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Brittney & Breanne Ramsay | Owners of Britt Land Services | Business Magnates | Savvy Sisters
Meet sisters, Brittney and Breanne. When family events unexpectedly put them in charge of their father’s business, they didn’t flinch. Instead, they hit the ground running. ATB’s experts helped their cash flow and growth along the way. Now, they look forward to expanding their business even more. And we look forward to supporting the sisters as they make their mark across Alberta—and beyond. Learn more about Brittney & Breanne at atb.com/WeGrowAlberta
Who helps with your succession plan? We do. BUSINESS ACCOUNTS І CASH FLOW І FINANCING І KNOW-HOW atb.com/businessbeat helped us with our facts. Visit atb.com/wegrowalberta for more information. ™ Trademarks of Alberta Treasury Branches.
• 30 years locally owned and managed • Exceptional quality, expertise and value • Relationship-focused for client satisfaction
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When we think about banks we think about squares. Safe and solid, but not all that flexible. They’re good places to keep your money, but not necessarily places that will adjust to suit your needs. At Servus, we guarantee 100% of your deposits*, so we keep you safe and sound too. But we roll differently after that. Our members are owners which means you get advice that’s best-for-you, a say in how the business operates, and even a share of the profits. Banks don’t do all that. They’ll likely never do all that. So yeah, if banks are squares, it just makes sense that Servus is a circle.
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Offers available for a limited time and subject to change without notice. *Taxes extra. Roam Like Home daily fee is a Pay-Per-Use rate and subject to change without notice. Fee is charged per line (in addition to your Share Everything for business plan monthly service fee) and applies for 24 hours from first use while in the U.S. See rogers.com/terms for full terms and conditions. 1 Data: Usage exceeding your plan allotment charged in increments rounded up to the next MB or GB (as applicable based on your plan). Standard roaming charges apply when outside Canada/U.S. Texts: Includes texts while in the U.S. to a Canadian/U.S. wireless number. Sent/received premium texts, sent international texts outside the U.S. and messages sent while roaming outside of U.S. not included and charged at applicable rates. Calls: While in the U.S., includes unlimited calls within the U.S. or back to Canada. International long distance and roaming charges outside the U.S. extra. © 2015 Rogers Communications.
High performance at its best We’re very proud of our 64 successful writers of the 2014 Uniform Evaluation for Chartered Professional Accountants in Calgary, including our four tax writers. We can’t wait to see what they’ll achieve next.
Back row: Adrian Chan, Caitlin Spitzke, Bilal Amin, Jeffrey Myers, Tim Topping, Thomas Jayatunge, Vicky Wang Middle row: Brian Lau, Jana Verhaeghe, Gillian Woolstencroft, Chelsea Bruneau, Natalie Brown, Mandy Novak Front row: Ali Arnell, Amber Lick, June An, Ashley Lee, Christina Ren, Francesca Fehr
Absent: AK Okuboyejo, Aliya Makhmudova, Arthur Samusz, Avjeet Bhambra, Bradley Kirkhope, Brea Meadows, Cham‑San So, Charmayne Rojas, Cristina Pimienta, Dallas Greene, Daniel Jeong, Daniel To, Ian Jennings, Irene So, Jennifer Lin, Kailee Stobart, Karlyn Mercier, Ken Ng, Laura Olsen, Leah Sherstan, Lynsey Swanson, Madhav Shorey, Manreet Grewal, Michel Audet, Michelle Clay, Muna Haji, Prektsha Tamang, Rebecca Jones, Reese Hilland, Reid Bloomer, Richlyn Naoe, Robert Hendricks, Sabreena Braich, Shawn Huycke, Sherry Thang, Stephanie Brons, Surya Rana, Tara Rooprai, Tasheel Jeerh, Taylor Smith, Tommy Brown, Tracy Lo, Victor Trac, Xin Zhang, Zachary Campbell
www.pwc.com/ca © 2015 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an Ontario limited liability partnership. All rights reserved. 4240-04 0215
HIGH DEMAND, GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIZED TRAINING FROM SAIT SAIT Polytechnic and the Canada-Alberta Job Grant are ready to meet the needs of today’s most demanding industries. Designed to reduce skill-based employment barriers, this combination of leading-edge training and purpose-built subsidies can open almost unlimited opportunities for employers and employees alike.
SAIT LEADS THE WAY
“The job grant program is closely aligned to SAIT’s real-world, hands-on training and we’ve identified dozens of SAIT programs that meet the funding criteria,” says Rod Miller, SAIT Associate Vice President of Corporate Training. “We’re also well-positioned to customize training to an employer’s specific needs. SAIT wants to help employers and their staff take advantage of this program.”
As one of Canada’s leading providers of hands-on learning and workforce development, SAIT Polytechnic provides solutions to address emerging employment demands. Across the full spectrum of business, technology and trades, SAIT has the skillbased training and program diversity needed to produce qualified staff before major shortages occur.
$34 MILLION PER YEAR Launched in the fall of 2014, the Canada-Alberta Job Grant is designed to help Alberta businesses hire and retain top employees by making education costs more affordable. This funding gives employers the opportunity to increase organizational productivity, invest in the skill development of their current and future workforce, and lower employee turnover. When fully implemented, the program will deliver $34 million annually until March 31, 2020. This will provide up to $10,000 in direct course fees and supplies for each student, saving employers up to two-thirds of training costs. In addition, each employer can receive up to $300,000 in grants per year.
From school faculty to government representatives, the new program is synchronized to provide the best possible training opportunities for Alberta.
The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development, adds, “Our government’s top priorities are creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. With employers’ skin in the game, the Canada Job Grant will lead to a guaranteed job. Helping employers train Canadians for jobs that need to be filled will help their business grow and succeed. And that is good news for the Alberta economy.” Whether you’re looking to enhance your own skills or upgrade your employees’ qualifications, SAIT Polytechnic and the Canada-Alberta Job Grant have the solution. For complete details and eligible programs, visit sait-training.com
NEW STAFF SOLUTIONS SAME EMPLOYEES SAIT Polytechnic and the Canada-Alberta Job Grant can help employees improve their skills while providing up to two-thirds of the training costs for eligible programs. For program details, visit sait-training.com
Supporting the visions of entrepreneurs one story at a time
Volume 25 | Number 3
On our cover… Brittney Ramsay, and her father, Ray Ramsay, of Britt Land Services
Pat Ottmann & Tim Ottmann
cOPY EDITOrS arT DIrEcTOr
MARCH 2015 $3.50
Cher Compton email@example.com
cONTrIBUTING DESIGNEr Aaron Jackson
Lisa Johnston & Nikki Mullett
Nancy Bielecki firstname.lastname@example.org Melissa Arthur email@example.com Denise Templeton firstname.lastname@example.org
rEGULar cONTrIBUTOrS Richard Bronstein Frank Atkins David Parker Lonnie Tate
ThIS ISSUE’S cONTrIBUTOrS Dan Cooper Colleen Wallace Tiffany Burns Cassandra McAuley Megan Zimmerman Andrea Mendizabal
Cover photo courtesy of Bookstrucker Photography
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2015 Calgary International Auto and Truck Show | Construction - The $90-billion Industry
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COVER FEatuRE 53 • Britt Land’s Midas Touch
Success in the people business of oil and gas By John Hardy
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www.businessincalgary.com 10 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
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Supporting the visions of entrepreneurs one story at a time
Volume 25 | Number 3
this MOnth’s FEatuREs 28 • Urbanomics | Urban Development Discussion: Home Ownership Wish List
What DO homeowners want? | By John Hardy
34 • Professional The Slump hunches versus gloom and doom By John Hardy
42 • Stats, 2015 House-Hunting Calgary-Style numbers and moods By Colleen Wallace
48 • Calgary Online Contests are a Win-Win! ingenuity clicks into the thrill 59 • 2015 Calgary International Auto and Truck Show: Browsing, Dreams and Wishful Thinking
Raising $10 million for Calgary causes
64 • Office The $90-billion Industry towers, luxury highrises, sewers and interchanges By Dan Cooper
48 REguLaR COLuMns
69 • Spring BOMA Calgary News 2015 COMpany pROFiLEs 79 • Wesure Celebrates 40 Years
14 • ByLiving in an Age of Insecurity Richard Bronstein 16 • Business Cycles and the Public-Sector Employees
By Frank Atkins
18 • ByAnLonnie Open Letter to Premier Prentice Tate 85 • Leading Business 89 • Current The Calgary Report developments for Calgary Telus Convention Centre, Tourism Calgary, Calgary Economic Development, and Innovate Calgary
94 • Marketing Matters By David Parker
12 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
Are you an entrepreneurial star? It’s your time to shine! Canada’s top entrepreneurs are true business stars. Join us in celebrating their achievements. Nominations close 30 April 2015. Submit your nomination today! ey.com/ca/eoy | @EYCanada #EOY
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Living in an Age of Insecurity • Richard Bronstein
By rIcharD BrONSTEIN
Living in an age of Insecurity
iving in the world today you can never have too much security. Parents are fearful of letting children play unsupervised in a park. You can’t bring more than a thimble full of liquids past airport screeners. Most businesses and institutions operate behind layers of safeguards. We make great efforts and spend huge resources trying to make society safer. Because of that we put up with a lot of inconveniences. We do all this even though Canada is a relatively peaceful country. Despite a few horrible incidents from time to time, violent crime is trending down in our society. We have had very few “terrorist” events since 9/11. But the thing is you don’t need a lot of bad things to happen to make people worried. In such a context, the Harper government’s Bill C-51 to enhance the powers of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is something that appears to have wide support in the country so long as the measures are seen to be reasonably necessary, are conducted in a lawful way, and are properly supervised by an independent authority. The Liberals and New Democrats seem to be reading these same currents. They have not flayed Prime Minister Harper for introducing new security measures, but they will in all likelihood seek to improve and clarify any weak provisions in the legislation. Most civil liberties groups in Canada have also taken a responsible approach by not condemning Bill C-51 outright, but by making reasonable suggestions to safeguard habeas corpus and individual rights. This approach is in stark contrast to some national commentators and public intellectuals who have proclaimed that Bill C-51 is proof the Harper government is turning Canada into a police state. Really? Do they even know what a police state is like? This is exactly the same type of argument used by the anti-vaxxers. Without a shred of evidence they invent the great hoax that the measles vaccine causes autism. And you can’t argue their position because they do not accept facts as proof. Some of our opinion leaders show the same stunning insularity regarding national security. How do they know Canada is becoming a police state? Because they say so, not because there is any actual evidence.
14 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
On the contrary, there is much evidence that we cannot become a police state. For one thing, Canadian people are not stupid and we have a well-ingrained sense of justice. We also have trustworthy, accountable institutions. We are also a nation of laws, the highest law being our Constitution that is protected by independent high courts across the country. We have a freely-elected Parliament. And we have a free press. So long as we remain a liberal democratic society, no prime minister has a snowball’s chance in hell of creating a police state here. Here is an interesting piece of history. Why do we have CSIS today? Years ago the RCMP was in charge of national security. But in the aftermath of the FLQ crisis in Quebec, the Mounties got overzealous and resorted to dirty tricks (i.e. a barn burning and other black operations). The RCMP was found out by the press and publicly disgraced. That led directly to the creation of CSIS. So let’s all unwind a little and look at C-51 in a rational light without hyperbole. I want to hear what Parliamentarians have to say when they study the bill clause by clause. I also want to hear what law professors and civil liberties groups have to say. We have a process to deal with these things so let’s use it. One criticism I would offer on the Harper security agenda relates to where the prime minister doesn’t like going – sociology. Radicalization of Canadian youth seems to be a real security issue. But not everyone has crossed the line yet into becoming a criminal. What plan does the government have of talking to these kids to steer them on a better path. If there are alienated individuals out there that selfradicalize through social media – lone wolves – then how is the government supporting the right mix of mental health and addictions services for these people to prevent tragedy? Many immigrants to Canada feel culturally isolated and some drift to the violent side. How well are we providing opportunity and inclusion? There is more to our problems than just law and order. The prime minister needs to sometimes talk about improving life for the growing pool of marginalized and misguided Canadians, where murderers and terrorists usually come from. BiC
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W O O D R I D G E W O O D R I D G E
Business Cycles and the Public-Sector Employees • Frank Atkins
By fraNk aTkINS
n Alberta we may be entering another business cycle phase. In early February, the world price of oil appears to have stabilized in the low US$50 range. It is difficult to predict the future movements of this price, but it may be the case that it has at least stabilized and stopped falling. We have been here before, and we will likely be here again in the future. Business cycles like this are a fact of life, and given that we are a resourceextracting economy, they will always be a little bit worse in Alberta. As I wrote in last month’s column, we always seem to be a little bit surprised every time this happens. Now we are getting the response to this downturn in the world price of oil, which is too low for some oilsands projects, so we have entered a phase of cutting spending and reducing our workforce. In the private sector this is happening very quickly. I found it very interesting that the pundits did not know what to say when the January employment numbers released by Statistics Canada did not show large workforce reductions in Alberta. This even leads some CBC commentators to say that this must mean that the layoffs were not that bad. What these commentators did not seem to realize is that many of the individuals who lost their jobs received large severance packages, some as much as one or two year’s salary. These individuals cannot
Business cycles and the Public-Sector Employees be counted as unemployed until the severance period expires. What is most interesting about this is the reaction of the public-sector employees relative to the private-sector
I see no reason why, in times of economic downturns, the public sector should not bear the brunt of cost cutting in the same manner that the private sector does.
employees. The private-sector employees clearly do not like this, but they appear to get on with their lives as best they can. The reaction of the public-sector employees is some kind of righteous indignation. At the time of writing this article in early February, nothing has even happened yet in the public sector. There are rumblings of wage cuts from the Prentice administration. In response to this we get the ridiculous statements
16 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
from public-sector union leaders that it is not their responsibility to bear the cost of bad fiscal planning on the part of the government. I can never understand why the public-sector employees think that they are so much different than private-sector employees. Some of these individuals, at least the vocal ones, appear to have a “high-paid-job-forlife” kind of mentality. I see no reason why, in times of economic downturns, the public sector should not bear the brunt of cost cutting in the same manner that the private sector does. Further, it is very clear that in Alberta we have a high-cost public service. It is also clear that this is the result of some bargaining mistakes on the part of past governments in Alberta. However, this is no reason why public-sector employees should not be part of cutbacks. As a matter of fact, the high-cost public service is a good reason to take a long hard look at what we pay our public-sector employees. Now is the time, let the bargaining begin. BiC
FrAnk AtkInS IS An ASSoCIAtE ProFESSor oF EConoMICS At thE UnIvErSIty oF CALgAry And rESEArCh ChAIr, FInAnCE And CAPItAL MArkEtS, At thE FrontIEr CEntrE For PUBLIC PoLICy.
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An open Letter to Premier Prentice • Lonnie Tate
By LONNIE TaTE
an Open Letter to Premier Prentice
Mr. Prentice: If those who read political tea leaves are correct, you are about to call a provincial election. The law says the election will be in 2016; but what the heck … political opportunism is always a good reason to trump the law. You will win the election. I don’t think there is any series of events or acts that you and your cabinet could do to blow your electorate away. And certainly, there are no opposition parties in a position to effectively challenge your leadership and seize provincial power. As well, the provincial economy is on its side and you are not to blame. Those nasty Arabs and Americans have caused the price of oil to drop by nearly half and the province has been caught with its proverbial pants down. If you were to do something progressive, you would only be injecting funds into an economy that is going sideways. That is one of the jobs of government. So … we know you are a political opportunist, and we know there is a modest economic need. What are you waiting for? Jump in with both feet to effect real change. Alberta’s future is in your hands and you can be a hero. If you do it right, you can break the cult of handwringing, backroom PC executives who think they own you. As for the future (and your legacy) here are my suggestions: • Don’t actively raise big-ticket campaign contributions. You do not need the funds to win. You certainly do not need the patronage required to raise funds in some circles. This is a great opportunity to get rid of the handwringers that populate the upper echelons of your party. • Reduce the civil service. Target a 20% reduction. There are enough fat cats in the service who will take early retirement to eat-up a great deal of the 20%. And their pay in retirement is already funded. It is a double winwin situation. • Commit to major funding to build schools. In addition to capital expenditures, make additional funds available for teachers and curriculum. School budgets have been an easy target. School boards have made some poor decisions. The result has been a decline in education. Our children are our future … you should be investing in them. 18 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
• Commit to a better health care system. Make sure the 20% reduction in civil service administration applies to health care. There isn’t a person in this province who thinks our health care services are all right. They are much worse than that. Without health, there is no future. At present, it seems your party has missed that point. • Spend money on infrastructure. Again, every person in this province understands the need for better transportation systems. If you ask where, your problem will be prioritizing suggestions in an order that makes sense. Road systems as they currently exist are problematic; and, they get worse every day. • Commit to affordable housing. This can be done in an innocuous way. Partnering with private industry, your government can be a catalyst for affordable housing. Perhaps with modest tax breaks, interest breaks (or whatever), your government can advantage lower income citizens caught in an advancing economy. Now I am aware I’m recommending spending when you are worried about balancing a budget. With respect, you are thinking short-term. I am thinking long-term. If you don’t get on a long-term track, you will be short-term thinking forever. Have a look at your party’s record over the past 20 years. Virtually every significant news piece deals with budgets. Not enough money for “this;” not enough money for “that.” You can substitute whatever you want for “this and that” … the message is still the same. The price of oil declines, you announce all options are on the table. No they are not … your options only cover “this and that.” You missed all the options that might affect our future. Importantly, you even missed the option of injecting funds into the economy to cover the lull in otherwise good times. I’m back to where I started. You have a chance to make a big difference to our future. Please take it. BiC
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Housing First leads to financial savings By David Parker
Calgary Police Service Deputy Chief Trevor Daroux
o some they are just statistics, but to the members of the Calgary Police Service, the people behind the 130,000 social disorder calls attended each year are real people with real stories. The sad reality is that when officers respond to complaints of public intoxication, urination or panhandling, they often find themselves speaking with the same individuals over and over. Individuals who lack the ability, or opportunity, to improve their situations. “The pattern is predictable, whether the cause is a tragic incident, or an undiagnosed mental health issue, we find individuals often ‘self-medicate’ to ease the pain. This selfmedicating leads to addictions, supporting addictions often leads to criminality, criminality then falls into the justice system, and the cycle continues … unless we find a way out, we will continue to deal with the problem in a manner that doesn’t serve our vulnerable, nor create a lasting solution. Predictable is preventable,” says Calgary Police Service Deputy Chief Trevor Daroux.
That’s why Deputy Chief Daroux got behind the Housing First model and became an active member of the RESOLVE Cabinet, a group of community leaders who are intent on helping to create affordable housing for 3,000 vulnerable and homeless citizens. “Isolated programs of care will not solve the problem. We need a comprehensive system of care to resolve homelessness, and police are only one part of that system. “We’ve seen the successes through the Housing First model already,” Daroux says. Data collected through Calgary’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness has shown that clients have decreased public system use, which results in not only financial savings but also serves to reduce victimization and enhances quality of life: * 63.3% reduction in interactions with EMS * 67% reduction in emergency room visits * 82% reduction in days in hospital * 63% reduction in interactions with police * 81% reduction in days in jail “RESOLVE is a unique, made-in-Calgary collaboration of community and business leaders committed to making a difference in the lives of our less fortunate.” The RESOLVE partnership is made up of nine leading social service agencies to raise funds to create affordable and supported rental housing. This critical response to solving the multitude of relatively minor offences will have a big impact on the perception of public safety and the cost to policing. Each of the 80,000 public-generated calls for service, and 30,000 officer-generated calls for service related to social disorder, requires a police response. This is a cost that can be mitigated when the root cause of the problems are addressed. Housing is the first and most critical step to resolving the costs, issues and concerns around homelessness. Together we can make a difference.
RESOLVE is a partnership of nine leading social service agencies with one simple goal: building affordable rental housing for 3,000 homeless and vulnerable Calgarians. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re working directly with government, business and community leaders to put roofs over heads and end homelessness in Calgary. Learn more at RESOLVECalgary.ca
Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like to recognize our Cabinet of business and community leaders for helping make RESOLVE a reality. Honorary Patrons: Dick & Lois Haskayne Steve Snyder Betty Ann Smith
Alan Norris, Chair John Brussa Trevor Daroux Stephanie Felesky Randy Findlay Charlie Fischer Jim Gray
Bob Hamilton Tim Hearn Craig Hill Ken King Sam Kolias Ann McCaig Grit McCreath
Bill Sembo Michelle Thrush Mac Van Wielingen Chris Wallace Jay Westman
THE EVOLUTION OF WORKFORCE PLACEMENT Matrix Labour Leasing Ltd. the source for skilled staff
orn and raised in Rexton, New Brunswick, Shannon Warren moved to Vancouver in the late 1990s to work as a house framer. A few years later, in the early 2000s, he relocated to Calgary for something the city is famous for – job opportunities. Today, job opportunities form the framework of Warren’s business, Matrix Labour Leasing Ltd., a full-service human resource company. Founded in 2002, Matrix grew from the ground up. Warren was working on the SAIT Polytechnic Heritage Hall project when his employer asked him to source more local carpenters. “Having lived in Calgary for a couple of years at that time, I knew a few guys,” says Warren. “When the workers I recruited came on to the project, the company asked me to handle the billing for their hours.” It was a new experience for Warren, but it didn’t take him long to recognize the need for such a service for other construction companies. “It just made sense to turn the concept into a business,” he adds. Nearly 13 years later, Matrix has become a trusted source of skilled trades for firms across Canada. The company has connected workers with contractors for iconic projects such as the West LRT Calgary transit line, the southeast leg of the Calgary Ring Road, and the BHP Jansen potash project in Saskatchewan. Now, Matrix has launched a powerful, robust, online community called Matrix Connect. It’s a social media-like platform that has streamlined the way employers and jobseekers can connect, with a simplified one-click application process, improving engagement and accessibility, and reducing costs for employers, who are increasingly reporting that they’re hiring the right candidate for the right job. Matrix’s success stems from its it’s full-service approach, taking care of human resource matters from end to end, including payroll, workers’ compensation management, wage negotiation and benefits. “Our business model is very appealing to clients,” says Warren. “They may not have time to worry about HR details for large or concurrent projects.” Matrix primarily focuses on the construction industry, but recently the company saw opportunities to expand into the prolific Alberta oil and gas sector, giving rise to Align Staffing. “We are fully set up to service oil and gas clients,” Warren explains. “We have tried-and-true quality controls in place to ensure the employees we send to clients meet their exact needs.” Align’s approach is focused on safety and training for employees, and establishing quality communication channels between staff and employers. What’s more, Align is a proud member of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and the Northeastern Alberta Aboriginal Business Association. Of equal importance, Align has established relationships with key opinion leaders and First Nation members of influence across Canada to recruit, train and place First Nations, Metis and Inuit people in progressive apprenticeships and professional disciplines. Matrix’s internal database includes more than 10,000 skilled tradespeople and the company handles background checks, safety training and whatever else employees need to perfectly match clients’ requirements. “We are big on safety, training and technology,” says Warren. “Workers can come to us and find job opportunities and education in one place.” Matrix is innovative in its approach to attracting and retaining the very best staff, offering incentives such as RRSP programs and tuition reimbursements through Merit Contractors Association. The company celebrated a milestone year in 2013, ranking on both the Fast Growth 50 and PROFIT 500 lists of fastest-growing companies. To top it off, Warren was named one of Business in Calgary’s Leaders of Tomorrow for 2013. The company’s 12th annual Stampede party in 2014 raised $9,000 for the Children’s Wish Foundation, plus more than $10,000 the year previous. “Ten thousand dollars is about the cost of granting one child a wish through the foundation, so we set that as our goal,” says Warren. The company also hosts regular fundraisers during the winter holiday season. “It’s our corporate culture I’m most proud of,” concludes Warren. “We look after our clients and our workers, and we give back to our city, too.”
For more information, please visit www.matrixlabourleasing.com or contact Shannon Warren, President & CEO, at 403.201.9520 x 202.
off the top • News
Amphitheatre Plaza rendering. Photo courtesy of CMLC.
East Village 2015 Outlook CMLC ushers ‘the year of the resident’ into East village
Ever since Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) unveiled the master plan for East Village in 2009, citizens have watched in awe as Calgary’s newest, oldest, coolest, warmest neighbourhood has taken shape. Between then and now, CMLC has checked a long list of achievements off of their to-do list. They elevated streets and upgraded infrastructure. They restored heritage buildings and installed public art that infuses the area with colour and intrigue. They forged links to neighbouring communities with the 4th Street Underpass, the Elbow River Traverse and the new St. Patrick’s Bridge. They have completed two of RiverWalk’s four kilometres of pathways and gathering places. They orchestrated a deal to turn the legendary King Eddy into the National Music Centre, paired the Simmons Building with a trio of local food and beverage superstars and added several enthralling chapters to the new Central Library story. They have sold land and built strategic deals
24 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
with several different developers that will open the door to around 2,400 new residential units and an exciting mix of urban-style and village-style retail. Over $2.4 billion of planned investment has been attracted to the area and more is coming.
the Momentum Continues into 2015 While most would say CMLC’s achievements to date have been impressive, the milestones planned for the year ahead will be nothing less than historic. More than any of the initiatives to date, they will bring vibrancy and human energy to a neighbourhood poised to redefine ‘inner-city living’ in Calgary: • 2015 will very much be ‘The Year of the Resident’ in East Village as two new condominium towers welcome upwards of 800 homeowners – the first big contingent among the master plan vision of 11,000 residents
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different in a good way.
Victoria Vancouver Airport Burnaby Kelowna Kamloops accentinns.com
• With the sale of Block R at the southeast corner of 7 Avenue and 5 Street SE, CMLC is thrilled to welcome a new development partner to East Village: Cidex Developments Ltd. will develop the neighbourhood’s first residential rental project at an estimated value of $100 million • A dramatically revitalized natural treasure – St. Patrick’s Island – will open this summer after four intensive years of planning and construction • In August, a food emporium will open in the Simmons Building – a major step toward creating the ‘active waterfront area’ described in the East Village master plan • This fall, RioCan Investment Trust will initiate their construction program on the urban-style shopping centre that will bring Loblaws (and numerous other esteemed retailers) to East Village • East Village development partners Embassy Bosa and Knightsbridge Homes will each introduce a new residential program that expands product mix and attracts new demographics and new interest to the neighbourhood • Rapid progress on the new Central Library will continue as LRT encapsulation work is finalized, the process for the selection and integration of public art for the building is announced and, in the fall, ground is broken for the building itself • Next month, CMLC will begin a 14-month base building improvement program on the St. Louis Hotel to ready the historical asset for its future within the community • Finally, CMLC will acquire the Cecil Hotel site and will describe its future development opportunity within the framework of the community’s master plan vision. “Our ambitions for 2015 – all of them fully achievable – are evidence of the momentum we’ve created here in East Village,” says Michael Brown, president and CEO, CMLC. “In our early days, the East Village master plan was met with some skepticism; now, I think it’s safe to say that our approach has worked. The construction cranes in the neighbourhood tell a convincing story about our successful rejuvenation to this community and we are very proud of that.” Last January, CMLC described a strategy to sell a parcel of land for the purpose of building residential rental product within the community. In January the organization announced the sale of a 24,000- square-foot parcel of land to Calgary-based developer Cidex Developments Ltd. Cidex Developments Ltd. is planning the development of a 221-unit, 28-storey residential rental complex that will see the introduction of family-oriented three-bedroom apartments to the community. “This community represents the future of downtown living,” says Abed Itani, president of Cidex Developments Ltd. “It is inclusive, accessible and attractive to young families who want to have an urban living experience. Our project introduces three-bedroom units and childcare services to the community which I view as critical to the overall health and sustainability of the community.” “Abed and his team are delivering on our marketing strategy to broaden the residential opportunities within the community,” explains Susan Veres, VP marketing and communications, CMLC. “This community aspires to be the most desirable of inner-city communities and for us to achieve our goal, we need to offer a range of products to appeal to all market segments: professionals, empty nesters and young families.” Imagined as a mixed-use, amenity-rich, master-planned neighbourhood in the downtown core, East Village will be home to more than 11,000 residents upon completion in 2027. With local amenities like RiverWalk, St. Patrick’s Island, the new Central Library, National Music Centre and an urban shopping centre, East Village has become a highly desirable neighbourhood in Calgary’s downtown core. BiC
26 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
URBANOMICS | Urban Development Discussion
Wish List What DO homeowners want? |
BY JOHN HARDY
f home ownership is still the dream, then why does it sometimes seem so complicated? Unfortunately, the blunt, no-minced answer is – urbanomics. Municipal planners and officials – responsible for portioning out and selling off lots and parcels of land, servicing the land with everything from sewers, water and utilities to garbage collection, granting building permits and setting property tax rates – do what they have determined is best. Developers and builders are in business and they project and calculate their costs for building the homes, the buildings and the plazas on the land and what sale price points the market will pay. It all sounds like simple math and straightforward formulas. Of course it’s not. Urbanomics is often a hopeless casualty of theories versus realities, strategy versus logic, facts versus opinions, differing points of view and attitude. But there’s hope! 28 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
“There have been many, many meetings and communication is happening,” is the cautious gut-feel, from respected Calgary executive Guy Huntingford, CEO of the Urban Development Institute (UDI), representing a vast majority of Calgary’s residential developers. “Differences in opinion, posturing and standoffs can’t continue indefinitely. And they won’t. It impacts Calgary’s economy and Calgary’s reputation. With about 40,000 new people coming to Calgary every year, we must not allow that to happen. “Eventually, developers and administrators must collaborate. It is the only solution for the community,” he urges with impartial professionalism. “Developers must understand and support the city’s operating capital budget and the municipality must allow innovative ideas from developers.” Huntingford acknowledges valid issues on both sides. But he suggests that, from any perspective, municipalities must make their goals and objectives based on realities
“The situation is changing. There is more and more recognition that we need to have a carefully crafted balance. It’s a basic business fact, not unique to the Calgary market, that developers “The answer may be for the city being more open and moving forward with will notadditional build something that won’tinsell.” approvals and allowing lands to be serviced all quadrants.” ~ Cam Hart
and that development is a complex and messy business. By unfair and summarized definition, the conflicting urbanomics is about the city and its approved Municipal Development Plan (MDP) strategies and goals versus developers with exasperated concerns about land availability and the artificially inflated cost of land causing inadequate choice and unaffordable homes. The interesting (and encouraging) factor, as Huntingford points out, is that the two factions are at least talking “with” each other, instead of “about” each other. “They are meeting and starting to deal with some of the key issues. “As a strictly objective business fact, there must be access to affordable land for developers to build homes in-line with the realities of the marketplace. Why is the same lot in Edmonton $60,000 less than in Calgary? The city’s growth management strategy has not worked and has caused a freeze-frame of approvals.” Guy Huntingford He grins and speaks with optimism. “The situation is changing. There is more and more recognition that we need to have a carefully crafted balance. It’s a basic business fact, not unique to the Calgary market, that developers will not build something that won’t sell.” On the flip side is the city’s commitment to the MDP/ Plan It Calgary, the urban master plan passed by council in 2009, charting how the city will evolve and develop to accommodate an expected 1.5 million more Calgarians in the next 40 years. The city’s stance is complex and driven by various sustainability and environmental goals and targets. While it does include some single-family, inner-city development, the prime focus is overwhelmingly on highdensity development, mostly tied in to rapid-transit access. Huntingford explains that ongoing discussions about “a carefully crafted balance” include all urbanomics touchy topics like building-up versus building-out, home affordability and
choice, sustainability and urban growth based on need and fiscal capacity not only planning ideology. He points out that choice is sometimes overlooked but is a vital aspect for consumers. “Like the cliché about Henry Ford and the Model T! It came in your choice of colour, as long as your choice was black. When it comes to home buying, the consumer wants affordability and lifestyle choices. It’s a business fact! Artificially restricting land availability and restricting choice restricts affordability.” He cites random good examples of the carefully crafted balance in some Calgary communities where residents (consumers) live and work in the community. It’s not always possible but it is the ultimate solution. Like Seton in south Calgary – the booming, diverse and amenity-rich community where people can work and live. And Keystone – the first Calgary area development approved under the new Municipal Development Plan that incorporates numerous sustainability objectives. Whether it’s land availability, choice and affordability or sustainability targets, Guy Huntingford, the consummate Calgary booster and savvy business realist, refers to the ultimate consumer housing factor: supply and demand. He highlights findings of a recent RBC-Pembina Home Location Study that surveyed the top reasons why people chose where they live: • the vast majority (79 per cent) of homebuyers selected to live where they do based on the cost of the home. • 54 per cent of residents still choose walkability, short commutes and access to rapid transit, even if it cost more to own or rent and they had to trade off size for convenience. • 44 per cent preferred a more spacious home and yard for a lower home price despite having to drive to most destinations. And Calgary developers and the city are talking about it… BiC
businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY March 2015 • 29
East Village It’s colossal and exciting.
t’s a massive, brilliantly designed and meticulously crafted inner-city jigsaw puzzle. It’s staggeringly complex, detailed, involved and impressive. Arranging the many, many pieces and seamlessly fitting them into place is a mind-bogglingly tricky and enormous manoeuvre. And like other huge and sprawling jigsaw puzzles, it’s tough to judge and get a true feeling for the big picture while just random pieces are being put into place. More and more pieces fit together and gradually take shape until the intricate and detailed, complete picture starts to appear. That’s the status of the colossal, exciting, brilliantly designed mega-project that is Calgary’s East Village. The occasional challenge is that the East Village project is so diverse and unique that it is often difficult to neatly define. It is
Music Centre, a new Calgary Central Library, a 303-room Hilton Hotel, the $70-million 4th Street SE Underpass which links East Village to the beltline communities and Stampede Park, stunning condos, restaurants, retail and the historic Simmons Building and St. Louis Hotel. East Village will be home for 11,500 residents and a popular Calgary destination for everyone. The uniqueness of East Village is also an interesting dilemma for East Village. Until this summer, because the exciting project is so gigantic, complex and technical – from the necessary engineering, infrastructure planning, construction and other components such as tearing down dilapidated eyesores, digging up streets and sidewalks, replacing sewage pipes and upgrading utilities, laying the foundation for a district energy system/an ecologically friendly heating system that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and provide integrated energy planning, raising roads excavating underpasses and creating pedestrian-friendly streetscapes with wide sidewalks, state-of-the-art lighting and even public furniture – the average passerby really hasn’t seen ‘a visual.’ As of this summer, it is already much different in the East Village. It’s still a massive work-in-progress project but, this year more than the previous eight (CMLC started East Village in 2007), more and more pieces of the giant puzzle are taking shape and the big picture is starting to appear. “People often ask me, ‘when will it be completed?’ But I just smile. This was never meant to be a sprint. It’s a complicated and challenging development marathon,” explains Susan Veres, the upbeat and high-energy dynamo who is vice president, marketing and communications, at the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation
“People often ask me, ‘when will it be completed?’ But I just smile. This was never meant to be a sprint. It’s a complicated and challenging marathon.” ~ Susan Veres
a vibrant, mixed-use, inner-city neighbourhood – an urban village and quickly becoming one of the most dynamic areas in Calgary. This master-planned urban community will be a dazzling, enjoyable and ultimate people place. The 49-acre East Village project consists of four character areas: Gateway, The Crossing, River’s Edge and Parkside. Each area has its own personality and design features, and development is occurring with each area’s unique geography, history and suitability in mind. When it’s all done (which is sooner than you might imagine) the combined area will boast features like the natural appeal and enjoyment of St. Patrick’s Island and the Bow River, the National
(CMLC), the wholly-owned land development corporation with a “Additionally, we are breaking ground and starting construction 20-year mandate to create and develop East Village. “It’s human of the neighbourhoods’ urban shopping centre and the new Central nature. People always get excited when they see a crane, a hole, Library. There will be many more announcements and with the construction activity and things taking shape. But with East Village, progress of the community well underway, we are putting up our it’s not that simple. hands for more work from the City.” “In the first two years of project start-up (2007-2009) our heads Veres and her focused CMLC team consider patience as a key were down as we were focused entirely on cementing our vision when it comes to the details and planning as well as the pressures for the community and then assembling and servicing our land of schedules and deadlines to be routine aspects of their jobs. In her parcels. We were focused entirely on infrastructure planning professional and personal life, Veres is a gung-ho but unmistakable and construction. Now, many of the infrastructure programs triple-A personality and amusedly chuckles about the pace. that were called out as being critical to the vision are wrapping “You have to have a certain passion for this kind of work. You up. Around the community today, there is much activity, visible can wish your life away, anxious for things to go well and happen progress and construction underway; we seem to be in the stage yesterday,” she points out. “But there are so very many factors, of public announcements, openings and unveilings and community variables and circumstances which need to be considered and fall programming,” Veres says with enthusiasm. into line. It takes years to see something through to completion. We Calgary is strong. so is East where Calgary founded She is a passionate boosterAnd of all-things-East VillageVillage, and easily the have aplace terrific team of professionals in our was organization and we have cites examples the exciting that is the East all a lot about today. being patient. But there is something very andspecific where theoffuture ofuniqueness downtown living is learned being built Village progress. “We added permanent art, built pedestrian and gratifying and deeply rewarding about seeing a project, of this scale, cyclist connectors, delivered the 4th Street Underpass, serviced through to fruition.” Since 2006, Master Developer CMLC has led the transformation of East Village, and flood-proofing was and sold our land parcels to capable developers who are executing Even Veres, who will likely eat and breathe East Village for the an integral part of the master plan – in the past five years, we’ve raised the floodplain by up to four feet. our vision. next dozen or so years, shrugs and smiles that in 2045 (about 30 That investment this summer: twofrom major sustained little or “Thisimportant year we will open St Patrick’s paid Island,off the Simmons Building our years now) residential Calgarians willprojects be enjoying the pathways along no damage, construction continues. pride atthe the efforts of our and our down community retail project andand the first two condominium projects (of Our the planned Bow River and on St.neighbours Patrick’s Island, looking from the 15 individual within thecommitment area). This is a very yearthebalcony of plan their luxury East condo, doing is term papers in knows no projects bounds. Our to important delivering master vision of Village the community intact and for our company, and in many ways, it represents the start of a new the new Central Library or leaving a concert at the National Music our resolve is unwavering. We look forward to welcoming you to the newest, oldest, coolest, warmest era as we welcome new residents to the community. Centre, assuming East Village has always been there. Or has it?
Relief. Recovery. Resolve.
neighbourhood in town.
INSPIRING COMMUNITIES TO BUILD, GROW AND BELIEVE. FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT CALGARYMLC.CA OR CALL 403.718.0300. east village® is a trademark owned by Calgary Municipal Land Corporation.
off the top • News
Calgary Champions Recognized Meetings + Conventions Calgary recognizes local Calgary Champions
Left to right: Jennifer Attersall (MCC), Cody Parish, Richard Roberts, Julien DeSchutter, Richard Gotfried and Peter Gregus (MCC).
Meetings + Conventions Calgary (MCC) hosted the inaugural Calgary Champion recognition event on Thursday, January 29, 2015. This event connected over 35 leaders from a diverse array of key Calgary associations and industries. Focused on bringing together current and new Champions, the dinner sparked networking within the Calgary Champion community. Calgary Champions are leaders in their industry who encourage the selection of Calgary as a host city for a national or international conference. The MCC Champion Program matches local leaders with MCC’s resources, resulting in competitive bids to bring industry conferences to Calgary. Four Calgary Champions with events that have been held in the city’s primary meeting venues (the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre or the Calgary Stampede) were celebrated for their success in securing and hosting a conference in Calgary. Going forward, this annual event will be held to recognize individuals and organizations that have championed events to the city. 32 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
Calgary Champion Success Stories: Richard Roberts, the Praxis Group Champion for the 33rd Annual Conference of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA), which welcomed 1,100 delegates to Calgary in May 2013. Richard Roberts steered the local host committee with the Western and Northern Canada Chapter of IAIA. The forum provided an opportunity for advancing innovation and communication of best practices to further the development of local, regional and global capacity in impact assessment. Julien DeSchutter, formerly Calgary Airport Authority Champion for the 21st Annual Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) Conference and Exhibition, held in September 2012 with 900 delegates from 50 countries. In 2008, Calgary won the bid to host this event based on the collective efforts of Calgary Airport Authority, Tourism Calgary, Calgary TELUS Convention Centre and the Calgary Stampede. The ACI-NA Annual Conference and Exhibition is the premier event for airport industry professionals to
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Spruce Meadows Tr SE
Stoney Tr SE (Hwy 22X) 194th Ave SE 210th Ave SE
Tr S od
network with leaders in the airport industry and to learn about the latest and most innovative products and services in the industry. Cody Parrish, on behalf of the World Petroleum Council (WPC) Youth Committee Champion for the 4th Annual World Petroleum Youth Forum, which in September 2013 hosted 1,600 of the world’s brightest young minds in Calgary. To secure the event, five young professionals from Calgary’s energy industry volunteered their talents and travelled to the 2011 WPC Congress in Qatar to formally present their bid to the WPC executive committee. The WPC is the world’s premier oil and gas organization, with over 65 member countries representing over 95 per cent of global oil and gas production. Richard Gotfried on behalf of Wayne Chiu, Trico Charitable Foundation Champion for the 6th Annual Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF), an international gathering which welcomed over 750 industry leaders and change makers to Calgary in October 2013. The event was hosted by the Trico Charitable Foundation, in partnership with the Social Enterprise Council of Canada, the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, Social Innovation Generation, and the Canadian Community Economic Development Network. The SEWF promotes social enterprise throughout the world and leads the social enterprise movement. Meetings + Conventions Calgary operates as a sales and marketing organization with a mandate to assist meeting planners, corporate clients and association executives interested in Calgary as a prime location for their meetings, conventions and incentive programs. BiC
businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY March 2015 • 33
the Slump • Oil & Gas
Slump Professional hunches versus gloom and doom
>>> <<< BY JOhN harDY
Savvy oil and gas insiders are cautious because they have been there before and survived various industry mood swings, up cycles, down cycles and baffling flat cycles.
here’s a buzz about oil prices – from the cubicles in Bankers Hall, the merchants of Chinook Centre, over appetizers and cocktails at Earls Tin Palace and (where it counts) in the boardrooms in Eighth Avenue Place. The oil and gas industry and the leaders who guide their companies through sunny days and still waters as well as stormy weather and turbulence don’t have the knee-jerk luxury of some media. The steady and stable leadership strategy is a stark contrast to the conventional media stereotype that negative, bad news gets headlines and positive, good news rarely gets a mention. Since late last fall, the momentum of media attention 34 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
and scrutiny has worked overtime about the sky-is-falling sagging prices possibly causing slowdowns, shutdowns, layoffs and other negative navel-gazing gloom and doom but there is widespread industry hesitation to consider it a crisis – just yet. Savvy oil and gas insiders are cautious because they have been there before and survived various industry mood swings, up cycles, down cycles and baffling flat cycles. There’s a significant disconnect between expert – industry and analyst – interpretation and Canadian and Calgary consumer opinion about slumping oil prices. “Canadians are divided on whether falling oil prices is bad
>>> <<< the Slump • Oil & Gas
forum respondents were asked whether [crude oil below US$45] is good or bad for the economy…
thought it was good for the economy
said they thought it was bad for the economy.
When asked whether low oil prices were good for them personally…
thought it was good
who thought it was bad.
said low oil prices were good for them personally
for the economy. When it comes to their own personal lives, they believe it’s good news,” says Lorne Bozinoff, president and founder of Forum Research, which conducted a revealing late-January poll about Canadian opinions about oil prices. “With crude oil below US$45 and gasoline selling for less than $1 a litre at the pumps, Forum respondents were asked whether it is good or bad for the economy. Forty-six per cent thought it was good for the economy, while 42 per
saying it was bad.
Lorne Bozinoff, PhD president and founder of Forum Research.
36 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
cent said they thought it was bad for the economy. “When asked whether low oil prices were good for them personally, 79 per cent thought it was good, compared with 16 per cent who thought it was bad. Among Albertans, 54 per cent said low oil prices were good for them personally, compared with 41 per cent saying it was bad,” Bozinoff explains. “They are differentiating two things – themselves and the country. They do realize we have a resource-based economy.”
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the Slump • Oil & Gas
Mac H. Van Wielingen, founder of ARC Resources, ARC Energy Trust and co-founder of ARC Financial Corp. Photo by Ewan Nicholson Photo Video.
Scott Saxberg, president and CEO of Crescent Point Energy. Photo by Ewan Nicholson Photo Video.
Industry watchers have several speculation angles, particularly after almost five years of good times. America’s increasing supply. The world’s sagging demand. The strong U.S. dollar. Or the likely but politically-denied price war being waged by the Saudis against Russia, Iran, the U.S. and others. And the blunt bottom line: with $900 billion in reserves and $5-6 per barrel costs to get out of the ground, low oil prices are not a problem for the Saudis. Since oil price is partly determined by actual supply and demand and partly by expectations, global logic about the slump includes low demand due to weak economic activity, increased efficiency and the stealth but steady transition from oil to other possibly viable fuels. Also the factor of ongoing volatile conditions in Iraq and Libya – both huge oil producers with nearly four million barrels a day, combined. The U.S. is becoming the world’s largest oil producer and the domino effect shows that, although Americans tend not to export crude, they now import much less, creating a lot of spare supply. Business in Calgary sampled the responses and insights of three respected industry professionals who speak from valuable experience and much expertise. Mac H. Van Wielingen is an iconic oil and gas industry insider and founder of ARC Resources, ARC Energy Trust and co-founder of ARC Financial Corp. He is considered one of Canada’s leading financial experts in the energy 38 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
Keith Schaefer, editor and publisher of the independent Oil and Gas Investments Bulletin.
sector with more than three decades of investment research, corporate finance and direct investment experience. Scott Saxberg is as close to an oil business “phenom” as the industry may get. He is the dynamic and driven-byresults, 47-year-old founder, president and chief executive officer of Crescent Point Energy. Widely acclaimed as a visionary, Saxberg openly admits that a key part of his company’s long-term strategy is “to be steady, solid, well positioned and patient, because downturns can often be huge opportunities.” Keith Schaefer is the plugged-in oil and gas expert and editor and publisher of the authoritative and independent Oil and Gas Investments Bulletin. He is widely respected for his oilpatch savvy, his contacts and his industry expertise. “Yes prices had been stable and relatively high,” agrees Van Wielingen. “The global economy and demand were expanding, production outages constrained total supply, except for the growth in oil shale in the U.S. and oilsands in Canada. Shale was the surprise. Stable high prices combined with easy low-cost credit in the U.S. fuelled the oil shale boom.” Scott Saxberg also acknowledges the past five or more boom years. “Large swing cycles were driven by changes in technology, politics as well as smaller bands of volatility within those cycles. We are a commodity. Like any other commodity, there is a supply-and-demand balance that fluctuates based on a variety of factors including access
the Slump • Oil & Gas
Business in Calgary sampled the responses and insights of three respected industry professionals who speak from valuable experience
<<< and much expertise.
to capital, technology, costs, politics and the overall growth in the global economy.” Van Wielingen suggests a resolution that may also result in a changed industry. “There is an always present cyclical element relating to the macroeconomy and commodity cycles. The commodity cycles are usually characterized by excessive inventories and then demand weakens, often in tandem with a slowing of world economic growth. Prices fall and a correction commences. I think this time may be different. Sorry! Although there are cyclical elements to this downturn, the difference is the response to the cumulative impact of new drilling and completion technologies like horizontal and multi-frac. Capital spending will collapse, drilling and many companies will collapse. The new technologies will continue to advance along a learning curve with better results and ever higher efficiencies.” Even oil industry insiders can’t be certain whether this is a price war or a global economy game of chicken.
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the Slump • Oil & Gas
>>> <<< “Any positive news on infrastructure additions to
access global markets could provide some much-needed optimism. It could be one to three years but in less than a year, the depth of this gloom will have abated.” ~ Mac Van Wielingen
“They both have strong arguments,” Schaefer winces and shrugs. “I personally believe it’s a price war but the geopolitical that could result are potential regime changes in Russia, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. No doubt about it. The ramifications of what’s happening are very interesting.” Van Wielingen also feels it could be a bit of both. “There is a form of a price war raging. The Saudis have said that they have had enough and will no longer play the swing producer role and cut production to make room for U.S. shale in order to hold the price. Instead, they are letting the market allocation process work.” Saxberg is positive about an ultimate resolution. “There are lots of theories about market share versus the U.S. or pushing other OPEC members to cut share in a supply cut or global political factors. I don’t believe Saudi cares where the supply correction comes from; the quicker and the lower prices fall the longer the period of stability we will have coming out of this. This cycle will highlight the U.S.’s weakness in their ability to grow unconventional oil and gas, which will ultimately create a more stable price environment for the longer term.” “If this price drop is about geopolitics, I think we’re here for two years,” according to Schaefer. “If it’s a price war, I think it’s one year. But if it is a price war, the global oil price comes down to how fast and how much the U.S. industry cuts back production.”
Although all three knowledgeable industry experts and insiders are leery about guesswork and crystal-ball gazing, they have professional opinions about time-frame. “Any positive news on infrastructure additions to access global markets could provide some much-needed optimism,” Van Wielingen explains. “It could be one to three years but in less than a year, the depth of this gloom will have abated.” Saxberg details that “a declining rig count coupled with lower access to capital will ultimately dictate how quick of a response we see. The North Dakota Basin, which is one of the largest and most mature unconventional plays in the U.S., will provide the earliest indication of that supply change. After this correction, we’ll have another five- to six-year period of strong energy prices, with periods of short-term volatility, similar to previous cycles.” Somewhere between crapshoot and a dartboard is the insider guess about actual prices by the end of 2015. Mac Van Wielingen: “In the US$50 to $60 range and even some periodic spikes to higher prices.” Keith Schaefer: “US$65, WTI.” Scott Saxberg: “I can see a scenario on the low end in the high US$60s with the potential for higher prices – above US$80 if North Dakota production falls prior to mid-2015.” BiC
businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY March 2015 • 41
2015 house-hunting, Calgary-Style • Real Estate
Calgary-Style Stats, numbers and moods BY cOLLEEN WaLLacE
t’s only been about three months but the most optimistic of Calgary optimists are comparing notes and crunching numbers with the most realistic of Calgary realists to achieve some level of balance and feel about trends and the actual 2015 Calgary housing situation. According to the newest (fourth quarter) version of the Royal LePage (RLP) House Price Survey and Market
42 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
Survey Forecast, Calgary is strong and good and, despite some obvious and temporary blips of lukewarm, Calgary is hot. The Royal LePage survey summarizes that Calgary real estate continues to bloom, despite the sudden oil price slump, mostly due to incredibly high demand and limited inventory.
2015 house-hunting, Calgary-Style • Real Estate
• Prices for detached bungalows rose 9.1 per cent over Q4 2013 to an average of $511,889. • Two-storey homes rose in price by 8.5 per cent over Q4 2013 to $500,320.
Calgary Realtor Ted Zaharko, broker and owner of Royal LePage Foothills.
“The Calgary market was
• Standard condos rose in price
one of the hottest in the
by 9.1 per cent over Q4 2013
country, with all three major
to an average of $311,644.
housing categories seeing near double-digit price growth
“The Calgary market was one of the hottest in the country, with all three major housing categories seeing near doubledigit price growth over this time last year,” according to gregarious and seasoned Calgary realtor Ted Zaharko, broker and owner of Royal LePage Foothills.
over this time last year.” ~ Ted Zaharko
businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY March 2015 • 43
2015 house-hunting, Calgary-Style • Real Estate
Rick Titan Coaching YOU to be Unstoppable. It’s great being powerful and successful in your chosen areas of life! Sometimes, however, there can be a shortfall in another area. Most times – we try to just tough it out or ignore it. “I did that for a year after my sports career and life crashed and burned. I then realized that I had some inner challenges that just weren’t going to go away.” “I needed new information. Just like when I couldn’t get past a hump in the gym, or a slump in sales, just having someone ‘listen’ did not achieve results. I needed a results-oriented coach.” In order to: • Drop your stress levels • Stop having blowouts • Let go of a loved one • Or just stop feeling unwell The ‘Unstoppable System’ is a solution-based system used to eliminate negativity, and to feel unburdened and in power again.
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“There’s still a structural imbalance between the availability of homes and number of eager homebuyers. The discrepancy is almost entirely between supply and demand and explains why we saw such aggressive price appreciation last year. “Inventory availability remains a major issue across the city, as frustrated buyers are chasing a limited number of homes. The one exception is condominiums, where new units are being built at a faster rate,” he explains. The RLP number crunchers looked ahead to this year and, despite sudden broadsides like oil prices which may ultimately impact the market’s real estate activity, home prices are forecasted to grow thanks primarily to lingering supply-anddemand issues that Calgary continues to deal with. The Calgary real estate anomaly, as it is in every other Canadian market, is the apples-oranges overlap between real estate listings and sales activity and the housing trends and activities of what’s referred to as “new home starts” by area builders and developers. While similar numbers from the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB) continue strong into 2015, economists, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) and some area developers were cautioning that new home starts started to sag late last year and, particularly combined with a continuing oil price slump, may further discourage construction of new homes. Recent CMHC figures show that Calgary’s new home construction was up by nearly 40 per cent from the year
“There’s still a structural imbalance between the availability of homes and number of eager homebuyers. The discrepancy is almost entirely between .CNI STNEMPOLEVED
supply and demand and explains why we saw such aggressive price appreciation last year.”
...sraey 02 revo
2015 House-Hunting, Calgary-Style • Real Estate
~ Ted Zaharko
before. But late last year, according to CMHC stats, Calgary new home starts fell significantly, due largely to a sharp decline in both multi-family (condos) as well as singledetached new home construction. CMHC says total Calgary market new home starts may drop to 14,400 this year and to 12,800 next year. While nervous speculation still continues in this first quarter of 2015, oil prices slumped more than 40 per cent since mid2014. Economists caution that a dragged-out slump could also
www.rawlyk.com businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY March 2015 • 45
2015 house-hunting, Calgary-Style • Real Estate
significantly impact inter-provincial migration numbers which account for a major chunk of Calgary’s growth and demand for housing. “There are several reasons why the Calgary market is both unique and somewhat insulated from the rest of the country,” Zaharko points out. “Our Calgary resale inventory levels have been low for a long, long time. My colleagues agree that there are more multiple offer scenarios now than ever before. Buyers are out there and they are looking. “And it’s partly the media, trying to analyze the impact of the oil price situation, misleading buyers that people are dumping their homes. I assure you,” he says with a gruff laugh, “they are not! We have fewer listings and the prices are high. It’s all about choice! That’s the key. Some inventories are so low that buyers are forced to look outside, in the suburbs. Calgary bungalows are scarce as hen’s teeth.” The experienced Calgary-area Realtor notes the analogy that, compared to January and February 2014, not much has changed in resale real estate. No changes in prices. Inventories haven’t gone up. And prices are high and steady. “As an industry, we should focus and explain to buyers about median not average price.” He refers to the calculation of a home’s value. A median figure is the calculation where half the numbers are lower and half the numbers are higher. In the case of real estate, that means that the median is the price where half the homes sold that month were cheaper, and half were more expensive.
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46 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
“Yes, the recent price drop is worrisome. Of course the oilpatch has a direct and a significant indirect effect on life in Calgary, but we are a great city with a lot of things going for us,” Zaharko says with professional and personal pride.
2015 house-hunting, Calgary-Style • Real Estate
The average figure can be distorted and misleading, because it is simply a total list of prices, divided by the number of listings. If a couple of million-dollar homes sold in one area, it skews and throws off the actual average price. “Inventory availability remains a major issue across the city, as frustrated buyers are chasing a limited number of homes. The one exception is condos, which are being built at a higher rate,” Zaharko cites from the comprehensive RLP Forecast. Zaharko has been active in the dynamic Calgary real estate market for decades and as a proud and well-versed Calgarian he admits that oil is a major economic factor that impacts many facets of Calgary life. “Yes, the recent price drop is worrisome. Of course the oilpatch has a direct and a significant indirect effect on life in Calgary, but we are a great city with a lot of things going for us,” he says with professional and personal pride. “While we believe there may be some immediate impact on the local housing market in the form of slowed appreciation, there would need to be prolonged low oil prices for any spillover into the housing market to be significant.” The RLP Forecast also predicts that average prices for homes in Calgary will increase 2.4 per cent in 2015. “While we expect price rises may moderate in 2015, the upward trend we’ve seen over the past few years is unlikely to reverse without a meaningful increase in inventory,” Zaharko cautions. BiC
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online Contests are a Win-Win! • News
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ONLINE CONTESTS ARE A WIN-WIN! Calgary ingenuity clicks into the thrill
specially in the mind-boggling, digital and cyber age, most things change. Some changes come at warp speed. But some of the changes are based on the fact that, despite sophisticated technology, some things never change. Like people’s fascination and infatuation with the thrill, the fun and the wishful thinking of contests. As with so many brilliant and effective ideas for plugging into the limitless value and efficiency of technology, the initial spark of an idea or a premise may sound easy and irresistible. The logistics and execution of the brilliant and effective idea are the special skills that make it happen. The tsunami of technology ideas have struck the always dynamic and creative advertising industry, especially the gamut of advertising of consumer products and services. Advertisers are getting the point. They have resoundingly realized that the future (if not the present) of advertising and promotion is online. And when it comes to the popular options for online advertising and promotion, industry tracking and research has shown that neither traditional digital online or banner ads can deliver anywhere near the massive level of engagement that an effectively designed and implemented online contest sponsorship can. More and more clients and brands are convinced that online campaigns are not only solid and effective ways for messaging, but – if done right – online promotions and contests can deliver impressive ROIs and the new added-value bonus of capturing the staggering volumes of consumers who get involved with fresh, exciting, effectively targeted interactive advertising and promotional campaigns and particularly online contests. And when it comes to the latest brilliant and effective ideas taking the advertising and promotion world by storm – last May, CEO Rob Danard and COO partner Jay Cowles launched their brilliant idea, SPRIZA, which consolidates contests into an ingenious and publicly-traded company, Spriza Inc. (SPRZ). Danard and Cowles have not only created a spectacular social network site that is triggering a lot of consumer and industry buzz but some industry insiders and major advertisers are calling Spriza the Google of contests. “We have heard that and I can’t say it’s not flattering,” Danard grins. “But we are so much more. Yes, like Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter we are a subscriberdriven online global platform for contests. How Groupon is for coupons – Spriza is for contests.
48 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
online Contests are a Win-Win! • News
MBA JAY COWLES
“Yes, like Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter we are a subscriber-driven online global platform for contests. How Groupon is for coupons – Spriza is for contests.” ~Rob Danard “Online promotions are exploding and will soon eclipse traditional or online static advertising as the preferred method of choice. Advertisers are searching for alternatives to engage their audience with fresh and interactive strategies,” he notes. “Print or terrestrial ad contests cannot provide the level of engagement that a contest sponsorship can.” Contests are an essential way to integrate online with traditional advertising by using TV, radio, print and banner ads to promote the contest and the sponsor. He enthusiastically points out that the unique site has more than 100-plus contests at any given time and has had more than 5,000-plus contests since last summer’s launch. The company is paid directly through ad agencies or through a particular brand or advertiser. It also sits as an affiliate traffic driver, meaning it is driving commerce through merchandise sales, ticket sales, charity initiatives and subscriber downloads. From that, Danard explains Spriza gets a percentage of the sale amount. Spriza provides not only online contest participation but, for savvy advertisers and brands, strategically created online contests are proving to be a mega-effective competitive edge, enabling advertisers and brands to not only target but engage and lock-in a massive niche audience that online contests can help them accumulate. “Consumers access the Spriza contest through their mobile applications, which are available on iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Windows mobile operating systems, allowing consumers to not only browse, register and manage active contests but access past and closed contests, as well,” he says. “Visitors are required to register as a subscriber when they enter a contest and thereafter
What attracted me to the Haskayne MBA was the opportunity to further develop both professionally and personally. The unique aspects of the program have given me a fresh and diverse perspective on business. I have been challenged to push past my comfort zone and as a result, feel ready to take on new endeavors and leadership roles with confidence.”
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businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY March 2015 • 49
online Contests are a Win-Win! • News
will use Spriza as a portal to view all contests that are interesting to them.” The key difference between conventional online promotions and contests is technology which Spriza calls advocate marketing. “The bigger the advocate you are, the better your chances of winning,” he outlines the potent value of social messaging advocacy and referrals. He grins about Spriza being a viral version of the vintage shampoo TV commercial, “I told a friend, who told a friend, who told a friend…” Danard is excited about Spriza’s uniqueness, providing advertisers and brands with a powerful advocate platform. Like most innovative and creative technology thinkers, he makes it sound so straightforward. “Spriza publishes contest content through a variety of social media platforms, allowing for organic growth. Our website/mobile interface enables consumers to push notifications of contests to their personal social networks, causing the contest to grow exponentially. Thousands and tens of thousands of your target consumers help to spread the word about the brand and the contest campaign.” SPRIZA INC. CEO ROB DANARD AND COO JAY COWLES
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50 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
online Contests are a Win-Win! • News
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The Spriza logic and strategy offers incentives of added value for sharing and referring additional visitors (contest players) to the site and multiplies the numbers who are exposed to the contest. “Since Spriza also includes the enticement of winning a prize, and it has been proven that the average contest-player is prepared to share information as a routine part of the entry process. The winning experience drives our contests in a viral kind of way,” he explains with much enthusiasm. “The social contest page is organic and it keeps the database of referrals.” The site uses business intelligence (BI) captured through Spriza’s reporting engine. The advertiser or promoter (the business) can execute marketing strategies that capitalize on the captured consumer data, because Spriza’s reporting functionality provides detailed information about target audience behaviours and also valuable information about where their consumers are located online. “It combines to make for much more effective – and cost-effective – campaigns,” Rob Danard says, underscoring the value potential of online contest ROI. Spriza’s impact and appeal is impressive. Late last year the company announced that it entered into a contract with DoubleDown Interactive LLC to run a campaign for its DoubleDown Casino property, the highest grossing social game application on Facebook as well as the most shared game application. In addition to the tremendous global success of their brilliant and effective idea, Danard is openly proud of the Calgary connection. “We are aligning ourselves with some of the biggest brands in the world. It’s a great feeling. And it’s a great reflection of Calgary as an IT centre. There is wealth in Calgary, younger wealth. They may embrace IT more easily than oil and gas, and IT is probably a bigger part of their lives.” BiC
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businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY March 2015 • 51
Britt Land’s Midas Touch • Cover
Brittney Ramsay, and her father, Ray Ramsay, of Britt Land Services
Success in the people business of oil and gas BY JOHN HARDY | PHOTOS BY BOOKSTRUCKER PHOTOGRAPHY
ometimes the family business is nostalgia. Sometimes it’s enduring legend. And sometimes it’s a distinction! Particularly in the corporate age of multinationals, mergers, acquisitions, restructurings and buyouts, it’s refreshing, special and a bit of a business warm ’n’ fuzzy to hear about a
solidly thriving company that not only traces its growth and achievements back to the guts, hard work, determination, risk taking and vision of founding family members but a company that considers “family business” to be reverence, a badge of honour, a bragging right and a key to success. businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY March 2015 • 53
Britt Land’s Midas touch • Cover
the 31-year-old president, Brittney Ramsay, is intensely focused, enthusiastic, proud and continuously referencing and crediting the company’s team. Brittney Ramsay, president, Britt Land Services
And then there’s Britt Land Services. A well-known, industry-respected and Calgary-headquartered family business, with offices in Grande Prairie and Fort St. John that operates in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and British Columbia, Britt Land provides service coverage throughout Western Canada and has been building strong relationships and consulting a loyal and wide range of energy and utility sector clients, landowners and stakeholders since Ray Ramsay shook hands on his first deal in 1986. Like with everything else – in life and business – a lot has changed in the past three decades. Changes in the industry. Unexpected, sad and bittersweet changes that have triggered opportunities. Seamless transitional changes for the long list of loyal Britt Land clients. Some subtle corporate changes for the family business as well as private changes for the Ramsay family. The 31-year-old president, Brittney Ramsay, is intensely focused, enthusiastic, proud and continuously referencing and crediting the company’s team. “Our company is so fortunate and special, particularly in the competitive field of land services,” she speaks with affection about the company’s vice president, Dayna Morgan; the senior manager of surface land, Mike Bellefeuille; the manager of land administration, Kim Lindsay; her younger sister, Breanne, who is manager
of corporate and business development; and the other 50 Britt Land staff. “Their skill and expertise is truly remarkable. They are collaborative, team-spirited and knowledgeable about all the important aspects of the land services side of the energy and utility sectors. They work so hard and do whatever it takes to build on our hard-earned client relationships. They are simply the most important part of who we are and what we do.” She lapses into specifics and details about Britt Land specialities and priorities. From topics like freehold surface land services, negotiation and acquisition of mineral rights, comprehensive documentation, efficient public notification and consultations and preparing and executing stakeholder consultation plans, completing environmental field reports (EFR), registering caveats, title curity, estate and title transfers to Crown land services, seismic permitting, environmental services and more. As just one example, she explains with competitiveness and company pride that Britt Land has been completing freehold mineral negotiations throughout Western Canada for the last 24 years. She credits the solidly experienced team of landmen and administrators who are up to date and expert with all aspects of mineral negotiations and
54 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
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Britt Land’s Midas touch • Cover
Left - right: Dayna Morgan, Brittney Ramsay, Ray Ramsay, and Breanne Ramsay
56 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
Britt Land’s Midas Touch • Cover
“My dad kept repeating that we will always do what we promise to do. Our core values determine the way we do everything – inside and out.” ~ Brittney Ramsay
acquisition of freehold mineral rights and their win-win track record for understanding the best practices for closing a deal. “Freehold surface land is ever-changing and evolving. Our amazing management team is up to date with the many industry changes, we make sure we have the best connections with regulatory personnel and we strategize internally to find the absolutely best solutions for our clients.” Ramsay highlights some key aspects of the Britt Land competitive edge. “We have full-time land auditors on our team, who complete compliance audits on every package at various stages through the acquisition process. Their mandate is to ensure that our clients are 100 per cent regulatory compliant and all client preferences have been followed. “Our team has such invaluable experience conducting positive negotiations with landowners when it comes to heavy oil, shallow gas, utilities and other surface land impacts.” For various levels of Alberta life and particularly business, 2008 was a forgettable, not very good year. Not only was it the crunch, downturn, meltdown or many other business references but it also turned out to be a privately jolting, terrible year for the Ramsay family. In 2007, after more than two decades of tireless hard work establishing Britt Land Services, relationship building, negotiating land deals, preparing associated agreements and being respected as one of the most knowledgeable and premier landmen in Western Canada, Ray Ramsay was diagnosed with the initial stages of Parkinson’s disease. “I was stunned and disappointed; not angry,” he recalls. “I refused to believe it could happen to me. I went down to the Mayo Clinic and other places for a second and third opinion. It was tough on my wife, Shelley, on my two daughters and on our staff, who were always like family for us. The next year, I just knew I had to step back and walk away from my passion. It was the best for my health and also the best for the growth and continued success of Britt Land.” These days, Ray Ramsay still drops in to the office, stays as involved as the unpredictable and cruel swings of Parkinson’s allow on any given day and he bluntly explains that (while he is still able) he and Shelley travel a lot, spend time down south and that “looking after my health is now my job.” “Even while I was growing up, I noticed how very much my dad always loved what he did and especially the people he met and worked with. Watching him work and seeing how much he loved his job and how much people enjoyed
and respected him was really cool,” Brittney Ramsay recalls with open affection and some emotion. “I always knew I wanted to be involved.” After university, she made a serious career decision to follow her father’s passion and join Britt Land. Today, with 10 years of “having been mentored by the best – my dad and the other terrifically talented company professionals,” Ramsay holds an interim land agent’s licence, is a certified commissioner for oaths in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and is an active member of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Landmen (CAPL) and the International Right of Way Association (IRWA) – the central authority for right of way education and certification programs as well as various other professional affiliations. She is driven, focused and involved with virtually every aspect of the company’s business strategy, service delivery and growth. She calls on her solid land services expertise, excels in her leadership role, grins and admits to forever paying her internal and external dues and realizes that, even as the president of the family business, she is constantly learning, earning experience, respect and a professional reputation with each Britt Land decision. She highlights various examples of the company’s uniqueness and the vital strengths, the skills and the talents of the Britt Land team but underscores one important basic of the land services business. “Communication! It is, by far, the most important aspect of our services. It is an uncompromised priority to ensure that timely and efficient project updates and detailed progress reports are received by our clients. “We make sure some things never change,” she emphasizes with conviction. “My dad kept repeating that we will always do what we promise to do. Our core values determine the way we do everything – inside and out. Like accountability and responsibility for everything we do. Zero excuses for not doing our very best – every time. Always creating a positive impact about having dealt with Britt Land. And exceeding client expectations as a key aspect of growth. “After all, we are a group of professionals who work based on collaboration and cooperation. It builds trust within our team and, equally as important, it builds solid relationships with our clients.” Vice president Dayna Morgan is a 16-year member of the Britt Land team and her loyalty and close relationship with not only Britt Land but the Ramsays qualifies her for the frequent good-natured references to being a third daughter and a member of the family. businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY March 2015 • 57
Britt Land’s Midas touch • Cover
Oil and gas site near Fort St John, BC. Photo courtesy of Britt Land Services.
“My dad formed a great company and both Brittney and i sensed where the company should be headed. We have great clients and we want to build on that.” ~ Breanne Ramsay “In the land services business, we all offer the similar services,” she points out. “It’s all about relationships. Understanding and respecting people, adapting our services for their needs, sticking with our core values and always focusing on the relationships we build. And retention of loyal clients is crucially important. We have been doing work for one client for more than 12 years. “The industry keeps changing in so many ways,” Morgan says. “Always new and different regulations. The playing field is different. Technology is terrific and has changed the ways we communicate, manage projects and makes us much more productive and efficient.” Breanne Ramsay is the dynamic and gung-ho manager, corporate and business development, and is supercharged and committed to growing her father’s Britt Land vision and embracing the service and growth strategy chartered by her older sister. “It may sound strange,” she shrugs, “but like most of our staff, I look forward to coming to work. It’s a cool dynamic. My dad formed a great company and both Brittney and I sensed where the company should be headed. We have great clients and we want to build on that. “Our team is skilled and dedicated professionals who care about the industry, the services we provide and the relationships we form,” Breanne Ramsay says with enthusiasm and marketing smarts. “We offer competitive rates and exceptional, proactive client service. With strong ties to industry, and the ability to cater to the needs of individual clients, we are able to not only outperform our competitors but guarantee our work. “One challenge, as exciting as it is, is that a majority of our staff is female. Most land brokers are not. We’re definitely playing in an Old Boys club. But that’s great. Brittney and I went to a women entrepreneur seminar last spring. They suggested we fake it till we make it. No thanks,” she chuckles. “We’re doing it with industry skills, exceptional service and great relationships.” 58 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
The Ramsay family’s subtle but solid trademark is honesty, integrity, exceptional people skills and straight talk, even during some inevitable, initial mumblings about family business nepotism when failing health forced Ray Ramsay to step aside and hand Britt Land over to his oldest daughter. “It wasn’t a cinch,” Brittney Ramsay remembers. “To be the 20-something and the boss’ daughter, suddenly running the whole company? It was nerve-racking for the first two years or so. I just didn’t feel comfortable. Of course I realized I had to prove myself. Although my dad totally believed in me, our staff was a solid and experienced team, especially the 10 seasoned land agents. I knew I needed to learn from them but I also had to earn their trust. A few didn’t like it and they amicably moved on. But a majority of our staff were tremendously helpful and supportive. “One of our long-term staff finally gave me some good advice: stop living in your father’s shadow. I haven’t looked back since. Our company is all about building trust, collaboration and listening. Being genuine is huge. It’s all about engagement, with our clients and with our employees.” “Brittney had a tough time at first,” Morgan looks back. “Mostly to transition from her father’s management style to her own. But she quickly proved herself, earned credibility and is an inspirational, strong and strategic leader. She’s terrific thinking about the big picture and she genuinely cares about the business and about people.” Ray Ramsay speaks as an accomplished CEO more than a sentimentally biased father when he explains that “I never wondered or worried about nepotism. The girls are sharp, focused, motivated high achievers and they have always stood on their own. Sure, I used to get comments about ‘how young they looked’ and how can they possibly grasp the business? I used to reply: ‘just listen to them speak … and watch them succeed.’” BiC
Browsing, dreams and Wishful thinking â&#x20AC;˘ Calgary Auto and Truck Show
2015 Calgary International Auto and Truck Show
Browsing, Dreams and Wishful Thinking Raising $10 million for Calgary causes
very year, part of the excitement, fun, fantasies, gawking and good times of the Calgary International Auto and Truck Show is browsing the latest makes and models, getting dazzled by the choices and the newest features, asking questions, getting information and ideas as well as the occasional oohs and aahs and wishful thinking.
From the 2016 Ford Explorer and Edge, Dodge Challenger Hellcat, Chrysler 300, Jeep Renegade, Hyundai Genesis and Sonata Hybrid, Volkswagen Beetle Classic 1.8 TSI 6-Speed, 2016 Lincoln MKX, BMW 235 Sport Cab, Honda HR-V, Nissans, GMC Sierra Carbon Edition, Toyotas and Mazdas, Mercedes-Benz and Land Rovers to the Cadillac Elmiraj businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY March 2015 â&#x20AC;˘ 59
Browsing, dreams and Wishful thinking • Calgary Auto and Truck Show
Some of the vehicles at this year’s show will include: Exciting concept cars: Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept | Cadillac Elmiraj Concept highlights from the Detroit auto Show: 2016 Lincoln MKX | 2015 Nissan Titan | Toyota Tacoma and …. for just good fun – Optimus Prime of Transformers fame!
Western Star 5700 OP (Optimus Prime), the stunt truck that is driven in the movie Transformers; which will be located at the Heavy Truck section of the show. Photo courtesy of Calgary International Auto and Truck Show.
Concept, Camaro Commemorative Edition, Maseratis, McLaren 650S Coupe, Lotuses and Lamborghinis, Aston Martins and many, many more. All shined up and ready to browse, March 11-15, 2015 at the BMO Centre at Stampede Park. Full details and tickets are at www.autoshowcalgary.com. “It’s not only a place to get dazzled but it’s a terrific opportunity to comfortably browse the 2016 choices, all under one massive roof,” says Jim Gillespie, executive manager of the Calgary Motor Dealer Association (CMDA) and the Calgary International Auto and Truck Show. Calgary’s big 2015 Auto Show is one of the largest exhibitions of new cars and trucks in Western Canada and features the absolute latest in automotive technology. Manufacturers are all set to unveil and show off stunning new designs and revolutionary technology. The Auto Show also promises to be a display of some of the fastest, most expensive and most advanced cars and trucks in the world. In addition to the full line of popular makes and models, ogling and fantasizing is always a big draw and an important part of Calgary’s annual Auto Show. “Having two different Rolls-Royces (the Wraith and the Ghost) will be very cool,” Gillespie beams. “And Optimus Prime – the real thing from the latest Transformers 60 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
Jim Gillespie, executive manager of the Calgary Motor Dealer Association (CMDA) and the Calgary International Auto and Truck Show.
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Browsing, dreams and Wishful thinking • Calgary Auto and Truck Show
Highlights from the 2014 Calgary International Auto and Truck Show
movie – will be a huge hit in the heavy truck display section. We jumped through a lot of hoops to get Optimus Prime, and our Calgary show will be the only auto show in Canada to have it.” For the past 35 years, the annual Calgary Auto Show has been a huge collaboration by members of the Calgary Motor Dealer Association (CMDA,) a not-for-profit organization that represents 77 new vehicle franchised dealers in Calgary. “Most people don’t realize that it is also a massive way that CMDA gives back to the community,” Gillespie explains. “More than 85 per cent of proceeds from the show and the moneys raised by key promotions and auctions are donated to various CMDA-supported charities and scholarships.” Whether it is net proceeds from admission to exciting Auto Show events like the tremendously popular Vehicles and Violins Gala (with 100 per cent of moneys raised going to designated Calgary charities), the Ladies’ Night Diamond Draw and other special fundraisers, in the past 35 years, the 62 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
Calgary Auto Show has given back more than $10 million to various Calgary community causes. For example, this year the proceeds from the 16th Annual Vehicles and Violins Gala will go to Calgary’s Fresh Start Recovery Centre, Kids Help Phone and Make-A-Wish. Added to moneys raised for various charities during the Calgary Auto Show, the active and dynamic Calgary Motor Dealer Association members provide generous scholarships for the SAIT automotive management training program or full-time technology or apprenticeship programs at SAIT’s School of Transportation. The CMDA funds make up almost 30 per cent of all SAIT automotive student awards. So whether it’s browsing the latest popular makes and models of cars and trucks, getting information and ideas, oohing and aahing the Rolls-Royces and the Lamborghinis or being star-struck by the giant Optimus Prime, the March 11-15 Calgary International Auto and Truck Show is definitely an exciting win-win special event. BiC
here are several reasons why Calgary’s popular Caldek Sundeck Systems continues to earn the vote of area consumers as “The Best,” winning prestigious industry awards for service and business excellence and the invaluable and positive word-ofmouth feedback of satisfied Calgary customers. “It’s the exceptional and unique product,” says Caldek’s upbeat and knowledgeable project coordinator John Gratto. “It’s our specially-trained and skilled technicians and installers. It’s the uncompromising attention to detail and it is our solid commitment to service.” Gratto is gung-ho when he talks about the resounding consumer trend toward vinyl decking, particularly Duradek, North America’s most trusted and popular brand of vinyl decking. With its continuing research and testing and development of new products and designs, Duradek is the worldwide leader in vinyl waterproofing. He explains that doing more than 400 decks a year and earning positive consumer feedback and recognition, including the prestigious Gold Consumers Choice Award for Business Excellence, Caldek knows what the consumer is looking for: quality, value, reliability and … enjoyment. And he emphasizes a unique Caldek competitive edge. The popular Calgary company has the distinction of being one of the first to introduce vinyl decking to the Calgary market. Today, Caldek is the area’s exclusive source for Duradek, the industry’s premier vinyl decking. Gratto and Caldek operations manager Mark Vanburen rave about Duradek’s composition, durability, resilience and reliability and the many other reasons why Duradek is consistently proven as the best vinyl decking value. Like the 10year manufacturer’s warranty, the innovative selection of designs and patterns and (what the upbeat and personable Gratto calls) “the best underfoot enjoyment.”
No doubt about it. The Duradek exclusivity helps earn Caldek its success as Calgary’s vinyl decking specialists. “It’s a combination of factors,” he explains. “The effectiveness and reliability of the product is the most important. But Duradek now features what the consumer has been asking for: the look. “Because how it looks does matter! The consumer wanted cosmetic aspects like decorative patterns, styles, colours and finishes. Duradek is leading the industry with the latest and most popular cosmetic options. “It may be more expensive than wood but vinyl decking eliminates cracks and other common deck damage and it does away with the time-consuming and messy ritual of sanding and painting the deck every couple of years. Let’s face it. Especially Calgary summer is too short to be painting and fixing rotten wood decks. “Vinyl decking always looks clean and fresh and is completely maintenance-free. All you do is enjoy!” Gratto stresses the vital but sometimes taken-for-granted aspect of vinyl decking. Despite the superb quality and exceptional features of the Duradek material and the Railcraft Aluminum Railings, it does require specialized installation techniques. “We have a terrific staff of 30 people. They are up to date and qualified and have years of experience and expertise about the specialized installation of vinyl decking!” he says with enthusiasm and professional pride. “From the planning, design and measurement of the deck area to the required sloping of the non-slip deck surface, knowing how to work with the crucially important membrane, know-how about various building codes, important aspects of the building envelope, properly securing the Railcraft Aluminum Railings and the finishes. “Our installers are skilled and certified in all aspects of the Duradek material. But proper installation is the key. It’s definitely not a do-it-yourself job!” John Gratto roars.
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The $90-billion Industry Office towers, luxury highrises, sewers and interchanges BY DaN cOOPEr
algary is energy. Calgary is manufacturing. Calgary is financial. Calgary is transportation. Of all the industries booming in Calgary, few have had as much consistently solid success and stealth impact as Calgary’s construction industry. Because Calgary construction happens in all shapes and sizes. From the city’s infrastructure construction projects like looping Calgary interchanges, pedestrian bridges, EllisDon’s massive International Facilities Project at the airport, the sprawling Brookfield Place development in the downtown core and the shimmering glass of highrise condos to the exciting East Village construction and the giant Borger equipment doing “underground” construction work for sanitary, storm and water projects or earthmoving construction to create lakes, ponds and scrape the soil for golf courses. Construction is such a normal and familiar sight on the Calgary skyline, around the orange cone detours of local roads, the scaffolding under interchanges, behind the wooden and chain-link barricades on the sidewalk and blocked-off hubs of noisy and hectic construction activity all over town, construction feels less like the booming industry that it is and more like just a common fact of Calgary life. “Construction is one of Canada’s largest sectors,” according to Frederick Vine, director of business development with EllisDon in Calgary and vice chair of the Calgary Construction Association (CCA), the voice of Calgary’s construction industry, representing more than 850 member companies. “We have had continual growth and strengthening of the industry and it has been very strong, particularly in the past five years. It has been growth at a manageable rate. There are some national issues – like labour shortages and inflation – which can impact construction activity. And whether it’s Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver or most major cities, there are always regional issues which also impact construction.” The industry, analysts, economists and (the significant barometer of the construction industry) the investment community are unanimous. Construction has become a cornerstone of the Canadian economy. According to national stats,
64 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
Frederick Vine, director of business development, EllisDon, and vice chair of the Calgary Construction Association
EllisDon crews at work on downtown Calgary’s Manulife Place Project. Photo courtesy of EllisDon.
the $90-billion Industry • Construction
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the $90-billion Industry • Construction
Bill Borger Jr., president of the Borger Group of Companies.
the construction sector employs more than 1.2 million Canadians or approximately seven per cent of Canada’s total workforce. Annually, construction is responsible for nearly $90 billion in economic activity or about seven per cent of Canada’s overall gross domestic product (GDP). Although Vine cites some important, recent regional factors affecting the volumes of especially Calgary construction activity, he points out that, in the Calgary market the CCA deals with commercial (not residential) construction. “When it comes to commercial construction, at least one Calgary cliché no longer applies. Construction in Calgary is no longer seasonal as it may still be in woodframe, residential homebuilding. Our winter construction methodology has changed so much in the past 20 years or so that, aside from the occasional, severe weather conditions, commercial construction in Calgary is year-round. Besides,” he explains, “there are such big differences between commercial and residential construction.” A key aspect of Calgary’s uniqueness is the size and diversity of the companies and contractors that contribute to construction being such a dynamic and vital Calgary industry. In terms of longevity and a respected reputation for being iconic members of Alberta’s construction industry, the Borger Group of Companies – the fourth-generation, familyowned and operated, Calgary-based construction company that was founded in Winnipeg in 1919 and has worked in Calgary since 1949 – continues as an innovative leader in sectors like underground infrastructure, earth moving and heavy equipment transportation. “There are so many innovations creating so many changes in the construction industry,” says president Bill Borger Jr. “Contractors must find ways to differentiate themselves. Not only has diversity of products and services made things much more competitive in our industry, different contractors are doing work in different areas than they used to. When 66 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
Underground utility installation at Sagehill. Photo courtesy of Borger Group of Companies.
Calgary was 100,000 people, it was a different scene. “There is so much work here that Calgary is now a bull’seye for construction companies wanting to come and bid on Calgary projects,” Borger says with solid Calgary pride and cautious construction-business savvy. “Especially international dominance. Majors from the States and around the world see Calgary as an opportunity for expansion. The biggest thing now is competition.” The investment community agrees with Borger that Calgary construction is acknowledged as an industry hot spot. Investment is always a reliable indicator of construction industry trending and, late last year, Calgary construction (and the Calgary economy) got a boost from Statistics Canada numbers that show that non-residential construction in the third quarter of last year reached $918.9 million, up 3.9 per cent from the previous year. The information also tracked that Calgary’s commercial construction had an increase of two per cent to $739.9 million while the institutional sector spiked by slightly more than five per cent to $124 million. Construction industry outsiders are sometimes surprised to learn that, in most major municipalities, commercial construction’s biggest client is the city. In Calgary, infrastructure expenditures include projects like LRT lines and terminals, interchanges, sewers, recreation centres, schools, hospitals, bridges and road repairs. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities estimates that Canada needs about $123 billion to bring crumbling public infrastructure up to acceptable levels and an additional $115 billion to meet the growing demand. Canada typically spends three per cent of GDP annually on public infrastructure and a growing portion of this is under the control of the municipal government. In Calgary, Transportation Infrastructure (TI) was formed 10 years ago to plan, designs and build safe, efficient and sustainable infrastructure in all quadrants of the city, including C-Train stations and extensions, road widenings,
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the $90-billion Industry • Construction
altered the construction contractor’s interchanges, pedestrian bridges and cost of doing business.” other construction. Just for example, Borger cites that “Most people don’t usually think of major and essential pieces of equipment roads and bridges as part of Calgary’s for the company’s underground (sanitary, construction industry but the city spends a storm and water) construction division – lot of money of infrastructure projects. In like a new CAT657 scraper – can easily fact, the amount of infrastructure projects cost $1.7 million. The transmission on the go adds to local construction being replacement is well over $100,000. And a sometimes underrated boom industry,” $30,000 for just one new tire. admits Mac Logan, general manager Frederick Vine acknowledges that his of the transportation department at the nationally iconic construction company, City of Calgary. Over the next four years, EllisDon, is hectically busy with various according to the TI budget and business Calgary commercial projects like the plan, there will be about $1.8 billion in $1.4-billion International Facilities Project capital expenditures. And for every major at the airport, several major luxury project, we likely do 10 smaller projects in Mac Logan, general manager of the transportation department at the City of Calgary highrise condo projects and the Brookfield any given year,” he points out. tower in downtown Calgary. “This year, we will probably spend He also speaks wearing his CCA more than $100 million building vice chair hat, explaining that it’s not always smooth and interchanges, $10 million on repairing roads, another $10 problem-free when it comes to national, regional and even million on bridge and overpass repair work and about $5-6 local speed bumps and broadsides that are also cyclical but million replacing pedestrian bridges.” unpredictable facts of the Calgary commercial construction Purely for interest, since most Calgarians are usually business. stressed and grumbling about the frustrating detours of Vine cites last summer’s federal tampering and changes seasonal and random road repairs, Logan illustrates the regarding the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) rule of thumb that the construction cost of four lanes of a rules and regulations. “Particularly in Alberta and here in divided highway is approximately $8 million per kilometre. Calgary, there is a labour shortage in construction. Our Logan adds that TI is also responsible for construction of members are very concerned. Commercial construction Calgary’s LRT lines and terminals “which are the big daddies brings in a lot of skilled, not unskilled, labour under the when it comes to TI construction spending.” TFWP and we rely on it for our workforce. It will be a Logan is proud of Calgary’s various infrastructure serious problem for construction if the adjusted rules choke construction work and although the final LRT line is now off the labour supply. complete, he underscores that it has been 15 years of “The Canadian and the Calgary construction associations continuous LRT construction in Calgary. are urging that it should be easier, not harder, to find He carefully emphasizes that infrastructure costs always construction labour. And let’s face it,” Vine points out, “in include everything involved in a project, “from buying the Alberta, where the capital comes from, and especially in land to painting the stripes.” Calgary, one way or another we are affected by the price of Mac Logan also outlines and good-naturedly warns oil. Even when it comes to construction.” about Calgary’s biggest 2015 infrastructure construction He cites the new year example of the ongoing slump in projects. The TI schedule calls for three major (and pricey) oil prices (at Business in Calgary press time) causing Premier interchanges. “We will start on a new $70-million interchange Jim Prentice to cancel or delay some key capital projects. at the Trans-Canada and Bowfort Road NW, a $125-million Unfortunately, Calgary’s $1.3-billion new cancer centre is new interchange on Glenmore Trail and Ogden, over $30 a casualty of the province’s oil price slump belt-tightening, million for the interchange at Crowchild Trail and Flanders although the premier did point out that the massive and Avenue – the city pays $20 million and the balance topped much-needed Calgary project is “delayed,” not cancelled. up by a developer – and early next year $55 million for the Projecting most national and regional construction interchange at Macleod Trail and 162nd Avenue. factors to stabilize and even improve, there’s consensus that Bill Borger cautions that although the expenditures create in the decade ahead the Canadian construction market is the impression that Calgary infrastructure construction expected to become the fifth largest market in the world, is a boom industry, the practical realities are that it is a driven primarily by global demand for natural resources and capital-intensive business. “Not only the labour component – surprisingly due to commercial construction’s number 1 but even though the impact of technology and construction customer – the urgent need to modernize Canada’s aging techniques has been tremendous and, in many ways, has national infrastructure. BiC redefined the construction business, it has also significantly 68 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
Page 1 - What Happens Next? Page 6 - BOMA Insider Page 8 - Redeveloping Calgary’s Transit Vision Page 9 - Calgary’s Sky Refusing to Fall
NEWS SPRING 2015
By Sandy McNair
What Happens Next? A Candid Look at Calgary’s Office Market
ooking at the history of Calgary’s real estate markets provides valuable perspective as we anticipate the future. Calgary’s office markets experienced a hard landing in 1982. On a single Friday afternoon, the architectural firm I worked for received news from four different clients that each of their 50-storey office towers were now cancelled. But by then it was already too late for a soft landing. As the 60-year completions chart shows (see page 2), 23.8 million square feet of office space had been or was about to be completed in a brief and frenzied six years (1978-1983). This compares to the 15.8 million square feet of office space that has been completed in the eight-year period from 2007-2014 with another 6.1 million square feet due to be completed during 2015-2018. So this 12-year new supply cycle (2007-2018) will add a total of 21.9 million square feet to the office inventory. Unlike today, the office inventory in the late ’70s and early ’80s was growing faster than the economy or the population of office workers could grow. As the inventory growth chart shows (see page 2), inventory growth rates in the late ’70s ranged from 10 per cent to 20 per cent or more. The economy, the population and the pool of office workers could not grow that fast, even includ-
ing the impact of workers shifting from farm, ranch or factory work to office work and, as a result, the Calgary office market experienced a very hard landing. Interest rates that spiked at 21 per cent, oil prices that failed to reach the anticipated $60 a barrel and bad policy from Ottawa made matters worse. The office inventory growth rate in the current 12-year cycle has been roughly four per cent which is closer to actual economic growth rates, actual population growth rates and the office worker growth rates that Calgary has experienced. The outlook, however, is less clear. Currently, the wind is no longer at our collective backs. Interestingly, only six years ago in Q1 2009, Calgary and the entire planet were in the midst of the global financial crisis with everyone addressing uncertainty, sharp declines in confidence and pricing. No one knew that by Q4 2009 a full recovery for Calgary and Canada would be well underway. In Q1 2009, expectations included widespread, significant and prompt reductions in headcount in banking, energy and other key Canadian sectors. Those expectations were well ahead of actual behaviour. By 2010 the banking and energy sectors were growing their office footprints not contracting them.
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Today no one can know how much further confidence, pricing and activity will decline and when and at what pace they will recover. We do know that Calgary’s energy firms, the engineering firms and their advisers have assembled and invested in uniquely talented people, so letting huge numbers of them go will be both painful and expensive. Looking ahead, many different scenarios are possible. As reference points we have generated four scenarios focused on downtown Calgary’s status in 2019. Each scenario is anchored by the current market inventory, available and vacant spaces and all the known commitments to take space in existing buildings or those currently under construction as well as the known and estimated backfill implications reaching out to 2019. The four scenarios then depart from each other in the extent of incremental annual demand for each of 2015 through 2019. The scenarios are no growth, modest growth, modest reduction and significant reduction. As indicated in the Downtown Calgary Office Scenarios chart above, these four scenarios generate 2019 vacancy results swinging from 10 to 25.8 per cent.
distractions is often one key to surviving and thriving. Certainly, the overall availability and vacancy rates are important but there are other important factors to consider. First, there are many different office markets within Calgary. Downtown, beltline and suburbs all have distinct features and drivers. However, within downtown the options for tenants vary by size of space â&#x20AC;&#x201C; small, mid-size, large and very large tenants all have very different choices, preferences and strategies to win the battle for talent. The number of appropriate choices matters. Second, the velocity in the leasing market
While there have been single years of significant reduction, this significant reduction scenario anticipates office worker reductions of more than 4,000 per year for each of five years â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a truly painful recession with a magnitude and duration not experienced since the 1980s and early 1990s. The other three scenarios more realistically bracket the range of outcomes based upon current behaviours. Given that most everyone who has less than 20 years in the industry has avoided working through a real recession, a few comments may be helpful. If a recession bites in and grinds on, senior managers and business owners are required to make many difficult tradeoffs based upon imperfect and flawed information. Examples include: act quickly or defer making overhead and capital project reductions; one large cutback or several smaller ones; reduce pay across the board or eliminate a smaller number of positions; merge or survive solo; move to new, better or more frugal space or sit tight; re-stack and sublet some space or sit tight; increase density or retain current layout; consolidate locations or sit tight; and so on. Identifying and isolating threats, opportunities and
Pockets of Pain / Opportunity - The Extent of Concentration of Total Available Space The 8 Buildings with the Most Available Space Compared to the Rest of the Class A Downtown District Total Available Rates
8 Buildings with the Most Space Available
Rest of Class A Downtown District
All of Class A Downtown District
% of Total Available in the 8 Buildings with the Most Space Available
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can affect pricing as much or more than the vacancy rate. A market that completes a lease transaction each week will have different pricing than a market that completes only one leasing transaction a quarter. While most landlords benefit from a tight market, as it softens, pain will be felt, but it will not be felt equally. Currently, there are a few very large blocks of space in a relatively small number of buildings. The chart on page 4 looks at the eight buildings with the most available space when compared to the rest of the class A downtown office market. Right across the country, the contrast is stark and largely driven by tenants moving to the large buildings that are under construction. Another reason why the anticipated pain will not be felt evenly across the market is the age, design, management and investments made in improving the buildings and occupier experiences vary so widely. The chart at the beginning of this article and the one above addresses the barbell distribution of Calgary’s office inventory. The pre-1983 vintage and post-2007 vintage buildings may find themselves competing more often than anticipated for increasingly discriminating tenants. Those that truly succeed will be using more tools than simply price.
So while there are many risks and room for significant positive and negative surprises, participants in Calgary’s office markets will be fully engaged with their eyes wide open and an opportunity to utilize all of their tools, skills, energy and persistence.
SANDY MCNAIR IS THE PRESIDENT OF ALTUS INSITE, A DIVISION OF ALTUS GROUP. SINCE 1997 ALTUS INSITE HAS CONDUCTED MORE THAN 1.8 MILLION TENANT SATISFACTION SURVEYS FOR MANY OF CANADA’S LEADING OFFICE BUILDING OWNERS AND MANAGERS. CONTACT SANDY.MCNAIR@ALTUSINSITE.COM OR VISIT WWW.ALTUSINSITE.COM.
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Redeveloping Calgary’s Transit Vision By Lloyd Suchet, Director Government & Regulatory Affairs, BOMA Calgary
As many Calgarians can attest, taking a bus to the C-Train station negates most of the benefits to taking the C-Train in the first place. City policy should make it easier to ride transit, not more difficult.
ot far from my home is the Westbrook Station – a part of the new west leg of the C-Train. The station itself is modern and functional, with an attractive exterior and office space above the station. But it is the land around the station that first catches one’s eye when passing on 17th Avenue SW. The station is surrounded by bare land, or rather, mud in the winter and dust in the summer with a sprinkling of windblown trash. Thankfully, this eyesore has an end game that nicely illustrates the promise of a relatively new concept for Calgary – Transit Oriented Development, or TOD. TODs take advantage of transit hubs to create dense mixed-use development with residential, retail and office property. In short, a transit hub attracts people, who in turn attract businesses, and TODs are the planning mechanism that enables this type of community. TODs for new stations like Westbrook are somewhat straightforward as the land around the station has been appropriated. But what about existing stations on older train lines? This past fall the city released their plans to redevelop the 20 acres around Anderson Station from its current use as a park-and-ride lot, to a TOD. This is valuable land that the city hopes to develop, however – unlike the Westbrook site – it means a loss of some 1,250 park-and-ride stalls. This, naturally, is unwelcome news to those residents who use the C-Train, and should be unwelcome news to anyone who thinks that improved transit is the best way to accommodate commuters as Calgary grows. We can debate the future of Calgary‘s economy in light of volatile oil prices ad nauseam, but throughout booms and busts, the population in recent decades has always increased and urban planning should recognize this. Likewise, despite physical constraints, downtown Calgary will continue to be the most dense cluster of employment, which transportation planning should (and does) recognize. Consequently, the amount of workers downtown will continue to increase, while the road infrastructure will not. In fact the city seems 8
determined to actually decrease the amount of driving lanes to make way for bicycles. So how will workers get downtown in the future? Bicycles, which currently account for two per cent of downtown trips, may see some uptick as the city builds new cycling infrastructure, but cannot be expected to shoulder the load. Instead the job will fall to transit, which in 2011 for the first time was responsible to transporting half of downtown workers from their communities to their offices. This brings us back to Anderson Station, and how the city plans to redevelop other C-Train sites in the future. If we expect and rely on transit to handle the increase in workers downtown, it would seem an odd policy to remove the park-and-ride stalls that accommodate many of the workers. As many Calgarians can attest, taking a bus to the C-Train station negates most of the benefits to taking the C-Train in the first place. City policy should make it easier to ride transit, not more difficult. Mayor Nenshi has subsequently floated the idea of changing city policy to ensure parking is not lost at C-Train stations as the area is redeveloped, which would likely mean multi-level parking structures to replace the surface lots. This idea should be seriously looked at as a solution to the dilemma of TODs. Ideologues who attempt to pit cars against bicycles, and urban versus suburban residents, serve no productive purpose. This issue provides a unique opportunity to grow and develop Calgary in a way that benefits everyone. The city can redevelop land to a more productive use like a TOD, while continuing to make it easier for residents to use transit. I hope we don’t squander the opportunity.
By David Parker
Calgary’s Sky Refusing to Fall
Serving Alberta since 1985
o doubt there will be many affected by the current blip in our economy. But I don’t believe the sky is falling and we have much to be thankful for. Yes, the oil and gas industry is a huge driver but fortunately in a city of around 1.2 million we have other strengths thanks to a planned diversification program that began many years ago. A key is the huge industry that has developed because of the growth of our transportation sector. I can remember sitting around the Calgary Economic Development Authority boardroom table some 25 years ago talking about how we could prosper as a distribution centre for Western Canada. We had the Trans-Canada Highway; the north/south road corridor all the way down through the U.S. to Mexico; transcontinental rail lines; and our airport was growing at a remarkable pace. Decision made and we set about targeting companies. And I well remember Westfair Foods being the first major to relocate its distribution centre here because I took the telephone call from a furious Winnipeg alderman who was not too pleased at losing a big company. That was the trigger that caused the explosion that has seen this city indeed become a very busy transportation hub with the construction of hundreds of thousands of square feet of warehousing and distribution facilities. And they brought the need for the development of intermodal yards for both CN and CP Rail helping to bring a huge increase in the amount of truck sales and service. Many run in and out of the airport’s Aero Drive where the package delivery companies have their sorting facilities. Most of the major national retailers own or have use of distribution facilities in Calgary. For instance, Walmart not only has the huge building and yard by Supply Chain Management south of McKnight Blvd. NE but has built in the industrial lands to the east of the QEII in Balzac. Thanks to lower land costs and no business taxes that area continues to grow like topsy – including the casino and racetrack that appear to be finally on the right track – and although we have to wonder what will happen to the one-million-square-foot Target centre, Ross Perot Jr. is going ahead with a 500,000-square-foot warehouse nearby.
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There seems to be no let-up in office tower construction in downtown, condominiums are rising or are in the serious planning stages, and Calgary is still an exciting target for light industrial.
There seems to be no let-up in office tower construction in downtown, condominiums are rising or are in the serious planning stages, and Calgary is still an exciting target for light industrial. Looking over the map in the BOMA Calgary Building Guide, it is easy to see the industrial growth up and down the east side of the city. A good example of the confidence in Calgary is the focus here by Vancouver-based Beedie Development Group. It began its foray into Alberta with the development of Highland Park Industrial in Airdrie where the massive Costco warehouse is located, and has now branched out into the southeast with a 130,000-square-foot distribution centre for Tree of Life and other warehousing and industrial bays in East Lake, Starfield Industrial Park and its biggest to date, a 235,000-square-foot centre for PTW Energy Services in Frontier Business Park. The sky might look a little darker for some but the sky is not falling on Calgary.
40 YEARS Written and photographed by Tiffany Burns
trong branding and product recognition has been good for Wesure. Their pre-engineered structural support columns, with solutions including steel beams, custom hangers and connecting plates, are well known in the construction industry. “Today, when you go and talk to the guys at a construction site, they all call it a Wesure Column – even if it’s a competitor’s,” says Devon Koss, CEO. “We’re like Kleenex,” says Cory Koss, CFO and Devon’s brother. “Thanks to the marriage of our column and the new engineering practices that came out in the ’80s, homebuilders have been able to increase their spans, so you get more usable living space in a house. Before, in order to support a house, you’d have to put in a line of little teleposts right down the middle of the basement, making it useful only for storage. As builders saw the potential to create more open living spaces, they started putting in home theatres and massive living areas that were never possible before. “We’re part of the reason why Alberta’s homes look the way they do now, compared to the ’80s and before,” Cory Koss continues, “when they were just mostly bungalows.” Tony Fisher, a manager who has been with Wesure for five years, explains one of the key features of the columns: “When you stand up one of our columns for installation, the heads are welded on so there is no possibility that it will slip and fall off.” The fact that there are no loose bits and pieces to misplace or shift out of place makes the column a userfriendly favourite of contractors. But structural support columns are only part of Wesure’s business. As the company has evolved, so have their custom fabrication offerings. Wesure’s talented team works hard to create solutions for the specialized needs of many industries. They build practical steel applications, from the straightforward to complex personalized work. Originally, when WEstern SUlphur REmelters Limited was
L - R: brothers Cory and Devon Koss, and Tony Fisher
founded in 1975, the company was much more niche focused, with patented machinery that would re-melt blocks of sulphur, so it could be used for different purposes, such as fertilizers and matches. As such a large byproduct of gas processing plants, it was lucrative for gas companies to re-melt their sulphur. “But in the ’80s, sulphur took a dive in pricing, so Wesure had to reinvent itself,” says Devon Koss. “Through great relationships with our customers, we realized there was a need for a heavy-duty support column in the housing industry.” At the time, there was no product like it in the marketplace. Wesure moved in and registered yet another patent, this time for the column. Then they diversified some more,
Wesure Metal Manufacturing | 40 Years
They utilize industry-leading innovations like QR codes to identify their products and instructional videos on their website to assist in proper product installation. into custom manufacturing for large customers in the forestry, housing and oil and gas industries. “With our own product lines, we have the ability to get through downturns in the economy,” says Devon Koss. Wesure is a family company, run by brothers Devon and Cory Koss, along with their mother Valerie Koss. Their offices are in the same building as their steel workshop, covering a corner of an industrial section of Calgary’s southeast, just off Glenmore Trail. Their investment in employees has resulted in long-term staff, several of which have been with the company for 10 years. Seventy-five per cent have been with Wesure for over five years. As they celebrate 40 years in the industry, the Kosses believe that much of Wesure’s success boils down to relationships, within the company and externally. Manager Tony Fisher’s entire job is focused on relationship building, from distributors to installers. He also sits on multiple committees that oversee construction in Calgary. That not only keeps Wesure on top of market changes, it is also part of being a good steward in developing best construction practices used in Calgary and Canada. He also keeps tabs on industry trends, so that Wesure management can adapt to market demands.
“My function in dealing with customers is solution driven,” says Fisher. Wesure is quick to jump in and assist, whenever it is able. “We’ve tried to shorten the communication gap by having someone like me out there, which is something that doesn’t currently exist with our competitors. Our customers know they have a shortcut. In the homebuilding industry, time is money. We try to respond quickly, so that the customer is served best within our ability.” Wesure’s ISO certification is a means to internally find opportunities to improve. They don’t point fingers when things don’t go as planned. Instead, they believe in a mindset that allows the company to engage employees at all levels to become more active in finding potential issues, enterprising solutions and implementing them. Always seeking new ways to improve customer service, Wesure takes their patent-seeking innovative can-do attitude beyond manufacturing. They utilize industry-leading innovations like QR codes to identify their products and instructional videos on their website to assist in proper product installation.
When money matters but people count
Congratulations Wesure on 40 years of success!
Congratulations to Wesure Metal Manufacturing on your 40th Anniversary! Local 403.296.2400 Toll Free 1.800.565.8132 600 - 1000 Centre St N Calgary, Alberta
rogersinsurance.ca Wesure Metal Manufacturing | 40 Years
Congratulations to Wesure on your congratulates
on 40 years of success! Wishing you many more.
CONGRATULATIONS Wesure Metal Manufacturing
On 40 years of successful business! P 403.236.4050 firstname.lastname@example.org 3332 114 Ave SE, Calgary, AB, T2Z 3V6
OJD OJD Enterprises Ltd. Design and Drafting Services email@example.com 403.203.0808
OJD Enterprises Ltd. thanks you for our partnership since 1998 and congratulates you on your 40th Anniversary!
Congratulations on your 40 years in business, HPC is proud to be your choice for paint & coatings supply.
Congratulations Wesure Metal Manufacturing
On your 40th Business Anniversary! www.SERVAgroup.com | T 403-269-7847
Congratulations Wesure! Proud Of Our Association.
4025 - 90 Avenue S.E., Calgary, AB
403.720.5970 Phone - 403 313 3889 | Fax - 403 276 6331
Apply at Cintas.ca
Congratulations to Wesure on your 40th Anniversary!
Wesure Metal Manufacturing | 40 Years
Cong on y
Top left: HSS tubing for column production. Bottom left: welding heads to columns. Right: Production floor.
“Inspectors can scan the QR codes and get everything they need to know,” says Cory Koss. Looking forward, Wesure plans to expand, adding more square footage to their fabrication plant. They will also invest in more machinery. An automated paint line system, more processing equipment and additional cutting machines are all on the wish list. So is a larger capacity bay with wider and higher doors. With all their steel sourced by local vendors, the company continually seeks new ways to support the marketplace as
much as possible. Management expects the Wesure presence at the upcoming Global Petroleum Show in June to assist that endeavour. “We don’t see ourselves as your typical manufacturer that just builds parts because you ordered them,” says Devon Koss. “We are part of a solution to help your company meet your own goals. We’re not just about succeeding for ourselves. We want to see you succeed, because when you succeed, we succeed.” •
Wesure Metal Manufacturing | 40 Years
Leading Business MARCH 2015
“THE CHAMBER PLUGS ME INTO OUR CITY.” GIANNA MANES President & CEO, Enmax Corp.
Leading the public conversation on issues important to your business. From energy and power, to market access and affordable housing, the Chamber is the trusted business voice that policy makers, business leaders and media turn to for information on issues important to Calgary business. Keep your business informed with the Calgary Chamber.
IN THIS ISSUE... • Key Issues for Oil and Gas in Calgary • Chamber member Spotlights • Upcoming Events
CalgaryChamber.com businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY March 2015 • 83
2015 Board of
Key Issues for Oil and Gas in Calgary
Executive Chair: Rob Hawley, Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Immediate Past Chair: Leah Lawrence, President, Clean Energy Capitalists Inc. Chair Elect: Denis Painchaud, Director, International Government Relations, Nexen Inc. Second Vice Chair: David Allen, President, Calgary Land, Brookfield Residential Properties Inc. Vice Chair, Finance: Bill Brunton, Chief Communications Officer, Calgary Board of Education CEO: Adam Legge, President and CEO, Calgary Chamber
Directors David Allen, President, Calgary Land, Brookfield Residential Properties Inc. Carlos Alvarez, Audit Partner, KPMG Lorenzo DeCicco, Vice-President, TELUS Business Solutions Rob Hawley, Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Wellington Holbrook, Executive Vice-President, ATB Financial Phil Roberts, Director of BD & Marketing, Vintri Technologies Linda Shea, Senior Vice-President, AltaLink Mike Williams, Executive Vice-President, Corporate Services, Encana James Boettcher, Chief Idea Officer, Fiasco Gelato Brent Cooper, Partner, McLeod Law LLP Management Adam Legge – President and CEO Michael Andriescu – Director of Finance and Administration Kim Koss – Vice President, Business Development Scott Crockatt – Director of Marketing and Communications Rebecca Wood – Director of Member Services Justin Smith – Director of Policy, Research and Government Relations Leading Business magazine is a co-publication of the Calgary Chamber and Business in Calgary Calgary Chamber 600, 237 8th Avenue S.E. Calgary, Alberta T2G 5C3 Phone: (403) 750-0400 Fax: (403) 266-3413 calgarychamber.com
Falling prices: The price of oil has been dropping at an astronomical rate over the past few months. In the face of all this volatility, some companies have been tightening their belts – whether by scaling back expenses and laying off employees or scaling back on capital spending. This has major implications for our economy. A recent report by CanOils estimates that less than 20 per cent of Canada’s top 50 oil and gas companies can sustain their long-term operations at $50 per barrel. When the oil industry hurts so does Alberta’s and Canada’s economy.
Solution: While geopolitical trends and market volatility are near impossible for the Alberta and Canadian governments to influence, an effort must be made to take advantage of the areas in which they do have control. There must be an effort to bring down the cost of producing oil. Excessive red tape, including environmental regulations and drawn-out permitting processes, must be re-evaluated, in light of the new marketplace. The high marginal costs associated with the oilsands are a key factor why we are so susceptible to this type of volatility. By bringing these
costs down wherever possible, we can strengthen the oil and gas industry, and ensure economic prosperity.
Meeting future global demand: The future of global oil demand is in the developing world. Currently, our only buyer of crude oil is the United States, and even as their economy grows at a rapid pace, the shale boom is making Canadian supply increasingly less relevant. Therefore, it is vital that the oil and gas industry is able to take advantage of future opportunities.
Solution: The only way to break the monopoly that the United States has on Canadian oil is to access growing markets in China and the developing world. This means the approval of large infrastructure projects such as Trans Mountain and Energy East, so that Alberta’s oil can go where it is most needed – as safely and economically as possible. Not only will this help our oil and gas producers to compete on a global stage, but will also help industry better position itself to move with the international marketplace.
“No one person creates a culture.” - Jeff Polovick, President & Founder, DRIVING FORCE
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businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY March 2015 • 85
Chamber Member Spotlights The Calgary Chamber is proud to represent many Calgary businesses large and small; this month we are highlighting some of our industry leading members.
Thanks CLG CLG is not your typical group of management consultants. Diving into the trenches of everyday worksites, CLG consultants help clients using real-world applied behavioural science to overcome critical challenges, inspire and maintain peak productivity and create systemic positive organizational change from the top down. CLG has improved leadership development, productivity and increased top-line growth for Fortune 500 and large non-U.S. companies, and has grown into one of the world’s largest behaviour-based management consulting firms. For more information visit CLG.com.
S Savanna Energy Services Corp.
Savanna Energy Services Corp.
The Chamber thanks the following long standing member companies for their years of support to the Calgary Chamber, and their commitment to the growth and development of Calgary.
Years as a member
Interiors by Kai Mortensen
Pentagon Freight Services Canada Ltd. 15 Avis Rent a Car
Mayflower Ventures LP
One of North America’s premier energy service providers, Savanna Energy Services has a wide variety of offerings to meet the diverse needs of today’s oil and gas companies. Primary service areas include conventional and hybrid drilling, well servicing and oilfield equipment rentals. Savanna Energy’s industry leading safety program, matched with leading technology and a fleet of 100-plus drilling and well-service rigs, has allowed Savanna to expand into major markets in the U.S., Mexico and Australia. For more information visit Savannaenergy.com.
Pentagon Freight Services Canada Ltd. Pentagon Freight Services is the world’s largest privately-owned oil and gas logistics provider, delivering support and services specifically developed for the international energy sector. Core areas of expertise in global forwarding, project logistics, material management, consultancy services and technology are matched with a proud track record of great results, professional support and unrivalled value. Pentagon places a premium on exceptional levels of performance as they deliver services developed specifically to support the international oil and gas industry. They understand your market, your objectives and your priorities – and put their experience to use to create the right solution, every time. For more information visit PentagonFreight.com. 86 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
Upcoming Events One of the most important aspects of business is making new connections and growing your network. Your Calgary Chamber helps you connect to other businesses, new customers and industry icons through networking and top-tier business events. Looking for networking opportunities? Join the Calgary Chamber for one of our weekly networking breakfasts or our monthly Business After Hours networking events. For details and to purchase tickets for any of the Calgary Chamber’s events, please visit CalgaryChamber.com.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 Agribusiness: Feeding the World Through Science and Technology 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Hotel Blackfoot | 5940 Blackfoot Trail SE By 2020 Canada will be one of six net food-exporting nations, and with a global population set to increase to eight billion will farmers be able to produce enough food to feed our world’s growing population? Join us for a timely discussion on the important role that science and technology has been, and will continue to play in the agricultural sector to ensure that there is a safe and abundant food supply to feed our hungry world.
Monday, June 29, 2015 Leaders Classic Golf Tournament Earl Grey Golf Club | 6540 – 20 Street SW It’s hard to find a better place to build, deepen and strengthen business relationships than on the golf course. Where else would you have the opportunity to network and share business tips with some of the most influential business and political leaders in our city, other than the Chamber’s annual Leaders Classic golf tournament? Attracting the top business and political leaders, as well as special guest celebrities, this tournament is really about high-level networking at its finest. Join us and other top business professionals for Calgary’s most prestigious business golf tournament. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register. If your company would like to sponsor this event, contact Paige Ross at email@example.com.
Save the date
Friday, July 3, 2015 Calgary Chamber Stampede Breakfast 7:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. They say some of the best business deals in Calgary are made during Stampede, so mark your calendar for the Calgary Chamber’s annual stampede breakfast. More details will be posted shortly on CalgaryChamber.com. A limited number of seats will be available, which also include premium seating at the start of the parade so get your tickets soon! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Bon Ton Meat Market Bon Ton is proud to be your Consumer Choice Award winner for 14 years in a row 14 -time winner
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Open 5am to 9pm, 7 days a week! Our friendly experienced staff are always around to help make sure any customer will be a returning customer.
403.282.3132 | 28 Crowfoot Circle NW www.bontonmeatmarket.com
www.redroseflorist.ab.ca 2004 Centre Street NE, Calgary, Alberta
Thank you for recognizing us as Calgary’s #1 Employment Agency 1.855.266.7030 | TPD.com Prestige would like to thank you, our customers, for 25 successful years in business. We look forward to working with you over the next 25 years! www.prestigerailings.com
2777 Hopewell Place NE Calgary (403) 250-1020 • Toll Free: 1-800-382-8502 88 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
People | Partners | Performance
CALGARIANS BECOME “CHAMPIONS” FOR OUR CITY THROUGH LOCAL AMBASSADOR PROGRAM In 2013 Meetings and Conventions Calgary, (MCC) working with the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre (CTCC), developed a new program to attract organizers of international events to our city. The initiative provides a professional team of experts who will help organizers research, plan, and co-ordinate all aspects of conventions to fit the needs of each client, group, or association− from arranging meeting spaces, venues and accommodations to planning activities and building attendance. “Be a Calgary Champion” is MCC’s Ambassador Strategy and relies on support from the local community to ensure Calgary remains competitive in the dynamic international meetings and convention industry. It provides the local business community an opportunity to showcase their home city to the world and to promote Calgary. The program has been very successful and the local Champions are passionate about their role in the local meetings industry, and about their role in expanding Calgary’s profile in the international marketplace. Participants have a strong presence in their community or organization and they come from different backgrounds and areas of interest; participants include professionals from the field of medicine, academics and educators, religious organizations and leaders, and representatives of local and international corporations.
MCC works in co-operation with the CTCC to attract events to the city through the Champions initiative. As Calgary’s premier meetings and convention venue, the CTCC is a world-renowned facility. The managers and staff at the CTCC are valuable members of the planning teams providing ongoing support and offering expertise in researching and realizing the client’s unique needs. Recently, MCC and CTCC hosted an event in collaboration with Travel Alberta and the Calgary Stampede to show recognition to the Champions who have participated in the program to date. The event lauded the Calgary Champions for their efforts to attract organizers to our city and celebrated the work of these local ambassadors. In 2016, the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) will hold a convention for 1400 delegates in Calgary as a result of the work of a local Champion. In 2017, the International Play Association will gather in Calgary due to the efforts of a local Champion who contacted MCC about the opportunity and worked with them through the bidding process. With Calgarians championing the beauty, the vitality, and the hospitality that defines our city, the world will continue to choose Calgary as its meetings and convention destination.
calgary-convention.com | expandthecentre.ca businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY March 2015 • 89
When You Build Community, You Build Love The Soul of the City Neighbour Grant story
BY MEGaN ZIMMErMaN
2014 Soul of the City neighbour Grant recipients
algary Economic Development and the Calgary Foundation together with their partners the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre, M2i Development Corporation, RedPoint Media and Village Brewery have teamed up for the second edition of the Soul of the City Neighbour Grant and applications are open until March 17, 2015. So what is the Soul of the City Neighbour Grant? In December 2013, Calgary Economic Development and the Calgary Foundation launched the inaugural Soul of the City Neighbour Grants. Dozens of grant applications were submitted but in April 2014, five groups were selected by a live audience to be the recipients of these $5,000 grants. The money would be used to turn their grassroots ideas of how to enhance or revitalize their neighbourhood into reality and these projects would be undertaken alongside their neighbours. The result? Five diverse Calgary communities came together to undertake some very meaningful projects. The best part? Their entire journey was captured in a 30-minute documentary to inspire and delight. View “Our City, Our Soul - Five Neighbourhood Stories” at CalgaryEconomicDevelopment.com. A group of residents from Dover turned an unused tennis court into an open community garden and used the grant to create a colourful community mural to welcome people to enjoy the once-forgotten space. Children and youth from
90 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
the northeast communities of Saddle Ridge, Castleridge, Falconridge, Taradale, Martindale, Coral Springs and SkyView Ranch gathered for a weekly writing class and learned to overcome their fears of writing and then shared their stories with their peers. Community leaders from Haysboro engaged their neighbours in the creation of family crests that now decorate the outside of their community hockey rinks and have created a personalized and safe place for the kids to ride their scooters. The residents of Wildwood turned garbage collected through their annual neighbourhood cleanup into a beautiful and unique water spiral that has become a gathering place and source of pride for the neighbourhood. And a group of residents from Inglewood and Ramsay invited the community to “dance in the streets” with them all summer long as they brought a variety of music and dancing to their successful Inglewood Night Markets. What these Calgarians have created in their communities is an example of the people who make Calgary such a wonderful place to live. It is our hope that their stories will delight and inspire others to do something in their neighbourhood alongside their neighbours. As a group of elderly ladies and their youthful friends said in the film, “when you build community, you build love.” Feeling inspired? More information about the Soul of the City Neighbour Grant, including 2015 application details, can be found at calgaryeconomicdevelopment.com.
Marketing Calgary to U.S. Travellers Begins with Developing Awareness
By Cassandra McAuley
s the U.S. dollar strengthens and its Canadian equivalent declines, marketing Calgary as a destination to our neighbours to the south seems to be a logical strategic move. While the U.S. is an important market for Tourism Calgary, particularly in California and Texas, we know that promotional efforts in long-haul international markets must begin with building awareness of the destination and giving potential travellers a reason to visit. This is not work that Tourism Calgary can do alone. Collaboration, alignment and integration with our industry partners including Travel Alberta and the Canadian Tourism Commission help to leverage marketing investments to develop more effective and efficient programs to promote our destination in locations where awareness of Calgary, Alberta and even Canada are low. An aligned tourism industry provides the most effective deployment of marketing resources. The focus of this alignment is the decision path that visitors take when deciding where to go. In the tourism industry, this decision path is represented in a nine-step process, called the path to purchase. On the path to purchase, the less a traveller knows about a destination, the further back in the process they start their decision-making process. This is compared to regional markets where awareness of Calgary is high, and much of the decision-making process to travel is influenced by individual events and experiences, the friends and relatives they come to visit and the individual hotels and attractions, events, festivals and experiences they want to enjoy. In longer-haul markets, there is an essential investment required to put Calgary on the consideration list and help travellers make a “vacation movie” in their minds so that our city will occupy mind space leading them to plan a trip to our uniquely cosmopolitan destination. Other factors that we account for as we market in the U.S. include the fact that only 48 per cent of Americans hold passports, and that geography works against Calgary as a driving
destination, compared to Toronto and Vancouver which are easily accessible by large American population bases. Finally, while the current exchange rate favours Americans travelling to Canada, it has the opposite effect on our ability to purchase advertising in the U.S., where the Canadian dollar no longer extends as far as it once did. The return on our strategic endeavours into targeted U.S. markets won’t be realized immediately, rather in the midterm (three to five years and beyond), as we build awareness and consideration amongst would-be visitors, ultimately to the point of booking travel. For more information about Tourism Calgary’s strategy, go to visitcalgary.com.
businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY March 2015 • 91
Collaboration Helping to Bring Technology to Life A guide system for total hip replacement surgery |
testament to its innovative thinking and entrepreneurial spirit, Calgary is home to the largest number of technology startups per capita in Canada, and home to the University of Calgary, one of the top 10 research universities in the country. As the technology transfer and business incubator for the University of Calgary, Innovate Calgary works closely with researchers to help bridge the gap between discovery and innovation. “Innovate Calgary is a hub of innovation, helping to make connections and catering to researchers and entrepreneurs to help take new ideas to market in a faster, more effective manner,” says Raja Singh, senior intellectual property manager, Innovate Calgary. “We’re taking a tailored approach to technology commercialization.” Singh is currently working closely with a life sciences technology that is taking a unique path to commercialization, where the academic has come together to collaborate with a Canadian company to develop a solution for a specific challenge. “The idea for the OPTIHIP started when a surgeon here in Calgary and I were speaking about what would make his surgical life easier,” says Dr. Carolyn Anglin, lead researcher of the OPTIHIP, and a professor in biomedical engineering at the University of Calgary. “He wanted a way to take his preoperative X-ray plan and transfer it into the patient, improving the accuracy and placement of the acetabular cup in hip replacement surgery.” Having served the orthopedic field in various capacities, and a specialist in bone and joint health, Anglin took on the challenge. Total hip replacement is a common and effective surgery for hips damaged by injury or disease. This surgery frequently involves securing an acetabular cup in the pelvis. The challenge is that the ideal placement for the cup is unique to each patient because of individual variations in pelvis geometry. Currently, the intended orientation is generally determined by the surgeon using preoperative imaging including a CT scan or X-rays. Any inaccuracies in the placement can lead to pain, damage to the implant and risk of dislocation, oftentimes requiring the patient to have revision surgery. OPTIHIP is a guide system that is configured preoperatively to the patient’s specific optimal orientation. 92 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
BY aNDrEa MENDIZaBaL
“We’re still evolving the design but the end result is a very simple, intuitive instrument,” says Anglin. It takes an ecosystem to drive the commercialization success of an innovation and teaming up with Calgary-based Tangent Design Engineering for design and prototyping was a natural choice. “Having that industrial design input early on had a good influence on the design in terms of how a surgeon will use it,” says Anglin. “I really felt that the more heads we had at the table, the better the design that we would generate, ultimately benefiting the patient.” Collaborating with Anglin’s research team, Tangent worked closely with an industrial designer and key surgeons. The team was even brought into surgeries to observe exactly where the challenges were being encountered. “Having the engineers involved at that level was really a great collaborative experience and I don’t know if that’s unique but it’s certainly the way you want things to go,” says John Person, VP engineering, Tangent Design Engineering. “Because everyone was committed to making it a team effort, it went very smoothly and I think we have come up with a really great solution because of it.” “This technology has taken a truly collaborative approach to commercialization, where academic has come together with local organizations to leverage the excellent resources we have in Calgary,” says Singh. “The team is committed to moving the product forward for regulatory approval and successful entry into the market.” A prototype of the OPTIHIP has been built and tested by an orthopedic surgeon. Initial testing simulation techniques have demonstrated accurate placement of the acetabular cup within three degrees, compared to a range of seven to 10 degrees with current methods. “We have shown that this is in fact an accurate instrument under the controlled conditions but we need to prove that it’s also an accurate instrument on a patient, so that’s the next step,” says Anglin. The team is now working to secure a commercial partner in order to move forward with human trials, pending regulatory approval. “I would love to see this used in a patient and I think we are very much in line to have it happen in 2015,” says Anglin. To learn more about the OPTIHIP, or to learn more about Innovate Calgary and how it supports new and emerging technology, visit www.innovatecalgary.com.
SPARK SUCCESS AT THE CENTRE OF ENERGY
MORE GROUPS WANT TO MEET AT THE CALGARY TELUS CONVENTION CENTRE THAN ANY OTHER CONVENTION CENTRE IN CANADA –
FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT:
MarketingMatters • David Parker
By DaVID ParkEr
nly just five years ago, strategic digital marketing firm Evans Hunt Group was founded on half a floor of the second-level historic Cooper Block on 10th Avenue at 7th Street SW. Now it covers all of floors two, three and six – a funky workplace for 70 creative staff. And they are busy with a growing list of accounts – and they don’t lose any – that has been added to recently with Mawer Investment Management, GoForth Institute, and a couple from the U.S.: Aether Wines from Santa Barbara and Los Angeles-based People’s Choice Beef Jerky. There is also lots of ongoing work for clients such as ATB, where Evans Hunt is preparing a new strategic content marketing program. And some of the current gems are a new website and full Internet for Agrium; Life in Calgary website for Calgary Economic Development; a full multimedia campaign for Calgary Downtown Association; and a Travelodge campaign in association with the Western Hockey League. ••••••••••••••
E=mc² has done it again. Always in the forefront of competitions, the Calgary-based company won the highest honour at the 30th annual Special Event Gala Awards held in Anaheim, California, for an event it produced last year for Rendez-vous Canada. Rendez-vous Canada is an international tourism marketplace event that brings together more than 1,700 tourism professionals from around the world for
four days. B.C. Vancouver Night was produced for clients Destination British Columbia and Tourism Vancouver and won the coveted award in the Best Event produced for a corporation or association with a budget of over $500,000. Other members of the Calgary chapter of the International Special Events Society winning big were Lynn Fletcher Weddings for Best Wedding Budget $1,000 and above; Fletcher and Brian Lehody for Best Floral Design; Designing on the Edge for Best Dining Table Design; and Alison Silcoff Events and Decor and More for Best Decor with a budget of between $100,000 and $25,000. •••••••••••••• Pierre Alvarez, former senior executive with Nexen and president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), has joined Global Public Affairs as vice-chair. Global is Canada’s largest privatelyowned, fully-integrated public affairs firm that will be able to use Alvarez’s extensive knowledge and ability to navigate the most senior levels of government and the private sector on behalf of its clients. •••••••••••••• Ted Hellard, who founded Critical Mass and took it from a staff of three to 1,000 before “retiring” to buy into the ownership group of the Calgary Stampeders in 2004, is back in business. AppColony is the new company he runs out of offices in Calgary and Vancouver, a mobile technology company with products designed specifically for and integrated directly into a phone’s hardware with its “native language.” Hellard and his staff of 35 have already developed and brought to market a number of sophisticated apps that include a scheduling tool called MakeShift; Pint Pass, a digital portal that connects pubs to customers;
94 • March 2015 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com
and One Tap that will help drivers overcome their desire to be distracted while driving. •••••••••••••• I’m pleased to see that Tourism Calgary has appointed Cindy Ady as its CEO; a position she held in an interim capacity for what seemed too long a time. A former minister of tourism, she has a wonderful depth of knowledge and experience in the industry and will no doubt lead the organization well. •••••••••••••• New clients added to an advertising agency’s stable of clients are always cause for rejoicing, and Karo Group are feeling pretty pleased with themselves. Under the new leadership of managing director of the Calgary office, Scott Hartley, it has been named agency of record for fibre-optics communications company Axia, for TELUS Spark, and the rebranding for Banff International Hotel that was acquired by Brewster. •••••••••••••• Jessie Cayabo of Immedia PR has been really busy with restaurant accounts. Charcut Roast House has been a client since its opening and work is well underway to open Charbar in the Simmons Building in East Village this summer. Rodney’s Oyster House was a fun opening and she is also helping Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse in the next block along 10th Avenue. Eau Claire Distillery is another new account and I look forward to seeing what Immedia PR will do to celebrate the opening of the Italian Centre Shop.
Parker’s Pick: Love the clean, simple and quite captivating commercials and billboards for the new Servus Credit Union campaign.
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