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Winning the cash flow game

Wade Sparks | Owner, Rileys | Team Coach | Serial Entrepreneur

Meet Wade. Like the 75% of Alberta business owners intentionally growing their business*, he had a goal. When his cash flow left his business in a crunch, Wade didn’t quit. Instead, he changed his game by teaming up with the financial pros at ATB, who provided all-star advice and tools to help him bring home the win. Today, Wade’s business has expanded across Alberta—and beyond. And we couldn’t be happier to cheer him on through all his successes. Learn more about Wade at atb.com/WeGrowAlberta

Who helps bring your business to victory? We do. BUSINESS ACCOUNTS І CASH FLOW І FINANCING І KNOW-HOW *This statistic can be found in Volume 3 of the ATB Business Beat. ™ Trademarks of Alberta Treasury Branches

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Celebrating the planning and infrastructure beneath our communities. (and all of life’s wonders) Our roots go back a long way, 1950 to be exact. We have always created our neighbourhoods with meticulous planning and infrastructure to ensure that every community is a place like no other. That’s the feeling that every Qualico Community has been designed to evoke. By helping residents discover new ways of living and new ways of being, Qualico nurtures the development of individuals, family, friendships and community spirit. We thrive in creating frameworks for communities to flourish.

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Supporting the visions of entrepreneurs one story at a time



Volume 24 | Number 10


On our cover… Michael Sikorsky, CEO, Robots & Pencils

Pat Ottmann & Tim Ottmann


John Hardy

OCTOBER 2014 $3.50


Cher Compton cher@businessincalgary.com




Lisa Johnston & Nikki Mullett


Nancy Bielecki nancy@businessincalgary.com Kim Hogan kim@businessincalgary.com Melissa Arthur info@businessincalgary.com

REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS Richard Bronstein Frank Atkins David Parker Lonnie Tate

THIS ISSUE’S CONTRIBUTORS Parker Grant Nerissa McNaughton Tiffany Burns Julia Marshall Lisa Johnston Dan Cooper Cassandra McAuley Andrea Mendizabal

The World According to Apps


EDITORIAL, ADVERTISING & ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES 1025, 101 6th Ave. SW Calgary, AB T2P 3P4 Tel: 403.264.3270 | Fax: 403.264.3276 Email: info@businessincalgary.com

Business in Calgary is delivered to over 33,500 business people every month including all registered business owners in Calgary, Banff, Canmore, Airdrie, Okotoks and the Calgary Chamber members.


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Calgary’s Conference and Convention Clout



Calgary Real Estate Prices: the Biggest Spike in Canada

lga r Se y C pa ct ham ge ion be 1



Evelyn Dehner evelyn@businessincalgary.com Renee Neil renee@businessincalgary.com


Michael Sikorsky, CEO, Robots & Pencils

Cover photo courtesy of Ewan Nicholson Photo Video



COVER FEaTuRE 51 • The World According to Apps

Michael Sikorsky deals with corporate administrivia By John Hardy

The publisher does not assume any responsibility for the contents of any advertisement, and all representations of warranties made in such advertising are those of the advertiser and not of the publisher. No portion of this publication may be reproduced, in all or in part, without the written permission of the publisher. Canadian publications mail sales product agreement No. 41126516

Find us online! Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to circulation dept. 1025 101 6th Ave. SW Calgary, AB T2P 3P4 info@businessincalgary.com

www.businessincalgary.com 12 • October 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com

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Supporting the visions of entrepreneurs one story at a time



Volume 24 | Number 10

Special Feature

Saluting the Prairies’ gravity-defying entrepreneurs 2014 Special supplement published by Business in Calgary and Business in Edmonton magazines.

© 2014 Ernst & Young LLP. All Rights Reserved. “Entrepreneur Of The Year” is a registered trademark of EYGN Limited.


COMPanY PROFilES 143 • Crystal Creek Homes

Reflecting on the Past, Building into the Future

153 • Celebrating Bri-mor Developments 25 Years 163 • The Future for Stonewater Homes

ThiS MOnTh’S FEaTuRES 41 • Putting ’Tis the Season the golf course to bed By Parker Grant

44 • IsCalgary Getaways it lifestyle or investment? By Parker Grant

129 • Email Evil Email was developed as a tool to make our working life more efficient, but has it morphed from helper to hindrance? By Nerissa McNaughton

133 • Calgary Real Estate Prices:

the Biggest Spike in Canada

“We don’t want to be viewed as an unaffordable city.” By Dan Cooper

138 • The Calgary’s Conference and Convention Clout push for getting bigger and better By Parker Grant

168 • Small The Big Business of Small Business businesses drive the Alberta economy By John Hardy

— After Taking the Flood in Stride

REgulaR COluMnS 16 • ByNATO Mows the Lawn Richard Bronstein 18 • Nova Scotia, Fracking and Transfer Payments

By Frank Atkins

20 • By When in Doubt, Mumble Lonnie Tate 173 • Leading Business 177 • Current The Calgary Report developments for Calgary Telus Convention Centre, Tourism Calgary, Calgary Economic Development, and Innovate Calgary

182 • Marketing Matters By David Parker

14 • October 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com


Join us at this year’s highest-flying celebration! Canada’s entrepreneurs elevate our economy — and we’re proud to celebrate their achievements. Join us at the Prairies awards gala on October 16. For tickets and to learn more, contact us at prairieseoy@ca.ey.com. Details: ey.com/ca/EOY Follow us: Twitter @EYCanada Who will inspire us next?

National presenting sponsors

National silver sponsors

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Prairies sponsors Platinum

EY is a proud supporter of entrepreneurship

© 2014 Ernst & Young LLP. All Rights Reserved.

NATO Mows the Lawn • Richard Bronstein


NATO Mows the Lawn


n September 3, 2014 the vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, delivered a tough response to the killing of American journalist Steven Sotloff, telling Islamic State militants that the U.S. will “follow them to the gates of hell.” On September 5 in Wales, the United States and nine key allies agreed that the Islamic State (IS) is a significant threat to NATO countries. At the same NATO summit President Barack Obama forged an international coalition, which includes Canada, to combat the threat of IS. For all of us who read the daily paper and pay attention to television news, Islamic State has been a dominant story since the brutal beheading of another American journalist, James Foley, on or about August 19. During this time we have learned about other IS atrocities in Syria and Iraq and we have been shaken to learn that perhaps thousands of westerners, including upwards of 100 Canadians, have travelled overseas to become jihadis in the service of the Islamic State. All this is disturbing news in a region that already has more than its share of perpetual conflict and tragedy. But is the Islamic State so powerful that it is a threat to western civilization as we know it? As one online publication put it in a recent headline: “How did a few thousand fighters on pickup trucks manage to frighten the world?” I don’t dispute that IS has achieved significant gains in Syria and Iraq. They are also a potent threat to other governments in the Middle East and their ability to generate publicity for their dangerous cause encourages radical Islamists around the world. But they can be contained and if the West develops a successful strategy it is because President Obama is deliberately not following the post 9/11 dictum of President Bush to unleash American military might in a campaign of “shock and awe.” Well, we know that didn’t work in Iraq and Afghanistan and I think Obama is right to say that it is not the job for American military and taxpayers to be the cavalry that rescues every sorry-assed government in the world that faces a terrorist insurrection.

16 • October 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com

It seems Obama’s emerging doctrine is to cautiously support governments militarily – but not fight for them – by way of providing limited arms and equipment, logistical support, intelligence, communications and strategic military strikes against the enemy. Obama is also right to put the onus on political reform as part of the deal. Terrorist insurrections happen when governments alienate vast swaths of their own people so political change is necessary for success. But we are not in the business of making every nation a copy of the French Republic. There is also a realization I think that there are limits to military power. The best gear in the world is not going to completely eliminate terrorism. But terrorists can be degraded and contained. And the way the world looks, there are a dozen other Iraqs out there. Mainly in Africa. So we are going to be fighting this scourge for a long time. We will need to be persistent, yet find a way to fight these kinds of wars efficiently, economically and accept there are limits to what we can ultimately achieve. We need to get better at this kind of war and the way to do that is adopt a strategy of mowing the lawn. No more shock and awe to shake the world. Instead we need small, smart and rapid interventions. And we need to recognize that we will be doing this time and again. We also have to give up our arrogant attitudes about bringing liberal democracy in a box to countries that aren’t ready for it. The best we can do is use political and economic levers to blunt the worst tendencies of some of these autocratic governments and try to seek gradual improvement in how they manage civil society. This is a grimy war for the generations. It’s a slog that we will do over and over. We are in Iraq now to roll back the Islamic State. But it’s possible we’ll be back in Afghanistan tomorrow. Or maybe Nigeria after that to take on Boko Haram. This is the real war on terrorism. You never completely win. The best you can do is mow the lawn every few years. It is something new we have to earn to do well for a more secure world in the future. BiC


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nova scotia, Fracking and transfer payments • Frank Atkins

By Frank atkins


efore he became a senator, Mike Duffy was the host of a news television show on the CTV network. I was a guest on that show, and Mr. Duffy asked me a question about equalization. I responded that the system of transfers that we generally refer to as equalization is not consistent with the efficient running of an economy. When Mr. Duffy asked me why, I responded that equalization was like having your 25-year-old son living in your basement rent-free. There was no incentive to get a job and no incentive to move out and become a productive member of society. Mr. Duffy’s reaction was somewhat akin to wondering how someone with so much education could have such weird ideas. I was reminded of this recently, when the government of Nova Scotia officially banned hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking. A lot of people think of fracking in the same manner that they think of the oilsands, as dangerous, dirty and generally destroying the environment. Fracking has the added problem that it is alleged to contaminate drinking water. The problem is that there is no proof of these claims. Fracking has been around for many, many years, and I am not aware of any credible claim that it has harmed drinking water. Given the number of years that fracking has been used, I find it curious that it is only recently that the environmental movement has decided that fracking is bad. This sort of rhetoric is typical of the

nova scotia, Fracking and transfer Payments manner in which organizations such as Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund view the oil and gas industry. Generally speaking, the environmental movement never lets the facts get in the way of a good argument. Just so that we understand who the players are here, it is worth noting that the Nova Scotia government that banned fracking is a Liberal administration. Next door to Nova Scotia in

develop industries, and to create jobs and wealth through using fracking and selling natural gas. This would lead to Nova Scotia ending its dependence on transfer payments. Instead, it has chosen to continue to survive by receiving transfer payments. Here is the hypocrisy. These transfer payments generally come from the western provinces, who make money from using fracking techniques. Apparently, it is all right

Generally speaking, the environmental movement never lets the facts get in the way of a good argument.

New Brunswick, there is an election where the Conservatives are running against the Liberals on a pro-fracking platform. Finally, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s principal adviser is Gerald Butts. Before joining Mr. Trudeau, Mr. Butts was president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund Canada. We should pay attention to this in the next federal election. The fact that there is no scientific basis for the claims against fracking is just one of the problems with the Nova Scotia decision. The major issue here is the hypocrisy that is involved in this decision. Nova Scotia is a recipient of a large amount of transfer payments. Nova Scotia has the opportunity to

18 • October 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com

to receive money from other provinces that use fracking, as long as Nova Scotia does not use fracking itself. It seems to me that Nova Scotia is the 25-year-old son living in the basement. Because of transfer payments, there is no incentive to get out of the basement and become productive members of the Canadian economy. BiC

Frank atkins is an assOciate prOFessOr OF ecOnOmics at the University OF calgary, a seniOr FellOw at the FrOntier centre FOr pUblic pOlicy and a member OF the advisOry bOard OF the institUte FOr pUblic sectOr accOUntability.

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when in doubt, Mumble • Lonnie Tate


When in Doubt, Mumble


ecently, I went to some length to get my second copy of a book with the above title. Subtitled A Bureaucrat’s Handbook, it was published in 1972. Written by James H. Boren, it is a classic. It is sadly true yet written with great tongue in cheek. My first copy had been swept up in a cleaning frenzy and ended up in a Benny the Bookworm sale. The new version (acquired for $1.94 from Amazon) owes its life to unknown strangers. The inside bears the inscription: “To Dave … from Pop … Christmas 1972.” Many thanks to Dave and Pop. So why bother? Because both the book and the current bureaucracy at city hall bear witness to the thought that: “those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it.” I’ve been raining on the parade of the city for a while and it is not going to stop any time soon. Forty-two years after the book was published, our city hall is the epitome of bureaucracy as explained in the book. Permit a few quotes from the book: • The Boren guidelines for bureaucrats – When in charge, ponder. When in trouble, delegate. When in doubt, mumble; • Draft but never write; • Boren said he was president (and only member) of The International Association of Bureaucrats. They were in favour of cutting red tape as long as you cut it lengthwise; and my favourite • All bureaucrats should promote the principle of dynamic inaction. That last one sound like an oxymoron? You would hope yes but the answer is really no! You have seen the principle in action. Start a project with a few people who get nothing done. Add a few more people. Still nothing happens but more people are involved. So add more people and a second level of management. Now we are cooking! But not much is happening. Now you understand the principle of dynamic inaction. Tell me it doesn’t sound like city hall. What triggered my new interest was the mumbling within the city’s public art program. When I started questioning the validity of the art presented, I ran into bureaucracy extraordinaire – the Calgary Arts Development Authority (CADA). 20 • October 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com

Fourteen employees work full time dispersing taxpayer money for arts of all kinds. Behind the scenes they are also the people who drive decision-making on arts programs. But they never make the decision. So when the easily-maligned Travelling Light (a.k.a. the Hula Hoop) sculpture was chosen, the decision was made by five citizens (who apparently) were presented with three choices. Can you imagine how bad the other two must have been? Now I have worked with some of the people in CADA. They are nice folks. They are also bureaucrats with many years of service and have been inculcated with all the tools of dynamic inactivism. Need proof? Chapter 2 of the mumbling book covers bureaucratic communication in the written idiom. The basic idea of the chapter is stretch everything out with big words and near-nonsense. So, rather than just saying no, accomplished bureaucrats say: “While the initial study committee has made a skilful and in-depth analysis of the alternative resource mixes as they relate to the proposal in question, the optimal functions as reflected by the committee’s thematic projections suggest a non-affirmative response if the executive offices were forced to make an immediate decision. In view of the paramount importance of the multivious aspects of the proposal …” and so on. How do our CADA people measure up on the bureaucratic scale? Pretty darn well. So far this year, they have issued two major works that have great (and likely expensive) graphics: Living a Creative Life – a 40-page masterpiece; and 2013 accountability report – another 40-page beauty. As well, there are 15 pages of published financial information. They are a tough read. One more example … back to the Hula Hoop. The description of it and other projects are the stuff of bureaucratic legend. In describing the sculpture, one line reads: “The radiant colour makes reference to the sky, which is always in the background, and contrasts with the bridge’s other functional elements.” Translation – they painted the damn thing blue. Good grief! BiC


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Off the top • News

The Woodridge Charity Golf Tournament held on August 25, 2014, raised $245,000 for Down Syndrome.

Woodridge Charity Golf Tournament Raises $245,000 for Down Syndrome With an official motto, “It’s all fore the kids,” the Woodridge Charity Golf Tournament hosted another successful event at Cottonwood Golf and Country Club on August 25, 2014. The event raised $245,000 – one of the highest in its 29-year history. With over 200 golfers on the course and 60 volunteers behind the scenes, this year’s tournament featured an abundance of sunshine, food vendors, team prizes, skill prizes and a dinner and awards ceremony that included both a silent and live auction. The event also witnessed a holein-one winner on the 17th hole, with the skilled – or lucky – golfer taking home a brand-new Chrysler 200. As in past years, the event had a dual purpose – getting together for a super day of golf and raising money for Down Syndrome education and research. The majority of the funds will be directed to PREP, a notfor-profit organization and resource centre of excellence that provides innovative educational and therapy services to children with Down Syndrome and their families. The program is also dedicated to the inclusion of individuals with Down Syndrome in home, school and community life. The successful fundraising golf event was started 29 years ago by respected Calgary business leader Gerry Wood

(president of the Wood Automotive Group) and his wife, Elaine. Their daughter, Megan, now 33, was born with Down syndrome. Plans are already underway for the 30th annual Woodridge Charity Golf Tournament – set to take place August 31, 2015 at Cottonwood Golf and Country Club. BiC

The successful fundraising golf event was started 29 years ago by respected Calgary business leader Gerry Wood (president of the Wood Automotive Group) and his wife, Elaine. Their daughter, Megan, now 33, was born with Down Syndrome. businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY October 2014 • 25

Great Northern Snowcat Skiing:

35 years of

epic powder E

Corquodale chose to base Great Northern Snowcat Skiing here in 1979. On average, the area receives an annual 1,500 centimetres of snow, over six to seven months. Last winter they had almost nine metres of deep powder. “If any place is going to get snow, this area will,” says McCorquodale. “We’re in a triangle, from the Mica Dam, 90 miles north of Revelstoke, over to Rogers Pass and down to us. It’s called the Inland Rainforest.” Local nicknames weren’t his only source of information when his business was in the planning stages. Before McCorquodale built the lodge, he researched weather records dating back to the 1800s that confirmed the area has a history of reliable snow – in massive amounts. As you explore Great Northern’s excluBrent McCorquodale, owner of Great Northern Snowcat Skiing sive terrain, you’ll ski in virgin powder, never crossing a track laid down by someone else. The 50-square kilometres of terrain provide a mixture of steep and moderate slopes, tree skiing and seemingly endless open bowls. POWDER Runs can vary from 305 vertical metres to 1,200 metres, depending The powder here is different from coastal powder, which tends to be on snow and weather conditions. heavier and wetter. Perhaps you’ve burned out your quads in the past, battling it on Whistler. The powder in the southern Selkirks is also different than Rocky Mountain powder, which can be fluffy and light, except it usually arrives in smaller amounts, accompanied by strong OWNER OPERATOR winds that push it into drifts. McCorquodale’s first ski experience was in the Prairies – being The ethereal snow that inundates the region is why Brent Mctowed behind his father’s ’55 Chevy in Saskatoon. At age 16, when

nergized after eating a home-cooked breakfast, you step outside the lodge into the crisp mountain air of British Columbia. It’s snowing – so much that if you were scheduled to heli-ski today, you might not be able to fly until the storm was over. You’re surrounded by the Badshot Range of the Selkirk Mountains, 80 kilometres southeast of Revelstoke. Trout Lake is nearby – it’s one of four mining ghost towns within a 16-kilometre radius – but right now all you care about is carving turns, preferably with powder spraying your face as you ski down an epic, bucket-list run. A state-of-the-art Piston Bully 300 snowcat pulls up and a smile spreads across your face. You clamber in to the specially outfitted passenger cabin, followed eagerly by 15 other guests. You’ll be carving those turns in less than an hour.

his family moved to Calgary, he discovered the thrill of vertical, leading him to Lake Louise. While attending the University of Calgary, he worked as a ski patrol and instructor, which fuelled his ambition to create his own ski area. In the late 1970s, almost no one had heard of cat skiing. As word got out, it was often denigrated as the less glamorous cousin of heliskiing. But with a much lower cost for skiers, McCorquodale saw a future in snowcats. The fact that they are much more reliable in inclement weather cemented his decision. “What better time to ski than when it’s snowing?” he asks. It’s a rhetorical question. Thirty-five years later, Great Northern is the longestrunning owner-operator snowcat skiing in the world.

A DAY ON THE HILL After a night that usually drops 30 to 40 centimetres of snow, you’ll squeeze in six to eight runs, depending on the time of year. The group hits the slopes at 8 a.m. and returns for supper only when darkness and safety dictates. McCorquodale, a professional member of the Canadian Avalanche Association, still shares the guiding with one of his experienced staff, as he has for the past 35 years. He wants every guest to experience the exhilaration of snow flying up over their head and falling around them as they link turns through a vast, untouched powder run. “You want to give the client the best experience possible. When you’re picking lines, safety is always the prime concern, given the snow conditions and the visibility, the time of day and how tired the group is.” Guests have lunch on the mountain, often eating it outside. “This part of B.C. doesn’t get cold like Alberta,” says McCorquodale. “It’s got an average winter temperature of about -6 Celsius.” Snowboarders are welcome, but McCorquodale warns that wilderness terrain is not always downhill. “There can be benches or

little inclines. Sometimes you have to go sideways to get lined up on something better.” He recommends that boarders carry collapsible ski poles. A tail guide follows behind the group, keeping tabs on boarders and skiers alike.

LODGE Just a six-hour drive from Calgary or Spokane, Washington, you won’t have to coordinate with anyone should you need to arrive late for your Great Northern Snowcat Skiing adventure. You’re able to drive to the lodge’s front door. As you enter, you can smell the cedar planks that comprise the walls of the 10,000-square-foot lodge, built in 1990. It’s mingled with the scent of baking bread, coming from the commercial kitchen, where the chef serves up three squares a day. The 11 guest rooms are all outfitted with their own ensuites. A cellphone signal is blissfully absent, but there are landline phones if you really need to get in touch. The lodge also has Wi-Fi. The group of skiers visiting during a stay is limited to 16, making it an intimate vacation, with a ratio of one staff member to two guests. McCorquodale considers three different elements when creating the best vacation possible for his guests: the skiing, the lodge experience and the guest interaction. If they don’t know each other at first, a few days together around the family-style dining table and charging down the runs help create lasting friendships. Ninety per cent of the guests are repeat customers. Some have been returning for 30 years.

BOOK IT It’s already three-quarters booked, but Great Northern Snowcat Skiing still has room for you this winter. The season starts in December and runs until April 1. Three days are the minimum stay, with packages starting at $3,400. Most guests stay for six days, but you can stay as long as you want.

GreatNorthernSnowcat.com 403.239.4133

Calgary’s hub for office equipment


arryl Graham still has the logbook he used when Konica Minolta (then just Minolta) hired him as a sales representative in 1986. His neat handwriting fills each page and denotes exactly which model of copier he sold, when, and to whom. While most sales representatives sold four or five copiers per month, Graham sold more than 20 copiers in the same amount of time. His first year on the job, Graham broke all the sales records previously set by the Calgary branch and quickly became one of the top-selling sales representatives in Canada. He would go on to achieve 403 per cent of his sales quota, securing the title of topselling sales representative in North America. A lot has changed since then on the product side, but the secret behind Graham’s sales prowess has not. “I’m passionate about fitting customers with the solutions they need,” says Graham. “I stay optimistic, and I don’t give up.” Graham’s philosophy has taken him to where he is today as founder and president of Zone 3 Business Solutions Inc., an authorized dealer for Konica Minolta, Samsung and FP office equipment. The company also offers end-to-end product support and supplies, as well as IT services. Zone 3’s business model is very customer-centric. When a client purchases a product, Zone 3 offers a service contract that includes personalized support and ongoing refreshment of supplies such as toner and paper. They even deliver the office supplies for free. “Service is what sets us apart from the big manufacturers,” explains Graham. “Instead of a 1-800 number, clients call us directly for service, and our response time is four hours or less compared to one to seven days.”

All in the family

Family is what inspired Graham to get into the business. “I decided to go back to school when my oldest son was 18 months old, to better provide for my family,” says Gra-

ham. “I studied marketing at Mount Royal, graduated in the spring of 1986, and started working for Minolta in October that year.” His wife, Louise Peloquin, worked full time while Graham pursued his studies. In the meantime, Graham was already getting his feet wet as an entrepreneur. “To fund some of my educational costs, I started a landscaping company with my friend, Glen Wong,” he smiles. “We made the front page of the newspaper as the most entrepreneurial student company that year!” Graham’s entrepreneurial spirit likely fuelled his early success at Minolta, and he remained the top sales rep in Canada until he was promoted to general sales manager in 1999. When Konica and Minolta merged in 2003, Graham advanced to the position of branch manager. It was all going swimmingly, until the recession hit and Konica Minolta reorganized the company, eliminating the branch manager positions. In 2009, after nearly 25 years in the industry, Graham was out of a job. Not one to miss an opportunity, Graham took the news as a sign that it was time to start his own business again, this time in the industry he knew and loved. Within a month of leaving Konica Minolta, Graham founded Zone 3 Business Solutions Inc. The timing turned out to be serendipitous. Both of Graham’s sons were looking for a new opportunity in their careers, and by September 2009, Zone 3 was officially a family business. The company started in Darryl Graham’s basement. He trained his sons, Olivier Graham and Mitchell Graham, on his tried-and-true sales techniques, and the boys got busy cold-calling and searching for business opportunities. Darryl Graham reached out to one of the best technicians he knew from his Konica Minolta days – Shannon Girodat – who agreed to work for Zone 3 on a contract basis out of his own garage.

Zone-3.ca | 403.454.0119

The team at Zone 3 Business Solutions

Today, Olivier Graham is Zone 3’s senior sales manager, Mitchell Graham is the company’s office manager, and Girodat is the service manager. Peloquin is involved too, assisting with payroll and other functions. Her boss is one of her sons.

Built to thrive

Most people ask Darryl Graham if the company’s moniker, Zone 3, is a reference to the three Grahams – Darryl, Olivier and Mitchell. In fact, the business got its name during a trip to the garden centre. Peloquin noticed that Zone 3 is the hardiness zone of plants grown in Calgary and surrounding areas, and she suggested the name to her husband. Aptly-named, Zone 3 seems to be built to thrive in Calgary. There’s no need for basements and garages anymore – Zone 3 purchased office space large enough for equipment, inventory and employees. “We also recently started our own leasing company,” adds Darryl Graham. “Part of our strategy is to lease our equipment to clients without them having to go through a third party.” The company currently serves Calgary and surrounding areas but can help clients anywhere in the country. Zone 3 specializes in small- to mid-sized businesses and counts orga-

nizations such as Calgary Airport Authority, Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts, Strategic Group, Pete the Plumber, Nut Man, Secure Energy and World Wide Customs Brokers as clients. Darryl Graham also saw an opportunity to offer Zone 3 clients one-stop-shop IT services, and the company can currently install networks, purchase computers and train client employees on systems and products. Mike Jackson, Zone 3’s IT manager, is in charge of the IT department. Today, the company has 17 employees, but Darryl Graham expects to double that number in the near future. “We won’t lose the family feel though,” he adds. “We work as a team in the company and help everyone succeed.” Corporate social responsibility is also very important to Zone 3. The company contributes funds and offers special pricing to non-profit organizations such as the Alberta Council of Disability Services, Centre for Suicide Prevention, and The Kahanoff Centre for Charitable Activities. Zone 3’s hardy growth continues – Darryl Graham anticipates the company will expand beyond its existing office space within the next couple of years. Regardless of where Zone 3 goes, Darryl Graham’s old logbook will surely make the journey too.

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was acquiring a new health strategies division. Now they have more comprehensive solutions and options for their clients. As John Guderyan __________hether it’s growing believes, “Most people know the __________their team or growing importance of saving, investing, __________their clients portfolios, and protecting their families with Sagium is committed to going far insurance, but too many people and wide to ind the best forget to protect their own health solution. issues. A lack of access to proper Sagium’s John Guderyan healthcare can get in the way of and Rick Green explain how work, and can prevent travel collaboration and a team focus during retirement. are key to building a strong irm With the new health with the goal of providing for division, Sagium also acquired their clients in both this Greg Guderyan—a 30 year expert generation and ones to come. in the field—to lead the initiative. A rebranding last fall “All of our advisors have brought about many changes areas they specialize in, areas they including the name of their irm. excel in, and opportunities where For their new name, they selected the rest of the team can provide Sagium, meaning “a specialized additional knowledge” says Rick wisdom that can be called upon Green. “Our clients aren’t just for sound advice.” receiving an individual’s advice, Along with their new they’re being advised by name, they’ve --------------______________a collaborative “Our clients aren’t just expanded their ----------------______________team of experts receiving an individual’s of ice, grown------------------------------------------each with up to advice, they’re being advised their team, and --------------------------------------30 years of are committed to --------------------------------------experience. We by a collaborative team of future growth. --------------------act as your experts each with up to 30 “We want ---------------------------------------------------------personal guide to years of experience” to grow our client -------------------------------------facilitate your base, and we want to grow our team of trusted advisors and work product selection for our clients through complex issues to make so we can continue to offer them wise decisions,” a wide range of products from John adds “It’s just like various companies. To do that how we help our clients with pr properly we need to grow our intergenerational wealth transfer. team” explains Rick Green. We have a Sagium team designed One part of their expansion to provide services to our current


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Resolving Homelessness in Calgary By David Parker

Alan Norris at the Cedarglen ground breaking holding a CD that he wrote a wish on, the wish was for the people that will one day live in that building.


The Home Builders at the Cedarglen ground breaking.

omelessness in Calgary has many faces, from the young to seniors, families and working poor, as well as those struggling with personal and mental health challenges. The issue is intensified by a critical shortage of affordable housing. Here in Canada’s fastest growing city basic housing is simply out of reach for far too many; there is simply a lack of affordable rental units in Calgary – not enough roofs to put over heads. Thousands have been housed and the growth of homelessness has been arrested for the first time since the 10 Year Plan was activated in 2007, but there is still a huge amount of work to be done. Calgary’s approach is not about managing homelessness by providing emergency shelter but ending it with providing affected people with affordable, permanent housing – and that requires a good deal of capital. The solution according to Alan Norris, president of Brookfield Residential and current chair of the RESOLVE Campaign and the Calgary Homeless Foundation, is through the RESOLVE Campaign which will be able to provide affordable and supported housing for 3,000 vulnerable and homeless Calgarians. RESOLVE is made up of nine established, experienced and respected Calgary social service agencies that after funding from the provincial government have banded together with a single one-time goal of raising $120 million to get the job done. The Government of Alberta has committed up to 70

per cent of the funds over and above the $120-million fundraising goal in the form of grant money to some of the campaign partners. Norris has taken on the volunteer task of chairing the “Calgarians Committed to Change Cabinet,” an enthusiastic group of business and community leaders who are determined to reduce the strain and costs on health care, police and the justice system while improving lives. The belief is that the Housing First approach drives lower social system costs and these leaders will work hard to see tangible improvements. Norris is leading the charge by example. He has already contacted and received commitments from 12 of his homebuilder and land development colleagues. Along with Brookfield Residential Properties, Albi Homes Ltd., Homes by Avi, Shane Homes, Qualico, Morrison Homes, Cedarglen Living Inc., Calbridge Homes, Cardel Lifestyles, Centron Group of Companies, Hopewell Residential and Jayman Group of Companies – whose chairman Jay Westman also serves on the cabinet – they offered more than $16 million between them. Now Norris and Westman are having encouraging meetings with other industry leaders. Research has proven that providing housing and supports results in a significant reduction in social costs. Norris says, “RESOLVE is about doing what’s right, and it also makes economic sense.”



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

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

Alan Norris, Chair John Brussa Trevor Daroux Stephanie Felesky Charlie Fischer Jim Gray Bob Hamilton


Tim Hearn Craig Hill Ken King Sam Kolias Ann McCaig Grit McCreath Bryan Pinney

Bill Sembo Michelle Thrush Mac Van Wielingen Chris Wallace Jay Westman

2014-09-10 11:51 AM

Off the top • News

Phil Mickelson Design begins work on first Canadian course Phil Mickelson Design (PMD) has been signed to create a championship golf course for a spectacular planned community west of Calgary in the foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Barry Ehlert, managing partner of Windmill Golf Group, is developing Mickelson National Golf Club of Canada as a centerpiece of Harmony, a 1,700-acre community built by partners Qualico Communities and Bordeaux Developments. Ehlert discussed the project in a recent press conference at The Hamptons Golf Club in Calgary. Mickelson was preparing for the Ryder Cup and unable to attend, but was represented by his longtime manager, Steve Loy, president, Lagardère Unlimited Golf, who has been closely involved in Mickelson’s four other course design projects in the U.S. and China. “I could not be more excited about the partnership we’ve formed for my first signature golf course in Canada,” said Mickelson. “The Calgary area has a huge number of golf fans and players and we plan to create an outstanding golf course — one that’s both fun for amateurs and challenging enough to host the world’s best players in a PGA Tour event.” The gently rolling foothills will be transformed, with shaping reflective of the mountains, water features and sensational landscaping to accentuate the golf course design. It also will be true to the guiding principles

Barry Ehlert, managing partner of Windmill Golf Group

The Villas at Watermark is in its Final Phase. The limited collection of homes remaining in Calgary’s fastest-selling community are situated just 20 minutes from downtown. You’ll love the spacious walkout floorplans, exceptional views of the Rockies, and the freedom to lock up and go as you please. Priced from the mid 700s, it’s the perfect home for luxurious, worry-free living.

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36 • October 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com

CLIENT: MacDonald Development Corp PROJECT: Watermark SIZE: 6.875” x 4.75”

Off the top • News

Barry Ehlert, Managing Partner of Windmill Golf Group, is developing Mickelson National Golf Club of Canada as a centerpiece of Harmony, a 1,700-acre community built by partners Qualico Communities and Bordeaux Developments.

of the community: purposeful, caring and stable. That is, complementing the fabric of family-oriented community, ensuring sustainability and honoring the legacy of the Copithorne family, which settled the land more than a century ago. “Harmony presents a tremendous new opportunity for us,” said Mickelson. “Our setting is magnificent and I’m really looking forward to contributing to a quality, family-oriented community.” Mickelson’s first design was Whisper Rock in Scottsdale, Az. PMD recently completed successful projects in Kunming and Shanghai, China, and has ambitious plans for the renovation of Torrey Pines North, home of the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego. The design process is in progress with the groundbreaking planned for this fall and full construction taking place in 2015. BiC

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Off the top • News

The Seeds Have Been Planted for Another Great Harvest Tickets are now on sale for Ag for Life’s third annual harvest gala Agriculture for Life will host the third annual Harvest Gala fundraiser on November 8, 2014, in Calgary, to boost support of its mandate to deliver educational programming that will serve to improve rural and farm safety, and build a genuine understanding and appreciation of the impact agriculture has on Albertan’s lives. Through collaboration with stakeholders including industry, government, farmers, ranchers, community leaders and not-for-profits, Ag for Life develops partnerships that result in the development and expansion of educational programs that can be delivered across the province. “With more and more people removed from the farm, it’s vital that we continue to share agriculture’s story,” says Luree Williamson, Ag for Life CEO. “Together, we’re growing a better public under-

2013 Ag for Life Harvest Gala; Northlands, Edmonton, AB

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38 • October 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com

Nominations Are Now Open! Do you know an outstanding Human Resources leader? Nominate them today for the 2015 Celebrating Excellence Awards. Pre-Nominations close October 27, 2014.

For more information on the 2015 Celebrating Excellence Awards and how to submit a nomination please visit www.hriaconference.com/nominate

Off the top • News

standing of the role of agriculture in Alberta’s culture and economy while working to keep those in rural and farm communities safe.” Williamson adds, “Ag for Life programs will reach 50,000 people this year, including 40,000 school-aged children through community- and curriculum-based programs. The goal is to continue to invest and reach 100,000 rural and urban Alberta children aged five to 15 in the next two years.” This year’s Harvest Gala at the BMO Centre will continue with the tradition of the past two years, including locally produced foods, the sights and sounds of Alberta artists, a silent auction, and a unique community market where friends can connect. Last year’s gala hosted close to 600 people from agriculture, business and government in support of Ag for Life’s programs. “The Harvest Gala provides a tremendous opportunity for stakeholders to celebrate the critical role agriculture plays in the world, while supporting community-based programming across the province,” says Doug Beever, Ag for Life board chair and founding member. Tickets are $250 each or $1,800 for a table of eight. Special ticket discounts are available for registered not-forprofit organizations, agricultural post-secondary students, clubs and associations. BiC

Nexus Showcases the Latest in Green Architecture According to a recent Inc. magazine survey, green architecture is one of the most promising industries for entrepreneurs of the future. That is certainly true for Hungerford Properties, a real estate development company that is taking its latest commercial project – Nexus Business Centre – to the next level of sustainability. Located in Calgary’s Meridian/Franklin area, Nexus is a new commercial development currently under construction that will offer business owners and investors a chance to buy modern, high-quality office and warehouse space. With the trend towards green architecture growing, buildings like Nexus are becoming increasingly popular. “It’s all about making a deliberate choice to find ways to improve our buildings, reduce waste and use sustainable materials,” says Michael Hungerford, partner with Hungerford Properties. “The impact is felt in the comfort of the building and the reduced operating costs over time. The allure of those green benefits is strong, both for developers and buyers.” One of the green features of Nexus is water efficiency. Nexus is one of very few developments in Calgary to include a storm-water management system that harvests rainwater and recycles it for potable water uses such as irrigation and

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1817 10th Avenue SW Calgary, AB T3C 0K2 Telephone (403) 266-4094 Fax (403) 269-1140 Docket: 37695 Due Date: Sep.4.14 Client: ABCRC

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Off the top • News

Rendering of the Nexus Business Centre

toilets. The extra deep soil coverage also retains rainwater preventing excess run-off to storm sewers. “The flood of 2013 is still fresh in our minds,” says Hungerford. “If we can find ways to reduce storm-water outflow into the city system, we can make a small contribution to reducing flood impacts.” Nexus’ construction team also follows an erosion and sediment control strategy that prevents construction activity pollution.

Over 300 plants and 67 trees will be added to the site to provide shade and reduce the heat island effect of asphalt parking areas. In addition, 10 per cent less parking stalls are required due to the addition of pedestrian and bike-friendly access along 5th Avenue and its close proximity to the Marlborough LRT station. As a result, transportation emissions will be reduced. The building also boasts energy efficiency, with Energy Star® heat pumps providing precise heating and cooling. In addition, the building’s insulated metal panels provide 50 per cent more energy efficiency than typical concrete panels, and the Kawneer glazed curtain wall system has been Cradle-to-Cradle certified for its material content, recyclability and manufacturing characteristics with silver certification. Lastly, Hungerford has deliberately chosen to use more sustainable materials for the building, including low VOC materials such as paints, composite wood products and tiles. “We make a deliberate choice to try to use materials and follow sustainable development practices,” says Hungerford. “It’s something both we and our buyers can be proud of.” BiC

phase one, sold out. phase two, over 80% sold.

With 46 acres of parkland, connected by 5 kilometres of paved pathways, Watermark at Bearspaw is a community built for savouring the moments that really matter. Named Community of the Year two years in a row, Watermark features estate lots from one quarter to one acre and unparalleled amenities for your family. New Tuscany LRT station now open. Visit our website or call us today at 403 239 9735.


Custom or quick possession homes beginning at $1.2 Million. More info at WatermarkAtBearspaw.com

40 • October 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com

’Tis the season • Golf

’Tis the Season Putting the golf course to bed



he season’s over. It’s time to call it a year.” Mostly due to Calgary weather, 2014 was a good year (not a great year) for golfing in Calgary. A slow spring, then a wet spring and early summer. Some un-Calgary days of sweltering, clammy days and – from Springbank Links, Shaganappi, Maple Ridge and the Glencoe to Bearspaw, D’Arcy Ranch and Priddis Greens – quite a few perfect days. All good things do come to an end. Unless Calgary golfers have grand plans to haul the clubs on a sunbelt vacation or keep up a routine under the big tent at the National Golf Academy between now and April 2015, it’s sadly time to get picky and clean the clubs, the shoes and empty the random scorecards, receipts, stray mints and candies, broken little pencils and other forgotten junk from the bag pouches. Despite this fall’s unexpected and surprise, 20cm of midSeptember snow, it was early enough, it melted and, aside from a bit of a nasty scare, it didn’t disrupt the winterizing routines and schedules at most area golf courses. Any week now, at Calgary courses, small armies of energetic staff are on the ready with hectic schedules posted on shop boards. ’Tis the season for the carefully organized, efficient but crucially important close-down process at area golf courses. It’s so much more than just a seasonal ritual. It’s the ultimate preventative maintenance and, just as importantly, it’s

a seasonally important way to avoid huge repair work and expenses, and maddening inconvenience for golfers. “Any time that we finally close, people don’t like it but they understand,” says Kevin Heise, the personable general manager of Springbank Links Golf Club. “But we have to be smart and safe about it. An extra couple of weeks of golf in the fall could easily mean winter damage, repairs and losing a month or more in the spring.” Heise and his fellow Calgary golf course experts and managers have been doing the prep work for more than a month, especially ordering and getting ready materials, and drafting lists and schedules to do what needs doing. At Springbank, a crew of about eight to 10 is already organized and once the course is closed for the season and golfers are gone, the process should take four or five very long days, from early morning until evening. “The tarps are out by the greens, because we don’t want to be surprised by sudden overnight Calgary lows and maybe even frost. We have 171 acres of golf course land at Springbank and that’s a lot of grass to look after any time, especially in this season. “Of course our fertilizer applications change because the grass slows down and gradually starts getting dormant. The fertilizer has much less nitrogen and more potassium,” he explains. “That’s what helps strengthen the cells in the turf and produce winter hardiness.” businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY October 2014 • 41

’Tis the season • Golf

One of the most important chores, and most labour-intensive finicky ones, is properly shutting down the course’s irrigation system.

It’s a similar routine and a lot of hard work by the Priddis Greens crew. “In the past couple of years, we finally shut down for golf around the 18th or 21st,” recalls James Beebe, golf course superintendant at Priddis Greens. “Last year we got caught a bit, with early snow before we could tarp the greens. That was nasty. We had to shovel every green before we could do our work.

“We try to sequence some of the early prep work and get it done while the course is still open by closing one section and opening another. But the entire process will take our crew about 10 days.” There are seasonal basics of closing down a course for winter and although timing may vary, most golf course maintenance lists and schedules are similar. One of the most important chores, and most labour-intensive finicky ones, is properly shutting down the course’s irrigation system. “Springbank has a total of 20,200 yards of irrigation pipe and 520 sprinkler heads around the course. They need to be properly blown out. If the ground unexpectedly freezes before we get to it,” Heise cringes, “it’s a big and expensive problem. It takes us about two days to completely blow out the system. We have tried to do it while the course is still open but the golfers are usually unhappy. No one wants to golf when heads are whistling.” “Treating of the actual grass is not only time consuming but a tricky professional job for our two crews of 20 people. A key task is the fungicide application for snow mould,” Beebe points out.

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’Tis the season • Golf

“There are various popular protective products to keep snow mould from forming on the grass, because that’s the big worry at this time of year. Most courses apply fungicide on tees and greens, on fairways and some in the rough. Especially at Priddis, we’re so tree-lined and have heavy shade that snow could be just sitting there for 190 days or more. We go through thousands of gallons of solution, just to be sure. Late October days are short anyway but, with any luck, frost won’t happen before we’re ready.” The Springbank schedule is also detailed, all set and ready for shutdown. “We try to apply fungicide while the temperatures are mild enough to still allow it to get absorbed into the grass. And we usually wait until after the course is closed for the second application, because it’s best for people not to walk on it. “Then, a thick layer of top dressing sand. The greens will look brown but it protects the crowns. Then we pull the tarps over and, since we get a lot of wind at Springbank, the tarps do help a lot,” Heise says. “Greens are a golf course’s sensitive areas. “We do our best but there’s no way to completely control

ice that can form on a green. And it could be a really nasty problem. Ninety days of pure ice on a green will kill it. It’s a nightmare for maintenance in the spring and golfers get pretty annoyed.” This time of year, throughout Alberta, most golf course professionals keep very close tabs on Environment Canada. Not only for advance warnings of unexpected snow but also about overnight temperatures and frost possibilities. “In a climate zone like Calgary,” Heise says from beenthere/done-that experience, “we go by day-to-day and even hour-by-hour forecasts. It can vary so much. We have had years of plus 15 degrees one day and, without warning, it’s snowing the next. And when it comes to properly doing everything needed to winterize and close down the course for winter, temperatures and the first snowfall are our critical factors.” “The cost of staying open too late will likely backfire in a climate like Calgary,” Beebe points out. “In fact, on public courses, staying open later may make straggler golfers happy but it likely costs the course money to hang on and stay open a few extra days.” BiC



56 Sterling Springs CR - MLS# C3613628

#200 256003 Coalmine RD W - MLS# C3623496



24 Sleepy Hollow - MLS# C3611653

290032 352 ST W - MLS# C3618242

Mark D. Evernden & Associates - Suite 202, 229 Aero Way N.E. Calgary, Alberta

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Jeff L. Tincher

Patti Reid

c 403.829.3776 f 403.592.7791 e mevernden@sotherbysrealty.ca

c 403.836.2981 f 403.592.7791 e jtincher@sothebysrealty.ca

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businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY October 2014 • 43

Calgary Getaways • Recreational Properties

Calgary Getaways Is it lifestyle or investment? By Parker GranT


he recreational property map is changing. For various reasons, and in various ways – maybe because of the economy, maybe shifting generational lifestyles, wants and needs, maybe technology and redefined work habits – the ever-swinging pendulum of real estate strategy and speculation and particularly recreational property trends are changing.

The Shuswap, Sylvan Lake, Canmore, Gleniffer Lake, Windermere and Invermere continue getting hotter. Traditional U.S. hot spots within reasonable cottage or condo distance from Calgary are cooling off as tempting recreational property destinations – mostly because of numbers, demographics, trends and factors of contemporary life. “For a number of years, the recreational property markets

HOME IS A STONE’S THROW AWAY Only 16 minutes from Kelowna Airport and you’re home. To views that last forever. But don’t wait – Lakestone’s first two phases are 85% sold, and Phase 3 is now selling with lakeview homesites starting in the low $200s.

Come home to the lake

FOR MAP, HOURS & MORE VISIT LAKESTONELIVING.COM OR CALL 1 877 766 1213 SALES CENTRE: 9295 OKANAGAN CENTRE ROAD WEST, LAKE COUNTRY, BC This is not an offering for sale. Such an offering can only be made by way of a disclosure statement. The developer reserves the right to make changes to drawings, plans, specifications and prices without notice. Prices do not include GST. E&OE.

44 • October 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com

calgary getaways • Recreational Properties

in Alberta and B.C. were mostly driven by baby boomers,” says Elton Ash, regional executive vice-president of Re/Max of Western Canada. “They weren’t approaching recreational properties as investment as much as a usable getaway place with their kids and grandchildren. “About five years ago the millennials and genXers – the late 20s to mid-30s – started to impact the rec property market, at least in Western Canada. And that generational group is gaining momentum and a whole new trend is developing. “Many of the popular recreational areas now have Wi-Fi, a big factor for younger families to work remotely, enjoy a better lifestyle and a full summer at the lake, instead of just random weekends and two-week vacations.” From a recreational property perspective, Ash underscores what HR insiders have emphasized for the past few years. Flexible hours, mobility and the opportunity to work from remote locales are valuable workplace perks. Despite generational, convenience and lifestyle aspects, numbers are key aspects of today’s cottage, cabin and condo choices and decisions. Each year, the ReMax Recreational Property

Elton Ash, regional executive vice-president of Re/Max of Western Canada

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businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY October 2014 • 45

calgary getaways • Recreational Properties

One of the most expensive and recently sold Canmore-area homes was a 3,500-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-bathroom property with two fireplaces. It sold for $2.3 million.

Report is not only a detailed and valuable monitor and forecast of local markets; it is a revealing source of comparables, detailing market activity summaries for 41 regions across the country, including Calgary-relevant stats and trends for areas like Canmore, the Shuswap, Sylvan Lake and Windermere. According to the 2014 report, national recreational property sales and listings have rebounded from a slow start, caused primarily by the late spring and cold winter experienced in many areas. For Calgary buyers, Canmore has become synonymous with recreational properties. The picturesque mountain town near Banff has a sen-

sational reputation, and market activity continues to be extremely popular. The 2014 ReMax report shows the average sale price for a Canmore property is about $556,000, including homes and condos. The average sale price for a single-family home this year is $888,000, reflecting a huge shortage in inventory of properties valued at less than $1 million. One of the most expensive and recently sold Canmore-area homes was a 3,500-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-bathroom property with two fireplaces. It sold for $2.3 million. Sylvan Lake in central Alberta (about 25 kilometres west of Red Deer) and B.C.’s Shuswap are also 2014 hot spots for recreational property browsers from the Calgary area.

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46 • October 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com

Calgary Getaways • Recreational Properties

The Shuswap is seven regions, best known as home to Shuswap Lake, a large body of water with four “arms,” which connects to Little Shuswap Lake via Little River. Getaway recreational properties in the Shuswap start at about $427,000 for boat access and about $450,000 for homes with road access. There are also some condos in low-rise buildings in places such as Sicamous and Sorrento, priced in the mid-$200,000 range. Maybe a shorter Calgary commute, or just word of mouth about a perfect place for a summer or fall weekend to unwind, the starting price for an 1,800-square-foot, threebedroom, two-bathroom home on the water in the Sylvan Lake area is in the $750,000 range. The 2014 ReMax report also summarizes that more buyers in their 30s and 40s – many with oilpatch jobs and looking for a second home in a quiet location – are getting into the Sylvan Lake market. Real estate, investment and tax experts have cautions about the exciting possibility of recreational properties. They urge budget warnings about one of the biggest mistakes cottage-anxious browsers commit. Underestimating the actual, real-money costs to carry and maintain a cottage. The pros suggest a 32 per cent formula: cautioning first-time recreational property browsers that the grand total

Thank you for your support!

combination of all mortgages, property taxes and utilities for all properties owned should not exceed 32 per cent of gross income. The familiar cliché is still a valid rule. Most people’s largest investment is their home! Add to that a cottage, which is bound to be the second biggest investment, and it shatters the vital rule of investing: diversify, not put all investment eggs into one basket. “Other factors affect how Canadians, especially recreational property buyers in the Calgary area, are weighing their options and making their decisions,” Ash explains. “The Canadian dollar was strong, even at par for a while, and American properties were irresistible. When the American housing market unfortunately collapsed, it made buying U.S. properties even more attractive. “But things have changed,” he notes. “The Canadian dollar is low, the American crunch is not only over but the kinds of U.S. bargains Canadians were grabbing up in 2009 and 2010 are definitely finished.” He cites the random example that Phoenix is back with double-digit property value increases, prices often up by as much as 20 per cent. “That’s very good for Canadian areas. The recreational property buyers are back to looking and buying in Canada.” BiC

Your donations go a long way in supporting health care for our neighbours, families, and friends. Health care impacts us all, and together, we are building a healthier future for generations to come.

calgaryhealthtrust.ca businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY October 2014 • 47

calgary getaways • Recreational Properties

New Snowbird Rules Canada and the U.S. are clamping down

Some snowbirds – westerners flocking south to Phoenix, Scottsdale, Palm Springs or Whitefish and easterners stereotypically headed south to Florida – consider it a bluff, a deterrent or a threat. The rules have been in place for several years. Most snowbirds know the official or vague details about Canadians not being allowed to be in the U.S. more than six months (182 days) but they likely never heard even second-hand stories about the rules being enforced or any snowbird actually getting nailed. Fair warning comes from Roy A. Berg, director, U.S. tax law with Moodys Gartner Tax Law in Calgary. As of July 1, bending or breaking the rules could have serious consequences. Penalties for violating the “Entry/Exit Initiative” (sometimes known as the U.S. day count rule) can mean being banned from any travel into the U.S., liability for U.S. income and estate taxes on the fair market value of worldwide assets, loss of provincial (Alberta) health care, not to mention a thick pile of lawyer fees, accountant fees, an unexpected relationship with the American IRS, molassesspeed paperwork and endless appeals. “Snowbirds have no choice but to take this very seriously,” he cautions. “The onus is on them to know and understand the fine print, make careful plans and, most importantly, keep better records about actual dates spent in the U.S.” Berg has more than 19 years of experience with IRS tax policies, cross-border tax matters, estate planning, finance

48 • October 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com

and helping Canadians deal with American immigration and tax matters. He admits that, before July 1, rules were weak and unenforceable. The day tally only showed when the snowbird entered the U.S. There was no record about the date of return. “Until this year, U.S. Customs couldn’t know how long the Canadian had actually been in the States. And Canada (or Alberta) had no way to track how many days a Canadian was out of the country, especially for eligibility for provincial health care.” The July 1 Entry/Exit Initiative changed everything. The barcode in the Canadian passport is now scanned into each country’s system, allowing American and Canadian customs officials to cooperate and share information about total days spent in the U.S. Total days being outside Canada is now also on file. It will undoubtedly put a crimp into the cross-border hoppings of especially snowbirds and other Canadian winter refugees who have loose and relaxed routines of long-stays in popular snowbird destinations like Phoenix and Palm Springs. “None of the rules or substantive tax regulations have changed at all,” Berg points out. “It’s all still as complicated and confusing as ever. But, for immigration purposes, the U.S. day count is now enforced and matters, a lot.” The rules spell out a three-year rolling total of 120 days, and an annual 182-day count. The three-year rolling tally

calgary getaways • Recreational Properties

For casual Canadian vacationers, it will not be an issue. But Canadians with second homes in the sunbelt will now be flagged by the substantial presence test.

Ever wonder if your Employee Benefits are a good value for the premium you pay?

Roy A. Berg, director, U.S. tax law with Moodys Gartner Tax Law

is called the “substantial presence test” and it flags anyone who stays in the U.S. for more than 120 days in any given year. For casual Canadian vacationers, it will not be an issue. But Canadians with second homes in the sunbelt will now be flagged by the substantial presence test. Berg has timely and proactive advice. Canadians who could be impacted should fill out and file the Closer Connection Exception Statement for

Aliens Form (#8840) to document that they have a closer connection to Canada and are not just dodging U.S. taxes. Bottom line: filling out this form every year enables the snowbird to stay in the U.S. the full 182-day allowance, without triggering the curiosity of either the American IRS or Homeland Security. It’s one filing per person (not one per household) and the form is online at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8840.pdf. Berg warns about an added complication. “The IRS counts days within the calendar year. U.S. Immigration counts days in any 12-month period. “Careful! People who violate the U.S. substantial presence test can be banned from entering the U.S. for three years on a first offence and for life on a second count,” Berg warns. “And those who stay more than 182 days risk becoming subject to U.S. tax on worldwide income.” BiC

Maybe it is time for a second opinion • Renfrew’s volume has allowed us to negotiate volume discounts that we pass along to our clients • Flexible plans and Spending Accounts available to all group sizes • Insurance available to expedite services if you are put on a medical wait list for services such as MRI’s or surgery — please visit www.acurehealth.com • Self Funding Plans for all group sizes to reduce administration costs

Customized, Innovative, Reliable DENISE HIGGINSON VP, Employee Benefits 403 299 1290 dhigginson@renfrew-insurance.com www.denisehigginson.ca

businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY October 2014 • 49


Thai Nguyen, owner of Veritas Shoes Ltd.

Veritas Shoes Ltd.

Calgary’s first custom dress shoe store and repair shop


our shoes can say a lot about you. If Thai Nguyen’s shoes could talk, they’d tell the story of a young boy whose family escaped to Canada during the Vietnam War in search of a better life. Today, Nguyen owns and operates Veritas Shoes Ltd., a custom shoe store and repair shop in downtown Calgary. Raised in Abbotsford, Nguyen moved to Calgary seven years ago, ready for a fresh start in a new city. He landed a job in the shoe industry, where he quickly learned the skills necessary to make and repair footwear. “I had worked in carpentry with my hands and always had a passion for shoes, so it was a logical fit,” says Nguyen. A few years later, Nguyen ventured out on his own to open The Shoe Doctor, a shoe repair shop. But it didn’t take long for Nguyen to see a bigger market opportunity. “A lot of the shoes coming in were Visit Veritas Shoes at

expensive, but poorly made,” he explains. “I would have to turn some customers away because their shoes simply weren’t made to be rebuilt.” Nguyen decided he wanted to make shoes that were worth their value and easy to rebuild or repair. With the support of his wife, Loan Nguyen, and his business partner, Thanh Le, Nguyen founded Veritas Shoes in 2012, naming the company after the Latin word for truth. “I wanted to make the truest fitting shoes for people that would be the truest expression of themselves in terms of style and colour,” says Nguyen. Veritas Shoes imports high-end raw materials from Europe and Asia and assembles two different types of custom-made shoes locally. The first option is fully-custom — Nguyen uses a state-of-the-art 3D scanning technology to render a shoe form that fits the client like a glove, and the shoes are built from the form. No other shoe store in Canada

currently offers this type of customization. While the process is widely used in Europe, the cost of the finished product is extremely high. Veritas Shoes can offer equally highquality, fully-custom shoes for about a third of the price. The second option is semicustom — the client chooses the style, colour, material and sole type. Nguyen hasn’t forgotten his roots. “Having the opportunity to live in Canada and do business in Calgary is a blessing,” he says. Veritas Shoes accepts secondhand footwear, and the donated shoes are cleaned, repaired and given to Mennonite Central Committee Canada (MCC), a world relief organization. The renewed shoes end up on the feet of individuals in less fortunate circumstances, ready to tell the stories of their new wearers. As an added bonus, Veritas Shoes grants donors a $7 credit toward their next shoe repair.

215, 101 – 6 Avenue SW or VeritasShoes.com, or call 403.922.2722.

The world According to Apps • Cover

The World According to Apps Michael Sikorsky deals with corporate administrivia BY JOHN HARDY | PHOTOS BY EWAN NICHOLSON PHOTO VIDEO

Michael J. Sikorsky is different...


is approach to business is different. His opinions about the workplace and management are different. His approach to life and happiness is different. His guilty pleasures are different. His entrepreneurial flair is different. His mismatched socks are different. His views about staff are different. And his resoundingly proven, uncanny and brilliant technology skills are different. Or maybe Michael J. Sikorsky is not really different, after all. He may just be the new normal, slightly ahead of his time. An always creative and gifted square peg in a round hole, the world first caught up with Sikorsky – and he had his own epiphany fluke of an aha moment – in 1995, when he was huddled, bored and a bit sleepy in the conventional cubicle of his conventional employer’s conventional office, during a conventional Monday-to-Friday workweek.

The Internet was hot. It was the new sensation. Early cellphones were popular. Smartphones didn’t exist. And apps were barely a cyber fantasy. Sikorsky, a young software engineer and programmer, was at work with a Calgary-based automation systems company, where he flew under the corporate radar for about five months. “It was a slow day. I was tinkering and even took myself by surprise. I created a kind of a web app,” Sikorsky shrugs.”It was a big hit, the company loved it and it gave me ideas. I had an entrepreneurial seizure.” He quit his day job. The rest is daring, gung-ho and risky startup history, pitching wild ideas, grovelling for funding and convincing the world to take him seriously. The now 42-year-old Sikorsky had always been a driven and innovative type, with a burning high-tech hunch about the early, untapped and limitless potential of mobile technology. businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY October 2014 • 51

The world According to Apps • Cover

Michael and his wife, Camille, discuss upcoming business for R&P.

He started tinkering again. With his quirky outlook, he chuckles, “I’m a programmer and my wife, Camille, is an artist. So we were the perfect prototype for Robots and Pencils.” He had a nagging gut-feel conviction about the coming tsunami of mobile possibilities. Determined to be ahead of the curve, he set out to create apps for the mobile technology that he knew would soon be the new way of doings things and something that would soon change the world. “A good start was blending the science of technology with the humanities of design. Blending the programmers with the designers. Blending what the robots do with what the pencils do.” They tinkered, together. And the timing was perfect. One year after the smartphone took the world by storm in 2007, the Sikorskys launched both the philosophy and the company that is now globally known and respected as Robots and Pencils (R&P) – making mobile apps for work and play. “We knew we had to create quality products that both our clients and we can be proud of. Our apps needed to wow the eye and our technology had to be solid. And we had to have an edge. A distinguishable combination of business, ideas, art and technology. We still prefer to say our apps have that special sauce.” Fast-forward about seven years, a nanosecond when it comes to the warp-speed pace of changing technology, and R&P – the brave, bold and daring husband and wife startup – has clicked over and over and over again. 52 • October 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com

His business card reads CEO, global and chief robot. Camille is president and manages the day to day – what the feisty and dynamic company calls “the factory floor.” Robots and Pencils now has offices around the world, including London, Austin, Texas and Hong Kong, it employs more than 100 people, has legions of hooked consumers of R&P apps for Apple devices, games, travel guides and companion apps for TV programs and movies, as well as loyal business clients in a gamut of industries including oil and gas, health care, the airline industry, Fortune 500 and FTSE 100 companies and many others. One random example of R&P diversity is Vancouver’s Island Health Authority. It needed help with an app to help teens struggling with mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and psychosis. R&P created a specialized app (BoosterBuddy) which was just added to the iTunes App Store, late last month. R&P continues to be listed as Canada’s biggest and best app development company for consumers and enterprise and their creations are consistently on the top grossing app list on the iconic North American iTunes App Store. The latest R&P ingenuity is PencilCase, a do-it-yourself app-maker for iPhone and iPad. Non-developers can now create sophisticated, native iOS applications quickly and publish them instantly with no coding required. By removing the need to code, R&P has created a platform that lets anyone put their ideas, content and designs into a mobile app. But apps are not like conventional widgets. Actual sales

Different by Design Constructing effective tax strategies to minimize your exposure Every business has to file taxes – but you shouldn’t have to worry whether they’ve been filed correctly. Our Real Estate and Construction services team not only makes the process worry-free, but provides added value to your business. We work closely with you to customize a tax strategy and structure that seamlessly integrates with your existing business processes, while keeping you informed of regional and national tax legislation changes that could impact your industry. Our unique approach ensures compliance and identifies opportunities to reduce your exposure – so you can stay focused on growing your business. Contact Lee Thiessen, MBA at 403.537.7617 or l.thiessen@mnp.ca

The World According to Apps • Cover

The team chats about current projects in R&P’s Calgary office on 14 Avenue & 14 Street SW.

stats are impossible to track. Industry guesstimates say that more than 10 million people, in over 20 countries, have used just R&P apps. The solid growth and revenue success and the phenomenal industry respect for everything-R&P has only reinforced Sikorsky’s refreshing and no-nonsense perspective about business, corporate conventionality, management and the workplace. “Our name implies our founding vision: compelling products made by makers, not managers, working across disciplines. We think of ourselves as a Goldilocks company – just the right size. We’re big enough to handle multimillion-dollar projects and small enough to maintain a commitment to being positively good at everything we do,” he beams with natural marketing savvy. He is respected, not only for his innovative software engineer brilliance but his exceptional business savvy and for the many ways he gives back and encourages other people with bright ideas to also “go for it.” He is a major booster of entrepreneurism and devotes a lot of personal and professional time and support to encouraging, nurturing and mentoring entrepreneurs. Sikorsky had the distinction of being EY’s 2013 Technology and Communication Entrepreneur Of The Year - Prairies Region; honoured as a Top 40 under 40 in Calgary; selected 54 • October 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com

as one of Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People; and was recognized as one of Business in Calgary’s Leaders of Tomorrow in 2012. He continues as a much in-demand guest speaker and lecturer and has been at the podium at Cyberport Hong Kong, Harvard Business School, MIT and Stanford. Encouraging the next generation of entrepreneurs is a personal and professional priority. Sikorsky served as entrepreneur in residence for the University of Alberta, teaches at the Calgary iPhone/iPad Development Camp, has run a Startup School at the University of Alberta, sharing insights about what it takes for startup success, and is an active Calgary chapter member of the worldwide Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO.) Although he self-effacingly admits to being a naturalborn entrepreneur whose bright ideas keep working out, every chance he gets, Sikorsky is empathetic and supportive but cautions that the dream of entrepreneurship also has its own speed bumps. “Many people start businesses to be their own boss. Then reality sets in. As an entrepreneur, everyone is your boss – your investors, your team, your competitors, your customers and even the media.” He underscores that IT startups deal with similar but different challenges than other businesses, but have a lot in common when it comes to risk management. “Sometimes

The World According to Apps • Cover

Sikorsky is consistently different when it comes to his outlook about structure management, the workplace, productivity and a genuine passion for his staff.

our staff refer to me as the chief risk officer – because despite successes and growth, we still have our ‘paradox of evidence moments.’ “Before starting a company or launching a new product, you have no tangible evidence whether or not it will be successful. All you have is a hypothesis that it’s good and it will probably work. At that stage it’s all rainbows and unicorns. Once you launch you’re past the no-return moment. You start getting the evidence, feedback, results. You see how people respond. Good or bad. But it’s always a huge risk, because you can never put the toothpaste back into the tube.” Perhaps the nature of the IT business, his unusual take on life and business or because (by his own admission) his brain is “wired differently,” Sikorsky is consistently different when it comes to his outlook about structure management, the workplace, productivity and a genuine passion for his staff. “I am still unbelievably revved by software,” he gushes. “Technology continues to accelerate and, by definition, software has more scale in it. Hey! With an eight-person team, you can change the world. “Software engineers (robots) and artists (pencils) are unique,” he says with awe and admiration. “I’m the least talented person in the company. The key is to find the right talent. Then, let them do what they do. Talent drives. The best thing management can do is get out of the way. Talent have the fire in them and they must be liberated, not managed.” The company hosts “Art of the Possible” seminars to pitch potential clients about how other companies have incorporated R&P mobile apps to push their brands and companies forward. Sikorsky is often one of the event’s guest speakers and invariably shows up in a T-shirt that boldly brags: “I’m talent. You can’t manage me.” “We don’t do meetings!” he roars. “We communicate all day. Processes, procedures and meetings are just corporate administrivia. They break the flow in a day. About 80 per cent of my work is a waste of time, because 80 per cent of my results come from 20 per cent of my efforts.” Unlike many of his business leader peers, who are usually much less plugged-in, Sikorsky is amused and thrilled that he is amazing at turning off. “I was incapable when I was younger. My kids are transformative and I want to be

the best dad I can be. My wife and my kids are my guilty pleasures,” he says with an affectionate smile. “There’s nothing about work or success that comes even close to coming home to a chalk R&P logo in the driveway.” “I love to travel. I love to eat. I love TV and movies like the police drama series Luther and House of Cards. I’m a voracious reader and I read at least one book a week – on the Kindle app on my iPod, of course, because now that I am getting older, I can make the font bigger.” He’s used to the strange looks and occasionally outright curiosity about his trademark bright but mismatched socks. He admits that it’s intentional, perhaps inherited superstition or, as some of his staff speculate, a constant reminder about being counter-intuitive. When Sikorsky talks shop, it’s a subtle reminder that the R&P track record is exciting and impressive. With the clout and global popularity of video game apps, R&P first became a spectacular, worldwide sensation as the creators of Spy vs Spy – an app based on the iconic MAD magazine comic strip and video. Robots and Pencils turned Spy vs Spy into one of the hottest downloaded game apps in the iTunes App Store in 11 countries, including Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Hong Kong and Australia. Acknowledging that the popularity of game apps boosts the company’s global profile, the creative-volcano CEO gets serious and intense when emphasizing that enterprise apps for all kinds of industries are quickly becoming a phenomenon and a basic and essential fact of doing business. According to Sikorsky disciple and Robots and Pencils CEO-USA Phil Komarny, “How we access the Internet, and what we use it for, has changed dramatically. We are no longer tethered to our computers by wires connecting us to walls. We are now mobile. “So mobile that, in late 2013, the number of mobile devices surpassed the number of people on Earth. Knowing and accepting that the majority of these devices have access to the Internet, it is imperative for businesses to leverage mobility to deliver the experience that their customers now demand and expect,” he urges. It’s how and why Robots and Pencils is now transforming the business world into taking apps (and evolving mobile technology) seriously ... as the new business normal. BiC businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY October 2014 • 55

Over 65% of Achievers indicate Junior Achievement

inspired them

to stay in school. Take a closer look at our IMPACT Participation in a Junior Achievement program provides a transformational event that alters ambitions and encourages youth to do more with their lives. According to the Boston Consulting Group, 65% of Achievers (Alumni) indicate that participation in JA Canada programs had a significant impact on staying in school and enrolling in post-secondary education. To volunteer, donate or learn more about Junior Achievement in Southern Alberta please call 403 781 2582 or visit jasouthalberta.org

Saluting the Prairies’ gravity-defying entrepreneurs 2014 Special supplement published by Business in Calgary and Business in Edmonton magazines.

© 2014 Ernst & Young LLP. All Rights Reserved. “Entrepreneur Of The Year” is a registered trademark of EYGN Limited.

“Innovators.” “Risk takers.” “Game changers.” That sounds about right. FirstEnergy Capital congratulates all the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014 nominees.

FirstEnergy Capital is a leader in the global energy sector, providing financial, advisory and investment services to a broad range of corporate clients and sophisticated investors worldwide.


FirstEnergy Capital Corp. is a Member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and IIROC.

Entrepreneurs defy gravity — inspiring awe as they lift their businesses off the ground. At EY Canada, our own growth story started 150 years ago in the same way as this year’s impressive Entrepreneur Of The Year finalists: with one entrepreneur committed to defying the odds. In 1864 — before Canada was even a country — Thomas Clarkson founded the trustee and receivership business which has today evolved into EY. His entrepreneurial spirit laid the foundation for a firm deeply committed to the success of entrepreneurs that still resonates across our organization today. EY is recognized as the top professional services brand among the entrepreneurial community and we were recently named Professional Services Organization of the Year by Startup Canada. But what really makes us proud is the opportunity, every year, to celebrate the stories and achievements of entrepreneurs through our Entrepreneur Of The Year Program. For the award finalists in these pages, their ambition, innovation and leadership have taken their businesses to new heights. Their success is contributing to a better working world for their communities and right across the Prairies. For many, their vision has taken flight across Canada and beyond borders — building Canada’s presence around the world. What will the next 150 years of bring? New generations of entrepreneurs will continue to defy the odds and what we think is possible. And we’ll be right there by their side. Rob Jolley Prairies Director, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year

Table of Contents Business-to-Consumer Products and Services Roger Newton - The Canadian Brewhouse - page 10 | Joe Sunner, Harry Sunner - Durabuilt Windows & Doors - page 12 | Brent Zettl - Prairie Plant Systems Inc. - page 14

Energy Services Mike Dunn - Enerbuilt Technologies Inc. - page 16 | Quinn Holtby - Katch Kan Limited - page 18 | Alvin Pyke Helical Pier Systems Ltd. - page 20 | Pat Wilson - Camex Equipment Sales & Rentals Inc. – page 22

Manufacturing Mike Fata - Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods - page 24 | Dan Leckelt, Lindsey Leckelt - Silent-Aire Manufacturing Inc. - page 26 | Steve Parsons - Inovata Foods Corp. – page 28

Emerging Entrepreneur James Bachynsky - Calgary Shooting Centre – page 30 | Danielle Bragge - The Headhunters Recruitment Inc. page 32 | Stephen Glanville, Regan Davis, Bailey Epp - STEP Energy Services - page 34 | Heather Murphy, Craig Howes - Go Tire Inc. - page 36

Oil and Gas Wayne King - Grit Industries Inc. - page 38 | Bill McCaffrey - MEG Energy - page 40 | Muthu Palanisamy Metalcare Group Inc. - page 42

Special Citation - Social Entrepreneur Shaun Loney - BUILD and others – page 43

Technology and Communications Elmer Brattberg, Audrey Brattberg, Holly Brattberg, Susan Brattberg - Global eTraining and The Brattberg Group - page 44 | David Beresford, Greg Chudiak - Pandell - page 46 | Wayne Karpoff - Willowglen Systems Inc. - page 48 | Jory Lamb - VistaVu Solutions – page 49

Business-to-Business Products and Services Dave Bischoff, Cal Fairbanks - ComplyWorks - page 50 | Ken Greer - Western Ag Group of Companies - page 52 | Mark Repchinsky - Advance Coating Solutions Inc. - page 54 | Al Side - Side Group of Companies – page 56

Professional and Financial Services Greg Burghardt - Arrow Engineering - page 58 | Laurie Goldberg - People Corporation - page 60 | Marnee Brick, Greg Sutton - TinyEYE Therapy Services – page 62

Real Estate and Construction Justin Bobier - Crystal Creek Homes - page 64 | Radhe Gupta - Rohit Group of Companies - page 66 | Travis Penner, Sjoerd Huese - Bridge Road Construction Ltd. - page 68 | Phil Milroy - Westcorp Inc.- page 70

Published by O.T. Communications | www.otcommunications.com | Canadian publications mail sales product agreement No. 41126516 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to circulation dept. 1025 101 6th Ave. SW, Calgary, AB T2P 3P4 info@businessincalgary.com

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014


To judge high-flying talent, you need lots of it. It takes talent to know talent. We couldn’t celebrate the Prairies’ brightest entrepreneurs without the powerful insights of our judges. We’re truly grateful.

Linda Hohol

Kelley Smith

Darryl Levy

Dale Wishewan

Ashif Mawji

Stephanie Yong

Corporate Director, various boards

Corporate Consultant

President & CEO Wynward Insurance Group

CEO NPO Zero Corp.


President & CEO Booster Juice

Director W. Brett Wilson Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

Meet our Prairies leadership team Winnipeg Rob Jolley

Craig Roskos

Program Director, Entrepreneur Of The Year

Managing Partner 204 947 6519 craig.m.roskos@ca.ey.com

780 638 6656 rob.m.jolley@ca.ey.com

Louise Hyland

Joe Healey

Program Coordinator, Entrepreneur Of The Year

Office Leader, Entrepreneur Of The Year

403 206 5372 louise.hyland@ca.ey.com

204 954 5568 joe.a.healey@ca.ey.com


Saskatoon Kent Kaufield

Evan Shoforost

Managing Partner

Managing Partner

403 206 5100 kent.d.kaufield@ca.ey.com

306 934 8000 evan.shoforost@ca.ey.com

Dean Radomsky

Greg Keller

Office Leader, Entrepreneur Of The Year

Office Leader, Entrepreneur Of The Year

403 206 5180 dean.w.radomsky@ca.ey.com

306 649 8218 greg.keller@ca.ey.com

Edmonton Ross Haffie Managing Partner 780 423 5811 ross.m.haffie@ca.ey.com

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014


Business-to-Consumer Products and Services

Roger Newton The Canadian Brewhouse Edmonton


rom the moment Roger Newton, President of The Canadian Brewhouse, began talking, it was clear he was a born leader and entrepreneur. With very little capital and at the young age of 21, he launched the first Brewhouse. His customers were mainly his friends, but through hard work, perseverance and investing all the early profits in the business, Newton grew the company to the beloved establishment it is today. In less than 13 years, The Canadian Brewhouse grew to 11 locations, with more on the way. Are entrepreneurs born or made? I believe they are born. Entrepreneurs need to be decision-makers and risk takers. What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? A strong work ethic, the desire to succeed and the ability to advance after a setback. How important have good employees been to your success? They are vital. Employee skills need to be recognized so they can achieve success in their areas of strength. How can Canada support a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem? To encourage entrepreneurs, we need to start teaching money and life skills in grade school. What was your first job? Delivering newspapers. Let me rephrase that … delivering most of the newspapers assigned to my route! What is your passion other than entrepreneurship? I am passionate about my three children – even when they keep me up at night or their antics make me want to hide from them to relax … with a fine Brewhouse product in hand! What book are you reading now? Great books are meant to be read more than once, which is why I’ve been reading Goodnight Moon and Bus Stops to my daughter – about seven times in a row each evening, every evening. What motivates you? Seeing co-workers succeed and guests enjoying what we have created. My advice for entrepreneurs is to keep your plans to yourself. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake, and if you are in need of some creative juices, come visit The Canadian Brewhouse!


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

Our house is your house.



12 LOCATIONS IN ALBERTA Edmonton 9538 Ellerslie Road 10338 - 109 Street 12711 - 97 Street


Leduc 5404 Discovery Way Spruce Grove 310, 4 McLeod Avenue

Sherwood Park 200 - 270 Baseline Road

Lloydminster 7703 - 44 Street

Camrose 6608 - 48 Avenue

Grande Prairie 10829 - 104A Avenue

Red Deer 12 Conway Street

Fort McMurray 108 Riverstone Ridge

Calgary 9650 Harvest Hills Blvd

Business-to-Consumer Products and Services

Joe Sunner, Harry Sunner Durabuilt Windows & Doors Edmonton


ather and son duo, CEO Joe Sunner and President Harry Sunner, are committed to family owned business ventures. Their company, Durabuilt Windows & Doors, is one of Western Canada’s largest privately owned window and door manufacturers. It supplies the residential, new home construction and commercial industries. This year, Durabuilt celebrates its 25th anniversary. President Harry Sunner responds to the questions on behalf of himself and his co-nominee, CEO Joe Sunner. When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? At eight I began to involve myself in my dad’s small business, to the point where I would wake up pretending I was too sick for school so I could work in our retail business. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Entrepreneurs are born and are constantly in the making. What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Challenging the impossible, personal and professional development, vision, defying the odds, taking risks, and having the discipline to sacrifice personal life to succeed. How important have good employees been to your success? That’s like asking how important your kidneys are over your heart or how important your vision is over your hearing. Good employees are the blood of any great company. What does being a finalist mean to you? Being a finalist means proof that hardship and determination will merit you one day. The recognition gives me an accolade to show my children and demonstrate that if I can be nominated for relentless hard work, then life is an oyster for them, such feeling of an athlete winning a marathon or ironman!

What did you want to be when you were a kid? I always wanted to be a business owner of a large company that would have national recognition. Looking back, what is one thing that you would do differently, professionally speaking? I would educate myself. I learned many elements of business the hard way. What is your dream vacation? The Maldives for a week and then New York for a week with my wife. My advice for entrepreneurs is to defy the odds. Over the next 10 years, I plan to have a self-running business and thoroughly enjoy life, waking up to do whatever I want! I will also be a mentor to others and to my children. 12

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

Celebrating Leadership, Innovation and Commitment EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Regional Finalists, 2014

“The growth we have experienced over the last 25 years can be attributed both to our shared drive to succeed, as well as the immeasurable support of our team, customers, vendors and dealers across Western Canada. The EY Nomination has given us the chance to reflect upon our journey, and look towards the future. We are extremely honoured to be finalists.� Harry Sunner (President) and Joe Sunner (CEO). Durabuilt provides custom Windows and Doors across Western Canada. To learn more please call 1.800.544.3815 or visit durabuiltwindows.com

all about you.

Business-to-Consumer Products and Services

Brent Zettl Prairie Plant Systems Inc. Saskatoon


stablished in 1988 by President and CEO Brent Zettl, Prairie Plant Systems is a privately held plant biotechnology company that focuses on research and development. Prairie Plant’s current projects include the growing and processing of medically valuable whole plant components for controlled substances, biosecure production of mutagenized plants for development of unique genetic lines for commercialization, and genetic transformation for tissue specific expression of pharmaceutical biologicals. When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? I knew very early. Around age 12, my dad started us kids raising chickens. I invested my allowance and moved on to raising pheasants with the money I made. At 18, I brokered a deal with a Saskatchewan company to get their old power poles, which I converted to lumber and sold. C

Are entrepreneurs born or made? M Born – it’s a combination of interest, vision and an appetite for risk that most people Y don’t have. CM

What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Vision, communication skills and tenacity.




How important have good employees been to your success? K They’re an integral part of the business. We couldn’t do anything without our employees. How can Canada support a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem? Create educational and financial support systems that speak directly to entrepreneurs and their needs. What book are you reading now? Chris Hadfield’s book: An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth. What motivates you? Helping people and helping the environment. Leaving things better than when I arrived. Who has been your greatest inspiration? My father has a passion for business and a compassion for people. He gave up his professional career to form a non-profit organization to assist disabled adults in 1975. Also, former SaskTel president Don Ching understands how businesses work and how to direct our board. My advice to entrepreneurs is not to be discouraged by a lack of resources and support from others who don’t see your vision when you are looking at opportunities. What an entrepreneur sees is not often recognized by anybody else. However, you also need to manage cash flow within the context of your vision. 14

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

Safety. Reliability. Effectiveness. It’s in our nature.

I’m honoured to be an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year finalist, and pleased to share this honour with all my staff and management, including those with our subsidiaries. These are most interesting, exciting times as we collectively continue to develop new treatments to better serve a great many customers across Canada, and soon beyond, when conventional medicine isn’t enough.

Brent Zettl

CEO and President

Prairie Plant Systems Inc. #1 Plant Technology Road, Box 19A, RR#5, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7K 3J8

Phone: (306) 975-1207 Fax: (306) 975-0440 Website: www.prairieplant.com

Energy Services

Mike Dunn Enerbuilt Technologies Inc. Nisku


ike Dunn created Enerbuilt Technologies Inc. in 2007 to provide flameless heating solutions that reduce costs, increase safety and are environmentally friendly. Additional services include 24/7 mobile service, maintenance training and warranty processing. Dunn credits his willingness to work hard, learn what’s important and outstanding staff as factors in Enerbuilt’s success. When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? From early on, I wanted to have more of an impact on what was going on around me. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Successful entrepreneurs have traits that anyone can choose to learn. The things you must have internally are courage and a belief in yourself that you can recover if things go wrong. What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? The ability and willingness to learn. How important have good employees been to your success? To be successful, the main ingredient is good people who adapt when conditions change or you have product issues. How can Canada support a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem? I was lucky enough to join Entrepreneurs’ Organization, and that was a gamechanger for me. Canada’s support vehicle exists right now through this organization. Looking back, what is one thing that you would do differently, professionally speaking? I would accept help and engage in a mentorship process much earlier in my career. If you weren’t in your current leadership position, what would you be doing? I would catch up on family time, learn to play the guitar and get my MBA. If I was still engaged in the business community but had more time, I would focus on mentorship. Where do you want to be in the next 10 years? I want to be actively engaged in supporting growing businesses. How do you define success? Success is your ability to provide meaningful change in your family, community and business. My dad told me you have only failed if you don’t try. It is important to take risks, learn from mentors and rely on good people. When you succeed, give back by becoming a mentor and encouraging other entrepreneurs.


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

“Thank you for your passion and commitment over the past seven years; you have helped us all to reach our current level of success. This recognition is in honour of all your hard work and you should be proud of all that’s been accomplished. I am looking forward to sharing many more successes with you in the future. Thank you for all you have done.” – Mike

Enerbuilt Technologies Inc. aims to be the premier provider of equipment and value-added technologies for the energy industry.

Enerbuilt provides full service flameless heating solutions. Our success with flameless heating has been driven by three main value propositions:

Enerbuilt is committed to developing, distributing and servicing cost effective, environmentally friendly and safe-to-operate equipment and technologies.

• Reduced overall heating costs • Increased safety and lowered risk • Decreased environmental impact

www.enerbuilt.ca 780-979-9991

Enerbuilt Technologies, Inc. 2808 Fifth Street, Nisku, AB T9E 4A6

Energy Services

Quinn Holtby Katch Kan Limited Edmonton


atch Kan Limited provides proactive solutions for safety and environmental protection in the oil and gas industry through innovative products such as their patented Rig Safety System™ and Zero Spill System™. Founder Quinn Holtby’s adventurous spirit is a key component in Katch Kan’s success. Katch Kan’s facility houses their state-of-the art service rig, drilling rig and wellhead simulators that can be modified and set to different configurations for training purposes. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Life experience, learning from books and others’ experiences all feed into becoming an entrepreneur, but some personalities are more favourable for entrepreneurship than others. How important have good employees been to your success? No one person has all the skills necessary to handle everything themselves. You need other people to work with you, support you, encourage you, and make up for additional skills you don’t have. What sets Canadian entrepreneurs apart on the world stage? Our desire to give back and make a meaningful difference. What is your passion other than entrepreneurship? Classic cars, supporting community causes and inspiring, helping, coaching and mentoring new entrepreneurs. What book are you reading now? Several, including Think and Grow Rich, A Message to Garcia and The Strangest Secret. Where do you want to be in the next 10 years? Sitting quietly at my cabin surrounded by family while reading stories about how the oil and gas industry has finally realized a zero spill policy and how accidents on rigs have been virtually eliminated. At the same time, I want to see Katch Kan Limited become an employee-owned company serving countless customers around the world. What motivates you? Watching others grow and become the very best they can and the possibility of saving others from accidents. Lifelong learning also motivates me. My advice to entrepreneurs is, “Don’t quit.” Things will go wrong, money can be short, you’ll get tired, there will be failures and twists and turns – choose not to quit. Also, success is influenced by the people with whom you associate and the books that you read.


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

“Protecting Lives and the Environment with safety equipment and zero spill solutions” I’m honoured and humbled to be recognized as Kan’s success has been achieved through the our remarkable partners around the world, and of course, our outstanding customers, who, like us, are committed to protecting the lives of their workers and ensuring that our precious planet is safeguarded for generations to come. For over 20 years, Katch Kan has been developing innovative solutions to the upstream oil and gas industry and we are exceptionally proud to be serving customers in over 60 countries around the world. Success is realized when innovative ideas are combined with a relentless desire to gratitude that I thank all those who have helped along the way. Quinn Holtby Founder, President & CEO


Energy Services

Alvin Pyke Helical Pier Systems Ltd. Sherwood Park


ince 1977, Helical Pier Systems Ltd. has provided engineering, manufacturing, installation, distribution and equipment design/creation services for helical piling products. Founder Alvin Pyke focuses on the implementation of technology, sustainability through green practices and investing in employee training. He looks forward to mentoring other entrepreneurs in the future. When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? When I was 12. My brother and I opened a neighborhood fruit stand in Stoney Creek, Ontario where we resold fruit purchased from our local farmers. The purpose was to save enough money to buy a motorcycle we saw in a store window one day. Are entrepreneurs born or made? I think they are a combination of genetics and circumstance. What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Many skills are required but of all I think the top skills are salesmanship, the vision and forward thinking, and people management. How important have good employees been to your success? It sounds clichĂŠ, but good employees are everything to the success of any business. What sets Canadian entrepreneurs apart on the world stage? The ability to overcome the logistics of creating an economic network in a vast and mostly unpopulated country. What did you want to be when you were a kid? A nuclear physicist. I was fascinated with Albert Einstein as a very young lad. What is your passion other than entrepreneurship? Playing competitive sports of many types as a team and an individual. Where do you want to be in the next 10 years? Semi-retired and giving back to my community in a volunteer role. What motivates you? Building things: a business, an oil plant, a gazebo for the backyard, a motorcycle or a car. I consider myself a builder more than anything. My advice for entrepreneurs is to surround yourself with good people in your work and personal life. I am especially grateful for my parents. We came from very humble beginnings. They worked hard. I was taught many life lessons by my father that I still live by today.


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

I want to thank all of the employees of HPS for their valuable contribution the success of our company. You are the without question the best group I have ever had the pleasure of working with. I look forward to continued success and many more years of working together. It is with great pleasure I introduce our senior management team, all of whom are equally entitled to this honour. A special thank you to: - Bruce Weaver, COO Canadian Operations and VP Finance - Donna Pyke, VP Health and Safety - Ben Kasprick, VP Operations - Tom Bradka, VP Engineering - Red Schuhmann, VP Sales and Marketing We could not have come this far without all of you. I count you all among the very best of my friends and it is with my gratitude that we celebrate this honour together. When we started a little over 6 years ago we had a similar vision of what we could become and that vision is still the common thread that binds us today. In atmosphere of change fuelled by rapid growth all of you have proven to be innovators in your respective fields of expertise.

~ Alvin Pyke


elical Pier Systems Ltd. (HPS) offers helical pile engineering, manufacturing, installation and load testing services, with a focus on employee safety and superior environmental performance. HPS engineers optimized foundation designs for ever-increasing loads and diverse structure types using a combination of foundation technologies. Our team is committed to providing custom engineered pile foundation systems that meet the performance requirements specified by our customers and our goal is to provide our clients with cost-effective turnkey foundation systems. Project owners, EPCM’s, geotechnical firms and construction contractors are increasingly cognizant of the substantial economic benefits to the use of helical pile foundation technologies. They are commonly used as foundations for wellpad equipment, pipelines, skidded buildings, work camps, storage tanks of all sizes, large pipe racks, pump jacks, compressor buildings, etc. Other common applications include foundations for substations, lattice towers, H-frames and monopoles for power transmission and distribution.

1.877.547.1017 | hpier.com


Energy Services

Pat Wilson Camex Equipment Sales & Rentals Inc. Nisku


amex is a worldwide supplier of new and used oilfield, mining, pipeline and construction equipment and a manufacturer of custom oilfield trucks and trailers. President Pat Wilson started the company in 1992 with a pickup truck and one employee. Today, Camex has five locations, 90,000 square feet of manufacturing space, over 900 sale and rental units, and over 100 employees. Are entrepreneurs born or made? It’s a combination of both. Circumstance can certainly be a major driver. What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? The number one skill is the ability to make money with no money. Going broke a couple of times will certainly sharpen one’s skills! How important have good employees been to your success? They are my number one asset. Surrounding yourself with good employees is essential to success. How can Canada support a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem? The availability of startup capital would go a long way to support entrepreneurial endeavours. What does being a finalist mean to you? Although being a finalist is a great honour, I feel the award more appropriately should read “Team of the Year.” It takes the contributions from all levels of an organization, from management on down to be successful. Looking back, what is one thing that you would do differently, professionally speaking? I would have honed my public speaking skills. As the company develops on the global stage, more and more I am called upon to introduce and sell the company’s product and virtues to diverse audiences and groups. What motivates you? A challenge – doing something that no one else has done before. Who has been your greatest inspiration? My greatest inspiration is Mike Myshak of Myshak Sales & Rentals Ltd. He’s the reason I am here today. My advice for entrepreneurs stems from advice I received from a 75-year-old businessman to, “be a man of your word.” Also, know that strength is gained by going through tough times. My plan over the coming years is to return to the selling side of my business, as selling is my passion. 22

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014


EY_Award_ AD_2014_Business in Edmonton Magazine 2014-08-12 1:53 PM Page 1

Although it is truly an honour to be among the finalists, “Entrepreneur Of The Year”, more appropriately should read “Team of the year”... It takes the contributions and dedication of all - from management, support staff, shop floor employees, partners and a loyal customer base to have success. I thank each and every one for the ongoing support and encouragement. Pat Wilson

President & CEO

CAMEX Equipment Sales & Rentals Inc.








Mike Fata Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods Winnipeg


ounded in 1998, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods manufactures and sells Hemp Hearts, hemp protein powder, hemp oil and Hemp Bliss (beverage). CEO and co-founder Mike Fata helped legalize industrial hemp in Canada. His passion stems from how healthy hemp foods dramatically improved his health.

Are entrepreneurs born or made? They’re born. You either have the entrepreneurial spirit and aptitude or you don’t. What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Perseverance, passion, well-developed negotiation skills, the ability to see the big picture and build teams around that vision. How important have good employees been to your success? Without committed and skilled team members, our company would not be what it is today. It takes many different points of view and skill sets to succeed. Not wearing too many hats allows you to lead and innovate. How can Canada support a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem? As Canadians, we are often quite modest and a bit conventional. To support a stronger Canadian entrepreneurial environment, I think we need to challenge conventional wisdom and break away from the norm. We also need to support innovation at every level within that ecosystem. Looking back, what is one thing that you would do differently, professionally speaking? That’s an easy one – I’d dream bigger! What is your passion other than entrepreneurship? Hemp foods! I used to be overweight, unhealthy and unhappy. Now I’m passionate about nutrition and the notion that food can heal. Last year I became a certified health coach to give me more tools to help educate others on healthy living. Who has been your greatest inspiration? I was raised by a single mother. She told me very early on that my greatest strength was seeing the larger vision and staying focused on it. My mom inspired me to think bigger. My partner, Autumn, and our two children also inspire me. My advice for entrepreneurs is dream big. Have the courage to challenge traditional wisdom and break from the norm. Don’t take shortcuts. Do something right so there’s a foundation to build upon.


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

Better doesn’t happen by chance. For 150 years, we’ve been helping Canadian entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Congratulations to the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year finalists! ey.com/ca/entrepreneurs

© 2014 Ernst & Young LLP. All Rights Reserved.


Dan Leckelt, Lindsey Leckelt Silent-Aire Manufacturing Inc. Edmonton


ilent-Aire Manufacturing Inc. creates custom, technologicallydriven HVAC solutions for clients worldwide. Co-Presidents and brothers Dan and Lindsey Leckelt credit their parents for teaching them survival skills, strong ethics and dedication. When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? Dan: Since we were children; being an entrepreneur is how we were raised. Lindsey: In Grade 7 I declared that I was going to be a mechanical engineer and work in the family business. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Dan: Entrepreneurs can be born, but a lot can be made. Lindsey: It takes influence to create an entrepreneur.

What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Dan: The ability to sell yourself. Lindsey: Guts, creativity, self-reflection and the ability to be your own toughest critic. How important have good employees been to your success? Dan: Employees are one of the keys to the success of our business. Lindsey: Our employees are one of the strongest areas of our company. Quality employees are the lifeblood of our organization. What sets Canadian entrepreneurs apart on the world stage? Dan: Our ability to think outside of the box, our creativity and operational flexibility. Lindsey: Canadian entrepreneurs have a larger sense of realization of the value good employees bring to the business. What does being a finalist mean to you? Dan and Lindsey: It is an honour for our company and staff, and a great way for our team to realize the fruits of our hard work. What is your passion other than entrepreneurship? Dan: Hockey. After playing competitively for many years, my passion shifted to coaching kids. Lindsey: Spending time with my wife and kids, playing hockey and working in my yard. How do you define success? Dan: Having the ability to make a difference in people’s lives. Lindsey: Taking care of my family while giving back to my friends and community. Our advice for entrepreneurs is: be flexible, calculate risks, learn from your mistakes, know all aspects of the business, be balanced and stay humble. 26

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

We are honoured to be chosen among the finalists for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year. We thank our staff for their hard work, dedication and belief in what we could achieve. We also thank our vendors and most importantly, our clients, for their loyalty, confidence and patronage. – Dan and Lindsey Leckelt

Turning complex heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) challenges into creative solutions since 1994. When you work with Silent-Aire you are more that a customer. We work as your partner, helping you to realize your vision and meet your needs.

7107 - 8th Street NW, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6P 1T9 Tel.: 780•456•1061 Fax: 780•456•1286

With our in-house manufacturing team and design-build approach, your HVAC solution is within reach.


1145 West Gary Avenue, Gilbert, Arizona, USA 85233 Tel.: 480•656•1239 Fax: 480•656•2907


Steve Parsons Inovata Foods Corp. Edmonton


novata Foods services the retail, club store and food service industry in Canada and the US by creating and supplying innovative and convenient meals to the retail public. Inovata’s research and development team takes a product from concept to production for their own label or for clients’ private labels. Established by Steve Parsons, President and founder, and Lisa Parsons, wife and co-founder, in 1989 as The Pasta Mill Ltd., Inovata has continuously expanded. It now operates from a 45,000-square-foot facility in Edmonton and a 100,000-square-foot facility in Tillsonburg, Ontario. When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? From the very early age of around 12 or 13. What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Risk taking, creative problem solving, understanding your strengths/weaknesses and effective delegation. How important have good employees been to your success? Good employees have been critical. What sets Canadian entrepreneurs apart on the world stage? The typical Canadian personality of honesty, integrity and politeness will eventually lead to success in entrepreneurial enterprise. I believe our harsh climate assured Canada was settled by those with a strong entrepreneurial spirit, and that is now in our DNA. What was your first job? I have never really had a job outside of being an entrepreneur. From a very young age I have always looked for ways to make money working for myself. I painted fences, picked and sold berries, and started an oilfield painting company when I was 17. What is your passion other than entrepreneurship? Family, cycling, mountain biking, snowboarding, global humanitarian aid and being innovative with food. If you weren’t in your current leadership position, what would you be doing? I would be more involved with international mission work in developing nations. My advice for other entrepreneurs is to start small but dream big. Starting small allows you to make small mistakes that you will learn from. Additionally, you need to have a can-do attitude. Focus on “can” not “can’t.”


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

Voice & Data Cabling Phone Systems Paging Systems Voip Services

Moving or Expanding? We can help. Ask about how we can

save you money on your phone bill!

Bay B - 5815, 36th Street S.E. Calgary, Alberta T2C 2J1 Phone: 403.921.9889 | Fax: 888.341.0565


Emerging Entrepreneur

James Bachynsky Calgary Shooting Centre Calgary


s one of the most technologically advanced ranges in North America, Calgary Shooting Centre provides a great experience for individuals and groups, whether they want to try something new, hone existing skills or engage in team building. President James Bachynsky founded the company in 2010 following 21 years of military service and his 2001 retirement. When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? I have always wanted to do things my own way, and I enjoy a sense of accomplishment in making the deal, finishing a project or building something of my own. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Every skill set can be learned, but some people have an advantage in being born with the required mindset. What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Knowledge, willingness to take risks, confidence and determination. How important have good employees been to your success? Hard-working, enthusiastic employees are the core of success. How can Canada support a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem? Canada is a pretty good place to start a business. However, we have developed regulatory bureaucracies that require far too much of a business’ time. Eliminating or simplifying this bureaucracy would make entrepreneurship much easier. Looking back, what is one thing that you would do differently, professionally speaking? I wish I had started my own business earlier. I started late and therefore have less time to grow, less energy to direct and less time to enjoy success. However, starting late made me more capable of withstanding failure, learning from it and turning it into success. What motivates you? Fear of failure. I have failed enough to know that I don’t enjoy it. How do you define success? Success for me is completeness. I want everything done right, and the closer I get to perfect the more successful I feel. My advice for entrepreneurs is to jump in with both feet. It’s easy to sit on the sidelines watching and worrying. Don’t let failure get you down; learn from it, and use it to make you stronger. Persevere, overcome and conquer!


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

The most technologically advanced shooting range in canada.

“Thank you to my partners John and Markus who have shared the blood, sweat and tears of starting a new business. Thanks to all of our staff who work so hard making our business the success that it is. And thanks to our members and all of the customers whose trust and loyalty has made Calgary Shooting Centre the best business of its type in Canada.”

• James Bachynsky, Owner Calgary Shooting Centre

7130 Fisher Rd SE, Calgary AB



Stocking/Importing high end products:

Join us for: • Shooting sports • Corporate team building • Canada’s only cinema range

Gunsmithing done by our in house master gunsmith!

Emerging Entrepreneur

Danielle Bragge The Headhunters Recruitment Inc. Edmonton


he Headhunters Recruitment Inc. is a recruitment agency that services both jobseekers and employers by creating mutually beneficial scientific matches between candidates and employers. Compatibility is assessed not only on skills, but also attitude, aptitude, communication and organizational culture. Co-founder and Vice President Danielle Bragge credits The Headhunters team for their past and future success, and enjoys that they are fully engaged in helping clients reach their full potential. When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? My first business was at eight, selling bush grass to build straw huts to neighbourhood kids (I grew up in Africa). That was a tough sell and didn’t go so well! Being an entrepreneur is in my blood. What would you say the top skills are to be an entrepreneur? Be able to takes risks and be comfortable with the unknown.

How important have good employees been to your success? My partners and I feel very fortunate to have the team we have today. Their commitment and definiteness of purpose is the core of our success. There is no “I” in team! How can Canada support a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem? One-on-one with successful entrepreneurs will help new entrepreneurs avoid pitfalls. Give new entrepreneurs access to advisers, finance, marketing, sales and banking. Teach Canadians how to network more effectively. Educate entrepreneurs on the difference between working in the business instead of on the business. Teach them when and who to hire. What did you want to be when you were a kid? A marine biologist. What is your dream vacation? My husband and I (along with our five kids) just got back from our dream vacation. We spent two weeks in Nicaragua travelling across the country and cuddling children at an orphanage in Managua. What motivates you? My family and finding the fit between employer and employee. That’s when the magic happens and when companies and careers grow. My advice to entrepreneurs is to surround yourself with talented people, hire to your weaknesses, allow others a voice and admit when you are wrong.


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014


BUILDING BETTER BUSINESSES ONE HIRE AT A TIME “Our company was founded on a genuine passion for bringing together the right businesses with the right people, with the help of scientific tools that identify FIT. We are so thankful to everyone who helps us continue to fulfill that vision every day. Thank you.“


Co-Founder, The Headhunters Recruitment Inc.

accounting & finance • engineering • operations • sales & marketing • office support

W W W. T H E H E A D H U N T E R S . C A W W W. T E M P S A H E A D. C O M

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EDMONTON 780.486.8377

VANCOUVER 604.682.9999

WINNIPEG 204.515.0800

29/08/2014 12:10:58 PM

Emerging Entrepreneur

Stephen Glanville, Regan Davis, Bailey Epp STEP Energy Services Calgary


TEP Energy Services is a privately-owned, technically-focused oilfield service company that provides specialized coiled tubing units along with pumping and support equipment to the deep horizontal well market in Western Canada. Nominated along with VP Engineering & Technology Bailey Epp and VP Operations & COO Stephen Glanville, President & CEO Regan Davis presents some personal insights and a closer look at what he calls “an amazing company built around a great business strategy and wonderful opportunities.” When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? I had a bicycle repair shop in elementary school. Are entrepreneurs born or made? People can be enticed into entrepreneurship, but most have traits that are a core part of their personality.

What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? The top skills needed are the ability to anticipate the future, comfort with uncertainty and risk, decisiveness with limited information, gut instinct, and high tolerance for stress. How important have good employees been to your success? They’ve been 100% important to the success of STEP. Our professionals are the backbone of our company. I couldn’t be more proud of our team. What does being a finalist mean to you? It is an endorsement for the great company we have built. Being a finalist allows us to celebrate in our successes as a team. What is your passion other than entrepreneurship? I truly get joy from being with my family. I love mentoring, inspiring and helping people discover their significance. I’m also passionate about traveling and new experiences, and I enjoy being mediocre at a whole bunch of different sports! How do you define success? The quality of the relationships in my life. Who has been your greatest inspiration? I have had the amazing benefit of being exposed to many different leaders and successful people. I have tried to extract and use the best from them all. My expectation is that 10 years from now we will be an international oilfield service company with a focused offering that defines us as the premier supplier of the services and products we deliver.


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014



Emerging Entrepreneur

Heather Murphy, Craig Howes Go Tire Inc. Red Deer


o Tire aims to transform the way Canadians change their tires. Business partners and engaged couple Craig Howes and Heather Murphy created this mobile tire-changing service, enabling on-site changes at home, work or wherever you may be. With over 40,000 locations, the franchise is growing fast. When did you know you wanted to be entrepreneurs? Howes: Early – my family was very entrepreneurial. They owned a variety of businesses. Murphy: My family was conventional, but I was always an independent thinker, appreciated challenges and the feeling of creating something and seeing it succeed.

What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Howes: A drive to succeed, a passion for customer service and the willingness to overcome any real or imagined obstacles. Murphy: Long-term thinking, short-term goal setting and a focus on the customer. How important have good employees been to your success? Howes: We are blessed with the best employees anyone could ever ask for. They treat the business as though they own it, and they make great decisions. What does being a finalist mean to you? Howes: I think everyone has heard of EY, but as we have gone through the process we now understand the benefit of having the accolade associated with our brand. Being a finalist is important because if we were to win, we would be recognized as being among the best and brightest in Canada, and our young business would be given the opportunity for expedited growth. What is your dream vacation? Howes: On a beach with my family. Murphy: An adventure and being exposed to different cultures. How many hours do you work a day on average? Howes: From eyes open to eyes closed, about 14-16 hours per day. What motivates you? Howes and Murphy: Our children. We want to show them that with hard work and focus you can achieve great things, and we want to ensure their needs are always met. Our advice for entrepreneurs is be relentless, be passionate, and know your skills and your flaws. Wake every day with an answer on how to grow your business and yourself.


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

Oil and Gas

Wayne King Grit Industries Inc. Lloydminster


nder the leadership of President Wayne King, Grit Industries provides green, sustainable solutions that address the most pressing issues in the oil and gas industry. From burner systems to natural gas line heaters to the “Grit Hog” (a machine used to clean oil storage tanks, replacing the person who used to do this dangerous job), Grit Industries uses innovation to make the energy industry a safer and more efficient environment. When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? All my life. I’m in my 60s and have been starting companies and creating products since the mid-1980s. At seven, I converted mother’s rototiller into a go-cart. She wasn’t impressed by that! Are entrepreneurs born or made? Both – you can be born that way but also choose to live your life that way. What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? The desire to succeed, change course and direction midstream, be driven to change, and have diverse thinking. How important have good employees been to your success? Good employees are everything. What sets Canadian entrepreneurs apart on the world stage? We live in a country that focuses on business and the health of the economy. We have an abundance of adventurous people. How can Canada support a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem? Existing government programs support entrepreneurs through flexible lending and supporting people with ideas. What did you want to be when you were a kid? I wanted to be a peace office or an airplane mechanic. Looking back, what is one thing that you would do differently, professionally speaking? I would stay in school. My post-secondary education is from the school of hard knocks! What is your passion other than entrepreneurship? I have no passion other than entrepreneurship. I eat, sleep and breathe my work. My goal over the next 10 years is to continue making a difference. My main plan is to continue to work. My dad planted his last crop at 83, and I plan to be just as active. We have several projects in progress, and over the next decade we will fully commercialize what we have started.


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

Oil and Gas

Bill McCaffrey MEG Energy Calgary


ill McCaffrey is the President and CEO of MEG Energy, a company focused on sustainable and in situ oil sands development in southern Alberta’s Athabasca region. Thanks to a large, high-quality resource base, including interests in two key midstream assets (Access Pipeline and Stonefell Terminal), MEG holds some of the best in situ resources in Alberta. When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? I come from a family of entrepreneurs; I think it must be in the McCaffrey genes. I was intrigued at the thought of going out on my own and years later, I’m happy with my choice. What are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Understand the business from the bottom up, have patience, develop the right team, think outside the box and maximize opportunities. How important have good employees been to your success? They’ve been extremely important. Our business results are a direct reflection of the talented and innovative teams we have working at MEG. What sets Canadian entrepreneurs apart on the world stage? Canada offers a business landscape that encourages education and supports a can-do entrepreneurial spirit. What motivates you? I feel like MEG is in its first inning as a company, and we have a long way to go, which is part of the fun. I am motivated by the dream of where our team can take MEG. How do you define success? Success is when I hear the passion our people have as they talk about the company to friends and family. Who has been your greatest inspiration? My mom and dad taught me about the entrepreneurial spirit. In the business world, Peter Lougheed was a mentor and friend. He was a board member at MEG, and he always inspired me to be innovative. My advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to follow your dreams, surround yourself with great people and get up every morning excited about the journey. Take a moment to think through obstacles presented to you, as they may in fact become opportunities to advance your business in ways you had not anticipated.


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

results innovative


teams “Our business results are a direct reflection of the talented and innovative teams we have working at MEG.” – Bill McCaffrey

520 - 3 Avenue SW


Calgary, Alberta, T2P 0R3


Tel: 403.770.0446


Fax: 403.264.1711



Oil and Gas

Muthu Palanisamy Metalcare Group Inc. Fort McMurray


etalcare Group Inc. provides consulting and inspection services to the oil sands, oil and gas, petroleum and petrochemical, power generation, and pipeline industries through five divisions: non-destructive testing, geotechnical, geomatics, in-service inspection and project support services. The company slogan, “driven by innovation, powered by people,” is at the heart of their service. CEO Muthu Palanisamy considers the Metalcare team to be the pillar of the company’s success. He is proud of his people for their dedication, hard work and commitment. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Dealing with people around me shaped me into an entrepreneur. Lessons of leadership can be imparted to anyone, but having the intelligence to connect oneself to those lessons is something else all together. It takes seeing through the results, and more importantly, having the ability and passion to implement these lessons. What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Have focus, passion, motivation and innovation. It’s also important to welcome challenges, be proactive and connect with people. What does being a finalist mean to you? Being an EOY finalist is a great recognition for our employees’ hard work and dedication. It gives inspiration and excitement to our employees to do more for the team and our clients. What is your passion other than entrepreneurship? Helping people has always been my passion. Where do you want to be in the next 10 years? Leveraging my experience, contacts and influence to create a much larger visionary organization or foundation for a cause that I believe in. How do you define success? Feeling proud of yourself for what you have accomplished and having a hunger to achieve more. My advice for entrepreneurs is that backup plans help people sleep easier at night and can also create an easy out when times get tough. Personally, I will work a lot harder if my primary plan simply has to work because there is no other option. Total commitment without a safety net will drive me to work harder than I ever imagined possible. As long as I keep working hard and keep learning from my mistakes, I will find a way to succeed.


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

Special Citation - Social Entrepreneur

Shaun Loney BUILD, Manitoba Green Retrofit, Aki Energy and the Social Enterprise Centre Winnipeg


UILD provides employees with entry-level job skills; Manitoba Green Retrofit (MGR) focuses on aspects of building maintenance; Aki Energy implements geothermal heating into Manitoba First Nations communities; and the Social Enterprise Centre houses all three operations. Overseen by Executive Director Shaun Lawrence Loney, BUILD, MGR, Aki Energy and the Social Enterprise Centre work together to help those facing barriers to employment. Loney’s social entrepreneurship has a significant impact in and around Manitoba’s First Nations communities. When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? As a kid sweeping off the sidewalk of my dad’s grocery store, I remember thinking I was going to own the store someday and employ people from the First Nations. Are entrepreneurs born or made? People can learn entrepreneurship, but some people have a knack for it. What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? I’m tempted to say to “think outside the box,” but the Elders tell me to “think inside the circle.” Partnerships and relationships are also important. How important have good employees been to your success? My co-workers are heroes. As ex-offenders and people who have grown up dealing with the legacy of the residential school system, I admire them greatly if they can overcome incredible obstacles in their daily lives to do things the rest of us find normal. How can Canada support a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem? We must move toward supporting economic ventures that solve our social and environmental problems. What is your dream vacation? Canoeing with friends from Winnipeg to Hudson Bay. How do you define success? Success for me is simple – how many Aboriginal people can I employ? Who has been your greatest inspiration? I’m motivated by my co-workers, most of whom are ex-offenders. They are great employees! My best advice for entrepreneurs is to go for it! Do something that makes a difference in the world and your life will be richer. During the next 10 years, BUILD will connect people who most need work with the work that most needs to be done. EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014


Technology and Communications

Elmer Brattberg, Audrey Brattberg, Holly Brattberg, Susan Brattberg Global eTraining and The Brattberg Group Edmonton


lobal eTraining and the Brattberg Group is a family business run by parents Elmer and Audrey Brattberg and their two daughters, Susan and Holly. Through online delivery, Global eTraining provides ways to learn skills faster, retain knowledge longer and create application-ready real life skills. All companies under the Brattberg Group umbrella (including the Academy of Learning and Digital School) are global education leaders. CEO Susan Brattberg answers questions on behalf of the company’s nominees. When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? As early as I could remember. It’s how we grew up. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Entrepreneurs are born with the drive or born into entrepreneurial families. What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Think quickly on your feet, take the time to do proper planning and know when to roll with it. How important have good employees been to your success? Our employees have been absolutely integral to our success. What does being a finalist mean to you? It means being recognized among a high group of achievers. We were finalists last year. Winning this year would mean a lot because we got a glimpse of the high calibre of winners. To be among them is an honour. To win would be the icing on the cake. What is your passion other than entrepreneurship? My passions are family, friends and travel. What book are you reading now? The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. I keep this book on me at all times because we are implementing the strategies into our company. What motivates you? Being able to see the success of our products and what we are able to do for our customers; to see the impact and difference that we are making. Global eTraining is on a hyper-accelerated growth curve at the moment, and we have plans to keep that pace and be the leader in online global training. We currently have over 100,000 learners in 140 countries and will have millions of learners within the next 10 years. The impact we are planning to make in helping people learn skills is monumental. 44

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

Global eTraining and The Brattberg Group of Companies A Proud Finalist in EY Entrepreneur Of The Year -Technology and Communications -

Defining and Designing 21st Century Training


Home of The Generator, the revolutionary build-it-yourself course development tool. Rotating, Grouping, and Arraying Out of all the other basic modifying tools we could address in this lecture, the Rotate tool is perhaps the most unique. Rotating elements in Revit is not quite the same as in other applications like AutoCAD. Click Let me Try to step

Power Up Your Training MENU

through a simple exercise to explore the various ways of rotating content.

eDemo Click here for a demo video

eTip Click here for helpful hints

Easy as 1-2-3

Let Me Try

1. Develop

Let’s Play! Try it now!

View Image Architectural Annotation

Learn More Content you need to know

2. Publish 3. Deliver


The Brattberg Group of Companies





Technology and Communications

David Beresford, Greg Chudiak Pandell Calgary


andell delivers industry specialized software to more than 350 organizations in the energy and government sectors across North America. President and CEO Greg Chudiak manages the overall business aspects while David Beresford, Vice President of Research and Development, guides the technology strategies. Under their leadership, the company combines its oil and gas industry expertise, proprietary Lithium web technology and cloud hosting model to deliver affordable back-office applications to its client base.

When did you know you wanted to be entrepreneurs? Chudiak: For David, it was right out of high school when he participated in the start-up of a business in the medical field. For me, it was after working for a couple of great companies to gain valuable experience before venturing out on my own. What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Beresford: The ability to listen carefully to what a customer segment is saying and out-of-the-box thinking. How important have good employees been to your success? Chudiak: Critical would be an understatement. We have been privileged to have people join our company who are smart, hardworking and self-motivated to achieve results. This has been one of the primary drivers in the success and growth of Pandell. What sets Canadian entrepreneurs apart on the world stage? Chudiak: Canadians bring humility, quiet confidence and humour. We are easy to work with and are trusted around the world. What did you want to be when you were a kid? Chudiak: I wanted to be a pro hockey player! What motivates you? Beresford: Working alongside smart people to create innovative software is truly rewarding, and when we deliver that software and see our customers smile, I feel an amazing sense of accomplishment. How do you define success? Beresford: A great team, happy customers and giving back to the community. Our best advice for entrepreneurs is that success comes from what you believe, not what others say. There will always be people telling you why something can’t be done, but if you are confident, persistent and focused on adding value for your customers, your chances of success go way up.


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

As EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Finalists, We’d Just Like to Say...

To Those Who’ve Helped Us Get Here Our Clients

Our Staff

Our Families

Who inspire us to explore new ideas and create innovative software solutions.

Who are dedicated to delivering exceptional results for our customers.

Who support us through our challenges and contribute to our successes.

Come visit us at www.pandell.com

Technology and Communications

Wayne Karpoff Willowglen Systems Inc. Edmonton


nder President Wayne Karpoff, Willowglen Systems provides turnkey industrial automation solutions to customers around the world. For over 40 years, Willowglen has provided solutions directly or through local providers. Solutions include flow computers, supervisory control and data acquisition host systems, an array of remote terminal units (RTU), ultra-low power RTUs, and communication and instrumentation systems. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Entrepreneurs have a natural drive to create, but being exposed to other successful entrepreneurs creates confidence. What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? The ability to see needs before others, to turn abstract concepts into concrete actions and the ability to communicate. How important have good employees been to your success? Critical - I’ve always been a big idea guy, but to make things work takes many talented people. What sets Canadian entrepreneurs apart on the world stage? Since Canada is a healthy multicultural country, it is easier for us to think of new ideas being adopted in a multicultural world. How can Canada support a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem? Canada needs to create a culture of early adopters. Good early adopters engage entrepreneurs at the whiteboard stage, nurture product ideas, are willing prototype evaluators and are the first to buy the finished product. They nurture the relationships created through the collaborative process to ensure the innovation cycle can be repeated. What did you want to be when you were a kid? An architect. I’ve always liked the idea of creating things. What was your first job? My brother and I created a landscape construction company when I was in high school. What is your passion other than entrepreneurship? I like to create things, so I have a very well-equipped home shop with a CNC machine, woodworking equipment, welding equipment and other metalworking equipment. My best advice for entrepreneurs is to become an expert communicator. Learn to interview would-be customers to understand their needs. Learn to how to sell ideas. Learn the tools of the trade. Learn how to make your passion infectious. Learn how to work with both traditional and social media outlets, and communicate, communicate, communicate!


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

Technology and Communications

Jory Lamb VistaVu Solutions Calgary


ed by President Jory Lamb, VistaVu Solutions is a business management software provider with the industry experience, tools and tailored solutions to help companies in the energy services sector streamline their operations and accelerate their growth. This values-based company opened in 1996 and is guided by integrity, growth, service, commitment to excellence and passion. When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? My family was a partner in the local Red Rooster food stores in Lloydminster. I’d hang out at their meetings while the other kids played. By 11, I knew I liked business and wanted to run one of my own. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Made – there is an entrepreneurial spirit in everyone, but for some, their risk tolerance exceeds their willingness to win. What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Vision, courage and sheer perseverance. How important have good employees been to your success? We are nowhere without them. I’m very appreciative of all the people along the way who have contributed to the past, present and future of VistaVu. What does being a finalist mean to you? At 23, I started my first business. Before I began, I made a collage of what defined business success for me. I had several images of what I wanted to achieve and right in the middle was the EOY logo. This award is something I’ve always held in the highest regard. For me, being a finalist is a great honour.

What book are you reading now? Textbooks because I’m taking my MBA. Microeconomics, financial accounting and case studies on management. What is your dream vacation? The upcoming vacation to Hawaii for three weeks on the beach with my family. The kids are going to have a great time, and I’m going to just chill out and do a whole lot of nothing! What motivates you? The opportunity to create something from nothing and matching people with opportunity. My advice for would-be entrepreneurs is take the first step. Don’t pause for perfection if it’s not the perfect idea or the perfect scenario. It’s amazing how many business ideas refine themselves when you get on the path. For existing entrepreneurs, my advice is focus, focus, focus. EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014


Business-to-Business Products and Services

Dave Bischoff, Cal Fairbanks ComplyWorks Calgary


resident, CEO and Director Cal Fairbanks and Executive Vice President and Director David Bischoff are at the helm of ComplyWorks Ltd. Founded in 2004, ComplyWorks Ltd. was built in response to the industry’s demand for standardized regulations, certifications and compliance in the energy sector. Now, ComplyWorks is pleased to provide customizable compliance, certification, pre-qualification and orientation management solutions across a broad spectrum of industries that includes over 50,000 contracting companies and over 100,000 individual users.

When did you know you wanted to be entrepreneurs? Fairbanks: Since high school. Bischoff: From a very early age – around eight years old. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Bischoff: It’s a little of both. Having a vision and the drive to pursue it may be a personality trait, but the entrepreneur also needs skills that are learned. What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Fairbanks: Self-confidence, communication and listening skills, quick decisionmaking and learning from your mistakes. How important have good employees been to your success? Fairbanks: Critical – we are reliant on our great employees. What sets Canadian entrepreneurs apart on the world stage? Fairbanks: Our well-educated talent pool, risk taking and pro-business attitude. What was your first job? Bischoff: When I was 12, I got a summer job running an ice-cream bike. It was hard work, baking in the sun for little pay! What is your passion other than entrepreneurship? Fairbanks: Golf. What motivates you? Fairbanks: I’m a results-driven person, so I’m motivated by helping employees, customers and people accomplish positive results. Bischoff: I’m passionate about solving a problem or creating something new that no one else has built, and I take pride in seeing our people do the same. How do you define success? Fairbanks: Overcoming the challenge you are facing to achieving your desired outcome. Our advice for entrepreneurs is to believe in yourself, eliminate self-doubt and be passionate about what you are trying to achieve. Potential opportunity will always exceed what you can actually produce at any given time. Learn to pick your priorities for the most effective outcome and pursue those with vigour. 50

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

Business-to-Business Products and Services

Ken Greer Western Ag Group of Companies Saskatoon


nder Principal Ken Greer, Western Ag Group of Companies are: Western Ag Innovations, researching soil nutrient bioavailability; Western Ag Professional Agronomy, empowering farmers to make wise crop decisions; Western Ag Global, growing business opportunities; and Western Ag Seed Innovations, providing performance seed varieties to farmers through its Professional Agronomy network. When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? My first entrepreneurial business began at age 13, when my dad gave me a cow herd of 10 heifers. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Both – an entrepreneur is “one who takes risks.” What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Financial literacy, the ability to hang on and the wisdom to build the right team. How important have good employees been to your success? It is nearly impossible for me to think of anything that is done completely solo at Western Ag! What sets Canadian entrepreneurs apart on the world stage? Winter! Given the very finite resource of summer and all of the impending work that needs to be completed before winter, Canadians have an intrinsic advantage in the skill of prioritizing. What did you want to be when you were a kid? For the first 10 years of my life, I wanted to be a cowboy. Entrepreneurship is as close to the modern-day cowboy as you can get. Looking back, what is one thing that you would do differently, professionally speaking? I would worry less about trying to make everyone happy. I spent some of my early years searching for compromise. Who has been your greatest inspiration? My parents. They were married at 20 and started farming with one milk cow and a debt of $1,200 in back taxes that my grandpa couldn’t pay in the 1930s. They retired in 2000 with over $2 million net worth, two houses, two vacation properties and six kids who they put through college. Over the next 10 years, we will franchise the Western Ag Professional Agronomy brand in 40 more locations around North America and the world, and we’ll use this base of advisement to advance stewardship of the world’s arable soil resources. 52

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

Mission is what draws in and holds the best people. The journey from an idea on the University Lab bench to billions of dollars more food grown by farmers – this kind of noble mission demands the best professionals. The professional staff who: …work to empower farmers with choice …secure and sustain the food supply for the planet, and for everyone on it. To all of you who have been on this journey, I sincerely appreciate your commitment and contribution. From the seemingly smallest detail to the biggest breakthrough, I believe that each and every step has happened for a reason. Together, we have advanced the Plant Root Simulator into a world-class tool that can help to grow an efficient, plentiful and sustainable food supply on the planet. My heartfelt thanks and deep appreciation go to my wife, Karen, and our children, Meghan, Justine and Ian. Only the true Entrepreneur knows that even the biggest Thank You would never be enough to repay the debt owed to family.

Ken Greer, MSc., P.Ag. Chairman and Principal

#104 - 110 Research Drive, Saskatoon, SK S7N 3R3 306.978.1777 | Toll Free: 1.877.978.1777


Business-to-Business Products and Services

Mark Repchinsky Advance Coating Solutions Inc. Edmonton


dvance Coating Solutions is a family business run by brothers Mark Repchinsky, Vice President of Operations, and Chris Repchinsky. Mark’s son, Garrett, and Chris’s son, Greg, are also involved in the family business. The abrasive blasting and protective coating company services Alberta’s energy sector, specializing in pipelines, storage tanks and secondary containment liners. Internal research and development ensures that Advance Coating Solutions remains at the leading edge of technological advancements and uses only the best quality products for their industry. When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? Growing up in the family business, it was not really a conscious decision to become an entrepreneur, rather than being one from the start. My father always instilled in us to work for yourself, not someone else. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Made – competition, expectations, lifestyle and atmosphere play a role. What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? They are resiliency, focus, managerial skills, innovation, adaptability, risk taking and communication skills. How important have good employees been to your success? Very important – we depend on them for continual work and long-term relationships with our customers. What does being a finalist mean to you? Just being an EOY finalist means so much. It allows all the hard work we have done to be recognized by family, friends and peers. Looking back, what is one thing that you would do differently, professionally speaking? I would have more education. If I could have afforded post-secondary education growing up, I would probably be further ahead than where I am now. What is your passion other than entrepreneurship? My family is my number one passion, followed by my health. I also have a passion for performance cars. What motivates you? I like the challenges in the business. It’s never the same thing twice. It’s exciting! Our growth plan over the next 10 years is expansion of our shops and our fieldwork. This includes employees, equipment, capacity and placing the right people in the right positions so I can slowly step back and enjoy the company’s success through retirement. 54

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014


uilding for the last 44 years, Advance Coating Solutions’ journey has been a long and exciting one. It is with great sincerity that I extend the thanks to all the hard working men and women who have helped us exceed our goals. Our success is a direct reflection of the quality of staff attracted. It is their ambition, dedication and safe approach to common goals that have helped the business grow, evolve and flourish. Due to their efforts we have emerged as an industry leader in the coating service sector.

~ Mark Repchinsky

advanceCoating.com | 1 866 Blast 4 U

Mark and Chris Repchinsky

Business-to-Business Products and Services

Al Side Side Group of Companies Grande Prairie


or over 50 years, Al Side has been the President of the Side Group of Companies. Side Group and affiliates provide industrial and oilfield supplies, supply chain management and logistics, property and land development, vehicle rentals and leasing, rail trans-load, transportation, and financial services. Side Group services the western provinces and territories with an unwavering commitment to the group’s team, customers and vendors. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Made – people become good at what they do out of necessity. Your intellect, environment and dedication have much to do with your success. What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? A total dedication to your business and a lot of good people around you. How important have good employees been to your success? The people who have helped me are not only our talented employees; I also surround myself with a lot of smart and practical people who act as my sounding board. What sets Canadian entrepreneurs apart on the world stage? Our northern region sets Canada apart, and the determination and innovation of the men and women who go up north to take advantage of the many yet-untapped opportunities in the region make our entrepreneurs truly unique. What did you want to be when you were a kid? Growing up in small-town southern Saskatchewan, it never entered my mind to be a business person let alone to have grown to the magnitude we have built. That changed when we moved to the northern part of Canada. What is your passion other than entrepreneurship? I owned a fishing lodge in the north, I own a registered trap line, and I ranch a section of land with a herd of bison and a few horses. However, my greatest passion is my wife and family. Canada has a number of products that we can build and export, but we need good transportation infrastructure to get our products to market competitively. Over the next 10 years we will continue to work with the development of promoting Canada’s transportation infrastructure.


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

Professional and Financial Services

Greg Burghardt Arrow Engineering Edmonton


ed by President and CEO Greg Burghardt, Arrow Engineering provides clients with the full complement of integrated consulting services, including mechanical, electrical, structural and civil engineering for the building construction industry. Working from offices in Edmonton, Calgary and Saskatoon, a skilled team of over 80 people delivers effective, innovative and eco-friendly design solutions across all markets. When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? Since my mid-20s, I’ve had the desire to be involved in the growth of great businesses. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Entrepreneurial nature comes from within, though outside influences may help. What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Drive, competency, vision, optimism and leadership. How important have good employees been to your success? Our outstanding team is consistently noted as a one of the key differentiators that sets Arrow apart. What sets Canadian entrepreneurs apart on the world stage? Canadians are ethical with a respect for the law. We have a desire to do the right thing, and we try to do business in a win-win situation for all. What is your passion other than entrepreneurship? People are my passion. My personal mission is to provide many people with a fulfilling career and to have lasting and enduring relationships with our team. What motivates you? I am self-motivated to be the best person I can be and to build a great company with real substance. How do you define success? Accomplishing what’s important to you, personally. My advice for entrepreneurs is to, “know when to fold them,” as Kenny Rogers sings. I think there are too many experts, speakers and authors out there who talk about never giving up, and I strongly disagree with this. Sometimes a strategy is simply flawed, and you need to cut your losses and move on to something that can be successful. As well, you need to find a sweet spot where you are good at it, you love doing it and people are willing to pay for it.


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

Professional and Financial Services

Laurie Goldberg People Corporation Winnipeg


eople Corporation is a national provider of group benefits, group retirement and human resource services. As Chairman and CEO, Laurie Goldberg has led the firm to the forefront of consolidation within its industry. Through acquisition of regional companies, People Corporation is now one of the largest and fastest growing national companies in Canada. When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? I grew up in an entrepreneurial family and started a fence and deck building business at 12, which I grew through high school and college. What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Believe in what you are doing, be passionate, have a plan, have strong work ethic and surround yourself with talented people who believe in your vision. C


How important have good employees been to your success? They are the number one factor to our success.



What sets Canadian entrepreneurs apart on the world stage? Canadian entrepreneurs are balanced in how we start and grow businesses, and as a result, the economy reflects that through steady growth.





What did you want to be when you were a kid? I wanted to be a carpenter, so I was! What is your passion other than entrepreneurship? I replaced my passion for building with cooking. I want to be a pro chef someday. If you weren’t in your current leadership position, what would you be doing? Building – I would love to design and physically build my own house. Who has been your greatest inspiration? My father taught me a lot about business. He instilled in me values of work ethic, generosity, kindness and integrity. He told me, “It’s just as easy to think big as it is to think small, so think big.” Over the next 10 years, our intention is to build the next large-scale benefit, pension and HR consulting firm in Canada. Our vision is to grow to half a billion in revenue. We see a lot of opportunities in the Canadian landscape to consolidate the fragmented marketplace and bring best-in-class advice to the small- to medium-size business market, which we believe is currently underserviced.


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

E M P LOY E E B E N E F I T S | P E N S I O N | H R S E R V I C E S

People Corporation’s goal is to deliver a customized and superior solution that meets our clients’ employee benefit, pension and HR needs. On behalf of myself, our management team, our consultants and our Board of Directors, I would like to share this honour with all our professional staff at People Corporation across the country and acknowledge their efforts and dedication which has contributed to our success. Thank you for ensuring our clients truly






Laurie Goldberg Executive Chairman and CEO

With close to 300 professionals in 17 offices across Canada, People Corporation is amongst the fastest growing Employee Benefits, Pension, and HR solutions providers in Canada. WWW.PEOPLECORPORATION.COM

Professional and Financial Services

Marnee Brick, Greg Sutton TinyEYE Therapy Services Saskatoon


inyEYE Therapy Services, co-founded by CEO Greg Sutton and President Marnee Brick, provides speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists to school districts through telepractice. Telepractice is the use of communication technology to provide remote speech-language services. TinyEYE was the first online therapy provider and continues to lead the industry in implementing new innovations. In 2014, TinyEYE added mobility to telepractice, enabling its therapists to connect with schools through telepresent robots. Are entrepreneurs born or made? We believe it is the business that builds or breaks the entrepreneur. What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Successful entrepreneurs need passion, humility, discipline and courage. How important have good employees been to your success? Good employees are extremely important. Having the right people is what has driven our success. How can Canada support a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem? Focusing on a culture of entrepreneurship will drive the growth of the Canadian ecosystem.

Looking back, what is one thing that you would do differently, professionally speaking? We would not change a thing. The hard times built our character, having the wrong people made us prove our values, the bad decisions taught us to think, the failed projects taught us discipline, and the naysayers taught us courage. We could not achieve the goals we have set for ourselves in the next five years without character, values, intelligence, discipline and courage. None of these things can be learned in a classroom or from seaching online. You have to live it if you want it and own the bad with the same pride in which you own the good. What is your passion other than entrepreneurship? Our passions include family time, windsurfing, kayaking and day dreaming. How do you define success? To us, the ultimate success is being at the crossroads of passion, skill, economics and family. Our advice for emerging entrepreneurs is to maintain focus on the culture of your company because this above anything else will determine your ability to succeed. Also, be passionate about helping others succeed and realize their full potential.


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

Bridge and conquer. Entrepreneurs build the world, one great idea at a time. Let’s explore how we can help you bring your biggest ideas to life. ey.com/ca

Š 2014 Ernst & Young LLP. All Rights Reserved.

Real Estate and Construction

Justin Bobier Crystal Creek Homes Calgary


ustin Bobier is the President of Crystal Creek Homes where luxury, elegance, distinction, quality and comfort await you on arrival to their custom-designed homes. Building in Edmonton and Calgary, Crystal Creek Homes has been operating since 2004. Crystal Creek communities include Allard in Heritage Valley, Laurel, Maple Crest and Walker Lakes Station in Edmonton; Aspen Woods Estates, Tusslewood Terrace Estates, Currie Barracks, Rock Lake Estates, and various infills in Calgary; and Canals Landing and Cooper’s Crossing in Airdrie. When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? When an injury took me out of the workforce and left me without an income for three months, I decided to take charge of my career so I would never be in that situation again. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Born – it’s something that is instilled from a very early age, but unfortunately not everyone gets the opportunity to turn their talent and drive into entrepreneurship. What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? A drive to succeed, tolerance for risk and a desire to make life better. How important have good employees been to your success? They are paramount. Without employees supporting you and your vision, you have nothing. How can Canada support a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem? Canadian lenders tend to be a little conservative in dealing with entrepreneurs. Canada should provide more robust support, financially and through mentorships. Looking back, what is one thing that you would do differently, professionally speaking? In the beginning, I would have taken more time in the hiring process, ensuring those selected fit our corporate culture. What motivates you? I am very goal oriented. At the start of each year, we make a budget and plans to achieve those budgetary goals. Accomplishing those goals motivates me. How do you define success? Having a happy family and business life. Achieving my goals, be it personal or business. My advice for entrepreneurs is “go for it!” Never take no for an answer. Use that “no” as motivation to prove those people wrong. Reach out to industry professionals for help and rely on your financial institution, accountant and lawyer to guide you. 64

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

“I would like to share the honour of being recognized as an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year finalist with our entire Crystal Creek team and thank our valued trade partners, clients, developers and lenders in helping us reach our goals and achieve the success we have to date.� Justin Bobier Owner/President

a Reflection of You CrystalCreekHomes.ca | 403.254.6499 | Connect@CrystalCreekHomes.ca

Real Estate and Construction

Radhe Gupta Rohit Group of Companies Edmonton


nder the direction of CEO Radhe Gupta, Rohit Group of Companies aims to be the premier real estate group in Western Canada. Founded in 1986, the company grew from a small residential homebuilder to a diversified organization with complementary interests in residential and land development, commercial assets, and real estate lending. Under the Rohit Group umbrella, Rohit Capital provides lending solutions for real estate investors, Rohit Communities builds high-quality residential housing, Rohit Land Development plans and develops entire communities, Rohit Commercial provides complete real estate services for businesses, and Rohit Charities gives back through financial and volunteer contributions. When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? My father owned his own business when I was growing up; I have always had an interest in the business world. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Entrepreneurs are born with the drive and will to succeed on their own terms. What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Identify opportunities, have realistic ideas and be willing to take risks. How important have good employees been to your success? Creating a strong team with complementary skills sets is critical to the success of our business and one of the main reasons why our company has been able to grow the way it has. What does being a finalist mean to you? Being a finalist means greater credibility and confidence. It is a validation of the goals and standard of excellence I have always set for myself and my company.

How many hours do you work a day on average? Working eight hours a day – eight very productive and busy hours – allows me to enjoy work/life balance. The more you work, the more you can achieve, but you must also take time for yourself, family, friends and the hobbies you enjoy, or that success will be hollow and fruitless. How do you define success? I realize success when the largest number of stakeholders are winners. My advice for entrepreneurs is to cover your wickets well. Whatever can go wrong may go wrong in the beginning. Be prepared for every possibility.


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014



Your Full Service Real Estate Partner Rohit Capital

Rohit Commercial

Our real estate lending division provides functional capital and intelligent leveraging solutions for its borrowers, while maximizing returns for investors.

Rohit Commercial designs, builds, leases, manages and acquires revenue producing properties throughout Alberta. These properties include office, residential, warehouse, industrial and retail space.

Rohit Communities A leading home builder in Western Canada for over 25 years, Rohit works with our community partners to bring a full range of award winning homes to our neighbourhoods in Edmonton and Fort McMurray.

Rohit Land Development Our land division develops innovative neighbourhoods from niche opportunities to large multi-use projects. Our goal is to develop multi-generational communities, offering a variety of home styles to suit any lifestyle.

A Message from Radhe Gupta It is an honour to be selected as a finalist for this prestigious award. I would like to thank my family and the Rohit team for their support and dedication to our vision. I look forward to our continued success in the future.


Real Estate and Construction

Travis Penner, Sjoerd Huese Bridge Road Construction Ltd. Winkler


ice Presidents Sjoerd Huese and Travis Penner of Bridge Road Construction build adult active lifestyle communities and hotels in Western Canada. Their rural developments in Manitoba and Saskatchewan focus on the needs of the aging population and creating a new vision of aging. When did you know you wanted to be entrepreneurs? Huese: Growing up in an entrepreneurial family, it came as a natural choice for me. Penner: Nobody in my family owned a business. I didn’t know I wanted to an entrepreneur until the last couple of years.

Are entrepreneurs born or made? Huese: Made, as it’s a natural result that comes from leadership. Penner: Made, as it comes from the thrill of leadership. How important have good employees been to your success? Huese: We are very fortunate to have talented, committed and hard-working staff. They believe in and are passionate about, “turning vision into community” and making a difference in the lives of people. How can Canada support a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem? Huese: Take care of rural communities where the government is not keeping an eye on things. The smaller communities tend to fall through the cracks. What did you want to be when you were a kid? Huese: A firefighter. Penner: A hockey player. What is your passion other than entrepreneurship? Huese: My family and a balanced life including spirituality, family, community and physical well-being. Penner: The same goes for me. I have three young kids with a fourth on the way. Fatherhood is my passion along with camping and sports. How many hours do you work a day on average? Huese: Between 8-10 hours a day. Penner: From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., then its family time (with some emails being answered) and more work time in the evening and early morning hours. It’s between 10-12 hours a day overall. Our plan over the next 10 years is to continue to increase our market share and expand into Alberta. Our market penetration plan includes more rural communities and different housing plans. We would also like to expand our interests in the assisted living market.


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

Five reasons entrepreneurs matter most By Colleen McMorrow

We say it time and time again: entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of the Canadian economy. These business leaders operate companies of all shapes and sizes, across a wide spectrum of industries. Their amazing diversity is just one of the reasons we’re proud to celebrate their stories and achievements year after year. In many ways, entrepreneurs matter most — to the communities where they set up their businesses, to the people they employ and to the Canadian economy overall. Through their ability to dream and commitment to win, entrepreneurs:

1. 2.

Drive economic growth. In good times and bad, Canada’s entrepreneurs are the backbone of our economy. They see opportunity in adversity and forge ahead to drive growth in all economic conditions. Are true job creators. Job creation remains in the good hands of entrepreneurs. EY’s annual Global job creation survey reveals 76% of entrepreneurs plan to increase the size of their workforce in the year ahead by an average of 19%. What’s more, this year’s Entrepreneur Of The Year finalists in Ontario represent close to 8,000 jobs in Canada. And across the country that number grows to 37,000.

3. 4. 5.

Broaden Canada’s presence on the world stage. Our entrepreneurs are putting Canada on the map: 74% of our 2013 finalists report having an international presence and 39% are prepared to expand into international markets in the next 12-25 months. Innovate at every turn. Innovation is about understanding evolving industry and customer needs and improving on what already exists. Entrepreneurs know this better than anyone, and demonstrate their ability to adapt to new market conditions time and time again. They are powerful agents of change. Strengthen communities. Giving back to the communities where we live and work is an important way we can all build a better working world. Entrepreneurs take this corporate responsibility to new heights. They recognize that real success means creating social value.

The list could go on. There’s no end to the value that entrepreneurs bring to the table. That’s why it’s important we work together to create an entrepreneurial environment that supports them on their path to success. After all, they’re the engine driving this country forward. To learn how we support entrepreneurs, visit us at ey.com/ca/entrepreneurs.

Real Estate and Construction

Phil Milroy Westcorp Inc. Edmonton


nder the leadership of President and CEO Philip J. Milroy, Westcorp has served the real estate industry for over 30 years through acquisition, development, construction, marketing and management of residential, retail, office, hospitality and mixed-use projects. Westcorp retains ownership, either solely or with investment partners, in its incomeproducing properties, providing the company with a stable financial base from which it can develop new opportunities. Westcorp currently presides over a diverse, high-quality portfolio that produces significant returns for the company and its investment partners. When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? I have known that I wanted to be an entrepreneur for as long as I can remember. Are entrepreneurs born or made? I would say it’s a combination of the two. What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? A successful entrepreneur needs vision, determination and persistence. How important have good employees been to your success? Good employees have ensured Westcorp’s success. How can Canada support a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem? Incorporating entrepreneurial activities into the Canadian education system would really help, as well as supporting worthwhile programs such as Junior Achievement. What did you want to be when you were a kid? I wanted to be a rancher when I grew up. Looking back, what is one thing that you would do differently, professionally speaking? I would have started to build a corporate management team with more depth and breadth earlier in my career. What was your first job? Technically, my first job was on the farm, but my first paid job was on the oil rigs as a roughneck. How many hours do you work a day on average? I work an average of 10 hours each workday. Over the next 10 years, we intend to grow significantly as we aim to double our assets, equity and cash flow with a focus on the continued development of large, high-quality assets. Additionally, we will continue to hold fast to our mission to “create, invest in and maintain spaces and places that bring out the best in people” and to our vision “that our stakeholders will be our greatest advocates.” 70

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014

Phil Milroy, President and CEO of Westcorp, is honoured to be chosen as a finalist in the 2014 Prairies Entrepreneur Of The Year program in the Real Estate and Construction category. Thank you to Westcorp’s team members, suppliers, customers, and investors for helping us to continually grow our business. Your collective contributions have helped guide our actions and decisions, and with your help we will continue to create great spaces and places for many years to come.












Westcorp.net 780.431.3300 | mail@westcorp.net | 200, 8215-112 Street, Edmonton, AB

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Evil Email • Technology


Mercado, WSL, WS Leasing, Calgary, Experts mercado-business-in-calgary_4.5x4.75_final.indd FILE SIZE: 4.5" wide X 4.75” high | C M Y K Email was developed as a tool to make our working life more efficient, BLEED: 0.0" on all sides

but has it morphed from helper to hindrance? By NerIssa McNaughtoN


n the early 1970s, American programmer Raymond Tomlinson was rumoured to have sent “QWERTYUIOP” as the first email. By 1985, government and military employees, students and academic professionals were using email for research and communication. In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web. Just a few short years later, in 1998, the word “spam” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary – and it wasn’t a definition of meat that comes in a tin. Originally created to maximize efficiency, email (according to McKinsey Global Institute) clicks away 28 per cent of the average worker’s time – and that’s just at work. Email, at first glance, is the digital version of Frankenstein’s monster. We created it and now we are dealing with the consequences; the timeconsuming, spam-filled consequences. But don’t panic. With the right tools and strategies you can make the world of digital communication work for you. “I have some pretty strong opinions about this issue, seeing as how email has threatened to take over my life from time to time,” laughs Dr. Pam Robertson, a life and career coach and founder of the company The Ladybird Files. As she explains, “If people prefer to receive messages by email rather than talk to me on the phone, I’ve got to cooperate in order to give them what they are asking for.” She goes on to offer user-friendly advice. “Most email programs have

messages, like those from your boss a filtering system so you can direct or business partner, can be directed to emails to where you want them. Newsa folder that you will check every six letters can be directed to one folder Prepared by: Westminster Savings Marketing Department hours. Everything else that comes in and read at your leisure. Meeting minCarly Swift gets efficiently managed by you once utes Graphic can goDesigner: to a specific folder, and a day as you direct messages to folders project updates to another. Important D 604.528.3845 E cswift@wscu.com




businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY October 2014 • 129

Evil Email • Technology

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Dr. Pam Robertson

for immediate handling or schedule a time to deal with them later. If you are worried about missing something, watch a couple of YouTube videos or consult with someone who is proficient at handling email, and commit to learning to be more efficient about it. “Another inbox management technique is to make absolutely certain that emails you receive are synchronized between your computer and your phone so that you are not staring at a message on one device and trying to recall whether you managed it on another one. “Business emails are intended for people who are busy, so if you design your emails for speed reading, that’s best. Restrict yourself to one topic per email, and no more than about 300 words, so they can be easily consumed. If you need to send a longer missive, like meeting minutes or project updates, try to use different platforms, like project management software, where you can share documents and messages outside of email. Alternately, attach the document instead of putting it in the body of the email. That way the email itself is quick and easy to manage.” Dr. Robertson has advice for getting your emails noticed as well. “When people tell me they haven’t read my emails because they are just too busy, I know I’ve got to get concise with my messaging, create subject lines that beg to be opened and then follow up. Say what you want in the subject line. If you are sending a follow up, use something like ‘information as requested in today’s meeting.’ If you

130 • October 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com

“Turn it off so you can get your work done. There are very few jobs that require someone to be constantly answering email, although we have let it become an insidious habit that promotes the idea of being constantly available while actually interfering with our ability to stay focused on high-priority projects.” ~ Dr. Pam Robertson need a signature, try ‘signature required, please return by Wednesday.’ An important attachment could say ‘president’s report – please read’ and something that must be replied to could say ‘event notice – reply required.’” The coach has a very effective way to make sure you get your important projects completed despite the constant chime of the notification bell on your computer or mobile device. “Turn it off so you can get your work done,” she counsels. “There are very few jobs that require someone to be constantly answering email, although we have let it become an insidious habit that promotes the idea of being constantly available while actually interfering with our ability to stay focused on high-priority projects. We cannot focus properly if we are trying to work on a

Evil Email • Technology

critical project, yet constantly checking for and replying to emails. Personally, the day flows most efficiently when I manage my incoming email flow, which includes filtering as well as shutting my email notifications off on my phone and computer when I am working on big projects. It’s usually enough to check email sometime mid-morning, after lunch, and then before wrapping up the day. If you need more frequent checking, consider setting up a team email where a group of people can share email responsibilities and have a schedule for answering that allows everyone to have chunks of uninterrupted time to get things done.” Dr. Robertson mentions project management software and team collaboration, two methods that are rapidly gaining ground in the world of digital communication management. “Our whole philosophy is that modern teamwork has outgrown email,” says Kenny Van Zant, COO of Asana. The Asana team should know; Asana’s founders are Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and Facebook project manager and tech lead Justin Rosenstein. Seeing a need to create a product that transcends the limits of email, Moskovitz and Rosenstein left Facebook in 2008 to create Asana. “Email was invented over 30 years ago and was a huge upgrade over tubes, messengers and runners,” Van Zant continues. “Asana is the next evolution. Instead of asking people to

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Kenny Van Zant

turn away from email, we upgrade the specific ways that email is used.” Asana allows for simultaneous collaboration on projects within a team. Within Asana, projects are broken into tasks. Tasks are assigned to specific individuals. Individual team members can break down their tasks and organize them in the way that best suits their needs by using tools such as custom views, calendars, lists and sections. Rather than sending emails back and forth, everyone attached to the project can view communication from all team members alongside the project or task. In a way Asana is like Facebook, but instead of a social platform it is designed for businesses. “We realize that most email inside a company is about what you are working on,” explains Van Zant of their decision to make Asana a workplace tool. “Asana undoes some of the things that make email so frustrating.” Dr. Robertson’s tips and products like Asana can help organize and manage your work life, but they can help in your personal life too. It’s easy to create folders and filters in webbased emails such as Gmail or Yahoo, and not getting disturbed by the notification ring is as simple as managing the settings on your smartphone. “People tell me they run their life as well as their company on Asana,” says Van Zant. In fact, he is one of them. Outside of work time, Van Zant uses Asana for projects like home renovations and even his daughter’s lengthy application process to schools. There is no doubt that the way we work has changed dramatically over the years and email has been a big factor in that evolution. However, instead of letting email slow us down, there are ways to manage it to become more, not less, efficient. Maybe email isn’t evil after all. Perhaps it just has a bad side; you know, like ice cream. It’s OK to have it, just make sure you manage your consumption and don’t overindulge. Thanks to Dr. Robertson’s tips and project/collaboration software, getting a handle on our email consumption is just a few clicks away. BiC

Jeff, Leadership Development

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businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY October 2014 • 131


This is the new Sharon Carry starting line. receives distinguished Alberta Order of Excellence


haron Carry is a dedicated, respected and innovative education leader. She is also an energetic, supportive and gung-ho community booster. According to Bow Valley College (BVC) students, grads, faculty, colleagues, Sharon Carry, president and CEO, Bow Valley College friends and family, Sharon Carry is simply a caring, kind, inspiring and terrific person. On October 15, 2014, Sharon Carry will add to her remarkable story of professional and personal excellence “We listen to learners and we listen to the employers. and community involvement, when the Honourable Donald Employment trends change dramatically,” she explains. S. Ethell, the lieutenant governor of Alberta, invests her into “It is reflected in the changing demand for contemporary the distinguished Alberta Order of Excellence (AOE) – the courses in areas such as business, health care and human highest honour the Province of Alberta can bestow. services; especially the Early Learning and Child Care, and It is richly deserved and the ultimate feedback for a special Justice Studies programs. Albertan who has devoted a distinguished life and career to “That’s what we do. Train job-ready graduates.” better education, better communities and a better quality Sharon Carry’s enthusiasm for BVC is a passion. She of life. beams about the college’s focus and relevance, about the “Life in general is changing and the education system is opportunity to positively impact the lives and futures of also being transformed with many exciting changes,” says some 14,000 students a year and the various factors which the president and CEO of Bow Valley College. have dynamically grown BVC to be Alberta’s largest college. “Our primary commitment is to deliver solid and relevant Under her leadership, the college has nearly doubled education and to graduate job-ready adults. Our learners enrollment; expanded its reach throughout the region, are overwhelmingly busy, working people and, in so many nationally and internationally; introduced dozens of new ways, technology is a vital part of their lives. So technology programs; and embraced a new mandate as Calgary’s and must also be a vital part of their education. region’s one and only comprehensive community college. “It’s why we focus on à-la-carte education. Learning any Carry consistently demonstrates commitment to her time, any place, any path, any pace. community by serving on the board of the Calgary Homeless Carry is proud that, in addition to its main Calgary campus, Foundation, as a member of the Council of Champions BVC also offers campuses and physical learning places in 20 for the United Way, actively participating in the Calgary locations throughout southern Alberta. Chamber of Commerce, and much more. She emphasizes that “technology is critical to study and For a solid and caring special pro — who doesn’t like fuss and learning, from anywhere in the world, not just brick-andrecognition — the prestigious Alberta Order of Excellence mortar classrooms, and that nearly half of BVC learners million This is Bow Valley College South Campus. It’s part of an over transf $290 million transformation that has createdmedal o is a reflection of Sharon Carry’s distinguished now take courses online. By next year, all learners will be more one of Western Canada’s leading educational than institutions, serving more than 14,000 learners14,0 at threeprofessional, community and personal life, and of her efforts to tirelessly required to take at least one course online.” campuses and 20 regional centres in Alberta. innovate a better quality of life in Alberta. Listening to its community is a key factor in achieving is theany ultimate recognition and tribute. BVC relevance. an Students triumph y here. Access to place an excellent education anyIttime, place, any path, , any

ulfilling and any pace, ensures all learners can overcome any barrier career to a fulfilling career. . And when our learners win, Alberta wins, thanks to work-ready graduates in vital fields, motivated and eager to get the job done. Visit bowvalleycollege.ca to find out more. bowvalleycollege.ca

biggest spike in canada • Real Estate

Calgary Real Estate Prices:

the Biggest Spike in Canada “We don’t want to be viewed as an unaffordable city.” BY DAN COOPER


here’s an adolescent taunt and put-down that asks, “Are you bragging or complaining?” The phrase has come up, recently, as reaction to the Canadian Real Estate Association news that Calgary has the highest spike in real estate prices in all of Canada. Depending on who is reacting, it could easily be bragging ... or complaining.


When it comes to bragging rights, a big boost, this August, from an Environics Analytics survey, shows that Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto continue as the wealthiest cities in Canada and as the gap between the three duelling Canadian cities in the category of average household net worth is closing, Calgary is on a great pace. In fact, Calgary’s average household net worth grew by an

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businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY October 2014 • 133

biggest spike in canada • Real Estate

Vancouver is up 2.8 per cent. Toronto is up 6.6 per cent. And Calgary is spiking with 9.1 per cent increase in real estate prices.

worked out to $460,790, the Alberta average was $395,552 and the drastically variable national average (from Vancouver to St. John’s) MLS price was $401,585. With three months to go, hot Calgary real estate prices may be gradually cooling off. According to a fall report by the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB), by the end of the year, the price growth for the averimpressive 10.8 per cent, more than Vancouver’s and Toronage Calgary resale home will likely have increased by eight to’s. And according to the survey, the key differentiator is per cent and end up 5.5 per cent higher than last year. real estate values. “Probably the biggest, unexpected change is turning out Vancouver is up 2.8 per cent. Toronto is up 6.6 per cent. to be price growth,” says CREB chief economist, Ann-Marie And Calgary is spiking with 9.1 per cent increase in real Lurie. “It is much stronger than we anticipated. Last year, estate prices. when we did our forecast, we expected the market to move The MLS Home Price Index, coincidentally also released into balanced conditions a lot sooner. It didn’t happen, by the Canadian Real Estate Association in August, showed mostly because sales growth was far stronger. that late-summer prices in Calgary had shot up about 10.5 “Even though listings increased at a strong rate, they were per cent, compared with a year ago. getting absorbed. It didn’t give the market an opportunity Calgary even managed to almost double the national to move into more balanced conditions and basically slow aggregate of 11 key Canadian markets which had a yeardown the price growth.” over-year hike of 5.3 per cent. She admits that, even though Calgary numbers were not Good or bad, re-sales or new homes, Calgary real estate according to CREB forecasts, the actual stronger-thanprices keep hiking. expected numbers are a positive surprise. Borrowing the real estate industry weakness for “compa“The first half of 2014 was much stronger than expected rables” and scanning the past three years of prices, Calgary in terms of listings and sales. We don’t anticipate anywhere has the highest rate of price hikes (25 per cent) doubling the near the same levels of growth in the national average for real estate price second half of the year. It’s still a very growth of 12.5 per cent. strong market,” she adds, “and it conEconomists, analysts, brokers, buildtinues a seller’s market. But inventories ers and other industry experts suggest and listings are increasing; it should that Calgary’s pricey real estate values ease the pressure and move us into a can be credited to or blamed on various more balanced market.” factors. Lurie notes that, traditionally, the Low mortgage interest rates, Callast quarter of any year tends to be gary’s strong economy and the healthy slower and that December is the slowenergy sector, continuing population est month, by far. As market conditions growth, strong employment, a lack of move toward a more balanced market, choice and supply, a tightness in rental it causes prices to level off. vacancy and the controversial Calgary On the bad-news side of the story, slump in available single-family homeCalgary’s real estate price hikes are disbuilding lots keeps inventory tighter couraging negatives on several levels. and keeps adding price increase presEconomists warn that inflated home sure on the city’s resale market. prices may outstrip income growth for Crunching the numbers for MLS sale a second straight year in 2014, which prices (and despite inner-city anomalies will likely aggravate Calgary’s already in the $600,000-$800,000 range and CREB chief economist, Ann-Marie Lurie overpriced market. beyond), the calculated Calgary average 134 • October 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com

biggest spike in canada • Real Estate

and Airdrie – may also contribute to an Especially in Calgary, where some overall cooling of Calgary home prices. developers, builders and real estate Irresistibly low Canadian mortgage insiders continue to warn about no rates are an undisputable aspect of home choice, no land and unaffordability, buying activity. But there is speculaeven with the current, irresistibly low tion that the Canadian housing market interest rates, it is the key real estate is about to cool and interest rates may factor of affordability that has become creep higher, sometime in 2015. an issue, not only in Calgary but some The Bank of Canada is widely expected other Canadian markets. to hold interest rates steady until at least Lurie cautions about a possible downsome time next year, perhaps longer, and side of Calgary having the highest spike mortgages will likely remain a bargain. in real estate prices in all of Canada. But some new and stealth mortgage “Inflated prices and low availability Dan Eisner, CEO, True North Mortgage lending rules already in place may be impacts the important factor of attractprompting some purchasers to reconsider ing migration and area growth, which home buying decisions and, closer to home, may already be a ultimately fuel the growth in the economy. We don’t want to factor in a possible Calgary cool down. be viewed as an unaffordable city.” “Over the last two years or so, for various reasons, regulaAnother factor – especially in the Calgary market where tions have been introduced to increase hurdles when it comes new homebuyers flee inflated inner-city prices and grab up to getting mortgages,” explains the experienced Dan Eisner, more affordable new homes in Calgary burbs like Cochrane




businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY October 2014 • 135

biggest spike in canada • Real Estate

Irresistibly low Canadian mortgage rates are an undisputable aspect of home buying activity. But there is speculation that the Canadian housing market is about to cool and interest rates may creep higher, sometime in 2015.

CEO of Calgary-based True North Mortgage, one of Canada’s leading mortgage brokers. “Stricter, tighter regulations about incomes, reductions in allowable amortization, tightening-up CHMC guidelines and other changes. “I doubt if the new rules are temporary. It’s likely the new normal,” Eisner says. “To a large part, of course it’s about Canada having learned from the U.S. meltdown. We were also headed down a similar path but we were three or four years behind them. And Canada had the smarts to do something about it.” Eisner adds that despite the usual consumer and real estate industry mood swings, opinions and criticisms about banks, interest rates and mortgages, this time the changes and tighter regulations can’t be blamed on banks. Several federal organizations are responsible for overseeing banking activities and for contributing to the stability and efficiency of Canada’s financial system, such as the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada (OSFI) and others. “Yes, Canadian household debt is at an all-time high. But recent stats also show that so is average Canadian net worth. Of course! When you offer really low mortgage rates, people borrow and buy houses. That’s the purpose of low lending rates,” he shrugs and chuckles. “Why is it such a revelation all of a sudden for some analysts that debt is high?” The mortgage landscape is definitely changing. “The increased requirement for income is the biggest crunch. How much money you have to put down is no longer as important as cash flow and how much money you have coming in.” A random example is an early-retired Calgary purchaser with $600,000 cash to put down on an $875,000 home. He was given a hard time about financing because, despite solid net worth, his actual income didn’t meet the new rules. “Previous ‘equity deals’ have been regulated out of the market,” Eisner points out. “Good credit absolutely matters 136 • October 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com

but, if income doesn’t meet the new regulations, there’s a problem. It seems illogical but income now matters more than savings. “As a rule of thumb, a family used to be able to afford a home six times the family’s income. With the new formula, it may now only be four or five times. And what banks now consider ‘debt’ has also been redefined. For example, a line of credit – even if you haven’t and don’t use it – counts as debt. “With the new down payment and qualifications rules, the income requirements and other stress test hurdles, the federal regulators have definitely moved the goalposts,” he says. “And a lot of formerly A-clients have suddenly become B-clients.” Industry insiders agree that any hike, or even a gradual but upward trend in mortgage rates, will trigger a cool down, especially in the pricey Calgary market. Knowledgeable and experienced consultants like Eisner are unanimous. By default or basic logic, mortgage rates will definitely go up. “It’s inevitable,” he warns. “Right now, rates are about 2.75 per cent. How much lower could it possibly go? Under these conditions, a five-year fixed mortgage is insurance.” Eisner highlights the current Canadian trend that more than 60 per cent of mortgage borrowers opt for the five-year fixed. Less than 35 per cent go variable. “It is so low that up is the only way it can go. But nothing sudden and shocking like the ’80s. Today, even if rates double – and they won’t – it would still be manageable.” The chronic and impossible question is – when? In this, as in so many business speed bumps, it all depends on timing. Mortgage rates are designed to fight inflation. So, analysts suggest the simplified answer that the unofficial start of a national and Calgary real estate cool down, will happen when the Canadian economy is solidly in recovery mode. Then mortgage rates start creeping up. BiC

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calgary’s conference and convention clout • Event Planning

The new Agrium Western Event Centre, with a 20,000-square-foot exhibit hall and a 250’x125’ arena

Calgary’s Conference and Convention Clout The push for getting bigger and better |



hen it comes to Calgary as a provincial, national and international draw for economy-boosting conventions, conferences and exhibitions, Calgary is big and good. But there is a mounting push, from various business, tourism and hospitality directions, about Calgary getting bigger and better to be a major, world-scale convention and conference destination. According to the catchy Meet Calgary promo booklet produced by Meetings and Conventions Calgary (MCC) – the destination sales and marketing organization set up as a partnership between the Calgary Hotel Association and the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre (CTCC) – it highlights Calgary as an international energy centre, with no provincial sales tax, over 100 years of hosting memorable events, hospitality, western flair, flavour, friendliness, entrepreneurial spirit and direct one-hour flight times to Vancouver, three hours to Los Angeles, four hours to Toronto, five hours to New York, and nine hours to London. It also brags that “Calgary is friendly, energetic and vibrant. We’re also one of Canada’s most successful, economical and accessible cities. And accommodating, with 1.2 million square feet of meeting space.” 138 • October 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com

Some suggest that those positive bragging rights are still valid and effective but, in terms of contemporary event planner requirements and priorities, Calgary credentials may be out of date and, sometimes, just not good enough. For now, 2014 continues to be a solid and good year for Calgary conventions, conferences, trade shows and special events. The city has again successfully hosted the Global Petroleum Show. The 2014 edition welcomed a record 66,000 visitors from more than 100 countries, including exhibits from Norway, Australia, France, India, Venezuela, China, Kuwait and the U.K. Over the past five years, the annual Global Petroleum Show has steadily grown into one of the world’s largest energy events. This year, more than 2,000 exhibitors were spread out over 725,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibition space and, according to the organizers, generated business transactions valued at a staggering $8.9 billion. Also, the unique and popular LEGO® KidsFest — a nationallytravelling giant LEGO® expo — was an exciting Calgary attraction on more than three acres of display space. This year, Calgary also hosted the huge International Pipeline Conference and Exposition the Canadian Employee Benefits Conference, as well as other corporate and association func-

calgary’s conference and convention clout • Event Planning

The annual Global Petroleum Show has steadily grown into one of the world’s largest energy events.

tions and seasonal corporate Christmas parties and graduation events. No doubt about it. Calgary was events-busy. But local event and tourism professionals are unanimous in their constructive suggestion that Calgary can and should be busier. And it’s all a matter of available, suitable and salable space. Calgary’s two major venue contenders, friendly and cooperatively vying for the lucrative conference, exhibition and convention business are the CTCC and the two popular facilities of the sometimes unfairly stereotyped Stampede Park – which is a viable and dynamic yearround place and so much more than the seasonal chuckwagons, rodeos and midway of the iconic Calgary Stampede. “It doesn’t make sense,” says Heather Lundy, CTCC director, marketing and communications. “We are rightfully proud that we are Canada’s fourth largest city. We are exciting, growing and we have a booming economy. We have the third-largest airport and the country’s longest airport runway to accommodate bigger planes from international cities. “But our convention centre is only the 10th largest when it comes to available convention and conference space.” Lundy points out that the downtown CTCC venue has a total of 122,000 square

feet of conference and convention space, which includes 47,000 square feet of exhibit space, 36 meeting rooms, one ballroom and five pre-function areas. She adds that, based mostly on the contemporary needs and requirements of potential corporate and association event planners, and considering the availability of some competing cities, “doubling Calgary’s current space would be ideal.” The stats and trends show that, despite being a dynamic, gung-ho city with a solid business base, growing head offices and a healthy economy, when it comes to being a draw for conferences and conventions, Calgary is consistently outdrawn by Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. Vancouver just made a major expansion and now offers 400,000 square feet of space. Toronto offers even more and also clinches deals with over 35,000 available guest rooms. Calgary currently offers a total of 12,000 guest rooms with about 2,500 more being built. Greg Newton is the high-energy and upbeat manager of sales development at Calgary Stampede. He openly admits that, for attracting out-of-town conference, convention and exhibition business, his familiar and routine

LEGO® KidsFest was an exciting Calgary attraction on more than three acres of display space.

challenge is differentiating his eventhosting pitch from the otherwise priceless, positive but seasonally limited brand that is the two-week Stampede. “Awareness is our number one obstacle,” he says. “Our biggest task is teaching and explaining about our superb facility and that, although we are fiercely proud of the Stampede, we are always careful to explain that it is just one of about 700 events we host and stage at Stampede Park in any given year.” Newton concedes that, although Stampede Park offers sprawling space,

businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY October 2014 • 139


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calgary’s conference and convention clout • Event Planning

The BMO Centre, with 250,000 square feet of exhibit space and about 30,000 square feet of meeting rooms.

it is more for exhibition and display use and mostly in two popular locations: the BMO Centre, with 250,000 square feet of exhibit space and about 30,000 square feet of meeting rooms; and the new Agrium Western Event Centre, with a 20,000-square-foot exhibit hall and a 250’x125’ arena for staging private rodeos and other special events. He emphasizes that the “102 years of history” angle is a key part of the Stampede Park pitch, not only because of pride in heritage but because more and more event planners and groups are looking for a unique experience. When the CTCC and Stampede representatives go on the road to promote or send customized pitches for Calgary event options, they are competitive but also cooperative and collaborative. “We market separately and although there may be some overlap, we are not in direct competition,” Lundy says. “The Stampede usually goes after large trade shows and consumer shows and the CTCC goes after conventions and conferences.” Newton points out that reps from both of Calgary’s two primary facilities often travel together to pitch for business. He also differentiates about the popularity and drawing power of the Stampede venues for particularly local events, where free parking is a big factor. “Christmas office party season is huge for us. Just last year, we had 85,000 people. And so are school graduations. Last year we hosted more than 25,000 grad students.” Although both facilities are focused on attracting big money-spending events to Calgary, they agree about the basic facts about the business of event planning. Aside from valuable Calgary exposure and profile, events generate revenue and what the industry calls “yield management,” because conferences, conventions, trade shows and exhi142 • October 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com

bitions staged in Calgary have traceable, vital aspects of yield management – delegates and visitors drive chunks of business and revenue to Calgary hotel rooms, Calgary restaurants, Calgary shopping, Calgary taxis and other ways that events boost the Calgary economy. In every detailed pitch, the stats and details are important, along with bragging puffs about everything from western charm and hospitality to no provincial tax, the Rockies and Banff. But, for prospective corporate, association and trade and consumer show event organizers, it inevitably comes down to numbers. How much available space? How many nearby hotel rooms? How much for breakfast? How much per coffee break with juice, muffins and doughnuts? And how much per head for the gala, including open bar? “Bottom line? We always look according to our budget,” explains Candace Larue, conference coordinator for the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN), a Colorado-based, major international group that rotates its big, biannual congress events to various cities around the world. The congress, which usually attracts about 1,500 delegates, has been held in places like Istanbul, Hawaii and this year in Tokyo. In 2016, ISPCAN is convening its congress in Calgary. “The ISPCAN event is more research and academic-oriented with keynote speakers, symposiums and seminars, not a training conference or a trade show,” Larue says. “The delegates come from around the world, not just developed countries, so we must have reasonable registration fees and reasonable expenses while they attend. “We also look for good value for the money, location of course, a variety of hotel space and a variety of restaurant types; also area amenities and possible excursion destinations. For our delegates, there’s a better chance of attendance if they can combine their visit with a vacation.” She explains that the ISPCAN executive council ultimately votes on the destination for the biannual congress locations but they rely on the city’s proposal and bid document as well as her recommendations based on a thorough site visit. “Calgary prepared an excellent bid document,” raves the Denver-based, professional event planner about the MCC presentation. “It included letters from other non-profits, from the University of Calgary and from the provincial and municipal governments. When I came to visit, I noted the terrific convention centre facilities, a variety of easy to get to restaurants, the pedestrian mall (Stephen Avenue) and we were very impressed with the friendliness and the efficiency of the Calgary (MCC) team.” As the Stampede considers possible new projects and venues, as 2,500 more hotel rooms are being built and as the CTCC prepares a Phase II proposal for a larger, more elaborate convention facility, Calgary grows its global reputation and continues to attract all types and sizes of conferences, conventions, trade shows and exhibits, one pitch at a time. BiC

Reflecting on the Past

Building into the Future By Lisa Johnston 143

Justin and Michelle Bobier


rystal Creek Homes’ tagline – a reflection of you – eloquently sums up the vision behind this award-winning company. Building homes that reflect the personalities and lifestyles of their clients has led to 10 years of success. The next decade promises to be just as exciting as the premier Calgary homebuilder expands its reach into the Edmonton community with the acquisition of Greenboro Homes. Crystal Creek’s story began just over 10 years ago, when an injury sidelined Justin Bobier. Without an income or the ability to work for three months, Bobier decided to change his focus and his future. He had experience as a renovator and cabinet installer and was considering his options when a simple request changed the course of his career – his sister wanted him to build her a home. Bobier and his wife, Michelle, incorporated Crystal Creek Homes in 2004 and began construction on their first house later that year. “My goal from the beginning has always been to build the best possible home for our clients to reflect both their individuality and their lifestyle,” says Bobier. “I felt we could be successful in offering this type of service to the Calgary community.” His intuition was correct. One house led to another and today Bobier sits as President of Crystal Creek Homes, a company that is actively building homes in both Calgary and Edmonton.

“My goal from the beginning has always been to build the best possible home for our clients to reflect both their individuality and their lifestyle.” ~ Justin Bobier Crystal Creek increased their presence in 2013 by acquiring Greenboro Homes, one of the most renowned homebuilders in Edmonton. During their prime, Greenboro was building close to 500 homes per year, but due to market conditions, the company was forced into creditor protection in 2012. Hundreds of homes were left incomplete in the Edmonton area with millions of dollars outstanding to creditors. Within a year of Crystal Creek taking ownership of the company, all the tradespeople were paid and 80 per cent of the homes on hold have now been completed – a huge accomplishment in a short period of time.

Crystal Creek Homes | 10th Anniversary | Page 2

Distinction Congratulations to Crystal Creek Homes on your

10th Anniversary! It has been an honor to serve you. Exceeding Customer Expectations since 2005

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Crystal Creek Homes | 10th Anniversary | Page 3


Crystal Creek Homes | 10th Anniversary | Page 4

Tucked into a secluded ravine, Tusslewood Terrace Estates has already established itself as a desired northwest Calgary neighbourhood. While Crystal Creek Homes has built an assortment of homes in the thriving surrounding areas, they are beginning their first foray as both the developer and exclusive builder, and will feature a selection of ravine-situated estate homes. The dynamic energy of Crystal Creek has revived a once-thriving company, and homebuilding continues at a brisk pace. Within Calgary and nearby Airdrie, Crystal Creek Homes currently builds in six communities: Tusslewood Terrace Estates, Rock Lake Estates, Aspen Woods Estates, Currie Barracks, Cooper’s Crossing and Canals Landing. Tucked into a secluded ravine, Tusslewood Terrace Estates has already established itself as a desired northwest Calgary neighbourhood. While Crystal Creek Homes has built an assortment of homes in the thriving surrounding areas, they are beginning their first foray as both the developer and exclusive builder, and will feature a selection of ravine-situated estate homes. Also located in the northwest is the new community of Rock Lake Es-

tates. Surrounded by ample community amenities, shopping, entertainment and activities, Rock Lake provides an active country lifestyle with all the conveniences of living in the city. Across the river in southwest Calgary is Aspen Woods Estates, one of Canada’s bestselling communities. Desirable Aspen Woods offers single-family detached homes and is located close to several amenities including Westside Recreation Centre. Closer to the downtown core in the southwest is the development at Currie Barracks. Located on the former military base with easy access to Crowchild Trail, the mixed-residential urban community reflects history and character. It is a popular choice for those seeking luxury homes in a new development within close proximity to the city’s core.

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Crystal Creek Homes | 10th Anniversary | Page 5

Luxury In addition to building large, luxurious estate homes, Crystal Creek has also become renowned as a quality builder of infills, which have become another popular choice for those who want to live closer to the downtown core. Crystal Creek Homes is also active in Cooper’s Crossing and Canals Landing – located in the bedroom community of Airdrie, just north of Calgary. Both popular communities cater to young professional families seeking a home close to schools, playgrounds and other amenities, but secluded from the daily bustle of big city life. In addition to building large, luxurious estate homes, Crystal Creek has also become renowned as a quality builder of infills, which have become another popular choice for those who want to live closer to the downtown core. “Infills are inner-city projects where we build duplexes, multiplexes or single-family homes,” Bobier explains. “All are designed to maximize space without compromising on style. We’ve been doing this for a number of years and our first infill project won an Alberta Award of Excellence. Since that time, we have successfully continued to build in the inner city. Currently, we are working on a five-plex in Altadore, a duplex in the Parkdale area and two single-family infill units.” Despite all these accomplishments, building in Calgary is not without its challenges. On the positive side, development has been rapid and the city is bursting at the seams. However, the pace has also limited the availability of land. Nevertheless, the

rewards for a successful company such as Crystal Creek Homes far outweigh the negatives. Bobier explains, “Knowing that you have helped a family build their dream home is very gratifying. A happy customer at the end of the day is what we strive for and has led to continued growth over the past 10 years.” It’s not surprising that Crystal Creek has enjoyed rapid success. Similar to the initial infill project, their first single-family show home was awarded the Best Estate Home in Alberta (2007). “Winning that award early in our existence was a defining moment for our company in the sense that we were recognized by our peers for being the best in the industry in that category. Customer feedback in terms of its design was amazing, and to this day, that home is still being replicated in communities across Alberta due to its uniqueness and appeal,” says Bobier. That award was the first of many. The industry was quick to recognize the young homebuilder and the value Crystal Creek added to Calgary. Some of the accolades have come from within the industry such as multiple annual awards from the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA), while others have come from the customers they serve every day. Two years in succession, customers have presented Crystal Creek Homes with the Builder of Choice and New Home Buyers’ Choice awards.

Crystal Creek Homes | 10th Anniversary | Page 6

Here’s to building success.

Congratulations! Crystal Creek Homes on your 10th Anniversary!

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Crystal Creek Homes | 10th Anniversary | Page 7

For three years, Crystal Creek has been included on Alberta Venture’s prestigious list of top companies for growth and performance, receiving as high as a seventh place ranking. Last year, Crystal Creek Homes won not only CHBA’s Alberta Award of Excellence for Best Estate Home over $1,500,000, they also placed second in Canadian Business magazine’s fastest growing companies in Calgary. This year, Bobier is a finalist in EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year awards, a fitting recognition for a man who refused to let anything – from an injury to taking on a failing company – hold him back. Entrepreneurs are risk takers and adventurers, qualities that aptly describe the man that decided to build his sister a house, and ultimately established an amazing company. Bobier knows that thriving companies are a team effort and he is grateful to all those who aligned themselves with his vision. “I have been very fortunate to attract top-notch industry professionals who want to be part of our company,” acknowledges Bobier. One of the foundation members of Crystal Creek Homes is Tyler Scarlett, who was instrumental in developing the business and is now leading the luxury home division. “As the company grew, we moved away from the luxury market, but recently decided to reignite this passion and give it a new name – Crystal Creek Luxury Homes – of which Tyler is now president.”


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“We are still growing. Crystal Creek Homes is looking to expand into different markets and take on a bigger role as a premier homebuilder. We will increase volume substantially and can only do that with the help of our developer partners.” ~ Justin Bobier Bobier also expresses gratitude to the other team members, trades, clients and suppliers who have been a part of Crystal Creek’s legacy for the past 10 years. “Crystal Creek is fortunate to have several strong lenders that assist with financing and an extremely strong trade base that contributes to our success. Two companies that have been strong supporters from the beginning are Ply Gem Windows (formerly Gienow Windows) and Sterling Bridge Mortgage Corp. Ply Gem was a supplier that really took us under their wing and helped us to be a top builder, while Sterling Bridge Mortgage Corp. was instrumental in our early growth.” Satisfying clients is not the only goal of Crystal Creek Homes. As a company, they are just as happy when they put a smile on a child’s face, which is why they support a number of charities. As the Bobiers are parents of four children, they focus on initiatives for young people, including Kids Cancer Care and Kids Up Front charities. Other community involvement includes supporting neighbourhood playgrounds, instituting the Crystal Creek Homes Class Act scholarship, and volunteering to build and donate the new scoring tower for the Springbank Community High School football team. If history is an indication of the future, Crystal Creek can expect to be just as successful in the next decade. They have recently taken their Calgary success story and expanded into Edmonton with the acquisition of Greenboro Homes. Bobier, who was born in Edmonton and built his first home in the city before founding Crystal Creek Homes, was well aware of Greenboro’s reputation as a leading homebuilder and saw the acquisition as a prime opportunity for Crystal Creek to expand into a new market. “We are still growing,” concludes Bobier. “Crystal Creek Homes is looking to expand into different markets and take on a bigger role as a premier homebuilder. We will increase volume substantially and can only do that with the help of our developer partners.” Crystal Creek Homes was built on a foundation of teamwork, experience, dedication and passion. The future holds nothing but promise for the young company. To learn more about Crystal Creek Homes, visit crystalcreekhomes.ca.

Crystal Creek Homes | 10th Anniversary | Page 8

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Congratulations to Crystal Creek Homes! We wish you many more years of success in the industry.

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Fatima Dhanani and her son, Aleem Dhanani, at West Grove Estates in West Springs. A 96 home community, voted top 5 in Canada by the National SAM Awards.


25-year legacy that has contributed to shaping the city of Calgary, Bri-mor Developments is a beacon for those who question whether good business can be achieved with a mutual commitment to strong values. It can, and both Fatima Dhanani and her son, Aleem, prove it every day.

Photo by Bookstrucker Photography.

Their business is dynamic – from developing residential communities, industrial, office and retail complexes, and master-planned mixed-use sites, to deploying its deep knowledge and experience in asset and property management.


The Foundation Bri-mor was incorporated in 1988 by Haider Dhanani. Aleem still remembers the night his father attempted to create a name for the business by blending his children’s names into one, but with no success. Instead, he decided to focus on simplicity and created “Bri-mor” from the very building blocks of the industry it would serve – bricks and mortar. Reflecting this notion of simplicity is Bri-mor’s philosophy, rooted in relationships before business, best practices and working with top-tier partners.

Fatima Dhanani. Photo by Bookstrucker Photography.

Even while facing such a challenge, Fatima was inspired by a simple saying on a painted rock that still sits in her Calgary office: In the middle of difficulty, there is opportunity.

A sad, sudden and shocking jolt signed up Fatima Dhanani to lead the ambitious, new Calgary property management company founded by her husband Haider. Tragically, just under two years after Bri-mor was established, Haider passed away, but to honour his memory and continue his dream, Fatima (at the time, a secretary at the Alberta College of Art and Design) took over as president. “It was my dear brother and now business partner, Moe Kassam, who encouraged me to step up to the challenge. Moe and Haider’s assistant, Nasim Bharwani, have been by my side ever since.” She’s endearing, charming, high energy and – whether it’s personal or business – she is consistently candid. “No doubt about it. It was sudden and it was rough. It was a big step for me not only because I had no experience in real estate but also, I had to jump into a male-dominated business. I can still remember my first day at the office, not even knowing which file to open.”

Crystal Creek Homes is proud to be a trusted partner of Bri-mor Developments. Congratulations on 25 years of business, we wish you continued success!


Even while facing such a challenge, Fatima was inspired by a simple saying on a painted rock that still sits in her Calgary office: In the middle of difficulty, there is opportunity. As she leaned upon her faith for courage and strength, Fatima was able to get right down to work and continue the residential and commercial property management business that Haider had begun. After gaining more knowledge and experience, she saw the opportunity for Bri-mor to be both an operator and an owner. “We gradually expanded, first through the acquisition of a few residential properties. I was able to learn on the job the ins and outs of negotiating and closing deals, financing and creating value by renovating residential units and selling them for a profit.” As her confidence grew, Fatima ventured into the elusive land development industry in 1997 where she bought her first acre of light industrial land and developed Horizon Plaza. From then, Fatima has built retail plazas, storage and industrial complexes and also ventured yet again into new territory developing the successful Aspen Cliff Estates residential subdivision in 2006. She downplays the consensus of her peers, investors, other business partners and even some competitors when it comes to their opinion

CONGRATULATIONS TO BRI-MOR DEVELOPMENTS ON THEIR 25TH ANNIVERSARY. Added experience. Added clarity. Added value. Jeffrey H. Selby 403.298.2405 jhselby@millerthomson.com

Miller Thomson LLP












about Fatima being a tremendously respected, gutsy, sharp and savvy business leader. “In Calgary, as it is in all other areas, development is a risky, long-term process – from the acquisition of land to approvals and management of all stages of development and construction,” she outlines. “It’s about strong partnerships with lenders, investors, engineers, consultants, builders and surrounding yourself, overall, with best-in-class experts. There are always a lot of surprises. And it takes vision, a lot of patience, courage and risk tolerance. “When I look back, it almost felt natural. My story is Bri-mor’s story. I learned quickly and I’m still learning,” she confides with an infectiously warm smile. Throughout the years, she has always prioritized ethics, integrity, honesty, trust and building strong and lasting relationships. It’s common knowledge, especially in a major market such as Calgary, that the real estate investment and development business is a fiercely competitive, complex, high-risk, and deep-pockets arena. It’s unlikely that a small family business could parlay a one-acre parcel of light industrial land in Calgary’s northeast into such a success story. Bri-mor did, and continues to do so.

Aleem graduated from the University of Alberta with a bachelor of commerce and went on to earn his MBA from London Business School. Throughout his time away from home, Aleem also left his mark as a manager of mergers and acquisitions for Centrica’s North American division and as an investment manager for the Joussour Fund having played lead roles in transactions across North America, the Middle East and North Africa. He looks back fondly knowing he made the right decision to join the growing family business that brought him home as Bri-mor’s managing director. “The timing was perfect,” he explains. “Bri-mor was growing. Calgary was becoming more prominent on the world stage, with strong macroeconomic drivers and a growing real estate market. A chance to come home and work with my father’s company and with my mother – who has worked so hard for 20 years – was not only an easy decision but also a blessing.” Aleem emulates his mother’s personal and business traits and energetic entrepreneurial spirit. He is driven and focused, positive and upbeat, not only about the family business but also about Calgary’s momentum and potential. Aleem Dhanani. Photo by Bookstrucker Photography.

The Partnership The 25th anniversary of Bri-mor Developments is a unique and gratifying milestone, especially because Fatima has been able to share the past six years and this milestone with her son Aleem – who joined Fatima to help take Bri-mor to another level while leveraging the solid foundations she has laid to date.

“Bri-mor is blessed with a strong foundation that has been laid by my mother, Fatima. This foundation embodies deep relationships, a strong reputation and the trust of consumers, financiers, industry partners and city administration. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to build upon this legacy.” While Fatima admits that the cliché of investing into location is vital when it comes to creating value, another crucial aspect of the Bri-mor competitive edge is thoroughly knowing the market, strategizing and long-range planning. “It’s a must that we constantly monitor consumer trends,”

Aspen Cliff Estates, a 53 lot community in Aspen, adjacent to Webber Academy.

she says. “What is the Calgary consumer looking for? Consumers are far more educated and sophisticated than ever before. The consumer will choose where they want to live.” Aleem carries on, “The consumer wants to live and work where they play” and with this theme in mind, he continues to map out where Bri-mor will go into the future.

Aleem possesses a unique set of skills that complement the Bri-mor strategic fabric. Fatima proudly states, “Aleem brings a world-class education and experience to our company that is invaluable. Working with him makes me realize that every company requires an evolution of ideas and leadership.”

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It’s refreshing to see that both Aleem and Fatima play off of each other, discounting their contribution to Bri-mor while promoting one another. Together, they are a formidable force in the city’s real estate industry, building on the foundations inspired by Haider. While working incredibly hard, the pair also know how important it is to have balance.

“Finding the ‘life balance’ everybody talks about is difficult,” Fatima admits. “Maybe because we really haven’t slowed down in the past 25 years. But my faith is an important part of my life. I meditate daily, love to read, go to movies and out to eat. With Aleem here, I can now spend more time with close friends and family and most importantly, my two wonderful grandchildren, Jaiden and Myah.”

Cedarglen Homes would like to congratulate Bri-mor on their 25th Anniversary. We look forward to many more years of building Calgary communities together. Affordable, family-style homes, in the communities you love, with prices starting in the $480’s. $480’s. A perfect balance of quality and value.

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“When we look at a piece of land, we know we can develop whatever the opportunity calls for, serve as a solution to other industry leaders who require a complementary expertise, and adapt to changes in the market as needed.” ~ Aleem Dhanani As for Aleem, he too aims to balance his time away from work. While he succeeds in doing so, at times it appears that his addiction is to continuously keep himself productive. He has recently finished writing a business fiction novel, is an active member on the board of directors of GlobalFest, and doesn’t recall a time over the last 20 years that he has not voluntarily served in areas concerning the socio-economic advancement and institutional capacity development for communities.

The Bri-mor Advantage To enjoy 25 years of continued growth, Bri-mor invested in areas that established its competitive advantage in the market. One such advantage is that it differentiates itself by having expertise in both residential and commercial developments.

“When we look at a piece of land, we know we can develop whatever the opportunity calls for, serve as a solution to other industry leaders who require a complementary expertise, and adapt to changes in the market as needed,” says Aleem. Fatima carries on, “By being in the industry all of these years, we are also able to conduct our business behind the scenes in direct contact with all industry players needed to complete a project successfully.” Another advantage is both Fatima and Aleem take a personal level of engagement with the communities in which Bri-mor develops. For example, Bri-mor has over 75 acres of projects in Calgary’s west side including Aspen and West Springs. “These are communities that are represented by very knowledgeable volunteers who care deeply about how their communities evolve. Bri-mor is committed to listen, engage and work towards delivering a product we all can take pride in.”

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Congratulations, Bri-mor! Wishing you continued success.

In the same light, Fatima, Aleem and his sister Saifa Koonar, all share a personal mandate to give back to the community. “While we aspire to do well for the business and those we work with, we understand that this is all a means towards gaining capacity to serve society – that was my father’s ultimate ambition,” says Aleem, “and it is ours as well.” Aside from the ongoing investment Bri-mor makes to the Calgary community, Saifa has also carried out the vision and commitment of her father. As the president and CEO of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation, she is able to support advancing the health and well-being of children and families in the community through philanthropy.

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Proud to work with Bri-mor Developments

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“When I look towards the future, I know that Aleem has not only the business acumen but also, and I feel even more importantly, the commitment to our family values.” ~ Fatima Dhanani

The Future “It’s unconditionally - relationships before business,” says Aleem with conviction and much pride. “We start with a belief in our partners – the handshake – and continually invest in the relationship. In terms of business strategy, it’s all about mutual value creation thereafter. We don’t aim to win, rather, we aim to grow together.”

General Contractors and Project Managers

Fatima is thrilled to share Bri-mor’s leadership responsibilities with her son. “When I look towards the future, I know that Aleem has not only the business acumen but also, and I feel even more importantly, the commitment to our family values.” Fatima says. “He has shown a tremendous ability to shape our company’s strategy, operations and asset management divisions such that we are now able to keep stride with the industry’s rapid pace of development. Bri-mor’s future is truly in good hands.”


Fatima and Aleem at WEST 85th. Photo by Bookstrucker Photography

Aleem comments on the significant changes of the market seen even as early as the past six years. “Calgary is a strong market that continues to grow, attracting the interest of large national players. Therefore we need to, now more than ever, adapt to this new competitive landscape so that in the next five years we remain relevant, active and able to continue securing desirable opportunities.” Aleem goes on to say, “We must continue to be nimble and respond to industry changes driven by both true market forces and the direction set by city policy. We have

therefore actively adapted our business model to secure and deepen our position in the market through alignment with strong industry and capital partners.” Bri-mor has done just that in its upcoming West Grove Estates Phase II, which will boast another 200 new single family lots in Calgary’s West. Finally, he adds, “We are humbled - and also inspired - by the growth Bri-mor has seen and the confidence that both the industry and consumers have placed in us as we look towards the future.” •

The Future

Kevin Graham and Chris Corriveau, co-owners of Stonewater Homes, at one of their projects the Roxboro Glen Road home.

for Stonewater Homes — After Taking the Flood in Stride


f you spent any time in Calgary this June, you could feel it. It seemed like the entire city was holding its breath. The rains poured and the waterways throughout Calgary flowed high. But on June 20, when the anniversary of last year’s epic flood passed without the banks of the Bow and Elbow Rivers bursting, everyone breathed a sigh of relief — including Kevin Graham of Stonewater Homes. The year before, as the river waters rose, the custom homebuilder was constructing a residence on Roxboro Glen Road. After two years of work, the owners were just four weeks from moving in when our city was temporarily transformed into a modern-day version of Atlantis. Everyone who lives in a flood-affected neighborhood knows what happened next. The record water levels on Thursday night continued to rise on Friday, turning Calgary roads into rivers. By Saturday, homeowners in many areas, including Roxboro, still weren’t allowed to check on their houses. Graham didn’t sleep for days. By dawn on Sunday morning

By Tiffany Burns

he decided to check on the Roxboro Glen Road home, despite the evacuation orders. As he braved chest-high waters, his partner, Chris Corriveau, was right beside him. “We were down here about 4:30 Sunday morning to start running pumps,” says Corriveau. “It looked like you were in a movie. In this house, the basement is 15 feet deep and the water was right up to the brim. It was nothing you’ve ever seen before.” “The water came to just under the kitchen countertops.” Graham laughs ruefully, shaking his head. “We had to gut everything from the main floor into the basement and the garage.” It wasn’t the only Stonewater project affected. Another house in East Elbow, also just four weeks from completion, was drowning under the massive floodwaters. Meanwhile, past clients with completed homes (and basements full of boxes filled with mementos) had crises of their own. Stonewater’s phones rang with one panicked call after another.

Stonewater Homes | 5th Anniversary | 1


the house. It was really emotional If it had been the year, or even the for everyone involved.” month before, Kevin Graham would Today, with all those houses have been leading the company’s aid completed, Graham and Corriveau efforts alone, but serendipitously, appear relaxed and content, seated he’d just reviewed Stonewater’s at a picnic table in Roxboro Park. forward momentum. With work Corriveau has just returned from a steadily increasing, and expansion vacation and Graham will take a few on the horizon, the timing seemed well-deserved days off immediately right to form a strategic alliance. after the interview. Just a few meters Chris Corriveau, someone who had south of a curve in the Elbow River worked alongside Graham for 10 that takes a ninety-degree turn to the years, was a natural choice. north, there’s no evidence that our “We were just talking about it The Roxboro Glen Road home, damaged by the flood in 2013. table was dislodged by floodwaters. when the flood hit,” says Corriveau. From this vantage point, everything “It changed our lives for a year.” seems to be back to normal, including the Stonewater home With the city in a state of emergency, there was no time to across the street from us. wrangle over a contract. It was literally sink or swim. Even though it’s brand new, the craftsman house looks like Stonewater normally has six to eight homes under it has been part of the neighborhood for years. Traditional construction at any one time, in various states of completion, materials like wood shingles harken back to Roxboro’s official along with a few renovation projects. After the Alberta establishment in 1923. Copper gutters glint in the sunlight. floods, that number shot up to 30, making it the most Special touches like a curved front door make it unique. The challenging period in Stonewater’s history. stone skirt on the home’s lower exterior wall ties into rockery “It was a tough year,” says Graham. “Everybody worked in the front garden, creating an instant cohesive feel, unlike their butts off. Especially last summer, people were working many new homes that are simply plonked down into a vacant right through weekends, morning ’til night, trying to save

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lot. A pergola-covered gateway to the path along the side of the house, leading to the backyard, compliments a similar structure at the home next door. As Graham describes the intricate details and features of the house, Corriveau jumps up to take a business call. The phones are always on, even during the interview. He will do it several more times during our hour together, which inspires Graham to explain that client relations are Stonewater’s biggest priority. “Keeping the customer happy, ensuring they’re able to get ahold of someone,” Graham goes on to explain that their work is transparent through the entire process. “We Chris Corriveau don’t lock off the house. Some homebuilders will set up meetings for a walk-through, but with us, the client has the key. They can get in and look around at any time during construction, which I think actually helps us.” Graham looks fondly at the house across the street from the park. Construction is a part of his DNA. “I’ve always loved working with wood and building houses,” he says, adding that he’s been building homes since the age of 17. “I’ve done every aspect to it. From running equipment, to

Kevin Graham

cribbing, to framing, to cabinetwork, millwork, plumbing – a little bit of everything.” When he inspects the work, his background helps him quickly spot any mistakes. “Having a little bit of knowledge about everything really helps.” Graham considers all his projects a team effort between the architect, the designer and the builder. He runs weekly meetings to keep everything on track.

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Originally from Camrose, he moved to Calgary in 1992. After managing high-end homes in Mount Royal, he became a founding member of Waterford Homes. Then, with the desire to branch out on his own, he created Stonewater Homes. Up to 60 people work for Stonewater at any one time, but they are not employees. Everyone is a subtrade, as is the norm in the industry. It gives freedom to workers to pursue other projects if there is ever a lull – but in six years, there hasn’t been one yet. Stonewater doesn’t limit its scope to a certain type of home. “We do everything from contemporary to traditional,” says Graham. “It really depends on what the architects or the homeowners bring to us and what they want built.” In Stonewater’s commercial projects division, Grah-Ter Construction is currently renovating a couple of hotels in Camrose and one in Olds. It’s a much more manageable pace than their work during the flood. In High River, they renovated the women’s shelter, Saint Benedict’s church and a bed and breakfast. In Calgary, two historical office buildings, the Inglewood Church and the chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut kept Stonewater schedules jam-packed. Graham has also developed an in-house concrete and exterior finishing company called Back To Back Exteriors. It’s a savvy example of vertical integration, although if you suggest that to be the case, Graham would probably tell you it’s just fancy terminology for getting the job done. “We do all the concrete sidewalks, decks and patios, plus we do our own exteriors,” he says. “It’s really hard, especially in the traditional houses with the wood siding and shingles, to get really good guys. We started the company a few years ago to keep that in-house, so we can control the quality of it.” Still, Graham believes there’s a limit to how big a builder should be. “Some builders out there do more, but you hear through the grapevine that the quality isn’t as good, or clients can’t get ahold of people, or it drags out a little

Above photo courtesy of Devonshire Baker Architectural Design.

longer. I think we want to stick with six to eight houses at a time, in all the different stages.” Graham will be the first to tell you just how much influence that grapevine can wield on a business. Back in his home management days, he learned that reputation is everything. Despite Calgary’s growing population (we’ve gained an additional 38,000 people in the last year) sometimes, Graham says, it feels more like a small town. “All our customers know each other,” says Graham. “We don’t really advertise a lot. It’s all word of mouth. It’s a really tight circle where we are — everybody knows everybody. It forces you to keep your nose clean.” Being known for having a good work ethic extends beyond clientele. “Because we were both tradesmen at one point or another, we know what workers go through,” explains Graham. “We work together with them. I think that’s why we have a really good core of internal guys, plus our trades are very loyal. When it comes down to the crunch, we can make a phone call and get someone to the site.” Moving forward, he says Stonewater will phase out smaller renovations. Since the custom homes they construct can take anywhere from one to two and a half years to build, depending on the style, both Graham and Corriveau want to tighten up the process, making it faster. They also plan to start

Stonewater Homes | 5th Anniversary | 4

building homes on spec, under the Stonewater umbrella. For Corriveau, the future outlook was only part of the reason why he joined forces with Graham. Much of his decision had to do with the way things already were at Stonewater — specifically with Graham himself. “I just liked the way he did things,” says Corriveau. “Everything was thorough. There was a respect for the workers and it was reciprocated. It was someone I wanted to work for. It was kind of a mentorship.” Now that he’s been part of the leadership team for a year, he pauses to reflect on Stonewater’s positive reputation in their client community. “I think the flood actually cemented that in, how we dealt with that as a company and the people involved,” says Corriveau. “Everyone came together and sacrificed a lot to make sure we were there for our clients. I think we managed it really well. We want to be here and do this a long time.” The partners come from similar professional backgrounds, which provides a solid basis for their working relationship. Corriveau, from Ontario originally, started off in the trades. Then he worked for Graham as a carpenter, poured concrete, did framing and exterior finishing. Now that their relationship has grown into a partnership, how do they divvy up the work? “Kevin spends a lot of time in the office with administration and my job is more in the field,” explains Corriveau. “I keep contact with the trades and homeowners. But at the end of

the day, we meet to make the big decisions together, instead of one job being completely isolated.” Whether or not they consciously sets out to do so, a homebuilder makes a mark on the city, and so it is with Stonewater. “You can’t really go through a high-end neighborhood in inner-city Calgary that Kevin hasn’t built a house on a block there,” says Corriveau. “Not a lot of people can say that.” Stonewater’s custom homes and renovations punctuate the neighborhoods of Roxboro, Mount Royal, East Elbow, Lakeview, Scarboro and Rideau Park. It’s a sizeable imprint. “I’ve been building houses since 1992.” Graham says the finished product gives him the most pride. “It’s really cool to be able to drive down a street and say, I built that home, I did something with that one.” With developers depositing a wide swath of cookie cutter houses in new communities across Calgary, Graham hopes to elevate the future of our city’s residential quality, one home at a time. “I have a hard time with the poor new home buyer that gets the house that everybody has cut corners on,” says Graham. “I can’t build that stuff. When you drive down the street and they’re flipping the garage back and forth and changing the colors – that’s not for me. There’s no excitement in it.” He nods at the new Stonewater home across the street from our picnic table as an example. “With these houses, every one is different. And they’re special.” •

www.stonewaterhomescalgary.com Stonewater Homes | 5th Anniversary | 5

The big business of small business • Small Business Week

The Big Business of Small Business Small businesses drive the Alberta economy BY JOHN HARDY


t’s a quirky contradiction and a misleading fact of business life. Small business takes the most risks and does much of the hard work, hustling, slugging and small business scores most of the points. But big business – maybe because of profile, the power of big brands or just sheer size – gets most of the attention and credit. The stats show that small businesses (categorized as having fewer than 100 employees) account for more than 95 per cent of all business activity in the province and are a driving force of the economy, generating almost 30 per cent of GDP. The emphasis and the encouragement of small business includes offering trends and expertise for existing and potential small businesses. A recent Industry Canada report lists the three major phenomena affecting Canadian small businesses as advances in technology, changing demographics, and the 2007-08 global recession. All three factors continue to create new consumer behaviours that impact the successes and the challenges of small business. • The Internet has changed consumer purchasing and shapes nearly every aspect of a consumer’s purchasing decision of products and services. • Health is a booming business, as health concerns and 168 • October 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com

health awareness is growing among Canadian consumers. The population is aging and the report cites that 25 per cent of the population will be over 65 by 2031. • The “Made in Canada” advantage is influential in consumers’ purchasing decisions. • Customization is king, as consumers increasingly look for custom-made solutions that fit their specific needs. • The lingering effects of the 2007–08 recession have created a smarter and a more cautious consumer. Small business is paying attention. But, like the legendary, late comedian, Rodney Dangerfield, small business gets little respect. It’s one reason why late-October throughout Canada is important and special. The coast-to-coast Small Business Week (SBW) is a celebration, recognition and potent motivation for the gutsy and too-often underrated value of small businesses. This year is the 35th anniversary for the much-deserved Small Business Week spotlight. The weeklong small business focus and attention was originally a well-intentioned, 1979 bright idea launched by Canada’s Business Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC), intended for Canadian small businesses to get




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The big business of small business • Small Business Week

Calgary’s AwardWinning Beer

Co-founders (l to r): Allan Merlo, Larry Kerwin, Tim Duffin, Rob Bondi, Stefan Horsky, Tom Stuart (in back) and Jim Button (in front).

What do you get when you take seven gung-ho friends with limitless entrepreneurial passion and solid business savvy, who not only love beer but have more than 160 years of beer industry experience and expertise, and put them together in a dynamic beer market like Calgary? You get the small business success story that is Village Brewery. And Calgary’s 2013 Small Business of the Year award winner. “It’s fantastic,” says the positive and enthusiastic Allan Merlo, one of the seven friends and co-founders of Village Brewery. “We didn’t set out to be a big brewery. We just wanted to brew good beer and be a good neighbour.” He explains that the early introduction of craft beer in the ’80s exposed Calgary to what he calls “the taste of really good beer. Not a production line, homogenized thing that has lost its focus but small-batch, handcrafted beers with premium ingredients.” Merlo raves that Calgary is a great beer market with a strong economy, jobs, disposable income and a terrific quality of life. “The market was ready. Our timing was right,” the upbeat and revved Merlo says, remembering that the seven partners used to get together and talk about quality craft beer. “We knew we had the best people, the expertise and we all had a passion for excellent beer. It just felt right. We finally looked at each other and said, ‘let’s do it!’ So we raised equity, spread the risk and started our own brewery in 2011.” Village Brewery was an instant hit and continues to experience tremendous growth in the Calgary beer market. Merlo credits the ambitious startup company’s

170 • October 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com

impressive success to the advantages of being small and the opportunity to be invaluably hands-on. “By necessity – and also because we really enjoy it – we all wear several hats,” he grins. “The operations side, the regulatory side, the distribution side and the marketing and sales sides. We not only do everything, it gives us the tremendous satisfaction that ‘this is mine!’ “It also helps us brew a much better, quality beer. It’s a perk of being small. We are very involved and close to what we do. In a bigger company, you’re removed from the important activity and you become a manager of people, not product.” The gutsy Village Brewery bright idea, all the hard work, giving back by donating 10 per cent of their bottom line to local arts and community groups and maintaining a Calgary focus is paying off. Not only with the strong Village Brewery double-digit market growth but producing an uncompromisingly high-quality product that keeps earning a solid reputation among Calgary beer consumers. And it has earned Village Brewery several business and community awards, including being voted Calgary’s 2013 Small Business of the Year. “The award was an awesome, humbling surprise,” Merlo says with genuine enthusiasm. “We were thrilled and buzzing when we got the news. It felt so good to have all the effort and hard work validated. And it really boosted our profile.” Village Brewery is not only an example of the value of Calgary’s Small Business Week but a testimonial about how dynamically entrepreneurship and small business is thriving in Calgary.

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The big business of small business • Small Business Week

recognition and rare community exposure in large and small business centres across the country. From Vancouver, Flin Flon and Calgary to Saskatoon, Montreal and Sudbury, Small Business Week wrap-up reports and summaries show that some areas are more gung-ho than others about recognizing, celebrating and inspiring small businesses. According to stats – not only local pride – Calgary may just be the most dynamic and effective Small Business Week booster in Canada. Several years ago, the Calgary Chamber and its involved business community members enthusiastically embraced SBW as a key Chamber project. Chamber volunteers and staff devote about 11.5 months to planning, scheduling and arranging the year’s various special events. Most importantly, the week (this year, from October 19-25) is a terrifically well-organized forum for existing and future Calgary small businesses to learn, network about challenges, and get tips and advice about planning, risk management, problem solving and strategies for getting established and achieving small business growth and success. Particularly in Calgary, Small Business Week has solidly become not only an annual event but an annual tribute to the valuable contributions that small businesses make to the local and Canadian economy.

The Chamber organizes seminars, workshops, trade show expos, displays and valuable chances to socialize and shmooz with other small business types and Calgary business leaders. The two biggest Calgary events have turned out to be the Trade Show Expo and the Small Business Week Awards presentation – both set for Thursday, October 23, 2014 at MacEwan Hall on the University of Calgary campus. This is the second year the Chamber has partnered with ATB Business to host the www.SmallBusinessWeekCalgary. com website, not only as a state-of-the-art source for all Calgary SBW information but a popular way for Calgary to participate, vote for and determine some “award-winning” Calgary small businesses. Nominations for the Innovation Award, the Customer Service Award, the Community Involvement Award, the Environmental Stewardship Award, and the Breakout Business Award happened in August and September and have been tabulated. The finalists in each category are listed on the SBW website. The voting is open to the public from October 1-20, 2014 and votes can be cast directly on the SBW website. All finalists are also eligible to win the prestigious Calgary Small Business of the Year Award. BiC





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172 • October 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com


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Shaw Charity Classic Calgary’s Newest Rodeo Leaves City Buzzing


his year the Calgary Chamber of Commerce was proud to be an Official Partner of the Shaw Charity Classic to help make this important event, which showcases our great city, possible again for a second year. It was quite a site to see thousands lined the 18th hole at Canyon Meadows Golf and Country Club chanting “Freddie” as the sun put a spotlight on the Shaw Charity Classic’s newest champion, Fred Couples. It wasn’t just the fans beaming with excitement following the second-annual event featuring the best names on the PGA Champions Tour in Calgary. With Couples electrifying the crowd after his playoff victory, tournament staff couldn’t have written a better encore script to its award-winning event that provides unique corporate hosting opportunities such as the Champions Club, presented by the Calgary Chamber. “We had a lot of happy clients,” says Sean Van Kesteren, tournament director. “When Freddie made eagle on the final hole, I’ve never seen so many grown men and women jumping and slapping their hands. That’s what it’s all about.” Truth is, the party started well before Sunday’s final round. From teeing it up in one of two Championship Pro-Ams, to hosting in the clubhouse or spectacular Crow’s Nest Skybox towering over the par-3, 16th hole, the free outdoor concert to the newly-created 19th hole suite and the Junior Celebrity Golf Experience, the Shaw Charity Classic delivered something for all. Featuring 1,400 dedicated volunteers and unprecedented international media coverage, this year’s event welcomed

Fans cheer as Fred Couples celebrates his chip-in for eagle on the 18th green to force a playoff.

increased support from corporate Calgary, thanks to new sponsorship packages tailored to welcome all business sizes. “It is a very interesting venture that allows us to do various types of hosting,” says Michael Culbert, Progress Energy, who also played in the Pro-Am. “We invite our employees out, we host a number of the charities we support and we bring VIP business associates we do business with so it provides us with the opportunity to meet with everyone (we are involved with).” The growing support will play a key role in helping the event achieve its primary goal – raise big money for charities in southern Alberta. “We like that it gives back to children in the community – with proceeds going to charities that reflect our philosophy for community building in the areas that we do business so that resonates with us,” says Trevor Haynes, Black Diamond. “We are proud to be a part of the group of sponsors/patrons that are doing good work for the community and leaving something behind.” That legacy will continue well into the future and the Calgary Chamber looks forward to continuing its support. Fred Couples voiced what was on everyone’s minds while leaving the gates at Canyon Meadows last month. “See you next year!” businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY October 2014 • 173

2014 Board of


Chamber Member Spotlights

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

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

Chair Elect: Rob Hawley, Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Second Vice Chair: Denis Painchaud, Director, International Government Relations, Nexen 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

ATB Business It starts with a vision. Where others see an empty space, entrepreneurs see a dream. ATB Business gets that, which is why they’re proud to support Small Business Week in Calgary and the rest of Alberta. After all, ATB is an Alberta business too. ATB Business celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit and has worked with innovative Albertans for over 75 years. ATB understands doing business in Alberta. And whether in the middle of a boom or in challenging times they’ve stood by Albertans – and they always will. ATB is not only here to help and support business banking needs, but to be part of helping grow businesses and achieve goals. For more information visit ATB.com/Business.

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

Jayman Homes For over 30 years, Jayman Homes has helped customers find their dream homes. As one of Alberta’s largest and most awarded and respected builders, their industry-leading approach has resulted in an entirely new standard of quality. Jayman Homes continually strives to improve their process, systems and services with the latest in technological advances, training and ethical building practices. Customers deserve a home that sets the standard and a team that raises the bar. Discover how Jayman Homes has changed the face of homebuilding. For more information visit Jayman.com.

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

Mobility Quotient Mobility Quotient (MQ) is an innovation agency, specializing in software, web and mobile application design and development. Through an extensive process of discovery, MQ realizes the client’s needs and supports them by leveraging the four pillars of business development, design, evolution and integration to create fully connected solutions designed to enhance productivity and revenue. With an international client roster, MQ has powered solutions across the automotive, airline and travel industries, not-for-profit agencies, as well as multimedia giants and social networks. With a talented and dedicated in-house staff, MQ excels at delivering innovative products that will facilitate much-needed change for their clients. For more information visit MobilityQuotient.com.

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NEW Vehicle Rental Location at the Fort McMurray Airport!

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

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 Let’s Talk About Mental Health 7:30 am – 9:00 am | Calgary TELUS Convention Centre | 120 9 Avenue SE Approximately 500,000 Canadians miss work every day due to mental illness, and with one in three people suffering in silence, it is imperative that Canadian companies address mental health issues in the workplace. The Calgary Chamber in partnership with the Calgary Counselling Centre will host Bell Canada’s CEO, George Cope, for an enlightening conversation on how Bell is breaking down the barriers of mental illness and the importance of mental health awareness in the workplace. For more information and to buy tickets, visit CalgaryChamber.com/MentalHealth

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 Benjamin Barber: If Mayors Ruled the World 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm | The Bow 54th Floor Sky Garden | 500 Centre Street SE Join us for an evening of wine, delicious appetizers and conversation with the internationally renowned political theorist, and author of If Mayors Ruled the World, Dr. Benjamin Barber. Dr. Barber will lead an insightful discussion on how great cities around the world are supporting their business communities and how through an effective municipal structure these cities’ municipal governments and private sectors are working well together to drive social, political and economic progress. For more information and to buy tickets, visit CalgaryChamber.com/Barber

Monday – Friday, October 20 – 24, 2014 Small Business Week Calgary The Business Development Bank of Canada started Small Business Week 35 years ago and the Calgary Chamber, along with its partners, have hosted the largest Small Business Week celebration in Calgary for decades. The Calgary Chamber will host Small Business Week Calgary 2014, powered by ATB Business, from October 20-24, 2014 to pay tribute to the important contributions that Calgary small businesses make to the economy, especially given that Calgary is Canada’s business capital. Check out SmallBusinessWeekCalgary.com/Events for great workshops, seminars, insider tours and more!

Thursday, October 23, 2014 Small Business Week Calgary Awards and Expo 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm | TELUS Spark | 220 St. Georges Drive NE The highlight of Small Business Week every year is the Small Business Week Expo and Awards show. The business expo, which is held directly before the awards ceremony, is an opportunity for businesses of all sizes to display their products and services, network and attend valuable breakout sessions with other members of the business community. The awards show is an event where the city’s greatest small businesses get to shine and be recognized for the important contribution they make to Calgary. Come celebrate our city’s greatest small businesses with over 300 other business leaders. To buy tickets to the Expo and Awards show visit SmallBusinessWeekCalgary.com/Expo 176 • October 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com

The two biggest factors are competition and adaptation to the new and broader expectations of both organizers and delegates. Competition for conventions is intense throughout the world, which means convention facilities need to be competitive and meet all of a potential client’s rapidly changing spatial and servicing needs. With a very wide variety of options available, planners are able to source exactly what they require and they are not interested in trying to make things work in a centre that is not well aligned with their needs. So increasingly, centres that can’t deliver what the market wants and needs will not just secure less business, they will not be able to compete at all in certain markets; there are simply too many alternatives.

Rod Cameron is the Executive Director of the Convention Centres of Canada and the Executive Director of the International Association of Convention Centres. We recently caught up with this industry expert to hear his views on the growth and challenges within the meetings and convention industry.

What is your perception of the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre (CTCC) and the Calgary marketplace? The CTCC has a great reputation as a well-run facility in an attractive destination. The City is also seen as a business centre, which is very important to many image-conscious organizers these days. However, to remain competitive, the centre needs investment to update its product, particularly in terms of expanding and reconfiguring its facilities. It is now too small for a lot of potential clients and loses business year over year due to a lack of space and flexibility in the current facility. Expansion would add more space, but at the same time enable the update of both spaces and technologies to enable it to position itself more effectively against its competitors. Having great management is important, but that will not be enough if the facility size and infrastructure do not meet the needs of clients.

What are your thoughts on the current trends and changes facing the meetings and conventions industry? There is a significant shift in perception and attitude globally away from the notion of Convention Centres as a tourism product and instead recognizing them as drivers of economic development, education and learning, and vehicles for pursuing community priorities. That’s driving a different kind of value proposition for owners, who are overwhelmingly some level of government world-wide. At the same time, delegates themselves are now increasingly have to justify their convention attendance, and often need to provide measurable outcomes. This is particularly true where public funding is involved, so we’ve seen governments in many countries restricted attendance of such events by their staff. A recent example is in Scotland where it was recently announced that all judicial system employees must now provide a business case to justify their attendance at a convention. The result of these two factors is that there is now a major focus on content and relevance and driving measurable benefits for both delegates and facility owners. This shift is influencing both strategy and perception, with Convention Centres needing to better explain their broader economic role to the community while organizers and delegates have to determine and quantify the benefits of conference attendance. The Convention Centres that understand and respond to this shift will be more successful than those that continue to emphasize leisure products.

What challenges does the meetings and convention industry face in today’s business environment?

Calgary’s reputation as a leading business centre and a place of academic prominence position it well for attracting many of today’s most attractive meetings and conventions, particularly in related sectors. For example, Calgary’s international reputation in the energy sector means the city is able to attract global energy industry events more easily – creating a win-win for both the centre and the business community.

Any final thoughts? Different levels of government throughout the world recognize the economic impact of the meetings and conventions industry and are investing in more technologically advanced and flexible facilities to get a bigger share of the benefits. This means that facilities that do not grow and adapt will simply no longer be competitive. The changes we have seen in how convention locations are being selected are not going to reverse anytime soon. Those in the global travel industry are now recognizing the differences between the meetings and convention industry and leisure tourism, and this is going to help both areas prosper in the future.

calgary-convention.com | expandthecentre.ca businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY October 2014 • 177

Marketing Where it

Matters By Cassandra McAuley


s Calgary’s official destination marketing organization, Tourism Calgary’s job is to help raise awareness of Calgary and When marketing Calgary to drive visitation to the city. The organization international audiences, Tourism Calgary is often asked where they market Calgary and how target markets are chosen. aims to communicate the dynamic With a limited budget and endless areas to potentially target, Tourism Calgary must be experiences and diverse itineraries the city extremely focused in its approach to ensure maximize return on investment. has to offer, placing great emphasis on To this end, Tourism Calgary’s regional marketing efforts are focused in Edmonton, how Calgary is an integral part of a great Regina and Saskatoon. In fact, Alberta and Saskatchewan currently account for 78 per vacation in both Alberta and Canada. cent of tourism visitation to Calgary. These markets are an important contributor to both the current base of tourism, while offering the largest markets travelling to Canada with the most opportunity for future growth. This fall, in-market spending potential, those that provide the greatest Tourism Calgary will be launching a regional campaign probability for overnight stays in Calgary, those that align designed to showcase what visitors can do in Calgary in 48 with partners at Travel Alberta and the Canadian Tourism hours to make a great weekend getaway. Commission, and those with direct air access to Calgary. Nationally, the most significant opportunities for growth Currently, Tourism Calgary’s international marketing is come from British Columbia and Ontario. The year 2011 focused on the United States (primarily California), Germany, saw 27 per cent of Calgary’s national travellers visit from China, the United Kingdom and Australia. These markets these provinces. To capitalize on this, Tourism Calgary, represent significant visitation and economic potential for along with key partners including the Calgary Stampede, Calgary. For example, Canada receives more visitors from Travel Alberta, Banff and Lake Louise, and the Calgary Hotel the United Kingdom than from any other area outside of Association collaborated to market Calgary in Toronto. This the United States. Australia, meanwhile, is the sixth-largest strategy included a noteworthy five-day blitz in May, which inbound market for travellers to Canada, and thanks to recent featured floating a giant White Hat in the Toronto Harbour. changes to air access to Calgary, there is high potential for An investment in targeted international markets is focused travel from Germany. China, not to be ignored, is one of on creating awareness in order to drive travel. When marketing the world’s largest outbound tourism markets. Combined, Calgary to international audiences, Tourism Calgary aims to travellers to Alberta from these markets accounted for $883 communicate the dynamic experiences and diverse itineraries million in tourism revenue. the city has to offer, placing great emphasis on how Calgary To ensure multidimensional campaigns, all Tourism Calgary is an integral part of a great vacation in both Alberta and marketing activities extend beyond ad-buys to include Canada. With continued positive international recognition public and media relations, trade visits and compelling social and numerous global accolades from ranking lists, Calgary is media and web design and content. Follow along, through positioned well to grow as a tourist destination. visitcalgary.com or @calgary on Twitter and Facebook. Tourism Calgary prioritizes international spending on 178 • October 2014 BUSINESS IN CALGARY | businessincalgary.com

Coming Together With Peers — the value of networking and learning opportunities


ecently, the Economic Developers Association of Canada staged their 46th national conference in Calgary. The conference moves through communities across the country and this year’s event was an opportunity to showcase the energy and vibrancy of our city to economic developers from across Canada. It was also a chance for all in attendance to learn about the issues that are impacting all communities across the county and more importantly, hear how others are addressing the issues in creative and resourceful ways. Prior to the conference kicking off, many economic developers and government officials from across Canada had the opportunity to tour the Canadian oil sands. The tour created opportunities for meaningful discussions about the energy industry, helped develop an understanding of the supply chain opportunities for Canadian regions as well as develop an understanding of energy how the industry benefits the entire country. At the conference itself, the speaker lineup was impressive including thought leaders from within the world of economic development and beyond. One of the highlights for many was Dr. Katherine Loflin, the speaker who kicked of Calgary Economic Development’s Soul of the City speaker series. She spoke about the transformative role of placemaking and the ties between loved places and economic developers. Other speakers included author of The Wealthy Barber, David Chilton, Olympian Jon Montgomery, CBC commentator Rex Murphy, as well as other Canadian and International industry leaders. Hosting the event in Calgary meant that most of the staff of Calgary Economic Development had the opportunity to attend a few of the sessions and events. Networking with colleagues from communities large and small, combined with variety of sessions allowed everyone to walk away with some little nugget about trends and opportunities. This opportunity to network and learn doesn’t just happen at industry association conferences. There are numerous local business and networking events hosted in Calgary that create learning opportunities that can influence dayto-day work.

The tour created opportunities for meaningful discussions about the energy industry, helped develop an understanding of the supply chain opportunities for Canadian regions as well as develop an understanding of energy how the industry benefits the entire country. On Thursday, November 13, Calgary Economic Development will host their annual Economic Outlook. Over lunch, 1,000 of Calgary’s business leaders come together for one of the premier business networking events with people from across all sectors. The luncheon will hear from Todd Hirsch, the chief economist at ATB Financial and Glen Hodgson, the senior vice president and chief economist at the Conference Board of Canada. Knowledge becomes power – using forecasts for the local, regional, national and international economies, Calgary businesses will receive valuable insight into the state of the global economy that will help drive the direction for business planning and activities in 2015. Tickets are $90 each or $810 for a table and available at calgaryeconomicdevelopment.com.

businessincalgary.com | BUSINESS IN CALGARY October 2014 • 179

Coworking at the Inc. New concept for startup space to open fall 2014 |


he coworking space is an unconventional way to work that can take on many forms, looks and concepts. Not your typical nine-to-five desk job or office environment, the coworking movement has gained momentum worldwide with those looking to trade in the home office with a more inspiring workspace. The coworking concept originated in San Francisco in 2005, and has since morphed into a host of ideas and models ranging from drop-in desks in trendy lofts and converted warehouses to reserved seating in modern, downtown digs. Nonetheless, the concept is giving entrepreneurs, innovators, creative types and startup businesses the opportunity to grow their companies like never before. Opening in the fall of 2014, the Inc., powered by Innovate Calgary, is a new type of coworking environment coming to Calgary. The Inc. is not only a coworking space – it is a co-program space where physical space, mentorship, accountability and peer support combine to help take startups to the next level. It is a place to leverage intelligence, resources and community to get further faster. “The Inc. is a unique coworking space wrapped together with core programming that is essential to startup success,” says Steven McIlvenna, director, entrepreneur development at Innovate Calgary. “Besides being an affordable workspace for startup companies, each entrepreneur is receiving oneon-one critical learning. We are working together with you to determine on-the-fly action plans and setting goals to help get you further faster.” Located within the Alastair Ross Technology Centre, in the University of Calgary Research Park, the Inc. will feature a blend of drop-in and reserved seating, dedicated meeting rooms and touchdown points, office amenities such as copiers and

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storage, telephone booths for quick private calls, in-person and digital coaching with the Innovate Calgary advisers and entrepreneurs-in-residence, membership discounts to core Innovate Calgary programming, and access to the University of Calgary Legal Clinic. The Inc. has a wide fit for members, ranging from pre- to early-revenue startups of up to three or four people, in many areas of the advanced technology sector. However one key aspect remains the same. “Members who are in the Inc. will have demonstrated the willingness to learn, and the drive to move their concept forward. We hold you accountable and care about your results,” says McIlvenna. The Inc. is ideal for those who are ready to grow and move their business out of the basement, coffee shop or home office. It is more than a place to set up shop and have access to a professional business address and office amenities. It is for those who also want to connect with a peer network of like-minded entrepreneurs and who are looking for engagement with the tech community through knowledge sharing, networking, events, programming and collaboration. “There is a serendipitous effect that happens in coworking spaces,” says McIlvenna. “Entrepreneurs will meet other entrepreneurs and opportunities for collaboration and growth will naturally occur. The goal is to support a startup learning environment.” The Inc. opens its doors in late fall 2014, and a waiting list is now open. To find out if the Inc. is right for your startup, visit: innovatecalgary.com/forms/intake-form. To learn more about Innovate Calgary and how it supports new and emerging technology, visit innovatecalgary.com.


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MarketingMatters • David Parker




anet Annesley, the talented daughter of David Annesley who was a Calgary PR guru for many years with corporations such as Amoco, Dome and TransCanada PipeLines, has left the city for Ottawa. For the past five years Janet has done a fine job as vice president communications at the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) but has transferred to become vice president in Ottawa responsible for Ottawa, eastern and Atlantic operations. Jeff Gaulin, formerly of Tervita and TransAlta, has taken over Annesley’s role while CAPP’s long-standing manager of corporate communications, Evelyn Ferchuck, has moved to Conoco as manager, government relations. Also joining CAPP is Paula Davies as manager, media relations. She was most recently director of fund development at the Calgary Philharmonic but perhaps is best known for her positions as general manager at Citytv, SunTV, CHUM and as producer of the Big Breakfast. •••••••••••••• After Fred Cheney left his media relations position at Mount Royal University he joined AltaGas in a similar role. Now a year later he has moved over to law firm Norton Rose Fulbright as public relations and marketing manager. •••••••••••••• I get a kick out of Calgary companies leading the way down east. Jocelyn Flanagan, president and CEO of E=mc² Events, opened her Toronto office three years ago after producing a

hugely successful fundraising gala for the Toronto International Film Festival. That was the year it highlighted the 50th anniversary of James Bond films and she used helicopters, stuntmen and fireworks to excite the audience. This is the third year Flanagan and her Toronto office was contracted and this time they promoted the career of Al Pacino. E=mc² Events relocated its 22 Calgary staff into new office space late last year into the sixth floor of 1207 11th Avenue SW. They have been joined by Gary Davies, formerly executive group publisher at RedPoint Media and more recently president of Vancouver-based Canada Wide Media, as a strategic business consultant. Besides the Toronto office, Flanagan has a busy Vancouver operation that among many other events runs the Juno Awards Gala. Next big one for Calgary is the October 15 fundraiser at the TELUS Convention Centre in support of Right To Play, an organization close to Flanagan’s heart that uses sports and play programs to improve health, develop life skills and promote peace for children and communities. •••••••••••••• It’s 10 years since Shauna MacDonald opened her Brookline Public Relations firm in Calgary and in that time she has managed it to become one of Canada’s leading boutique PR agencies. It has had a busy year with Paul Brandt, a long-standing client, and did a great job at the Calgary International Airport helping with two important celebrations – the opening of the new runway and the fifth anniversary of KLM in Calgary. And at this year’s Global Petroleum Show Brookline staff secured over 80 interviews. Always big on giving back to the community, MacDonald has a great record with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Stars Air Ambulance and Enactus Canada.

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•••••••••••••• Todd Fraser, managing director of Tandem, pointed me to a new website his company designed and developed for the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations (CCVO). Reach Hire is an online centre specializing in the non-profit sector that connects organizations to career seekers who are looking to make a difference in the non-profit sector. •••••••••••••• ZGM Collaborative Marketing has done some great work in the not-forprofit arena. Two that come to mind are the campaign for the Drop-In Centre that used “Fill in the blanks” billboards to get its audience to imagine stories of homelessness, and an annual report for the Distress Centre that captured the types of calls volunteers answer every day by use of a smartphone. Currently ZGM is working with RESOLVE Campaign to provide affordable housing for 3,000 vulnerable and homeless Calgarians. •••••••••••••• I’m looking forward to RedCity’s launch of new websites this month for Stone Creek Resorts including Silvertip Resort in Canmore and Eagle Ranch Resort in Invermere. •••••••••••••• Tanya Otis has joined Twist Marketing as manager of communications. Prior to her new position, she led a team of communicators at Sunshine Village Ski and Snowboard Resort.

Parker’s Pick: The nice rabbit welcome to university students on its Crowchild Trail billboard.




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Profile for Business in Calgary

October 2014 Business in Calgary  

October 2014 Business in Calgary