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Confederation - WHY WOULD WE STAY?






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Supporting the visions of entrepreneurs one story at a time. Volume 28 | Number 2


9 10 12

No Laughing Matter By Brad Field

City Council Pay Raises By Frank Atkins

Our Sacred Right to Engage in Policy Debate By Cody Battershill




Confederation – Why Would We Stay? W. Brett Wilson on Alberta and its Future By Melanie Darbyshire







Alberta Businesses Tangled in Red Tape By Amber Ruddy

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Calgary Chamber of Commerce The Calgary Report Current developments for Calgary Telus Convention Centre, Tourism Calgary, Calgary Economic Development, and Innovate Calgary

Marketing Matters By David Parker


Supporting the visions of entrepreneurs one story at a time. Volume 28 | Number 2





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N  o Reward Without Risk Private equity and alternate asset classes more than just a potential pot of gold, say experts By Jamie Zachary

Y  YC is the Hostess with the Most-est Calgary attracts stellar international clients to its convention centres By Danyael Halprin

Ultimate Homes & Renovations

Celebrates 40 Years



T  he MBA More than just classroom learning By Erlynn Gococo

Celebrates 40 Years

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F  rom a Dime to a Dollar Experts says proliferation of online banking makes sense By Jamie Zachary



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REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS Amber Ruddy Frank Atkins David Parker Cody Battershill Brad Field

THIS ISSUE’S CONTRIBUTORS Melanie Darbyshire Rennay Craats Jamie Zachary Erlynn Gococo


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Evelyn Dehner Chris Miller Bobbi Joan O’Neil


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No Laughing Matter BY BRAD FIELD


hat do Vancouver, Toronto and Saskatoon have in common? No, this isn’t a bad joke, unless, of course, you think “a more competitive municipal business tax environment than Calgary” is a punchline. The C.D. Howe Institute released its annual report card on business tax burdens in Canada’s major cities in December, and it’s official: Calgary’s competitiveness continues to decline. Sure, we’re still better than most, but better than average isn’t a good fit for Calgary. We’re a city of builders, creators and innovators. We’re not just the “Heart of the New West,” we’re the entrepreneurial engine of Canada. Our potential is immense, but we need to stop sabotaging our future with short-sighted policies, especially with the provincial and federal governments already making life more difficult with new taxes and regulations. As it is still early in the new year, I’d like to recommend three resolutions to get Calgary moving forward again. 1) Let’s get competitive: Our current city council clearly has neither the expertise nor the experience to develop an effective plan to address Calgary’s waning competitiveness. There is no shame in this, as not everyone has a head for business. There are, however, many Calgarians who do, and city council needs to start seeking their input and guidance. These are individuals who understand what it takes to build a business and create jobs, and their expertise is desperately needed. While energy remains Calgary’s bread and butter, the city’s entrepreneurial talent extends to other sectors, so the effort needs to engage business people outside of the downtown core as well.

they can least afford it. What it’s not willing to do is make any sacrifices of its own. On an adjusted per capita basis, Calgary’s municipal government spends half a billion dollars more annually than Edmonton’s does. City council needs to start doing what Calgary families and businesses do – exercise restraint today to secure a more prosperous tomorrow. We should begin by reviewing municipal costs across the board, including the salaries of municipal employees. There is tough but necessary work to be done. 3) Let’s look to the bigger picture: Calgary is at a crossroads. For years, oil prices were high and exports were growing, so we could take growth for granted. But times have changed. As Calgarians look to the horizon, they’re increasingly apprehensive about what the future holds. Instead of addressing some of the issues underlying these fears, city council is increasingly finding itself mired in petty personality disputes. Our municipal representatives need to drop the silly games and start working together to develop a long-term vision for our city that leverages our strengths. Calgary has one of the most dynamic, entrepreneurial and educated populations in the world. We have what we need to succeed. But the vision and the leadership to put the pieces together is lacking. The new year provides Calgary with an opportunity to realistically assess where we are, determine where we need to go, and figure out how to get there. As I said last month, the business community has a role to play. We understand better than most why Calgary is falling behind, and we have a responsibility to help get the city back on track.

2) Let’s get our finances in order: City council evidently isn’t concerned about asking Calgarians to pay more when




City Council Pay Raises BY FRANK ATKINS


algary city council dealt with their annual pay raise in December, and it was not a pretty affair. For reasons I do not quite understand, there was a great deal of confusion surrounding this process. Based on a post by Councillor Farkas, there was a belief that council was due to get a 2.3 per cent pay increase. Councillor Farkas proposed a five per cent pay decrease. The 2.3 per cent figure turned out to be based on old information, and the mayor asked for a retraction and an apology. In the end, Councillor Farkas was kicked out of the council meeting. Calgary city council receives changes in their remuneration each year based on the overall change of wages in Alberta as given by Statistics Canada’s publication Average Weekly Earnings. I do not understand how there could be any confusion over what the pay change would have been, as it is a simple matter to just look this up in the publication. Eventually someone did this, and it turned out that council actually received a small pay decrease. When this was all over, some councillors went into public relations mode, congratulating themselves on what good people they were for taking a pay decrease, and also what good people they were to not decide their own pay change as it is based on a rule that is out of their hands. While I am in favour of removing the right to decide pay changes from council, I do not think basing these pay changes on Average Weekly Earnings is a good idea. As oil and gas is the dominant business in Alberta, this index is heavily weighted toward whatever is going on in the oil and gas sector. From a public relations perspective, council was able to claim a victory on this one due to the extremely poor state of the oil and gas sector in Alberta. At some point,

WHILE I AM IN FAVOUR OF REMOVING THE RIGHT TO DECIDE PAY CHANGES FROM COUNCIL, I DO NOT THINK BASING THESE PAY CHANGES ON AVERAGE WEEKLY EARNINGS IS A GOOD IDEA. this will turn around and the sector will become healthy again; this is part of the normal cycle. It is hard to believe this at the moment, given the nature of this downturn, but we recovered from the disaster of the early 1980s. Once the turnaround comes, council may face a public relations nightmare. It is not unusual to see this index increase by five to six per cent in any given year during boom times. I would hope that these kind of raises for city council would outrage the average citizen. At one point, the Alberta Teachers’ Association actually had a collective agreement where their pay increases were based on this same index. That is long gone, and it should also be long gone for city council. If council truly wants to have nothing to do with their pay increases, they should bring in some sort of an outside compensation expert to decide each year. However, don’t hold your breath waiting for this to happen. I suspect that a good compensation expert would find the mayor and council are actually overpaid.

Frank Atkins is Research Chair of Finance & Capital Markets at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.




Our Sacred Right to Engage in Policy Debate BY CODY BATTERSHILL


s Canadians, we all hold sacred our right to engage in hot partisan debate. From well before the time of Confederation, and stretching right up to today, it’s always been the case. But when it comes to raising awareness about the burning need for progress on a pipeline, Canada Action will check all partisan politics at the door. Our debate is all about policy – not partisanship. It’s not a trivial distinction. We all have our personal political views about any number of local, national and global issues. But I can’t stress enough: that’s not what this is about. • We stand for inclusion of people and communities – not exclusion. We’re in favour of all Canadians benefiting from a strong natural resource economy. • We specifically include indigenous communities in that vision; full indigenous participation in the development of their resources is key if their communities and, in particular, their youth are to benefit fully. • In short, we’re pro-Canada. We’re focussed on educating the public about the importance of a strong natural resources sector – to every Canadian. As you’ve heard many times at our Canada Action rallies in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and other cities around the country, we’re united on many things — fair value for our energy exports, the need for pipelines, the critical importance

AS YOU’VE HEARD MANY TIMES AT OUR CANADA ACTION RALLIES IN CALGARY, EDMONTON, VANCOUVER AND OTHER CITIES AROUND THE COUNTRY, WE’RE UNITED ON MANY THINGS — FAIR VALUE FOR OUR ENERGY EXPORTS, THE NEED FOR PIPELINES, THE CRITICAL IMPORTANCE OF RESOURCE JOBS TO COMMUNITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY, BETTER PUBLIC ENERGY POLICY, AND IMPROVING CANADIAN COMPETITIVENESS BEING JUST A FEW EXAMPLES. of resource jobs to communities across the country, better public energy policy, and improving Canadian competitiveness being just a few examples. So, no matter who you voted for, please let Ottawa know we need to get a pipeline built in this country – and fast.

Cody Battershill is a Calgary realtor and founder/spokesperson for CanadaAction. ca, a volunteer organization that supports Canadian energy development and the environmental, social and economic benefits that come with it.




Alberta Businesses Tangled in Red Tape BY AMBER RUDDY


ave you ever waited on hold for government information? Been given conflicting advice on how to comply? Endured silly, redundant or downright confusing instruction? Then you know what it’s like to experience red tape. Unfortunately for business owners, this is an ongoing challenge that tends to increase in complexity year after year. Having to spend time and money to understand government regulations and deal with red tape impedes small business growth. In fact, about three in five small business owners feel excessive government regulation discourages them from growing their business. To combat the red tape dilemma of “death by a thousand paper cuts,” the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) hosts an annual Red Tape Awareness Week – dedicated to highlighting the burden, cost and impact of excessive regulations on small business owners. CFIB has been leading the fight against over-regulation for more than 10 years – and we’re nowhere near finished. The average business owner doesn’t have a human resources or compliance team to navigate red tape – it falls squarely on their shoulders. Progress nationally shows more politicians and decision-makers recognize the problem and are working to solve it. But more work is needed; red tape continues to be one of the top burdens business owners face. Holding provincial governments accountable for their track record is important, which is why CFIB continues to issue a Red Tape Report Card. In the report, provinces are given a grade which assesses the progress governments make (if any) on political leadership, comprehensive public measurement, and constraints on regulators to put checks and balances in place.

REDUCING EXCESSIVE REGULATION HAS REAL POTENTIAL TO GROW THE ECONOMY, ALLOWING BUSINESS OWNERS TO FOCUS THEIR RESOURCES ON SERVING THEIR CUSTOMERS, INNOVATING, IMPROVING PRODUCTIVITY AND EXPANDING THEIR BUSINESS. The Alberta government gets a big fat “F” for being a laggard on regulatory reform. It’s time to show leadership. The premier should make commitments in the budget, throne speech and mandate letters to champion red tape reduction. The Alberta government should appoint a minister responsible for regulatory reform and accountability. A comprehensive public measure should be both credible and cover as many government rules as possible. It should include the total regulatory burden tracked over time. In addition, the measure must be reported publicly at least once a year. Finally, there should be a clear cap on government rules, so the burden doesn’t grow indefinitely. Reducing excessive regulation has real potential to grow the economy, allowing business owners to focus their resources on serving their customers, innovating, improving productivity and expanding their business. It’s time to turn awareness into action and get governments to cut red tape to bring back the Alberta Advantage. Amber Ruddy is the director of provincial affairs for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @aruddy.





S’mores in the Rockies More than four million visitors are the ultimate testimonial – spectacular Banff is a tremendously popular, worldclass tourist destination. In 2017, National Geographic announced its annual Best of the World – 21 must-see places to visit – and Banff was the only Canadian location to make the list. And the new Canalta Lodge – with 112 rooms and lofts, glacier plunge pool, hot tub, sauna, fabulous collection of Canadian art, outdoor campfire and evening s’more service – is readying for its grand opening this fall as the newest accommodation draw in Banff. Canalta, the family-owned and fast-growing hotel chain based in Drumheller that owns and operates a portfolio of 44 hotels across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, purchased the former Spruce Grove Inn in 2017 and is just finishing the $6-million renovations to the property located in the heart of Banff.

than the other more traditional hotels on Banff Avenue. It is a more modern version of a traditional mountain hotel. It is casual but stylish and a bit hipster, a bit rustic. We promote guests to get outside and have an adventure.”

“It’s an exciting addition to our Canalta family,” says Brooke Christianson, VP of Canalta. “What we have really is world class in every way. From the scenery of the majestic Rocky Mountains to the ski resorts, the hiking, biking, climbing, horseback riding and all the recreational opportunities.

Christianson explains that Canalta Lodge features a modern and cheery interior, punctuated with hues of yellow and the rooms are decorated with black-and-white gingham linens that intentionally evoke a cabin feel. “The U-shape design that wraps around the spacious courtyard features hot tubs and cedar-barrel saunas and fire pits for gathering around and telling tales with friends,” he adds.

“By design and focus, Canalta Lodge is uniquely different

“It’s where the wilderness meets comfort.”









Canadian Oil and Gas Industry Down But Never Out by David Yager

Alberta Must Stand up for Itself by John Hardy

04 08 14

Every Day is a Strategic Day byFEBRUARY Chuck Bean 2019

Pat Ottmann & Tim Ottmann


Melanie Darbyshire


Lisa Johnston, Nikki Gouthro


Jessi Evetts



Nancy Bielecki

THIS ISSUE’S CONTRIBUTORS John Hardy David Yager Chuck Bean


Evelyn Dehner Chris Miller Bobbi Joan O’Neil

EDITORIAL, ADVERTISING & ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES 1025, 101 6th Ave. SW Calgary, AB T2P 3P4 Tel: 403.264.3270 | Fax: 403.264.3276 Email: The publisher does not assume any responsibility for the contents of any advertisement, and all representations of warranties made in such advertising are those of the advertiser and not of the publisher. No portion of this publication may be reproduced, in all or in part, without the written permission of the publisher. Canadian publications mail sales product agreement No. 41126516.


COVER 2 • Business of Energy • February 2019

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David Yager | Canadian Oil and Gas Industry Down But Never Out



he title of the 1990 Steven Seagal movie was “Hard To Kill.” The action hero played a cop gunned down by really bad guys and left for dead. Seagal emerges from a coma after seven years and settles the score. Justice prevails as, needless to say, the good guy wins. So it goes for Canada’s huge upstream oil and gas industry. To forward the cause of saving the planet, environmental activists have been trying to kill it for years by blocking pipelines, disrupting hearings, pushing obstructive and expensive regulations, litigation, misinformation, and supporting politicians who share and enforce politically correct anticarbon beliefs. Judging by the chaos and challenges in the Canadian oilpatch in recent years, the enemies of Canada’s oilpatch have enjoyed some success. But like the bullets that struck down Seagal’s character, they have only inflicted injury, not death. Because the fifth-largest oil and gas production jurisdiction in the world is hard to kill. On a barrel of oil (BOE) equivalent basis, Canada produces about 7.6 million BOE/day, behind only the U.S., Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Even at these depressed gas prices and volatile oil prices, ARC

Energy Research Institute estimates the value of Canadian production in 2018 was $110 billion. This is still the largest resource industry in Canada by a wide margin. On a GDP basis for the private sector, it is second only to real estate. According to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, just keeping the darn thing going cost $83 billion in 2017. This includes direct operating costs for oilsands, conventional oil and gas, and capital expenditures for both. The total is greater than the combined annual spending of the governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba which provide essential services for nearly seven million people. Certainly, the oilpatch of 2019 is not what it was. But any idea the combined efforts of so many to either destroy or cripple this huge industry will succeed is preposterous. What makes the domestic anti-oil movement so frustrating is Canadians inhabit the only major oil-producing jurisdiction in the world conducting economic self-immolation on its oil and gas industry. Every other producer is going flat out trying to keep up with growing global demand. There are over 7.4 billion people in the world. Here’s what the 7.37 billion who don’t live in Canada are doing.

4 • Business of Energy • February 2019

There are multiple credible forecasters prognosticating about the future of energy and fossil fuels. They include multinational oil giants Royal Dutch Shell, BP and ExxonMobil. Two non-commercial agencies that study this subject are the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris and the Energy Information Administration (EIA) in Washington D.C. All five have publicly released forecasts to 2040 and beyond. All five forecasts see total energy consumption in 2040 being 30 per cent higher than 2015. The fundamental drivers of future energy demand are population and economic growth. ExxonMobil sees world GDP in 2040 double that of 2010. Its economic growth forecast is OECD countries (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the 34 countries widely considered to be “developed”) growing at an average of 1.9 per cent per year through to 2040 while the rest of the world’s annual growth rate is more than twice that at 4.1 per cent. OECD countries contain about 1.2 billion people, 16 per cent of the world total. Energy demand growth will not come from OECD countries as they already have developed energy infrastructure including renewables. Growth will come from the other 84 per cent, about 6.2 billion people. The majority are so-called “developing” nations trying hard to be as prosperous as OECD countries. The EIA demand growth forecast sees Asia’s energy needs growing by 50 per cent from 2015 in the 25 years to 2040, accounting for half of the total demand increase of 29 per cent. The other areas requiring more energy are Africa and the Middle East. The composition of the anticipated global energy demand growth varies somewhat, but fossil fuels remain essential. BP sees less than 30 per cent supplied by renewables, hydroelectricity or nuclear power. Coal as a percentage of the energy mix will decline as it is replaced by natural gas or more electricity is generated by renewables, wind and solar. Actual coal consumption will still increase slightly. Natural gas growth is anticipated in all models as a replacement for coal for electricity generation. The hardest carbon resource to replace will be oil because of its pivotal role in petrochemicals and transportation.

5 • Business of Energy • February 2019

Canadian Oil and Gas Industry Down But Never Out

The composition of the anticipated global energy demand growth varies somewhat, but fossil fuels remain essential. BP sees less than 30 per cent supplied by renewables, hydroelectricity or nuclear power.

David Yager | Canadian Oil and Gas Industry Down But Never Out

One-quarter of crude oil production is used as feedstock for petrochemicals resulting in products essential to everyday life such as plastics and chemicals. There is no substitute. Demand for oil as petrochemical feedstock will grow with the economy and population. About 70 per cent of oil is used as transportation fuel in three main areas. Airplanes and ships consume about 25 per cent. The next big block of transportation fuel powers heavy trucks and trains, another 25 per cent. There are no practical substitutes today. The dynamic portion of petroleum demand comes from light cars and trucks, currently about 20 per cent. This is the riskiest element of the forecasts. Depending upon the rate of adoption of electric vehicles, peak oil demand for light-vehicle transportation could be reached by 2035 if not sooner. Better and cheaper batteries will set the pace. The IEA summary reads, “…it is too early to write the obituary of oil. Global oil demand continues to grow to 2040, although at a steadily decreasing pace … other sectors – namely petrochemicals, trucks, aviation and shipping – drive up oil demand to 105 million barrels a day by 2040.” This view is shared among all five forecasters. Despite warnings from climate change alarmists to abandon fossil fuels as soon as possible, oil demand – which will exceed 100 million b/d in 2019 – will be 105 to 110 million b/d by 2040. Natural gas, the most carbon-benign fossil fuel, has a very promising future. The IEA wrote, “…a strong emphasis on cleaner energy technologies, in large part to address poor air quality, is catapulting China to a position as a world leader in wind, solar, nuclear and electric vehicles and the source of more than a quarter of projected growth in natural gas consumption.” Shell is particularly bullish on natural gas having made significant investments in global gas supplies and LNG while abandoning Alberta’s oilsands. On its website, Shell reports only 100 million tonnes of LNG were produced in 2000 versus 300 million tonnes in 2017. Shell sees 40

per cent of energy demand growth in the next 20 years coming from LNG. This would take the annual global LNG market to over 600 million tonnes by 2037. This explains why Shell and partners sanctioned the Canada LNG project at Kitimat last October. The good news is the economy of the developing world is forecast to grow at over four per cent per year through to 2040 and the energy mix will be making the largest transition in history away from high carbon fuels such as coal and oil which, at least percentage wise, will shrink. The bad news is that despite all the improvements that will and have been made, GHG emissions will rise for the next 20 years. The IEA wrote, “While carbon emissions have flattened in recent years, the report finds that global energy-related CO2 emissions increase slightly by 2040, but at a slower pace than in last year’s projections. Still, this is far from enough to avoid severe impacts of climate change.” ExxonMobil sees CO2 emissions from energy demands continuing to rise with transportation, electricity generation and industrial demand (petrochemicals) being the primary drivers. All the forecasts figure CO2 emissions will be higher in 2040 than today. This is sharp contrast to media reports that claim this must not happen and global climate conferences assuring us this will not happen. Meanwhile, Canada is going down two opposing and irreconcilable paths. On the one hand, we are a safe, honest, reliable, ethical and transparent supplier of the carbon energy the world needs. If Canada’s 7.6 million BOE/day of oil, liquids and natural gas were removed from markets, prices would spike immediately resulting in massive damage to the world’s economy and immeasurable suffering to the billions who depend on carbon energy to survive. Excessively high energy prices have been a problem in the past. It can happen again. At the same time, too many Canadians, environmental activists and politicians are

6 • Business of Energy • February 2019

pretending one small country can make a difference on global GHG emissions and the climate of the future. Employing a patchwork of poorly conceived policy initiatives and obstructionist tactics, climate salvationists are impairing our economic competitiveness and hobbling our major resource industry in a purely symbolic, enormously expensive and ultimately meaningless attempt to save the world. The current disastrous oil price differentials caused by years of pipeline opposition are breathtaking in their financial devastation and their immaterial reduction in global CO2 emissions. Fortunately, common sense and economic reality are still powerful forces. Imagine if the combined spending of the governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba went to zero. This would be regarded as disastrous but is the definition of success for the enemies of fossil fuels. Fortunately, it will never O happen. &G David Yager is an oil & gas writer and energy policy analyst. His book “From Miracle to Menace – Alberta, A Carbon Story” will be released in 2019.


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7 • Business of Energy • February 2019

John Hardy | Alberta Must Stand up for Itself


by John Hardy

ody Battershill has passion. A unique Calgary and Alberta passion. And he vents it loud and proud, any chance he gets. Not only about Calgary being a great place to live but also about some urgent Alberta issues and how to achieve effective solutions. A respected and successful Calgary realtor with Re/Max House of Real Estate, Battershill is also the founder of Canada Action, a volunteer-led grassroots movement urging Canadians to take action to support Alberta as the vital lifeline of Canada’s natural resources sector. Despite tremendous supply potential, Alberta oil is landlocked. The push to get it “unlocked” and build a pipeline to move it to markets west, instead of just south to the U.S., is at the core of contentious Canadian discussions and standoffs. Even with Alberta moving more oil by rail than ever before, transportation bottlenecks have pushed down prices for western Canadian blends. Battershill says the lack of market access to customers other than the U.S. has widened the price differential to such an extent that Canada is losing upwards of $100 million a day. The most recent lightning rod was the 2018 Federal Court broadside to quash the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline project. The Explorers and Producers Association of Canada (EPAC) – which represents about 160 Canadian

companies in the oil and gas sector – called it a devastating decision: “It’s hard to conceive of a project that could have had more layers of review, consultation and approvals at the NEB and the federal cabinet.” Whenever Battershill jumps into discussions about the energy situation, and particularly Alberta’s role and true potential, he morphs into a cross between an evangelist and a sharp lawyer delivering a closing argument. His frequent targets include various Canadian environmental activist groups and what he calls their well-funded and organized obstructionist campaigns to keep Alberta oil landlocked. “There are a lot of people and groups slandering the energy sector and a lot of people are being misled,” says Battershill. “We must keep trying and we must inoculate people against misinformation and intentional deception. “How can the government be expected to consult with a First Nation that has received funding to obstruct the pipeline? A couple of the groups behind the pipeline appeal have received significant funding from non-Canadian sources to block Canadian trade. We also can’t forget there are 43 First Nations that do support the project.” Tankers are a key issue for many protestors which he animatedly counters with the logic that whales don’t differentiate between cruise

8 • Business of Energy • February 2019

Alberta Must Stand up for Itself

9 • Business of Energy • February 2019

John Hardy | Alberta Must Stand up for Itself

“But Alberta must stand up for itself. What we have done for the last decade has not worked. We need to fight back because we cannot allow misinformation and fear to go unchallenged. We must stand up for our citizens and for our resources and make sure that the facts are known. Proud, positive and proactive.” ships, cargo ships, bulk carriers or barges while mentioning there are currently 23,000 ship movements per year in the port of Vancouver. Industry guesstimates Trans Mountain would add about 750.

He emphasizes that natural resources are one of the strengths of the Canadian economy, accounting for 17 per cent of our GDP while employing more than two million people directly and indirectly across the country.

Exceptionally well-informed and knowledgeable of Alberta’s contentious and crucial energy situation, the triple-A personality Battershill speaks out not for attention seeking or idle venting. Instead, he is a key part of an informed, committed and uniquely Canadian movement – whether conducting a one-on-one interview, posting on the stimulating Canada Action website ( or firing up a rally of more than 2,700 bundled and chilly cheering Calgarians outside city hall.

“For the past 10 years, we have not been having balanced conversations. It’s important to keep the discussions positive, proud and non-partisan. It’s not West versus East or oil versus solar.”

Never one to mince words, he suggests Alberta’s oil and gas sector has itself to blame for being too nice and accommodating, and advocates shaking the “softball syndrome” that exists in some corners of the energy industry. “There are people in positions of influence and policy direction bending to obstructionist protest groups. They must be held accountable and explain their role in the policy obstruction.”

Battershill consistently reinforces the forceful message that Alberta oil is a vital Canadian topic because it is critical to Canada’s economy. “Alberta is Canada’s economic powerhouse! We produced 238,000 more barrels per day in the first eight months of 2018 than we did over the same time frame the year before. Extraction is also on the rise. Since 2010, Alberta has gone from producing under two million barrels per day up to more than 3.7 million barrels a day. And global oil demand is expected to grow nearly 12 per cent by 2040.” His sentiments are echoed by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) which emphasizes investment in Alberta oil

10 • Business of Energy • February 2019

Alberta Must Stand up for Itself is crucial because investment creates jobs, economic growth and revenues for governments to help fund schools, hospitals and roads. CAPP says a global plunge in oil prices in 2014 triggered a worldwide decrease in oil and gas investment. Recently, rising oil prices have helped spur a recovery in investment – except here in Canada. There is industry consensus – and concern – that the quashing of the pipeline and the way Alberta is treated is sending a long-term negative message to investors both at home and around the world about Canada’s regulatory system and the ability to get things done. “Numerous international investors have said Canada is not competitive,” Battershill points out. “Companies have been voting with their investment decisions as they sell Canadian assets and look to invest in other jurisdictions. We have heard these concerns from banks, auto sector, cleantech sector, tech sector, finance sector and the resource sector. Our international investment reputation is in tatters due to bad government policy and the lack of support for pipelines. “After all,” he says, “supporting Canada’s natural resource industries – oil and gas, mining and forestry – is extremely important not only for our current economic prosperity, but for our future as well. “But Alberta must stand up for itself. What we have done for the last decade has not worked. We need to fight back because we cannot allow misinformation and fear to go unchallenged. We must stand up for our citizens and for our resources and make sure that the facts are known. Proud, positive and O proactive.” &G

11 • Business of Energy • February 2019


Alberta’s economic downturn has created an opportunity for companies to reinvent how they do business in order to succeed, especially in the post-2014 oil and gas marketplace. Razor Energy Corp., formed by Doug Bailey, Frank Muller and accompanied by a group of distinguished executives and employees, went public in February 2017. Since then, Razor has embraced the challenge, emerging as a unique and aspiring energy company within a still-bleak landscape. “We’re a small junior with the goal of consolidating assets, lowering costs and enhancing production through reactivations and utilizing existing well bores not necessarily through the drill bit,” says Doug Bailey, president and CEO of Razor Energy. The fledgling company launched with its acquisition of a Swan Hills site producing sweet light oil and three

months later added nearby Kaybob Triassic to its portfolio. For now, Razor is focusing on reactivating and repurposing existing wells within these legacy fields instead of drilling, as there is an abundance of oil and other natural resources at existing locations. “As a junior we are nimbler, a little more willing to do some dirtier work in the well files and in the field, and we were able to find a series of wells that had a lot of economic oil available to us to reactivate and produce,” he says. The South Swan Hills site has more than one billion barrels of original oil in place (“OOIP”) alone, with East Swan Hills adding 110 million barrels OOIP and Kaybob representing 240 million barrels OOIP. Razor has reactivated 81 gross (64 net) wells for a result of nearly 2,400 boepd for $17 million. This boils down to an average capital efficiency of $7,100

per boe, average expenditure per event of $265,000 and an average production event of 37 boepd. “That’s an extremely efficient use and return on capital,” Bailey says. “And there’s still lots of juice left to bring to the surface. It’s just a matter of finding economic ways to do so in the right environment.” Innovation and investment are how Razor sets itself apart. For example, the team quickly recognized the main asset operating cost was power and set out to change how Razor operates. The company installed cleaner, natural gas power generation for the South Swan Hills field to replace buying grid electricity, which is still biased to coal generation. Now, Razor is taking power generation a step further by initiating the country’s first commercial geothermal electricity project. Razor’s waterflood activity produces 120,000 barrels of hot water every day, and there is enough volume and enthalpy (heat energy) available in the water to generate commercial power. Razor can use the power to operate the asset, sell to the grid, or both. The innovation is using reservoir heat transported to the surface by the hydrocarbon waterflood activity to generate green power. “This will be a fully operational, self-contained geothermal operation in the next few years,” says Bailey. “We’re looking for a green solution to power consumption.”

These benefits impact investors too. Razor implemented a share dividend in October 2017. The assets have a manageable base decline of seven to 12 per cent and are relatively predictable and low risk, which allowed the company to confidently include a cash yield in the stock. Razor also hedges anywhere from half to almost all of its forecast oil. With floors between US$54.50 and US$59.50, Razor shareholders are benefiting with production just under 5000boepd. In two short years, Razor Energy has positioned itself for success in oil and gas with green practices, a new reclamation and remediation initiative, and efficient well reactivation and repurposing. As it grows, Razor aims to become a full-cycle comprehensive energy company built for 2040, rather than 2000. This includes efficient hydrocarbon production, “energy as power generation” projects, vertical integration of environmental aspects, and social and economic responsibility to meet the needs of Albertans, Canadians and the world.

This initiative aligns Razor with local, national and international mandates for cleaner energy, attracting more attention to the small company. Unlike many junior companies that subscribe to the build-to-sell model, Razor is favouring a build-to-build model. To date, an investment of nearly $13 million in a leading SCADA monitoring system and power generation will allow Razor to better manage sites long term.

With investment, innovation and investor incentives, Razor Energy presents a provocative value proposition to new investors and is redefining junior oil and gas in Canada.

“Those are hard cheques to write because they don’t increase production, but we felt it not only provides real economic benefits, it also reduces environmental impacts,” he says.

Ste 800, 500 – 5th Ave. S.W. Calgary, Alberta T2P 3L5 Phone: (403) 262-0242 RZE:TSXV


Chuck Bean | Every Day is a Strategic Day



usiness in the energy industry has changed pretty dramatically over the last few years and business leaders need to get more strategic than ever before.

competitive in the energy space, we need to change things up.

Historically, strategic planning for oil and gas companies was an annual event. Sometime in July teams would gather their facts, fiction and formulas, meet in August, pound numbers in September, reconvene for the corporate retreat in October, agree to outcomes in November and deliver the plan in December for a January execution.

It starts with scratching your goals on the back of a napkin, sharing them with your team, gaining agreement from the team, and taking action. Do it now and do it often! Fast growth means fast change. Don’t wait and don’t hope. Just get going.

Sound familiar? But inevitably sometime around spring breakup, many would realize: a) nobody really knows what is going on; and b) the numbers are being missed. I have seen this repeat hundreds of times. Many companies may blindly continue on this path, yet I argue this is a mistake. Business cycles are getting faster and faster especially since companies need to constantly adjust to changing commodity prices and economic conditions. This traditional planning cycle needs to be set aside and if we want to be more

How should strategic planning look today?

Timelines and assignment are next. Assign a deadline to each goal, consign it to the right person, let them run with it and step aside. If a problem comes up, and they always do, let the person learn and ask, “What do you think you should do?” Guide and support to get to the right answer. Help the team get outside assistance or training if needed. In this fastchanging environment, people need to learn on the fly. With our oil and gas space needing greater attention to detail than ever before, review strategies weekly, monthly or at the absolute least quarterly. Gather your team and have each team member report on their progress. Critique if necessary; compliment whenever you can. DO NOT, at whatever cost, have someone other than the person responsible present findings. Ensure

14 • Business of Energy • February 2019

the people responsible own the challenges, successes and the failures. Failing fast is just as important as succeeding. Create competition and, if you can, divide up duties so one goal requires at least two or more people working together to achieve the outcome. Peer-to-peer accountability is often more powerful than anything the boss can do. Michael Dell, founder of Dell Technologies, calls it “two in the box.” What gets inspected gets done. Monitor goal success and revise resource allocation as required. If a goal is not being met, reallocate resources and pour them into goals being achieved to build a track record of success. For those goals not being met, determine if it’s a people or a goal issue. Change it up as required and do it fast! Carry the wounded and shoot the stragglers. If people are working hard with minimal but increasingly effective results, support them. If people don’t want to participate or perform, then say goodbye. This is a military strategy that works. Follow this and every day will be a strategic day. In these highly challenging times, you’ll be more focused, your team will be more disciplined and you’ll O achieve greater success. &G

15 • Business of Energy • February 2019

Every Day is a Strategic Day

What gets inspected gets done. Monitor goal success and revise resource allocation as required. If a goal is not being met, reallocate resources and pour them into goals being achieved to build a track record of success.

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Webber Academy President’s Breakfast Club ATB Speaker Series welcomes Dr. Sunil Verma On Tuesday, February 12, 2019, Dr. Sunil Verma will be the latest speaker gracing the stage at Webber Academy’s President’s Breakfast Club ATB Speaker Series. Sunil Verma, MD, MSEd, FRCPC, is a professor and head of the department of oncology at the University of Calgary. He is also the medical director of the Tom Baker Cancer Centre and medical lead for the new Calgary Cancer Centre. He completed his medical degree and postgraduate training in internal medicine and medical oncology at the University of Alberta. Dr. Verma also completed a fellowship in breast cancer at the University of Toronto and a master’s degree in medical education at the University of Southern California.


Dr. Verma is internationally recognized for his research and education leadership in breast cancer. His research interests include developing novel therapies for breast cancer and reducing toxicities associated with systemic treatment and medical education. He is the principal investigator for many practice-changing trials in breast cancer and has created and led numerous innovative educational projects in oncology. He has been honoured with several teaching and mentoring awards. To learn more, visit



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Social Media as a Business Tool I

t’s an undisputed and widely-accepted fact that, in life and in business, social media matters. When it comes to business, the effective use of social media can be the deciding factor between a hit or a miss. With nearly half of the world’s population using social media platforms, it has become a natural tool to reach new and highlytargeted potential customers. According to business consultants and tech experts, social media (when used effectively) can be an invaluable business strategy. Social media can potently increase brand awareness. More than 60 per cent of Instagram users say they discover new products on the platform. Social media posts and ads are proven ways to drive traffic to a business’ website and participating in social chats can also be a good way to increase visibility and expertise. And social media can boost sales – through which a new contact becomes a customer. “Social media impacts every business,” says Tara Kelly, founder, president and CEO of SPLICE Software and an EO Calgary member. “Of course, there are all the ways to use it as an advertising tool which is all fine but for SPLICE the number one impact is on existing employees and hiring. We capture tons of moments of our work family in the office, at conferences, on work travel, volunteering or just generally living. It makes people smile, it helps us feel connected and share with each other. Bottom line, it feels good!”

“The fact of the matter is that every person now has a microphone to promote their voice,” says Kyle McLaughlin Friedman, founder and CEO of Calgary’s Zoom Painting and an EO Calgary member. “Businesses have to be more customercentric as one bad experience will echo across the Internet. This is just the way it is now; why try to fight it?” A respected professional in Calgary’s IT sector, Kelly highlights some of the business benefits of social media. “It helps us hire the right people, live our core values, attract like-minded customers, and it helps us look in the mirror and amplify the things we believe in.” Friedman agrees. “Social media is a powerful tool to build influence. Many companies are hiring influencers and microinfluencers through companies like Calgary’s Glacier. “We are now in a world of inbound marketing where we do not want to be sold to,” Friedman explains. “But, when we want to buy something, we want to be able to find it easy and read relevant content to build the trust in that product, person or platform. Social media is a trust engine to build validation for two generations.” “But there is a caution,” Kelly warns. “Social media can suck away your time. Don’t let it. Use it with purpose. Social media is curated based on what you consume and what you create. Like anything, you will get what you put into it.”

A vital, and sometimes overlooked, value of social media is reputation management – managing the messaging, highlighting the positive and addressing the negative before it turns into a major issue.

Contributing Members:

Upcoming Events: Feb 6

• Leadership Breakfast Series

Feb 7

• EMP Workshop

Feb 12 • EO Spousal

Tara Kelly

Kyle McLaughlin

president and CEO of SPLICE Software

founder and CEO of Calgary’s Zoom Painting

The international Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) is the respected, world-wide business networking group — with more than 10,000 members in 35 countries — where business leaders meet informally to brainstorm, compare notes, learn and share relevant discussions about business. EO has 122 chapters around the world, including the Calgary chapter which is the fifth largest and one of the most active EO chapters in the world.


For membership inquiries:

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. If you require more information about the Leaders program please call 403-264-3270. 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:

Assistant’s Name: Assistant’s Phone:

Assistant’s Email:

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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Benefits for the New Age

It’s no secret: effectively-targeted employee benefits are vital in today’s workplace. Gone are the days of cookie-cutter standard packages. “More and more organizations understand that competitive benefit packages are critical to employer differentiation, and to attract and retain talent,” explains Melanie Jeannotte, the Western Canada president of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., the global insurance brokerage, risk management and consulting services firm that recently acquired Calgary-based HFG Benefits. “They also understand the importance of exceeding provincial or federal mandates and offer benefits that will be useful to employees,” Jeannotte adds. “It is imperative for employers to take a more comprehensive approach to compensation and benefits programs to help develop overall organizational well-being.” Despite regional variances in the Canadian economy and specific job markets, she underscores that developing a multi-year benefits strategy should be a top priority for employers, now more than ever. “With increasing drug costs, mental health challenges and a focus on well-being, having a piecemeal approach to compensation and benefits planning can leave employers vulnerable to unexpected cost increases and corresponding financial risks.” She points out that, according to recent Canadian benefits stats, the most popular contemporary workplace benefits have near universal acceptance among employers: prescription drug coverage is offered by 99 per cent of employers nationally and 100 per cent in Alberta; paramedical services coverage, dental plans and extended health coverage are offered by about 92-95 per cent nationally and 96-99 per cent in Alberta.

Despite a popular myth that there is a disconnect between the wants and needs of younger employees versus more senior staff members, the benefits industry numbers beg to differ. While extra vacation, flextime and perks like PDAs, fitness memberships and spa time do exist, the Canadian edition of Gallagher’s 2018 Benefits Strategy & Benchmarking Survey demonstrates the real picture in the workplace is much more solid and traditional. “With five generations in the workforce (traditionalist, boomer, gen X, millennials, gen Z), employers must adapt to satisfy a wide range of employee wants and needs within an affordable structure,” Jeannotte adds. “It’s no longer enough for an employer to offer a few select benefits. Today’s benefits packages must strategically invest in an employee’s health, talent, financial well-being and career growth, and support a multigenerational workforce.” Another workplace myth: younger employees will jump from multiple employers throughout their work lifetime and conventional retirement planning is not on their radar. Not so, according to the survey, which highlighted that 77 per cent of Canadian employers and 75 per cent of Alberta employers offer retirement programs. “A retirement plan benefit is a core component of employees’ overall financial well-being,” Jeannotte emphasizes. “In a competitive environment for recruiting and retaining talent, making retirement benefits better is no longer optional – it’s a business imperative.”








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RSM Canada LLP provides public accounting services and is the Canadian member firm of RSM International, a global network of independent audit, tax and consulting firms. RSM Alberta LLP is a limited liability partnership and independent legal entity that provides public accounting services. RSM Canada Consulting LP provides consulting services and is an affiliate of RSM US LLP, a member firm of RSM International. Visit for more information regarding RSM Canada and RSM International.

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ur cashless culture is poised to hasten forward at a breakneck speed, say Canadian financial experts who predict a continued proliferation of online banking technologies to meet growing consumer demand. And they expect mobile-first strategies will lead this digital mercantile movement accompanied by a fresh wave of security considerations for business owners and end users. “Today, consumers and businesses expect safe and convenient access to banking services 24 hours a day, in real time, from anywhere in the world and the banks are evolving to meet that demand,” says Aaron Boles, vice-president of communications for the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA). “Innovation in financial services is necessary to ensure that banks can continue to compete.”



Have a question about your 2019 Property Assessment Notice? The City of Calgary mailed the notices Jan. 3, 2019 and the assessed values are also available online. The information contained in these assessment notices will be used to prepare the 2019 property tax bills. You can check, review and compare your notice online. Plus, sign up for eNotices.

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According to the most recent CBA survey in December 2016 on how Canadians bank, 68 per cent are doing most of their banking digitally via online or mobile banking compared to 43 per cent in 2012. Mobile has spurred increased adoption. In 2016, 44 per cent of Canadians reported using mobile banking, up from 31 per cent in 2014 and just five per cent in 2010. Seventeen per cent of Canadians report that mobile is their primary method of banking, up from nine per cent in 2014. “We expect to see a similar large-percentage jump when we conduct the poll this year,” says Boles.



The changes in banking trends are being manifested within branches, too. Many banks are going so far as to adopt new models that do not rely heavily on tellers. Instead, traditional branches have morphed into specialized service and advice hubs. Others, such as Tangerine and PC Financial, have ditched the brick-and-mortar entirely, and turned to virtualbased alternatives. “Some new banks have moved to an online-first model,” says 403Tech president Scott Gallupe, whose Calgary-based IT support and services company caters to small and medium businesses. “There is no longer a physical location or teller you can communicate with. A customer would simply launch


the app or log in to the web URL to communicate with a dedicated teller behind an encrypted connection. “The in-person banking model is dying because of the increased capital costs and lack of foot traffic. Banks will spend millions in marketing to educate their customers on the benefits of transacting online and, over time, the inperson banking model will be replaced completely.” In 2000, a CBA survey found 29 per cent of Canadians identified branch banking as their primary method of banking. In 2016, that number dropped to 12 per cent. Even with older Canadians (55+), 83 per cent use non-branch methods as their primary means of banking. One outcome of this shift is financial institutions have been forced to evolve from being strictly transactional to more relationship-based, says Arvind Sharma, chief digital

and payments officer with Central 1 Credit Union, whose organization is a service provider to more than 200 credit unions located across Canada. “With the emergence of chatbots and messaging tools like Facebook Messenger, we’re seeing newer capabilities that leverage channels in different ways,” he says. Sharma cites personal financial management as an example. While not new, it’s a tool that’s historically been underutilized by people who might have felt intimidated by the prospect of managing household budgets or modifying spending habits through spreadsheets. Now, financial institutions are leveraging more precise online data pools and social capabilities to proactively prompt users on platforms they’re comfortable with using language they can understand.


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“Say you want to save $5,000 for a car, so we help you set up a savings account,” says Sharma. “With the tools we have today, we can watch for when your paycheque comes in, prompt you to transfer a certain amount into that account and then let you know how much more you need before you can afford that car. “So, there are capabilities to set up personal tailored reminders on what you might want to do with your finances. We’re able to better understand customers’ goals, provide them with a clearer picture and help them set up the parameters to reach those goals.” Sharma believes there is plenty of room for new players and different models in Canada’s financial sector. Yet he doesn’t think their challenge will be in building and launching new technology – it will be because Canada is one of the most competitive banking environments globally. “How do they inject themselves into a customer’s mindset where he or she already might have upwards of three existing banking relationships?” he asks.


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The uniform approbation of online banking also poses some risks – not the least of which are concerns over security. New techniques such as social engineering have emerged wherein a hacker will impersonate the account holders to solicit information from them, such as their PIN numbers, secret access codes and mailing addresses. The hacker then uses these bits of information maliciously to take ownership of an account or make fraudulent charges. Phishing, meanwhile, is when an attacker poses as a bank official by sending a user an unsolicited email advising a password has expired or a suspicious charge was made, and requests they click a link to log in to the account. The link in fact goes to a fraudulent site where the hacker will scrape the user’s banking information and password, allowing them full access to the account. And as banks take a mobile-first mentality, security has shifted from the PC to the mobile phone. Mobile hot spots, unknown wireless networks and apps




are ways hackers target users to steal their credentials and people need to be more vigilant. Gallupe says 403Tech has shifted its responsibility to educating end customers. “We realize that the average user cannot keep up with terms like phishing, spear phishing, malware, etc., and we make it our focus to educate our customers on the new threats out there and how to protect against them,” he says, adding banks rarely send out emails requesting password changes. Boles says CBA research shows 90 per cent of Canadians trust banks when it comes to introducing new technologies and ensuring they are safe and secure. The ability to bank online (83 per cent), use the “tap and go” feature on a debit or credit card (six per cent), deposit a cheque by taking a picture of it using a smartphone (59 per cent) and use a mobile device to pay for purchases (59 per cent) add value to their banking, he says. Gallupe says online banking is here to stay, and the benefits far out way the drawbacks – particularly for small businesses. “The introduction of online banking allows the financial sector to adapt to the growing demands of small businesses; always on and always readily available,” he says. “And as a result of this convenience, small businesses are shifting to online banking at an accelerating rate.”

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NO REWARD WITHOUT RISK Private equity and alternate asset classes more than just a potential pot of gold, say experts BY JAMIE ZACHARY


inancial experts say increased sophistication and diversification of private equity funds over the past decade are creating an unprecedented suite of new investment opportunities for Canadian investors.

Yet, they also caution against visions of get-rich-quick grandeur, noting the rewards are not without their share of risks. “The reason private equities are becoming more popular is even the midrange ones are beating what they’d get through the general stock market,” says Jeff Belford, senior managing director with TriWest Capital Partners, a Calgary-based western Canadian-focused private equity firm that has invested in more than 40 companies across multiple industries over the past two decades.



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“Yet there are reasons for that. It’s a higher-risk asset class with a higher-hold period and less liquidity. Your fund life from start to finish can be about 10 years or higher. It’s a long hold for investors. The returns are higher, but it’s not a liquid invest.” Case in point: TriWest has been around for 20 years and raised just five funds – in the excess of $1.25 billion, mind you. “It’s patient capital,” adds Belford, noting a typical TriWest investment would be a multigenerational, family-owned private company where the fund would come in to provide a liquidity event for material shareholders, and work to build the business up with the goal to sell it. The fund’s big investors tend to be some large Canadian pension funds. “It’s not a business you can buy and flip in a year. When we buy businesses, we assume that we’re going to hold them for at least five years.” He adds every private equity fund uses some leverage to generate some return – meaning they’ll put some debt on businesses. “Where things can go offside sometimes is companies can put too much leverage on a business that has a significant setback, and then they get into financial difficulty,” says Belford, noting, however, that Canadian banks are disciplined, and generally do not allow leverage levels to spiral out of control. Green Acre Capital co-founder and managing director Tyler Stuart similarly says venture capital funds – generally earlier stage than private equities – are comparable in their exposure for investors. “It’s not like investing in bonds. There are no dividends or fixed-rate returns,” says Stuart, whose Calgary-based private investment fund is dedicated exclusively to the Canadian medical and recreational cannabis industry.






“I often say that when investing in private businesses, you should essentially be comfortable in losing 100 per cent of your money. You’re running the risk of investing in something that could go to zero. Eighty-five per cent of new businesses fail in three years. Well, that’s the space we’re participating in – these startup businesses.”

exposure to companies that are not on the stock exchange. They’re unique business models. And you generally get exposure to better evaluations because they’re early stage.” Green Acre was founded in 2017, raising $25 million with its first fund, and has since raised nearly $90 million for a second fund that closed at the end of 2018.

When it works, however, “that” space can also be its own reward because it opens investment opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t exist, adds Stuart. “One of things we wanted to address was the ability for people to invest in private businesses,” says Stuart, who likens Green Acre to a pick-and-shovel fund that invests in private companies ranging from packaged goods and edibles to science and research. “It’s not very accessible. You have to either know someone or be a really good client of a really aggressive stockbroker who can put those deals in front of you. And even then, it’s not easy to find those deals, so your choices are limited. “When we set this up, we wanted to give people a platform to come in and invest with a minimum of $100,000 that gives them exposure to roughly 16 businesses in the cannabis space. Here, you get

Professional Development IT PAYS TO KNOW

Reduce Costs and Risk of Audits Marty S., CPM - Member

Providing employee benefits and non-cash incentives can be a win-win for employers and employees. But correctly managing and administering these benefits requires more finesse than many employers may consider. Employers, and payroll, human resource and accounting professionals can benefit from the Canadian Payroll Association’s (CPA’s) wealth of resources, including the popular Taxable Benefits & Allowances seminar. This seminar reviews these important aspects and explores key concepts used by Canada Revenue Agency and Revenu Québec to evaluate taxability and assess more than 40 common benefits, including automobile allowances, loan and stock options, gift cards and more. The CPA presents over 50 seminars a year in Alberta, including Taxable Benefits & Allowances seminars: Calgary - Feb 27 & Edmonton - Feb 28 Register online today at Stay Current Stay Compliant




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In its Top Five Investment Risks for 2019, the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) singled out the relationship between risk and reward; generally, the higher the potential reward, the higher the risk. It noted the number of complaints relating to private, high-risk investments promising high returns that are marketed as low risk are on the rise in Alberta. “Investing is important in financial planning for goals such as retirement,” says Alison Trollope, director of communications and investor education for ASC. “That said, in order to make suitable and informed investment decisions and protect your financial future, it’s critical to protect yourself by gaining a solid understanding of the investment before handing over your money. Some factors to consider include the business underlying it, the risks involved, how the company expects to grow or return value to shareholders, and how easy or difficult will it be to cash out your investment.” Trollope adds it’s also helpful to understand the red flags of fraud, such as high rates of return with low or no risk, or pressure to “get in now.” She points to a full list of red flags available on The ASC is the regulatory agency responsible for administering securities laws and protecting investors in Alberta. Its enforcement division uncovers, investigates and prosecutes breaches of those laws. “Check the registration of the person or individual offering the investment; generally, anyone offering securities in Alberta must be registered with the ASC,” says Trollope, encouraging investors to also read any offering documents or financial statements relating to the investment. “Lack of registration is a red flag of fraud.” The Institutional Limited Partners Association (ILPA) also exists as an advocacy and governing body for its 4,500 members across more than 50 countries. Over




TROLLOPE ADDS IT’S ALSO HELPFUL TO UNDERSTAND THE RED FLAGS OF FRAUD, SUCH AS HIGH RATES OF RETURN WITH LOW OR NO RISK, OR PRESSURE TO “GET IN NOW.” SHE POINTS TO A FULL LIST OF RED FLAGS AVAILABLE ON CHECKFIRST.CA. the past two decades, the global organization has focused on equipping ILPA members with intelligence regarding legislation and regulation in their respective jurisdictions. Belford says each private equity fund treats governance differently, but most, like TriWest, provide regular quarterly and annual reporting to investors. That way, they know which companies their investing in and those companies’ narratives. He also points out that TriWest doesn’t call on its capital out of the gate – meaning investors only write their cheques when there’s a specific investment opportunity on the table.




Stuart says any personal or institutional investor considering private equity or venture capital should take a portfolio approach, and purchase funds where there’s a professional managing that fund.

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“Our current fund is for $500 million, but we don’t call that capital right away. We just have a commitment from investors that the capital is available,” says Belford. “We only call the capital when we have an investment. So, investors get visibility at that point. It is very transparent.”

“It should be viewed as a diversification tool as part of your portfolio.” Concludes Belford, “When you have the ability to be patient and really help businesses grow, you can create some tremendous value,” adding, “there’s still a place for bonds and stocks and lower interest rate instruments.”









Confederation - WHY WOULD WE STAY?




ince becoming one of the last provinces (along with Saskatchewan) to join Canada in 1905, Alberta has, in different ways and at different times, struggled with its position in confederacy. From the inability to control its Crown lands and natural resources (a power finally transferred from Ottawa in 1930), to national tariff and freight rates in the 1920s and 1930s which served the interests of Central Canada only, to the national energy program of the early 1980s – confederacy for Alberta has not always been rosy.

Today, of course, Alberta does not sit as pretty as it once did. The devastating recession of 2015/16 has gripped the province, causing unemployment to soar, tax revenues to drop and property values to plummet. Downtown office towers sit empty, while investment in the oil and gas industry has evaporated. At the same time, federal and provincial (in Alberta and elsewhere) government policies, laws and world views are at best divergent from and at worst diametrically opposed to Alberta’s well-being. Many serve only to exacerbate our woes.

Notwithstanding these bumps along the road, Alberta has, on the whole, grown stronger and more prosperous over time. This is thanks, in large part, to the province’s oil and gas industry. Since the discovery of the Turner Valley oilfield in 1914, the industry has grown to become the economic backbone of the province. Indeed, for many years, Alberta has been the most affluent province in Canada.

The pain is real for everyone in this province, with few glimmers of hope in sight. With provincial and federal elections on the horizon, what’s a province, a people, to do?

While enjoyed by Albertans – who account for approximately 11 per cent of the national population – this prosperity has benefited the rest of the country too. Tax revenues, equalization payments and fiscal transfers have all seen Alberta punch far above its economic weight for years, sending billions of dollars to other parts of Canada for virtually nothing in return.

“I happen to believe that we’re being pushed out of Confederation,” says W. Brett Wilson from his office on 17th Avenue downtown. The chairman of Prairie Merchant Corporation and well-known investment banker, businessman, investor and philanthropist is outspoken about the various headwinds Alberta faces from within and outside Canada. “It’s not a bunch of people saying, ‘We need to leave’; it’s a bunch of people saying, ‘Why would we stay?’ We’re being pushed. And we’re tired of pushing back and saying, ‘No, no, we want to be here.’”




The forces behind the push? “Tanker bans, no pipelines, stranded oil and paltry platitudes in terms of the things the government has offered so far,” Wilson says. “It’s becoming increasingly impossible to be a meaningful part of Confederation because of these.” Fuelling most of these forces, he continues, is the foreignfunded attack on Alberta’s energy industry. “Their aim is to landlock our petroleum resources. And to do that, the foreignfunded environmental groups, including [David] Suzuki, started an all-out attack. Most people in Calgary, in Alberta and frankly in Canada assumed that logic would prevail. But now we’ve got this emotional debate where people truly believe that the oil industry is attacking the earth.” He refers to foreign-funded environmental groups, including Ecojustice, Leadnow and, as eco-terrorists. “Because they’re guilty of treason for what they’ve done to Canada. They’ve made clear what they want to do and have set about doing it. They have made a business out of attacking what we have, for the benefit of the U.S. oil and gas industry.” Their efforts have worked. “Canadian energy has gone from approximately two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half million barrels per day in the last 10 years, while the U.S. has gone from approximately five to almost 12 million barrels per day,” Wilson points out. “The eco-terrorists have been successful: while our industry has stagnated, the American industry has flourished.” Playing right into the hands of the “eco-terrorists,” Wilson continues, is the federal government and Justin Trudeau. “We’re in a situation now where we’ve lost Northern Gateway because Trudeau said he didn’t want it. We’re having trouble with Energy East because one province [Quebec] doesn’t want it. We’re getting behind on Keystone XL, and if it wasn’t for [President Donald] Trump saying he wants it, it wouldn’t be underway.” The Trans Mountain pipeline – acquired by the federal government last year – Wilson concedes, is going ahead, though he’s loath to credit Trudeau for it. “People say the federal government gave a gift to Alberta by buying Trans Mountain; well there’s no gift. The only reason they bought it was because they realized it was their last ditch at getting market access for Alberta oilsands crude.”



Another sore point is Bill C-48, the federal Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, now at the Senate’s Standing Committee on Transport and Communications. The bill prohibits loading shipments of everything from diluted bitumen to oil and gas condensates from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to Alaska. Once enacted, it will sharply limit or eliminate movement of Alberta oil through B.C. and off the coast. It will not, however, affect B.C. exports of its own liquefied natural gas. “The location of the tanker ban implies that’s our only valuable coastline,” Wilson scoffs. “And yet it’s only a fraction of Canada’s total coastline. On the other [East] coast, there are hundreds of tankers coming in every year, but no peep.” Quebec, he argues, has managed to capture the flag in terms of protecting its infrastructure of oil import terminals along the St. Lawrence Seaway. “It’s the unions and the very wellpaid longshoremen. They don’t care where the oil comes from because they have a business called oil importing. They’re protecting it.” According to the National Energy Board, Quebec receives approximately 220 Mb/d of crude oil via tankers arriving at Montreal and Lévis. This accounts for roughly 31 per cent of all crude oil imported into the province. Wilson says it’s a lie when the premier of Quebec, Francois Legault, says there is no social acceptability in Quebec for a pipeline. “They drive SUVs, they drive on pavement, they heat their homes with natural gas – there’s no question oil is socially acceptable. Legault is actually out of step with the vast majority of Quebecers who support western Canadian oil. It’s simply protectionism and regionalism.” Federal Bill C-69 – which purports to add gender diversity and Canada’s commitments in respect of climate change, among other things, to impact assessments of new infrastructure projects – further muddies the waters for Alberta. “It’s very apparent that adding gender diversity and upstream and downstream greenhouses gases to the assessment, when they’ll gladly write a cheque to make Bombardier happy, makes no sense,” Wilson laments. Federal government “assistance” to Alberta – $1.6 billion announced in December for energy companies, expanded employment insurance benefits and accelerated write-offs – has amounted, Wilson says, to platitudes and ignorance.

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“The $1.6 billion is mostly commercial loans. They thought that these loans are what we’ve been waiting for – there’s been no consultation with industry,” Wilson decries. “With regard to expanded EI benefits: we’re not looking to sit at home and collect a cheque, we’re looking to work. Given that the solution to work is inside their purview, it’s dismissive to just offer EI insurance.” Accelerated write-offs, he continues, are only beneficial when a company has income. “Virtually every oil company in Canada is going to report losses, so the accelerated write-off is yet another slap in the face, taking stupidity to the highest possible levels.” Equalization is a similarly problematic issue. Using a formula that is roughly two-thirds based on population and one-third that swings, Quebec has, for the past 10 years alone, received no less than 48 per cent of the total amount distributed. For the year 2018/19, it received $11.7 billion (61.8 per cent of the total $18.9 billion) and in 2019/20 (when only five provinces will receive equalization payments), it will receive $13.1 billion (66 per cent of the total $19.9 billion). By comparison, during the period between 2008/09 and 2017/18, Alberta paid approximately $28.1 billion in equalization payments – 17.8 per cent of the $158.3 billion in total payments – while qualifying for nothing. “The formula doesn’t work,” Wilson says. “There are unintended consequences – one province gets it all when they’re in an operational surplus. They have free health care, the lowest cost of daycare, the lowest cost of schooling – all benefits – and on top of that they’ve somehow played the formula.” He argues while equalization creates a disincentive for Quebec to contribute to Canada, it also disincentives the West from staying in Canada. And despite the calls for an overhaul of the formula from Alberta and elsewhere (including Ontario, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland), federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau unilaterally renewed the formula for another five-year period last year. Unfathomable, Wilson says, in the context of Confederation.




He sees equalization and separation as key issues in the upcoming provincial election. “[Jason] Kenney has said, and I agree with him, that he would do polling or a referendum on the equalization structure,” Wilson says. “Opponents argue a referendum can’t be binding and the formula is set, so who cares. But implicit in a referendum is how the people feel. If we’re 80 to 90 per cent in favour of restructuring the equalization formula, that’s effectively a message about independence. Because if we can’t get equalization restructured, Kenney’s true mandate is to organize Alberta’s independence. “But I don’t think anybody wants separation,” he qualifies. “What I’ve constantly said is I’m not a separatist, I’m a frustrated nationalist. I need a better deal. I need a fair deal. That’s our first choice. Separation is really a second choice, though it used to be the seventh choice. Then it became the sixth, then fifth, and somehow in the last month it’s jumped to second.” The reason, he reiterates, is the feeling of being pushed out of Confederation. “Constantly being slapped when we say this doesn’t feel right. You can only get slapped so many times before you move out.” Kenney’s main opponent in the upcoming election, Premier Rachel Notley, gets a better review than Trudeau, though Wilson confirms he’ll vote for Kenney. “Notley came to power on a platform of anti-pipelines and anti-oil and gas industry,” he says. “Less than a year after she came into power, she realized the bills get paid by a well-regulated, thoughtful Canadian oil and gas industry. All the criticisms of it become irrelevant and moot when you start to realize how good we are on a relative basis. You can complain about the oil and gas industry as a whole, but on a relative basis we are very good. She realized that.” He dismisses the notion that Alberta needs to diversify and become a technology (or other industry) mecca. “Diversification often means wanting what someone else has: looking over the fence and saying their grass looks a whole lot greener than mine, instead of recognizing that if we stop trampling on our own grass, it would grow nicely. We’re a resource economy. Our natural resources are extraordinary. Diversification done right – I call it empowerment or enhancement – is to build on what we do.” For example, he says, Alberta should be a centre of excellence for battery technologies for energy, construction of solar panels, fracking, well drilling, demulsification of oil and gas processing, among other things. “All of those things are where we should be. Not this concept that we need to diversify away from oil and gas.” With so many opinions, one wonders whether Wilson will get into politics. “Yes,” he reveals, “but not soon. I have no interest in being the leader of any party, but would I like to be at the table? Yes.” He adds there is no particular political role or seat he currently desires. “Because I’d rather have a voice at the provincial, municipal and federal levels.” Though Alberta sits once again in an uncomfortable spot within Confederation, 2019 will no doubt bring change. While the extent of that change is difficult to predict, one thing is certain: the status quo cannot continue. The very existence of Alberta, indeed Canada as a whole, depends upon it.






he meetings and convention industry is a formidable economic engine in Canada, generating $33 billion a year in direct spending and employing more than 229,000 people. That accounts for $19 billion of the country’s GDP, a figure on par with agriculture, forestry, fishing, and the arts and entertainment industry. It is also a highly-competitive market in which cities from all over the world and the various convention spaces within those cities are vying for the role of host. Calgary’s various venues host well over a thousand events a year, from automotive trade shows to anime conventions to professional conferences. Visiting delegates fan out into the

city enjoying the best attractions and creating significant economic impact from direct and indirect spending. International delegates bring the greatest investment potential – they spend more money, tend to take their families along on the trip and stay longer, making them a highly sought-after market. According to the Conference Board of Canada’s 2012 report, an international delegate spends a little more than $3,000 per person per convention whereas a domestic attendee spends about $1,000. Securing an international group to host its event is a long play with a lot of hustle and foresight. These groups are





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approached all the time and in this relationship-driven industry, city promoters can work for many years massaging a connection. The Society of Petroleum Engineers, for example, is holding its conference of 8,000 delegates at the BMO Centre in September 2019, a contract that was inked four years ago. To stay competitive, Calgary Telus Convention Centre (CTCC) president and CEO Clark Grue realized how essential it is to have an individual headquartered in Europe engaging with its meeting planners and spreading the Calgary gospel. Grue is very much in tune with that market, having run the British government’s U.K. trade office based out of Calgary while also establishing companies in new international markets as co-founder of Rainmaker Global Business Development. Admittedly late to the game – Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax already had representatives in London – the CTCC brought on international business development manager Sue Wilkes to operate there beginning in August 2018. Since many professional associations in Europe meet annually around the world with an attendance of 500 to 2,000, Wilkes proactively chases that market which is the ideal number of attendees for the CTCC, due to the hotel capacity downtown. Cat caught mouse. The CTCC features a diverse lineup of international clients for 2019. At the beginning of August comes the International Society of Biomechanics with 1,200 delegates from Europe, Asia and the Middle East. At August’s end, it hosts Spirit Now, the 25th annual Pentecostal World Conference with 2,300 delegates from South America, Africa, Asia and Australia. “These gatherings truly bring the whole world to our city,” says Grue.

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While the CTCC and BMO Centre compete against each other to a degree, their sales teams work collaboratively for the benefit of Calgary. They will throw each other leads if an event is better suited for the other venue. The CTCC is purposebuilt for conferences and conventions with its 4,000 theatre-style seating capacity, plus three attached hotels and shopping and restaurants on Stephen Avenue. The BMO Centre, the city’s largest venue with 250,000 square feet of blank canvas space, tends to attract more of the trade and consumer shows. Ultimately, a win for one is a win for Calgary. And in the instance when a venue is running a deficiency in the right space and the only way it can win a piece of business is to partner with another venue, often the CTCC and BMO Centre will work in tandem on a number of events. The international organization will hold its plenary sessions and education tracks at the CTCC and the entertainment packages such as dinner, dancing, private rodeos and concerts will take place at the Big Four Roadhouse on Stampede Park, or vice versa. Intellectual capital is the lure. In the business events industry, ambassador programs are trending across the country in which convention bureaus are


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partnering with local thought leaders. “Promoting our local people who are influencers within their own disciplines helps us get our foot in the door,” says Greg Newton, director of business development at the Calgary Stampede. So the BMO Centre calls upon the city’s ambassadors to align with predominant sectors in Canada and specific to Calgary, such as international finance, agriculture, agriscience, and the energy and scientific disciplines. In turn, the international organizations are linked in with a targeted local network of speakers, research groups and exhibitors. The strategy proved successful – in June 2019, the world’s largest energy exhibition and conference, the Global Petroleum Show, will showcase the latest in exploration, production and technology at the BMO Centre with more than 100 speakers and 51,000 attendees. And because the acquisition of data is so much more accessible and quicker due to the myriad devices that people carry, the nature of convening today is greatly different than it was 10 years ago. Conventions are less about the space and the presentation of information and more about creating an overall experience for the attendees. “A successful convention is about how your community embraces the convention goer,” Grue says. And the CTCC’s neighbours do just that, by holding hospitality events for components of a convention, say a reception at the Glenbow Museum or a keynote address at the Jack Singer Concert Hall. The natural beauty of Calgary and its environs is an obvious pitch; it is also promoted as a young, dynamic city. “We talk about the energetic, young thinkers and the entrepreneurial people who are looking for their opportunity in life. It’s a place where stuff gets done,” says Grue. Beer making included! Indeed, the growing craft brewing scene in Alberta is one of the incentives drawing the 600 delegates from the Master Brewers Association of the Americas to the CTCC for their convention from October 31 to November 2, 2019. “The brewing industry is a global market and so it’s important that we look at different locations for our conferences,” says Tressa Patrias, director of meeting planning and logistics, Master Brewers. “By bringing our conference to

Calgary, we hope to reach a broader audience and showcase what Alberta has to offer.” Patrias says once its Canadian members began promoting Canada as the conference destination, the proposal received support from key groups. The Government of Alberta, the City of Calgary, the Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis Commission, the Alberta Small Brewers Association, and Beer Canada rallied together to organize the logistics and create the financial package. Established in 1887, Master Brewers is a leader in advancing the interest in brew and malt production and technical personnel. “Our exhibit floor for this national conference is almost sold out and we are putting together a number of networking opportunities that will help attendees exchange knowledge and grow in their profession,” says Patrias. Safety may not be a sexy pitch but now more than ever it’s becoming a necessary and highly-desirable condition. Concerned about the geopolitical unrest in Korea, the IEEE – the world’s largest technical professional organization for the advancement of technology – decided to relocate its engineering conference from South Korea to Calgary in April 2018. It was a huge coup for Calgary, and fortunately not a coup d’état, to host the 2,500 engineers at both the BMO Centre and CTCC. Meetings and conventions is an exciting and highlycompetitive industry, but in June 2019 when the CTCC hosts 1,200 delegates from the Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society, it will be the only event that will put people to sleep.




Chamber members champion Calgary, powering the growth that drives our city. Thousands of members work together to help make Calgary one of the best places to live and work in the world.


s business leaders, we take pride in our ability to build vibrant communities and households.

We do much more than just provide jobs and pay taxes. We add community diversity and identity to neighbourhoods. We give back to the community through sponsorships in the arts and sport. We provide local products and services that reflect our homegrown characteristics. We offer promising local career choices that keep families together. Vibrant commerce creates vibrant communities. To flourish we need our elected officials to provide good business policy. Unfortunately, in many cases, governments have moved away from providing the kind of balanced business policy that helps build strong communities. As we embark on a major election year, the Calgary Chamber will double down on commerce and clearly telegraph our expectations. We need governments to build good business policy that creates and sustains competitiveness, a key requirement for business success. Our recently launched 2019 Podium of Record initiative continues the momentum of the Chamber’s 2018 focus to build a business community that Nourishes, Powers and Inspires the world and our “It’s Grow Time” rally cry. We also recently launched our provincial election platform that provides concrete ways the next government can pave a way towards a more vibrant business community that will fuel healthy and dynamic communities. We have shared the introduction on the following pages and you can find the full platform at www. Also, in the Chamber section this month, you’ll find a highlight of our GenYYC Pitch Night funding recipients. GenYYC is a Chamber program founded in partnership with the Calgary Foundation. Part of the program is the distribution of a Legacy Fund to worthwhile projects that support the Calgary community. Congratulations to the two inaugural recipients: Inside Out Theatre and a YYC Night Market, a collaborative project between Vivo for Healthier Generations and Momentum Calgary. We look forward to being part of your growth journey. From new initiatives like the above to veteran staples of the Chamber’s 128-year history, we acknowledge five local businesses that have been Calgary Chamber members for more than 70 years: J. Vair Anderson (since 1937), RBC Royal Bank (since 1942), EY (since 1944), Harper’s Tire (since 1944), and CBN Commercial Solutions (since 1847). Thank you for your ongoing support of the Calgary Chamber. Together we are one business community, one team, one voice. I always love hearing about the daily success stories from our community so please don’t hesitate to get in touch. It’s grow time!

Sandip Lalli President & CEO Calgary Chamber

Vibrant Commerce Creates Vibrant Communities With a provincial election on the horizon, the Calgary Chamber is looking forward to ensuring business issues are top of mind for all parties. The Chamber has put together a platform we want all parties to adopt in the coming election. This platform provides a road map to improve Alberta’s business competitiveness and by doing so enables businesses to build communities across our province. What businesses provide to society goes well beyond finances. Plastered along the sides of rink boards across any local Prairie hockey arena is clear evidence of the importance of commerce to community vibrancy. Whether it is big business sponsorship in NHL arenas or small business support of a local peewee team, business is at the centre of healthy communities. We create jobs, pay taxes, invest in the province and give back to our communities. As businesses prosper so do communities, households and quality of life. Much of the reason this symbiotic relationship between commerce and community has worked especially well in this province is because Alberta has always encouraged and rewarded business risk. Our frontier spirit has helped dreamers, scientists and entrepreneurs build an economy on a winning formula of ingenuity, hard work, self-reliance, independence and dogged persistence to solve any challenge in our way. Whether it was settlers who worked the hard soil and battled the elements to build a world-class agriculture industry or the technology and innovation that went into turning sand into the third largest oil reserves in the world, Alberta risk takers have always defied the odds. The formula worked well because governments largely provided the conditions to enable business success. We were a stable place to invest because of strong provincial finances, low taxes and a reliable regulatory system. The revenue generated by healthy businesses helped pay for the schools, health care and infrastructure to attract talent. We enjoyed a competitive advantage for investors because of reputable public institutions and a stable legal system to enforce the rule of law.

Many competitive advantages Alberta businesses and communities have come to appreciate have been eroded due to the actions of successive governments. A lack of long-term fiscal management has resulted in credit downgrades, diminished provincial savings, and led to uncertainty over future tax increases and new tax measures. Meanwhile, other jurisdictions are improving their tax competitiveness and putting our ability to attract investment, business and skilled people at risk. A lack of market access is costing tens of millions a day because we cannot get global prices for our products. We need to be able to get our products to our customers. We are seeing changes in the regulatory environment that are putting the future of major projects being built in our province at risk, and increasing policy costs from all levels of government are putting the future of our small businesses in jeopardy. We have also seen policy changes without meaningful business consultation that have had unintended consequences and layered growing costs on business. Together, these have all reduced the certainty and confidence among the business community to take risks. To get Alberta’s economy to be competitive, we need the next provincial government to build a better business environment. Our platform contains five steps to a tangible path to improve Alberta’s business competitiveness because vibrant commerce creates vibrant communities. You can find our election platform at

GenYYC COMBINING THE POWER OF THE FOR-PROFIT AND NON-PROFIT SECTORS TO FUEL OUR ECONOMY AND INSPIRE A BETTER WORLD ALL WHILE NOURISHING THE NEXT GENERATION OF LEADERS GenYYC is a leadership development program designed through a collaborative partnership between the Calgary Chamber and the Calgary Foundation. The inaugural year of this innovative program was 2018. GenYYC brings together a diverse group of future business leaders across four sectors – corporate, small business, non-profit and government – to tackle some of the big issues facing Calgary. Throughout 2018 participants of GenYYC learned about various social and cultural constructs in our community. One of GenYYC’s first learning experiences involved the group travelling east to the Siksika First Nation to visit Blackfoot Crossing – the site where Treaty 7 was signed. Participants received a guided tour through the museum and met with local elders. Following the tour, Tim Fox, director of indigenous relations at the Calgary Foundation and a member of the Blackfoot confederacy and Kainai Reserve, took the group through a workshop on the effects of inter-generational trauma from residential schools. Over the summer, GenYYC volunteered with Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids to better understand food security issues facing Calgarians. Brown Bagging is a non-profit that delivers over 4,400 lunches to Calgary schoolkids who might go without otherwise. The GenYYC group spent an afternoon with Tanya Koshowski, executive director of Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids, participating in her person-centred leadership workshop focusing on innovative and empathetic leadership philosophy. Rounding out the year, GenYYC participants visited the Centre for Newcomers enjoying a culturally focused meal prepared by the centre’s social enterprise, EthniCity Catering. Working at EthniCity Catering is often the first job many clients at the centre hold, giving them valuable work experience and an understanding of local workplace culture and expectations to help pave the road to success. The group learnt about challenges newcomers face when arriving in Canada, like language barriers, employment credentials and understanding a new culture. At the end of 2018, participants were given the opportunity to pitch a legacy project to a Dragons’ Den-style panel for

GenYYC participants volunteering with Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids, making lunches for over 4,400 school kids.

funding to kick their project into gear. Legacy projects engage participants to make a lasting impact in the community with funding from the Calgary Foundation. Two pitches were heard: Inside Out Theatre and Night Market North. Inside Out Theatre offers community-based drama programs to Calgarians with disabilities. Having recently moved into a new space at Eau Claire Market, Inside Out Theatre was looking for funding to outfit the space with stages, audiovisual equipment, theatre seating and props. Night Market North has operated a successful night market in north-central Calgary for the past two years. The market has been instrumental as the community establishes roots and a sense of identity. Inside Out Theatre asked for $25,000 to outfit their new space. Night Market North was looking for $18,000 to build their legacy for a successful night market in north Calgary. After two successful pitches and much deliberation, the judges deemed both pitches worthy of funding and were excited to distribute $43,000. GenYYC is now in the second year with 68 participants. The program is building a solid foundation, connecting the for-profit and non-profit sectors while shining a light on Calgary’s social and cultural challenges. Applications for the 2020 cohort of GenYYC open in April. To learn more about GenYYC, go to genyyc.

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he perceived benefits of obtaining a master of business administration (MBA) degree are tempting: better job opportunities, higher salaries and the possibility of securing key roles within a company. These are all valid and common reasons for wanting to invest time and money in a graduate program. But what exactly does an MBA offer beyond learning in the classroom? Are there other options for new or recent graduates wanting to further their business knowledge but lacking the work experience required for an MBA program? Producing successful MBA graduates is no easy feat. There is much competition out there and many post-secondary



institutions offer MBA programs. Proud to “play an important role in shaping the next generation of leaders in Canada’s most enterprising city,” the Haskayne School of Business is currently the only institution in Calgary to offer MBA programs. Experiential learning is an important component in today’s MBA programs as it allows students to learn outside the classroom and solve real-world business challenges. As well, experiential learning helps to bridge gaps between theory and practice, while increasing networking and engagement opportunities.


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Martin Halek, director of MBA programs at Haskayne, explains there are three components to the modern Haskayne MBA: in-class learning, out-of-class learning and networking. The last two, says Halek, can be grouped into the experiential learning category. “There is truly overlap between all three of these elements – and all of them build upon the prior experience(s) a student brings with them into the MBA program.” Experiential learning for Haskayne students includes participating in case competitions, where Haskayne has an excellent track record of students excelling at both the national and international level. Events that bring the Calgary community together with students and researchers, such as Haskayne’s breakfast series, Haskayne Hour, is also an important element to the MBA program. Halek adds that guest speakers further expose students to industry leaders and different viewpoints. Halek is proud of the Wilderness Retreat and the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) Rockies – two experiential learning experiences that are unique to the Haskayne MBA. “The Wilderness Retreat is actually a class in which MBA students have an opportunity to experience the Canadian Rockies while simultaneously exploring their own leadership development. The consistent student feedback from this course is that students experience tremendous personal growth in a very short period of time.” Haskayne is one of six locations in North America offering the CDL, a seed-stage program for massively scalable, science-based companies. According to Halek, Haskayne MBA students can be part of the program through a course where they are paired with one of the ventures throughout the process. Networking remains an important part of building successful business graduates, affording students the opportunity to establish mutually beneficial business relationships. According to a Financial Times survey, more than 9,000 alumni from top MBA programs around the world said networking was the third most important reason they decided to pursue an MBA. “When Haskayne MBA students attend events outside of the classroom, they build their network. Networks are invaluable



for not only potentially obtaining a desired position, but also for increasing one’s knowledge and perspective,” explains Halek. “MBA students attending an event like the Jarislowsky Dinner and Discussion Series have an opportunity to network with Calgary’s industry leaders and Haskayne alumni, connecting on important issues that are relevant in today’s business environment.” The speaker series, says Halek, focuses on a variety of industries and are meant to inform, challenge and provide a broader perspective for decision-makers and those who aspire to become decision-makers. “The Progress Energy International Speaker Series is an annual highlight for those interested in energy industry issues. Approximately 600 people registered to see the 2018 speaker, global head of commodity markets strategy and senior oil market strategist at BNP Paribas, Harry Tchilinguirian. It has become a popular, great event to learn about future trends and make connections.” While the thought of going back to school can be intimidating for some, others know exactly where they want to go and how an MBA can lead them there. Essex Lease Financial Corporation’s chief financial officer and chief risk officer, Trevor Sterner, decided to pursue an MBA through Haskayne because he realized he needed to get a new skill set in order to break into the business world. Sterner graduated with a bachelor of science in electronics engineering hoping to start his own engineering firm. However, after eight years of engineering, he realized he needed to switch gears. “I set myself a new goal of becoming a CFO, and I knew an MBA would be a strong start in that direction,” says Sterner. “Pursuing a Haskayne MBA has allowed me to make the transition from engineering to business finance, and after a few moves through the banking world, and after getting my CMA, CPA, I managed to build my dream career. My MBA was the launching point for all of this.” Caitlin The, clinic office manager for Advanced Primary Care, started her career as a registered nurse. While working in her field, The found the issues staff and patients experienced stemmed from larger system issues – funding, politics, the operations of the hospital and the public system as a whole.

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Athabasca University’s asynchronous learning environment provided an opportunity for me to dream of future possibilities through educational achievement, while meeting with my home and work responsibilities.” Nathan W. Sack, MBA ‘18 Capacity Development Manager First Nations Financial Management Board Indian Brook First Nation, Nova Scotia


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“A HASKAYNE MBA ALLOWED ME TO ACQUIRE BUSINESS BASICS SUCH AS ACCOUNTING, OPERATIONS, HUMAN RESOURCES, FINANCE AND MARKETING. WHAT WAS MOST VALUABLE, HOWEVER, WAS THE PROGRAM EXPERIENCE ITSELF.” ~ CAITLIN THE “A Haskayne MBA allowed me to acquire business basics such as accounting, operations, human resources, finance and marketing. What was most valuable, however, was the program experience itself.” The adds that she met some really great people from different industries. “Their experiences provided me with insight into the health-care industry and vice versa. Most of the people I met had engineering backgrounds, so we worked well together because their strengths were the ‘hard skills’ (operations, accounting, systems, etc.) and mine were ‘soft/creative skills’ (human resources, marketing, design, presentation styles, etc.). Together, we came up with a lot of fun and creative solutions, strategies and presentations.”




In terms of the appropriate age for starting an MBA, it is never too late, according to Halek. “If you believe in lifelong learning, then it is never too late. We specifically look for potential MBA students to have several years of work experience before entering the program. The work experience is critical as it allows students to have knowledge of various industries and themselves. Often, our applicants have come to a point in their careers where they have realized what competencies they are lacking or needing in order to take the next step in their career.”

According to a list compiled by Maclean’s magazine, tuition for a Canadian MBA program ranges from $4,000 to over $100,000. “While I would argue Haskayne offers one of the most competitively-priced MBAs,” says Halek, “it is hard to put a price on the experience, network and knowledge an MBA student receives through these outside-the-classroom opportunities. The connections made can really pay dividends in the student’s future career.”

For new or recent graduates in a non-business field with limited work experience, Haskayne is launching the master of management degree in May 2019. Catherine Heggerud, director, master of management program (MMgmt), says provincial government approval was given in July. “This is the first new degree in approximately 20 years at the school,” Heggerud says proudly. While an MBA is designed for professionals with managerial experience, and typically seven or more years of work experience, the MMgmt program is designed for high-potential students from non-business programs wanting to launch their careers with graduatelevel coursework. The cohort-based program can be completed over a 10-month period.










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40-YEAR LEGACY of projects. It wasn’t long before another growth opportunity presented itself to the company. In 1995, a homeowner in Edgemont asked the company to do an addition over the garage before replacing the haildamaged roof and siding, and Ultimate was all too happy to accommodate.

anny Ritchie learned from a young age how to install and cap windows from his father, Albert. The youngster loved the work and in 1979, he and his brother Terry founded Ultimate Window Capping in Edmonton. They quickly earned a reputation for providing a quality product and unbeatable customer service, and the company flourished. Ultimate Window Capping became Ultimate Exterior Renovators, a go-to company in Edmonton throughout the 1980s, and the company continues to grow and evolve in the central Alberta city today under the guidance of Marc Cloutier, the Edmonton office’s vice president. Ultimate expanded its operation when an act of God introduced the company to Calgary.

“That was our first major renovation. Neighbours saw it and it started to snowball, so we became Ultimate Renovations,” he says. The company recently rebranded itself again with its foray into new home building in 2017, becoming Ultimate Homes & Renovations to reflect its dedication to all areas of the business.

“In September 1991, loonies fell from heaven in Calgary and Allstate Insurance asked us to come down and repair homes that were damaged by hail. By July 1992, we were doing a lot of work down here so I moved to Calgary and kept the Edmonton operation running with Marc,” says co-owner and president of Ultimate Homes & Renovations, Danny Ritchie.

“Our renovations have expanded to such size that it often makes more sense to rebuild instead of renovate,” says Ritchie. Ultimate is excited to enter this arena to apply their vision and experience to help produce clients’ dream homes. To further aid in this, Ultimate recently recycled a home to avoid the wasteful demolition of a perfectly good structure. Clients save money by selling their existing house (which is then moved to a new location) and Ultimate keeps the demolition debris out of the landfill.

Ultimate started in Calgary with a crew of five roofers and seven siders who repaired one haildamaged house per day. The company established itself as a leader in the business and attracted new clients seeking exteriors professionals for a variety 1



“Instead of knocking down this house we had the idea to save a lot of money and save the planet by picking up the house, moving it 200 kilometres north, and then building new. Now two people get new homes. It’s something we’re really trying to promote,” he says.

Ultimate prides itself on thinking outside the box and finding unique solutions to challenges regardless of the project or the location. The company’s Edmonton roots ensure that every job, large or small, will receive the same level of professionalism and care regardless of where it is done.

Congratulations to Ultimate Homes & Renovations on 40 years!


We wish you many more years of continued success.

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here a long time – many over 20 years and a few for the full 40 years,” Ritchie says. “I believe in treating them right and as a result, everyone stays.”

“We want all Albertans to know that we take the same approach with every project – it doesn’t matter if the home is in Edmonton or St. Albert or Calgary or Cochrane. The bottom line is that their home is important to them which makes it important to us,” says Marc Cloutier.

The corporate culture at Ultimate Homes & Renovations has contributed to the company’s success, and word-of-mouth advertising has helped it grow into one of the top renovation and custom home builders in Alberta. And the industry has certainly noticed. BILD has named Ultimate the renovator of the year nine times since the company started submitting projects for consideration in 1998. Since then, they have won 42 SAM Awards in a variety of categories including Best Home Renovation, Best Kitchen, Best Ensuite, Best Basement and Renovator’s Choice – and have been nominees or finalists in many others.

The team tackles every job with the same eye for detail, adherence to budget and timeline, and quality standards – whether it’s a small bathroom remodel, a top-to-bottom renovation or a completely new home build. To maintain those high standards, the company uses tried-and-true in-house trades teams for their jobs. Everything from installation to construction to custom cabinetry are all kept in-house to ensure customers receive the impeccable service and quality upon which Ultimate was built.

Ultimate also received the Best Renovated Home in Canada award for its sixth show home in 2017. The company remodels these homes from top to bottom and showcases them before selling the property. It gives potential clients a chance to see the transformative work Ultimate can do as well as solidifies the company’s place as an industry leader. The site workers’ craftsmanship, the design and stellar construction come together to earn each of Ultimate’s show homes awards, and clients can be

To consistently deliver these high standards, the Ritchie brothers have empowered their management team to bring in the best people, all the while being available to clients 24-7 themselves. Whether staff is actually related or not, there is an obvious family environment of respect and fun at their offices, as happy employees lead to happy clients. “I have surrounded myself with good people and there have been a lot of our people who have been

Congratulations Ultimate Homes & Renovations on 40 years!

We are proud partners of Ultimate Homes & Renovations.

We wish you many more years of continued success.

From our team to yours, congratulations on 40 years!


Congratulations Ultimate Homes & Renovations!

Ultimate Homes & Renovations



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clients and potential clients. Last September, they offered homeowners the Ultimate Outdoor Living Space Tour to promote what they can do to spruce up a yard. With the cooperation of past clients, the tour of six amazing southeast Calgary spaces aimed to inspire clients about the endless possibilities of outdoor living. Danny and Terry Ritchie have assembled a talented creative team who have brought their vision to life with every project they have done for the past 40 years, evolving and growing with the industry. As the company enters its fifth decade in Alberta, it’s clear the awardwinning group at Ultimate is just getting started.

Danny & Terry Ritchie.

confident in the quality of the work knowing the project is an award-winning home.


“The Lake Bonavista show home won best kitchen, best basement, best ensuite, best all home. And I fell in love with it and couldn’t get rid of it,” Ritchie says of his current residence.


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Assembly employee torquing bolts on lattice tower.


Any Size Anywhere Valard’s reach goes global as it continues to innovate solutions here at home By Nerissa McNaughton


alard, the largest contractor of its kind in Canada and among the largest in North America, is a vertically integrated transnational Canadian utility and construction contractor, with growth initiatives in Europe, Australia and the United States. Valard’s services are diversified and include engineering, procurement, construction and maintenance for substations and electrical transmission and distribution lines. Through its Valard Telecom division and sister company G-TEK, Valard provides complete telecommunication solutions. A focus on a sustainable future sees the Valard Group of Companies innovating and delivering in

the renewable energy sector. The Valard Group also provides complementing services such as welding, engineering, directional drilling, project development, financing, fabrication, and much more. “The current incarnation of Valard was founded by Victor Budzinski and Bill Budzinski, when they bought a majority stake in Valard Construction in 1978,” says president and CEO Adam Budzinski. “Victor and Bill had previously been in business in Whitehorse under the name Ryco Contracting, and had been servicing communities up and down the Alaska Highway. Moving their business to Grande Prairie was the next logical step in their geographic growth into larger markets.”

Valard • 40 years


Transmission line stringing crew hanging insulators with helicopter.

American storm recovery since 2012. These latest initiatives will see us take on major projects in these markets and establish a permanent presence.” When the Budzinskis took ownership of Valard in 1978, the company had a staff of just five. During the winter of 2018, staff peaked at approximately 3,990 across all the divisions and subsidiaries.

President and CEO Adam Budzinski.

Under the leadership of the Budzinskis, Valard thrived and has continued to grow and diversify, with 2018 being a record year for the company. “Valard has recently rebranded its Corporate Controls group as Professional Services and is providing third-party consulting to other contractors and owners,” Adam explains. “Valard’s project management execution is backstopped by a suite of internally developed software packages, as well as advanced coordination of software from partner vendors to create a low-overhead, major project environment that can process, store and disseminate a large amount of project data with a minimal team. “We are currently working on growth initiatives to move into Norway, Poland (where we just broke ground on our first project), Australia and the United States. Valard has been active in Europe since 2011 and has participated sporadically in

“Big contributors to Valard’s success have been our willingness to lead the market rather than to accept it,” continues Adam. “Valard made early investments in its health and safety, and its quality and environmental groups that led current trends by as much as 10 years. We have always been willing to offer a premium product rather than just being the cheapest bidder. Our vertical integration has also been a constant effort over the last 10 years – while there have been growing pains at times, we are currently enjoying a significant advantage relative to our peers who must seek subcontractors or partnerships to compete with us.” Valard’s work is seen in high profile projects such as Alberta’s Fort McMurray West Transmission project, Eastern Alberta Transmission Line, Shell Saturn Substation, and the Labrador Island Link Transmission Line, among many others. Adam reflects on some of the projects he found memorable. “A few significant moments for me were the completion dinners for the Muskrat Falls project and

Valard • 40 years • 2

Substation crew reviewing prints.

Aerial access on transmission line

the Hydro One Bruce X Milton project. Both of these were difficult in their own right for different reasons, but they forged very strong relationships with the clients that we worked with to get them done. With major construction projects, there will always be points of conflict and misunderstandings; getting past this is what makes a good project great.” Adam continues, “Another key point for me was receiving an award from our owner, Quanta Services, for our first year with revenues over $1B in 2014.” (Valard has steadily brought in revenues in excess of $1B since 2014.) Valard is proficient in adapting to an industry whose climate is ever-changing. Adam explains, “Valard’s greatest challenge is keeping our project teams fed with work. We call it the “Giant Work Eating Monster” and it needs to be fed with a steady supply of backlog. The current economic environment in Canada is complex and getting more so. While complexity is actually advantageous to us over some of our peers, if owners and investors can’t bring project concepts to term because of regulatory challenges and anti-industry sentiment, there will be nothing to compete for, and the project teams that we have built will be lost.” However, Valard has a history of overcoming challenges, and has celebrated many successes over the years. “Our work with First Nations predates industry trends towards their inclusion in projects as well as some of the more recent judicial milestones,” Adam says with pride. “We always ensure that our First Nation and other Indigenous partners make meaningful contributions to our projects, and that we have a net-positive impact in the communities in which we work. This was established by our founder, Victor, and his executive vice president, Roland

Bailey. Victor and Roland worked together in small communities when they were young linemen at Northwestel. This impacted both of their outlooks on how communities can be engaged to help execute projects, and to benefit from the economic inputs these projects have for communities. “On a similar note, my work at Valard has privileged me to see all the corners of Canada. I’ve travelled to the remotest parts of Ontario, Labrador, the Yukon, the North West Territories and Nunavut, as well as conducted business in all the provincial capitals and major economic centres. This is not an experience that is unique to me; many of our employees have seen all the corners of this country and truly experienced its diversity. “Additionally, it is very rewarding to stand back and understand all of the careers that we have kickstarted and nurtured – the leg-ups that we have given young people taking their first jobs out of high school or university, or local residents in the hundreds of communities we have worked in that have received training, advancement or a solid season’s work while it was available in their backyard. Projects are an economic stimulus, but that stimulus is really about having a positive impact on people’s quality of life, and their sense of accomplishment and contribution to their community.” Adam does admit, though, that they have an unusual and rather cheeky method of ensuring each project is delivered on time, on budget, and with their signature stamp of excellence and innovation. “We drag our clients, kicking and screaming, to a successful project completion!” he laughs, but further explains that Valard’s mission is to overcome challenges and take a leadership role to ensure successful projects for their clients and for the communities where work is taking place.

Valard • 40 years • 3

Employees participating in 2018 Alberta Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer.

“Regardless of what barriers might exist to an orderly execution of the project, we stay engaged and continue working towards getting the project done on time. This means we don’t threaten to walk off a project if there is conflict or change. We see the project through and ensure that when we resolve differences; we are doing so from the vantage point of a completed project, as opposed to a failed one that has become mired in a loss of direction. “We have more experience in power system construction than any enterprise in Canada today; having the confidence to tell an employer or client that they are wrong sometimes puts a relationship at risk, but it is always in the service of giving them the best possible outcome. Putting our experience at the service of our clients is the best thing we can do to ensure their project is beneficial to both their investors and the communities they serve.” The company is equally concerned with the success of its staff, both in the office and in the field. “Valard has an over-reaching commitment to safety reflected in its pioneering OSHAS 18001 safety program, as well as in its supporting safety culture,” Adam confirms. “We have always believed that

experience is the most important contributor to safe outcomes, and as such have always paid a premium to have people of profound experience employed on our projects. Valard is often at odds with other organizations that demand terminations for broken rules, and instead has maintained focus on deliberate negligence as the sole reason to terminate a person. If the employees make bad decisions because they are uninformed, that is the fault of the organization, and we need to correct our approach. The employee that has made a mistake and recognized their contribution to an incident is the most likely not to make that mistake again.” Forty years have passed since the Budzinskis purchased Valard, and each passing year has solidified the company’s position as a reliable, effective, focused and successful contractor. Valard thanks its teams, clients, and community partners for continuing to trust them to deliver on a promise of “any project, any time, anywhere.” With an unwavering commitment to its employees, clients, community and the environment, and with a dedication to using the best business practices to bring each project to an efficient completion, Valard looks back on a history it can be proud of, and a future full of opportunities.

3595 - 114 Ave SE Calgary, AB T2Z 3X2 Phone: 403-279-1003 • Fax: 403-236-1303 • Valard • 40 years • 4





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LITTLE THINGS MAKE THE BIGGEST IMPRESSION According to the Centre for Management and Organization Effectiveness, “the differences between good and absolutely great are often surprisingly small. Little things matter!” For us at Calgary TELUS Convention Centre, looking after the little things is a mantra we follow to look after our clients. When businesses and organizations hold an event— whether recognizing a great achievement, sharing in a celebration, or bringing people together—they are counting on that event to protect their reputation and enhance their brand. Business leaders know that they, and their organizations, will be judged by the success or failure of that event experience. The association with the good (or absolutely great) event will enhance the perception held of the organization beyond the event itself.

One industry expert in Organizational Development says: ”Little things make a big difference in the success of your organization, either by strengthening or fracturing your organization… if an action fractures your business, then the organization is weakened. Actions that strengthen your organization help build your company.” Apply this thinking to your own event experiences. Why did some seem good while others seem great? What was the difference? It likely was something seemingly minor—perhaps a staff member smiling while greeting your delegates, or maybe a gentle suggestion to adjust the lighting to prevent a speaker from being blinded by the light. The big picture experience made it good, attention to the little details made it great.



Proximity Adds Perspective for CED’s Executive Chair BY STEVE ALLAN


or the last five months, I immersed myself in the daily operations of Calgary Economic Development and the added proximity has given me a far better perspective on the challenges and the opportunities that exist for this great city. The experience also leaves me confident that regardless of the challenges we face, and there are many these days, we have the people in our community with the attitude and the ability to persevere through tough times and prosper. My time in the role as executive chair for Calgary Economic Development began in August. Mary Moran, our president and CEO, was given a leave of absence by the board of directors to lead the Calgary 2026 team exploring a bid for the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. The city decided not to pursue a bid so my tenure as executive chair came to an end in mid-January with Mary’s return to the organization she’s led with distinction since 2015. I go back to my role as the board chair with a better understanding of the day-to-day efforts to promote economic growth and greater appreciation for the people who do it. Aside from welcoming Mary back, I have a few thoughts on my time as executive chair. From the roll-out of an economic strategy for Calgary to the first announcements from the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund to the Trade Accelerator Program to help local companies to find new markets, it was a busy time. Even still, the growing challenges from the deteriorating business environment is the biggest takeaway I have from the last half-year.

changing economic landscape has created a crisis for many businesses and it is a threat to the vibrancy of our city and quality of life for all Calgarians. As I am sure is the case for many Calgarians, I can’t begin to express my frustration with our inability to build pipelines this country desperately needs to move responsiblyproduced energy to global markets. While other countries increase production, our industry is seemingly subject to every delay imaginable; which is undermining the economy in our city, our province and our country. At Calgary Economic Development, we have stepped up our advocacy for the industry and promoting Calgary as a centre of excellence for all things energy. As companies and individuals, we all need to do more to make our case to governments on critical issues that impact our community. Our concerns must be heard at city hall, the provincial legislature and on Parliament Hill, or they won’t ever be addressed. As a city, we must also adapt to ensure Calgary continues to be a leading centre for business and place of opportunity for all. We must allow business the opportunity to succeed here and give companies the confidence that the business environment supports their ambitions and encourages them to grow in Calgary. We need to eliminate the burdens on companies and remove obstacles to success so they can compete and thrive locally. In these challenging times, we need to help business drive Calgary’s economy forward and create opportunities for all citizens to prosper.

Calgary is famous for its entrepreneurial spirit but many of our companies are feeling real pressure these days. The Steve Allan is chair of the board for Calgary Economic Development.



Tourism Calgary’s New Integrated Learning Program Mobilizes the City’s Ultimate Hosts White Hat Academy instils confidence in Calgary’s tourism industry – creating better ambassadors and storytellers for the city BY BRIDGETTE SLATER


ourism Calgary works with the community to foster a destination that is welcoming, innovative and experience-rich. This includes creating strong city ambassadors who evoke positive sentiment, increase partner referrals and encourage exploration of Calgary. To inspire customer-facing employees in Calgary’s tourism industry to be better ambassadors and storytellers for the city, Tourism Calgary developed the White Hat Academy. This multifaceted, multi-level learning program blends online modules with experiential learning to provide members of Calgary’s tourism industry with the knowledge, tools and resources they need to be Ultimate Hosts. The experiential component ties in with Tourism Calgary’s Frontline Experience Pass program, which was launched in 2016 to ensure Calgary’s tourism industry is well informed about, has personally experienced and can recommend key Calgary experiences. The inspiration for this program stemmed from interviews with thousands of Calgary White Hat Award nominees over multiple years. The results indicated there was a need for easily accessible tools and resources that industry members could use to enhance their knowledge of Calgary’s diverse offerings and to elevate visitors’ experiences. Additionally, Tourism Calgary surveyed over 700 industry supervisors and staff in early 2018. Findings showed there was strong interest in an industry certification training program and increased access to Calgary-related tools and resources. Based on these findings, Tourism Calgary developed the White Hat Academy, which will support



members of Calgary’s tourism industry in developing, delivering and promoting Calgary’s experiences. The free online learning program is mobile-compatible and is comprised of a series of videos, websites, photos, interactive maps and an ever-expanding library of information about Calgary. Industry members are invited to complete activities and review content at their own convenience. As they excel through the modules, they will not only receive incentive rewards, but will become equipped with the knowledge, tools and resources they need to inform and inspire visitors and Calgarians. By establishing a standard knowledge baseline for all Calgary ambassadors, Tourism Calgary hopes to increase the likelihood that visitors recommend Calgary as a travel destination. As a result, this will help build pride of place for residents in addition to Calgary’s robust visitor economy and reputation as the Ultimate Host City. To learn more about Tourism Calgary, view

An elegant setting, perfectly reflective of the mood and energy of your event. Everything is meticulously covered, all to enhance the personalized experience of your guests and to elevate your brand and reputation. Your biggest impressions looked after in the smallest details.


Marketing Matters BY DAVID PARKER


or the past 30 years, affable Bob Sumner has worked in assignment editor roles at Global (25 years) and CTV (five years). Thinking of a possible change in the future and wishing to hone his communications and marketing skills, he took a public relations course at Mount Royal University, which he completed in 2016. Sumner has been a good friend of Ellen Parker of Parker PR for many years and has since joined her firm as the account director working with its team of account managers. It’s a role he’s really enjoying, able to bring to the company his relationships, networking and media strategy experience within a collaborative environment that suits his fun temperament. He is well known as a food buff and has been working with new account Modern Steak in the opening of its new location in the former Catch restaurant space on the 8th Avenue Mall beside the Hyatt Regency Calgary. Sumner is also primarily involved with clients like Thirsty Naturals, Calgary Folk Music Festival, Alberta College of Art & Design and Deloitte. An exciting media relations client for Parker PR is chef Darren MacLean of Shokunin, who they accompanied to media events after competition in The Final Table on Netflix. And watch for the launch of Parker PR TV, a web-based video channel.

Jacqueline Grabowski has been involved in the marketing of architectural firms for several years, first with Gibbs Gage Architects and for seven years with NORR Architects. Following a maternity leave, she has now joined RJC Engineers. Grabowski has been named regional marketing specialist working on proposals, advertising and other promotional



materials for Calgary and southern Alberta which includes the busy Lethbridge office.

I caught up with Chris Bedford on his phone travelling from the airport to downtown Vancouver. Since leaving Karo, Bedford has been busy with some brand strategy consulting but his main focus is chair of TCN Network. Bedford organizes roundtable forums for his CEO groups across Western Canada, five-times-a-year peer-to-peer meetings and an annual retreat.

Carolyn Watson has departed the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre/Meetings + Conventions to join the Hotel Arts Group as marketing and media relations manager. She is now busy boasting about Hotel Arts, Hotel Arts Kensington, Yellow Door Bistro, Raw Bar and Oxbow.

Scott Henderson, managing director of dHz Media, has launched his own Client TV News. Using “only a cellphone, free video editing software and a good reporter,” he is producing video news stories for clients. The first news-format offering was for client The Malcolm Hotel, the new four-star property in the Spring Creek area of Canmore.

Parker’s Pick New committee bidding on the 2023 World Petroleum Congress – good luck.

When it comes to a relationship with your banker, don’t settle. Dr. Alan Ulsifer, FYidoctors CEO Grew from a single location in Calgary, to the largest eye care provider in Canada.

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Profile for Business in Calgary

Business in Calgary - February 2019  

Business in Calgary - February 2019