASA tradition of inspiring and motivating Southern Alberta students. “I have a lot of peers, inside and outside of the financial community. And I think JASA is making such a vital difference in the lives of young Southern Albertans and it will positively impact our economy that I will definitely be leaning on my colleagues to get involved.” BiC

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The ROI on MBAs • Education MBA


ROI on MBAs MBAs are becoming a basic requirement, particularly for certain levels of management BY JOHN HARDY


espite a lot of buzz, hype and random cynicism about actual value and return on investment (ROI) of money and time, there is an informal consensus. You don’t have to have an MBA to be a contemporary business success story – but it helps. The flip side is that not all of today’s CEOs and senior managers have MBAs, and not all MBAs necessarily become senior management and CEOs. Although the conversation invariably recoils to a simplistically cliché and a tacky, mercenary correlation between MBA credentials and higher salaries, different people have different reasons for choosing to add to their workload, complicate their life for two or more

Dr. Michael Wright, director of the MBA program at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business

38 • February 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

years, make for long and often gruelling days (and nights) and spend a whack of tuition money to chase a general or specialized master of business administration (MBA). Is there a payoff? Likely but no guarantees. Some opt to earn an MBA in the spirit of higher skills and qualifications, others with specific and private ulterior motives and many choose to get an MBA due to the contemporary business world reality of need. “The world is a much more complex place,” warns Dr. Michael Wright, director of the MBA program at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business. “Senior managers are called on to solve very complex problems. Skill sets

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The ROI on MBAs • Education MBA

“The hard core and specific business skills are prime but there is increasing emphasis on leadership skills, creative thinking, problem solving, team building, risk management and the entire area of corporate ethics is crucially important and popular.” ~ Dr. Michael Wright

shift and get much trickier and more demanding as you go higher up. “The hard core and specific business skills are prime but there is increasing emphasis on leadership skills, creative thinking, problem solving, team building, risk management and the entire area of corporate ethics is crucially important and popular.” The tremendous popularity – and a kind of supply and demand boom – of Canadian, American and international business schools offering a broad range of MBA programs has put some senior management people at a challenging cusp in today’s business world. This is a transitional senior management generation where many (not all) of the current crop of CEOs, presidents, VPs and directors likely cut their teeth, paid their dues and worked their way up progressionally in simpler times, perhaps when it was easier to be a jack of all trades or a kind of business generalist and manage with the cop-out of “I don’t have to know how to do everything. That’s what I pay people for.” Wright agrees with the focus and rationale of MBA thinking at contemporary business schools from Haskayne to Harvard. Today’s MBA programs combine cutting-edge content, skills and relevance necessary for success in today’s 40 • February 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

globalized business environment teaching MBA students to incorporate social, ethical, environmental and economic considerations into all decision-making. There is also concentrated MBA emphasis on advanced leadership skills, team building, motivating, delegating, creative thinking and problem solving. “It’s not what courses are included, it’s what is included in the courses,” he cautions. The current hot trend in business schools is offering either a generalized MBA program or a specialized MBA program, depending on student need and choice. The MBA curriculum invariably teaches higher levels of basics such as understanding and interpreting financial statements, marketing plans, market analyses, audit reports and business development plans and, by necessity or design, also enhance written communication skills because the MBA is a master’s-level academic program, requiring the student to produce a 20- to 30-page report for each class subject. “MBA programs have done a good job with the functional programs, like how to manage the organization,” Wright says, “but recent additions to the core MBA curriculums also include sustainability, global economics, corporate social responsibility and ethical decision-making.” The focus and targeting of specialized MBA subjects vary,

The ROI on MBAs • Education MBA

usually with the trend of the school’s individual supply and demand situation. Although the specific subject areas are constantly revised and updated, currently popular MBA programs include accounting, business management, e-business/e-commerce and information systems (IT), economics, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, human resources management, strategic/risk management, technology management and more. According to Wright, Haskayne’s popular MBA programs include global energy management and sustainable development (GEMs), management consulting, finance, marketing and project management. At the moment, Haskayne does not offer MBAs specializing in IT or HR. An MBA program innovation that is becoming increasingly popular is the creation of specific “centres” for MBA specialization, like Haskayne’s Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the Centre for Advanced Leadership in Ethics and the recent Westman Centre for Real Estate Studies. “It’s a new area of specialization for our MBA program,” he says with enthusiasm. “For us and in our area, real estate, real estate development and development financing are huge Calgary industries. Haskayne will be one of the foremost real estate development centres in Canada.”

Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business is earning a national and international reputation for its MBA program innovation and business relevance. “We’re always looking for things we should be adding,” Wright points out. “As a Canadian first, we are about to start a joint master’s with the School of Public Policy to deal with issues like taxation, health, oilsands, economics and social benefits. It will be a combined MBA and MPP. “Because more and more, today’s business leaders must understand the gamut of public policy issues, from pipeline to taxation.” In most business schools, a quickly growing fact of MBA life is a shift from the degrees being considered an extra or upgraded qualification feature to being a basic requirement, particularly for certain levels of management. In many cases, an MBA is required for executive and senior management positions. There are some companies that will not even consider applicants unless they have an MBA degree. And people with general or specialized MBAs are often able to target various opportunities. Depending on the company and career move options, it may be possible to be productive, grow, achieve, earn promotions and still climb the proverbial ladder, but some careers and employers outright require an MBA as a prerequisite for advancement. | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2014 • 41

The ROI on MBAs • Education MBA

For some career people, it’s a decision based on changing careers, switching industries or making themselves more marketable in other fields and an MBA can be potent ammo. Others have leadership goals and realize that being considered for a senior management role is far more likely with ‘the three magic letters’ prominent on the resumé.

42 • February 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

For some career people, it’s a decision based on changing careers, switching industries or making themselves more marketable in other fields and an MBA can be potent ammo. Others have leadership goals and realize that being considered for a senior management role is far more likely with ‘the three magic letters’ prominent on the resumé. Although subtle and delicate, usually rumoured and rarely admitted, some companies will not even promote from within for management roles if the employee is not enrolled or intending to get an MBA. Spiked pay grades is a cynical, crass but realistic and factual fact of MBA life. Of course, taking and successfully completing a complex and challenging two-year or 30-month MBA program is much more time, energy, emotion and fee intensive just to get a big raise at work, practical reality is that the MBA employee is solidly more qualified, valuable and worth more to the company and is able to command (and earn) a higher salary. It may be a delicate and tacky topic for business school officials but there’s no disputing that the earning power of an MBA degree is often a selling point for business schools, especially when they do well on international rankings. Every two years, Forbes Magazine measures participating North American schools on the salary growth for MBA graduates, five years after earning the degree compared to what they gave up in lost pay, tuition and other expenses while at school. But even objective experts caution potential students to do the blunt metrics of an ROI calculation about an MBA: how much income can they forfeit while earning the MBA, what they plan to do with their MBA and the realistic career prospects and earning potential. Six-digit salaries for MBA employees? Wright says that Haskayne does revealing followup surveys about student salaries after graduating with an MBA versus before enrolling in the program. In the most recent Calgary survey, MBA students realized a 47 per cent increase in salary. As Haskayne’s Michael Wright points out, applications for Canadian MBA programs heavily outnumber the available spaces. With more MBA programs than ever before serving a record number of students – about 10,000 students are registered in Canadian MBA programs this year – MBA enrolment has more than doubled in the past 15 years. In life, as in business and now, even in business school what goes around comes around. The stats and numbers show that when it comes to MBAs, business schools compete for the best students and MBA grads compete for the best jobs. BiC

The Season of Professional Style • Dress for Success

The Season of Professional Style Always dress for the job you want, not the job you have BY COLLEEN WALLACE


Work dress codes were long ago discredited and proven irrelevant and they are now extinct. If any Calgary workplace still has the remains of a dress code, maybe stored in one of the company’s rarely opened admin folders or an actual single page clicked and filed in a dusty three-ring binder, it’s meaningless, forgotten and unenforced. Calgary’s experts agree. Spoken or unspoken, “looking professional” or “business smart” has itself become a redefined, impossible to pigeonhole new normal and an exciting and new kind of sharp. “Always dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” suggests Lisa Tant, vice president and fashion editor of Canada’s iconic Holt Renfrew. “I realize that, for some people, it sounds easier than it is and a lot of people are often confused about what to wear, but pick a look you’re comfortable with and build your wardrobe gradually.” “Fashion continually shifts; style is forever,” Darren Biedermann says with dynamic flair, creativity and decades of experience, shaping and advising all generations of Calgary men about what to wear and how to wear it. “Of course there are all kinds of factors and variables but men in today’s workplace don’t want to dress like their father, who tended to opt for casual.” Biedermann is owner, gung-ho and unconditionally honest men’s fashion mentor, coach and respected clothing expert at Calgary’s popular Supreme Darren Biedermann, owner, Supreme Men’s Wear Men’s Wear.

espite all the polite niceties, the second looks, “dress for success” clichés and even misquoting the Emperor’s New Clothes, it seems HR, the boss, the boss’ assistant, people down the hall and groggy strangers in the elevator do notice. It turns out that dressing for success in Calgary is a gender-neutral anxiety. Calgary men and Calgary women. Seasoned office workers and newbies still making an impression. In trendy, niche spaces like gaping lofts, retro nook-and-cranny offices, all the way to the cavernous 50-something floor of The Bow.

Lisa Tant, vice president and fashion editor of Holt Renfrew | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2014 • 43

The Season of Professional Style • Dress for Success

“It’s all about implementing – not following – the trends. The trick is, implementing requires up-to-date information and knowledge. ~ Ania Basak

a total and overall situation, not just an isolated and random layering of specific pieces. Reality makes that a difficult if not dauntless task because most typical working people may or may not have a personal fashion sense, may look around and intentionally or subliminally get an idea of their personal likes and dislikes, or they may get ideas from random online browsing, looking around or flipping through magazines. The other common and challenging constant about dressing for work in Calgary is the clothing sources for the average Calgary working man or woman. From the endless rows of racks, meticulously stacked and arranged on display stands of major or smaller retail stores, clicking for online shopping, or dangling and creatively displayed in funky boutiques and in Calgary’s terrific selection of unique and trendy indie shops. There are some naturally gifted men and women who, by choice or chance, ‘have an eye,’ natural flair (or both) and are not confronted by the two most common speed bumps of average men and women, doing their best to dress appropriately for work: choices and decisions. “When we have our initial consultation with clients,” Godchild explains, “we discuss and define personal style. Everybody has one. What’s in and what kinds of things are no-nos. Then we book a wardrobe edit. We do not empty their closet but it can turn out to be a good purging exercise. “Most closets, and especially women’s, are often cluttered, many things are out of style and there are usually some great classic pieces,” she explains from experience. “The most reliable rule is: if you haven’t touched it in a year, get rid of it.” As a gross understatement, Darren Biedermann knows his stuff. When it comes to an overall look or individual pieces, in addition to designing some of his own lines, he openly treats men’s clothing as a passion. Loyal and new Supreme Men’s Wear customers come Ania Basak, president of Fashion Calgary

“It’s more than just a stereotype and it’s true. Women shop based on mood but ultimately most women want to set a standard, not necessarily fit in,” is the motivational and inspiring urge of Phaedra Godchild, a partner in Styleista, Calgary fashion stylists, personal shoppers and wardrobe consultants who have worked in the fashion industry for almost 10 years. Ania Basak, the president of Fashion Calgary and founder of the Fashion Calgary Portrait Campaign, suggests a definite connection between elegance and simplicity. “It’s all about implementing – not following – the trends. The trick is, implementing requires up-to-date information and knowledge. “Minimalism is very much in style,” she notes with examples. “Besides, elegant goes with simplicity. Try to limit too many patterns and colours at the same time. It’s very distracting. And the fabric shouldn’t be too tight. Simple form gives more comfort and looks more comfortable.” Most fashion experts, whether from within the industry, TV and magazines, and consultants agree that men or women dressing for the workplace have to be considered as

Phaedra Godchild, partner in Styleista

44 • February 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

The Season of Professional Style • Dress for Success

“In general, and especially in Calgary, there is so much variety and there has never been such a relaxed approach to men’s fashion. It’s so exciting!” ~ Darren Biedermann

from far and wide for his high-energy, creative fashion sense, recommendations and advice. “Plain white shirts and plaid socks paid our bills for a long time but they are definitely gone! In general, and especially in Calgary, there is so much variety and there has never been such a relaxed approach to men’s fashion. It’s so exciting,” he says with his trademark enthusiasm. “Suits are extremely hot, one button, two button and side vents. And today’s consumer is conscious about the fit of pants. They turn to the side, they sit down, they check and they double-check. And suit ties have exploded in the past six months and the ties are getting narrower with more creative designs,” he says, highlighting some Calgary trends. “It used to be repeating stripes on a tie (we called them rep-ties) but now it could be almost anything, small florals and little tiny stars. And pocket squares are very hot. “And denim is extremely popular, in different colours, shades and fits.” In some ways, the tired clichés and stereotypes about the differences between men’s and women’s fashions are legit because the changeability and fickleness of women’s fashion trends is notorious. “For 2014, the three essential pieces of a working woman’s business wardrobe are a well-tailored suit jacket, a classic pencil skirt and fitted shift dress,” according to Holt Ren-

frew’s Lisa Tant. “General rule of thumb is a classic suit and add personality with a colourful scarf or a great tie. “When it comes to length of the skirt, women don’t pay much attention anymore. There is so much choice now. Always dress to your body type and choose a skirt or dress length that suits your body.” Tant explains that Calgary’s Holt Renfrew is gradually gearing up for the all-important ‘2014 Spring-Summer’ trends. “Expect lots of nice prints and brighter pastels – pale pinks, soft violets, powder blues and mints. And larger sized totes, stylishly to fit tech essentials like iPads. For women, briefcases are fading.” “Late last year I was at the New York Fashion Week,” Ania Basak itemizes, “and they were showing simplicity. For women, forget about colour blocking, like red blouse with green pants. “One colour only but include accessories and jewelry. White is not shocking anymore nor are other light colours like beige, crème and light cream. There’s a definite ‘African memories’ safari trend but business attire can’t be loud so you can’t go too crazy. Try safari colours like a beige or brown blouse with a black suit with a handbag, scarf and shoes. Shoes! They may be the most important aspect of fashion,” she says, adamantly. “And for business, never ever open-toe shoes, regardless the season.”

First Impressions HR specialists say the first impression makes up about 80 per cent of job hiring decisions. Carefully target and focus your overall appearance so that the interviewer will concentrate on your qualifications, not distractions.

• Men: a dark suit (navy, grey or black). Tie must be conservative. Dark socks to match the suit (avoid quirky or argyle socks until you get the job). Black leather (shined) shoes, oxfords or loafers.

• Women: a solid colour (navy, grey or black) suit or dress. Less jewelry is best. Avoid “flashy” pieces that jingle. A watch, wedding ring and a class ring are accepted. Hair should be neatly combed.

• Cellphone: pretend that it doesn’t exist. Don’t take chances. Turn it off or click silent (not vibrate) before you arrive for the interview. | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2014 • 45

The Season of Professional Style • Dress for Success

Darren Biedermann openly treats men’s clothing as a passion. Loyal and new Supreme Men’s Wear customers come from far and wide for his high-energy, creative fashion sense, recommendations and advice.

Eric Francis JACK FM morning host, sports columnist and TV personality Wearing: Biedermann-Difabio suit $3200; Biedermann shirt $395; Dion tie $120; Dion pocket square $48; Jeffrey-West shoes $595. Styled by Charli Biedermann, Supreme Men’s Wear Photographed by Bookstrucker Photography 46 • February 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

The Season of Professional Style • Dress for Success

“For 2014, the three essential pieces of a working woman’s business wardrobe are a well-tailored suit jacket, a classic pencil skirt and fitted shift dress,” says Holt Renfrew’s Lisa Tant. “And larger sized totes, stylishly to fit tech essentials like iPads. For women, briefcases are fading.”

Debra Ross President, Gamma-Tech Inspection Ltd. Wearing: URBAN LANAI jacket in UNIFORM color (navy) $400; URBAN LOUISE pants in UNIFORM, tapered and trim fit, $285; LYALKA silk printed sleeveless blouse, $270; clothing by Theory. MULBERRY handbag, bright blue, $2600. Styled by Vance Walker, brand management, Theory, Holt Renfrew Photographed by Bookstrucker Photography | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2014 • 47

The Season of Professional Style • Dress for Success

“Men and women are both finally embracing the power of accessorizing. A great statement necklace or pair of earrings for women; and tie clips, cufflinks, a pocket square or patterned socks for men.” ~ Phaedra Godchild

Debra Ross President, Gamma-Tech Inspection Ltd. Wearing: LAVEY jacket in PRYOR fabric with leather sleeves and leather details, $595; GAIAN sleeveless top in PRYOR fabric with vertical leather stripes, $395; FIA pant in PAPERBACK fabric, $300; clothing by Theory. Necklace and earrings by Calgary Jewellery. Styled by Vance Walker, brand management, Theory, Holt Renfrew Photographed by Bookstrucker Photography

48 • February 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

The Season of Professional Style • Dress for Success

Eric Francis JACK FM morning host, sports columnist and TV personality Wearing: Biedermann-Barberis suit $2800; Biedermann shirt $495; Dion tie $120; Dion pocket square $48; Pantherella socks 32.50, Jeffery-West Shoes 495.00 Styled by Charli Biedermann, Supreme Men’s Wear Photographed by Bookstrucker Photography

Aside from isolated and personal likes, dislikes, looks good or not-crazyabout-it pieces, most Calgary working men and women must rely on random TV or online lifestyle news flashes or what they see on display in Calgary stores. “As styleistas, we have our fingers on the pulse of trends,” Godchild points out. “Our job is not to dictate but to guide our clients. This year it’s about layering. Lightweight layers – lightweight cottons or fine gauge wool sweaters over a collared shirt with dress pants. Add patterns and textures. And pants – cropped slim-fit dress pants for women and slim-fit pants and shortened pant hems for men, showing funky socks and shoes. “Men and women are both finally embracing the power of accessorizing,” she says. “A great statement necklace or pair of earrings for women; and tie clips, cufflinks, a pocket square or patterned socks for men.” Biedermann is supercharged and openly delighted that today’s business customer is not only more fashion conscious than ever before but far better informed. “The contemporary consumer finds everything and is often self-taught online. Until a few years ago they would ask a lot of questions and rely on us to suggest their decisions,” he recalls. “The transactions take about 50 per cent longer. And we love it! That they come in, knowing options and possibilities, they ask detailed questions, they want answers and they want a story: where is the fabric from? Is it crease resistant? Is it good for sitting in the car? For travelling? “It’s no longer buying just a shirt or pair of slacks. They buy outfits and they’re after a certain look, not just random pieces.” Looks at work matter because, to borrow from marketing, everybody is a brand! BiC | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2014 • 49

The Green Momentum • Clean Green Technology

The Green Momentum The industry is doing a lot better than it gets credit for BY PARKER GRANT


long time ago, in controversies far away, the phrase, greening of oil and gas, was cynically shrugged off as an oxymoron. No better or worse than deafening silence, bigger half, even odds, adult children, near miss, exact estimate, living dead or jumbo shrimp. As far back as the 1940s, long before “green” became the trendy buzzword, society, politicians and various industries have talked the talk of “conservation.” But despite naive expectations, catchphrases, media hype, myths and wishful thinking, walking the walk (especially in Canada’s booming oil and gas industry) was not going to be nearly as easy or instant as doing something about other nasty facts, curses and controversies of convenient life, like smoking and obesity. The situation, the facts, the urgency is much different in 2014. With innovative technology, regulatory will and genuine industry commitment about everything from greenhouse gases, tailings ponds, flaring, carbon footprint and other greening priorities, genuine and encouraging change may never happen at the pace wishful thinking may prefer but it is absolutely and aggressively happening in most sectors of, especially Alberta’s, oil and gas industry. Those urging the greening of oil and gas together with the industry which has invested in and is making impressive and exciting progress with “greening,” must also deal with some practical, relevant and undisputable facts – not excuses – about the realities of North America’s energy-reliant lifestyle as well as Canada’s (and particularly Alberta’s) energy-driven economy.

Fact: Canada is ranked third in the world, behind only Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, when it comes to crude oil reserves and it is documented to have enough natural gas resources to meet demand at current levels for over 100 years. Fact: the country’s wealth of oil and gas has grown an industry that directly and indirectly (with oilfield services and service providers) employs over half a million people and continues as the largest source of private investment in Canada. Fact: Alberta – with 98 per cent of Canada’s oil reserves, mostly in the oilsands – is respected, admired, emulated and often sets a North American and a global standard for green technology innovation and prioritizing environmental sustainability. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) is a dynamic example of the industry will and determination about greening and the successful future of oil and gas. CAPP represents companies, large and small, that explore for, develop and produce natural gas and crude oil throughout Canada. Member companies produce about 90 per cent of Canada’s natural gas and crude oil and, together with its associate members, they are a vital industry with revenues of about $100 billion a year. The group openly acknowledges the relationship between oil and gas development and environmental effects like greenhouse gas emissions as well as the vital obligation to develop land and deposits safely and responsibly (cutting back on flaring and venting natural gas are just two industry priorities that have shown reduced greenhouse gas emissions).

With innovative technology, regulatory will and genuine industry commitment, genuine and encouraging change may never happen at the pace wishful thinking may prefer but it is absolutely and aggressively happening in most sectors of, especially Alberta’s, oil and gas industry. 50 • February 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

The Green Momentum • Clean Green Technology

[CAPP] openly acknowledges the relationship between oil and gas development and environmental effects like greenhouse gas emissions as well as the vital obligation to develop land and deposits safely and responsibly (cutting back on flaring and venting natural gas are just two industry priorities that have shown reduced greenhouse gas emissions).

“Contemporary business must recognize and accept that Despite the solid and tremendous commitment, the there’s a kind of social licence to operate,” cautions Dr. Robmomentum towards greening and the numerous examples ert (Bob) Page, director of the Enbridge Centre for Corporate of progress, most insiders, outsiders, the media, academics Sustainability at the Haskayne School of Business. “Industry and even some critics suggest the oil and gas industry may can’t afford to overlook the impact and the clout that leverhave weak or outright inadequate communication issues age groups have on the complex governmental approvals about properly getting their message across. process. Green must be taken very, very seriously.” “As an industry, we need to communicate more effecA key part of the oil and gas industry’s environmentively and be more transparent, more outward facing and tal sustainability and green focus is CAPP’s Responsible much more proactive,” says David Collyer, president of the Canadian Energy Program (RCE), representing a collecCanadian Association of Petroleum Producers. “Our industry tive commitment by member companies to continuously knows better than anyone about what technology is capable improve, measure and report performance in the areas of of doing. people, air, water and land, and engage collaboratively with “In general we live in a society where continuous improvethe communities in which the industry works. ments are in the forefront and the challenge is how do we Overall, the most recent (2013) RCE report shows signifisquare the circle of environmental performance with comcant, ongoing improvements in the oil and gas industry’s petitive performance. safety performance, its economic benefits to Canadians, “We must understand the public’s concerns,” he urges. and with greening – the industry made significant progress, “We increasingly try to take a forward look at what’s comincluding producing decreased nitrogen oxide (NOx) and ing at us and making sure our metrics are up to date and sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions. relevant.” The report also acknowledges that performance chalCollyer also warns that while technology and the global lenges became more evident in other business of oil and gas changes at a areas, such as greenhouse gas emissions rapid rate, so does public opinion and and a larger land footprint. communication. Total volumes of freshwater con“Our target audience may not change; sumed by the industry, in development the way people connect and communiand production, continues to increase cate changes tremendously, from 10 or with production growth, although the even five years ago. Options like Faceamount of freshwater withdrawn per book and Twitter make public concerns barrel of production does continue to much more organized and connected. decline. We must more effectively engage the Another unique and internationally public about our operations to achieve renowned example of Canada’s and more public awareness.” Alberta’s commitment to the greening Despite the industry’s frequent relucof the oil and gas industry happened tance to respond to social criticism or two years ago, when 12 major producprotests about energy, going green and ers (including BP, ConocoPhillips and sustainability, professionals underscore Shell) formed Canada’s Oil Sands Innothat public opinion does matter, perDavid Collyer, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum vation Alliance (COSIA). The defined haps more than ever. Producers | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2014 • 51

The Green Momentum • Clean Green Technology

Green, Innovative and Exciting Calgary’s unique 433-acre live-work development will be high-tech and green Imagine, a dynamic, state-of-the-art and innovative commercial and mixed-use residential community that’s not only a uniquely innovative and efficient place to do business but also a great people place to live. It won’t have to be imagined for much longer. It’s called TwinHills and it will soon be reality – a short bike ride from Calgary’s busy downtown core. In terms of “green” and the latest technology, TwinHills is creative, ingenious and exciting. It will mean new Calgary standards in design, connectivity and sustainability. As the preliminary documentation and details admits, TwinHills “dares to be different.” A truly unique place to live, work and do business in Calgary, TwinHills is set to be a 433-acre live-work development with environmentally sustainable green LEED-ND construction, exceeding global standards for greenhouse gas reductions with a reduced carbon footprint including shared natural and created green spaces for wildlife and people needs.

The site will also have water and energy quality and efficiency features, housing and workplace options and the desirable cutting edge micro-grid of smart wiring for higher business performance and lower operating costs. “The global trends are changing so quickly when it comes to mixed-use developments,” says TwinHills owner and CEO, Susan Nelson. “It is quite popular in the U.S. and some Euro-Asian cities. It’s a balance between commercial and residential and particularly interesting for various industries and some smaller tech companies. “TwinHills is solidly committed to green,” she says, adamantly, “but goes beyond the traditional triple bottom line (social, economic, environmental), employing two additional criteria: technology and health and wellness. “They combine as a five bottom line business model, providing a more complete people-oriented town model that engages a new type of community that is genuinely built for the future.”

COSIA mandate is to share industry ideas about greening. To “enable responsible and sustainable growth of Canada’s oilsands while delivering accelerated improvement in environmental performance through collaborative action and innovation.” Through performance initiatives, COSIA focuses on what it has identified as four key environmental priority areas (EPAs): tailings, water, land and greenhouse gases. In the past two years, two additional members have joined the group, increasing COSIA’s representation of oilsands production to 90 per cent. Remarkably, when it comes to greening performance, COSIA member companies have so far shared over 440 technologies and innovations at a cost of over $700 million. “The industry is doing a lot better than it gets credit for,” says Richard Dixon, executive director of the Centre for Applied Business Research in Energy and the Environment (CABREE) at the Alberta School of Business at the University of Alberta. 52 • February 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

“COSIA is a terrific way of bringing together industry as a whole with a concentrated effort to deal with the key greening issues. Good things are happening. There is a move toward stronger reclamation of the oilsands. CABREE is just publishing a study, looking at ‘market frictions’ in the oilsands,” he highlights. “We have identified a number of

Dr. Robert (Bob) Page, director of the Enbridge Centre for Corporate Sustainability at the Haskayne School of Business

The Green Momentum • Clean Green Technology

Above photos: Next-Era town of green and technological parameters at TwinHills.

Often referred to as synergistic innovation hubs, the concept has been compared to a 21st century version of Silicon Valley. Cisco and Microsoft built a similar town in South America and the concept is already popular in places like Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and China. “It’s detailed and complex but it’s all about building in the flexibility and adaptability. It’s green, it’s very out-of-the-box, the Calgary location has the surety of being directly on a major fibre optics line and it is very, very economically efficient,” she details with much enthusiasm. “TwinHills will attract high-tech, energy, water, security and communication industries because of its unique combination of site attributes that will assure business continuity and avoid downtime due to technical glitches.” Nelson points out that greenfield technology facilitates a micro-grid of smart wiring that results in higher

frictions about the greening of the industry and specifically about moving towards a continuous reclamation of the oilsands. It’s a new mindset but the

Richard Dixon, executive director of the Centre for Applied Business Research in Energy and the Environment (CABREE) at the Alberta School of Business at the University of Alberta

performance and lower operating costs of each building. Greenfields are much cheaper than other retrofits and provides not only technology advancements but also greenhouse gas reduction. A routine part of today’s real estate development, regardless how state-of-the-art or innovative, is the process. The submission, review, study, approval and permit process is extensive in every municipality, especially in Calgary. Susan Nelson is an infectiously Type A and revved professional who brags about the Alberta economy, trends and technological advancements being exciting positives. “The response has been overwhelming. So far, we’re up to almost nine years of approvals and as soon as the city moves ahead, TwinHills construction can begin early in 2015.”

technology is now available to do it!” Although Page also has a running tab of sustainability issues that Canada’s oil and gas industry must deal with, he is also enthusiastic, positive and encouraged by the significant strides made by the Canadian oil and gas industry. “There is so much progress,” he says with satisfaction and some professional pride. “Compared to 20 years ago, the industry is so much more efficient. Look at Suncor and progress with water issues. Tailings ponds are being cut back and, in time, may no longer be required. And our flaring regulations are actually agreements. “Unfortunately but honestly, greenhouse gases are the industry’s Achilles heel,” Page explains. “The heating methods on oilsands use even more gases and the intensity per barrel is increasing not declining.

“No doubt about it. There are lots to be done but there has been so much improvement.” Although there is much more to be done and achieved, the consensus from industry transparency and accountability, stringent government and independent oversight and reams of constantly updated research and progress-tracking unequivocally shows that, as Collyer emphasizes, while the oil and gas industry may have lingering communication issues to resolve – from reducing flaring and tailings ponds and making a dent in greenhouse gas emissions to maximizing environmental and safety aspects of fracking, and many other ways to embrace environmental sustainability – Alberta’s oil and gas industry is becoming a solidly greener place. BiC | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2014 • 53

Money Matters • Financial Planning

Money Matters Five years later, Canadians are starting to shake off the shock of 2008 and 2009 and find a sense of optimism in the economy and longer-term financial planning BY HEATHER RAMSAY


olicies, rules, regulations, laws, limits, deadlines, submissions and reporting requirements – apply that to finances and investments, and you have a conundrum that daunts most Canadians. Financial planning has long been the ethereal ‘freedom’ that so many think about, know they should do and yet struggle to get on track let alone leverage fully. Albeit global markets have been unsettled, there is a sense of increasing optimism about the state of affairs here at home. According to Investors Group, there was an increase in consumer confidence towards the end of 2013. The index was up for a second consecutive year and feelings relating to shorter-term activities are positive. The increase in confidence is encouraging and appears to be spreading. In a report released by Investors Group in December 2013,

there is yet mixed feedback regarding the status of financial stability of individuals. One in five reported being in a better financial situation than they were a year prior, and 18 per cent stated their situation had become worse. The ripple of positive consumer confidence was visible as nearly one third of Canadians felt they would be in a better financial situation in a year’s time, and Prairie residents were most optimistic of all when looking ahead to the next five years. Experts in the financial world have long since encouraged others to make concerted efforts to plan their financial future to avoid hardship and be prepared to pending stages of life. Perry Diebert, wealth management consultant with Wealthco Asset Management in Calgary, reinforces that it’s never too late to start investing or modify a personal financial plan. “Healthy financial planning is an ongoing process and a life-

Perry Diebert, wealth management consultant with Wealthco Asset Management in Calgary reinforces that it’s never too late to start investing or modify a personal financial plan. 54 • February 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

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Money Matters • Financial Planning

As with any product, investors do need to be mindful and careful about TFSA rules. For example, over contributing to a TFSA will result in fines and penalties, and taking out numerous withdrawls can have negative tax implications in the future.

are incredibly complex fields of practice and there are inherlong commitment. We are seeing more clients who are looking ent risks and consequences for anyone who goes into it for variety in their investments as well as reasonable returns. haphazardly.” Diversification in a portfolio is critical if you are looking for There are a multitude of considerations to be made when 10 to 15 per cent return at any one time.” building a personal financial plan including taxation. Given that as Canadians we spend on average 124 per According to Canadian Tax Law, as long as you follow the cent of what we make, it has become harder and harder for rules it is perfectly acceptable to order financial affairs such many to make investment contributions. By default most that you pay as little tax as possible. “There are a number of people turn to RRSPS, stocks and bonds, however, with different ways that you can reduce tax burden, and organiza variety of products available such as tax-free savings ing, reporting and filing correctly are critical,” says Moody. accounts (TFSAs) Canadians have increased options when In addition to RRSPs, stocks and bonds, more Canadians planning their future financial freedom. are incorporating products such as TFSAs, RESPs, equiKim Moody, director, Canadian tax advisory with Moodys ties and real estate into their portfolio. “RRSPs have long Gartner Tax Law, explains that overall 2013 was a busy year stood the test of time and are an important component of tax wise and that the pace will likely increase as greater tax and investment planning. TFSAs are also another great confidence is gained in various markets. Their firm specialplace to invest. With the recent limit increase to $5,500, izes in Canadian and American tax law and offers advisory it is a clever way to save and can serve as a very helpful services from their offices in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver tool for entrepreneurs who are looking and New York state. to reinvest in their business,” explains The new federal budget brought Moody. in a variety of changes and tightenTFSAs were first introduced in 2009 ing of what many consider to be tax as a new way for Canadians to build loopholes. “There has been considerassets. The initial annual contribution able push for greater transparency in limit was $5,000 and individuals can international investments and related have more than one TFSA as long as taxation, to further discourage tax evathe contributions don’t exceed the limit. sion. An important change of note is Similar to RRSPs, one can carry forward that the government has expanded unused contributions if the limit is not T1135 to include rigorous requirements reached in any one year. for complete reporting of international As with any product, investors do investments. These extensive efforts need to be mindful and careful about come with substantial implications TFSA rules. For example, over conif reporting is done incorrectly,” says tributing to a TFSA will result in fines Moody. “With any investment, no matand penalties, and taking out numerter what it is or where it is, investors ous withdrawals can have negative tax must be diligent in research, underKim Moody, director, Canadian tax advisory with Moodys Gartner Tax Law implications in the future. standing and tracking. Tax and finance 56 • February 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

Money Matters • Financial Planning

When dealing with matters related to financial planning and estate planning, experts offer insight into the following important considerations. • Don’t wait too long to start investing. It’s never too late and you can expand and improve your financial plan as you go. • Don’t let your emotions drive your decisions. • Avoid getting ‘advice’ from friends or Google. Friends and family likely mean well, but everyone has different financial needs, expectations and thresholds. • Complete due diligence. Do the legwork and research options and markets thoroughly. Be sure to read the fine print and seek expertise to ensure you don’t get yourself into trouble. It is far better to be in the know and proactive about your future financial security. • Be cautious about charitable tax shelters. These schemes do still exist and require extensive expertise to navigate. • Don’t lose focus and confidence when markets drop. • Seek professional advice. Don’t assume you know financial planning and tax. Find someone you know and trust, and get along with personally. Ensure your adviser is qualified and someone who you know has your best interests in mind. Looking ahead, industry experts in finance and tax anticipate that markets and activity will continue to slowly improve. “More traditional products such as RRSPs, RESPs, stocks and bonds will continue to be cornerstones in investment portfolios and products such as TFSAs and hedge funds will gradually increase in popularity,” says Diebert. “There is always new energy and momentum in a new year and forecasts are encouraging for 2014.” BiC

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Photos, this page, courtesy of Calgary Telus Convention Centre

The Big Business of Calgary Meetings and Conventions • Event Planning

The Big Business of Calgary Meetings and Conventions The guesstimated value of an out-of-town delegate is more than $330 per overnight stay BY JOHN HARDY


rom Calgary, Phoenix and Vancouver to Regina, Ottawa and Las Vegas, the business of conventions, conferences and meetings is valuable big business. The gung-ho team from Tourism Calgary, Meetings & Conventions Calgary (MCC) and the Calgary Telus Convention Centre (CTCC) are ‘out there’ pitching, bragging, shmoozing and making deals to clinch as much Calgary convention, conference and meeting big business as possible. Even with Calgary’s solid and superb track record and reputation as a convention and conference destination, the Calgary boosters are fiercely competitive, out-shmoozing

58 • February 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

and out-pitching other shmoozers and pitchers from places like Toronto, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Dallas and even Disney World and Niagara Falls. “The priorities changed in 2008 and many companies started to take a hard look at their meetings and conferences,” explains Peter Gregus, executive director of Calgary’s MCC. “Everybody was dealing with budget issues and it got everybody thinking and reflecting and revising business objectives.” Gregus is quick to assure that the recovery stabilized the meeting and convention activity and business is good, but

Photos, this page, courtesy of Calgary Telus Convention Centre

Photos, this page, courtesy of Great Events Catering / Abby + Dave Photography.

The Big Business of Calgary Meetings and Conventions • Event Planning


Taking care of business

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Peter Gregus, Executive Director of Meetings & Conventions Calgary (MCC)

‘the deals’ have to be different than the pre-2008 days – sharper and better. “When we bid, we make sure we do whatever it takes to set Calgary apart. Yes, that does include the business fact of subvention, value-added incentives that the bidding city can provide. It’s

a subsidy fund of sorts, a dollar figure coming from the local organization, allowing the planners to offset some costs. Within reason,” Gregus grins, “we will maximize our competitive advantage.” Aside from exceptional sales savvy, tremendous Calgary expertise and tempting number crunching, a vital component of their dynamic pitches and presentations are strategic and targeted brochures and proposals, usually raving about Calgary’s irresistibility with positioning and messaging such as: “Calgary is a sparkling cosmopolitan city with a reputation for warm, western welcomes. It’s a bustling business centre that’s also full of exciting opportunities to play. Along with our famous hospitality, our visitors enjoy uncompromised convenience and a meeting experience they’ll remember for a lifetime. There are venues in Calgary perfect for accommodat-

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The Big Business of Calgary Meetings and Conventions • Event Planning

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ing tech-savvy, flawless meetings, conventions, trade shows, exhibitions and conferences of all sizes.” Impressing Canadian, American and international meeting, conference and conventional planners eventually gets much more hard core and numbers driven than just bragging about being “dominated by the oil and gas industry, Calgary’s largest companies are BP, Encana, Petro-Canada and Shell Canada” or “nestled at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Calgary is recognized as a winter sports haven where visitors can enjoy numerous ski destinations less than an hour away from the city, including Canmore, Lake Louise and Banff.” Professional meeting and convention planners want to know the fine print and bottom line details about the 12,392 available guest rooms in Calgary’s 75 hotels, Calgary’s $149 average hotel room rate, the $115 average daily meal cost, the $232 average weekly car rental tab and, most importantly – how much of a “deal” is Tourism Calgary, MCC and CTCC willing to make to get their group’s business? Because the numbers can really add up. Everything from the revenue of actual hotel room nights, banquets, breakfasts, ballrooms and individual meetings rooms to taxis, shopping, restaurants and Calgary’s many (and finicky) touristy things like western boots and hats, the Calgary Tower, Olympic Park, the Calgary Zoo and more. Meetings, conventions and conferences are vital for Calgary’s dynamic economy. Industry calculations show that the actual and conservative guesstimate value of an out-of-town delegate is more than $330 per overnight stay. Meeting and convention planning is a detailed and specialized task and Calgary has various advantages and competitive edges to make the planner’s work easier and more efficient. Although MCC operates as a destination sales and marketing organization, formed by a partnership between the Calgary Hotel Asso-

60 • February 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

Photo courtesy of Calgary Telus Convention Centre

ciation and the Calgary Telus Convention Centre and some key venues, it provides meeting and convention planners from throughout Canada and around the world with the time-saving efficiency and advantage of direct access to suppliers without the added steps of dealing individually with various facilities. Gregus points out the science of meeting, conference and convention planning all comes down to room nights and availability. Whether it’s a meeting of 90 people, a conference of 200 or a convention of 2,000 delegates, finding and booking rooms is a basic planning priority. “It is one of the reasons for long lead times for booking,” he explains. “In Calgary, Vegas or Orlando, most meeting and convention events are booked at least a couple of years, and often longer, in advance. We have already had an international inquiry for 2025. Supplying the demand for enough rooms is the key. Waiting too long can mean the space may simply not be available. “But Calgary’s hotel community is terrifically experienced, adept and efficient and usually responds within

The Big Business of Calgary Meetings and Conventions • Event Planning

Calgary’s Winning Features


In addition to some of the budget-aimed aspects of Calgary as a potent meeting and convention destination, underscoring key features and selling points are:

Advancing the conversation

• Calgary is western hospitality, it is social, creative, innovative, global, collaborative and entrepreneurial. • Calgary is a global energy centre, home to 126 corporate headquarters. • Calgary is easily accessible. • Calgary International Airport (YYC) is the fourth largest and busiest airport in Canada ... and growing!

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• Calgary has meeting and convention capacity for up to 17,000.

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• Calgary is ranked the No. 3 city for quality of life and No. 1 as Canada’s most wired city.

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• Calgary is a leader in environmental initiatives.

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24 hours, because they know, better than anyone, that it’s all about availability,” he says. Another crucial event management priority is the ability of booking rooms reasonably together, or, at least, close-by. As a vital Calgary bonus, of the more than 12,000 area rooms, about one third are in the downtown core – three large hotels are physically attached to the Calgary Telus Convention Centre, where many business events are held: the 384-room Calgary Marriott, the 355-room Hyatt Regency

Marin Bright, CEO of Smart Meetings

Calgary and the 405-room Fairmont Palliser. In addition to the well-known large hotel chains, Calgary also has several smaller hotels as well as unique and popular accommodations in the scenic mountains and still just minutes from the city, such as the Calgary Historic Bed and Breakfast at Twin Gables, the Kensington Riverside Inn and others. Marin Bright is CEO of Smart Meetings magazine, the most popular source for event management professionals and service suppliers for North America’s meeting, conference and convention industry. “The booking of meetings and conventions has become a massive business, bigger than the auto industry,” she says with excitement and conviction. “The public often doesn’t realize how very much it impacts a community like Calgary: the direct revenue to the city, taxis, shopping, jobs and the many trickle-down benefits.” Bright is also savvy and realistic that, for various reasons and in many ways, the industry has been changed forever. One example is technology. “It has made the process more efficient but also more indiscriminant, impersonal and void of the personal touch,”

Technical Writing Web Development

Continuing Education 403.440.6875 INFO NIGHT, MAY 28, 4:30-7:30 PM | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2014 • 61

The Big Business of Calgary Meetings and Conventions • Event Planning

“This November will be the centre’s 40th anniversary. We discussed the feasibility of expansion because there is demand for expanded exhibition and meeting space.” ~ Marcia Lyons she cites. “Requests for proposals (RFPs) now come in online.” Dealing with the hundreds of meeting and convention destinations, she is very gung-ho and positive about Calgary’s status. Smart Meetings magazine tracks the shifting popularity of North American meeting hot spots. At the moment, surprisingly, Orlando is in the top spot, due primarily to irresistible weather, followed closely by Chicago, which has effectively marketed itself with easy access and being conveniently in the centre of the country, and Las Vegas for its enormous room night availability. Due to Calgary’s dynamic business

focus – acknowledged as a global energy hub with the largest concentration of corporate head offices in Western Canada, readying for the $2-billion expansion which will double the size of the Calgary Airport by next year’s grand opening and boost business tourism flight loads to and from Calgary, combined with the world-renowned location uniqueness having the Rockies as its backyard and being declared (in 2007) “the world’s cleanest city” by Forbes magazine – Calgary continues to be a tremendously popular meeting, convention and conference destination. But, as MCC, Tourism Calgary, CTCC

62 • February 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

and local event planners agree, it could do much better. After several surveys, MCC has shown that, even with the strong momentum of Calgary’s robust economy and ranking as the fourth largest city in Canada, the city’s convention facilities rank only 10th (in size) out of Canada’s 18 major centres. Despite the combined total of 520,000 square feet of meeting and event space at CTCC and the Roundup Centre, actual numbers confirm that Calgary has lost meeting and convention business, simply due to insufficient meeting space and not enough hotel room nights.

The Big Business of Calgary Meetings and Conventions • Event Planning


Leading the way

Event Management Business Communications Contract Management Change Management

Photo courtesy of Calgary Telus Convention Centre

Conflict Resolution “But the events and business is booming,” says Marcia Lyons, general manager of the Calgary Telus Convention Centre. “Delegate numbers are growing, companies demand more ballroom space, the educational components of meetings and conferences is crucially important, requiring bigger breakout meeting rooms and exhibitors need bigger booths on the trade floor. “We do approximately 700 events a year and are usually limited to meeting rooms that hold 80-100 people. Our booths are the traditional 8’x10’ with basic rod and drapes. It’s getting inadequate.

Marcia Lyons, General Manager of the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre

“More and more event breakout sessions need meeting rooms for 200 people. Trade show exhibitors expect larger display areas,” she says, itemizing the need for CTCC upgrading. “Some problems are easier to solve than others. If the carpeting is worn and tired, we change them. We just had a major provincial grant that helped upgrade our lighting. But if we don’t have enough meeting rooms or they are not big enough, or if the main hall doesn’t fit the keynote opening session or it’s too small for the trade show, that’s not so easy to solve.” Late last year, CTCC proactively brainstormed with Calgary business and community leaders about ways that Calgary can boost its meetings and conventions appeal. “This November will be the centre’s 40th anniversary,” Lyons added. “We discussed the feasibility of expansion because there is demand for expanded exhibition and meeting space.” Over four million people visit Calgary annually. In 2014 Calgary will host various large meetings and conventions, like the 1,500 delegates of the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans in August and the 800 delegates of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering in September. And they will all get a uniquely Calgary welcome. BiC

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Update [title] • Real • [section] Estate

Real Estate Update Alberta to maintain the lead. Experts anticipate that the province will outperform in national housing this year. BY HEATHER RAMSAY


family market, we’re seeing increased s the global markets have coninterest in condos and more people tinued to fluctuate and some entering that sector of the market. Locaspeculation persists, there is tion is always top priority, and buyers increased optimism that economic conare increasing interested in the lifestyle ditions are starting to stabilize. Closer a community offers and the features to home, confidence in the health of within a home such as high ceilings, Alberta’s economy is being substantiupstairs laundry and spa-link unsuite ated by the energy sector, net migration, bathrooms,’ says MacDonald. overall affordability and strength of the He goes on to explain that anylocal residential real estate markets. one looking to buy a home, needs to Over the past year, Calgary’s real estate be mindful that houses are moving market has continued to climb and has in really quickly. In some cases single fact exceeded expectations. Growth has family homes are receiving multiple now been in the double digits for two offers simultaneously, all of which are consecutive years and industry experts well over the asking price. With limare optimistic that moderate increases Becky Walters, president of the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB) ited inventory in the $500,000 or less will continue well into 2014. bracket, homes are expected to continue Becky Walters, president of the Calto move quickly. ‘There is far more choice for those shopgary Real Estate Board (CREB) explains that activity in 2013 ping in the $1 million plus market. In December alone, there reached levels above longer term trends. ‘Calgary continues were over 400 homes listed in the $1 million plus bracket.’ to be recognized as a very affordable city to live in. Ongoing Looking ahead, indications are that the province and more employment opportunities have spurred net migration, and specifically Calgary will in fact outperform, however, not that with an ongoing tight rental market and low interest rates, the pace seen in 2013. In a preliminary forecast released earmore and more people are entering the market. Many comlier in December, CREB indicated that it is expected that prices munities have already seen price recovery.’ will increase by 4.3 per cent in the coming year and MLS sales Activity in December showed a year-over-year increase of to rise by 3.6 per cent. The full forecast was scheduled to be eight per cent in sales volume and an overall increase of 11 released on January 15th at the CREB Annual Conference. BiC per cent for the year. Compared to 2012, the year brought more listings and a pricing increase of 8.6 per cent. The benchmark price for a single family home in December was Considerations for selling in $472,200, which exceeded previous unadjusted pricing by winter months: more than seven per cent. In comparison, the benchmark pricing for a condo apartment and condo townhouse in • Embrace the Season ~ ensure driveways and walkDecember were $278,600 and $307,100 respectively. ways are cleared of snow and ice, use tasteful and Indications are that the vitality of the market will likely limited décor and ensure the ‘clutter’ of winter wear continue. and items are tidy or put away out of sight According to ‘Global Real Estate Trends’ released by • Create an Invitation ~ during darker winter days Scotiabank Global Economics in December, while global create a warm and inviting home buy turning on outproperty markets are still gaining their footing, Canadian door and indoor lights home prices continue to be in the lead. Given the economic • Declutter and Depersonalize ~ tidy, purge and put resilience of Alberta, it isn’t surprising that the report also personal items and photos away, create space so that indicated that it is anticipated that ‘Alberta will likely outpotential buyers can see themselves in the home perform national housing markets in 2014.’ • Warm Up ~ show case the inviting qualities and charac‘In comparison to the past five years, 2013 has been a ter of your home by making it warm and cozy, fireplaces great year in real estate,’ explains Ryan MacDonald, realtor are a great focal point and conversation piece, consider with Calgary Home Team, REMAX First. ‘There is healthy turning up the thermostat before a showing activity and although inventory is tight within the single 70 • February 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

Designing a Lifelong Passion… John Haddon Design celebrates 30 years By Mary Savage


hen John Alden Haddon decided to go into business 30 years ago, the impetus had been on a slow churn since his youth. Looking back, one could say John’s passion and talent was – literally – in the palm of his hand: he loved to draw homes. Today, three decades after establishing John Haddon Design Ltd., John has designed thousands of homes in Alberta, hundreds throughout North America and dozens around the world – many of which are multimillion-dollar houses. His work has appeared in Architectural Digest along with countless provincial and local publications.

John Alden Haddon

John Haddon Design | Celebrating 30 Years | 1

Over the last couple of decades, his designs have garnered dozens of SAM awards for homebuilders and he has an avid following among social media fans. And as he stops to reflect on a lifetime of work, his drive to ‘be a better designer’ is fully engaged and stronger than ever. “With every house, I strive to create a work of art – something that the homeowner will always enjoy and admire with awe, and that’s my footprint in the sand,” says John Haddon, president, John Haddon Design. “It’s not about designing trophy homes, it’s about realizing the homeowner’s dream.” He listens to his customers, studies the streetscape and neighbourhood,

and then begins the design process. As an example, designing an estate home on an inner-city lot comes with certain challenges – namely drafting a design that flows within the existing community while achieving the homeowner’s vision. “The toughest part of any design is the first line, but you have to draw the first line to start the process. Draw what you know and the rest will fall into place and if it doesn’t, change the first line,” he adds with a smile. His approach is seemingly simply and when John sits down with a client to talk about their plans and dreams, one glance across the table finds the design wheels in motion. As his eyes drift upward, the gears of ingenuity are engaged while he continues to listen and absorb every image the client shares. And as he pulls from a lifetime of experience, knowledge and expertise, he starts to draft the home in his mind’s eye. He is a master of the trade and his ability to create award-winning design speaks to the level of expertise he brings to every new project. Today John Haddon is a highly respected and soughtafter designer – raising the bar and redefining the process. From estate homes and vacation properties to duplexes and infills, one need look no further than our backyard to view his versatile and impressive portfolio. As John Haddon Design celebrates their 30th anniversary, we glance back for a moment and listen to a few stories that have shaped this influential and successful businessman.

Never without a pencil… From the time that John discovered writing instruments, he was drawing – not unlike most children – but John was different. He drew houses that spoke of grandold architecture: century-old homes that speckled the New England coastline and communities.

He was born and raised in the southwest corner of New Brunswick and came from a long line of sea captains on his father’s side. Growing up, he recalls Passamaquoddy Bay and spent every summer on Deer Island – surrounded by the water and architecture that had withstood many centuries. Throughout his schooling, from kindergarten to Grade 12, John was never without paper and pen – but not for note taking. The majority of his notebooks were filled with drawings. He didn’t view his ability as a special gift; he simply loved to draw houses – never once stopping to consider his fate. When John finished high school, he attended university and studied civil engineering, but after a year he opted not to return. He took a job in a hardware store and contemplated what he wanted to do with his life … and one day while sketching another home, it finally hit him. “I realized my first love was designing homes and then I returned to university. I had no interest in designing skyscrapers or office buildings, so I veered away from becoming an architect and opted to study civil architectural technology,” he recalls. He graduated in 1980, but there was no work for a draftsman on the East Coast – causing John to travel west to Calgary – and within six months, he landed a job with Keith Homes who were developing the communities of Midnapore Lake and Sundance. “In the years prior to moving west, I used to receive letters from my sister who had already moved to Calgary. In her letters, she wrote about a company that ‘went to the rim of the bare prairie, dug these huge holes, filled them with water to create a lake and then built communities around them…’ and I always found it ironic I ended up working for that very company,” he says. Keith Homes evolved into Keith Engineered Homes, which then became Genstar Properties. But inside of four years, the economy was wavering sufficiently for Genstar to close its doors on their housing company. And the shift in the marketplace prompted John to reevaluate his career: the timing was perfect to establish


mong the thousands of people who were affected by the June 2013 floods, John was one of them. On the morning of June 20 and as he was not prepared for the flood – the water rushed in with such velocity he was not able to evacuate or save most of his valuables and keepsakes. He saw the rise and fall of the floodwaters – first hand. He also saw the deterioration of his life’s work and was forced to relocate his office to a temporary location. This month, John moved back to his original office and although many of the files, equipment and belongings were lost, a few keepsakes were rescued: a handful of drawings from his teenage years and the original drafting table he used to start the business.

John Haddon Design | Celebrating 30 Years | 2

Congratulations to John Haddon Design on 30 years! RDM Interiors has worked with John Haddon for over twenty years, both doing the interiors as well as selling many of his homes. Wishing John and his team continued success!



We at Marvin Windows of Canada are pleased to have been partners of John Haddon Design’s success and are looking forward to another 30 years of continued and successful partnership!


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John Haddon Design | Celebrating 30 Years | 3

through word of mouth. “When Realtors show a John Haddon Design house, it attracts a particular clientele. I have worked very hard and my name is recognized – and that means something,” he adds.

John Haddon Design. “Many of the people who worked for Genstar started their own companies and it was through these relationships that I landed many contracts … and that’s how it started,” adds John. For the first 10 years, John rolled along picking up enough work to keep him busy, but he wanted more. He wanted to design high-end homes … and then the call came. He landed his first large-scale contract for a prominent family who wanted a summer home on the B.C. coast, and that proved to be a turning point for John Haddon Design. For the past 20 years, John has been designing highend homes and he has established his reputation largely

Two computer screens on the left… One drafting table on the right

AD PROOF - URGENT When a potential customer calls John to talk about designing a new home, he immediately pulls up Google Maps and locates their property. “Every house is different, every client is different and every lot is different and when someone phones me out of the blue, I always keep two computer screens open: the City of Calgary map N S and Google Maps,” notes John. “During the initial phone call, I try to give the customer as much information as possible – as it relates to I O N S their lot and what they can and can’t do. The initial call is to understand the parameters,” asserts John. “Many people don’t realize that Google Maps exists and many people are surprised – during the initial conversation – that I’m able to provide so much detailed information.” And John never charges for the first meeting – it’s simply how he has always run the business. “As the homeowner begins to describe their vision, we talk


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O 403.973.9675 P U B L I C A T CHBA - Calgary Region


John Haddon is a key stakeholder in the initial ‘dream to design’ phase of development for our clients. Riverview Custom Homes sends out our sincerest congratulations to you, John, for 30 impressive years in business. You are not only a great designer but a great person as well. We look forward to what is in store for you and your design creations in the future.



Congratulations on your 30 year milestone!

Call or email

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Congratulations on 30 years, John Haddon Design. Proud to be associated with your company and work.

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Congratulations John Haddon Design for 30 successful years in business!

John Haddon Design | Celebrating 30 Years | 4

Quality Custom Home Builder and Renovator


ud Platinum Sponsor of the CA/ADA NT Congratulations John on your 30th Anniversary. We look forward to working with you for many more years to come!

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or email 403.399.6867 • Proud Platinum Sponsor of the CA/ADA Congratulations

to the team at John Haddon Design, on reaching this 30 year milestone! We value our• relationship and Call or email 403.399.6867 look forward to our continued partnership.

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Call or email 403.399.6867 • 403.880.9939 Warmest congratulations on achieving a significant business milestone 30 Years in Business! Our very best wishes for continued success!

Call or email 403.399.6867 • info@homesbymano John Haddon Design | Celebrating 30 Years | 5

When a client is building a house for the purpose of selling it, John’s goal is to make the passersby stop the car and want to go inside. “From the moment they open the front door, I want to hear them say, ‘Wow.’ The design draws them inside and makes them want to open every door – it has beauty, flow and personality,” he asserts. “I want to create intrigue in every room of the house.”


ivet” is the latest software in the drafting world and allows designers to draft in 3D. It also allows the client to view their new home design in 3D – bringing a new dimension to the process. To educate his employees, John hired an instructor to provide in-house training of the new technology, however the sessions were cut short when the floods hit on the third day of teaching. Once the office had been relocated, lessons resumed. about the style of architecture, their dreams and as many details as possible,” he asserts. “Traditional or modern … subdued-traditional or ultramodern? I think in 3D and I can see the house design take shape as the client explains their dreams. In my mind, I am touring their new home – until I can translate the layout onto paper,” he says. And when John refers to ‘paper,’ it’s literal. Inside his office and opposite the computer screens, you will find a drafting table. “I still design by hand and I love the flair of a pencil – you will never get the pencil out of my hand!” he says. “It’s tough to do good design on a computer – you need the flair of the lead … you can’t stop the mind from creating.” And when it comes to design, there are three main styles: traditional, modern and contemporary. Contemporary can be a mix of both traditional and modern, but as John has observed, the house has to ‘fit’ the neighbourhood, the environment, privacy requirements and the overall design has to flow – it’s the sum of all the parts. “I grew up surrounded by old architecture and I try to emulate the lines and styles that reflect those homes – even though styles have changed and there are more modern and contemporary homes now,” he comments. “I can design any style of home or any combination of styles, and often people will blend styles to achieve the look they want.” From acreages and estate homes to inner-city infills, John works with a variety of clients. When he works with the homebuilders, his designs offer a universal appeal. Likewise, he works with many professionals who build homes as an alternative income source. John looks after the design and the homeowner hires a builder, and although John is not involved with the construction aspect, he stays on the project until the framing is complete.

When you stop learning, you stop living… Since starting the business, John’s passion has never waned and with each new project, his enthusiasm and drive remains constant – rising up and fanning out. “My level of expertise is always changing and my goal to ‘be better’ has never changed. When you stop learning, you stop living,” he notes. “Technology has changed the way we communicate with our clients and how we manage the design process,” says John. “When I started the business, we used to produce blueprints. Today we view everything online – regardless of where the client lives or where we are building their new home.” And today, the clients are far more educated, they are more style savvy and they know what they want. “People want smaller, more compact homes, but they want a lot more detail, and they expect more style and better value for their investment,” he says. As John has watched the industry grow, he’s witnessed a movement among communities that have evolved from homebuilders to homeowners. “Thirty years ago, there were more ‘cookie-cutter’ homes with an emphasis on suburb and bedroom communities. Today, there are a lot more inner-city estate developments … with a demand for style,” he asserts. “Calgary’s architecture is looking phenomenal and I want to continue to be a part of that … it pulls me forward. I’m learning all the time which enables me to provide more options to my clients, but always with a creative edge,” he adds. “And Calgary has some phenomenal designers – they make me want to become a better designer. I can’t stagnate – I have to move forward, grow and improve,” says John. •

Follow John Haddon Design: Facebook: John Haddon Design Twitter: johnhaddon@homedesigner LinkedIn • Bing • Yahoo • Houzz | 334 24 Ave SW, Calgary, AB | 403.245.2443

John Haddon Design | Celebrating 30 Years | 6

Q’Max Solutions Inc. 20th Anniversary By John Hardy


he first 20 years of Q’Max Solutions has been about solid client/partner relationships built on co-operation, respect and service excellence; the development of innovative, cutting-edge technology; and giving back to Q’Max communities. The next 20 years of Q’Max Solutions will be about dynamic growth and ... lots more of the same: solid client and partner relationships; an uncompromised commitment to efficient service; the development of exciting new technology; and – from Calgary to Peru and from India to Mexico – giving back to Q’Max communities. “Our company started modestly but ambitiously with five determined drilling professionals in Western Canada,” says Q’Max president and CEO, Chris Rivers. “Today, Q’Max is a remarkable team of more than 1,400 people, earning the Q’Max reputation every day, in nine countries with more to be added soon.” Rivers is cautious (and good-naturedly cagey) about

tipping his hand and revealing too much about specific Q’Max plans and strategies for 2014 and beyond. Enthusiastically, he confirms strategic expansion plans, mentions some particulars and outlines that industryleading Q’Max will be introducing new, state-of-the-art oilfield services and deliverables at all Q’Max locations. In addition to earning and solidifying its industry reputation, the first 20 Q’Max years have reinforced the distinctive Q’Max approach to thoroughly understanding individual customer needs and – whether it requires modifying, adapting, designing or creating entirely new systems – doing whatever it takes to deliver and apply the most effective drilling fluid solutions. One of the key, competitive-edge Q’Max differences is respecting the individuality of the Q’Max customer. Because the situations and challenges are different, and invariably impacted by each geographical area, the development and application of the most effective Q’Max

Q’Max Solutions Inc. 20th Anniversary | 1

L-R: Len Baltoiu, VP Technology; Paul Meek VP, Canada; Chris Rivers, President & CEO; Reg Northcott, Exec VP. Photo by Nancy Bielecki.

drilling fluid system solution is virtually ‘customized’ for the specific site and assignment. For example, the situations and solutions in the shale plays of Texas are bound to be different from the needs and solutions required in India or offshore Mexico. “Our job has a heavy focus on the special needs and circumstances of each specific customer,” says a proud Reg Northcott, a Q’Max founder and one of the oil and gas industry’s most respected professionals and the upbeat and extremely knowledgeable executive vice president of Q’Max Solutions. “And we apply our expertise by understanding the unique situation of our individual customer. “The past 20 years in the business has definitely expanded our deliverables and, although we have achieved much growth, the first two decades of Q’Max performance and success haven’t really changed us,” he adds. “On the contrary! We are more focused than ever on the individuality of each Q’Max customer. As a service company, it is absolutely our most important job. To identify the specific needs and problems of our customer, apply our expertise to tailor and design the most suitable drilling fluid solutions to maximize the customer’s efficiency.” “It’s what Q’Max is all about.” The dedicated oil and gas drilling professionals in Q’Max and the leadership of industry visionaries like Chris Rivers, Reg Northcott, Paul Meek and Len Baltoiu enable Q’Max to deliver the specialized services that today’s oil

and gas customers need and are looking for: the resources of a multinational service company with the customized focus and attention of an independent. “We want them to think of us as a big city with a smalltown feel,” Northcott says with a warm smile. Whether in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Bogota, Colombia or Quito, Ecuador, specialized research and development (R&D) is done at each location-unique Q’Max operation. The specialized focus on the individual customer has not only become one of most sought-after aspects of the Q’Max brand and reputation but it has also become somewhat of a Q’Max trademark: “local” R&D, creating uniquely “local” and effective systems and “local” solutions to resolve “local” problems. Rivers explains that each country represents a fully equipped and self-sufficient independent Q’Max business unit. Each business unit enjoys considerable autonomy, which maximizes rapid responses to customer needs, while enjoying the advantages of having valuable access to the technical, logistical, purchasing, financial and operational expertise of the company, as a whole. The lab work and industrial trials are all done in local Q’Max facilities and always supported by an international group of Q’Max technical specialists (called “The Wolf Pack”), who are connected in real time across all Q’Max business units. Having fully staffed, comprehensive fluid and research

Q’Max Solutions Inc. 20th Anniversary | 2

testing facilities at all of the company’s labs, worldwide, is also an invaluable Q’Max difference. The labs employ trained technical professionals including PhDs, professional engineers, biologists, solids control equipment specialists and chemical engineers. As loyal Q’Max clients and competitors alike agree, it’s just one factor that sets the innovative company apart ... and in an industry league of its own. After 20 distinguished years, Q’Max continues as an industry leader in oil and gas technology and drilling systems, providing customers with expertise and valuable services that includes research, planning and development of provenly effective drilling fluid solutions, cost/ risk analysis, benchmarking, laboratory analysis, drilling fluid system design, solids control services equipment and much more. Providing the most efficient and up-to-date drilling fluid solutions and services for the customer continues as Q’Max priority No. 1. Also vitally important is the specialized R&D that enables Q’Max to constantly create and upgrade the newest and most effective drilling fluid systems and technologies. Cutting-edge R&D has also become Q’Max hallmarks. Because drilling for heavy oil poses particular problems such as tar accretion, high torque and drag, borehole stability, mud foaming, high waste disposal and cleanup costs, the 20 years of Q’Max experience combine with proven and solid Q’Max innovation and expertise to transform oilfield challenges into effective solutions. “Q’Max does not negotiate for a job. We earn it!” says the industry pride and passion of Len Baltoiu, Q’Max vice president of technology. “The client is most important and drives all that we do. And one of the truly special aspects of the Q’Max client relationship is that, regardless the job or the assignment, the client always gets the whole company, not just a crew. “We take the time to properly understand the specific situation and their needs. Then our labs and the full team of Q’Max technical specialists work together to provide optimum technological and economical options for the client’s specific situation and issue. Delivering value on their terms is what we do.” As VP of technology, he oversees the gamut of Q’Max fluid systems and drilling fluid products, and all of the other Q’Max speciality solutions, developed by the expertise of skilled Q’Max engineers and researchers and specifically designed to deal with virtually any oilfield challenge in any area around the world. With the spectrum of proprietary Q’Max systems and fluid control products – from CBMaxTM, Q’Drill, Q’Temp EX, SmartSealTM, HybriDrill EDE and ES to Q’Core, Q’BAM, Q’Plug and calcium removers, corrosion inhibitors, defoamers, brines and other speciality products – Q’Max continues to earn the rank of being a true, inter-

national industry leader when it comes to exceptional and unmatched oilfield services such as reducing drilling time and drilling fluid costs as well as providing the latest, state-of-the-art solutions for waste management issues. The global focus on sustainability and the greening of the industry, renewable energies and systems and procedures also affirms Q’Max as a world leader in research and development, having already achieved several breakthroughs that are invaluable in helping Q’Max clients also be on the cutting edge. The management of water has become a major initiative throughout the upstream oil and gas industry. The development of unconventional plays and the drilling expansion into arid and environmentally sensitive areas brings with it increased emphasis on industry action about the conservation and protection of water. Q’Max has developed one particular and patented technology trade named the Mudstripper, that has reduced water consumption on drilling locations by as much as 50 per cent, while significantly reducing drilling times, waste volumes and associated handling, trucking and lease construction costs. This technology, used on some 2000-plus Q’Max wells, is a perfect fit for oil and gas projects where water conservation and water management is a priority, but particularly effective in remote locations where access to rig power is limited, and fluid waste management is critical. Another excellent example is the recognition and acclaim for their QHSE (quality, health, safety and environment) systems in Mexico, based on continuous improvement principles, with each QHSE project being developed as a compliance program that is evaluated and upgraded on a regular basis. Other key aspects of customized and comprehensive Q’Max services are some vital components such as the uncompromised Q’Max consistency of providing comprehensive summaries, analyzing data from well sites, compiling detailed performance, product usage and cost reports and supplying the Q’Max client with continuous improvement recommendations. The Q’Max sales, operational, technical, research and service staff work together to enhance the success probabilities of each project. They also submit up-to-date information about the environmental disposal of fluids and cuttings while drilling – always staying current and ensuring that the customer is updated with governmental and industry regulations regarding drilling waste. Baltoiu, who has been with Q’Max for more than 18 years, is gung-ho about being part of so many exciting industry and company changes. “We must constantly reinvent ourselves to always be fresh and current, looking at things with fresh eyes,” he urges. “One thing that never changes is deliverables. We unconditionally deliver value to our clients.”

Q’Max Solutions Inc. 20th Anniversary | 3

“Deliverables are the core of what we do. It’s the top Q’Max priority and what has helped us achieve the 20 years of industry service and client relationship success,” Rivers adds with conviction. “Our client/partner list includes national and multinational companies throughout the world and is growing daily. “That’s why – in addition to exciting strategic growth and expansion of sites and operations – we will soon enhance our customized solutions and integrated focus. We have already begun to add to our drilling fluids suite and are developing various new deliverables to even more effectively service our customers’ needs.” Each and every Q’Max year, the 1,400 staff walk the talk and prove that there’s more, much more to business ... than business. One of the Q’Max Solutions’ core priorities is giving back to its community. Q’Max supports its local communities and prioritizes and encourages company and employee philanthropy. Q’Max is an enthusiastic booster of many community groups: from food banks, the Canadian Cancer Society, Child Find, youth sports, and several health and wellness causes. Q’Max people volunteer unselfishly in every location while they work; they support and enhance schools

“Deliverables are the core of what we do. It’s the top Q’Max priority and what has helped us achieve the 20 years of industry service and client relationship success. ” ~ Chris Rivers

and hospitals; and they make a difference to their community wherever they are. After 20 exciting years of uncompromised oilfield service excellence, after 20 years of industry-respected and cutting-edge oil-field innovation and ingenuity, after 20 years of building solid relationships, after 20 years of earning satisfied and loyal Q’Max clients and after 20 years of being recognized as a true industry leader – Q’Max is a genuine oilfield service company. Another vital Q’Max edge is management’s attitude, leadership and the confidence that filters through the company’s operations, from head office to staff, the sites, the labs, to client/partners and even throughout the industry. It is solid and professional positivity – and Chris Rivers has it, in spades. He is openly revved and bullish about Q’Max and the overall potential within the industry. “Oil and gas has always been a cyclical business,” he says with firm determination. “But despite a temporary softness in prices, the long term is positive. Oil drilling is robust and the outlook is strong and good. “For our staff – and for our company – we have exciting times ahead!” •



1.800.268.6127 Q’Max Solutions Inc. 20th Anniversary | 4

NGC Compression Solutions

Celebrates 10 Years

Written by John Hardy Photos by Bookstrucker Photography

(Background photo): Waukesha 7044GSI Engine (1680 Horsepower) Ariel JGK/4 Compressor (3 Stage) Customer: RMP Energy Ltd. Location: Ante Creek Alberta

L- R: Shayne Ouellette, Keith Buck, Emily Sweet, Alan Halbert, Cathy LaPlante, Alyssa Guiltner, Shane Guiltner.


s unconventional as it may sound, some of the secrets to NGC’s hard-earned success are: customer focus, industry expertise, integrity and problem solving. Of course physical limitations in the NGC plant and on the shop floor create real constraints, although the specialized and virtually customized logistics and fabrication enables NGC to be flexible and precise. Effectively managing the roller-coaster ups and downs of the natural gas industry has boosted the respected, Calgarybased company to solidify its industry-leading reputation for innovative improvisation and consistently turning lemons into lemonade. “Initially, the target we were after was reconfiguration,” explains Shane Guiltner, president and CEO of NGC Compression Solutions. “It was our main focus for the first three years. And then, we sensed an opportunity to build a field service business to enhance the customer relationship. It was simply a natural extension. “Outsourcing the manufacturing of equipment and deal-

ing with the constant and unexpected schedule delays and quality control problems was frustrating for our clients. That’s what eventually led us to do it ourselves, and how we got into the fabrication business.” When the natural gas industry hit various speed bumps, it was a challenging time for many companies in the business, including the upstart NGC. Again, the company called on its willingness to be flexible, adapt and change. “When natural gas prices went from $10-$12 to $2-$3, it was a painful adjustment,” Guiltner candidly admits. “Some of our customers (like Encana) had hedges; for us, managing overhead, staff and maintaining our levels of service were the only viable options. “And, although things have mostly stabilized, we are still adjusting to the new market realities. But there are also some really good opportunities.” He is extremely plugged-in and has his finger on the pulse (and quirks) of Canada’s natural gas industry. “I think things

NGC Compression Solutions | 10th Anniversary | 1

will continue to be a bit tough and challenging into 2015. Or until some LNG plants get built, maybe by 2017.” Despite being a seasoned industry professional and a gung-ho optimist, Guiltner is cautious when wondering what the world price of natural gas may be, by the time Canada actually starts exporting LNG. This is a special NGC year. It is the company’s 10th anniversary as a respected and leading provider of natural gas compression solutions to producers in Western Canada. “Our business is built on three primary segments: reconfiguration of existing compression equipment, using our proprietary OptiFit technology, custom fabrication and field service of gas compression equipment. “We have an energetic and highly skilled engineering design staff, dedicated to servicing customers and providing efficient design work – using Creo Parametric, a 3D design tool, for all new compression packages and reconfiguration projects, ensuring that little is left to chance regarding form, fit and function – whether it’s for a field retrofit or new compressor package being built in our Calgary facility.” Guiltner is rightfully proud of NGC’s determination and resilience, building customer relationships while weathering the various industry storms and broadsides while managing to maintain positive NGC momentum and growth. In addition to the 22,000 square feet of NGC manufacturing facilities and the head office in Calgary, the dynamic company also has service and parts distribution branches (as Guiltner says, “near the action”) in Drumheller, Stettler, Grande Prairie and Fort St. John. With a loyal and growing client base and exceptional field services, the development of cutting-edge technology and virtually customized design and fabrication, NGC is solidly established as an industry leader in compression reconfiguration – the optimization of existing reciprocating compressor units. And again, innovation and flexibility are proving to be key NGC factors. As Shane Guiltner repeats and underscores, “It’s all about the needs and requirements of the customer! “NGC will restage, re-cylinder, refurbish and repackage all existing types of natural gas reciprocating compressor

L- R: Shayne Ouellette, Shane Guiltner, Alan Halbert.

packages and handle almost any size of retrofit, in the field or at one of our locations. “About eight years ago, as we were determined to survive and become more and more efficient, we analyzed our entire workflow and came up with 15 per cent savings in labour,” he explains. 1.877.451.7243

As a Chevron 1st Source Elite marketer we are proud to be NGC’s supplier of quality Chevron lubricants. We congratulate NGC on achieving 10 years in business.

Congratulations to NGC Compression Solutions on 10 great years of service!

All Chevron trademarks are property owned by Chevron Intellectual Property LLC or their respective owners.

NGC Compression Solutions | 10th Anniversary | 2 403.274.6106 “We called it value-added production and it was vital to concentrate on the value of our efforts. Some call it ‘lean manufacturing’ and in Calgary it is a seven-stage assembly line with sub-assembly stations supporting the main line.” One block away from the company’s Calgary head office and main fabricating plant is the 10,000-square-foot, ASME-certified, U-stamp pressure fabrication facility where the company’s experienced and skilled trades manufacture all the specialized NGC pressure equipment like scrubbers, pulsation bottles, separators and process piping spools. Since service continues the key NGC customer focus, Guiltner points out that by applying value-added production techniques, the company constantly creates improvements such as lead times and unit option flexibility to better serve NGC customers. He is genuinely enthused about NGC’s continued push for the latest in industry technology, like new gas compression equipment manufacturing (specializing in sub 2,000 horsepower natural gas compression) and NGC’s dedicated field maintenance and constructions crews who do the OptiFit reconfiguration and also service all makes of engines and compressors anywhere in Western Canada. “It’s our competitive edge,” he says with genuine pride.

“Our superb staff works very hard to create and achieve the desired customer experience and earn customer loyalty. We are in a fiercely competitive service industry and our primary goal is to reduce downtime and cost, so the customer’s operation is as effective as possible. “Monitoring and maximizing the customer relationship is unconditionally our top priority.” •


to NGC Compression on their 10th Anniversary! Wishing you many more decades in the industry! 300 South Railway Avenue East, Drumheller, AB 403.823.3635 |

Wishing NGC Compression Solutions congratulations as they celebrate their 10th Anniversary! ~ From all of us at Above & Beyond Compression Inc.

NGC Compression Solutions | 10th Anniversary | 3

Leading Business Connecting to solve business challenges


Clean Energy on the Rise in Alberta


In southern Alberta alone, wind energy accounts for more than 6,700 direct and indirect jobs… and generates more than $27 million in municipal tax revenue.

algary is best known as the oil and gas capital of Canada, but that characterization brushes over a fascinating clean energy story. Alberta is home to some of the most innovative clean energy companies in Canada, and at last count, generated almost 2,500 megawatts of electricity from renewable sources like hydro, wind and biomass. That doesn’t include the 3,000 additional megawatts of clean energy proposed to be built in the coming years. Wind in particular is a growing area of potential for Alberta. Over the last two decades, Alberta’s wind energy industry has grown to rank third, behind Ontario and Quebec, in total wind generation capacity. And although wind generation still only represents approximately 3.5 per cent of the electricity generated in Alberta, it is poised to play an important role in providing the province a cleaner energy mix in the years to come. With improved technologies and more efficient practices, the cost of wind energy projects is declining quickly, soon to reach parity with more traditional sources of energy, making the economic argument in favour of wind all the more compelling. Wind energy is also a boon to Alberta’s economy. In southern Alberta alone, wind energy accounts for more than 6,700 direct and indirect jobs over the construction and operation stages of various projects, and generates more than $27 million in municipal tax revenue. Much work remains to take full advantage of wind energy’s potential in the Alberta marketplace. Sound government policies such as renewable portfolio standards – which mandate that a certain portion of an electric utility’s fuel be sourced from renewables – have had much success in hastening the adoption of renewable energy. Improved awareness and understanding among Albertans will also help expedite the transition. But progress of late is certainly helping to dispel our reputation as nothing but an oil province. | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2014 • 85

2014 Board of


Chamber Member Spotlights

Executive Chair: Leah Lawrence, President, Clean Energy Capitalists Inc. Immediate Past Chair: Joe Lougheed, Partner, Dentons Canada LLP Chair Elect: Rob Hawley, Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

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

Second Vice Chair: Denis Painchaud, Director, International Government Relations, Nexen Inc. Vice Chair, Finance: Bill Brunton, President, Stratus Marketing Inc. 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

BMO Bank of Montreal BMO Bank of Montreal currently serves more than 12 million personal, commercial, corporate and institutional customers in North America and internationally. BMO provides expert advice, highly personalized service and a coordinated team of professionals dedicated to finding customized banking solutions for any business segment, ranging from large corporations to a small business starting out. Banking with BMO means more value and more banking options that make the most sense for businesses. For more information visit

Guy Huntingford, Chief Executive Officer, Urban Development Institute Bruce Okabe, Chief Executive Officer, Travel Alberta Phil Roberts, Vice-President, Axia NetMedia Corp Linda Shea, Senior Vice-President, AltaLink Mike Williams, Executive Vice-President, Tervita Corporation

Long View Systems 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

For the past 14 years, Long View Systems has been helping improve operational processes for small and medium companies through the support of innovative, flexible and cost-effective IT solutions and services. Long View Systems serves clients from a broad range of industries and provides them with top IT professionals with expertise in key technology areas such as virtualization, storage, managed IT/outsourcing, networking, collaboration, cloud, user support and data centre. Long View Systems is committed to being the best and continues to receive awards in technical expertise and customer service excellence from many of the top manufacturers in the industry. For more information visit

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

The Banff Centre Located in the incredible setting of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, The Banff Centre is the largest arts and creativity incubator on the planet, and offers nearly 100 programs in the performing, visual, media and literary arts. Over 4,000 artists at all stages of their career from across Canada and around the world, attend professional and creative development programs each year. In a setting ideal for inspiring creativity, all programs at The Banff Centre take on a dynamic and innovative approach to learning. For more information visit

86 • February 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

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Upcoming Events For details and to purchase tickets for any of the Calgary Chamber’s events please visit

Friday, February 7, 2014 Chinese New Year Gala 5:30pm - 9:30pm | Silver Dragon Restaurant | 106 3rd Avenue SE The Calgary Chamber has partnered with the Calgary Chinese Merchants Association in hosting this year’s Chinese New Year Gala. Join us in celebrating the Year of the Horse with a 10-course traditional dinner, cultural entertainment and door prizes. The event aims to bring the Calgary business communities together to celebrate and learn about each other’s business practices.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 Hunter Harrison: Top Turnaround CEO of the Year 11:30am - 1:30pm | Calgary TELUS Convention Centre | 120 9th Avenue SE Hunter Harrison was recently identified as the “Top Turnaround CEO of the Year” by Canadian Business Magazine for his remarkable leadership in getting Canadian Pacific Railway back on track. Hosted by the Calgary Chamber, Mr. Harrison will discuss how one of Canada’s founding industries is more essential than ever to the modern-day business world, and the logistics behind using rail to get Alberta’s oil products to market.

Thursday, February 27, 2014 Business After Hours at the Bow Valley Club 5:00pm - 7:00pm | Bow Valley Club | #370, 250 6 Avenue SW Business After Hours is one of the best networking opportunities in the city. This is the perfect opportunity to discover a new business while making meaningful business connections in a laid-back environment. Join us for an inside look at the Bow Valley Club, with the chance to win a free month membership to their health club facilities.

Thursday, March 6, 2014 Diversity Training 8:00am - 3:30pm | Calgary Chamber | #600, 237 8 Avenue SE The Chamber will be hosting an all-day diversity training session hosted by one of Canada’s most experienced diversity trainers, Dr. Neil McDonald of Cross Cultural Consulting Inc. The session will focus on topics such as the new realities of diversity in Canada, accommodating different cultures, harassment in the workplace and communicating across cultures. Participants will benefit from gaining the knowledge found in an entire conference during a one-day workshop, and will walk away with tangible and actionable best practices to working with diverse cultural groups.

88 • February 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

The CenTre of Calgary and a CenTre for all Geographically located at the centre of Calgary, the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre (CTCC) is the place to host a broad range of events. Calgarians know the CTCC as a centre of activity for business and community functions. Visitors to our city know the Convention Centre as a destination for national and international conferences. For almost forty years, the Centre has been the destination where organizers know they will have access to world-class facilities and the hospitality professionals who uphold Calgary’s friendly and welcoming reputation. Today, the CTCC hosts on average 700 events per year from small meetings to large international conventions. From hosting the World Petroleum Congress in 2000 to welcoming the Calgary Art Market for 27 years running, the centre welcomes people from all walks of life. The Centre is a location for meetings of all sizes, tradeshows, boxing matches, consumer shows, banquets, reunions, graduations, and community gatherings. The majority of Calgarians of all ages can count attendance at a Convention Centre function among their life experiences and consider the Centre an important factor in enhancing our city’s prosperity and vibrancy. The CTCC has the highest revenue per square foot and the highest utilization rate in comparison with similar Canadian facilities. A place of constant activity and energy, the Centre’s loading dock receives over 80,000 shipments per year; guests consume over 11,000 pounds of coffee beans and 42,000 pounds of beef tenderloin annually. Each year graduates from Calgary and area high schools celebrate their banquets at the same centre that has welcomed world-famous dignitaries and celebrities. Visitors to the Centre include the Dalai Lama, Prince Charles, Bill Clinton, Dr. Phil, Alice Cooper, Richard Branson, Rudy Giuliani, and Canadian artists such as Celine Dion, Tom Cochrane, and Colin James. When the world comes to Calgary, the centre of activity is likely in the centre of the city at the CTCC. Looking towards its future, the team at the Convention Centre recognizes the need for the Centre’s growth to accommodate the need for bigger events to meet the needs of an increasingly trans-national business community. In the hopes of attracting the events that will enable the CTCC to retain its standing as a worldclass meeting and convention destination, the centre must look at options to offer bigger facilities and more amenities to event planners and organizers. | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2014 • 89

Soul of the City


Neighbour Grants Bring a New Element to Community Engagement


n December, Calgary Economic Development, the Calgary Foundation and the Calgary Telus Convention Centre launched the Soul of the City Neighbour Grants. What are these you ask? Since 1999, the Calgary Foundation’s Neighbour Grants Program has helped hundreds of community groups build community spaces, depict neighbourhood history, discuss community matters, celebrate diversity and belonging, and run many other kinds of projects to strengthen the fabric of neighbourhood and community life. In September 2012, Calgary Economic Development, with the support of the Calgary Telus Convention Centre, launched the Soul of the City speaker series. The series has engaged hundreds of Calgarians in conversations about further developing Calgary’s ‘soul,’ covering topics such as sustainable cities, urban planning and design, public art and architecture, creativity, local food and spin farming, festivals and street culture, and the shared value business model. The Soul of the City Neighbour Grants brings these community organizations together to present five (5) $5,000 grants to Calgarians to bring their Soul of the City ideas to life and lead a community project of their own. The program hopes to attract dozens of Calgarians who have a desire to build a community garden or playground, host a street festival or paint a neighbourhood mural. These ideas are just examples as the search begins for creative and compelling ideas that will inspire people to get involved in their community. The five grant winning projects will be selected by a live audience at a Soul of the City event in April. The really cool part? The five projects will be followed by a film crew over the summer months to document their project journeys and the final video will be released at a community celebration event in November 2014. Want to learn more? For information about the application process, see: Applications are being accepted until March 31, 2014, 4 p.m. MST.

Alberta organizations come together to create $1.35 million #YYCisOpen campaign For most Calgarians, this past June seems so far away. Unless, of course, your home or business was dramatically impacted by flooding. Although most businesses have now reopened, the next six months will really tell the tale of the flood’s impact on many of the affected businesses in Calgary 90 • February 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

and southern Alberta. Although most business have a sense of how lost time, perished inventory, damages and repairs have impacted their bottom lines, returning customers and changes in customer behaviour will all play a part in determining the continued success of these businesses. The Calgary Flood Recovery Task Force, co-chaired by Calgary Economic Development and the Calgary Chamber, focused on a few key areas: getting businesses back up and running followed by the launch of the YYCisOpen campaign. The campaign objective was to encourage citizens to get back to these flood-affected areas to support the businesses – regardless of whether they were family run, independently owned or part of a chain. The YYCisOpen campaign commenced in July with ATB Financial, the Calgary Hotel Association and the Government of Alberta coming to the table with funding. Soon thereafter media partners throughout Calgary and southern Alberta provided in-kind donations and discounts on advertising space. In December, the Calgary Foundation and Calgary Transit got involved allowing the campaign to continue throughout the holiday season. Over the course of six months, $425,000 cash was contributed from these generous partners, while at the same time local media outlets and suppliers contributed over $950,000 in products and services, resulting in an advertising and marketing campaign valued at over $1.35 million. The campaign generated nearly 70 stories in the media and saw over 7.5 million impressions on social media. But the most exciting part is that through independent surveys at different points during the campaign, nearly 79 per cent of people who saw the campaign had already supported or planned to go out and support a business that was affected by the floods. The YYCisOpen campaign would not have been possible without so many organizations coming together to ensure Calgary’s and southern Alberta’s most unique business districts remain vital part of our communities. And Albertans responded. Many of them choosing to direct a portion of their spending in these areas and others simply exploring or rediscovering their favourite café, shop or gallery. Although the six-month-long campaign has officially wrapped up, the need for further support for many of these businesses is still there and it is hoped Albertans will continue to show their support by getting out to eat, drink or shop in these areas.

Ten Reasons to be Excited About Tourism in Calgary in 2014 BY STEWART MCDONOUGH


algarians typically think theirs is a great city to live in, but to visit? We’re just a gateway to the mountains and Stampede city. Right? Wrong, wrong, very wrong. Calgarians should take a look at what people around the world are saying about our city, take some measure of pride and start inviting their friends and family to enjoy our diversity of unique experiences. The good news is that the tourism growth we’re currently enjoying fuels product and infrastructure development, which then spurs more visitation in a positive cycle.

6. Afterglow from the DERTOUR Academy visit in 2013 Calgary and Banff hosted more than 600 top travel agents, key tourism partners and journalists from Germany, Austria and neighbouring countries in December. Following the Academy, destinations have shown increases of at least 20 per cent in traffic from Germany. For Alberta, this means potential for an incremental 15,800 person-visits and $16 million in tourism expenditures.

Here are 10 reasons to be optimistic about Calgary’s tourism prospects in 2014.

7. Significant new product and infrastructure development a. Komodo dragons, rhinos, mandrills (the world’s largest monkeys) and more will be coming to the Calgary Zoo. b. We’ve estimated that an additional 2,400 rooms could be added through proposed hotel projects in the next three years, which would be a 20 per cent increase in Calgary’s room supply. c. The Calgary Stampede continues to evolve and stay fresh with three significant development projects including the new Agrium Western Event Centre, Riverfront Park development and Youth Campus. d. The new runway will be complete at the Calgary International Airport.

1. There’s great buzz about Calgary across the country, the border and the pond U.K.’s the Guardian recently selected Alberta, with Calgary as the city anchor, as the ninth best place to visit in the world in 2014. We’ve had some excellent coverage in major American daily newspapers like the Chicago Tribune and the Seattle Times in the last few months. And one of Canada’s leading online travel websites rated Calgary as the 11th best place to visit in Canada this year. 2. Calgary is leading the nation The Conference Board of Canada predicts that Calgary will lead the nation’s major cities for growth in overnight visits (4 per cent) and visitor spending (6.8 per cent). 3. Three big anniversaries to celebrate Heritage Park Historical Village’s 50th anniversary, the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon’s 50th anniversary and the Fairmont Palliser’s centennial. 4. Second year for major clustered events in August and September PGA Shaw Charity Classic, Opera in the Village, Masters at Spruce Meadows, Tour of Alberta (still to be confirmed) and Beakerhead. These five events are travel motivators, brand builders and show our unique diversity of tourism experiences. 5. Big event year In 2014, Calgary will host 10 national championship events from broomball to rugby, 10 World Cup or major international sporting events and Cavalia’s larger-than-life equestrian theatrical production returns April 30.

8. Growing recognition as a cosmopolitan centre As U.K.’s the Guardian notes, “For city life try Calgary, which has gone from cowboy town to cosmopolitan cool.” Perceptions of Calgary have grown because of recognition for remarkable culinary, culture and festival scenes and our impressive architectural and public art icons. 9. Working with our neighbours New and growing partnerships with our surrounding communities with an emphasis on developing programs with Banff Lake Louise Tourism and Tourism Canmore Kananaskis. 10. Olympic fever Every Olympic year draws attention to past Olympic cities and Calgary gets great exposure because our visitors can visit our legacy facilities and experience the thrill of the bobsleigh, skate on the world’s fastest ice and see Olympic athletes train and compete regularly. | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2014 • 91


TechRev Innovators Shining the spotlight on local technology innovation |


Above photo: TechRev Innovators 2014 returns for a celebration and networking event on February 11, 2014. Photo courtesy: TechRev.


echRev Innovators, a celebration event that shines the spotlight on innovation, returns for its fifth awards night on February 11, 2014. Annually, TechRev and its partners recognize local technology innovators with standout accomplishments that represent some of the most forward-looking and promising tech ventures underway in Calgary and southern Alberta. An initiative of Innovate Calgary, TechRev is dedicated to recognizing achievements in the advanced tech sector by profiling local entrepreneurs to promote opportunities for investment and collaboration. “We launched TechRev Innovators in 2009 to build awareness and shine the spotlight on local technology companies, their innovations, their successes and the people behind them,” says Pamela Boytinck, executive director, TechRev. “To date we’ve awarded TechRev Innovators awards to 40 technology companies from throughout the Calgary area, spanning across various sub-sectors of advanced technology from medical technology to energy, to software to digital media and more.” Companies considered for TechRev Innovators awards can range from early-stage pre-commercial to well-established leaders in their field. Nominees come from every sub-sector of advanced technology and reflect every stage in a company’s life cycle from pre-revenue to growth to leadership. Nominees are evaluated by an independent selection committee of industry experts on criteria that includes financial performance, operational growth and market viability. Specifically, TechRev Innovators are reaching significant

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milestones such as developing innovative technologies, launching new products or entering global markets. When Calgary-based company Hookflash received a TechRev Innovators award in 2012, they had recently launched their flagship app. Hookflash integrates with LinkedIn directories, giving business users access to instant and real-time voice and videoconferencing and instant messaging. “The benefits associated with being recognized as a 2012 TechRev Innovator began simultaneously with the presentation of the awards as we were introduced by SMART Technologies president Tom Hodson and cited by Mayor Nenshi as an example of how technology innovation has the potential to generate change,” says Trent Johnsen, CEO and co-founder of Hookflash. “Since then, Hookflash has gained considerable media coverage derived through the efforts of TechRev.” This year a record number of over 600 companies were nominated for TechRev Innovators 2014. Calgary and southern Alberta companies from across the broad spectrum of advanced technology were identified as innovators with compelling technologies, applications and stories. “TechRev aims to achieve greater profile for local technology innovators in Calgary and southern Alberta to attract investment and talent, supporting the growth of our local tech sector,” says Boytinck. The 2014 Innovators will be announced at a celebration event on February 11. The official announcement will be followed by an evening of networking. To join in on the celebration event, or to learn more about TechRev, visit



MarketingMatters • David Parker




rookfield Residential had been dealing with a number of advertising, web and communications agencies but made a decision to pull all of its business under one roof and selected MacLaren McCann West as its agency of record. MacLaren McCann senior vice president and general manager Ric Fedyna says that although some of the web work is still being handled by other firms, his agency will be responsible for all of its Alberta communities and its recently merged homes division. In Calgary it is developing in a number of communities including Auburn Bay, Cranston, McKenzie Towne, New Brighton and the exciting 365-acre development of Seton that will house 1,300 multi-family dwellings by a planned 16-acre regional park. Brookfield Residential is also busy in Edmonton and to assist the marketing there Fedyna has opened an office led by Renee Baranieski, who worked with Brookfield at one of the agencies it used in that city. MacLaren McCann has also been named as one of the five agencies selected to work with Alberta Health Services so an Edmonton office will be a big help to that account too. Another new account for the Calgary office of the agency is TransCanada Corp. and MacLaren McCann looking after its digital and social media needs. And it continues to work with SAIT Polytechnic and is already planning for its big 100-year anniversary celebrations in 2016. ••••••••••••••

Brookfield Residential has a new director of marketing and communications. Gisèle Danis has moved over to Brookfield from her position as vice president marketing and communications at Tourism Calgary which she joined in 2010. Following her stint with the Young Canadians, Danis graduated from the SAIT Polytechnic broadcast journalism program and after a career in broadcast served in senior executive positions with Parks Canada and the Canadian Tourism Commission. •••••••••••••• Scott Cressman has joined creative video agency V Strategies as director, integrated strategy. He was formerly creative director at the University of Calgary and held similar positions with LP Communications and National Public Relations. If you watched the Australian Open Tennis you will have enjoyed the opening animation package that was created and produced by Calgary’s Jump Studios. Now it is busy working with ESPN to provide total packages for its French Open and Wimbledon coverage. •••••••••••••• Doesn’t seem that long ago since we were announcing winners of the 2013 Ad Rodeo but here we are past deadline for this year’s entries already. Hope lots of agencies and their clients submitted to the award show that just keeps getting better and is a real showpiece for this city’s best creative work. The date for the 2014 gala has been set for Friday, April 4, at the Jack Singer Concert Hall. •••••••••••••• And while on the subject of awards, Woodruff Sweitzer capped off the year by winning eight Best of CAMA (Canadian Agri-Marketing Association)

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awards that included two Best of Show for its Arysta LifeScience campaign. •••••••••••••• Scotia Centre and Scotia Tower are among the Calgary properties owned by Quebec City-based Cominar REIT and the retail space is undergoing a classy renovation program. Tandem Marketing worked with Scotia Centre’s Christmas retail promotion and has been hired to undertake a communications program to relaunch the centre, anchored by West Restaurant and Bar and the much-loved independent fashion retailer – Purr. Todd Fraser, managing director at Tandem, explains it is also providing the promotional materials for Empire Custom Homes – a newer division of longtime client Kevin Mullen, owner of Empire Kitchen and Bath – that is launching 30 luxury town home units in the Valour Park area of Currie Barracks. Themed to Currie Barracks’ history and heritage, they have private elevator access from underground garages and great views from rooftop patios. An exciting project. And Tandem has also started a partnership with First Capital Realty for marketing assignments for McKenzie Towne Centre. •••••••••••••• Kudos to Karo Group for keeping hives of bees on its 10th Avenue SW office roof. Rooftop honey makes good client gifts. BiC

Parker’s Pick: I appreciate the agencies that go all out to show their creativity in offering “season’s greetings.” Top marks again to Sasges Inc. for its 12 Days of Christmas coasters.

Voted by you! (Again)

2013 & 2014 Consumers Choice Award Winner OPUS has been chosen again this year for the Consumers Choice Award for General Contractor. Through an independent market research survey, consumers and businesses in our community have selected us as a top ranked organization. This award is considered to be the most distinguished award for business excellence in Canada. Thank you again to our clients, business associates and the community for considering us as their first choice for commercial real estate projects in Calgary. We are grateful you see the benefits of using a full service developer as your contractor.

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February 2014 Business in Calgary  
February 2014 Business in Calgary