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APRIL 2018 | $3.50 BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM

ASHIF MAWJI

PM42455512

INVESTOR, SOCIAL SERIAL ENTREPRENEUR, PHILANTHROPIST AND FAMILY MAN



SAFE AS HOUSES?

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STORY TITLE // SECTION

Supporting the visions of entrepreneurs one story at a time. Volume 6 | Number 4

REGULAR COLUMNS

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 A Walk Through the Graveyard of Alberta’s Economic Diversification By Brock Harrison

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CONTENTS

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 Rethink Government, Reduce Your Tax Bill By Colin Craig

 It’s Time for the Alberta Government to Exercise Some Fiscal Fitness By Amber Ruddy

Edmonton Chamber of Commerce

COVER FEATURE

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Ashif Mawji Investor, Social Serial Entrepreneur, Philanthropist and Family Man. By Nerissa McNaughton

ON OUR COVER: ABOVE: ASHIF MAWJI PHOTO SOURCE: EPIC PHOTOGRAPHY INC.

FIND US ONLINE! B US I N E SS I N E DMONTON.COM BUSINESS IN EDMONTON

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SHARING YOUR VISION. BUILDING SUCCESS.

Edmonton International Airport

We are Alberta’s construction leaders. We look beyond your immediate needs to see the bigger picture, provide solutions, and ensure that we exceed your expectations. PCL focuses on environmental stewardship when working with its partners, and is proud to be a leader in sustainable construction. Watch us build at PCL.com


STORY TITLE // SECTION

Supporting the visions of entrepreneurs one story at a time. Volume 6 | Number 4

THIS MONTH’S FEATURES

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CONTENTS

With Vancouver and Toronto ratcheting up pressure on foreign real estate investors, will Edmonton and Calgary be next? Not likely, say the experts By Ben Freeland

Edmonton Motorshow Revs up for Another Year The popular car and truck show returns to wow guests with classic and concept vehicles, and everything in between By Nerissa McNaughton

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Opportunities Abound When You Look Around Edmonton’s suburbs are booming with commercial real estate possibilities By Nerissa McNaughton

COMPANY PROFILES

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Safe as Houses?

E  nergy Saving Products Ltd. Celebrates 35 Years

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S  herwood Dodge

Alberta Green: How the Private Sector is Innovating Sustainability Four Edmonton companies share what they’re doing for the environment, and the impact their practices and programs are having here and around the world By Zachary Edwards

Celebrates 10 Years

D  evlin Construction Ltd. Celebrates 15 Years

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Parkland County Part II: A Hole-In-One for Golfers By Laura Bohnert

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Making Yourself Known: Finding Your Next Job in 2018 With Edmonton and Alberta’s employment statistics showing promise, many people are looking at the job market. Three HR professionals weigh in on what works, and what doesn’t By Zachary Edwards

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Is Pay Equity Legislation Coming to Alberta? By Dan Boucher, Director of Research, CPHR Alberta


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A WALK THROUGH THE GRAVEYARD OF ALBERTA’S ECONOMIC DIVERSIFICATION // BROCK HARRISON

A Walk Through the Graveyard of Alberta’s Economic Diversification BY BROCK HARRISON

J

ust whisper the words “economic diversification” around any provincial politician or government official and watch their eyes widen and their ears perk up.

Diversification is a useful economic objective, provided governments act prudently in their pursuit of it, which is why Albertans may have trembled just a little when Premier Rachel Notley announced last month that the province will spend $1 billion to support partial bitumen upgrading. Alberta’s history is littered with examples of business gambits gone horribly wrong. Here are a few tombstones you’ll find in the graveyard of Alberta’s economic diversification: MagCan An abandoned red-brick monstrosity between High River and Okotoks on Highway 2A is all that remains of Alberta’s ill-conceived foray into magnesium. In the early 1990s, the site was home to MagCan’s first and only ever magnesium smelter – a $200 million venture that was supposed to produce 60,000 pounds of magnesium ingots a day. MagCan, pitching jobs, tax revenues, and the ever-elusive concept of diversification, managed to squeeze $103 million from the Alberta government in the form of a guaranteed loan to get off the ground. The province thought MagCan would be the vanguard of vast new swaths of industry in Alberta. Instead, most of MagCan’s early investors bailed and the plant ended up closing after less than a year in operation, taking a total of $164 million from Alberta taxpayers down with it. NovaTel Eager to stake a claim in the burgeoning mobile communications industry, the province joined forces in 1983

with Nova Corporation to manufacture cellphones under the corporate name NovaTel. The company was quickly beset by quality and management issues and, by 1989, Nova wanted out. Nova sold its shares to Alberta Government Telephones for $42.6 million, in effect leaving the Alberta government as NovaTel’s sole owner. The company continued to perform poorly while the province pumped it full of tax dollars to keep it afloat. Alberta lost over $200 million more in a botched sale to Telus during AGT’s privatization. The province searched desperately for a buyer until it finally sold its remaining assets in 1992. Auditor General Donald Salmon eventually calculated the total loss to taxpayers from NovaTel at between $544 million and $614 million. Lloydminster Bi-Provincial Upgrader In 1988, Alberta jumped with both feet into the deep end of the bitumen upgrading business. It joined with the governments of Canada and Saskatchewan, along with Husky Oil, to build an upgrader that would produce 46,000 barrels of crude a day. In accordance with its 24 per cent share, Alberta forked over $404 million in construction costs only to discover the upgrader would operate at a loss. By 1994, the upgrader’s operational shortfall hit $80 million, $19.3 million of which Alberta covered. Only two years after the upgrader refined its first barrel of crude, Alberta sold its share of the operation to Husky and Saskatchewan for a measly $32 million. University of Calgary professor Ted Morton estimates the total loss to taxpayers from the province’s ill-fated interventions in diversification to be well over $2 billion. That’s truly a staggering number, and one that should come to mind and make our blood run cold whenever any government starts throwing money at unproven diversification projects.

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RETHINK GOVERNMENT, REDUCE YOUR TAX BILL // COLIN CRAIG

Rethink Government, Reduce Your Tax Bill BY COLIN CRAIG

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overnments are not known for being cost-effective organizations due to a number of perverse incentives – politicians putting politics before rational decisions and powerful employee unions pressuring politicians into signing lucrative contracts to name just two. Here are a couple ideas that tweak the traditional government model and could save taxpayers money while creating new opportunities for local businesses. First, governments should take a page out of former Indianapolis mayor Stephen Goldsmith’s book and proceed with something called “managed competition.” Instead of getting into a fight with city unions by just outsourcing a service to a private company, managed competition involves helping current government employees to craft their own bid and compete with the private sector for the work. For example, when Indianapolis opened its pothole repair service up to competition, Goldsmith had the city’s accountants help the city’s pothole repair crews draft their proposal. They knew they would have to really trim the fat if they were to stand a chance bidding against private sector firms – so that’s exactly what they did. The city employees put in a bid that proposed cutting a sizable amount of management overhead while reducing work crews significantly. In his book, The Twenty-First Century City, Goldsmith notes the city’s pothole repair employees won the tender and ended up reducing costs by 25 per cent while productivity skyrocketed by 68 per

cent. Just think – none of those benefits would have materialized if it weren’t for Goldsmith introducing competition into the mix. Ultimately, this competitive model saved his city over $400 million while improving services. Some government services were ultimately outsourced, but government employees won many bids as well. Another tool that can help drive savings within an organization is gainsharing – an incentive program that rewards employees for coming forward with ideas that save money while maintaining output levels. For example, after gainsharing was introduced in the State of Maryland, the highways maintenance division decided to stop paying a firm to haul away pieces of scrap highway signage that state employees had gathered at their public works yard. Instead, the state began selling the materials to a metal recycling company – raising $15,000 in revenue. These funds were then split between the employees and the state. One can easily see how this idea could work well at reducing costs in government. For example, some employees could decide to rent out a smaller office space or utilize a workfrom-home model, renting meeting rooms as needed. Some divisions may decide to offer buyouts to employees, reducing staff complements down to more efficient levels. As long as the division maintains its output, it really doesn’t matter how many staff do the work or where it is done. If you like the idea of easing your tax burden, try asking your local politicians to explore these cost-saving ideas.

COLIN CRAIG IS THE INTERIM ALBERTA DIRECTOR FOR THE CANADIAN TAXPAYERS FEDERATION.

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LINDA CUDA

FIVE WAYS TO IMPROVE ENERGY AND

FOCUS AT WORK WITH NUTRITION BY LINDA CUDA

W

e’re all familiar with the long-term benefits of healthy eating, such as emotional wellness and prevention of chronic diseases.

But in a world of instant gratification, good nutrition also provides the energy to meet deadlines, to stay focused during long meetings and to think clearly through complex tasks. The right foods, at the right time, can increase your brainpower, help you beat the afternoon slump, increase your patience and reduce irritability – setting the tone for healthy work relationships, as well as a healthy waistline. Here are five ways to reap the immediate rewards of healthy eating and fuel yourself to perform at your best throughout the busy work day. 1.Choose brain-boosting foods Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as avocado, walnuts, flax, soybeans and salmon, help to enhance memory, cognition and overall moods. Rich-coloured produce – like berries, broccoli and red peppers – contain antioxidants that aid in boosting brain function. Low glycemic index carbohydrates, such as yams, lentils and Greek yogurt, will also give your brain sustained energy throughout the day. Copeman Tip: Infuse your menu with brain-boosting foods. Stick to small, simple entrées, avoid fried foods and skip the white rice or bread, when eating out. 2. Break the fast; don’t skip breakfast! Studies show that those who eat breakfast typically consume fewer calories in comparison to those who skip the first meal of the day. Skipping breakfast can also sabotage your performance and drive. Kick starting your day with a healthy breakfast can increase concentration, enhance problemsolving abilities and improve your general attitude. Copeman Tip: Incorporate some protein into your breakfast to “wake up” your brain, promote alertness and help you withstand stress.

3. Eat every 4-5 hours to sustain energy levels Keeping healthy snacks at your desk, within reach, provides a sustainable source of nutrition and a healthy alternative to the energy-depleting junk food that typically lurks in offices. Fresh fruit, vegetables and hummus, nuts, roasted chickpeas and Greek yogurt are all good options. Copeman Tip: Keep a supply of healthy snacks in your car, as well! 4. Eat balanced, nutrient-dense meals An adequate variety of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and omega-3 fats helps to keep your brain operating at full mental capacity. Fill your plate at mealtime with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and quality proteins – steer away from added sugar, fried foods and highly refined grains. Copeman Tip: If you don’t have time to prepare balanced meals yourself, try using a prepared meal service. 5. Hydrate to feel great Your brain is approximately 80 per cent water. Unsurprisingly, then, poor hydration will adversely affect your ability to concentrate. Studies show that mental performance and physical coordination start to become impaired even before thirst is perceived. Women should consume about 2.7 litres of fluid per day; for men, about 3.7 litres is recommended. Twenty per cent of your daily fluid intake can be derived from foods. Make sure ½ your fluid intake is from water. Copeman Tip: If water’s too boring, stock up on True Lime (or Lemon), Nuun All Day, or any brand that offers a naturally flavoured, unsweetened carbonated water. TO LEARN MORE about Corporate Health Programs visit

www.copemeanhealthcare.com/corporate-health


IT’S TIME FOR THE ALBERTA GOVERNMENT TO EXERCISE SOME FISCAL FITNESS // AMBER RUDDY

It’s Time for the Alberta Government to Exercise Some Fiscal Fitness BY AMBER RUDDY

T

he Alberta budget, The Path to Balance, offers a long and winding road to balance the books when a short straight line would do the trick. Similar to losing weight, the government must step on the scale, set targets and make disciplined decisions to curb their appetite for spending.

IN RECENT YEARS, THE PROVINCE HAS BEEN DOWNGRADED BY SEVERAL CREDIT-RATING AGENCIES. THE MAIN CRITICISM HAS BEEN NOT HAVING A

New survey data from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) shows that four out of five Alberta entrepreneurs think the 2023-24 time frame to balance the budget is not soon enough. In fact, more than half of small business owners want to see the provincial government back in the black by 2020.

CONCRETE PLAN TO GET THE BOOKS

In recent years, the province has been downgraded by several credit-rating agencies. The main criticism has been not having a concrete plan to get the books balanced. The budget tabled by Finance Minister Joe Ceci still lacks a tangible plan to actually stop the red ink beyond relying on optimistic projections for economic recovery.

STOP THE RED INK BEYOND RELYING

There is a disconnect between this budget and the expectations of small business owners, as government debt and deficit is ranked as the second biggest concern for small business owners in Alberta, second only to the growing tax burden. There is no shortage of ideas on how to balance the books on a more expedited basis. Ninety-three per cent of Alberta business owners want the province to reduce existing spending by shrinking the size of government (i.e. not replacing retiring workers) and freezing public sector wages. According to CFIB’s Wage Watch report, Alberta government employees make a 17 per cent premium on their total compensation, including wages, salary and

BALANCED. THE BUDGET TABLED BY FINANCE MINISTER JOE CECI STILL LACKS A TANGIBLE PLAN TO ACTUALLY ON OPTIMISTIC PROJECTIONS FOR ECONOMIC RECOVERY. benefits, compared to those working the same jobs in the private sector. Addressing the behemoth of rising government operational spending would provide the biggest opportunity for savings. This typically makes up half of the government’s total spending. Alberta now borrows to simply keep the lights on. That simply can’t continue. Small business owners know that today’s deficits and debt are tomorrow’s taxes. Businesses are expected to balance their budget on a regular basis, why can’t governments? It will take discipline for the government to say no to its own insatiable spending appetite, but balancing the budget is the healthy fiscal choice. AMBER RUDDY IS THE DIRECTOR OF PROVINCIAL AFFAIRS FOR THE CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS. SHE CAN BE REACHED AT AMBER.RUDDY@CFIB.CA. FOLLOW HER ON TWITTER @ARUDDY.

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ATB Finanical gets Creative Earlier this year, Brian Hickling joined ATB Finanical as the new creative director. “Financial institutions are embracing creativity and innovation like never before. ATB is leading the way and I am so excited to be on board,” says Hickling. “Being embedded in the culture of an organization, creatively, is a great opportunity—to get thick insights about the brand, to live it, to live the proof.” Hickling brings a wealth of experience to the finanical institution, having worked with international brands such as IKEA, NIKE, General Motors, McDonald’s Canada, Bell Canada, Molson Canadian, Rogers Communications Inc., Pillsbury, Moosehead Breweries, PayPal, LG Electronics Canada, Canada Post, Toronto Raptors, Bank of Montreal and Freedom 55 Financial. Hickling is excited about leading ATB’s creative team, and about having the opportunity to apply his creative energy to one brand. His team includes designers, writers, video producers, digital strategists and communicators. “I look forward to harnessing that nimbleness. The world moves so quickly now that you need to be faster,” says Hickling. “As the financial services industry faces challenges

HICKLING IS EXCITED ABOUT LEADING ATB’S CREATIVE TEAM, AND ABOUT HAVING THE OPPORTUNITY TO APPLY HIS CREATIVE ENERGY TO ONE BRAND. HIS TEAM INCLUDES DESIGNERS, WRITERS, VIDEO PRODUCERS, DIGITAL STRATEGISTS AND COMMUNICATORS.

from disruptors, strategies set out six months or a year before just aren’t going to cut it.” The move to bring on Hickling is part of ATB’s drive to continue to push the envelope with their visual presence – and the bank’s overall strategy is working. Recently, ATB won two CASSIE awards for an advertising campaign featuring a spoken word artist and businessperson from Calgary. CASSIE awards are presented to companies whose ads demonstrate a measureable impact on the business. ATB won silver in CASSIE’s services category and bronze in the brand content category for their entry “Amplify Your Business.” The bank was pleased to collaborate with Patton Communications, Joe Media, Six Degrees, Bluefish Studios and Vovia for the Amplify ad campaign. Committed to being a disrupter in a disrupted industry, ATB has also pushed forward with a new banking initiative by opening The Branch for Arts & Culture in Edmonton’s

ABOVE: BRIAN HICKLING, CREATIVE DIRECTOR, ATB. PHOTO SOURCE: ATB

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downtown CKUA building. The Branch will serve Alberta’s creative industries and non-profit organizations. “We hear feedback from the arts community that they are not taken seriously by banks. With irregular paycheques and inconsistent cash flow, many artists fail to qualify for credit. At the same time, they are working hard, contributing to Alberta in so many ways. We want to use our expertise and resources to help them continue,” says Dave Mowat, ATB’s president and CEO.

THE MOVE TO BRING ON HICKLING IS PART OF ATB’S DRIVE TO CONTINUE TO PUSH THE ENVELOPE WITH THEIR VISUAL PRESENCE – AND THE BANK’S OVERALL STRATEGY IS WORKING. RECENTLY, ATB WON TWO CASSIE AWARDS FOR AN ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN FEATURING A SPOKEN WORD ARTIST AND BUSINESSPERSON FROM CALGARY. Ben Spencer, a musician and ATB’s initiative director for The Branch, adds, “I was never viewed as an entrepreneur, even though that’s how I saw myself. Now I’m in a position to alleviate some of these challenges for a community I feel so connected to.” ATB Finanical has assets of $50.7 billion and is Alberta’s largest home-grown financial institution. The bank looks forward to continuing to push the envelope, and to showing Alberta how creative, flexible and accessible banks can be when they reach out to the communities they serve.

BENEFITS OF DEVELOPING IN CAMROSE • Affordable land values • 3.6% commercial vacancy rate • 12.0 non-res mill rate • Retail and commercial service area exceeds 150,000 people • Rapid development approval process • Consistent 1.5% annual growth rate • 34.5% household income over $100,000 • Regional commercial, service and transportation hub • Educated, well trained workforce • Low cost of living index For more information contact Victor Goodman, EcD CEcD 780.672.4426 econdev@camrose.ca www.camrose.ca

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Teresa Spinelli Named as the 2018 Allard Chair in Business MacEwan University has named Teresa Spinelli as the 2018 Allard Chair in Business. The university established the position in 1985 in partnership with the Allard Foundation to create an honorary teaching position that recognizes a renowned business and community leader. Spinelli is well-known in Edmonton as the beloved owner of the popular grocery and café, The Italian Centre. Founded by her father in 1959, the Italian Centre got its start in the Capital City by selling magazines, chocolate and imported Italian food. Spinelli worked at the store as a cashier at age 13, but ownership was expected to pass from father to son. Sadly, both Spinelli’s father and brother passed away unexpectedly, and she found herself as the president of the company in 2000. When Spinelli assumed ownership, The Italian Centre had 30 employees and a net worth of $9 million. With a vision to fully maximize all that the Italian Centre could be, Spinelli evolved the business. Today, she is the proud president of an establishment with more than 500 employees, sales of over $64 million, and four stores between Edmonton and Calgary. “My business philosophy comes from my dad,” she said in a McEwan University media release. “He believed that the more you give, the more you get.” Spinelli is also known for her community involvement, and her many hours of volunteering with the Chamber of Commerce, the Mayor’s Task Force on Sustainable Communities, and the Edmonton City Manager’s Advisory Committee, among many more initiatives. She is fearless in taking the lead on causes that require attention. For example, years ago she noticed a park in Little Italy did not have functioning swings. They had been damaged and removed. Concerned for the area’s children, who she knew needed access to the park as a safe recreation

place, she called the City asking when the swings would be reinstated. The City informed her that she would need to raise a committee and half the funds. So she did. It took five years, but she did not rest until the park had swings for the children. Yet, Spinelli remains incredibly humble despite the difference she had made in Edmonton for so many people. “I do very, very little,” Spinelli insisted in an interview with Business in Edmonton magazine (2014), “I do very little and I’m always shocked that the little difference makes such a great difference. What they remember [my father] for was asking how their kids were or sending milk home with someone that didn’t have any. That’s what it’s about. The human connection. I think we are hard wired for that.” Throughout 2018, in her role as the Allard Chair in Business, Spinelli will meet with MacEwan students to share her knowledge about being a businessperson and an entrepreneur. Spinelli concluded in the MacEwan media release, “For me it’s not about selling salami, it’s about the people. The reason I get up in the morning is because I want people to grow, and I want to share the experiences that I’ve faced over the years and impart how all experiences help people grow.” ABOVE: TERESA SPINELLI, OWNER OF THE POPULAR GROCERY AND CAFÉ, THE ITALIAN CENTRE. PHOTO SOURCE: EPIC PHOTOGRAPHY INC.

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EPCOR RiverFest Promotes Connectivity, Access, and Enjoyment in the River Valley When people have the chance to make meaningful connections with the river valley, they gain a new appreciation and pride for this unique treasure that runs through our region. “The River Valley Alliance’s (RVA) objective is trail connectivity and access to the river valley, essentially making it easier for people to enjoy it,” says Brent Collingwood, RVA executive director in talking about the not-for-profit company that’s directed by the Town of Devon, Parkland County, Leduc County, the City of Edmonton, Strathcona County, the City of Fort Saskatchewan, and Sturgeon County. This year will mark the completion of the RVA’s Phase I Capital Plan, a six-year project of 13 initiatives spanning across the seven municipalities that border the North Saskatchewan River in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region. EPCOR RiverFest is a new festival that highlights the many ways people can enjoy the river valley — including those made possible through RVA projects. “This event is something we really believe in. The North Saskatchewan River is where our drinking water comes from and we want to protect it. The more people get the chance to experience our river and love it, the more they will help us protect it,” explains Gillian Adams, senior manager, corporate marketing for EPCOR. “This summer we’d love to have 3,000 people join us on the river raft float.” Collingwood says floating on the North Saskatchewan is a great way to see RVA projects like the Terwillegar Park Footbridge, which connects trails from Fort Edmonton Park to Terwillegar Park. “With its minimalist structure and distinctive lighting, when you float under this stressed ribbon bridge you know you’re

seeing something very unique,” says Collingwood. “You’re seeing this iconic structure, as well as the city skyline, from an entirely different perspective.” This year EPCOR RiverFest will take place on August 11 (Edmonton) and August 12 (Devon and Fort Saskatchewan). Registration for the on-the-water experience will open in early June. EPCOR will return as title sponsor, and there are many other sponsorship opportunities available for local businesses. The ultimate objective of the RVA is to connect one continuous trail from Devon to Fort Saskatchewan, spanning approximately 125 kilometres. “The completion of Phase I is a significant milestone along that journey,” notes Collingwood, who adds “funding requests have already been submitted for Phase II, which would see another 13 projects undertaken across the seven municipalities over the next 5-6 years. This year marks the completion of nine new trail projects, four new water

ABOVE: EPCOR RIVERFEST

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THIRTY YEARS OF DISTINCTION

PRESCHOOL KINDERGARTEN ELEMENTARY JR. HIGH

Ranked in the top 5% of all schools in Alberta for measures from performance to citizenship, quality and parental involvement

“Outstanding students, outstanding results.” proacad.ca

access points, two new pedestrian bridges, and a community centre in Fort Saskatchewan. It marks the completion of three upgraded staging areas in Strathcona County, Parkland County and Sturgeon County. It marks the completion of upgrades to three pedestrian bridges crossing Battery Creek and the opening of the city’s newest tourist attraction – the 100 Street Funicular. That really is something to celebrate, and participating in EPCOR RiverFest is a unique way to come together to do just that.” More information is available at www.rivervalley.ab.ca.

BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // APRIL 2018

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ASHIF MAWJI // COVER

ASHIF MAWJI

INVESTOR, SOCIAL SERIAL ENTREPRENEUR, PHILANTHROPIST AND FAMILY MAN

BY NERISSA MCNAUGHTON

A

shif Mawji and his family had the opportunity to make a choice in 1987: move to Canada, the United States, or Great Britain. After touring all three countries in the summer of 1986, they fell in love with Alberta, and as Mawji recalls with a chill, “we went from +30°C to -30°C! It was quite a shock, but I’m glad we picked Canada.” Canada, and Edmonton in particular, should be glad, too. The young man would grow to be one of the city’s strongest supporters, investing in and promoting important technologies, sitting on several boards and giving back to numerous causes in the Capital City. It’s a lot, but for Mawji, it’s just par for the course. He’s always been a hard worker with a mandate to better the communities he lives in. “My first official business was when I was 12 and selling watches in Kenya at trade shows,” says Mawji. “Since then, I have been involved in several IT/software related ventures

and have real estate investments around the world. I am also invested in various venture capital funds, which are focused on healthcare, technology, real-estate and other industries.” His love of tech started early and set his life’s course. “In Kenya, I was exposed to computers and loved programming. When I moved to Canada and completed high school, I knew that the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) was the right choice for me, and I completed the computer systems technology program in 1992. “While my friends went to work for some amazing companies, I decided to go the entrepreneur route and started my first consulting company. In just three years, I built my reputation and credibility and was able to jointly win a $60+ million outsourcing contract with a large multi-national company. After building that company, I started a product company with a great team. We had customers in about 180 countries.

ABOVE: ASHIF MAWJI PHOTO SOURCE: EPIC PHOTOGRAPHY INC.

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ASHIF MAWJI // COVER

BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // APRIL 2018

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ASHIF MAWJI // COVER

“Throughout my career, I’ve believed in diversification as that not only helps reduce risk, but it also allowed me to learn about other industries. As such, I invested in various industries around the world and learned about real-estate, healthcare, and technology. I firmly believe that technology will be the driver in every industry.” Mawji’s commitment to furthering tech-based innovation is seen in the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Fund (AI/ML Fund) he is creating. “The private sector has a responsibility to provide capital and to fuel the economy,” he explains. “We [Edmonton] did not do that well with nanotechnology, but now we have another chance with companies like Google Deep Mind taking notice of our city. Years later, we don’t want to look back and say we blew our chance [to be a tech-forward city]. I decided I’d rather take this on now than to wait for someone to take action.” The AI/ML Fund, which is further explained at www. aimlfund.com, is being created to ensure that any Edmonton-based entrepreneur that has a passion for leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning has an opportunity for, and access to, local funding. Projects outside of Edmonton will also be considered in the hopes that those company leaders will relocate to the Capital City. The AI/ML Fund is in the early stages and looks very promising. Mawji is currently deciding between continuing the fund on its own, or partnering with another fund. To this end, he’s invited several venture capitalist firms and investor groups to come to Edmonton to see what the city, and the AI/ML Fund can offer. But why? Mawji has already been very successful in business. Why not just take it easy, retire and enjoy the good life? Actually, he is. To Mawji and his family, giving back is the good life--and the only way to be truly successful. “I was taught very early by my parents that we are all one people and that we have to help when we can,” he explains. “This means not just giving money, but also sharing your knowledge and time. I’ve learned so much from everyone around me, and through that, I’ve been able to build my career. As a result, I see it as an obligation to give back as much as I can and to help my community get stronger. As a family, we give back to the arts,

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APRIL 2018 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM

healthcare, education, sports and children’s initiatives. If we all give back, we help lift everyone up and build and grow a better world. We all need to contribute. “Seeing others achieve amazing progress, be it from science, technology, healthcare, education, sports – it really inspires me. When I see philanthropists like Bill and Melinda Gates make it their life’s mission to eradicate diseases like polio and malaria, and see Elon Musk focussed on getting to Mars, and people all over the world doing incredible things, it makes me proud of humanity and proud to know that we just need to continue with positive reinforcement and do great things. Positivity and progress is infectious!” Mawji is proud to call Edmonton home and will never stop believing in the city’s potential to diversify into a techindustry leader, but he knows there is still a long way to go. “Canada has amazing talent, a great culture, and very inclusive and supportive people,” he points out. “However, if we don’t continue to invest in entrepreneurs and businesses and implement the right economic strategies and tax policies, we don’t look as attractive to investors and new business. My challenge is to help politicians see this and have the courage to make the right decisions for Canada and our province, not just for their political futures. Our education system, when it comes to methods of teaching--and also our curriculum, when it comes to entrepreneurship and creative thinking--definitely needs a huge revamp. We also need to embrace and include artificial intelligence and machine learning in everything we do. This can be a huge differentiator.” He encourages other entrepreneurs to “Follow your passion and focus on ideas around that. Entrepreneurship is hard, and the only thing that will see you through is your passion. Surround yourselves with a team that’s also passionate and that shares in your beliefs and values. If you have common values, you are all driving in the same direction and will make the right decisions.” He’s not joking about entrepreneurship being difficult. Mawji cautions, “In the initial stages of a venture, frankly, there’s no balance. It’s pretty much all work. As you mature and learn from others, you definitely understand the need for a balance, and you find that it’s actually better and more productive to have a work/life balance.”


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ASHIF MAWJI // COVER

Your team, he notes, can help you find that much needed balance. “Finding the right team--people who are smarter than you, share the same values, and who believe in the mission--is the toughest part. But once you have the right team, it’s magical. Keeping them motivated and engaged is also very challenging, so you do need to do everything you can to ensure that. Take the time to explain the why. They may not always agree with your direction, but when you explain the why, they will at least understand and buy in.” It’s common to encourage entrepreneurs to just jump into a venture and take a huge risk, but Mawji has a different take on that. “Risk really varies depending on your risk appetite. As you get more traction and success, you tend to take bigger risks. It’s a journey, and you do need to feel comfortable with yourself, your abilities and your weaknesses. That will guide you as to how much risk you should take.”

ABOVE: MAWJI IS FASCINATED BY HOW THINGS WORK, AND COLLECTS INTERESTING WATCHES TO WEAR AND STUDY. HE ALSO LOVES FASHION AND HAS A COLOURFUL SHOE COLLECTION.

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ASHIF MAWJI // COVER

Mawji’s days are intense and busy, but he’s learned how much he’s willing to risk, and he’s learned how to value the things that promote his work/life balance. “My family is my #1 priority,” he says with pride. “My wife and I want to ensure we do as great a job of raising our children with the right values and approach to life as our parents did with us. As such, we love to travel with them, show them the world and help them understand that we are a big community, that we are all equal and that we can do a lot together to help everyone rise.” However, that doesn’t mean he’s opposed to life in the fast lane! “I love fast cars! Driving them gives me the same thrill and excitement that entrepreneurship does!” He gave up dirt bike racing when he got married, and he traded fast motorcycles for fast cars, which he cheekily deems as “safer.” When he’s not in the fast lane, he also enjoys playing poker, collecting watches and making waves as a fashion icon.” “I have 60 pairs of shoes in every colour,” he laughs. “People that know me say ‘that’s the guy always wearing colorful ties, shirts, jackets and shoes.’ I never have trouble matching the colours of an event to my wardrobe.” As for his watch collection, “I have always been fascinated by how things work. The bad part is, I disable a lot of things and can’t put them back together. My parents didn’t like that! I’d open up the VCR or TV and see how it worked. Watches are similar. I like complications in a watch, like a moon phase or mechanical movement that powers the watch with no battery.” So far, he has about 40 watches, and each one has a special aspect that never fails to fascinate him. Although Alberta and Kenya couldn’t be further apart in terms of culture, industry and (especially) weather, Mawji is happy to call the Capital City home. “Edmonton has been a great home for us. We have been to so many countries, and while there are amazing places to visit, we believe Edmonton is the best to call home. Edmonton has great potential and I see that. As such, I want to do everything

that I can to help its entrepreneurs, students, community and citizens get the best opportunities to grow and succeed.” Mawji feels humble and fortunate to have received numerous awards over the years for his businesses, innovations, and community work, awards that include being named Hon. Colonel for the 20th Field Regiment of the Royal Canadian Artillery, being named a Fellow in the Henry Crown Fellowship (Part of the Aspen Global Leadership Network) and receiving an honorary Bachelor of Business Administration from NAIT. He says with gratitude, “There have been so many mentors, businesses and family members that have helped me grow and have supported me in tough times. On a personal note, my wife, kids, brother and parents, as well as my in-laws and my uncle and aunt from England, have always been there for me, and I know will always be there for me. On a business front, so many incredible role models, like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, my classmates from the Henry Crown Fellowship Class of 2015 – Dare, Greatly, Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and others – are a continued source of inspiration and knowledge.” Where does he go from here? “I will continue on our family’s mission to help the community grow and prosper. That means giving our time, knowledge, expertise and money to causes pertaining to arts, sports, health and education, locally, nationally and internationally. I’m especially looking to see how we can bolster the investment in artificial intelligence and machine learning in Edmonton, help our entrepreneurs here launch businesses and help them grow and become better. “It’s definitely very rewarding to see progress and to know that you have done your part in helping achieve that. I believe that, to instill change, you need to lead and be an example and role model, and once you do that, you can then ask others to help.” He sums up his life and success in one powerful realization. “I have always believed in myself and have never thought anything to be impossible.”

BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // APRIL 2018

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SAFE AS HOUSES? // RECREATION & INVESTMENT REAL ESTATE

Safe as Houses? WITH VANCOUVER AND TORONTO RATCHETING UP PRESSURE ON FOREIGN REAL ESTATE INVESTORS, WILL EDMONTON AND CALGARY BE NEXT? NOT LIKELY, SAY THE EXPERTS.

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he word “Vancouver” may still evoke images of the balmy, mountain-ringed Pacific coast metropolis that is routinely ranked at or near the top of global livability indices; but in Canada, it is virtually synonymous with phrases like “real estate disaster” and, in the words of Macleans’ Terry Glavin, a “global swindler’s paradise for real estate racketeering.” Thanks to many years of unrestrained foreign investment, Vancouver has quickly become one of the world’s most absurdly expensive cities to live in, with 99 per cent of the single detached houses within city limits now valued at over $1 million and over 20,000 homes sitting vacant year round. While Vancouver’s real estate crisis has received the most extensive (and hyperbolic) media coverage, Canada’s largest city has been grappling with similar problems. In May 2017 the average home price in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) had reached a whopping $920,791, with foreign buyers accounting for close to 10 per cent of new purchases in the York Region (with communities like Markham and Richmond Hill attracting the lion’s share) and over 7 per cent in Toronto proper. But unlike Vancouver, where recent interventions by the province have yet to put much of a dent

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BY BEN FREELAND

in property prices, the government of Ontario’s 15 per-cent foreign buyer tax, introduced in April 2017, appears to be having a noticeable effect on the city’s housing market. With municipal governments in both Vancouver and Toronto now taking pains to clamp down on runaway foreign investment in residential real estate, a growing number of would-be investors are now eying other Canadian jurisdictions for investment opportunities. The Vancouver crisis has notably spilled over into Victoria, Kelowna and other smaller centres, a fact reflected in the province’s decision to extend its 15 per-cent foreign property buyers tax to Victoria, Nanaimo and the Okanagan region, and possibly elsewhere. It has also led to widespread speculation about the possibility of Alberta’s twin metropolitan regions becoming the next big targets for foreign investment into recreational properties. Calgary in particular has been cited as a likely beneficiary of overseas investment largesse in the aftermath of recent moves by the governments of British Columbia and Ontario. Following the implementation of British Columbia’s foreign buyer tax, the popular Chinese overseas investment blog


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SAFE AS HOUSES? // RECREATION & INVESTMENT REAL ESTATE

Juwai posted a glowing article touting Calgary – and Alberta generally – as a more attractive alternative to Vancouver, citing affordability, lifestyle draws and Hainan Airlines’ then-new non-stop connection between Calgary and Beijing (which, together with Air Canada’s Tokyo-Calgary non-stop flight, is transforming Alberta’s busiest airport into a new Asia-Pacific hub). Moreover, observers have hinted that Alberta’s cities, with real estate markets still soft in the aftermath of the province’s most recent downturn, would welcome such a shot in the arm of foreign capital into its real estate markets. “They would actually be welcomed here in Alberta,” says Todd Hirsch, chief economist at ATB Financial. Welcomed, perhaps, but not particularly likely in the near future, say the province’s real estate experts. “From what I’m seeing, we’re not dealing with a lot of foreign investment here in Edmonton, or in Alberta generally,” says Bill Briggs, owner and Realtor with RE/MAX and regional director for Alberta on the Canadian Real Estate Association’s (CREA) board of directors. “There are certainly foreign nationals buying property here, but in contrast to Vancouver and Toronto, where people are using properties as a means of moving money out of the country, people who are buying here are actually looking to settle here.” Briggs contends that the pricing structure in Edmonton (as well as Calgary) is simply not optimized for foreign investment on the scale of what has been seen in these larger cities. Unlike Vancouver, where $1 million-plus properties are the rule rather than the exception, Edmonton simply lacks both the international profile and the proliferation of high-priced real estate necessary to fuel such growth. Even Calgary, Briggs asserts, is unlikely to see a major uptick in foreign investment in spite of the city’s growing international profile. “I can only imagine this happening in places like Canmore, where you have a lot of expensive recreational properties. Otherwise I really don’t think you’re going to see this happen in Alberta.” He adds that certain areas in Edmonton, such as the neighbourhoods surrounding the University of Alberta,

may well see noticeable increases in foreign purchasing, particularly in light of the new taxes in British Columbia and Ontario, but that such purchases will overwhelmingly take the form of “legitimate” housing purchases focused on children’s education, if not full-fledged migration. Don Campbell, senior analyst with the Real Estate Investment Network (REIN), concurs with Briggs’ assessment of Edmonton’s real estate scene. “Edmonton’s market is different. It does not attract anywhere near as large of a percentage of foreign investment as Vancouver, Toronto, or even Calgary. The Edmonton market is more driven by market fundamentals, which dictate the direction of the local housing market more than anything else,” says Campbell. “Edmonton also has extra protection against high volatility thanks to its role as capital city and a centre for government hiring and spending. This helps to support and buffer the GDP during economic downturns that other cities in the province, like Calgary, have recently experienced.” Campbell adds that what investment there has been in the province’s cities – and that which is likely to occur – is starkly different from the sort that transformed Vancouver and Toronto into residential real estate basket cases.

ABOVE: BILL BRIGGS, ASSOCIATE BROKER, OWNER / MANAGER, RE/MAX REAL ESTATE - CENTRAL BRANCH

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SAFE AS HOUSES? // RECREATION & INVESTMENT REAL ESTATE

“We’re simply not seeing any dramatic increases in funds pouring into recreational properties. There’s definitely an uptick in foreign money in the city, but it’s pretty much all for regular residential property.” Data from overseas sources would seem to confirm this thesis. As of mid-2017 Juwai’s search data showed that interest in Calgary has been flat, and while the number of inquiries for Edmonton was up 50 per cent in the first quarter from the previous year, such interest remains a drop in the bucket compared to Vancouver and Toronto. While many in Edmonton and Calgary’s real estate industries would like to see the province and the cities put more muscle into promoting themselves to prospective overseas buyers, few – if any – are hoping for buying frenzies of the sort that

have made Vancouver and Toronto prohibitively expensive for the average homeowner. “I’m of two minds on the situation,” explains Briggs. “From a real estate perspective, of course we want to see more foreign investment. We always want more business here and we certainly want to attract investors from overseas. That said, I don’t think anybody would want to see a repeat of what’s happened in Vancouver here, where house prices shoot through the stratosphere and ordinary people are priced out of the market. I’m a lifelong Edmontonian who cares about this city, and I don’t want to see regular people sacrificed in the name of a rising real estate market. On this issue my personal feelings outweigh my business interests.”

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BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // APRIL 2018

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EDMONTON MOTORSHOW REVS UP FOR ANOTHER YEAR // EDMONTON AUTO & TRUCK SHOW

EDMONTON MOTORSHOW

REVS UP

FOR ANOTHER YEAR THE POPULAR CAR AND TRUCK SHOW RETURNS TO WOW GUESTS WITH CLASSIC AND CONCEPT VEHICLES, AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN. BY NERISSA MCNAUGHTON

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t’s an annual event that takes countless hours, organization, and expertise to pull off, and it’s worth every second. Edmonton Motorshow continues to grow in popularity as guests of the event come from far and wide to experience everything the motor vehicle world has to offer.

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“As always, we get the latest and greatest models. This year’s show features 2019 models and concept models that you won’t get in dealerships or on the street. You can have your own sneak peek into the future,” smiles Eleasha Naso, executive director, Edmonton Motor Dealers’ Association.


EDMONTON MOTORSHOW REVS UP FOR ANOTHER YEAR // EDMONTON AUTO & TRUCK SHOW

“In the aftermarket lane, there are new exhibitors and custom power performance and bodywork builders that have not exhibited at Motorshow in the past. We enjoy showcasing these local vendors. Attending the show is a great way to get product manufacturing information, but also to see local vendors and their outstanding projects and products.” In addition to all the major brands that are sending vehicles to the show, there’s a new addition – Alfa Romeo. Alfa Romeo’s roots go back to 1910. The company is driven by passion and is seeking to inject a little European flavour into the North American market. “Alfa Romeo is a particular way of living, of experiencing an automobile. The real essence of Alfa defies description. It can be compared to those irrational movements of the spirit that sometimes occur in man, and for which there is no logical explanation. We are in the realm of sensations, passions, things that have more to do with the heart than

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APRIL 2018 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM


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EDMONTON MOTORSHOW REVS UP FOR ANOTHER YEAR // EDMONTON AUTO & TRUCK SHOW

with the head,” quoted Orazio Satta Puliga, Alfa Romeo head of design, in 1946 While top luxury brands like Alfa Romeo and Rolls Royce look great in luxury lane, Alberta still holds the enviable Truck Country title – and that title isn’t going away anytime soon. “The change in the price of oil has not affected our Truck Country,” confirms Naso. “We are still an agriculture-based province, and I don’t see us ever not being Truck Country. However, now there is a lot more competition with practical crossovers and SUVs. Things have changed; 20 years ago, when you bought gas for a large vehicle, it cost you a lot. Thanks to technology, that has changed.” Case in point: the Ram will make its annual appearance as one of the province’s most popular trucks for rural areas, and the display will include the 2019 model. Also making its annual return is the classic and collectable car auction in Hall D. “It’s so much fun to watch!” Naso exclaims about the

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beautiful collectables that have been shined up for the auction. “The energy that happens, and seeing people outbid each other, is very entertaining.” While the show is open to the public by admission from April 12 – 15, tickets to the Precious Metal Gala, an elegant evening that officially opens the show, can be purchased separately. “The Precious Metal Gala is the best way to see the show,” confirms Naso. “The presidents of the major manufacturing companies are there. The house lights are off and it’s not as crowded. Some of the premier vehicles are unlocked – just for that night – giving you the chance to sit in them and take a photo. There is also a huge array of catered food. It’s not a sit-down dinner, but you don’t leave hungry.” The Precious Metal Gala also functions as a fundraiser that provides grants for high school shop programs throughout Edmonton, and scholarships for the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). High schools receive annual grants because their shop programs are expensive


EDMONTON MOTORSHOW REVS UP FOR ANOTHER YEAR // EDMONTON AUTO & TRUCK SHOW

NASO CONCLUDES, “I’M PASSIONATE ABOUT TRUCKS AND CARS. TO GET TO SEE THEM MOVING IN, TO SIT IN THEM BEFORE THE SHOW, TO SEE WHAT’S NEW AND WHAT’S COMING, AND TO GET TO SHARE THAT WITH PEOPLE IS VERY SPECIAL.” to maintain. It’s important for students to have the latest training on the latest technologies when they graduate.

(weather dependent) drift track, and more: it’s an outing for the whole family.”

“We presented $270,000 in funding last year,” says Naso with pride.”

Naso concludes, “I’m passionate about trucks and cars. To get to see them moving in, to sit in them before the show, to see what’s new and what’s coming, and to get to share that with people is very special.”

Naso points out that Edmonton Motorshow is for everyone. “It’s not just a show you go to if you are in the market for a car (but if you are, it’s a great way to see all the models in one convenient spot). It’s a really fun time. Vehicles play such a large role in our lives. To see the differences in the models, the future-forward concept cars, the accessories, the competitions and give-aways, the

Edmonton Motorshow has the second largest footprint in Canada for car and truck shows. It takes a minimum of 2-3 hours to explore the show, but plan on making a day of it. There is no shortage of things to do and see on site. For information on the Motorshow and/or the Precious Metal Gala, visit edmontonmotorshow.com.

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thomas@royalparkrealty.com BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // APRIL 2018

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OPPORTUNITIES ABOUND WHEN YOU LOOK AROUND // COMMERICAL REAL ESTATE

OPPORTUNITIES ABOUND WHEN YOU LOOK AROUND EDMONTON’S SUBURBS ARE BOOMING WITH COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE POSSIBILITIES

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ooking for a place to set up shop? Edmonton is known as a great place for small businesses to thrive. However, don’t be shy about looking just outside the city limits, too. Edmonton is flanked on all sides with smaller cities and towns that are vying for your business, and they have plenty to offer to help you launch, grow, and maintain your company.

The Town of Beaumont “Beaumont is the fifth fastest growing community in Canada (2016 Canada Census),” says Bert Roach, economic development officer, Town of Beaumont. “Beaumont has had over $1 billion dollars of new investment in the last decade. Median household incomes are $134,443, well above the national and provincial incomes.” In addition to the 165+ store fronts already in operation, Roach explains, “Over 150,000 square feet of new commercial and office space is under construction, so plenty of space for new business is available.”

“Boundaries have recently expanded by 21 quarter sections of new land and Beaumont should continue to grow rapidly in the coming decade,” Roach continues. We expect to add 15-20 new storefront businesses this year. We have had interest from international and national franchises, along with many local inquiries from residents of the region who see opportunity in Beaumont. “Beaumont has been one of the fastest growing communities in Canada for well over a decade. Our community has grown at an above average rate, even through tough economic times. We are working hard with our residents and all stakeholders to plan our community wisely and create great opportunities for families and businesses, all while providing the highest possible quality of life for everyone.”

The City of Spruce Grove “Spruce Grove is one of the fastest growing communities in Canada. Our average annual growth rate has been

ABOVE: A STREET MARKET IN STONY PLAIN. PHOTO SOURCE: TOWN OF STONY PLAIN

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BY NERISSA MCNAUGHTON


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OPPORTUNITIES ABOUND WHEN YOU LOOK AROUND // COMMERICAL REAL ESTATE

5.8 per cent from 2013-2017,” says Mayor Stuart Houston. “We have a young educated population with an average age of 34.3 years. Our largest demographic is 30-39 years of age. We also have above-average income levels. The average is $121,000 per year per household.” Mayor Houston points out, “In 2016, Spruce Grove was ranked as the third most lucrative place for business in Canada and one of Canada’s best places for business by Canadian Business magazine. Our business costs are well below Edmonton’s with lower municipal taxes, streamlined regulations and lower rates to lease space or acquire properties. Our permitting processes are among the shortest in the metropolitan region. We are within 40 days for development permits and 2-3 weeks for building permits for commercial/industrial. “Spruce Grove is situated on two major highways, the Yellowhead and Highway 16A, which provide convenient access to the Anthony Henday ring road and the Edmonton International Airport. “There are two main business associations: the Spruce Grove Chamber of Commerce (over 600 members) and the City Centre Business Association (164 businesses). The City Centre Business Association is spearheading the revitalization of our city centre area.

“There are also a number of industrial parks in Spruce Grove which host over 225 businesses ranging from local companies to national and international players.”

“The business community consists of a mix of local boutique and family owned companies with franchise operations and larger corporate players. These encompass a broad range of corporate and professional offices, retailers, restaurants, hotels, auto dealers and services, entertainment and personal services.

Mayor Stuart Houston concludes, “By locating in Spruce Grove, your businesses can take advantage of lower costs and access to a young and educated labour force while having convenient access to the amenities and assets of a metropolitan area of over 1.3 million people. You will also find a city that is anxious to work with you to support the success of your business.” ABOVE: ONE OF THE COMMERICAL BLOCKS IN BEAUMONT. PHOTO SOURCE: TOWN OF BEAUMONT

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OPPORTUNITIES ABOUND WHEN YOU LOOK AROUND // COMMERICAL REAL ESTATE

WITH THE STARK REALITY OF THE VOLATILITY OF OIL THAT WE HAVE SEEN

The City of St. Albert

TIME AND TIME AGAIN IN ALBERTA,

“The City of St. Albert is a versatile and resilient community that satisfies business needs and employee quality of life, and it has placed a strong emphasis on both sustainment and growth of business,” says Mayor Cathy Heron.

MANY ENTREPRENEURS ARE LOOKING

She continues, “St. Albert is an ideal destination to do business because it provides the best environment for both business growth and talent acquisition. With a population of over 65,000 people, St. Albert is adjacent to the Northwest side of the City of Edmonton and has approximately 1500 businesses. It has two key industrial parks that have direct access to Anthony Henday Drive, the perimeter highway around Edmonton that connects to the Trans-Canada Yellowhead Highway and primary provincial highways as a gateway to the North. Economic development is a strategic priority of city council.” In 2015, St. Albert created the Smart City Initiative and is now one of the leading Smart City programs in Canada. The initiative supports all industries that provide technology innovation and technology partners that are looking for growth. Mayor Heron points out, “The City also works closely with the Northern Alberta Business Incubator (NABI) located within St. Albert and with the local Chamber of Commerce. This partnership focuses on accelerating start-ups and business growth. With its diverse industries and competitive land prices, the city is somewhat insulated from the dramatic swings that are experienced by the predominant petroleum industry in the province, as noted by continued growth through the economic downturn in Alberta. “We have a large small business community, and the City of St. Albert is a strong proponent of entrepreneurship and business growth. The City of St. Albert has a downtown business center called The Collective. This facility provides a low-cost retail front for retail startups, and it provides entrepreneur training. “The franchise community is strong as the city has a very strong retail presence. We feature many of the well-known North American franchise companies, which operate in all the key retail sectors.”

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TO DIVERSITY AND BRING NEW INDUSTRIES INTO THE CAPITAL REGION.

The Town of Stony Plain “Located just 17 kilometres west of Alberta’s capital, the Town of Stony Plain is where businesses come to grow, where families start, and where futures are made,” smiles Mayor William Choy. “Stony Plain is invested in supporting business, which means faster permits and less red tape for those establishing here. Taxes and operational costs are consistently lower than anywhere else in the region, and the population that has expanded by almost 80 per cent since 2001. The town offers an unparalleled quality of life, which attracts a skilled workforce with strong values to the community.” He tells potential investors, “Stony Plain has an abundance of economic drivers, including competitive land rates, proximity to major trucking routes, and a vibrant culture. The Town also places a keen emphasis on providing resources for their entrepreneurial ecosystem.” Mayor Choy concludes, “The community here is thriving and on the pulse of innovation. Businesses support each other, and working here means working with a network of crosspromoting colleagues that are committed to the success of Stony Plain as a whole. There are rich opportunities for entrepreneurs, and a community that is hungry for growth yields tremendous business potential.” Looking to Invest in a Community? Look Around. Edmonton and its surrounding communities are growing fast in all aspects of business, culture and innovation. With the stark reality of the volatility of oil that we have seen time and time again in Alberta, many entrepreneurs are looking to diversity and bring new industries into the Capital Region. The potential for new businesses is at an all-time high; with so many great locations in and around the city to choose from, it’s just a matter of finding your perfect fit and starting your journey.


ALBERTA GREEN // ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP

ALBERTA GREEN: HOW THE PRIVATE SECTOR IS INNOVATING SUSTAINABILITY FOUR EDMONTON COMPANIES SHARE WHAT THEY’RE DOING FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, AND THE IMPACT THEIR PRACTICES AND PROGRAMS ARE HAVING HERE AND AROUND THE WORLD. BY ZACHARY EDWARDS

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lberta has long held a reputation of being environmentally unfriendly but, if private enterprise around its capital has any say, the reputation should be reconsidered. Everything from innovative sustainable business practices to scientific discoveries in reclamation are happening in and around the city right now. Four such businesses talked with Business in Edmonton magazine about their practices and projects, giving us a glimpse into an Alberta that’s greener and looking to the future.

Constructing Edmonton’s Future For PCL Construction, Canada’s largest contractor, waste is a major issue. In fact, construction waste is the single largest contributor to landfills. Cutting that down is an important step in creating more efficient, better projects, and thinking about Alberta’s future. “As the largest contractor in Canada, we are in a unique position to help change the industry’s mindset related to sustainable

ABOVE: CN’S ECOCONNEXIONS MAKES A DIFFERENCE. PHOTO SOURCE: CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAY COMPANY

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ALBERTA GREEN // ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP

LAST YEAR, PCL MADE A PROMISE TO DIVERT 90 PER CENT OF ITS EDMONTON BUILDING CONSTRUCTION WASTE. ONE YEAR LATER, THEY MANAGED TO BEAT THEIR TARGET, NOW DIVERTING 95 PER CENT OF ITS WASTE WITH THE HELP OF THEIR PARTNER, GFL ENVIRONMENTAL INC. growing businesses, has always been conscious of their environmental footprint. When they first started, however, wearing their environmental interests on their sleeves made for some unexpected challenges.

business practices,” says Rob Otway, PCL vice president and district manager. “By working with our trade partners and suppliers, we are able to make these changes in a way that makes economic sense and will help the entire industry.” Last year, PCL made a promise to divert 90 per cent of its Edmonton building construction waste. One year later, they managed to beat their target, now diverting 95 per cent of its waste with the help of their partner, GFL Environmental Inc. Looking forward, the company is already using new technology and designs to build differently in Edmonton’s downtown. “We are revitalizing an older tower in downtown Edmonton. Instead of tearing it down, we are exploring ways to turn it into a modern, state-of-the-art office building,” Otway explains. “From an environmental perspective, 95 per cent of the building components will be recycled, and the building will use less electricity and gas owing to updated technology.”

Breaking it Down, Responsibly Reducing construction waste is an important aspect of building Edmonton’s future but Travis Blake, president of R3 Deconstruction & Demolition, is focused more on deconstruction. His company, one of Canada’s fastest-

“Our clients weren’t initially interested in that,” Blake explains. “I spent a lot of time explaining that we aren’t just an environmentally-focused demolition company. We compete in the space like everyone else but, in our process, we are going to lessen the environmental footprint. We had to tone our message down and still go about demolition and deconstruction under our own umbrella of sustainability.” The solution: change their practices, find the balance between environmental and economic drivers, and do what they can. That meant breaking down the traditional ways demolition was handled and instead, deconstructing spaces with an eye for what can be reused and recycled. “I want to bring about change and be a positive disruptor,” Blake explains. “Our approach and brand is in the deconstruction – the taking it apart, the sorting it and separating as much as we can. That is important because it is ‘as much as we can.’ Not every project is pretty. Not every project are we able to sort and separate as much as we like.” Blake is quick to mention that his company does not recycle and reuse on their own. They are part of a network of local businesses that all help each other lessen their footprint. “We have partnered with smaller owner-operated businesses who have a great business model of repurposing secondhand materials,” Blake says. “They come onto our sites and we help them take products and materials out to keep them out of the landfill. We don’t look to make money off of it, ABOVE: ROB OTWAY, PCL EDMONTON BUILDINGS VICE PRESIDENT AND DISTRICT MANAGER. PHOTO SOURCE: PCL

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ALBERTA'S ELECTRONICS RECYCLING PROGRAM IS READY TO SERVE YOU. Old computers (including keyboards, mice, cables and speakers), monitors, printers, copiers, servers and TVs can take up a lot of valuable office and storage space‌ and it would be such a waste to throw them out.

Dropping off your old electronics?

How are electronics recycled?

Across Alberta, 370 municipal electronics recycling depots are ready to accept your old electronics. Just go to www.albertarecycling.ca to find your nearest location.

Electronics are taken apart at the registered recyclers’ facilities and separated into glass, metal and plastic. These materials are then sent back into the manufacturing supply chain to be made into new products.

Worried about information still on your hard drive? The Electronics Program requires registered recyclers to destroy all hard drives as part of the recycling process. They can also provide you with a Certificate of Destruction.

No time to drop them off? Seven registered electronics recyclers provide pick-up service. Contact them directly to make arrangements. Their information can be found at www.albertarecycling.ca, or by calling Alberta Recycling at 1-888-999-8762.

If you would like more information visit www.albertarecycling.ca


ALBERTA GREEN // ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP

either. It supports a small business that’s really doing a great service for our city.” It isn’t just about small businesses, either. R3 has also partnered with local non-profits to help push the recycling and reusing aspect of their business. Recently, the company was deconstructing an office space that was still fully furnished. Instead of sending it all to the landfill, Blake called the iHuman Youth Society. “We got everything down and managed to fully furnish their new office, top to bottom,” Blake says. “We kept everything out of the landfill and it’s being used every day by at-risk youth. It was one phone call. That’s how it happens.”

Working with the Community Combining smart business practices with outreach is at the centre of CN’s approach to environmentalism and sustainability. In 2011, the rail giant launched “EcoConnexions,” an employee engagement program that’s focused on implementing better, more sustainable business practices. “EcoConnexions is focused on embedding environmental sustainability into our culture,” explains Chantale Després, CN’s director of sustainability. “It includes targeted initiatives to reduce energy consumption, reduce waste and improve housekeeping practices at our yards and offices.” The program complements CN’s commitment to more efficient infrastructure and practices that cut down on fuel consumption, and uses big data to analyze how trains can be run more efficiently. Since launching, EcoConnexions has reduced energy consumption by 22 per cent at key yards and facilities, diverted over 90,000 metric tonnes of CN’s operational waste from landfills and launched a second phase, “From the Ground Up.” The new program is focused entirely on planting trees in the communities where CN operates. “Over 1.6 million trees have been planted since 2012,” Després says, “making CN the leading private non-forestry company tree planter in Canada.”

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Homegrown Solutions is Making their Way Around the World In a section of land by Nutrien’s Fort Saskatchewan plant, Connie Nichol is working with the University of Alberta to solve the problem of phosphogypsum (PG) stacks, a common by-product of fertilizer production. Traditionally, PG stack reclamation involves contouring the piles, covering with soil and seeding to a grass mixture. Nichol and Nutrien hoped to do something better. This led to the company connecting with graduate students at the University of Alberta to research alternatives. Together with Nichol, students have been growing a literal forest and tracking growth on the stacks. “Our first joint research project was in 2005,” Nichol explains. “It is such a great approach to solving some of the industry’s questions. Apply a scientific approach to it.” The results have been impressive. Nichol has discovered that trees grow much faster on the stacks and has experimented with many different plants. What started as waste is now a forest, complete with local fauna coming back to the area. “We evolved over the period of the research to looking at current locations and which grass species would do best to what we do today, which is basically creating soil and growing things right on the stacks.” Nichol says plans are in motion to try the experiments in different parts around the world, leading to a potential global change in how PG stacks are reclaimed.

Alberta’s Green Future Companies in Edmonton and across Canada are breaking down the old way of doing things and finding newer, more sustainable ways to run their businesses and contribute to their communities. From looking at construction and demolition waste differently to literally growing new ways of making spaces greener, a focus on the environment is leading to impressive innovations, a greener Alberta, and helping the bottom line.


10 Ways to Build a Canada That Wins

2018 Board of Directors Board Executive

Chair: Len Rhodes President & CEO, Edmonton Eskimo Football Club Vice Chair: Dawn Harsch President & CEO, Exquisicare Inc. Treasurer: Bryan DeNeve Senior Vice President Finance & CFO, Capital Power Past Chair: James Merkosky Partner, Tax Services Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP

Board Directors

Dr. Glenn Feltham President & CEO, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology Crystal Graham Partner & Licensed Interior Designer, Kasian Architecture Interior Design & Planning Ltd. Elan MacDonald President, Impact Consulting Scott McEachern Vice President, Engineering & Projects, Enbridge Pipelines Inc. Dennis Schmidt Legal Counsel and Associate Development Manager Alldritt Land Corporation LP Craig Thorkelsson Head of Tax PCL Constructors Inc. Dr. Jenelle Trenchuk-Saik President & CEO, Parker Ford and MacKay Liza Wold Partner, Miller Thomson LLP

Chamber Executive

Janet Riopel President & CEO Edmonton Chamber of Commerce Tim Ferris Director, Member Services Edmonton Chamber of Commerce

T

By Janet Riopel, President and CEO, Edmonton Chamber of Commerce

he Edmonton Chamber is increasingly focused on Canada’s eroding competitive position in the global marketplace.

We need decisive action from our political leaders in order to close the competitiveness gap, especially as Alberta continues to experience the detrimental effects of the worst economic downturn in a generation. As I said at a recent economic outlook forum, the Edmonton business community isn’t feeling the economic recovery - not yet. Our members tell us every day that the positive statistics they see in the news haven’t led to bottom line results for them. They continue to face numerous challenges in 2018. • All orders of government have contributed to the piling of higher taxes, fees, levies and regulation onto the backs of businesses. • While Canada is increasing the cost of doing business, the U.S. has undertaken the largest roll-back of corporate taxes and regulations in a generation. The U.S. is decreasing its corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, compared to Canada’s corporate tax rate of 28%. • Construction of the vital pipeline we need to get our products to tidewater faces significant delays due to B.C.’s unconstitutional threats and actions. • The seemingly endless renegotiation of NAFTA heightens the instability and uncertainty facing business. Each year, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce releases 10 Ways to Build a Canada That Wins. It provides businesses, decision-makers and government with a series of clear priorities and objectives that, if addressed, will give Canada a competitive edge, improve productivity, and grow our economy. We want to share these priorities with you here.

Ian Morris Director, Organizational Excellence Edmonton Chamber of Commerce

10 WAYS TO BUILD A CANADA THAT WINS IN 2018 – SUMMARY

Danuta Woronowicz Director, Advocacy and Outreach Edmonton Chamber of Commerce

1. Make Canada a magnet for business investment We need a policy environment in Canada that makes us the preferred location for businesses looking to invest, hire, trade, and grow.

Contact

Edmonton Chamber of Commerce #600 – 9990 Jasper Avenue Edmonton, AB T5J 1P7 T: 780.426.4620 • F: 780.424.7946

2. Ensure a globally competitive North America The growth potential of Canadian business depends not only on our domestic policy environment, but our access to business opportunities and capabilities across North America and around the world. We need to expand and streamline business access to resources as we eliminate barriers to trade. Continued on next page... BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // APRIL 2018

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3. Make Canada an agri-food powerhouse Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector has a strong and well-earned reputation. In order to make Canada a global leader in high-value food production and exports, we need a national vision and clear objectives for an agri-food cluster development strategy, a supportive regulatory environment and an increased capacity to export.

includes access to education and training, leading to employment, apprenticeship and mentorship programs.

4. Develop agile workforce strategies Canadian businesses need easy access to comprehensive market information and to programs and policies that support diversity and labour mobility. Our workforce must also have access to formative and life-long learning opportunities in essential skills and basic science, technical, engineering and business education.

10. Make Canada the world’s one-stop shop for green resources and technology The application of new technologies and production processes is vital if Canada is to meet its goals for reducing carbon emissions and improving the quality of its environment while at the same time sustaining economic growth.

5. Make all of Canada an export gateway Trade is the linchpin of the Canadian economy. It is time for us to create a single, unified and efficient trade-enabling network. 6. Improve regulatory efficiency, achieve regulatory alignment, and ensure the unrestricted movement of goods and people across Canada The elimination of trade barriers and unnecessary regulatory differences across Canada could add as much as $130 billion to Canada’s GDP by freeing trade and commerce within our own internal markets. 7. Help SMEs trade and grow We can support our SMEs through tax policies that reward entrepreneurship, regulatory policies that take their reality into account and by giving them easier access to government contracts and international opportunities. 8. Provide opportunities for business development to support self-determination for Indigenous peoples We need to move from good intentions to initiatives that afford ample opportunities to Indigenous entrepreneurs who are ready to do business to create wealth for their communities and families. This

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9. Make Canada a global innovator Canada can retain its status as an advanced economy only if its businesses are world leaders in the development and application of new and advanced technologies.

What businesses need is for all orders of government to make it easier in these challenging times – not more complicated and costly. Without a plan to improve Canada’s competitive position, we will be forced to watch the U.S. lure away our investors, our businesses, our talented entrepreneurs, and the jobs that go with them.

10 Ways to Build a Canada That Wins identifies the ways in which business and government can work together to create the conditions to support business development and build a strong economy. Your Chamber, in collaboration with our network of chambers across the country, will continue to raise our collective voices and advocate for change that fosters economic growth, increased productivity, job creation, and an innovative private sector. We must ensure that businesses – the backbone of our economy – benefit from an environment that inspires and supports success. The Edmonton Chamber would like to hear from you. What priority area in the ‘10 Ways’ would help give your business a competitive edge? You can contact us by email: policy@edmontonchamber.com.


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Naheyawin Member profile Jacquelyn Cardinal, Director of Experience naheyawin.ca Naheyawin, a relatively new strategic communications agency on the block, is deeply committed to helping businesses better connect with, and serve their Indigenous audiences in a respectful way. Jacquelyn and Hunter, brother and sister team and owners of Naheyawin, draw on inspiration and guidance from their ancestors to guide their clients though consultation and strategic counsel. Read on to learn more about this member business. What’s your story? At the beginning of 2016, my brother, Hunter Cardinal, and I found ourselves asking what place Indigenous knowledge might have in today’s world? We discussed ancient teachings and concepts at length, and discovered that we shared the same core belief – that the fundamental truths our ancestors cultivated over many millennia can help us to move through our world authentically, responsibly, and effectively today. It is from this belief, my brother’s love for storytelling, and my love for systems thinking, that Naheyawin was born. Naheyawin is a strategic communications agency that my brother and I own and operate from Indigenous beliefs, values and frameworks. Since 2016 we have grown from a two-person team offering print and website design and development services, to a group of four whose ongoing goal is to help businesses better connect with, and serve, their Indigenous audiences in a respectful way through consultation and strategic counsel. What are three things people are surprised to learn about your business? 1. We are a family led company, owned and operated by myself and my brother. 2. We gain inspiration and guidance from ancient Indigenous mythology and teachings to inform the work we do.

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Jacquelyn Cardinal, Director of Experience, Naheyawin

3. Our name is shortened from the Cree word “Naheyawewin” which translates to “the Cree language”. What has surprised you in the last 12 months? We were surprised by how willing business, cultural, and arts leaders are to just sit down for a quick coffee to provide guidance and mentorship. What has been your biggest challenge in the last 12 months? We found that staying true to the vision of where we want Naheyawin to go, and what we want Naheyawin to be, was difficult. It’s incredibly easy to get swept up in other ideas and markers for success, so we’ve had to support each other in returning to our teachings to move forward in the best way we can. What do you think is the biggest issue impacting Edmonton’s small businesses at this time? Right now I think that there’s a real need to continue diversifying our economy. With continued diversification, our community will be better able to support innovative businesses in becoming much more resilient and future-oriented. Through this kind of support, I believe that we’ll see a new era for small business.


What’s your secret to keeping your employees engaged? Regular meetings over tasty coffees and treats, as well as a healthy dose of cat GIFs that we send between those sit-downs. Do you have a personal mantra? “Fear is an opportunity for courage.” As a new Chamber member, what have your first impressions been? We love the community we are a part of and are so thankful for the support we have gotten! Our Chamber mandate is to create the best environment for business in Edmonton. If you could make one substantial improvement to Edmonton’s business environment, what would it be? It would be to highlight the importance of relationships. We all live in relation to one another (one of the basic principles of Cree

Natural Law known as “wahkohtowin”), and it’s only through working together that we’ll be able to see our community get to where we want it to go. What is your favorite thing to do in Edmonton? Have family walks in the river valley while discussing the past, present, and wildest visions of the future of Edmonton. Apple or android? Apple. Your most favorite place in the world? At our dinner table with family, plenty of good food, music, and our new cat, Danvers. Coffee or tea? Both. Now. To learn more about Naheyawin, please visit www.naheyawin.ca.

Connecting Business A breakfast hot stove chat with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman

Edmonton Chamber members had the chance to join NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman for a hot stove style chat, hosted by Oilers Now Host Bob Stauffer, on March 1, 2018.

LtoR: John McNicoll, Wayne Gretzky, Percy Woods, Gary Bettman, Edmonton Chamber President & CEO, Janet Riopel, Kevin Lowe, Jeff Robinson.

Meet the Council

Our Meet the Council event, a quick sell-out, brought business and government together for an evening to discuss current issues, concerns and the outlook for business success in Edmonton.

Mayor Don Iveson encouraged an open, honest and productive dialogue from attendees of Meet the Council on February 28.

Business builders and professionals from Edmonton had a unique opportunity to personally engage with Mayor Don Iveson and nine members of City Council at the Meet the Council event.

BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // APRIL 2018

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Mixer and Trade Show at Edmonton Opera

Our Mixer and Trade Show at the Edmonton Opera on February 20 put businesses at centre stage to showcase their business and generate leads from a large, diverse crowd of attendees.

Mixers and Trade Shows are perfect opportunities for exhibitors and attendees alike to connect with other Edmonton Chamber members, generate business referrals, and see the incredible spaces of other Edmonton Chamber members!

2018 Federal Budget Luncheon featuring Minister Amarjeet Sohi

Minister Amarjeet Sohi (centre left) poses with (from left) Brad Armstrong; Craig Thorkelsson, Edmonton Chamber Board Director; Janet Riopel, President & CEO of the Edmonton Chamber; Mawuse Golokuma; and Stuart Lee, President & CEO of EPCOR, the event’s Presenting Sponsor.

The day following the release of the 2018 Federal Budget, Minister Amarjeet Sohi engaged with members and the Edmonton business community to discuss the budget’s impact on businesses, industries and communities.

Members in this Issue ATB Financial and RE/MAX Real Estate Edmonton in Safe as Houses? on page 26 City of St. Albert in Opportunities Abound When You Look Around on page 36 PCL and CN in Alberta Green: How the Private Sector is Innovating Sustainability on page 41 Parkland County, Edmonton Petroleum Golf & Country Club in Parkland County Part II: A Hole-In-One for Golfers on page 56 David Aplin Group, Staff Bureau and Teneo Consulting Inc. in Making Yourself Known: Finding Your Next Job in 2018 on page 60

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June 14

My Chamber

provides me with opportunities to build business relationships outside the office.

49th Annual Edmonton Chamber Golf Tournament Presented by

Gateway Casinos

May 8

My Chamber

provides me with creative opportunities to learn and build my networks.

Meet the Makers: Creative Connections at the AGA

April 10

My Chamber

satisfies my appetite for both new business contacts and fine foods.

Taste of the Chamber Presented by

Postmedia

My Chamber advocates, educates, and connects me to the greater business community in Edmonton.

Register or learn more about these events @

EdmontonChamber.com

Advocate. Educate. Connect. BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // APRIL 2018

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Manufactured by Energy Saving Products Ltd. since 1983

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Energy Saving Products Ltd. turns 35 Hi-Velocity Systems heats up the market worldwide with a focus on service and innovation By Nerissa McNaughton

L

eon Prevost, the founder of Energy Saving Products Ltd. and manufacturer of Hi-Velocity Systems, couldn’t let his customers down. In the early 80s, he had been working for an American plumbing/heating wholesale company as a Canadian distributor for one of their speciality products. When that company pulled out of the Canadian market, Leon’s customers were left in the cold. Undeterred, the entrepreneur took out a loan, turned his garage into a workspace, and started manufacturing a heating system of his own design. His customers quickly warmed up to the product, and in 1983, Hi-Velocity Systems was born. Hi-Velocity is a forced air system that provides heating, cooling, fresh-air, humidification control, and air purification in any type of building. The specialty small diameter duct system easily fits into projects that struggle to accommodate a conventional duct. By circulating air more efficiently with Hi-Velocity, indoor air quality is greatly improved.

“Leon later moved into a warehouse space in West Edmonton,” recounts Tim Prevost, Leon’s son and the Director of Business Development at the company. “He started attending conferences and conventions in the U.S., and in very short order, that market really took off for us. It wasn’t long before he outgrew the warehouse and began searching for a larger space. “Leon’s childhood was spent in a small house just off of Yellowhead Trail and 129 Street, near the big grain elevator, in an area known now as Hagmann Estate Industrial. Naturally, his instinct was drawn to this area, and he made the decision to buy our building located just off Yellowhead and 124 Street.” Then things took a turn for the worse. Tim explains, “In January, 2009, our building burnt down to the ground and was a complete loss. This disaster happened to coincide with the large housing market drop in America. But within three weeks of the fire, we had not only re-located manufacturing, but we had also shipped our first post-fire order! Nothing was going to stop dad from keeping his company afloat. However, at the same time, we learned that we couldn’t rely on the U.S. market and needed to expand our business internationally. Now we have built a new manufacturing facility in our original location and sell our products on every continent worldwide.”

Hi-Velocity Systems | 35 Years

Tim and Daniel Prevost at ESP Manufacturing Facility.

Hi-Velocity Systems are seen in all types of dwellings and commercial spaces, and they are popular in parts of Europe and China, where commercial office building owners strive to provide cleaner air for their employees. “We have always been at the forefront of new technology and ahead of our competition because we put a ton of resources into research and development,” Daniel Prevost, Leon’s youngest son and the Director of Operations. “We would not be able to do this without the excellent funding programs shared with us from the Canadian government. We are also incredibly grateful for Erni O’hara, our General Manager. She is directly responsible for the daily success of our operations. Her reliability allows us to focus on big-picture items, and that directly relates to our company’s growth.” For the entire team, customer service is as important as the product. “The feedback I receive the most from customers is that our level of support dramatically exceeds that of other companies in this industry. If you call us, you are going to speak with someone, and we thrive on supporting our customers all the way from the conception of a project to the final commissioning,” says Tim.


This year marks Energy Saving Products’ 35th anniversary. The company that started in a garage is now a thriving global enterprise that is making a difference in the HVAC industry around the world – and they are not content to stop there. The company continues to research and implement new innovations in energy efficiency and indoor air quality. Leon and his wife Elaine, though long hinting at retirement, continue to play key roles in the day to day operations and events at ESP.

Design & Engineering

“Being a family-owned company, we know that our bread is buttered from the fruits of our labours. We share that family mentality with all our employees and do the best we can to help them understand that our success relies on everyone’s effort. You will find, from the starting position to the top, that everyone is proud of what we achieve on a daily basis,” concludes Tim, and he says to their many customers locally and abroad, “Thank you for being a part of our family.”

3D Printing

Manufactured by Energy Saving Products Ltd. since 1983

TM

12615 - 124 Street Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T5L 0N8 Ph: 780-453-2093 Fax: 780-453-1932 www.hi-velocity.com

Injection Moulding

OVER 40 YEARS OF CUSTOM MANUFACTURING WITH 2 FACTORIES IN ALBERTA (1975-2018) For Instabox it’s easy being GREEN (Please Recycle)

Congratulations

to Energy Saving Products on 35 years!

www.instabox.com Calgary: 1-800-482-6173 | Edmonton: 1-800-661-9949 Vancouver: 1-888-543-1113 | Saskatchewan: 1-855-269-4848

Plastic Welding

Proud Partner of 18 Years with

Manufactured by Energy Saving Products Ltd. since 1983

TM

We wish you many more years of continued success!

As the proud B.C. Distributor of High Velocity Systems for more than 25 years, we congratulate the team at Energy Saving Products Ltd. on their success. Specializing in Plastic Injection Moulding & Plastic Welding.

TF: 800.668.2677 bushhvacsales.com

5750 – 50 Street NW Phone: 780-440-2231 drader.com


PART II // PARKLAND COUNTY FEATURE

PARKLAND COUNTY Part II: A HOLE-IN-ONE FOR GOLFERS I

BY LAURA BOHNERT

f you haven’t hit the green in Parkland County, you’re missing out. With 12 golf courses, the area is anything but par-for-the-course.

“From a 3-hole course to a 27-hole course, Parkland County truly has it all,” explains Candace Charron, tourism business development officer, Parkland County. “Whether you’re looking to enjoy a round with your buddies or a family-fun day, there are plenty of courses to choose from. Our region caters to golfers of all abilities and ages.” It’s a strong industry—but it’s also an industry that has introduced numerous benefits—economic and otherwise— into the area. “There are many positive impacts of golf in Parkland County, including job creation, tax benefits, the attraction of new businesses to the region, charitable support, and spin-off economic impacts for surrounding hamlets, businesses, and accommodations,” Charron observes. She adds that there are a number of social benefits, too. “Whether you’re introducing kids to golf, going for a round with a few friends on men’s, ladies’ or seniors’ night, or having a business meeting, golf courses can act as a gathering place for the entire community.” There is also the tourist draw. “Having 12 golf courses, we can attest to that. With daily golf rounds, membership holders, and tournaments, traffic to these golf courses is ongoing.”

Twelve golf courses in a region like Parkland County may seem like a lot, but the area has a great deal to offer the industry. “Our championship golf courses, proximity to Edmonton and the Edmonton International Airport, location between Edmonton and Jasper, and the beautiful scenery are just a few reasons why Parkland County is such a great area for golf.” Charron is also quick to point out that, “Our golf industry thrives because of the business owners – they are always ABOVE: WITH MORE THAN 40 YEARS IN BUSINESS, PINERIDGE GOLF RESORT, ALBERTA’S FIRST AND ONLY 12-HOLE GOLF COURSE, IS ALSO A THREE-PHASED RV RESORT WITH AMENITIES. BELOW: CANDACE CHARRON, TOURISM BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT OFFICER, PARKLAND COUNTY.

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Highlands Business Park Acheson | AlbertA highwAy 60 & 92 Avenue

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www.panattonicanada.com BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // APRIL 2018

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PART II // PARKLAND COUNTY FEATURE

pushing the envelope with new ideas and ways to expand their market.” “In order to adapt to new markets, some golf courses have developed vacation lots that are sold individually or used for a stay-and-play model – Pineridge and Trestle Creek are examples of this. This increases their customer base by eliminating the need for day trip travel and brings their customers right to the golf course instead of competing over the Edmonton region. Putting Horse Ranch has developed a unique spin on golf, offering 18 holes of putting or 3-hole golf. This is supplementary to their horse trail rides, dining opportunities, and beautiful wedding venue.” “Many of our golf courses also expand into other seasonal and recreational activities,” Charron adds. “The Ranch Golf & Country Club has everything from outdoor winter party reservations, including bonfires, tobogganing, and snowshoeing, to outdoor obstacle courses for an annual event in March. Trestle Creek Golf Resort has a recreational lake where you can wakeboard, as well as waterslides for the kids (and the kids at heart), trails, and much more. Pineridge Golf Resort sets tracks each winter for cross-country skiers, and it keeps the 9-Iron Grill open year-round.” Nicole Richardson, owner and general manager of Pineridge Golf Resort, attributes Parkland County’s rolling hills to the course’s unique features. “Due to the beautiful rolling landscape that the course has been designed around, there are a variety of elevation changes and course features throughout. Our new holes even have a view of Lake Wabamun!” she describes. That atmosphere is important to what Richardson feels golf is all about. “Golf creates a tranquil environment for people to unwind, relax and have fun. Our course is loaded with trees

and manicured fairways, which creates a pleasant surrounding. Our treed environment also helps with our RV lot resort that we have constructed here; people wanting to get away in their RV are looking for a natural and private feel.” And that’s just what Parkland County has to offer, but it’s a relationship that has reciprocal benefits for the golf courses, the local economy, and the community. “Each year, more and more kids join our junior league to learn the game. Parents want their kids to learn golf, as it ABOVE: EDMONTON PETROLEUM GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB, ABOUT TO CELEBRATE ITS 25TH YEAR, IS A PGA PROFESSIONAL 18-HOLE CHAMPIONSHIP GOLF COURSE AND EDMONTON’S SMALLEST MEMBERSHIP-BASED GOLF COURSE. IT WILL BE HOSTING THIS YEAR’S SYNCRUDE OIL COUNTRY PGA CHAMPIONSHIP IN AUGUST.

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PART II // PARKLAND COUNTY FEATURE

MURRAY MCCOURT, GENERAL MANAGER/ EXECUTIVE GOLF PROFESSIONAL AT THE RANCH GOLF COURSE, AGREES THAT THE STRONG, POSITIVE IMPACT IS A RECIPROCAL ONE BETWEEN PARKLAND COUNTY AND ITS GOLF COURSES. points to the large draw tournaments and other events have as a strong benefit for the area.

builds character. Golf also teaches patience and etiquette to children, which are great things to learn in life. Both of our men’s league and ladies’ league have grown because of the fun atmosphere that we try to provide. Our lake location and our RV lots are becoming weekend destinations for urbanites—and a great place to enter into early retirement.” Murray McCourt, general manager/executive golf professional at The Ranch Golf Course, agrees that the strong, positive impact is a reciprocal one between Parkland County and its golf courses. “Golf courses have a huge impact on the economy in their areas,” McCourt explains. “At The Ranch, we host over 150 various events each year that often sees people come to the area from out of town. Our guests are obviously in need of hotels, gas, restaurants, etc., and they will spend money at far more locations than just The Ranch.” And that draw attracts no small number of golfers. As McCourt points out, “We generally have 34,000 – 36,000 golfers each year, plus additional people who come to The Ranch for meetings, parties, weddings, etc.” “We also employ upwards of 80 people from the area during our peak season,” he adds. “This is obviously very helpful to the region as well,” McCourt adds. Kristen Veer, membership and marketing coordinator at Edmonton Petroleum Golf & Country Club (EPGCC), also

“On average, we host 20,000-23,000 rounds of golf per season for our private membership,” Veer explains. “We also host outside events and tournaments, which increases the amount of traffic in our club. As an example, in 2018, throughout the season and during the hosting of the Mackenzie PGA Tour of Canada, we believe approximately 11,040 people will benefit from this event.” Veer breaks that figure down further, predicting 5,000 guests (charity fundraising golf events and guests of members), 5,000 visitors from the general public, 400 volunteers, 520 members, 120 staff members, and 600 participants will be attending the upcoming event. “Golf courses,” Veer comments on their overall importance, “can attract high profile local, provincial, and national events for all demographics, bringing money into the community and providing a platform for people to get together socially.” They also, she adds, “provide a place of work for many local students and those living in surrounding communities.” “Parkland County is an amazing area for golf because it just far enough outside the city that people can escape the hustle and bustle without having to drive too far,” Veer concludes. “With vast green space, variety of terrains, access to water, and thriving wild life, Parkland County offers the perfect canvas for captivating golf courses.” Ready to book your tee time? In addition to Pineridge Golf Resort, The Ranch Golf & Country Club, and Edmonton Petroleum Golf & Country Club Blackhawk Golf Club, you can head to Cougar Creek Golf Resort, Deer Meadows Golf Course, Duffy’s Challenge, Edmonton Springs Golf Resort, Grouse Nest Golf Course, Ironhead Golf & Country Club, Putting Horse Ranch, and Trestle Creek Golf Resort. Head to www.parklandcounty.com/golf for more information on how to get out on the green.

ABOVE: MURRAY MCCOURT, GENERAL MANAGER/EXECUTIVE GOLF PROFESSIONAL AT THE RANCH GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB.

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MAKING YOURSELF KNOWN // HUMAN RESOURCES

Making Yourself Known: FINDING YOUR NEXT JOB IN 2018

WITH EDMONTON AND ALBERTA’S EMPLOYMENT STATISTICS SHOWING PROMISE, MANY PEOPLE ARE LOOKING AT THE JOB MARKET. THREE HR PROFESSIONALS WEIGH IN ON WHAT WORKS, AND WHAT DOESN’T.

BY ZACHARY EDWARDS

W

ith recession headlines dominating Alberta’s news cycle for years, the focus that is often lost in the constant updates is the personal aspect. Unemployment statistics are people without work. Percentages increasing and decreasing are people whose lives are completely changed. But now, with Alberta’s employment statistics and job growth numbers steadily rising for nearly two years, many people are eager to see what opportunities are out there.

Many hiring companies are doing so cautiously and they are willing to wait for the right candidate. “There’s much more strategic hiring going on today than a decade ago,” says Rowena LaFlèche, vice president, Edmonton area for the David Aplin Group. “Employers aren’t willing or able to retrain because they are running at such a lean capacity. More often than not, they will wait for someone with the right skills instead of getting someone approximate and training them up.”

Alberta’s job growth and unemployment are surprisingly strong, despite detractors, and employment statistics point to a resurgence in Alberta’s economy. At the end of last year, unemployment had fallen to a 26-month low, to 6.9 per cent. “Full-time employment increased by 45,800, and overall employment increased by 55,000,” according to the Alberta Government’s released December 2017 statistics. Oil and gas was the second largest sector for employment growth, behind accommodation and food services.

This need for specific skills has another, seemingly counter, consequence as well: the need for people to occupy multiple roles. “Before the recession, you would apply for a job in accounts receivable and that would be your job,” LaFlèche explains. “Today, you could be doing accounts receivable and helping with other accounting duties. So companies need people who can do multiple things to help them keep their operations lean.”

A New Alberta with New Opportunities Alberta’s economy is recovering but there is no heading back. What companies look for in today’s applicants is different than before, which is a struggle for people returning to the job market. Companies that ran on lean budgets before are more focused on efficiency, which poses a challenge for anyone looking to see what is out there.

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The hunt for specific skillsets is proving extra difficult for many who are coming back into the workforce after considerable time off. For people who are re-entering old industries, they are finding their years of experience cannot compete with current expertise, especially when it comes to industry-specific software. For Kathy Verenka, recruiter for Edmonton’s Staff Bureau, the challenge of reentering the workforce means looking for transferrable skills. “As recruiters, we are notorious for looking for gaps and movement and we often find that people’s volunteering can help fill those gaps,” she explains. “We also see that many people re-entering the workforce after time off have very transferrable skills. So while they


MAKING YOURSELF KNOWN // HUMAN RESOURCES

may not be current, they have skills that can help them move vertically into other industries.”

The More Things Change…

While people are constantly thinking about their skills and how to answer interview questions, Verenka still finds most people cannot answer the most important question: if you were to write out your ideal job description, what would that look like?

In many ways, the job hunt has remained the same even as technologies have completely changed. Case in point: the resume. “The resume, paper or electronic, is not dead. Not yet,” Monsma says. “Love it or hate it, no one has really developed an alternative. It is limited and restrictive, but it is a tool. So how well it works for you is largely in your hands.”

“I ask people this all the time and it stumps them,” she says. “You still have to understand what you are looking for and people are not thinking about that as much. They are focused on what they can offer and not thinking about what they want to do.”

Finding the Right Job in 2018 What are some tips from HR professionals for job hunting in 2018? “Contact your network and build relationships,” says Joy Monsma, founder of Teneo Consulting Inc. and organizer of Edmonton’s DisruptHR events. “If you are new to the job market or have been out of it for a while, don’t despair. You do have a network. It might need attention and expanding, but it is the place to begin. A 2016 survey demonstrated that 85 per cent of jobs are filled through networking and ultimately, networking relies on relationships.” Monsma also stresses that job boards are just the tip of the iceberg for potential opportunities. “The hidden job market is a reality and has lots of possibilities. Depending on your source, 70-80 per cent of jobs are never advertised – that’s the hidden job market and it’s a gold mine.” LaFlèche agrees. “Networking is quite overlooked. People tend to rely on job boards and don’t actively network as much as they should when they’re actually job hunting,” she says. “Leveraging other tools like LinkedIn and other professional business networking events is probably things that people sporadically do, and not on a consistent basis.”

All three agree that resumes need to be laser-focused for the job at hand. “We are recommending that people have two or three different versions of their resume,” Verenka says. “So if you have legal experience, one emphasizes that. If you want to move into an executive assistant role, then highlight those skills.” Monsma suggests thorough research before you hand in your resume. “Too many applications are treated like a generic affair, and frankly generic is boring and it shows a distinct lack of commitment and interest,” she says. “You have the control of the content, which means you can give the reader and screening software the best opportunity to shortlist your resume. Do some research on the job generally and find out what that job title looks and sounds like in other organizations if possible. Then use what you have learnt to tailor your cover letter and resume.” Beyond the resume, how people look for jobs has changed. Searches are now easier as LinkedIn, Monster and other job- and career-related sites grow, but there are downsides. “I’m finding more people are just waiting for a job posting and then they’ll apply. You have to be more proactive than that,” Verenka argues. “Do your homework. Research specific industries and industries you may be interested in where you have comparable skills. Instead of waiting to see what comes to the job boards, get out there and see what’s going on.” LaFlèche agrees and argues that people need to use technology to help, not to hide. “I think with technology, people tend to hide behind it more than they used to,” she says. “People hire people. They don’t hire resumes. So get out there, introduce yourself to hiring managers and people of influence. You will be surprised at how that can help.”

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IS PAY EQUITY LEGISLATION COMING TO ALBERTA? // CPHR

IS PAY EQUITY LEGISLATION COMING TO ALBERTA? BY DAN BOUCHER, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH, CPHR ALBERTA

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ay equity is going to get a lot of attention this year. Politicians and courtrooms across Canada are rolling out legislation and judgments focused on wage discrimination. With the topic of pay equity making headlines once again, will Alberta’s government choose one more platform before the next election? Six Canadian provinces have enacted pay equity legislation, with another three provinces mandating frameworks for pay equity negotiation for public employees. Alberta is the sole province without either. Much of this legislation isn’t new, either. Ontario recognized the 30th anniversary of its Pay Equity Act by introducing new initiatives around enforcement of the act late last spring. The Supreme Court of Canada is working on the file as well, with two cases currently before the court to address disputes related to Quebec’s pay equity laws. Pay equity was a central theme to the 2018 federal budget, too. In announcing their intent to introduce pay equity legislation for federally-regulated sectors, the Government of Canada weighed in on the issue. The proposed legislation will affect over 1.2 million employees in the federal public service.

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IS PAY EQUITY LEGISLATION COMING TO ALBERTA? // CPHR

So what do you need to know if legislation is forthcoming from Edmonton? First, expect a different timeline than last year’s changes to the Employment Standards Code. While the changes were the broadest update to the code in two generations, introducing a Pay Equity Act would be an entirely new initiative. Even if the Alberta government used another province’s act as a model, consultations and other engagement would probably push the introduction of new legislation late into the fall. Implementation would likely require enforcement and hearing mechanisms, so more time would be required to set these areas up. In short, this needs to move slowly. Second, you’ll need to look at job classes. This means that legislation will look at the duties and responsibilities of a job, not just the job titles, when comparing salaries. Parts of the legislation will define what threshold exists for a class to be defined as a “male job class” (currently 70 per cent or more of the employees in that role are male for Ontario) and a “female job class.” The legislation would need to define the processes to compare male and female job classes, too. Pay equity legislation is unlikely to be enacted in Alberta before the next election. However, risks to your company through civil lawsuits, decreased morale, recruitment challenges and more, provide good reason to evaluate your organization’s salary structure. Speak to a CPHR-designated HR professional to learn more.

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Can you Fire an Employee for Marching with Nazis? Navigating Values and Freedom in Trump-era Workplaces. Catch our free webinar on May 2

Business opportunities look different in 2018. So do risks. HR professionals can increase productivity, reduce costs and neutralize threats in your organization.

Can employers terminate staff who are seen in the news, on their personal time, marching in support of the Alt-Right? What are your options when a high-profile employee is accused of sexual assault at a past employer? What are the consequences of an employee publishing his view that women don’t belong in certain fields of work? To register, go here: cphrab.ca/values-freedom-webinar

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Altitude Communications:

Innovative Company with its Head in the Cloud

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hen it comes to communications technology, business leaders want it easy and reliable. That’s why they want Altitude Communications. Altitude has been making complicated unified communications systems seem simple for clients since the company rebranded in 2010.

by Rennay Craats Photos by Riverwood Photography

Altitude got its start in 1995 as telephone equipment provider TNS Telecom, and Marshall Anderson worked for the company before branching into local line and Internet services. He returned to acquire controlling interest in TNS and merged the two ventures to create Altitude Communications in 2010. He shed TNS’s peripheral activities and focused on one unified communications package so that he and his technically-savvy, creative team could offer Albertans a unique product in a way no one else was. “Our strategy for growth was just to get really good at one platform – it’s easier for the technical side to keep certifications high and technical ability strong; and from the sales and customer service side, if you focus on one thing, when somebody calls in you know how to help,” says Anderson, president of Altitude Communications. Altitude has experienced great growth in the market, managing more than 18,000 end points in a variety of sectors across Alberta. It provides services that cover the different ways people communicate today – voice, video, mobility, collaboration, email, instant messaging – while helping businesses with their connectivity, whether that is Internet, on-site dial tone or wide area networks. With its award-winning communications solution called Mitel (formerly ShoreTel), Altitude gives clients the tools they need to better engage with customers, integrate all of their applications and stay connected. Packages include everything


clients need, so from the connectivity to the phone on their desk to the application on their desktop, Altitude is the single point of contact that manages it all. And the company can service a wide spectrum of clients ranging from those operating on 30-yearold systems to the out-of-the-box early adopters eager to do business on the cutting edge. A few years ago, a cutting-edge client approached the team looking for a cloud solution and Altitude jumped at the chance to collaborate. No existing options met the client’s needs, so Anderson decided to create his own. “The client liked us and our product, so we just built something for them. It gave us an opportunity to have an anchor tenant in here and to really start developing the AltiSphere platform. We’ve been running that for three years,” he says. AltiSphere is a unique, fully-managed cloud or hybrid solution that puts everything clients want at their fingertips. Any communications application can be stored in the cloud, offering clients flexibility and customized solutions that perfectly suit their needs. AltiSphere is managed from one secure data centre, allowing for safeguarded information and easy upgrades without any downtime for clients. Despite the complexity of the cloud technology, it couldn’t be easier for AltiSphere clients. “When they get the hosted AltiSphere solution, it’s basically your communication system as an application on your desktop – it shows all your contacts you’d need to call or IM with, retrieves your voice mails, and you can either have a physical phone or use a headset,” says Kelly Hopp, program manager at Altitude. Whether Altitude clients choose to have all or a few applications in the cloud or to have their applications managed completely on site, the company provides the best ongoing supportive maintenance program to ensure everything in the system is up to date.

Marshall Anderson, president of Altitude Communications.

Altitude further supports clients through consultations and audits of existing services. The team evaluates a client’s communication costs and systems and recommends changes that can save them money and improve efficiency and service. By getting to know the clients and their businesses, Altitude is able to offer them the best communications solutions, all in a tailor-made package. “These days you need to improve the way internal communications happen but you also have to improve the experience of your customers,” says Michael McKenzie, account manager at Altitude. “If you can create efficiencies inside and create a better experience for customers coming in then you’re progressing on both sides of the table.” Altitude Communications is driven to provide the perfect unified communications services by listening to clients’ challenges and integrating new technologies to address them. Thanks to its customized products paired with incredible customer service, Altitude has earned the reputation as an outside-of-the-box company with creative, innovative solutions. With AltiSphere and Mitel on offer, Altitude Communications is proud to dive deep into technology so clients don’t have to.

520, 2710 – 17 Avenue SE Calgary, Alberta, T2A 0P6 Main: 403.538.5555 | Service: 403.538.8888 | Fax: 403.543.2882 info@altitudecommunications.ca altitudecommunications.ca


Nominations are now closed; thank you to all who have nominated, and to the nominees who are part of this year’s program. We look forward to assembling another group of influential people from our business community who will be honoured for their contributions towards making Edmonton a great place to live and work! Business in Edmonton will celebrate the 2018 winners at our 6th Annual Awards Gala, and our July issue will feature the Leaders and their companies.

Save the Date Thursday, June 21st | 6pm To stay informed on details for our event, visit www.businessinedmonton.com/leaders or email leaders@businessinedmonton.com

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Gold Partners

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SHERWOOD DODGE: 10 YEARS OLD WITH THE EXPERIENCE AND SUCCESS OF A LIFETIME BY NERISSA MCNAUGHTON

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cott Held, president and dealer principal at Sherwood Dodge, is easy to get along with, has a great work ethic and a sense of humor. He also managed to unwittingly open a dealership in the midst of a recession.

“Together with my business partner, Jim McManes, we founded the company in 2008,” Held reminisces. “I had approached Chrysler in May 2005 about opening a dealership in Sherwood Park. I got approval, and it took almost a year and a half to build the building. It was a long time between applying and opening the doors. We opened on March 3, 2008.” That’s right – 2008. The timing could not have been worse. “The United States’ economic crash happened less than a year after we opened,” Held grimaces. “Chrysler went bankrupt. It was a scary time. Chrysler stopped building cars and we actually ran out of new cars to sell.” The situation would have crushed most new business owners, but Held is not most business owners. He had vision, so he held on and rode out the storm. “Chrysler survived and went on to do well again,” he smiles, “and Sherwood Dodge survived that very challenging first year.”

SCOTT HELD, PRESIDENT AND DEALER PRINCIPAL AT SHERWOOD DODGE

SHERWOOD DODGE || 10 YEARS 67


AN EMPTY POTATO FIELD IN TRANSFORMATION TO BECOME OF ALBERTA’S BUSIEST DODGE CHRYSLER DEALERSHIPS.

The company quickly racked up win after win, including being the third in Canada after only two years for total Chrysler sales and the first in Canada for RAM truck sales – this against dealers that have been in business for over 40 years. “We went from being an empty potato field, not that long ago, to having one of the top stores in the country!” Held says with pride.

How did they do it? For Held, it all comes down to one thing. “My corporate culture is that we take care of our employees and our customers by being fair and doing business in a very transparent manner. We are accountable.” He continues, “What we offer is a commodity. There are 11 companies within the Greater Edmonton Area that sell Dodge/ Chrysler. What makes us different is ultimately the staff and how they interact with the customers. My people take great care of our customers and stay in communication with them over the years. Due to this, a big percentage of our business is now repeat customers.” Honesty and creativity play a role in the dealership’s success, too.

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SHERWOOD DODGE ON 10 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE! Thank you for allowing us to be part of your success!

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“At the start, I didn’t have the advertising budget of some of my competitors, so I took a different approach to radio and television ads. My goal was to be so honest that there would be shock value. One memorable ad campaign was ‘we are having a sale because June sucked.’ It was true. We had a terrible month that June. Many people came in and commented because of that ad.” It may surprise you to know that, even now, Held still does all his own radio ads. Another surprising fact is that Sherwood Dodge is also becoming known as a specialty shop for classic cars. About a year and a half ago, the dealership branched out into the classic car market, specifically, Mopar® muscle cars. “At any given time, we have a couple million dollars of inventory in muscle cars. We sold over 100 classic cars last year and have several repeat customers. It’s been fun for us to get into the classic car community,” says Held. Complementing the classic cars and new Chrysler products is a high-tech body shop that is open for all vehicles, regardless of make or model, and regardless of if the vehicle was purchased at Sherwood Dodge. Held is proud that his service department is one of the biggest in the country.


As Held reflects on the company’s 10-year anniversary, he is pleased that nearly 30 of the employees that were with him at the grand opening are still working with him today. “There is fairly high turnover in the car business,” he admits. “For us to have so many of the first staff here 10 years on is something that I’m very proud of. When we opened the doors, we had just 60 – a skeleton crew. In the boom days in 2014, we had 170. Currently we have 125. Most of the positions are full time and high-paying jobs. It is our pleasure to contribute to the economy and to the tax base of Alberta as best as we can.” However, the drop-in numbers from 170 to 125 is not lost on Held, and he’s refreshingly honest – and candid – about it.

“I want to underline that we do business in a very transparent way,” stresses Held. “There is no ‘smoke and mirrors’. We respect people’s time. They are not looking forward to shopping for a car; they are looking forward to owning a car. We are respectful – but don’t take my word for it. Come in, meet my staff, and see if I’m telling the truth!” Held humbly acknowledges that the dealership taught him a lot about what it takes to be an entrepreneur and lead a team. “I’ve learned that my job is to be willing to do anything that needs to be done. On opening day, I mopped the floors for 14 hours because that’s what needed to be done. I want my staff to have the same attitude. I don’t need people saying, ‘that’s not my job.’ Sherwood Dodge is very active in the community.

“Through 2012-2014, there was such a boom in Alberta. We set sales records. We were doing business at such a high level of volume that we got a little spoiled, and maybe even a little sloppy. When the end of 2015 came around, the bottom dropped out of our volume. The challenge for us now was to move forward. We have and continue to be in the process of operating in a much more competitive market, and we continue to learn how to excel in a market that doesn’t have the oil boom fat in it. We recognize that we need to work harder and smarter to get similar results.”

“We are constantly approached for donations,” Held admits. “A few years ago, we set a $250,000 budget, and we have a committee of senior staff members to review each donation request. We can’t ‘water all the flowers,’ but we do what we can. Our preference is to give back locally to large and small organizations, and we prefer requests to be detailed and in writing. Currently, our biggest partnership is with the Kids With Cancer Society.”

But that challenge is conquerable for a dealership that opened during a recession to go on to set sales and service records.

As the story closes on the first exciting 10 years, Held can’t wait to see what the future has in store for him and his team.

Congratulations Sherwood Dodge on 10 years!

congratulations Sherwood Dodge 10 years of successful business.

Locally owned, family operated Automotive Aftermarket Wholesaler Locations in Lloydminster, Edmonton Sherwood Park, Leduc, Camrose & Calgary

www.wsionline.ca

CONGRATULATIONS Sherwood Dodge on 10 years of excellence!

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7304 50 St NW • (780) 440-6017 www.aerocarparts.net SHERWOOD DODGE || 10 YEARS || 3


“We sold approximately 32,000 vehicles in 10 years,” he smiles. “The success of Sherwood Dodge has allowed us to buy two other dealerships. In 2015, we bought St. Albert Dodge and Mercedes-Benz Edmonton West. I owe that to the growth and success of the mothership – Sherwood Dodge.” “Going forward, I want a culture of constant improvement. We must always look at the experience we provide our staff and customers and look for sustainable ways to always improve across all departments.” Held is very grateful to his business partner, Jim McManes, whom he calls, “a mentor and brilliant guy

230 Provincial Ave, Sherwood Park, AB T8H 0E1 (780) 410-4100

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Congratulations Sherwood Dodge on 10 years! We wish you many more years of continued success!

who always supported me and my goals. He’s been an invaluable source over the years.” Held also thanks and is very grateful for the present, past, and future staff of the dealership, along with the thousands of patrons, vendors, suppliers, and everyone that had a hand in making the first decade such a success. An empty potato field once held a man that stood in the middle of it, closed his eyes, and envisioned the space as a thriving, award-wining dealership that bettered its staff, patrons, and the community at large. Then he opened his eyes and made it happen. Held greatly looks forward to everything the next 10 years has in store.

Scott Held wishes to thank all past and present staff and clients for making the last 10 years such a success. Congratulations Sherwood Dodge On your 10th Anniversary! (780) 441-7040 sales@nutec.ca Business Technology Solutions

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Congratulations Sherwood Dodge on your 10th Anniversary!


DEVLIN CONSTRUCTION LTD. CELEBRATES THE FIRST 15 YEARS “ Y O U C A N T R U S T U S T O D O T H E R I G H T T H I N G .” BY NERISSA MCNAUGHTON Above: Marcin Hrehoruk, General Manager; Shelley Peterson, Controller; Kris Pawlikowski, Sr. Project Manager; Kim Zurowski, Estimating and Business Development Manager and George Devlin, President. Photo by Rebecca Lippiatt Photography.

M

ore than 300 employees. An impressive fleet of branded equipment that is well-known across Edmonton and all of its suburbs. A large multistory office in one of the city’s best known industrial districts. Must be a company steeped in history and tradition with roots going back for decades, right?

in the field and Shelley working part time on my books,” says George Devlin, founder and president. “At the time, I just wanted to do something small and casual for myself that would also be fun. It grew year by year and ended up snowballing.”

No. It’s Devlin Construction Ltd., a runaway success story just 15 years in the making.

Today, the company is known for building concrete and asphalt roads, heavy excavating, base construction, building sidewalks, snow removal and much more.

“When I started the company, it started off as Devlin Excavating and there were just two people involved: myself

This year marks 15 years as a company, and seven years with the current management team that rocketed the company forward.

DEVLIN CONSTRUCTION LTD. || 15 YEARS

71


Edmonton International Airport, Hub Surface Systems crosswalk installation. In early March, George sat with the partnership team, reflecting on the journey – and the overarching sentiment was, “whoa, what just happened?!” as they discussed how fast Devlin went from a small business to an in-demand corporation.

make their own ways in the world. The world had other plans, and after another meeting again in Montana in 2010, they shook hands over lunch and became business partners. Shelley Peterson, controller and office manager, started with Devlin Excavation from its inception.

Marcin Hrehoruk, general manager, came on board when the company had grown to around 28 employees. That same summer, under the new name of Devlin Construction the company grew to 55 employees, evolved to include asphalt and concrete work, and purchased its first property in Winterburn.

“I remember moving into our first building,” Shelley reminisces. “That place was in rough shape! We had to haul out the garbage and the previous owners had smoked in there. When we took the curtains down, they pretty much stood up on their own!”

George and Marcin met while sharing a cab 21 years ago. As fate would have it, they wound up working at a local asphalt company together. A few years into that job, they parted to

George laughs, “I remember sitting with Marcin in that empty lobby, looking at the empty parking lot and wondering how we were going to fill it. That place seemed way too big for us.”

Congratulations Devlin Construction Ltd. on your 15th Anniversary!

Congratulations Devlin Construction Ltd.

on 15 years of excellence! We wish you many more years of continued sucess.

14303 – 116 Ave Edmonton, AB • Tel: (780) 453-6996 Fax: (780) 455-5257 • www.mapws.com

We wish you many more years of success.

unit 100 54408 RR260 Sturgeon County AB. T8T 0W2 Phone: 780-953-1551 chieftainequipment.com

DEVLIN CONSTRUCTION LTD. || 15 YEARS || 2


“But within just a couple of years, we were triple parking,” Shelley smiles. “We ran out of space.” In 2015, Devlin Construction moved to a much larger space in Winterburn, and now the staff comfortably enjoys a large, modern, roomy base of operations. Marcin points to Kim Zurowski, estimating manager. “Kim was a milestone. We were looking to expand, and he had the background of working with large companies and running an estimating division.” Kim is pleased with the compliment, but points right back at the team: “No. It’s all a group effort.” “When I started in 2011,” Kim continues, “I thought, what I am getting myself into? Who are these guys? They don’t even have a grader! But it’s been a great ride. I didn’t really have any doubts about coming on board.”

City of Edmonton 98 street tandem paving.

Kris Pawlikowski, project manager, is also happy to be part of the team. “I like that, as a team, we put a lot of heart into everything we do, and we treat every customer and client equally. As a group, we all have specialized knowledge in different areas, and we come together to strategize.” Devlin Construction prides itself on growing to become a full service company that keeps pace with construction companies that have much more time and experience in the business. The management team cites the willingness of Marcin and George to take risks, the team’s cohesive way of working together, the excellent care they take of their staff and clients and their outstanding reputation as reasons for the company’s rapid growth and success.

City of Edmonton 102 avenue & 111 street Hub Surface System traffic Pattern XD installation.

SMS Equipment is proud to be a business partner of Devlin Construction We provide innovative solutions and a complete range of equipment from intelligent machine control dozers and excavators to advanced paving equipment.

Edmonton Branch: 780-451-2630 SMSequip.com

DEVLIN CONSTRUCTION LTD. || 15 YEARS || 3

Developing partnerships creates success


City of St. Albert Vapor Lock Mix test project, concrete design by Icon Ready Mix.

Snow Removal Operation.

Erminskine Parkaid excavation.

Soil Stabilization/Road Base.

RENTALS, LEASING, SALES AND SERVICE

“Our portfolio of work is 85-95 per cent for municipalities, cities and developers,” says Marcin. But we never forget about our other customers.” “We treat everyone equally,” adds Kris.

Here at Calmont, we look forward to meeting your needs… Every day, every way.

“People like to associate with success,” confirms Marcin. “Maybe they see success with us, a company that started from zero and grew into this. Now we are one of top teams in the industry and we are probably the youngest owner group among the surface construction companies in Edmonton. It’s been an excellent journey. Even with the current economy, we are still the local company supporting local businesses. We produce, but we also make and spend here. We are a part of the larger economy.”

Congratulations Devlin Construction Ltd. on 15 years!

GROUP Decorative Hardscape Solutions for Canada

1 (888) 557-7318 • www.calmont.ca

hubss.com/contact-us west/prairies 604.309.8212

DEVLIN CONSTRUCTION LTD. || 15 YEARS || 4

central/maritimes 416.540.9287


Congratulations Devlin on your 15 year anniversary in business! Hoping your company enjoys many more years of growth and prosperity.


“We quickly realized COR was a huge thing for safety,” Shelley continues. “It took six months to get it.” Devlin embraced the challenge wholeheartedly, knowing that it was the best thing for the staff and field crew. “Now we have two full-time safety operators and belong to the Alberta Construction Safety Organization. This year, we started an inhouse safety committee with one person from each department so employees feel empowered to speak up about issues that concern them.” Devlin Construction is also incredibly innovative and has won a client award in 2017 for their high-level integration of the construction software Explorer and B2W (Bid 2 Win). Shelley explains, “The software connects the estimators with the field staff and with accounting.”

Year one as a cohesive management team: George Devlin, Kris Pawlikowski, Shelley Peterson, Kim Zurowski, Marcin Hrehoruk Devlin Construction gives equal respect to the staff, which has helped the company maintain very low turnover – a rarity in the construction business. “We look to have our guys working with us for 12 months out the year,” confirms Marcin. “Equipment, buildings – everything else you can purchase, sell or trade, but people are the biggest factor. The decisions we make don’t just affect us. They affect each staff member and all of their families. We never forget that.”

Using this technology has enabled the entire Devlin team, field and office, to go 90 per cent paperless, and to maintain a very high rate of accuracy, communication and efficiency with every project.

Safety is also at the forefront of each project and decision.

In addition to outstanding relationships with staff and clients, Devlin also focuses very heavily on giving back to the community.

“In 2008, George came to me and said, ‘we can’t bid on these jobs because we need COR.’” COR stands for certificate of recognition, and it is issued to companies who have a health and safety plan in place that meets strict third-party guidelines.

“Three years ago, we started a charity golf tournament to support a local boy that was in the hospital for 14 years. Sadly, he passed. We started the tournament to support his family.

Congratulations CHARTERED PROFESSIONAL ACCOUNTANTS

Devlin Construction Ltd. on 15 years of success!

ENTREPRENEURIAL.

KRP is proud to have been associated with Devlin Construction for the last 12 years.

INNOVATIVE.

TRUSTED.

We share the same values of delivering excellent client service built on trust, respect and teamwork.

Suite 1500, 9888 Jasper Avenue | Edmonton AB | T5J 5C6 P | 780 424 3000 F | 780 429 4817 W | www.krpgroup.com E | info@krpgroup.com

We look forward to continuing our association with Devlin Construction & wish them continued success for many years to come!

DEVLIN CONSTRUCTION LTD. || 15 YEARS || 6


It was a huge success, so we just kept on doing it. We ask the Stollery about the patients that need help. For example, one child needed a special wheelchair for $11,000. We raised the funds. Over the last three years we have raised over $115,000. My wife, Sue-Ann is very instrumental in putting together the tournaments, contacting the vendors and arranging for sponsorship.”

The management team all agree that it doesn’t feel like 15 years has passed. In fact, as they sit in the boardroom thinking about the start of the company (just something fun to do, as George had put it) to the reality of today, a moment of silence turns into bright smiles as they commiserate about the company’s growing pains and celebrate the many milestones.

Devlin opens the doors to others to help them raise these vital funds by providing information about the tournament and sponsorship opportunities at golfdevlin.com.

“We just came on the scene so fast. Boom. We were just there,” George shakes his head. “But we promote a good image on site with our safety record, the tidy appearance of our crews and project sites and our work. It gets noticed. We are major company with a great reputation. You can trust us to do the right thing.”

The company also proudly supports local sports teams, church groups, the Sturgeon Community Hospital Foundation’s annual gala and more. While Devlin Construction has been fortunate to receive awards and recognition from many high-profile clients over the years that thank them for providing an outstanding end product and a clean, organized jobsite, one incident is very fondly remembered by the management team: receiving home baked cookies from a group of students as a thank-you for getting their school fixed and opened on time.

“Our end results are among the top finished products in Edmonton and area,” says Marcin with great pride. “We look at each project as if was something we personally want done for ourselves. Our approach and our prices are put on the table upfront. Good or bad news about a project, we are always transparent. We talk to the residents around each project, too, so they know what is going on. It can be scary to see 35 tons of excavator at your door!”

“We don’t provide Band-Aid solutions that only last a year or two,” confirms Kim. “We provide economic solutions that last.”

Shelley nods. “Devlin has had lows from growing pains, but we’ve also had amazing highs with our growth.”

ConTrac is a leading supplier of premium rental and used heavy construction equipment in Western Canada.

Congratulations Devlin Construction Ltd. on 15 Years! We wish you many more years of continued success.

220 Diamond Avenue Spruce Grove, AB T7X 4C7 Phone: (780) 960-9475 | Fax: (780) 960-3407

www.contraceq.ca DEVLIN CONSTRUCTION LTD. || 15 YEARS || 7


Kim adds, “We take each challenge as a way to learn how to do things better. Our rapid growth has never been about ego. It’s always been about responsible growth to fit into a bigger niche.” “And the best part is,” concludes Kris, “seeing the customer happy when the job is done.” More than once, George and Marcin have been asked how many cities they operate out of, or if the company is multinational. “Surprise! We are a local success story,” laughs Kim.” They certainly are, and with 15 (very fast) years gone by, Devlin Construction plans to continue building their legacy. They may be the new kids on the block, but they also planned, designed, poured, landscaped and finished that block, and then returned each winter to clear the snow off of it. So watch out world! With Edmonton and area having no shortage of Devlin projects on the go, the future is unlimited.

11211 - Winterburn Rd. NW Edmonton, AB T5S 2B2 Bus: (780)473-0384 Fax: (780)473-0345

www.devlinconstruction.com

Congratulations Devlin Construction Ltd. on your 15th Anniversary! We are proud to be a part of your success.

www.hubinternational.com

DEVLIN CONSTRUCTION LTD. || 15 YEARS || 8


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