BIC February 2015

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Passion to Help the Homeless Built on a family tradition of giving By David Parker


eeting with Grit McCreath, a proud member of the RESOLVE Campaign cabinet for affordable housing, you quickly learn about the delightful relationships with husband Scott and their family. But before long, the talk is all about her two non-profit passions – RESOLVE and the University of Saskatchewan. Her dedication to volunteerism is the result of an upbringing that taught the importance of education and is a way to give thanks to her parents who believed strongly in both. In 1949, McCreath’s parents – both academics – left their home in northern Germany aboard the Cunard liner RMS Scythia, which was used by the International Refugee Organization to ferry people from Europe to Canada, to begin a new life in this country. It must have been a bit of a shock to find themselves in a basement in Brooks, Alberta, yet they enjoyed living in a community where everyone took care of each other. They soon made the move to Saskatoon and McCreath says she remembers growing up there with her parents continually attending the university in order to integrate better into Canadian society. McCreath graduated from the University of Saskatchewan and has been involved with it ever since, a natural outpouring of her family’s example of sharing and giving. She became an educator herself and spent over 30 years as a teacher, librarian and high school administrator in both public and private schools in Saskatchewan, Ontario and Alberta. For three years she was on the senate of the University of Saskatchewan serving on a variety of committees, and for the past six, has served as an active member of the board of governors. Her teaching abilities have been recognized with the Excellence in Teaching Award from Alberta Education, she has been honoured twice by the City of Calgary for her work with school/business partnerships, and she received the Conference Board of Canada/Royal Bank Partners in

Grit McCreath

Education Award. She was named one of Calgary’s Women of Distinction. Little wonder, when you learn of her volunteer commitments on a variety of boards including Junior Achievement of Alberta, YWCA Calgary (president), University of Calgary Research Ethics, Famous 5 Foundation, Waskesiu Foundation and the Whyte Foundation. So why add RESOLVE to her long list of community and fundraising roles? McCreath says she joined the Campaign because of the collaborative nature of working with nine agencies to solve the affordable housing crisis. She wanted in. Now she is an active and enthusiastic member of a team of dedicated Calgarians set on raising $120 million to get the job done. “Solving grand social issues is a hallmark of Calgary and the enduring strength of our city comes from people who call it ‘home.’ As a lifelong educator who understands the power of collaboration, it is an honour to join RESOLVE to ensure that everyone calling Calgary ‘home’ has a home to go to.”

RESOLVE is a partnership of nine leading social service agencies with one simple goal: building affordable rental housing for 3,000 homeless and vulnerable Calgarians. We’re working directly with government, business and community leaders to put roofs over heads and end homelessness in Calgary. Learn more at

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

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

Bob Hamilton Tim Hearn Craig Hill Ken King Sam Kolias Ann McCaig Grit McCreath

Bill Sembo Michelle Thrush Mac Van Wielingen Chris Wallace Jay Westman

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Supporting the visions of entrepreneurs one story at a time



Volume 25 | Number 2

On our cover…


Lourdes Juan, director of LMJ Consultants and director of Soma Advanced Skin and Body Therapy.

Pat Ottmann & Tim Ottmann


John Hardy

February 2015 $3.50


Cher Compton



Lisa Johnston & Nikki Mullett

Aaron Jackson


Nancy Bielecki Kim Hogan Melissa Arthur


REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS Richard Bronstein Frank Atkins David Parker Lonnie Tate

THIS ISSUE’S CONTRIBUTORS Dan Cooper Colleen Wallace Nerissa McNaughton Parker Grant Julia Marshall Cassandra McAuley Meghan Ockey

Double Life



Lourdes Juan


Cover photo courtesy of Ewan Nicholson Photo Video


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Supporting the visions of entrepreneurs one story at a time



Volume 25 | Number 2


THIS MONTH’S FEATURES 22 • Urbanomics | Urban Development Discussion: The Land Drought

Who should pay? By John Hardy

26 • Despite Socially GREEN. Industrially CLEAN. the mega-hype, it’s more relevant than ever. By Dan Cooper

39 • Menus Conferences, Conventions and Receptions and agendas for the new normal By Colleen Wallace


48 • AsThe New Wardrobe Classics casual Friday gave way to business causal workweeks, we adapted. Now that the trends are changing again, what do professionals need in their closets? By Nerissa McNaughton

53 • Investing The Domination of Mutual Funds since the 2008 crunch By Colleen Wallace

57 • AThe Sold-Out MBA Programs solid investment in career futures By Parker Grant

REGULAR COLUMNS 12 • ByThe More Things Change . . . Richard Bronstein 14 • ByWhen Will We Learn? Frank Atkins 16 • Getting My Vote in 2016 – The Education Plank in My Ideal Platform By Lonnie Tate

67 • Leading Business 73 • Current The Calgary Report developments for Calgary Telus Convention Centre, Tourism Calgary, Calgary Economic Development, and Innovate Calgary

78 • Marketing Matters By David Parker

10 • February 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

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The More Things Change . . . • Richard Bronstein


The More Things Change . . .


efore an overseas trip in December I speculated to friends that if Danielle Smith of the Wildrose Party really wanted to make a lasting impact on public life in Alberta, she should join the government of Premier Jim Prentice. Then halfway through our trip news broke that Smith and eight others defected from Wildrose to the Alberta Conservatives. Many in the Wildrose ranks are understandably angry and call this the end of democracy. Well, hardly. Political realignment has been going on for centuries and always will. Except for those few who are heavily invested in party politics, to the vast majority of people this kind of floor crossing may be entertaining grist for the mill, but at the end of the day, who cares? What matters is good government. So how will Danielle Smith employ her talents on the government side? And will Premier Prentice call an early election in 2015? Those parts of the story have not been written yet, but you have to admit that from the tumult of Alison Redford, to the ascendancy of Jim Prentice, to the mass migration of Wildrose, we live in interesting times in Alberta. But what about government vision and leadership? It pains me to read in the Globe and Mail when Premier Prentice laments that, “We’re trying to wrestle to the ground one of the most precipitous drops in energy revenue that the province has ever seen.” Yes, we are facing a severe drop in oil prices and therefore provincial government revenues. But this is hardly the first time. For example, when Peter Lougheed was premier in 1971 the spot price for West Texas Intermediate was under $4.00 a barrel. It climbed to over $30 a barrel towards the end of Lougheed’s term. But shortly after Premier Don Getty succeeded Lougheed, oil prices plunged to $13.50 a barrel and full-scale panic broke out in government. Getty raised taxes, cut spending on schools, universities, municipalities and hospitals, and provided loans to

12 • February 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

agriculture, the energy sector and selected industries to diversify the economy. He entered government with a zero debt and left it $11 billion in the hole. I’m not raising this to trash Getty’s reputation, because in other ways he played a positive role in government, particularly on the Canadian constitutional front. But his

Yes, we are facing a severe drop in oil prices and therefore provincial government revenues. But this is hardly the first time. government was dumbstruck by the calamity of plummeting oil prices, investment was fleeing, real estate was sinking and people were moving out of the province. Since then oil prices have greatly increased, even though they have bobbed up and down. According to, WTI reached a peak of $147.02 a barrel on July 11, 2008. Recently they have dipped below $50 a barrel and nobody seems to know where the bottom is. If we all know that oil prices have a radical history of severe fluctuation, why after 30 years has Alberta not developed a competent strategy to deal with the erratic nature of energy prices? Obviously we can’t seal ourselves off from the outside world, but surely we are clever enough to find a way to avoid the worst of these sudden downturns. Premier Getty certainly had a very rough time of it and other premiers since then have had to deal with ups and downs caused by fluctuating oil prices. Now it is Jim Prentice’s turn and he has potentially the worst-case scenario in the last 30 years. BiC






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When Will We Learn? • Frank Atkins



s I am writing this article in early January 2015, the world price of oil sits in the US$48 range, and has been falling for some time. Politicians and the press are acting as if this was some kind of a surprise. It may have been a surprise in terms of knowing the precise timing, but it should not have been a surprise in the sense that this always happens. Commodity prices, especially the price of oil, are extremely volatile, but we always act as if they are not. This volatility affects our lives in Alberta only because of the manner in which the provincial government runs its budgeting process. We place a heavy reliance on oil revenues in order to plan expenditures. When oil revenues drop, politicians then make speeches about having to make tough economic choices because of lack of revenue. However, revenue is not the problem, rather the problem lies in planning spending based on these volatile oil revenues. We should all remember the Ralph Klein era in Alberta. Prior to Mr. Klein becoming premier, Don Getty ran the province into a fiscal mess by refusing to adjust spending during a recession when oil revenues were very low. When Mr. Klein was first elected, he reduced spending, which reduced our overall reliance on oil revenues. The budget was balanced and surpluses where used to pay down the debt that was accumulated

When Will We Learn? by his predecessors. Unfortunately, Mr. Klein could not take the next step, which would have been to use any surpluses to build up the Heritage Fund. Once the Heritage Fund reached a certain level, income generated from the fund could then be used to actually reduce taxes in

Mr. Prentice has an opportunity to do a lot more than just get through the current situation.

Alberta. Instead Mr. Klein lost his political will, and in the latter part of his mandate he increased spending dramatically. I say the following with respect. Mr. Klein’s legacy is: Klein I, the restrainer; Klein II, the spender. I once used this characterization in a speech where Rod Love was in the audience. Rod, God rest his soul, told me that he agreed with me.

14 • February 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

We all know that Mr. Stelmach took Mr. Klein’s latter mandate spending habits to new heights, and Ms. Redford’s fiscal policy showed a complete lack of understanding that there was a problem. So, now we come to Mr. Prentice. Jim Prentice has made the usual speeches about tightening our belts in an environment of low oil prices. However, Mr. Prentice has an opportunity to do a lot more than just get through the current situation. We need to rethink the manner in which we deliver government in Alberta. We must reduce our reliance on volatile resource revenues. We need to have a rule that says we will plan our budget based on only relying on some percentage of resource revenues. We can discuss what this percentage is, but clearly it needs to be a lot less than 100 per cent. This will go towards breaking the link between government expenditures and oil revenues. For the naysayers out there, we already did this, think of Klein I, the restrainer. These ideas are not new. I have been saying this for years, as has my colleague Ron Kneebone at the School of Public Policy. The problem is, nobody seems to listen. BiC Frank aTkins is an assoCiaTe proFessor oF eConoMiCs aT The UniversiTy oF CaLgary, a senior FeLLoW aT The FronTier CenTre For pUBLiC poLiCy and a MeMBer oF The advisory Board oF The insTiTUTe For pUBLiC seCTor aCCoUnTaBiLiTy.

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Getting My Vote in 2016 – The Education Plank in My Ideal Platform • Lonnie Tate

Getting My Vote in 2016 –

By Lonnie Tate

The Education Plank in My Ideal Platform


his is the second column in a series outlining what would garner my vote in the next provincial election. I’m not an expert in this field; but I do have an opinion. It will be obvious the opinion is based solely on my experiences. This plank in my platform has three parts laminated together to focus on basic public education: infrastructure, administration and curriculum. Part one – we need more schools. The stuff I read says we need 50 more schools today; and another 50 in five years. So let’s build them. Not 100 legacies to some architect’s fantasy to be named after some school board dignitary. Settle on a basic plan and replicate it over and over again. It works … my history tells me so. In 1950, I entered Grade 1 at Richmond Elementary. Brand new school; eight rooms, some office space and an auditorium. Two years later, the coming need for more space was obvious and a second wing was built – six more rooms. This U-shaped model was repeated across the city. You see them everywhere … someone understood the purpose was effective education at a sensible cost. Does it work? You bet! Sixty-five years later, Richmond is still going strong … the centre of the community. Of the dozen houses that my friends and I grew up in, not one is left. Infill houses abound, two to a lot, each has more square feet than the single-family house that it replaced. But the well-thought-out school still functions. We do not need to replicate Richmond, but we do need to replicate the thought process. Part two – refocus and reduce administration. Every time I read that the Calgary Board of Education is in financial crisis, the budget is reworked and less teachers are employed. Looking behind the numbers quoted, it seems that nearly half the people employed at the CBE do not teach. That doesn’t seem right to me. I live one street way from the block containing the CBE offices. Once again I think: “Hmmmm!” The block is

16 • February 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

beautiful: dynamite new building; terrific restoration of the sandstone Central High School; and a great park (if you ignore the corner with the sculpture). The building represents a $28,000,000 commitment; it also represents the sense of entitlement that abounds in the province’s bureaucracies. That is no surprise to me. Provincial bureaucrats deal with CBE bureaucrats. It is not much of a reach to understand why the CBE block came about – the bureaucratic equivalent of the Taj Mahal. We will never understand how that happened … there is a black hole from which no information escapes. Part three – we need to stop shrinking the curriculum; it should be expanded back towards what it once was. This is tough when the system has been dealing at the margins of subsistence. Fifty schools is 20,000 students. Across the province, 20,000 students is three more per classroom. And that doesn’t include the extra three per classroom caused when library, music and art rooms were abandoned in favour of classrooms. But hey! The boards were able to save the costs of librarians, music and arts teachers. That is what happens when the system focuses on statistics, budgets, reports and bureaucratic efficiency. Those education bureaucrats are brilliant. But they dictate worsening education for our kids. Remember, this is not about the teachers in front of students. Most of the stuff I read tells me that graduates of the system are less well-prepared than they once were. Charter and private schools are booming as parents direct their children to locations where their offspring get an acknowledged, better education. Certainly they get better grounding across a broad range of subjects and activities. It seems clear that change is required. Can all this happen in one term of any government? I doubt it. But there needs to be a start in a different direction than the path we are on. Can the PCs effect the change under a new leader? Perhaps. In all the rhetoric, I didn’t see the new leadership throwing off the old, backwards policies and procedures. We will see in the coming months. BiC

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off the Top • News

The Fall in Oil Prices May Raise the Value of Another Precious Commodity … the Accountant Dropping oil prices are a frightening reality for many Albertans right now. The overriding sentiment is that this drop will almost certainly lead to layoffs and downsizing. It’s not hard to follow those breadcrumbs to the assumption that when it comes to hiring, there will be an abundance of talented people “walking the streets” in the weeks and months to come. This may be true in a general sense for certain professions within Alberta, but there is a massive shortage looming when it comes to professional accountants in the province. Although the factors that are driving this shortage have little to do with commodity prices, it is similar in that it is also a simple matter of supply and demand. Factors facing oil are an ever-growing supply met with shrinking demand while the opposite is true of professional accountants in Alberta. According to a recent study commissioned by ABACUS, 60.5 per cent of the province’s designated accountants will be retiring in the next 10 to 15 years. While this on its own


will create an acute shortage, there are additional concerns as numbers dwindle in the influx of new talent. On a national level throughout the past five years three Canadian accounting designations (CA, CMA, CGA), which have unified to form the CPA, have experienced growth in enrolment numbers by just 15 per cent. However, the rate of people leaving these designations – often due to retirement – is almost 28 per cent throughout the same time period. In addition, enrolment in post-secondary classes, which are required to achieve a designation, is down nine per cent. It seems the existing talent pool has sprung a leak and the stream that feeds that pool is slowly drying up creating supply issues that will last for years to come. This problem is only further compounded by increases in demand. Corporate accounting has become much more onerous throughout the past decade. From Sarbanes-Oxley to IFRS, financial statements have seemingly jumped to 120 pages from 20. This extra work requires extra bodies. Additionally, accounting is largely a head office function. In the past 10 years, Calgary has experienced 100 per cent

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off the Top • News

All of these challenges notwithstanding, the drop in oil prices and the strain on the Alberta economy offer rare, exciting and unique opportunities for enrichment throughout the province.

growth in head offices, which is more than double any other major city in the country. This required twice as many accounting teams needing to be staffed. All of these challenges notwithstanding, the drop in oil prices and the strain on the Alberta economy offer rare, exciting and unique opportunities for enrichment throughout the province. Incredible talent is currently tucked away in the org charts of companies that face strong headwinds given the current market. Now is the time for opportunistic companies to pry those people loose to bolster their own rosters, creating structure to come out of this market even stronger than the manner in which it was entered. How a company goes about this, however, is of paramount importance. Great accountants – the ones that really drive a business – are more valuable now than ever. The challenge is to find innovative and creative ways to tap into the best and brightest talent. Those companies that are willing to seek out this talent now may very well look back on this period of turmoil as a catalyst for unprecedented growth. BiC

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off the Top • News

A Family Fit for Business Introduces the Lagree MethodTM to Calgary After much research, due diligence and negotiations, together with her husband Leonard Seidman, Rothenberg secured the exclusive rights to license the MegaformerTM and the Lagree MethodTM for Alberta. Lagree YYC is set to open in February 2015 at Britannia Crossing.

Personal trainer and business owner, Kim Rothenberg

An innovative and aggressive approach to full-body conditioning is making its way to Calgary. Established in Los Angeles in 2001, the Lagree Method™ has expanded to more than 250 locations worldwide. Now Calgarians can experience the phenomenon under the guidance of established personal trainer and business owner Kim Rothenberg. A bachelor of commerce graduate from McGill University, Rothenberg was working as a financial adviser when a transfer to Calgary led to an eventual change in focus that would propel her into the world of health and fitness. “Following the birth of the first of four children, I realized that if I was going to leave my child to go to work every day, it had to be for something I absolutely loved to do,” recalls Rothenberg, who is also a former Lululemon ambassador. 20 • February 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

“Despite the pleasure of working with my brother, father and countless others that I had known for years, my passion wasn’t finance.” Thankfully for many Calgarians looking for a top-notch fitness instructor, Rothenberg became a certified personal trainer in 2004. Over the years, she expanded her repertoire to include certifications as a pre- and postnatal fitness specialist, as well as a medical exercise specialist. Additionally, she is a certified iFlow instructor and a certified Lagree fitness instructor. Rothenberg first experienced the Lagree MethodTM on a fact-finding trip to New York City where she was looking for a fresh, yet challenging workout regimen that would excite her clients and the greater Calgary community. She left the 45-minute class thinking it was the best total body workout she had ever done. Using a patented piece of equipment called the Megaformer™, the Lagree Method™ is recognized as the most innovative and aggressive approach to full-body conditioning available. Moving effectively out of the borders of conditioned stimulus, this workout integrates the key elements of resistance and counter-resistance in a sequence that allows for periods of zero gravity at peak muscle contraction. The composition of this method is significant in that it encourages maximum exertion while minimizing the risk of injury. The workout strengthens the body, tones and elongates the muscles, improves endurance, jump-starts the metabolism, burns fat, increases flexibility and postural alignment, and restores the body’s natural balance.

off the Top • News

Kim Rothenberg and her husband Leonard Seidman with their four children, on a bike ride in Fish Creek. L to R, Joseph, Alexandra, Kim, Leonard, Mikayla and Keira.

After much research, due diligence and negotiations, together with her husband Leonard Seidman, Rothenberg secured the exclusive rights to license the MegaformerTM and the Lagree MethodTM for Alberta. Lagree YYC is set to open in February 2015 at Britannia Crossing; a five-storey, mixed-use, boutique commercial development on Elbow Drive where participants will enjoy

a low-impact 45-minute class that provides quick and meaningful results for people of all ages and fitness levels. The team at Lagree YYC is composed of experienced fitness professionals who are committed to helping all clients achieve their personal goals in a fun, energetic and safe environment. BiC

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URBANOMICS | Urban Development Discussion


Land Drought Who should pay? |



t’s moving day for Andrew and his young family. And he hates it. While new anythings are usually exciting, Andrew hates the familiar rituals of moving, the packing and the unpacking. Saying goodbye to great neighbours and no more walking over for a bite at their favourite spot in Kensington. Most of all, Andrew hates that he had to move. They had lived happily in southwest Calgary since before they were married. It was home. But it was time for a three- or four-bedroom house, with a nice kitchen, decent storage, a garage and a backyard. They wanted to stay in Calgary, but not if it meant struggling with an inflated mortgage to pay for a ridiculously overpriced house. So, for nearly $200,000 less and the tradeoff of a 40-minute (on a good day) commute, Andrew and his family are moving to Airdrie. It’s the difference of opinion. It’s the crux of the debate. It’s the argument. It’s the rumblings about lack of Calgary housing choices and affordability. It’s the drastic lack of approved land. It’s the city strategy of high-density “building 22 • February 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

up” versus low-density single-family homes “building out.” It’s Calgary urbanomics. “We can’t sprawl forever!” urges respected urban planner Mary Axworthy, a member of the Alberta Professional Planners Institute (APPI) and former director of Calgary’s land use planning and policy. “In terms of urban planning changes in the past 10 years or so, the biggest shift is towards a better understanding of land use and transportation requirements. Calgary has identified that higher density should occur in core areas that are supported by light rail transit (LRT) and bus rapid transit (BRT).” She references some complex sustainable urban development solutions and theories defined by the international Urban NEXUS foundation. “There is a North American trend, partially driven by aging and changing demographics – that people want to live the urban lifestyle in established communities, closer to downtown.” Despite her solid expertise and respected points of view, contemporary Calgary-area population and community facts and figures beg to differ.

“The answer may be for the city being more open and moving forward with approvals and allowing additional lands to be serviced in all quadrants.” ~ Cam Hart

tax revenues. The challenge is about who should pay to service the land. The city simply can’t indefinitely afford it.” An aggravating disconnect of urbanomics may be the clash that urban planners often speak in theories and concepts, while developers crunch numbers and draft business plans. “The most recent information we have is that, based on current demand of 6,500 single-family lots per year in Calgary for the next four years, there will be an inventory shortage in 2015, 2016 and potentially 2017. This is based on bringing to market those lands that the city has identified or anticipated as being able to be serviced over this time period,” emphasizes Cam Hart, a trained and experienced urban planner who has been involved in many greenfield residential developments, multi-family development projects and the acquisition of revenue properties in Western Canada and the U.S. He is currently general manager of Tamani Communities in Calgary. “This analysis takes into consideration areas with approvals in place, new areas that are anticipated to have approvals and will be brought to market, and inner-city infill lots. The scary reality is that, if the market in Calgary continues to demand approximately 6,500 single-family homes over the next three to four years, lot inventories will be reduced to dangerously low numbers. “This reduction in supply may continue to keep a high level of pressure on lot and home pricing and will likely result in even more people buying in surrounding regions,” Hart warns. Refreshingly, and as a proactive (even though biased) development professional, he suggests a solution, not just highlighting the problem. “There seems to be agreement in the industry that we need to pay for our proportionate share of development and servicing costs. The bigger issue is the inability to access lands to ensure that an adequate supply of lots are brought to the market to satisfy the forecasted demand in Calgary. The answer may be for the city being more open and moving forward with approvals and allowing additional lands to be serviced in all quadrants. “The current inventory will simply not sustain the projected growth!” BiC Cam Hart, certified urban planner and general manager of Tamani

Recent stats show that only about 30 per cent of Calgary’s employed population work downtown. For the 70 per cent who don’t, high-density Calgary may not be the home dream. Another impartial counterpoint is the Queen’s University School of Urban and Regional Planning study that charted a revealing fact about Calgary supply and demand: 87 per cent of Calgarians live in more affordable suburbia. A growing (and exasperated) chorus of Calgary brokers, real estate agents, developers and some urban planning academics warn about a drastically dwindling (some say choked off) supply of approved land, causing skyrocketing land prices that domino into limited choice and unaffordable housing. Axworthy acknowledges that Calgary is experiencing a momentum of population growth and the often quoted guesstimate that about 30,000 people flock to the city each year. “It has put a lot of pressure on Calgary’s land supply. We are at a low point in terms of serviced land, compared to past years. The challenge is not about having enough land,” she grins about chronic references to sprawling tracts of available land in most areas of Calgary. “The main tax base of any city is from industrial, commercial and high-density development. Low-density residential development just doesn’t pay its way vis-a-vis

Mary Axworthy, RPP, MCI, member of the Alberta Professional Planners Institute (APPI).

Communities in Calgary. | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2015 • 23

off the Top • News

One of B.C.’s Largest Accounting Firms to Merge with MNP knv and Mnp Merger to Benefit Marketplace


KNV Chartered Accountants LLP will merge with MNP LLP, the sixthlargest and fastest growing national accounting and business consulting firm in Canada, effective February 1, 2015. “This is MNP’s largest merger to date and has come at a great time. Our strategic plan calls for continued growth in B.C. so we were looking to add much-needed resources and talent, while KNV was seeking to grow with a firm that would complement its existing service offerings. Both our firms were looking to grow and to combine our expertise and leadership to help our clients achieve their growth targets. It’s a win-win-win for both our firms and the marketplace,” says Jason Tuffs, MNP’s executive vice president for B.C. Established in 1973, KNV has provided accounting, auditing, tax planning and business advisory services to corporate, public sector, not-for-profit and personal clients for over 40 years. The firm consists of 14 partners and almost 200 additional professionals and support staff. In addition to tax and accounting expertise, both MNP and KNV deliver a diverse range of advisory services, including consulting, enterprise risk, corporate finance, valuation and litigation support, succession planning, estate planning, insolvency and restructuring, investigative and forensic accounting, cross-border taxation and more. “As our clients’ needs continued to grow, we recognized we also needed to grow,” says Dave Mitchell, partner, KNV. “With more than 80 offices across the country and over 3,300 team members, they have a large national presence and access to many experts and specialists,

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as well as access to a global network of accounting firms and affiliations through Praxity – an international alliance of independent accounting firms. Joining MNP was the right time, right place and right fit.” “British Columbia is a strategically important market for our firm,” says Daryl Ritchie, CEO of MNP. “We entered B.C. in 2002 and since that time have opened 15 locations from Vancouver Island, to the Cariboo, the North East, the Okanagan and the Greater Vancouver Area…. We are excited to have the people of KNV join us, as a shared vision and culture,” adds Ritchie. Mitchell couldn’t agree more and says both firms have strong cultures and values that are founded on an unwavering commitment to people. “MNP and KNV are fun and rewarding places to work and do business, where authentic relationships, an entrepreneurial spirit and a healthy balance between home and work life are at the core of how business is run. Our teams are looking forward to growing together.” BiC

Jeff, Leadership Development

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socially green. industrially CLean. • Clean Green Technology

Socially GREEN. Industrially CLEAN. Despite the mega-hype, it’s more relevant than ever. BY DAN COOPER


here’s no deadline. No countdown clock. Nobody is really keeping tabs and nobody is really in charge. And there is no special day set aside. But make no mistake about it, GREEN – thinking green, going green and doing green – is hotter than ever. Semantics is an issue. It always has been. From the scientifically factual to the disgusting and scary. From the start of the consciousness, when it was generalized as pollution, and specifics like smog, the ozone layer and acid rain to eventually toxins, recycling, emissions, global warming, climate change, carbon footprints and the environment. Graphics had a potent impact, and still do. Colossal chunks of ice breaking off a glacier and crashing into the sea. Solitary polar bears foraging on the ice. Yellowish and greyish scummy streaks and layers hovering in the sky. Tall chimney stacks spewing even taller plumes of puffy and grey smoke. Random images of oil-stained birds and dead fish floating near the shore. Images of sudden flooding, sinkholes and spectacular mud slides. Barren twigs where trees used to stand. And the ominous visual of surface residues and menacing reflections from tailing ponds. Something had to happen. It was urgent. The strategy worked. The semantics, the graphics and the scary facts and warnings did the trick. It got the planet’s attention. Governments, businesses, community groups and scientists created projections, forecasts, guidelines and regulations to ensure that targets would be met and sustainability would be achieved. But it was too negative, too frightening and overemphasized gloom and doom. A more positive target and spin was needed. Industrially and socially, the concept (and the topic) became GREEN. From Calgary’s residential black bins, blue boxes, backyard composting and emphasizing the reduce, reuse and recycle consciousness to the high-tech science of industrial emissions, the word and the concept was “green.” While a subtle shift is happening with industrial and social references and jargon, the goal of whatever-it-takes sustainability is genuine and uncompromised. In neighbourhoods, home life and most other aspects, society continues to aim for “green.” From downtown Calgary condos to suburbia, schools, office lunch rooms, retail and grocery stores, “going green” means practicing 26 • February 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

• Clean Green Technology

an environmentally friendly and ecologically responsible lifestyle as well as making decisions to help protect the environment and sustain natural resources. There are various ways Calgary is going green. From separating garbage and recyclables to switching the light bulbs in a home from conventional incandescent to compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, turning thermostats down two degrees in winter and up two degrees in summer, making sure walls and ceilings are properly insulated and replacing bathroom and kitchen faucets and toilets with lowflow models. Subtle but sure, while socially the green catchphrase continues to summarize new ways of doing things, industry has also ramped up its commitment and morphed into a much more industrially-suitable and allencompassing catchphrase: CLEAN. Unlike the “green” social reference and movement, clean or “clean tech” refers to a sometimes baffling and jargoned gamut of specific ways business and industry walk the walk toward sustainability. Clean technology is currently clustered in many industrial sectors such as energy, water and waste water, advanced materials, energy efficiency and manufacturing, transportation and agriculture. Although clean technology is now the mission and battle cry of various industries – from mining and manufacturing to transportation and pulp and paper – Canada’s, and particularly Alberta’s, oil and gas industry is in a league of its own when it comes to research, innovation and adapting to the state-of-the-art aspect of clean technology. The highest profile example is Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) – the collaboration of oilsands producers, focused on accelerating the pace of improvement in clean performance of Canada’s oilsands through the cooperation of the 13 major oil and gas producers with industry experts, scientists, community and government officials to improve measurement, | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2015 • 27

socially green. industrially CLean. • Clean Green Technology

accountability and environmental performance in four environmental priority areas (EPAs): tailings, water, land and greenhouse gases. Although it has only been three years since the start of the COSIA group, the clean progress is already impressive. COSIA member companies have shared 777 distinct technologies and innovations that cost over $950 million to develop. The numbers are increasing. Without specific technicalities, “clean” usually includes recycling, renewable energy (wind power, solar power, biomass, hydropower, biofuels, etc.) details and technology, wind and solar energy, water filtration, industrial process controls, hybrid electric vehicles and other “green transportation,” lighting retrofits, grey water and household appliances that are now more energy efficient. In many industries, “clean” also includes a broad base of processes, practices and tools that support a sustainable business approach, including pollution control, resource reduction and management, end-of-life strategy, waste reduction, energy efficiency and carbon mitigation. Researchers, industry specialists, regulators and monitoring agencies speak the same language and agree that “clean technologies” use energy, water and raw materials and other inputs more efficiently and productively; create less waste or toxicity; deliver equal or superior performance; and ideally improve profitability, through cost reductions and/or increased revenues. Two entirely unrelated and divergent examples of Calgary-driven clean technology are SAIT’s environmental technologies research

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‘‘ (Left to right) Environmental technology researchers Mark Enabu and Ariel Ginzburg stand with SAIT project lead and advisor Vita Martez in front of a soil remediation system designed by SAIT’s applied research and innovation services in partnership with the University of Calgary, Innovate Calgary and TransCanada.

department and the dynamic, Calgarybased and globally respected Questor Technology. “Since clean technology ultimately represents a diverse range of products, processes, programs or services,” explains Vita Martez, project lead and advisor of environment technologies, applied research and innovation services at SAIT, “the key strategies of clean technology, especially for the massive oil and gas industry, varies within broad research categories of greenhouse gases (GHG), water, land and tailings. Depending on the research area they are driven by industry, societal, regulatory, performance, and cost efficiency and other related driven targets. “The public concern is primarily with GHG and water, mainly because of conflicting information on the actual usage of water and the release of GHG emissions from the oil and gas industry.

“Given the interconnectedness of soil, air and water,” she elaborates, “SAIT’s clean tech environmental technologies research goes beyond just air and water. Our research objectives are to reduce the environmental footprint of the oil and gas industry in areas like accelerated soil remediation and habitat restoration, and increase recovery of tailings water for recycling and reducing freshwater draws, to achieve energy efficiency by integrating advanced materials and real-time measurement and monitoring.” SAIT’s innovative clean technology applied research focuses on improving the operations, performance, productivity and efficiency, while lowering impacts to the environment, costs, energy consumption, inputs, waste or pollution. Martez points out that clean technologies can lower a company’s environmental impact and may provide improvements

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socially green. industrially CLean. • Clean Green Technology

Audrey Mascarenhas, president and CEO, Questor Technology Inc.

in resource efficiency and productivity. And she adds that when a company operates with less energy and materials, or produces less waste and uses less landfills, the result can demonstrate environmental responsibility and bring economic prosperity that can then benefit society. Another example of technology combining with ingenuity, innovation and having the right focus at the right time is Calgary’s Questor Technology (QST on the TSX Venture Exchange). Some industry insiders suggest Questor may have actually been ahead of its time, since it has been an industry leader of the green and clean factor for more than 20 years, before going green or clean was either a popular, profitable or regulated thing to do. Questor continues to earn its reputation as an industryleading and respected international environmental oilfield service company, manufacturing and servicing highefficiency waste gas incinerator systems and providing combustion and burner-related oilfield services and power generation systems. While the company is focused primarily in the crude oil and natural gas industry, its technology is used by other industries, including landfills, water and sewage treatment, tire recycling and agriculture. And although Questor is a solid Calgary and Canadian success story in the area of green and clean and its proprietary incinerator technology is used worldwide in the effective management of H2S, VOCs and BTEX gases ensuring sustainable development, community 30 • February 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

acceptance and regulatory compliance, the company has also worked with clients throughout U.S., the Caribbean, western Europe, Russia, Thailand, Indonesia and China on various projects including well tests, dehys, amine, low-heat content waste gas and water vaporization. The driving force – and passion – of Questor Technology is its gung-ho and straight-talking president and CEO, Audrey Mascarenhas. After 33 years in the oil and gas industry (16 with Questor,) Mascarenhas prioritizes her company’s unique environmental (green and clean) services, emphasizes the crucial aspect of constant research and development and is plugged-in to the industry’s needs, issues, flux, speed bumps and opportunities. “With a focus on solid engineering design, our products enable our clients to operate cost effectively in an environmentally responsible and sustainable manner,” she says with expertise and enthusiasm. “Questor incinerators provide a safe, efficient, clean and reliable method of waste gas destruction that not only ensures protection of the environment but also provides customers with a costeffective solution. “The efficiency of the technology is vital on various levels, and of course companies must maintain compliant performance. But particularly the energy industry must be conscious and responsive when it comes to public perceptions and concerns. I’m a big believer that if you’re going to make change, you should try to show the value proposition. “Because now more than ever,” Mascarenhas notes from experience, “as industry finds ways to improve energy efficiency, it’s absolutely a must that they also reduce emissions and be responsive to the public’s concerns relating to the environment, sustainability and climate change. “Communities are very plugged-in and involved with issues. They have access to information. They have a lot to say and many ways of saying it. Social media, as just one example, has changed the world. “I think some companies are unfortunately missing many opportunities to be responsive, tell their story, explain their situation and even be proactive. Just Google ‘Peace River.’” There’s a lot of work to do but SAIT’s Vita Martez is part of the growing chorus of some industry leaders and analysts who reiterate that the oil and gas industry, particularly in Alberta, gets a generalized and stereotypical bad rap and not nearly enough credit for its clean and green advancements and achievements. “The oil and gas industry keeps getting the brunt of the attention and bad publicity, mostly due to special interest groups and some critics and media magnifying the actual environ impact. “It’s documented and true. Alberta has some of the most stringent and strictly enforced clean and green technology regulations in the world.” BiC


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The double Life of Lourdes Juan • Cover


Double Life of

Lourdes Juan She may have found the 25th hour

Lourdes Juan, director of LMJ Consultants and director of Soma Advanced Skin and Body Therapy.


Lourdes Juan is unique. She is an infectiously upbeat and tremendously highenergy business dynamo. She is also a glass is half full, creative risk taker with indomitable spirit and positivity. Familiar traits with some entrepreneurs. Part of her uniqueness is not only a ferocious drive and a remarkable work ethic but Juan is the consummate carpe diem go-getter with a knack for parlaying not one but two drastically unrelated passions into two very distinct Calgary business successes. “I love hard work!” she growls. “The more the better. Bring it on. It’s probably a family trait. We are Filipino immigrants

and working hard and ambition is just who we are and what we do. My father started school late and is now an engineer. My mom had three jobs. I have had jobs – sometimes two or three – since I was 14. In some ways, I think my family wanted me to be a traditional professional but, I’m just not cut out to be a doctor or a lawyer.” Lourdes Juan’s spark for business smarts may have been as subtle and unlikely as a high school co-op posting with a Calgary architectural firm. She shrugs and chuckles that she was doing “anything and everything from filing, gluing carpet samples on to boards and helping to prepare reports | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2015 • 33

The double Life of Lourdes Juan • Cover

“Early in university, as soon as I started urban planning courses, things like urban planning design and history, understanding the social, economic and all the different factors that shape cities just clicked with me. I was instantly attracted to urban planning.” ~ Lourdes Juan

Lourdes Juan, director of Calgary’s LMJ Consultants, is currently working on projects such as one of the Dairy Queen franchise locations.

and presentations. They were really great with me.” She speaks fondly about the chance to work beside talented and inspiring architects who helped her learn and exposed her to various aspects of the business. “Early in university, as soon as I started urban planning courses, things like urban planning design and history, understanding the social, economic and all the different factors that shape cities just clicked with me. I was instantly attracted to urban planning,” she recalls with genuine enthusiasm. “I was so inspired by mentors like Dr. Beverly Sandalack and Dr. Byron Miller [two of her University of Calgary professors] and how very passionate they were about urban planning.” Between U of C classes and other off-duty spare time, 34 • February 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

Juan also worked as a receptionist and eventually manager at a Calgary-based day spa. Fast forward about 10 hectic, productive and high-achiever years, a bachelor’s degree in urban studies, a master’s in environmental design and planning concentration, a full-time project management and urban planning job with Calgary’s BCMP Architects (the firm was sold about four years ago) and working evenings and weekends managing the spa and getting certified in laser and medical esthetics — Lourdes Juan is a dual entrepreneur and an accomplished Calgary success story. She is an extraordinarily efficient multitasker and may well be on her way to finding the elusive 25th hour. She constantly refers to her staff, always with admiration, respect and affection. Eight days a week, she now

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The double Life of Lourdes Juan • Cover

“The city is a complex urban system with many factors determining its physical growth and social behaviour. The notion of urban planning and development heavily influences how a city grows and develops ultimately affecting the people who live here.” ~ Lourdes Juan

juggles a piercingly sharp focus between her two Calgary entrepreneurial successes and personal passions. Juan is director of Calgary’s LMJ Consultants and also director of Calgary’s Soma Advanced Skin and Body Therapy. LMJ Consultants is a tight but focused and effective team of urban planning professionals who continue to earn a solid, Calgary reputation for innovation, tenacity and excellence with a wide range of professional planning and development services, including residential, commercial and industrial planning. LMJ assists with land use redesignations, outline plans and development permits and smooth navigation of the often tricky and complex planning and development process. Juan highlights the company’s expertise with land research and due diligence, assessing land policies that effect the subject lands, evaluating environmental considerations and continuous facilitation with the City of Calgary, the province and relevant municipalities to resolve issues and monitor applications to decision. “The city is a complex urban system with many factors determining its physical growth and social behaviour,” she explains. “The notion of urban planning and development heavily influences how a city grows and develops ultimately affecting the people who live here. Residential planning is an integral aspect of a growing city and requires a multitude of planning processes. “And it’s also a key part of what we do. We continue to work on numerous residential projects by assisting our clients and developers with land acquisitions, land assessment studies and zoning bylaws. We also do a lot of mixed-use planning work in diverse processes that deal with numerous planning aspects in relation to residential, retail and commercial development.” She adds that the LMJ Consultants also helps clients in conceptual planning stages, acts as a community liaison, facilitates the land-use redesignation process, negotiates 36 • February 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

contentious land-use issues and zoning and assists in the successful issuing of building and development permits. “A surprising fact in the urban planning profession is the lingering attitude about women. Maybe because the process is so tightly connected to politics, it is dominated by men and, although it’s changing quickly, female urban planners are sometimes still assumed to be assistants.” Juan is supercharged and acknowledges the exciting opportunity of working in the urban planning business at this particular time in social and community evolution. As uncanny as her professional life continues to be, the timing is perfect and fits with another of her personal passions. “Environmental planning is a vital aspect in the development of both rural and urban contexts,” she beams. “By acknowledging the need to conserve both energy and natural resources, LMJ has been involved in various projects which deal with energy, natural resources and the environment at large.” She has not only established a solid reputation within the industry, at city hall and in the province for being resourceful and exceptionally well connected and for her laser-sharp urban planning and development savvy but for being a strategic thinker and a straight shooter, regardless the topic. Even when it comes to the recent speed bumps of Calgary urban planning policies. “Let’s face it,” she grins. “Municipalities, including Calgary, tend not to make things easy for developers. Sometimes things do get tricky and outright difficult but never impossible. The reality is that the city is a complex organism and it needs to be nurtured. There must be a balance about housing but also a mix and a diversity of housing. Of course there are issues. But it’s the greatest job and so rewarding to work out resolutions.” Juan is pumped and revved about the dynamics and the potential of Calgary. “This is truly an exciting time for urban planning in the city. A lot of people are doing exciting things

The double Life of Lourdes Juan • Cover

(Above photos): Project: Trickle Creek Homes, Residential Permitting RockyView County, City of Calgary. Photo credit:Trickle Creek Homes.

(Above photo): Project: Commercial Development Permit, Cultural Centre. Photo credit:

– well thought out and sustainable projects. Look at The Bow, the Peace Bridge, developments like Brookfield Place, all the public art, the East Village project and so much more. We’re a tremendously growing city and the public is asking for a lot of exciting development. We are definitely on the cusp of Calgary becoming a world-class city!” Her other professional and personal passion has also become a resounding Calgary business success story. Although the two distinctly different businesses couldn’t be more separate, in some peculiar and almost professionally therapeutic way, they bring a strange balance into the hectic business life of the 31-year-old Calgary dynamo. Like many entrepreneurs, constantly plugged-in to a singular passion, if Lourdes Juan even has an off-switch, she rarely uses it. She is in constant overdrive. Either about “high- and low-density housing, land use redesignations, outline plans and development charges” or “deep tissue massage, hydrating masks, estrogen replacement therapy, salt exfoliant scrubs and facial rejuvenation acupuncture.” Because Juan is also director and owner of Soma Advanced Skin and Body Therapy, a popular boutique downtown spa offering a wide range of services including laser hair removal, laser skin therapy, clinical and glycolic peels, facials, naturopathy, nutrition counselling and massage. “Soma caters to a wide range of clients, and particularly downtown-based, corporate clients,” she points out. “The entire Soma team focuses on the individual’s appearance and health and we do everything possible to bring balance into their workday and to get our clients comfortable in their own skin, to look well, to live well and to be well.” Juan is spontaneous, genuine, upbeat and – at any given moment – 101 per cent immersed in thought, topics or conversations that pop up about one of her two Calgary businesses. It could be arguing land use feasibility studies and urban sprawl or the specific soothing and healing powers of Soma spa treatments. “Your skin is the body’s largest organ and deserves to be well taken care of. Luckily, you’ll grow nearly 1,000 new layers of skin throughout your lifetime so there’s plenty of chances to make sure it’s glowing,” she blurts out, in Soma-mode. “Acne is a common problem and happens at any age, depending on skin type, stress levels, hormones and environmental factors. Dr. Aisha Hernandez Vargas is part of the Soma team, providing a broad range of naturopathic medicine like metabolic detoxification programs, hormone therapy and food sensitivity testing for chronic digestive problems.” | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2015 • 37

The Double Life of Lourdes Juan • Cover

Her infectious gusto almost overwhelms any mention that (since 2010) her drive, determination and business smarts have impressively grown Soma Advanced Skin and Body Therapy.

Her infectious gusto almost overwhelms any mention that (since 2010) her drive, determination and business smarts have impressively grown Soma Advanced Skin and Body Therapy. Revenues are up by more than 15 per cent a year and a staff of 15 are busy as Team Soma, treating more than 55 spa clients a day. And as Juan readies to open a second Soma spa location this September in the new Marriott hotel in Seton, preliminary planning is in the works for a third location in west Calgary. “As most business people agree, it can be difficult to find really good staff. But I have been extremely lucky,” she says. “I love building and managing teams and I am absolutely a believer in the power of the individual. In my urban planning business life and my spa business life, I have a great support team. I value them and trust them, tremendously. And they are very patient with my split routines. “It’s a big plus that both my businesses are (on different floors) in the same downtown building on 1st Street. Occasionally it does happen that one of the staff asks about 38 • February 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

a spa issue while I’m still thinking about finalizing permits for a developer.” Juan doesn’t dwell on her dual successes and she is refreshingly open and candid about some special challenges and downsides of being a double entrepreneur, simultaneously growing two separate and unrelated business dreams. “I am not a workaholic,” she insists with a telltale grin. “Whether it’s strategizing with developers about variances and permits or creating new marketing plans for spa treatments, I love to work. I love details, making things happen and chasing my goals. It fuels me,” says the self-confessed pastaholic who credits her two talented but distinctly different (LMJ Consultants and Soma Spa) business teams for allowing her the peace of mind to finally take some home time, vacation time and disconnect. “Unfortunately, while I keep preaching to people about balance in life, the honest truth is I have to get better at it, myself. Of course I will make sure the businesses grow and stay successful but, I also want to be a good daughter, a good sister, a good aunt and a good partner.” BiC

Conferences, Conventions and receptions • Events & Catering

Conferences, Conventions and Receptions Menus and agendas for the new normal BY COLLEEN WALLACE


hey can’t reinvent the wheel and they can’t reinvent conventions, conferences, seminars and other special events. Wrong! They can and they have. “The event planning industry will always be about providing experience and expertise in a range of things like site venue choices, pricing, negotiating and finding innovative ways to run events,” says Maureen Shuell, founder and president of RendezVous Communications and vice president of the Canadian Society of Professional Event Planners (CanSPEP,) the diverse society of independent event professionals and the leading national voice in the event industry. “The professional event planner’s skills and professional services include basics like coordinating the aspects of an event – everything from AV requirements and seating to signage, printing, coordinating sponsorships and efficient registrations. One of the key aspects of the role is to know the client’s expectations in advance. Some clients expect a lot of hand-holding from the planner and many clients are very hands-on and want to be involved in every detail.” As an event destination, Calgary is both fortunate and occasionally misunderstood. The annual, world-renowned, mega-hyped Calgary Stampede is an internationally potent event draw and priceless branding for Calgary. In terms of event planners, it can also be a challenge. For the small army of tourism and event sales types like Tourism Calgary, Meetings and Conventions Calgary (MCC) and the event staff at the sometimes overshadowed Stampede Park, when it comes to being a year-round and world-class event destination, Calgary is so much more than the legendary and world-famous 10 Stampede days in early July.

Maureen Shuell, VP marketing CanSPEP; founder and president of RendezVous Communications. | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2015 • 39

Conferences, Conventions and receptions • Events & Catering

In addition to a steadily growing list of corporate and group events, last year the New York Times put Calgary on its influential list of “52 Places to Go in 2014.” In the U.K., the Guardian selected Alberta (and particularly Calgary) as the ninth best place to visit in the world. to corporate Christmas parties, grads Professional event planners like and wedding receptions, Stampede CanSPEP members are more than Park has become well known. aware of the superb convention and “Exact numbers are tricky but, outside conference reputation and year-round the iconic 10 days in July, Stampede potential that is Calgary. In addition to Park facilities host more than one million a steadily growing list of corporate and visitors to various events, from the giant group events, last year the New York Petroleum Show – North America’s Times put Calgary on its influential largest instrumentation, systems and list of “52 Places to Go in 2014.” In automation trade show – to seminars, the U.K., the Guardian selected Alberta conferences, weddings and milestone (and particularly Calgary) as the ninth anniversaries to this year’s mid-April best place to visit in the world. dates for the 10th anniversary of the It happens everywhere – from the massive ComiCon (the Calgary Comic easy, nearby parking of Stampede and Entertainment Expo).” Park’s meeting rooms and the main Sweeney admits that the Stampede hall of BMO Centre to the glitz and Park reputation is solid within the commotion in the Calgary TELUS Tara Sweeney, event coordinator, sales and event management, event planning community when Convention Centre (CTCC) lobby. Stampede Park. it comes to conferences and trade For the Dockers and logoed golf shows and the facility’s event staff are shirt delegates comparing notes at this focused on local event planning as a primary market. month’s Canadian International Turfgrass Conference and Give or take the fluctuating size (and budget) of the Trade Show or the suits from across Canada and the world groups, the traditional and basic aspects of the professional huddling at the Canadian Oil Sands Summit. And the Western event planner’s role rarely changes. Group dynamics and Retail Lumber Association Buying Show and Convention. company culture constantly change and eventually translate Cirque du soleil, Foo Fighters and Neil Diamond. The Human into new demands, new expectations, new wish lists and Resources Institute of Alberta Conference. The impromptu new ways of doing things for the professional event planner. early-July beer gardens and other corporate shmoozes under “Probably the newest aspects that have become a new rented white tents, flipping pancakes on Stephen Avenue or normal for conferences and conventions,” Shuell points out, the already booked private receptions enjoyably overlooking “are … not only networking but technology and new ideas the Bow River at the (opening soon) new St. Patrick’s Island and ways to get audience engagement. Some companies near East Village. and groups are very innovative and request the planner Although there is lively but genuinely friendly rivalry and to arrange for PowerPoint so the speaker can work in the often partnership and cooperation, not fierce competition, audience seating area. Or the latest is arranging for the for the convention, conference and special event dollar various technology options to invite and welcome immediate between Calgary’s dynamic CTCC and Stampede Park audience participation in the seminar or presentation by event facilities, they both work hard and hustle for event Twitter or other instant messaging.” business to enhance Calgary’s local, provincial, national and She explains that it’s not uncommon for a group to international reputation for events of all kinds and sizes. now offer Twitter hashtags and designate a moderator so “Of course we’re not year-round sawdust,” roars Tara the audience can more anonymously participate in the Sweeney with an upbeat laugh. She is the personable presentation, and having the moderator flash the tweets and hectically busy event coordinator, sales and event on a large screen or read out tweets during the actual management, at Stampede Park. “Locally most people know presentation. us. Nationally and internationally? Well, they’re getting One aspect of event planning that seems solid and constant used to us. When it comes to the wants and needs of specific is the importance and opportunity to shmooz or network. events, from big conventions, conferences and trade shows Continued on page 44... 40 • February 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |


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Here Comes the Neighbourhood This summer, the first 600 new residents of Calgary’s East Village will move into their riverfront condos. When they stroll out their doors, they’ll be greeted by some of Calgary’s most exciting new retail and amenities. New restaurants in a historic riverfront landmark that reunite the city’s hottest chefs, bakers and coffee roasters will be wide open, and a Loblaws urban market will be under construction. RiverWalk™, a cycle and pedestrian promenade, is already one of the city’s great public spaces, and the newly-opened St. Patrick’s Bridge will take Calgarians to a new recreational playground on St. Patrick’s Island later this year. Canada’s National Music Centre, by Allied Works Architecture, is scheduled to open in 2016, and a New Central Library designed by Snøhetta and DIALOG is now under construction. Some 80% of the development parcels in EV are now sold. Select street level retail and commercial space opportunities remain for firms looking to reach the 11,500 eventual residents of the city’s most walkable and livable downtown neighbourhood. Master Developer CMLC and its partners are building the future. Learn more about our redevelopment program and be part of the movement to Calgary’s newest, oldest, coolest, warmest neighbourhood. East Village is being developed by CMLC, passionate, experienced placemakers who inspire communities to build, grow and believe.


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Conferences, Conventions and receptions • Events & Catering …continued from page 40

“Judging by demand, vodka and Some professional event planners white wine are very popular. Appetizsuggest that networking is the primary ers and hors d’oeuvres are in demand reason for a conference or a convention. and the creativity and flair of our The speeches and presentations are executive chef, Derek Dale, and his almost secondary. team is terrific. Creations like Asian “Maybe it’s still the recovery from duck meatballs with seaweed salad 2008 but many companies are either served in a soup spoon. Vanilla shrimp more cautious about their spending on a skewer or a roasted tomato soup on conferences and conventions or shooter with a grilled Brie and apple they may be allocating budgets in mini-sandwich. different places,” she observes. “Most “Multi-course sit-downs are still are doing away with the traditional popular but some groups ask for just souvenir logo tote bags stuffed with buffet style. ‘Action stations’ have random promotional materials. Some become a novel way to maintain the are even eliminating detailed and informal and intimate socializing printed schedules and programs. All atmosphere,” Horpinuk itemizes the that is easier and more accessible on a Duane Horpinuk, director of food and beverage, Stampede Park. many choices. “Individual stations for smartphone or a tablet.” carved beef, turkey, pasta with scallops “Some things never change,” Sweeney and shrimp, gluten-free options. adds. “Especially with corporate events Recently we even featured a s’mores station!” like conferences and trade shows. It all comes down to return He adds that the food and beverage components of staging on investment. How and where does the company or the events has been set extremely high. “The quality of the group get best value for their budget?” food must be exceptional. Variety, trends and styles may be Despite event priorities like podiums, head tables, breakout different but whatever is on the menu must absolutely be sessions, display booths and keynote speakers, a perpetually the best. It doesn’t matter if it’s chateaubriand or hotdogs. key component of most special events – from huge trade It has to be the best chateaubriand or the best hotdogs. The shows to intimate wedding receptions – is the sacred part quality and efficiency of the service is also crucial. It can get the hospitality industry calls food and beverage (F&B). complicated and tense, like the night we served 4,500 dinners “No doubt about it, things have changed a lot,” says from 10 different menus in 10 different dining rooms. Duane Horpinuk, in his 18th action-packed year as director “And coordination is vital. Hot food must be served hot of food and beverage at Stampede Park. “This is Calgary, so and cold food, cold. We have a great team and a smile has AAA beef is by far the most popular request. But salmon, never been more important.” BiC chicken and turkey are also much in demand.

St. Patrick’s Island - Calgary’s Bow River Oasis T

his summer, when St. Patrick’s Island – one of the lost islands of the Bow – opens for year-round enjoyment, most Calgarians are in for a big surprise. In 2012, more than 6,100 Calgarians were engaged to help describe the future vision for the island park and this summer they will see the fruits of their labour manifest into Calgary’s newest public park. Despite the historically interesting and foggy facts and details about the area’s vintage past, the innovative Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) has used vision and an uncompromising fresh focus on the needs and lifestyles of contemporary Calgary to develop and create (not restore) a vibrant, exciting and new multiuse recreational and lifestyle island park, in the heart of Calgary.

44 • February 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

Most major cities, if they even have something similar, require people to trek out of town to enjoy amenities and opportunities that Calgary residents and visitors will find right here in the city centre, at St. Patrick’s Island. “It will be a fabulous destination, for people who live in Calgary or who intend to visit Calgary,” says the high-energy Susan Veres, vice president, marketing and communications of CMLC. “St. Patrick’s Island will be a true Bow River recreational oasis for everybody.” And it will be sprawling. “It’s a 31-acre, amenity-rich, functional, familyfriendly regional park with a variety of features from boardwalks, running paths, an outdoor amphitheatre – perfect for hosting community festivals and events.

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Conferences, Conventions and receptions • Events & Catering

Rendering of The Lookout Plaza. Photo courtesy of CMLC.

It will offer fantastic views of the river and cityscape and will have a family picnic area which provides quick access to the Bow River for fishing, exploring, splashing and skating; the island park will also feature a tobogganing and sledding hill to thrill park users in the winter months.” St. Patrick’s Island – like the CMLC’s spectacular East Village redevelopment, which Veres and her team affectionately refer to as “the newest, oldest, coolest, warmest community in Calgary” – will be another dynamic example of delivering on the dual CMLC mandate and commitment of creating functional and enjoyable Calgary people places and to ensure that unique Calgary infrastructure is being used to its fullest potential. Regardless of what happened to the original park area – according to legend, the once-popular hiking and camping site became run down and an overgrown eyesore of a place – a natural channel of the Bow River, which had cut the island into two sections, was filled in to create one continuous park space but which also forever (or so we thought) changed the flow of the river around and through the island. Like other parts of the new and revitalized St. Patrick’s Island, the plugged-up channel has been dredged out and brought back to life as a focal point and one of the exciting and enjoyable unique features of Calgary’s newest recreational people place. For almost five years, St. Patrick’s Island has been a thorough master plan of study, research, public consultation and the open-tender selection of the finest and most innovative architects and landscape designers in North America. From the start, the St. Patrick’s Island master plan was based on the contemporary concept of the principles of “biophilia” – a landscape design approach that honours and nurtures the instinctive bond between people and nature. “The intention was always to generate a spirit and sense of place, nurturing strong emotional attachments to the island’s beauty. We were also seeking to achieve a

46 • February 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

harmony between the area’s constructed and natural elements while providing function, enjoyable and life-enriching experiences and activities.” Veres is gung-ho and upbeat about how the talented CMLC team, architects, designers, consultants and construction crews have worked together to make St. Patrick’s Island a genuinely beautiful Calgary people place. CMLC has already fielded interest from some event planners, always on the search for unusual locations and venues, and a few months away from the official opening, Veres is almost coy and teasing about various and special St. Patrick’s Island touches, like “some fabulous art in the park.” She is tightlipped about The Bloom – a structural steel sculpture (also functioning as a light) exclusively created for St. Patrick’s Island and the various other pieces of art and special features planned for the park. Veres is animated and anxious to highlight some of the key park areas that will soon be popular Calgary attractions. Like The Lookout Plaza at the eastern edge of the park that has seating areas, a small amphitheatre, water features and overviews of the Lowland Channel, pathways and other areas of the park. The area also serves as a meeting place and gateway into St. Patrick’s Island from the Calgary Zoo parking area. The Lookout can be used for small celebrations and impromptu gatherings and is serviced by washrooms, parking, maintenance sheds and electrical services that can be used by food trucks and other small, seasonal operators. Or The Seasonal Breach, the newly dredged-out “gravel bar” that transitions up to a lawn area and small pedestrian plaza with seating and bike parking. In the summer, people can wade into the water and safely out to the gravel bar, and in winter, it’s the place for outdoor skating. Or The Rise, the nine-metre high grassy knoll, with west and south views of downtown Calgary and the East Village area that can serve as an outdoor amphitheatre hosting festivals, special events, performances or movies in the park. And she also highlights the several other attractively designed areas of St. Patrick’s Island. “The big picture is so exciting,” Susan Veres raves with positivity. “The east end of Calgary is bursting and coming to life. There is tremendous population growth and dynamic development. It’s vital for the current and next generations of Calgarians.” This summer, St. Patrick’s Island will be the newest addition.



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The new Wardrobe Classics • Dress for Success


New Wardrobe Classics As casual Friday gave way to business causal workweeks, we adapted. Now that the trends are changing again, what do professionals need in their closets? BY NERISSA MCNAUGHTON


he power suit for ladies. The three-piece suit for men. The standard black pump. The sports jacket. Dressing professionally used to be easy. There were three or four standard pieces to purchase, followed by an assortment of shirts, ties and scarves to round out the look. Then along came business casual and the rules changed. How we got from wearing pumps and loafers to slippers and Crocs in the office is a whole other topic, but what we do know is that things changed. What we don’t know is what constitutes today’s professional look. Is it supposed to be jeans and a T-shirt or jeans and a button-down? Business in Calgary checks in with the always fashionable style expert Shirley Borrelli and Supreme Men’s Wear’s Darren Biedermann. Both will help us walk down the aisle – the clothing aisle that is. “People are confusing comfortable and casual. Comfort doesn’t have to take away from what’s appropriate at the workplace,” starts Borrelli. “I always ask people when they come to me, ‘is there an established dress code at your place of work?’ Pay attention. What are your bosses wearing? Wear that. Without sacrificing your individuality, use that as a benchmark. We’re not trying to tell people who to be, we are trying to get people to respect their Shirley Borrelli, style expert work environment.”

48 • February 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

Part of the what-to-wear confusion stems from how times have changed. The dress code policy has been largely abolished, but the staff is still expected to represent the company. Without guidelines, how is this done? By you taking action. Since how you present yourself has a strong bearing on your professional success and is a reflection on the company, don’t be afraid to broach the subject with your boss or supervisor. “Expectations need to be established in the outset,” says Borrelli. “Bring it up in the interview.”

Darren Biedermann, Supreme Men’s Wear

The new Wardrobe Classics • Dress for Success

Another issue is when a company decides to reinstate or introduce a dress code. “In those cases it needs to be a collaboration, not a dictation,” the style expert counsels. “Input, negotiate and then write in a dress code so everyone has time to adapt and change. This will minimize resistance to being told what to wear.” For the ladies, Borrelli suggests wardrobe staples that are comfortable, stylish and casual, yet professional. “An overcoat,” she says firmly. “Even if you work in a gym and wear yoga pants, when you show up in an overcoat, you look like you take yourself seriously. It can be worn with a T-shirt and jeans, a dress, etc. An overcoat, not jacket. This is key.” Secondly? “Lower-heeled shoes. Think about that girl that can barely walk in her heels at work. What message does that send? Four-inch heels and higher are not appropriate regardless of the workplace. Three inches and under.” She continues, “A great blouse. I prefer silk because it’s breathable, it’s easy to layer and it can work with anything; tucked into dress pants, over a skinny jean, with a skirt.” Basically, for the ladies, it boils down to this rule of Borrelli’s: “If you can wear it to the beach, gym or to go out [e.g. the club], it doesn’t work in the office. The gym shows shape, the beach shows skin and going out shows both shape and skin.” Borrelli also recommends a good overcoat for gentlemen. “Men need a good overcoat. Khakis and a golf shirt? Still need an awesome outside jacket. It works whether they have to wear a suit and tie or be more causal. It still gives them presence upon arrival. You don’t get that presence with a bomber jacket.” Her additional advice for men is to purchase a sports blazer. “This is different from a suit jacket,” she cautions. “A sports blazer completes a more causal ensemble. Now, a 27-year-old engineer may not want to wear a sports blazer. That is where some of these fashionable bomber-type jackets look good – on younger men. Men can also wear a fine-knit sweater (pullover or cardigan). Generally, buttons are more credible than zippers. And polish your shoes! Your shoes need to be clean, even if you are wearing Converse sneakers to work.”

For the ladies, Borrelli suggests wardrobe staples that are comfortable, stylish and casual, yet professional. | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2015 • 49

The New Wardrobe Classics • Dress for Success

Above photo courtesy of Supreme Men’s Wear.

Gentlemen who want the ultimate shopping experience head to Calgary’s Supreme Men’s Wear where Darren Biedermann has some advice for the fashion-forward male. “Fashion is all about change,” says Biedermann. “The pendulum swung hard for many years towards casual, perhaps hitting its peak with gentlemen everywhere seen with their shirts untucked. Prior to this, that was something you would only see if someone pulled an early morning fire alarm. Gentlemen today, especially younger professionals, are tucking in their shirts and polishing up their image. Their fathers were the Friday casual generation. They want to show their independence by being different. Many of them have a keen sense of what they are looking for and how it represents them. It is no longer a world of follow the crowd, chase the label. Today’s fashion investor wants to stand out as unique and will spend the time shopping around to get it right.” What about suits for men? Are those coming back? “Definitely yes! In general, the current professional marketplace is being driven by fashion-conscious individuals 50 • February 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

that value the importance of appearance when representing their company. It also promotes an attitude of success and higher value. There is no doubt that suits were less common during those casual times, but in the last few years their popularity has been steadily increasing. There has been the welcomed return of the three-piece suit and we are selling suits again with an extra pair of pants. We have seen that our custom-made suit business has doubled over last year.” Biedermann’s recommendation for men includes the following: “Having ‘performance’ suits and pants in your wardrobe to wear every day – that you know will always look outstanding – is key to functionality. Dress pants today have completely changed. They have trimmer silhouettes, many have high-performance characteristics such as stretch, and are wrinkle and stain resistant. We continue to pair denims with sports coats, although denims are darker with much less, if any, distressing. So, even what is defined as casual dress is seeing an elevation in standards. As a result, clients are getting a more diversified use of their garments. “One thing that hasn’t changed is our desire to be time

The New Wardrobe Classics • Dress for Success

“We continue to pair denims with sports coats, although denims are darker with much less, if any, distressing. So, even what is defined as casual dress is seeing an elevation in standards. As a result, clients are getting a more diversified use of their garments.” ~ Darren Biedermann

efficient. We are seeing more washable, high-performance garments every season. As the styles change, so do the available fabrics; we are now at a point where style, comfort and practicality meet in your closet. Take for instance, iron-free shirts. In the past I’ve found non-iron dress shirts to be what they say for a certain number of washes, then whatever treatment is embedded in them tends to wash away. Others have had such a high content of man-made fibres that you now have a crisp wash-and-wear shirt that’s non-breathable. There are finally shirts available today that are what they claim. We have found and represent some fabulous ones. Your dryer beeps, you remove the shirt, put it on a hanger, it’s ready to wear, and it will look as fresh at 7 p.m. as it did at 7 a.m. The response from clients and repeat purchases have been amazing. Everyone loves to save time. Having said that, are the finest shirts on the planet wash and wear? No! Will you see the most precious of cotton fabrics leaving Italian mills to be treated? Not any day soon.” What is Biedermann’s strongest advice? “Be more aware of how you feel in a garment and let that trump some of the

outside influences when trying on and considering potential fashions. Your appearance is the first impression you give; what statement do you want the world to see? If you feel great about what you are wearing and you are completely comfortable wearing it, then you will exude confidence. Trust your intuition.” He concludes, “Interestingly enough, the days of the business casual world are for the most part, behind us. The interactive business world we live in today, likely in part due to globalization, is about differentiating yourself and setting the bar higher than others. This is the culture of success that out-performers are now using to place themselves in a class of their own. Dress for the job you want and for the life you want to experience.” BiC | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2015 • 51





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The domination of Mutual Funds • Investing


Domination of Mutual Funds Investing since the 2008 crunch BY COLLEEN WALLACE


ometimes it seems there are as many types of investors as there are investments. For various reasons – partially the haunting, once-bitten/twice-shy jitters of the 2008 meltdown and mostly technology giving open access to information and options – investing has transformed into a tricky and sophisticated science. The solitary DIY investors (alias small-time speculators) and at-home margin traders still dabble at commonly daytraded financial instruments like stocks, options, currencies and a host of futures contracts like equity index futures, interest rate futures and commodity futures.

Good riddance to clichés about hot tips. And welcome to the age of professionalism and trust. Economists, analysts, consultants, even government watchdogs and national polls resoundingly confirm that, when it comes to the complex world of stocks, bonds, equity and fixed income funds, ETFs (exchange-traded funds) and navigating the juggernaut of mutual funds, an overwhelming majority of post-2008 Canadian investors reach out and rely on a relationship with trained, skilled, experienced and savvy professional advisers. It is precisely trust and relationships with adviser managers | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2015 • 53

The domination of Mutual Funds • Investing

“One thing for sure – investors are smarter, better educated and informed. There are so many sources of information. They understand more than ever, especially the fundamentals. But the volatility of the markets over the past 10 years or so has made it a bit more difficult to psychologically just do the right thing.” ~ Dave Richardson

that have been the Midas touch secret for the dynamic ATB Financial. “Consumers are asking more questions and that’s a very good thing. They are much more aware,” explains Dave Mowat, the personable president and CEO of ATB Financial. “People are much more discriminating since the 20072008 reality check. Low fees are important to their return but so is getting the right risk mix. And they also realize that they neither have the resources, the time nor the expertise to pick their own funds. Investors see their role as accumulating the funds and have a skilled professional manage them. They especially rely on the professional for their important risk mix. “There are three key things we recommend investors prioritize,” he points out. “Asset mix, manager selection and low fees. ATB doesn’t have fund managers. We pick the managers because their track record is the best in challenging times. The manager’s relationship with their client is vital and our clients are getting managers who are institutionally focused, who have outperformed other benchmarks during declines and who also perform well in a down market.” “We really have not seen a dramatic shift in Canadian investor behaviour,” says Dave Richardson, VP of enterprise 54 • February 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

distribution with RBC Global Asset Management. “One thing for sure – investors are smarter, better educated and informed. There are so many sources of information. They understand more than ever, especially the fundamentals. But the volatility of the markets over the past 10 years or so has made it a bit more difficult to psychologically just do the right thing. According to a revealing investment trend report announced by the Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC), the voice of Canada’s investment funds industry, confidence in trained and professional advisers is at an alltime high with 98 per cent of Canadian investors surveyed responding that they trust their advisers to give them sound advice, and 92 per cent of the investors reported that they get better returns than they would if investing on their own. The IFIC brings together 150 organizations, including fund managers, distributors and industry service organizations to generate a strong, stable investment sector where investors can realize their financial goals. The report underscores the fact of investment life that, while overall investor confidence and satisfaction are not only complex and individual decision concepts are often impacted by markets, by returns and by regulators, most

The domination of Mutual Funds • Investing

Dave Mowat, president and CEO, ATB Financial.

Dave Richardson, VP of enterprise distribution, RBC Global Asset Management.

often investor moods and choices are driven by the quality of the investor’s relationship with their adviser, as well as their track record and the savings they achieve. Especially this month, leading up to RRSP deadline time, brokerage firm ads and claims shout amazing returns, exciting prospects and rock-solid portfolios. Of course the markets and the analysts have no magic formula, no professional hunches or gut-feels. Their ultimate credential and solid ammo is experience, expertise and constant tracking because the undisputedly most reliable indicator and strategy about market fluctuations is studying and understanding trending. Past market performance shows a strange parallel. The markets are as moody as the investors who keep it churning. Many factors affect market moods and prices – inflation; the U.S. dollar; interest rates; oil and energy prices; employment numbers; labour disputes; government whims; war; conflict; major international issues; and political unrest. And the most scientific factor of them all: when the American stock market sneezes, the Canadian stock markets get a cold. Sudden rises or drops in stock prices are the mood swings of the stock market and are usually referred to as “spikes.”

Alykhan Surani, manager, research and statistics, the Investment Funds Institute of Canada.

Like human mood swings, spikes are sudden, irrational and – unless something mega-good or mega-bad happens – tough to predict. With enough skill and experience, trends in the market or in a specific stock can be tracked and be a decent warning sign of when to buy or sell. As economists and independent analysts suggest, the relationship and trust in a professional adviser and levels of confidence about certain stocks or funds ultimately drive investor decisions. Based mostly on yield and performance and also the unscientific but potent factors of popularity and reputation, mutual funds continue as the investment of choice for notoriously creature-of-habit Canadian investors. Crunching actual numbers, laced with recent levels of investor confidence, mutual funds are the undisputed top choice with an 85 per cent confidence level compared with 65 per cent for stocks, 64 per cent for GICs, 55 per cent for bonds and 34 per cent for ETFs. “Today, mutual funds are the number 1 investment choice of Canadian savers. Some 117 mutual fund companies offer close to 3,000 funds,” explains Alykhan Surani, manager of research and statistics at IFIC. “Late last year, IFIC announced that more than 34 per cent (4.6 million) of Canadian households held mutual funds and that mutual | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2015 • 55

The domination of Mutual Funds • Investing

Their point is that while the pluses of mutual funds are mostly still valid, they are no longer unique, given the competition from other investments, mostly ETFs that often offer many of the same benefits.

funds account for 26 per cent of the financial wealth of Canadians.” He also notes that assets under management (AUM) for the mutual funds industry remained steady at $1.12 trillion and, year-to-date, industry AUM increased by $123 billion or 12.3 per cent. The IFIC stats also show that net sales for the mutual funds industry totalled $2.55 billion. Net sales of long-term funds were $2.62 billion and net redemptions of money market funds were $71.1 million. Although some vocal and quotable mutual fund cynics and critics recommend fluffing up the traditional pillows of investing, they begrudgingly acknowledge that, for decades, mutual funds were the best (if not the only) way for investors to access stocks and bonds and build professionally managed portfolios that were liquid, transparent and well diversified. They admit that, in many ways, mutual funds revolutionized 56 • February 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

the investing industry by bringing capital markets to the masses in a relatively cheap and easy manner. Their point is that while the pluses of mutual funds are mostly still valid, they are no longer unique, given the competition from other investments, mostly ETFs that often offer many of the same benefits. Sensing the mutual fund challenge, some Canadian investors have started scrutinizing the cost of mutual funds relative to ETFs and the overall impact those costs are having on their portfolio returns – returns that have already been broadsided by two major stock market corrections in the past 12 years and an iffy economic climate that has lingered since the 2008 crunch. The competitive criticism may prove to be a healthy factor for mutual funds and likely won’t make a dent in their solid popularity. BiC

The sold-out MBa programs • Education MBA

The Sold-Out

MBA Programs

A solid investment in career futures BY PARKER GRANT


nside and outside the classroom, on the job or just valuable potential or a potent detail that often jumps off a resumé – MBA is so much more than the well-known acronym. Among some career-types sensing a need for something more than a conventional BA, B.Comm and B.Sc., recruiters and HR interviewers, mature students, industry executives and academics, MBA is a vital, life and career skill, qualification and credential. Solid and respected MBA sources, like the world-renowned Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary, refreshingly get right to the point and refer to the MBA program as “investing in yourself.” Recent MBA grads and seasoned professionals agree – successfully achieving the education, knowledge, professional skills and qualifications that an MBA provides is invaluable in all fields of contemporary business. While the altruiststic (and usually academia) sides of the MBA story downplay the validity of some popular but crass MBA stereotypes, there is no dispute about MBAs being potent career and salary boosters. According to a recent

followup survey, Haskayne MBA graduates had a 44 per cent average increase in salary. Despite the gamut of personal, career and income reasons for getting an MBA, there is widespread consensus about the reality check (and caution) that opting for MBA enrolment is a big investment, on various levels. Since most business schools have a two- to three-year postgraduate prerequisite to enter an MBA program, it’s not uncommon for full-time or part-time MBA students to enrol after several years of being away from the classroom, in the workplace and (more significantly) several years of earning paycheques. Regardless how important and valuable the MBA, for most students it is a major personal decision and adjustment to walk away from work, income and lots of leisure time for the demanding routine of sitting in classrooms, taking notes, doing research and homework and all aspects of a two-year (or longer) MBA program. It’s unanimous. Regardless of private employment, budget and lifestyle situations and concerns, opting for an MBA and the payback on an MBA is not only well worth the | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2015 • 57

The sold-out MBa programs • Education MBA

“It’s always a challenge when it comes to time management, energy, concentration and even study habits. It’s not only about managing their time – and energy – but also learning all over again about doing prep for class.” ~ Dr. Michael Wright

investment but a ferociously popular fact of North American professional skills and qualifications life. The general MBA core curriculums usually offer course contents to achieve skills and to understand business from all angles such as finance and accounting, people and organizations, supply chain, business analysis, risk management and leadership development. Different business schools offer different options for MBA specialization. At Haskayne, for example, students may choose to specialize in areas like global energy management and sustainable development (GEMS), entrepreneurship and innovation, finance, marketing and project management. According to recent Haskayne enrolment numbers, more than a third of MBA students opted not to specialize and graduated with a general MBA degree. “When it comes to taking an MBA program,” explains the knowledgeable and respected Dr. Michael Wright, director of MBA Programs at the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary, “it’s vital that a business school be solidly connected to the business community. In many ways, it’s what makes Haskayne and the Calgary area special and unique. We pride ourselves about being not only directly plugged-in to the business community but we are extremely responsive to the needs of Calgary’s business community. For the school and for our MBA students, networking and

58 • February 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

business contact opportunities are crucial aspects of the MBA program.” Contrary to common stereotypes, being plugged-in to the Calgary business community is not limited to oil and gas companies. The Economist magazine, which evaluated and rated all business schools offering MBA programs, recently ranked Haskayne as number 3 in Canada. The prestigious business magazine also ranked Haskayne’s Career Centre as number 1 in the world, in terms of diversity of job opportunities offered to MBA grads. “In today’s business word, people invariably work in teams,” he points out. “The MBA grad must be ready and qualified to be leaders of groups, divisions or the entire company. The contacts, relationships and the networking with other students and with our strong links and partnerships with the business community are vital components of the MBA program.” Legit concerns about taking a two-year sabbatical from steady paycheques to spend two years of time and money on an MBA program are brutally real, private and common decisions that must be made by the working people who weigh the significantly upgraded professional value and career potentials of an MBA. Academics caution and recent MBA grads agree that another subtle but significant MBA “human factor” must also be considered.

The sold-out MBa programs • Education MBA

Dr. Michael Wright, director MBA programs, Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary. Photo credit: Marnie Burkhart/ Jazhart Studios Inc.

Jill Salus, MBA

“It’s always a challenge when it comes to time management, energy, concentration and even study habits,” Dr. Wright says. “With the basic work experience prerequisite of most business schools throughout North America, the MBA student has been away from the classrooms and the learning disciplines for at least two years, often longer. It’s not only about managing their time – and energy – but also learning all over again about doing prep for class. The undergraduate prep for history, for example, is nothing like the MBA prep needed for project management or finance.” Haskayne and other MBA program stats confirm that a vast majority of MBA students do successfully graduate, proving that dealing without steady paycheques and re-entering a classroom may be difficult, but not impossible. Jill Salus was no stranger to gruelling prep, discipline, time management, concentration and focus when she finally enrolled in the Haskayne MBA program. She more than met the prerequisite criteria – it was seven years since she got her B.Comm and paid her dues in the work world. She re-entered the classroom with unique credentials. For 10 years, Salus was an accomplished athlete and a member of the Canadian bobsled team, while also applying her undergrad degree to work at accounting and marketing for a small Calgary engineering firm. “I used to tell myself I had an exciting part-time job on the world stage,” she says

Pamela Bouchard, MBA

about her decade in world-class sports. “But I knew that eventually it would end and I would be back in the real world. “Most athletes retire from sport and go back to school but they often don’t find a job that vents their passion. I planned ahead, had my B.Comm and quickly realized that I needed more serious credentials if I am going to find a path to engage my passion. I took the part-time MBA for a year and a half and finished the last six months full time, during the day. “I noticed that with my training and competing background, I was more prepared to deal with the time commitments than my classmates,” she explains. “The course content was tough. But Haskayne’s MBA program is so well structured and provides phenomenal networking opportunities and industry partnerships that were invaluable about exposing me to options and choices.” Today, Jill Salus, MBA, is a dynamic member of the ConocoPhillips stakeholder engagement team. By last reports, she has not done any more bobsledding. Pam Bouchard knew she wanted an MBA, even before she graduated from the University of Calgary with her business degree. “I had been working for about 10 years in a demanding but good HR job. I chose to keep working full time and getting my MBA part time for 2.5 years of evenings | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2015 • 59

The sold-out MBa programs • Education MBA

Dr. Wright points out that Haskayne’s contacts and relationships with the Calgary business community are not only a vital resource for MBA students but a key for the school to stay relevant and on the cutting edge of MBA education.

and weekends. Most part-time MBA students are working, so it was not only a level playing field but it was a great chance to network and learn things from each other,” she recalls. “I can’t deny it. It was tough to switch from a work frame of mind and learn how to study, again. “Interestingly, the demo of the other students was heavily engineering and sciences. I was one of the few from a business background. The academic content was excellent, I personally found the financial courses challenging, but the overall MBA approach was different. I quickly started to think like management, not like a student. “I graduated last June and the MBA far exceeded my high expectations,” she says with enthusiasm. “It broadened my awareness of the world and instilled ‘big-picture’ thinking and analytical decision-making. The MBA program was not only about the courses but it helped me learn about myself. I now have more professional confidence and I adapt differently and better.” Pamela Bouchard, MBA, is in a different level HR role and continues growing her Synovus career. Salus and Bouchard are not the exception; they are the rule when it comes to MBA payoff. For bragging rights and to track the relevance and effectiveness of course content and curriculum, business schools do intense and detailed followup surveying of their MBA grads. Close to home, the Haskayne stats show that the ratio of women in the Haskayne MBA program is 40 per cent 60 • February 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

and growing, and like Bouchard and Salus, MBA students re-enter the classroom after an average of six years of work experience. The numbers show that 92 per cent of Haskayne MBA grads looking for employment are hired within three months of graduation, at an average salary of over $90,000. Most established and major business schools throughout North America do have an MBA dilemma. The popularity and demand for MBA programs has sparked double or even triple as many applications as there are classroom spaces. At Calgary’s Haskayne, for every MBA classroom seat, the school gets 2.2 applications. Currently, Haskayne’s annual MBA enrolment is approximately 160. Dr. Wright points out that Haskayne’s contacts and relationships with the Calgary business community are not only a vital resource for MBA students but a key for the school to stay relevant and on the cutting edge of MBA education. “We are constantly talking with business and industry about new trends and making sure our MBA programs stays relevant. Like the MBA Skills Development Topics in Leadership and MBA level courses in real estate at our Westman Centre for Real Estate Studies. “MBAs are exceptional ways to top-up experience with up-to-date skills and solid networking. Some things never change,” Dr. Wright points out with a smile. “You are more employable at a higher level of skills and qualifications.” BiC

Celeb ebrate Celebrates Its

20th Anniversary

SysGen Solutions Group • 1


20th Anniversary Celebration

From the Ground to the Cloud… and Beyond SysGen Solutions Group celebrates 20 years in the IT industry BY JULIA MARSHALL


tep inside the head office at SysGen Solutions Group, and you’ll encounter a few surprises – a foosball table, a beer fridge and even a dog or two. It isn’t your typical workplace. And SysGen isn’t your typical information technology company. In a world where businesses are increasingly reliant on technology, SysGen sticks to its peoplefirst philosophy. “We don’t use help desks or ticket systems,” explains Lyle Richardet, SysGen’s president and CEO. “When our clients have an IT problem, they call their SysGen technical account executive directly. The technical account executive then engages whomever they need from the SysGen team to resolve the issue.” SysGen also differentiates itself by offering best-inclass IT advice and solutions, and the company uses the solutions they offer clients in their own operations. “Our mission is to offer the best IT services and solutions to our clients,” says Lyle. “At the same time, we keep ahead of the technology curve and educate ourselves on the latest trends to help our clients maximize their investment in their IT systems.” For example, SysGen works closely with Cisco to develop and deploy significant network solutions. As a result, SysGen clients enjoy improved stability through feature-rich enhanced technology and services. In spe-

cific cases, the enhancements are incorporated in both desktop and telecom systems. SysGen’s relationship with Cisco also lends itself well to internal development through training initiatives.

Born and bred entrepreneurs Lyle started his career in the office products industry, working at Xerox Canada for more than a decade. His skill for customer service and adherence to high technical standards led to awards from his employer and a client-centric approach he would later embed at SysGen. After Xerox, Lyle joined a small family-run business, where he managed the organization’s service department. “I got my first real taste of entrepreneurship there,” explains Lyle. “I took some courses in entrepreneurship in my spare time and began to research how to start my own business.” Eventually, Lyle was recruited by Ricoh, an imaging and electronics company, to manage a large division. He worked his way up to a director role, where he developed and employed his own managerial strategies. At Ricoh, he began to see opportunity in the then-immature IT industry. In the mid-1990s, he left the printer industry to break out on his own and founded SysGen Solutions Group, which was incorporated in 1995. In those early days, Lyle ran SysGen from his home

Congratulations SysGen Solutions Group on celebrating


20 years!


SysGen Solutions Group • 2


While Lyle was busy building SysGen, his son, Ryan Richardet, was discovering his own passion for entrepreneurship. From childhood, Ryan’s dream was to become a doctor. He laid the foundation for this career path, graduating with a bachelor of biological science degree with distinction from the University of Calgary and volunteering in his spare time in the emergency room at Rockyview General Hospital. While participating in the uber-competitive medical school application process, Ryan took a sales job with Xerox. His success was explosive – he was named Rookie of the Year and Youngest Major Accounts Executive in Canada within his first year with the company. Ryan started to open up to the idea of a long-term career outside of medicine. Yet Ryan didn’t give up on his childhood dream. He continued to apply to medical school, even after he left Xerox to join SysGen in a business development role. But just as Ryan was getting comfortable, he was

SysGen Solutions Group • 3

20th Anniversary Celebration

office. Today, the company has nearly 50 employees with offices in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. “The secret sauce has been our personalized approach to the service experience,” says Lyle. “In addition, we’ve adapted our offerings to keep pace with industry trends.” SysGen currently offers comprehensive IT services and solutions including network administration and design, virtualization, IT infrastructure, cloud computing and data storage and protection. As Lyle puts it, “We can manage everything from the desktop to the client’s IT budget.” SysGen’s growth wasn’t without its challenges and risks. Lyle committed his personal wealth, including retirement savings, to bridge SysGen’s startup and operating costs. It was also difficult to obtain initial authorization to resell brand name products without a proven track record. In the end, Lyle’s tenacity paid off, and SysGen is now a trusted partner of many bigname IT brands.

20th Anniversary Celebration

accepted into the University of Calgary’s medical school in 2012. He was faced with a heart-wrenching decision. “It was probably the hardest choice I’ve ever had to make,” explains Ryan. “In the end, it was the limitless possibilities of entrepreneurship that led me to choose a career with SysGen over medical school.” It turned out to be a fruitful choice. Today, Ryan is SysGen’s general manager and he has been instrumental in SysGen’s growth. Lyle and Ryan’s entrepreneurial spirit is evident at SysGen. “Our employees are trusted and encouraged to be entrepreneurial,” explains Ryan. “Many of our technical account executives don’t even work in SysGen’s office space; sometimes they have a desk at a client’s office, or they work from home.” The company also supports individualized career objectives and training opportunities to help employees reach their own goals.

Family friendly Other members of the Richardet family also work for SysGen – Lyle’s sister and daughter are employed at the company. But even employees without the Richardet blood are part of the SysGen family. For example, the 2013 flood severely affected one of SysGen’s employees, who lived in High River. The company quickly organized a fundraiser, which drew nearly $10,000 in donations. On another occasion, Lyle sponsored an employee’s son to attend a basketball tournament in Germany, and in return, the employee’s family put in two days of volunteer work at the Mustard Seed. Another employee’s stepson received support from SysGen to compete in the FIRST Robotics Canada Western Regional Competition. “These familyoriented initiatives are so important to SysGen,” explains Lyle. “We always look for opportunities to support employees.” Even employees’ dogs get to experience the family feel at SysGen. SysGen staffers’ canines often enjoy regular visits to the office. In addition, SysGen is an avid supporter of official charities such as Missing Children Society of Canada

and United Way of Calgary and Area. In 2014, Ryan was named vice-chair of the Gen Next initiative at United Way. Partnerships are also of utmost importance to SysGen. The company works closely with manufacturers and service providers to build channels that offer clients the best solutions at the best prices, and SysGen works with its peers to share ideas and resources. “One example is the Venture Tech Network,” Lyle elaborates. “The VTN is a knowledge and services network offering shared expertise throughout North America; we partner with other members to share proven practices and results, and we join together to shape the delivery of products and solutions to local markets.” SysGen publishes a monthly blog, offering tips and tricks for businesses when it comes to making IT decisions. “Calgary has had its share of natural disasters and emergencies over the past couple of years,” says Lyle. “We want to be able to freely share our thoughts on how companies can best protect themselves against data loss, for example, and the blog is a great tool to get the information out.”

No limits SysGen has grown from the ground up, a fitting metaphor for the world’s changing technology landscape. “These days, businesses need to think about their entire IT landscape – their hardware, cloud services and more,” says Ryan. “We help our clients navigate what they need on the ground, in the cloud and everywhere in between, what we call the SysGen Atmosphere.” Appropriately, the company’s success has been rocket-like, with back-to-back rankings on the PROFIT 500, recognition as one of Business in Calgary’s 2013 Leaders of Tomorrow and a nomination for the Breakout Business Award by the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. At the same time, the company’s homegrown roots and people-first approach have helped SysGen preserve its down-to-earth qualities. “We’ll always be about excellent customer service, strong relationships and dynamic entrepreneurialism,” concludes Lyle. “As much as technology may change, that will not.” • Ph: 403.266.0994

Official Nomination Form

Go Online to Submission Directions: Please complete the application in its entirety. Scan and email to, or send the form via fax to 403.264.3276. Eligibility: All nominees must own, be a partner, CEO, or president of a private or public company, and be

a primary stakeholder responsible for the recent performance of the company. In addition, the nominee’s company must be Calgary and area based and have been in existence for a minimum of three years.

Judging Panel and Criteria: The independent panel of judges will consist of a selection of successful business leaders from the community. The judges will analyze an extensive list of criteria that will include finances, strategic direction, product or service innovation, company leadership (including personal integrity, values and key employee initiatives), community involvement and philanthropic activities. Nominee Print or Type Only Please

Nominee’s Name: Title: Company Name: General Company Phone: Business Address: City:


Postal Code:

Company Website: Nature of Business: Nominee’s Phone:

Nominee’s Email:

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Has Nominee previously been nominated for Consideration? Yes / No Year(s): For any questions or follow up related to this information, please designate a contact, or confirm nominee or assistant as primary contact.

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Leading Business FEBRUARY 2015

IN THIS ISSUE... • The Calgary Chamber Launches Great Cities Report • Policy Bites • Chamber member Spotlights • Upcoming Events | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2015 • 67

2014 Board of

Directors Executive

The Calgary Chamber Launches Great Cities Report

“ c -

Chair: Rob Hawley, Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Immediate Past Chair: Leah Lawrence, President, Clean Energy Capitalists Inc. Chair Elect: Denis Painchaud, Director, International Government Relations, Nexen Inc. Second Vice Chair: David Allen, President, Calgary Land, Brookfield Residential Properties Inc.


• Denver – collects only one-third as much property tax as Calgary, but funds the city budget with about the same revenue ($1.6 B) in ways that are more responsive to economic conditions and ensure that those who use services pay for them.

Leading Business magazine is a co-publication of the Calgary Chamber and Business in Calgary

ast December the Calgary Chamber launched their Great Cities report, a year-long policy and research and events series that investigated what drives municipal excellence. The report looks at the best practices from the world’s leading municipalities from Singapore to St. Albert and how Calgary measures up. “Calgary is an economically robust, growing city that is facing some serious growth-related challenges that need to be addressed,” says Justin Smith, Director of Policy and Government Relations. “By looking at the successes and sometimes failures of other municipalities, we have much richer sense of what we can achieve.” The report identifies areas of municipal competitiveness where Calgary is falling short, whether it be our progress on important regional planning initiatives, or our development of a comprehensive municipal digital strategy. “This report shows that Calgary could be delivering services more efficiently, saving large amounts of money, and even better supporting our city’s least fortunate if we learned from some of the practices of world-leading cities. It’s time that we look at these options,” says Smith.

Calgary Chamber 600, 237 8th Avenue S.E. Calgary, Alberta T2G 5C3

Some highlights from other world cities in the report:

Phone: (403) 750-0400 Fax: (403) 266-3413

• Boston – uses smartphone apps to allow citizens to alert the city to potholes which has cut the response time to fill those potholes in half.

4. Great cities understand very clearly how investments in their social fabric reap not only social, but economic benefits as well. By investing in housing, it is possible to spend less on social services in the long run. The provision of affordable housing, poverty reduction, the encouragement of diversity in our communities and our workplaces, are all aspects of social performance that great cities take very seriously.

Vice Chair, Finance: Bill Brunton, Chief Communications Officer, Calgary Board of Education CEO: Adam Legge, President and CEO, Calgary Chamber

Directors David Allen, President, Calgary Land, Brookfield Residential Properties Inc. Carlos Alvarez, Audit Partner, KPMG Lorenzo DeCicco, Vice-President, TELUS Business Solutions Rob Hawley, Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Wellington Holbrook, Executive Vice-President, ATB Financial Phil Roberts, Director of BD & Marketing, Vintri Technologies Linda Shea, Senior Vice-President, AltaLink Mike Williams, Executive Vice-President, Corporate Services, Encana James Boettcher, Chief Idea Officer, Fiasco Gelato Brent Cooper, Partner, McLeod Law LLP Management Adam Legge – President and CEO Michael Andriescu – Director of Finance and Administration Kim Koss – Vice President, Business Development Scott Crockatt – Director of Marketing and Communications Rebecca Wood – Director of Member Services Justin Smith – Director of Policy, Research and Government Relations

• London, England – is anticipating savings of 33 million pounds by working with neighboring municipalities to deliver services more efficiently.

• Salt Lake City – Utah has shown that by investing in housing they can greatly reduce the overall costs of long term homelessness by 74%, and is on track to eradicate homelessness by 2015. Some of the report’s key findings include: 1. Sustainable financial performance, and limiting property tax increases, depends on a variety of revenue streams, and an approach to budgeting that is focused on performance outcomes. 2. Innovative digital strategies can fundamentally transform and improve how we provide city services in an increasingly digital age. 3. Effective regional planning and governance models allow the delivery of services more efficiently in collaboration with other municipalities and can save hundreds of millions.

To read the report go to 68 • February 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |




3 T

“No “Noone oneperson person creates createsaaculture.” culture.” - Jeff Polovick, President && Founder, DRIVING FORCE - Jeff Polovick, President Founder, DRIVING FORCE

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British British Columbia Columbia Alberta AlbertaSask. Sask. Fort St. John Fort St. John

Grande Prairie Grande Prairie Fort Fort McMurray (2) (2) McMurray Fort Fort Sask. Sask. Edmonton West Edmonton West Edmonton South Edmonton South Leduc Leduc Vancouver Calgary SE SE Vancouver Calgary Saskatoon Calgary NE Saskatoon Calgary NE

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Nearly 500 employees atat 2222 locations allall across Canada work together every day toto create one ofof Nearly 500 employees locations across Canada work together every day create one Canada’s 1010 Most Admired Corporate Cultures. Come toto DRIVING FORCE and find out how our Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures. Come DRIVING FORCE and find out how our culture ofof service makes usus aa stand-out inin vehicle rentals, sales and leasing. culture service makes stand-out vehicle rentals, sales and leasing.

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Policy Bites Aligning business graduates with the skills to be successful in today’s industry For 124 years the Calgary Chamber has been helping business owners grow their business through a variety of networking opportunities. The Chamber can help you increase your company’s profile through connections and referrals. Go to for more information.

If we want to continue to be both Canada’s small business capital and rank amongst the greatest economic powerhouses in the world, we are going to have to start with our youngest. We need to make sure our best and brightest enter the workforce with the skills to be successful.


or many Calgary Chamber members, business schools are the key feeder of human capital. The Calgary Chamber often hears from our membership that graduates of business schools are not necessarily graduating with the skills industry was hoping they would have. While not a criticism of any individual school, the underlying issue is that somewhere along the road there has been a misalignment between the skills being taught in business school curriculum, and the needs of the business community. Soft skills like communication, teamwork, as well as the ability to be entrepreneurial, think critically and be innovative is often cited as lacking. This is a huge problem for a city like Calgary that thrives on innovation and its entrepreneurial spirit. If we want to continue to be both Canada’s small business capital and rank amongst the greatest economic powerhouses in the world, we are going to have to start with our youngest. We need to make sure our best and brightest enter the workforce with the skills to be successful. To confront this challenge, a multi-stakeholder working group called the Business School Research Network (BSRN) was established to facilitate collaborative research focused at studying the management and practice of 14 business schools across North America. Some of the schools represented in this study include Dalhousie, U of T as well as six Alberta business schools including Mount Royal University, University of Alberta, University of Calgary and Bow Valley College. The first phase of the project led by BSRN will focus on developing a set of outcome measurements relevant to major stakeholders, and the creation of an integrated business school scorecard.

70 • February 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

The Calgary Chamber is currently the only non-academic organization to sit on the advisory board of the BSRN. As the voice of business in Calgary, the Calgary Chamber is pleased to be part of this project to ensure that the needs and concerns of the business community are appropriately considered when constructing a more accurate way of assessing the positive outcomes of a business school education.

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

Canadian Pacific Railway Since 1881, Canadian Pacific Railway has been connecting Canada and Canadians from coast to coast. Rail-based transportation is your safest, most cost-effective and most environmentally-sensitive way to ship. CP knows their customers want a service that provides the greatest assurance their goods will be on shelves not stuck on-route. CP offers direct and faster service to help customers become more competitive and grow their business with faster and more reliable transit times. For more information visit

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

Member name

Randstad Canada Randstad Canada is a Canadian leader for staffing, recruitment and HR Services. As the only fully integrated staffing company in the country, they understand the recruitment needs and demands of employers and job seekers across all levels and industries. Through their insightful knowledge of local markets, employment trends and global network of recruitment experts, they are shaping the Canadian world of work. Randstad Canada has helped employers fill more than 65,000 positions in diverse industries. For more information visit

Altus Group Ltd.

Constant innovation and keeping an eye on future trends has been an RGO hallmark since its creation in 1966. They are a unique provider of total office interior solutions: Furniture, window coverings, flooring, office technology, installations, sales and office move management. RGO prides itself as the company that truly listens to you when crafting your perfect office solutions, so it’s only natural they apply the same philosophy to the many services they offer. For more information visit


AMEC Environment and Infrastructure 15 Apache Canada Ltd.


Cadillac Fairview Corporation


Calgary Construction Association


Collins Barrow Calgary LLP


Consulate General of Japan


EnCana Corporation


Expeditors Canada Inc.


Lundgren & Young Insurance Ltd.


The Edge Communications

RGO Office Products

Years as a member


The Fury Systems


Wilson International Network: Immigration Corp

10 | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2015 • 71

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

Wednesday, February 4, 2014 Oil’s Two Futures: Key Implications for Alberta Business 11:30 am – 1:30 am The Hyatt Regency – 700 Centre Street SE

Robert Johnston, CEO of Eurasia Group

Join the Calgary Chamber and other Calgary business leaders for a special celebration, to swear in Robert J. Hawley, Partner at PwC as the 2015 Calgary Chamber Board Chair. The event will also feature a special presentation by Robert Johnston, CEO of Eurasia Group. Robert will present his global perspective on the three factors most likely to determine whether we exit 2015 at $50/barrel or 100/barrel: geopolitics, emerging markets demand, and the sustainability of the North American unconventional oil boom. Volatile oil prices are a challenge for every Alberta business. Low prices are all too painful a memory for anyone who survived the mid-1980s or late 1990s. Join the Calgary Chamber for a very timely conversation on the risk our city faces from the state of the current global energy market, and for a special celebration to welcome the newest Calgary Chamber Board Chair.

Calgary Chamber Meeting Space

Did you know that the Calgary Chamber is now renting out three excellent meeting rooms ideal for your next downtown meeting or reception? The Calgary Chamber’s new office across from City Hall at 237 8th Avenue SE boasts modern style, clean lines and fresh colours that flow into meeting rooms. The room space is well equipped with modern electronics, large format whiteboards, and brand new office furniture from RGO Office Products. If you haven’t checked out the Chamber’s new space, come down for a tour and a coffee we would love to show you around. Please note room rentals are for Chamber members only. For more information please visit or contact

72 • February 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY |

HELPING TO DRIVE CALGARY’S ECONOMY: THE MEETINGS AND EVENT INDUSTRY IS A VITAL PART OF OUR ECONOMY As the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre (CTCC) begins its 41st year serving the needs of event planners and delegates, a new report reinforces the great impact the meeting and event industry has on the Calgary economy and the larger Canadian economy. Commissioned by the Meeting Professionals International Foundation Canada (MPIFC), the report is entitled “The Economic Contribution of Business Events in Canada Canadian Economic Impact Study 3.0 (CEIS 3.0).” The research concluded that business events supported an astounding $55 billion in economic activity for Canadian businesses during 2012, the business year the study examined. Economic benefits attributed to business events extended to tax contributions; specifically, business events returned $3.6 billion to provincial governments and over $770 million to municipalities. The researchers of the Canadian study reported that Canada hosted over 585,000 business events in 2012. These events attracted 35.3 million participants and involved $29.0 billion in direct spending across a broad range of convention facilities. Additionally, the study recorded that, excluding registration fees, participants at business events spent $20.8 billion on either getting to events and/or spending in and around host cities. This additional spending outside of the conference venues benefits the larger community and the national economy. Within the parameters of this study, business events were shown to directly support over 200,000 full-year jobs with a further 142,000 full-year jobs supported through indirect and induced supply chain linkages and household re-spending. The CTCC and the Calgary business community are large contributors to the success of the Western Canada

market for convention and events. The report concluded that, “In terms of the spending associated with business events, Western Canada accounted for the largest share – edging out Central Canada with $13.8 billion in spending to $12.6 billion. Western Canada is estimated to have hosted over 191,000 business events in 2012. About 45% of these business events were hosted in Alberta.” These numbers highlight and reinforce the vital role the business event industry holds in each municipality, province, region, and its importance in the larger national economy. The economic benefits for the host communities and local and regional businesses are apparent in the researchers’ examination of the spending practices of attendees and delegates. The breakdown of the seven major expenditure items for participants while attending meetings was accommodations (23.7%); air transportation; rail and water transportation (23.7%); food and beverage (14.9%); registration fees (14.7%); retail purchases (4.8%); additional fees for optional program elements, such as reception and golfing events (2.6%); and local tours and sightseeing (1.2%). A conclusion from the report sums up the important place of the CTCC and similar sites as host venues within this ever-growing industry. The report states, “Without a doubt, the industry is a formidable one and has made considerable progress over the past few years in defining itself and gaining recognition of its economic importance. These findings and future findings to be shared represent proof the industry is noteworthy, contributing heavily not only to the economy but also shaping how people come together, interact, innovate, and bond.” | | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2015 • 73

From talent retention to multigenerational work environments

The Top Labour Trends for Calgary in 2015


with employers to learn more about industry trends and/or job opportunities related to their education and skill set. There’s a correlation between high levels of education, training and development and low levels of unemployment. With a need for an adaptive workforce and increased demand for technical competencies, the time is right for increased investment in training to build the talent we need in the future. This will allow us to be more resilient to changes in the economy. There is a reliance on post-secondary institutions to provide the skills needed by Calgary companies to build their talent pipelines for the future. Top labour force trends for 2015: The new Canada Alberta Job Grant provides funding 1. Talent retention and strategic talent attraction support to help companies upskill their workforce. 2. Training and development We’ve all heard about the future of work and the shift in corporate culture that is happening. Now, 3. Multigenerational work environments there can be four to five generations working side 4. Succession planning by side. Managing the issues and challenges in the multigenerational workplace and leveraging the strengths in each generation will be key to fostering a positive and productive work environment. Organizations The reality is that despite the recent decline in the price of oil, that can find innovative ways to bridge the generational Calgary is still very much experiencing a tight labour market, with gaps (boomers, gen X and Y, and millennials) and embrace unemployment hovering around 4.5 per cent at the close of 2014. the changing nature of work – such as focusing on remote There is strong competition for talent, not only locally collaboration, results-oriented work environments, enabling but globally as well, and with Calgary now a first-choice trusted employees to work where and when they are most destination for new Canadians, our city is fully immersed in effective – will find themselves ahead of their peers when it that global war for talent. No one wants to lose talent to their comes to attracting and retaining the best and brightest. In the competitors and effective talent retention strategies are key to not-so-distant future, the concept of WORKshift™, which many improved job satisfaction and reduced turnover of employees. companies now use as a differentiator, will become the norm in Talent is what drives successful companies and provides a Calgary, and across the country. competitive edge. Alberta has one of the most educated Over 47 per cent of Calgarians are within the core working age of workforces in Canada. We want to make sure that we aren’t 25-54, so in the next five years we will see a considerable number losing some of our greatest assets to other global markets. of workers take their knowledge and skill set with them as they Attracting talent with the right skill sets and competencies can leave the workforce for retirement … many of them will be senior be a challenge, especially in a globally competitive marketplace. leaders. By developing and implementing a formal transition plan, Employers have refined their local, national and international employers will be better positioned to retain critical knowledge talent attraction strategies to include: talent mapping, data that allows for continued growth within the company. mining and mobile optimization for recruiting in-demand talent. Our workforce is very engaged with the highest labour Savvy jobseekers have customized their job search strategies to force participation rate in the past five years and consistently ensure greater success when applying for a position. the highest labour force productivity in Canada. Calgary’s However, in Calgary, there are pools of talent whose skills economic diversity has seen strong growth in most sectors and education aren’t being utilized as they haven’t been able and 2014 was a great year for economic growth in Calgary. to make a connection in their chosen profession. Building Even with some expected economic slowdown in 2015, we a professional network is an important step in the road to still need to attract workers who have certain skill sets that are finding gainful employment. In January, we introduced in short supply, while also focusing our attention on the longthe Calgary Connector Program in an attempt to connect term workforce needs of Calgary and its employers. immigrant professionals and young emerging professionals algary has been known as Canada’s powerhouse. The city has had one of the strongest performing urban economies in the nation for many of the past 10 years, and is expected to stay on top – or close to it – until 2018. The economy has grown faster than any other major city in the country, with an estimated 27,100 jobs created in 2014. So what does that mean for businesses trying to attract, retain, engage and train the best and brightest talent from around the world?

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Tourism Calgary’s Multifaceted Organizational Strategy

By Cassandra McAuley

Photo courtesy of Tourism Calgary.


ecently, Tourism Calgary unveiled its 2015-17 Strategic Plan, in which the destination marketing organization outlined the strategies, priorities and actions that will deliver significant and sustained growth in local tourism revenue. Tourism Calgary’s specific organizational objectives are to generate incremental visitation and spend, energize the Calgary brand, work together as a destination and build organizational excellence. In order to achieve the outlined objectives, Tourism Calgary will be aligned and working in close partnership with key industry partners and stakeholders, including those in the arts and culture community. This community, representing all facets of arts, architecture, culture and entertainment, holds a big piece of Calgary’s draw as a compelling and vibrant tourist destination. We know that a dynamic arts and culture scene is critical to compelling travellers to visit any destination, and Calgary is no exception. While we have the opportunity to better share our arts and culture story with the world, the maturation of key cultural events like Sled Island, Beakerhead, Opera in the Village, the Calgary International Film Festival, Honens International Piano Competition and the anticipated 2016 opening of the National Music Centre, will help Calgary continue to gain interest and credibility as an energetic destination.

As we continue to energize the Calgary brand, our vibrant arts and culture scene is an important focal point. Tourism Calgary’s commitment to showcasing Calgary’s tremendous arts and culture offerings to the world is unwavering. We will continue to build on the 2012 recognition of Canada’s Cultural Capital through focused regional, national and international marketing campaigns, public relations efforts and targeted media relations to create awareness and urgency amongst travellers to visit Calgary. Another way in which Tourism Calgary will demonstrate support for the arts and culture community will be through showcasing performing and visual arts, concerts and independent markets to visiting media and key influencers. Through a combination of traditional and online media, we will continue to share the message that Calgary truly is an exciting destination that will surprise and inspire travellers. Tourism Calgary’s strategic plan is a multi-year guide; so too are the accumulative blueprints for the partnerships and tactical outputs that will deliver on the strategy. Through working in alignment with destination partners, including those in the arts and culture community, we will build a more compelling product and bring a broader range of visitors to our city. Tourism Calgary’s 2015-17 Strategic Plan can be found at | BUSINESS IN CALGARY February 2015 • 75

It Started with an Idea BY MEGHAN OCKEY


ew Tech Meetup Calgary serves to bridge the gap between Calgary’s startup, business, academic and investor communities. Launched in 2013, this monthly Meetup group met a demand from the community, something Innovate Calgary entrepreneur-in-residence Mark Williams recognized when he founded the group. “People were looking for a starting point,” explains Williams. “Maybe they have an idea or are interested in unique investment opportunities, but where can those relationships be forged?” The answer was really quite simple: get some pizza and refreshments and let the “magic” happen. The monthly Meetup features an agenda of networking, followed by an update on events happening across the community, and three formal presentations by local tech companies. New Tech Meetup Calgary is often the first opportunity these companies have to pitch to an audience and share their company story. The informal setting alleviates some of the pressure and allows for valuable feedback without the stakes of a formal pitch competition. “A pitch is important for a startup; it is their opportunity to explain what is being sold to investors,” says Williams. “But it doesn’t come naturally to everyone. You work on this project so closely, you know every angle and detail, and it is something you are passionate about. Of course you know why people should get involved in your project, but how do you explain that in a way that shows the value to others?” The format of the event allows for three presentations by local tech companies. They in turn receive valuable feedback and learnings from an audience comprised of investors, co-founders, and tech and business talent. When New Tech Meetup Calgary held its first event, there were over 100 attendees. Now, the Meetup membership has grown to well over 800 members from within the Calgary community. “We meet the second Thursday of every month at the Alastair Ross Technology Centre,” says Williams. “The reception this initiative has received shows the desire for a diversity of opportunities in this city. There is so much energy in Calgary’s startup community and this has become

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New Tech Meetup Calgary is often the first opportunity these companies have to pitch to an audience and share their company story. The informal setting alleviates some of the pressure and allows for valuable feedback without the stakes of a formal pitch competition. one of the venues where they can work together to develop successful new ventures.” One of those successful new ventures is RxRobots, an excellent example of the opportunities that can come out of a New Tech Meetup Calgary event. They have developed a robot (yes a robot!) that interacts with children, distracting them from what otherwise may be a stressful medical procedure. RxRobots placed third at the 2014 World Innovation Day – Innovation for Health, in Geneva, Switzerland, and have received international recognition and exposure for their technology. They have also received the support of New Tech Meetup Calgary founder Williams, who is now acting as their CEO. “RxRobots is such a great example of what can happen when our tech community comes together,” explains Williams. “They received support and feedback regarding their company and pitch, further preparing them to be able to showcase internationally and receive the accolades their technology deserves. I am so excited to be working with this group. They are just one of the success stories that has come from this event, and I know there will be more.” New Tech Meetup Calgary is open to the public. To learn more and to join visit To learn more about Innovate Calgary and how it supports new and emerging technology, visit



MarketingMatters • David Parker

MarketingMatters Avenue Place, Skate Canada, Site Energy and the 50th anniversary of Calgarybased Landmark Cinemas. •••••••••••••• BY DAVID PARKER


t is 25 years since LPi Group was launched in Edmonton but the main office was moved to Calgary by president and managing partner Craig Lindsay in 1995. Since then it has stayed rather under the radar with its bread-and-butter packaged goods accounts but now with 27 staff in this city, plus others in Edmonton and Toronto, it is branching out into other sectors allowing the creative people more challenges. They have been remarkably successful in an industry in which so many accounts change horses too often. For all of its quarter-century in business it has enjoyed a relationship with CocaCola, and since 1999 has served Kraft Canada as a major account. Other longstanding clients have included such well-known names as High Liner, Old Dutch and Mattel/Barbie. I love titles and none is more impressive than managing director, growth and innovation, that Ken Youngberg carries on his business card. Youngberg is leading the charge in branching out and has helped secure some interesting new accounts. For Hockey Canada, LPi Group manages select online and digital media including an app for referees across the country, and it developed a site for minor hockey that allows parents to know scheduling for local games. Also added to the firm’s portfolio are several residential accounts including the promotion of Riversong developments in Cochrane and Southfork in Leduc for Tamani Communities, plus Eighth

Mosaic Communications was formed by president Melodie Creegan in 1995 and over the past year has grown by over 50 per cent. It recently acquired Kevin Franco’s locally-owned Francomedia, an 11-year-old company with a strong reputation for producing thoughtful and creative campaigns. Franco and his team have relocated into Mosaic’s trendy studio space along 10th Avenue SW. •••••••••••••• RedCity Creative Agency has been named agency of record for Spruce It Up Garden Centre, the large greenhouse at 210th Avenue and Macleod Trail SW. Its marketing and communications needs will be kicked off with a new e-commerce website. •••••••••••••• After 26 years with the same agency Fabricland began looking for a new partnership to modernize its brand and has chosen William Joseph Communications as its new agency of record. Fabricland’s marketing manager Paivi Kanary says. “Our newly designed mailers were a hit with our employees and most importantly with our customers.” And a new sewing club concept membership program has been launched by William Joseph called Fabricland SewCiety which has garnered great enthusiasm. •••••••••••••• Katherine Cormack has joined the Calgary Public Library as senior manager, marketing and communications. For several years she was director of marketing and communications at Bow Valley College and for the past 18

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months held the same position at the Mental Health Commission of Canada. In her new role Cormack will be busy promoting the library’s new visual identity, the new 240,000-squarefoot Central Library in East Village, and helping to raise the targeted membership to a staggering 800,000 by the end of this year. It’s free and a great resource for not only books but magazines, videos and CDs, available online or at one of its 18 community libraries. •••••••••••••• If I were still in the advertising agency business I would volunteer my services to help promote the new Tennis Canada facility that will begin construction this spring at Acadia Athletic Park to provide eight indoor and six outdoor much-needed courts. •••••••••••••• Sixteen years as a journalist with the last several on the breakfast shifts with A-Channel, Citytv, Breakfast Television and Global Morning News meant getting up very early to get to work. Susanne Fox signed off last year and decided to hone her communications skills by taking courses at Mount Royal University, University of Calgary and SAIT Polytechnic. Now she is back at work and using her experience and new knowledge at Big Rock, directing communications and public relations for the Calgary brewery that has been providing good beer for almost 30 years. It’s an exciting time at Big Rock as CEO Bob Sartor is introducing new products and this year will open new brewpubs in Toronto and Vancouver. BiC Parker’s Pick: ClearMotive’s tag line – “You do what you do, we’ll let everyone know.”

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