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Supporting the visions of entrepreneurs one story at a time. Volume 5 | Number 2

REGULAR COLUMNS

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 Trans-Pacific Trade Deal a Win for Alberta Business By Josh Bilyk

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 Urbanomics Urban Development Discussion: Housing Starts Tell the Story By John Hardy

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 Edmonton Chamber of Commerce

CONTENTS COVER FEATURE

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 eet Bill Blais, the M 2016 Edmonton Chamber Board Chair Bill Blais prepares to step into a role that was more than a century in the making. By Nerissa McNaughton

ON OUR COVER: ABOVE: BILL BLAIS, 2016 EDMONTON CHAMBER BOARD CHAIR. 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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BDO CONGRATULATES OUR NEW PARTNERS The BDO Alberta offices are pleased to announce the following new partners across the region. Our BDO Partners are in a unique position to provide personalized, local service with the strength of a leading national accounting and advisory firm. We congratulate all of our new Partners on this achievement and look forward to their further contributions to our clients, our firm and our community.

BDO Edmonton Office

BDO Calgary Office

BDO Calgary Office

Colin Brecht, CPA, CA Partner, Audit & Assurance Direct: 780 401 7918 cbrecht@bdo.ca

Sunit Paul, CPA, CGA Partner, Tax Direct: 403 232 0680 spaul@bdo.ca

Larissa Shapiro, CPA, CGA Partner, Audit & Assurance Direct: 403 205 5736 lshapiro@bdo.ca

BDO Western Canada Region Rosanne Walters, CPA, CA, CFF, CFE, CBV Partner, Financial Advisory Services Direct: 604 646 4381 rwalters@bdo.ca

BDO is one of the leading accounting and advisory firms in Canada, providing value-added assurance, accounting, tax and advisory services to a broad range of clients. People who know, know BDO. SM Assurance | Accounting | Tax | Advisory www.bdo.ca


STORY TITLE // SECTION

Supporting the visions of entrepreneurs one story at a time. Volume 5 | Number 2

59 28

CONTENTS COMPANY PROFILES

55 59

S  uperheroes of Painting SuperPro Painting Systems does it all – and then some – with style and panache. By Nerissa McNaughton

1  0 Years Later: The Story of Arrow Engineering By Nerissa McNaughton

THIS MONTH’S FEATURES

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Our Dress for Success Case Study By Nerissa McNaughton

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Edmonton Events Are Serious Business With venues and meeting and event planners directory. By John Hardy

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FEBRUARY 2016 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM

Investing: Is it Time to Panic? By Nerissa McNaughton

Going the Extra Mile: When and Why you Should get Your MBA Is an undergraduate degree enough in this day and age? Should you do your master’s too? The professionals weigh in. By Rechell McDonald


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TRANS-PACIFIC TRADE DEAL A WIN FOR ALBERTA BUSINESS // ECONOMIC FACTORS

Trans-Pacific Trade Deal a Win for Alberta Business BY JOSH BILYK

N

early lost in the noise of last year’s federal election was the finalization of the historic Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP). The TPP is a sweeping trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim countries including Canada, the United States, Japan, Australia, Vietnam and Mexico. After seven years of negotiations, the deal phases out countless tariffs and other trade barriers, protects intellectual property rights and enhances labour and environmental protections. It’s a slam dunk win for the Alberta economy. Alberta exports to TPP countries averaged 97.7 billion between 2012 and 2014, despite the existence of a labyrinth of trade restrictions. In an enormous leap, the total inflation-adjusted value of that trade increased by 51 per cent between 2010 and 2014. The TPP, over time, will get rid of restrictions and tariffs on a number of important Alberta exports. Over the next 10 years, the agreement will phase out tariffs on chemicals and plastics – benefitting a $5.7 billion Alberta export industry. A 6.5 per cent Japanese tariff (20 per cent in Malaysia) on ethylene polymers will be gone. Alberta businesses export $5.4 billion in agricultural products to TPP countries. The deal eliminates a heavy Japanese tariff (13.20 yen per kilogram) on canola oil and tariffs of 38.5 per cent on fresh and frozen beef. A 50 per cent Japanese tariff on certain offal will be reduced to 9 percent within 15 years. Tariffs of up to 31 per cent on fresh/ chilled and frozen beef in Vietnam will be eliminated within two years. Substantial tariffs on Alberta forestry products in Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand? Gone under the proposed deal.

One of the biggest differences, and perhaps the least discussed, are improvements to copyright protection and intellectual property. That means Alberta creators of music, film and software will have additional protections under the agreement – which bodes well for Alberta’s growing knowledge economy. Make no mistake about it – the TPP is a good deal for Alberta. It’s a win for Saskatchewan too, as evidenced by Premier Brad Wall’s vocal support for the agreement. Our own government was, shall we say, a little more reserved in its reaction to the deal. In a statement, Alberta Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier said on behalf of the government that “We need to review in detail before we know what the overall consequences are for Albertans.” We haven’t heard much from the province since. Taking some time to fully analyze a massive international trade agreement is sensible, but enough time has passed for the province to have made its position clear. After all, the Alberta government had representatives working with their federal counterparts for years to get to this point. It’s not news to them. Leadership from Alberta is important because it’s not entirely certain the deal will be officially signed by the Trudeau government. Prime Minister Trudeau is officially non-committal and there are voices in Ontario loudly opposing it. Premier Notley should join Premiers Brad Wall and Christy Clark in sending a message to Ottawa that this deal should be signed, and the sooner the better. It’s a real winner for Alberta. ALBERTA ENTERPRISE GROUP IS A MEMBER-BASED, NON-PROFIT BUSINESS ADVOCACY ORGANIZATION. AEG MEMBERS EMPLOY MORE THAN 150,000 CANADIANS IN ALL SECTORS OF THE ECONOMY.

BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // FEBRUARY 2016

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EPCOR Commits $100,000 to NorQuest College

EPCOR recently lived up to their slogan of “providing more” when they committed $100,000 to one of NorQuest’s youthfocused programs. The funds will be allotted over three years. “We’re proud to support initiatives that provide education essentials to young minds today to inspire a successful employment path for the future,” says EPCOR Community Essentials Council vice-chair Mike MacBeath, “and that means going beyond just providing funding – we’re excited for opportunities to engage our employees directly with the program and look forward to their participation as mentors.” This participation includes the Pathways to the Future program, presented by EPCOR’s mentorship team and designed to ensure that students in NorQuest’s Youth in Transition program have role models, mentors, and coaches to guide them as they move from through post-secondary school into the working world. EPCOR provides community-level sponsorships and in-kind donations in the communities where they do business, and the company is committed to supporting initiatives that provide education, inspire employment and reduce poverty. Youth in Transition is a full-time program focusing on better academic and communication skills for ESL (English as a second language) students. Students in the program are aged 18 – 25, have a desire for further education, and have an assessed academic level between grades 4 - 9. The program is a combination of two former groups. The women’s Youth in Transition program was founded in 2009, with a men’s Youth in Transition program following in 2010.

The men’s program was based on the successful women’s model. Now, both programs have been amalgamated into one group. “The students in our Youth in Transition program have always had high goals for themselves and want to contribute and reach their full potential,” says Patti Hergott, NorQuest dean of the foundational, career, and intercultural studies faculty. “Generous gifts such as the one provided by EPCOR are so appreciated and essential in allowing these students to achieve their goals.” NorQuest has always been heavily invested in educational opportunities for vulnerable populations. Another program of this nature, a joint research project helmed by NorQuest College and the Edmonton Public Library (EPL), was recently boosted by $239,296 in grant monies from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). The project, “Building a Better Life” investigates how loneliness and low self-esteem impact our ability to interact socially and accept life’s opportunities. The resulting research will enable NorQuest and EPL to improve access to education and workforce opportunities for newcomers, Indigenous peoples and other marginalized communities in the Edmonton region. “NorQuest is in a unique position to provide a point of entry for marginalized people seeking to rebuild their lives,” says Norma Schneider, NorQuest College’s vice president of teaching and learning and chief academic officer. “In our 50 years of creating inclusive communities, we’ve seen that giving people access to education is only part of the solution in helping marginalized people. We also have to empower people so that they are better able to take advantage of such opportunities.” ABOVE: NORQUEST COLLEGE RECEIVES DONATION FROM EPCOR. PHOTO SOURCE: NORQUEST COLLEGE.

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TEC Edmonton Partners with DynaLIFE Dx

Canada’s leading medical laboratory and diagnostic testing service, DynaLIFE Dx, has partnered with business accelerator TEC Edmonton. The partnership introduces a new TEC VenturePrize for healthcare-focused-entrepreneurs. “Promoting Alberta health and business innovation has always been a top priority for us,” said TEC Edmonton CEO, Chris Lumb. “Partnering with an industry leader like DynaLIFE allows us to offer advanced opportunities for entrepreneurs in the healthcare space, which leads to improved quality of life as well as economic growth.” DynaLIFE xis also excited about the partnership. “DynaLIFE specializes in top quality medical laboratory testing and diagnostics but our overall vision is to enhance health and wellness within the community,” said Jason Pincock, DynaLIFE CEO. “Supporting regional innovation and entrepreneurship is key, and no one is more committed to that than TEC Edmonton. Expanding on our existing health accelerator partnership with them was a natural fit for us, and we’re excited to introduce the new DynaLIFE competition stream to VenturePrize.” TEC VenturePrize provides cash, training and other valuable resources to help Alberta entrepreneurs develop their products and ideas. Participants may, for a nominal fee, attended seven workshops that cover business and marketing topics. Participants may also enter the business plan competition in hopes of securing part of the prize package that is worth over $180,000 in cash and in-kind services. Since 2011, TEC Edmonton has garnered approximately $472 million in revenue and raised $232 million in funding.

The organization has invested $142 million in research and development. TEC Edmonton is actively growing. Employment has increased by an average of 25 per cent per year; the incubator now boasts over 1,750 employees. TEC Edmonton has been identified by the Swedish University Business Incubator Index as the of 10th best university incubator in the world and was also named the Canadian Incubator of the Year at the 2014 Startup Canada Awards. With the DynaLIFE partnership, innovators in Alberta’s healthcare industry can compete for a cash prize of $25,000 for the winning business plan and $10,000 for the runner up. DynaLIFE Dx is Alberta’s largest privately owned clinical laboratory, with over 1,200 employed across the region. The facility performs over 15 million tests annually for over a million Albertans and is recognized as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies. DynaLIFE is headquartered in Edmonton. In support of social responsibility, DynaLIFE and its employees support many charitable organizations in Edmonton and across Alberta, including the Bissell Centre, Little Warriors, Youth Emergency Shelter (YESS), Tools for Schools and several medically-focused foundations. In support of environmental responsibly, the organization participates in Empties to WINN and recycles as much product as possible through their in-house recycling management program. If you are an innovator in the Edmonton region, visit tecedmonton.com to learn how you can jumpstart your idea and receive invaluable assistance in promoting, funding and networking your brand. ABOVE: CHRIS LUMB, TEC EDMONTON CEO PHOTO SOURCE: TEC EDMONTON

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To see how even the smallest details in your tax strategy, can really add up, contact John Hughes, MBA, CPA, CA, National Leader Private Enterprise Services at 416.515.3842 or john.hughes@mnp.ca

Left to right: Riley Brolly Aaron Dutchyn Erin St Pierre Amanda Whipple Brittany Poon Kyle MacDonald Haley Chung Aneesh Agrawal Chantille Mitchell Jacky Tsui Amanda Mulder Cameron Pitchers Katherina Christiansen

Success Adds Up Success is the result of perseverance, hard work and the ability to capitalize on opportunities. MNP proudly congratulates Brittany Poon, Kyle MacDonald, Chantille Mitchell on successfully completing the final 2015 Uniform Evaluation (UFE). We also heartily congratulate Riley Brolly, Aaron Dutchyn, Erin St Pierre, Amanda Whipple, Haley Chung, Aneesh Agrawal, Jacky Tsui, Amanda Mulder, Cameron Pitchers and Katherina Christiansen on successfully completing the inaugural Common Final Exam (CFE), which replaces the UFE. Both three-day exams are milestones to becoming a Chartered Professional Accountant. As a leading national accounting and business consulting firm, here are 13 ways we can help your business succeed. For more information on what MNP can do for you, contact Darren Turchansky, Managing Partner, Edmonton Region at darren.turchansky@mnp.ca

MNP.ca


HOUSING STARTS TELL THE STORY // URBANOMICS

U R B A N O M I C S | U R B A N D E V E LO P M E N T D I S C U S S I O N

Housing Starts Tell the Story BY JOHN HARDY

I

n Edmonton, like many other key Canadian areas, housing starts are a reflection and a barometer of the economy and people’s moods, wishes and hopes and concerns.

“The Edmonton market responds to the demands of the consumer and in the home building industry, the demands of the new home buyer,” says Steve Ruggiero, president of Kimberley Homes Group and president of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association-Edmonton Region (CHBA-ER), the not-for-profit organization representing 470 Edmonton member companies. “As a family’s home is their largest investment, the decision to buy a home is driven by a wide range of factors. However, central to that decision process is the consumer’s confidence in the economy – will they have a job tomorrow? Next month? Next year? In Edmonton, this question circles back to the oil and gas industry. While the Edmonton region’s economy is more diverse than many other regions in Alberta, traditionally this single industry’s health was the most important factor driving the level of housing starts. “Pulling apart cause from effect in the housing market is no easy task,” he admits. “Yes, housing starts directly reflect consumer needs and demands and builders work

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very hard to anticipate these expectations, but on the other hand, innovative designs are regularly generated in anticipation of future markets and to get ahead of a growing affordability challenge. A builder who is neither innovative nor respectful of market demands is usually not around that long.” Developers and builders monitor various factors when it comes to planning, projection and, eventually, housing starts. Consumer confidence and consumer trends are key factors. Edmonton’s demographic makeup is definitely shifting. More people are choosing a multi-family home as their preferred living space. This includes single person households, the Millennials who want to live downtown, Boomers who are retiring and moving to smaller homes, and buyers who have emigrated from countries where multifamily housing is familiar. The makeup of some new Edmonton community neighborhoods offer choices of living space, amenities, mixed-uses, places where people can live, work and play and stay for their whole lives. High and low-rise apartments, townhouses, duplexes and single-family homes on smaller lots have all become more and more in-demand. Builders are fulfilling that demand.


HOUSING STARTS TELL THE STORY // URBANOMICS

LAND COSTS: MOST PEOPLE ARE NOT AWARE THAT AROUND 30 TO 35 PER CENT OF THE PRICE OF AN AVERAGE NEW HOME IS THE LAND.

Some things never change. Despite trends, the economy and consumer confidence, price continues as the primary driving factor for new home sales and housing starts and, as Ruggiero explains, Edmonton and most other new home prices are heavily impacted by: • Land Costs: most people are not aware that around 30 to 35 per cent of the price of an average new home is the land. • Building Costs: about 50 per cent of the price of a new home is building materials and on-site labor costs. A large percentage of these materials are imported and priced in U.S. dollars and, like lumber, are priced by rising U.S. demand. The recent drop in the Canadian dollar has had a major impact. • Overhead: The price to manage a project through increasingly complex municipal approval processes, and to effectively coordinate and assure the home gets built and is properly inspected, is around 10 per cent of the home’s price. • Taxes: At least 7 per cent of the price of a new home is direct taxes. However, considering the other government taxes hidden in permit fees, levies and land development charges, the new home buyer may actually be paying taxes at a rate closer to 20 or even 30 per cent of the price of a new home. • Profit: add up the above and there is not much left over. The result is that a small change in any one of the first four factors can significantly impact the home builder’s viability.

Edmonton business, in-general, is anxious and planning for a turnaround. For Steve Ruggiero and his fellow Edmonton area builders and developers, there is optimism. “The home building industry is a very resilient business. A market turnaround will see builders stepping up to meet demand in very short order. However, as experienced in the last upturn, municipal ability to support the industry can become a key limiting factor. They simply cannot ramp up as quickly as private industry. To help address this concern, CHBA-ER is working closely with the City of Edmonton and others to look at new ways of doing business to ensure this challenge is addressed. I am very positive that when the turnaround happens, Edmonton home builders will be able to meet the economy’s demands.” He adds a refreshing dose of housing start positivity. “There are so many voices on what may happen in the economy in 2016 that getting a clear picture is challenging. Our hope is that there will be positive turnaround this year. “Many of the best minds suggest perhaps a small 2016 improvement, but what is important to recognize is, unlike the last downturn this is a downturn in one industry. Other segments of the economy are experiencing positive indicators. While this is hard to feel when the primary economic driver of the region is suffering, it lends support to the idea of a potential turnaround in 2016.”

ABOVE: STEVE RUGGIERO, PRESIDENT OF KIMBERLEY HOMES GROUP AND PRESIDENT OF THE CANADIAN HOME BUILDERS’ ASSOCIATION - EDMONTON REGION (CHBA-ER)

BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // FEBRUARY 2016

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OUR DRESS FOR SUCCESS CASE STUDY // DRESS FOR SUCCESS

OUR DRESS FOR SUCCESS CASE STUDY W

e have heard time and time again that how we present ourselves affects everything from our confidence to our ability to get hired and/or promoted. This month, Business in Edmonton (BIE) decided to see just how deep the connection between “dress” and “success” goes. To help us with this case study, we have Shirley Borrelli, stylist, life coach, public speaker and frequent BIE contributor; Don DesCotes, the APA business development director for Western Canada who has more than 30 years’ experience in hiring and evaluating employees; and the Bonnie-Jean McAllister, an entrepreneur who allowed Borrelli to make her over and DesCotes to evaluate her before and after photos.

The Subject “I have been a photographer since 1988 and officially launched Ealanta Photography in 2001,” says McAllister. “I chose ‘Ealanta’, a Gaelic word meaning ‘ready artistic professional’ because of my Scottish heritage; this beautiful word just fit perfectly. However, I felt like I was hiding behind my camera at the events I photographed. I was ready to step out and really be a part of all the fun I was capturing. I knew I needed Shirley’s [Borrelli] help in showing me how to make it happen. “I have always felt confident in what I do but not in how I look. During the makeover process I felt my confidence rising as she taught me exactly what works and what doesn’t for my brand/body. Shirley continues to be the voice in my head that guides me to keep dressing in what makes me feel more confident every day.”

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FEBRUARY 2016 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM

BUSINESS IN EDMONTON TURNS TO THREE INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS TO LEARN HOW WHAT WE WEAR AFFECTS OUR SUCCESS, AND WHY THE STAKES ARE HIGHER THAN EVER IN A WORLD WHERE CLIENTS “MEET US ONLINE FIRST”.

BY NERISSA MCNAUGHTON

Now that McAllister is wearing clothes that make her feel confident and successful, has this had an impact on her business? Absolutely. “My new look has helped my business grow because I have the confidence to interact and engage more often and show people the personality behind the camera. When I put on an outfit now that I know looks good, I feel good, and I just love that!”

The Stylist When Borrelli first met McAllister, she wouldn’t have guessed she was in the presence of a highly sought after photographer whose work graces magazine covers, captures high-profile events and immortalizes weddings. In addition to running her own company, McAllister spearheads other initiatives that greatly benefit emerging artists; but Borrelli didn’t get that first impression. “I actually thought she was a housewife from a small town. My first impression was casual, common and plain.” It sounds cruel, especially to fashionable housewives everywhere, but Borrelli is quick to explain: “You are in business because you are solving a problem. You want people to choose your solution over the competition. When my clients show up confidently, they inspire confidence that they are the right choice and make it easy to be chosen.” She notes how social media and online marketing have rewritten expectations, especially for people looking to draw in clients based on what they read on their websites or see on their online galleries.


BY NICOLE AUBERTIN

C

opeman Healthcare has written a powerful prescription for healthcare success. The award-winning company has developed a collaborative, team-based approach that places a strong emphasis on personalized, prevention-focused care and cutting-edge technology. Founded as a family-owned business, the Copeman team has grown to a full complement of 170 distinguished care providers including physicians, nurses, psychologists, physiotherapists, kinesiologists and Registered Dietitians. Teams work across four locations in Alberta and B.C. and service a roster of clients that has grown steadily since the doors first opened in 2005. Although the last decade has welcomed many exciting advances in the delivery of medicine, some things – like the company’s core values — have remained largely unchanged. At the core of the Copeman philosophy is a steadfast desire to improve quality of life and deliver outstanding care. Since no two patients are the same, care must be personalized to the specific needs of each client. Medical expertise is delivered by a team of professionals who collaborate with the client’s best interests in mind to arrive at an optimal care plan. “Simply put, prevention works,” says Les Jickling, Senior Director of Communications. “It’s the most powerful tool available to drive superior health outcomes and quality of life – and it’s never too late to start”.

“We pride ourselves on being proactive. We work with each of our clients to help them understand their individual risks; we develop prevention plans tailored to their specific needs and reach out to them on a regular basis to provide ongoing support and encouragement. Our goal is to put our clients on the path to optimal health and keep them there. That’s a powerful concept – seeing your care provider before you are ill”. Copeman encourages its clients to focus on building resilience in physical, mental and brain health. While fundamentals such as sleep, exercise and nutrition can positively impact all three, targeted strategies to alleviate stress, anxiety and negative emotions can help with mental health and cognitive exercises can help stave off the onset of dementia. Jickling draws a parallel between disease prevention and regular vehicle maintenance. Sometimes it is better to have a service check rather than wait until the engine light comes on. “By taking care of yourself and maintaining your body, mind and brain in the same way that you might service your vehicle on a regular basis, it’s going to last you a lot longer and you’re going to get much more use out of it. Ironically, a lot of people take much better care of their vehicles than their own health”. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT Treena Popowich at 780-455-2273 tpopowich@copemanhealthcare.com or visit www.copemanhealthcare.com


OUR DRESS FOR SUCCESS CASE STUDY // DRESS FOR SUCCESS

Before

After “More and more people know their businesses extends past brick and mortar onto the website of the company and the experience of visitors to their social media. This is all an extension of your brand. Now, when they finally do get to meet this brand that they heard about on your website, Instagram, your newsletters, your eBook, etc., it’s like a buildup. We have to work harder at continuing that customer experience that they have come to know online. This is what is changing in the business world. People meet you online first. “Our image is part of our marketing. It is a tool. For people that don’t believe it’s a tool they need (a) celebrity status or (b) enough over-the-top successful projects, testimonies, accolades, awards, or Nobel Prizes to make up for that gap between people’s first impressions and actually getting chosen above the competition [think, Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg].

“Because Bonnie-Jean was not a celebrity and hasn’t yet been nominated for a Nobel Prize, she still has to work on building the visibility of her brand. Before her makeover, she was the face of the company, but she wasn’t dressing in a way that represented it. She knew it was time to step up and be the star. She didn’t want to show up looking unpolished because that was a letdown in the eyes of the client. She wanted the confidence to step in front of the camera and be the face for her company and therefore serve more people by capturing their life’s precious moments.” Conclusion: by the time your clients meet you or your company representative, they have formed an expectation of your professionalism and ability to get the job done. If you present yourself in a way that does not confirm this, they are more likely to turn to the competition. ABOVE: BONNIE-JEAN MCALLISTER

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OUR DRESS FOR SUCCESS CASE STUDY // DRESS FOR SUCCESS

The Evaluator To apply this conclusion in a real world application, McAllister allowed us to show DesCotes her before and after photos. We asked him a series of questions before we revealed her career. BIE: Look at the subject’s before photo. What is your first impression and your guess at her profession? DesCotes: I would guess she is a receptionist/office administrator, potentially someone trying to get back into the workforce after being out of it for some period of time. BIE: In the before photo, does the subject look confident? Poised? Successful? Why or why not? DesCotes: My perception is a lack of confidence. If what she is wearing is meant to present her best for an interview, I would think the candidate would be anxious (more than normal) to have a successful interview. Her attire strikes me as going for lunch with friends at a casual restaurant, or for coffee with a close friend. BIE: Look at the after photo. What is your first impression and your guess at her profession? DesCotes: My initial impression would be a leader/middle manager/regional manager or business owner. Effort was put into her appearance so the meeting/interview is important to this person. BIE: In the after photo, does the subject look confident? Poised? Successful? Why or why not? DesCotes: Yes, she does look confident and poised. Her outfit enhances her appearance. In this case the person dresses in a style that matches her reality. BIE: Think back to your impression of the before photo. Now I will tell you that the subject is a photographer that has worked on many high ranking assignments, including photographing Debbie Travis, Jack Canfield and Alfie Zappacosta. She is an entrepreneur with several successful initiatives. Does this surprise you? DesCotes: It does not surprise me at all. Successful people have an attitude, a confidence that cannot be picked up in a

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photograph unless it is a head shot attached to a biography. Eye contact, a firm handshake, focus, and coming prepared are equal to appearance when hiring someone for an assignment. BIE: If you met the subject for the first time in her before photo, would you be keen to hire her as a photographer? DesCotes: I would not be initially excited about hiring her. Not to say that I would not, but she would start the initial meeting in recovery mode, whether she knew it or not. BIE: If you met the subject for the first time in her after photo, would you be keen to hire her as a photographer? DesCotes: The interview would start in a more positive vibe. I would be impressed with the candidate wanting to make a good first impression and know that this meeting was very important to them. BIE: How can a job seeker or entrepreneur give a great first impression and dress for success? DesCotes: First impressions set the tone for the first ten minutes of any interview. Appearance and body language make or break whether I am going to get engaged in the interview. Things that indicate a lack of preparation is when the subject comes dressed in off-the-street clothes, dishevelled hair and without a note pad. Talk to people in advance that might have knowledge of the company/industry/market they work in. Drive by the location your interview will be held at and get an impression of the image of the company. If you can, research the person you are meeting with. This will give you the best opportunity to understand what ‘dress for success’ means for the opportunity. Note that overdressing is a much option [and problem] as underdressing.

The Bottom Line The way we dress affects everything we do, and if you are representing a business – your own or your employers – the impression you give can have a lasting impact on your career. When you take the time to present yourself as the face of your brand, you increase marketability and earning potential; and in the age of digital awareness, dressing for success has never been more important.


MEET BILL BLAIS, THE 2016 EDMONTON CHAMBER BOARD CHAIR // COVER

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FEBRUARY 2016 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM


MEET BILL BLAIS, THE 2016 EDMONTON CHAMBER BOARD CHAIR // COVER

Meet

BILL BLAIS,

THE 2016 EDMONTON CHAMBER BOARD CHAIR BILL BLAIS PREPARES TO STEP INTO A ROLE THAT WAS MORE THAN A CENTURY IN THE MAKING. BY NERISSA MCNAUGHTON

LEFT: BILL BLAIS, 2016 EDMONTON CHAMBER BOARD CHAIR. PHOTO SOURCE: EPIC PHOTOGRAPHY INC.

BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // FEBRUARY 2016

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MEET BILL BLAIS, THE 2016 EDMONTON CHAMBER BOARD CHAIR // COVER

T

he date is November 16, 1925. A group of Canadian businessmen, 134 in number, gather at the Manitoba Legislature Building. The men seek to improve the economic conditions in their respective regions and foster a spirit of cooperation among the provinces they represent. This was the first meeting in what would become Canada’s Chamber of Commerce. From the start, the Chamber flourished. It now encompasses over 450 local Chambers and boards of trade, represents more than 200,000 businesses and is the largest business association in Canada. Government, business leaders, and media outlets turn to the Chamber for their important views, research and information on what affects our economy and the unique challenges businesses face in each city, province and region. Serving on the board of a city’s Chamber of Commerce means being the voice of the local business leaders. It means influence and strategy to help make a city as strong as economically possible, and it represents a significant input of resources and time. This is not an issue for Edmonton’s 2016 Edmonton Chamber board chair, Bill Blais, who is more than happy to serve in this capacity. “Somebody suggested I get involved with the Edmonton Chamber and I found it was a unique opportunity to participate with a wonderful group of business people. I got involved with the policy committee and it opened my eyes to the advocacy work the Chamber does on behalf of Edmonton business,” says Blais of how he first got involved with the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. “I’ve been with the Chamber board for the last two years and was involved with committee for seven years prior to that.” The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce is unique in that it is one of the strongest and most influential Chambers in Canada. Edmonton’s Chamber grew from the Edmonton Board of Trade (EBT), which was established in 1889, before Edmonton officially became a city. At that time, the driving economic factor for the region was agriculture and the region’s businesspeople had the foresight to see that communication and transportation beyond their borders would be the two things to help the region

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FEBRUARY 2016 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM

BLAIS STEPS INTO THIS RICH HISTORY AND TRADITION OF MOVING THE CITY FORWARD, AND HE DOES SO WITH UNBRIDLED ENTHUSIASM. HE LOOKS FORWARD TO THE CHALLENGES THAT COME WITH THE POSITION – AND WITH HELPING TO GROW A CITY. prosper. Therefore, the EBT put all their resources into providing these two things, knowing that they would bring on opportunities for economic growth. They were very successful. A few short years later, a rail line was added to Edmonton, and the city’s growth has been on a positive trajectory ever since. In 1928, the EBT joined the ever-growing Canadian Chamber and was officially named the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. While the needs of the city have changed as agriculture gave way to the rise of the energy industry, the mandate of the organization has not; the needs of Edmonton’s businesses remain at the forefront of everything our Chamber does and the organization is still focused on our needs of transportation and communication, knowing that now, as it did then, these are the keys to Edmonton’s success. Blais steps into this rich history and tradition of moving the city forward, and he does so with unbridled enthusiasm. He looks forward to the challenges that come with the position – and with helping to grow a city. “One of the greatest challenges for Edmonton businesses is access is to markets and getting to tidewater,” says Blais. “The Chamber is active in fixing this.” He is looking forward to tackling some of the region’s most pressing issues. “We continue to sell products at a discount and that is one of the most important problems we can solve. I’d like to focus our efforts on that.”


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MEET BILL BLAIS, THE 2016 EDMONTON CHAMBER BOARD CHAIR // COVER

Another issue facing Edmonton’s business community that is very high on Blais’ priority list is the recent downturn. “The change in oil prices has had an impact on our members, their employees and the business community. I think we are going to be in a challenging economic time, but those challenges present opportunity.” He focuses on that word: opportunity. He’s never met a challenge that he couldn’t find the good in, and the pressing issues facing Edmonton are no exception. To Blais, challenge equals change and change equals growth. Blais leads the Chamber at a very strategic time in Canada’s history. “Changes at the provincial and federal level have given a great opportunity for the Chamber to continue to build and expand relationships with the two new governments. This gives us an opportunity to have the

voice of the Edmonton business community heard loud and clear,” he says. Currently, Blais is the vice president of land development with Maclab Enterprises. “I was fortunate to join Maclab and work my way up. I really enjoy the business and the opportunities it presents to me. I find it a very fascinating business to work in,” he smiles. “I’ve always worked in real estate development and have been fortunate to be with a great company for a number of years.” Despite his success at Maclab and in the community, Blais is admittedly humble, preferring instead to honour the colleagues, friends and family that have helped him reach his goals and eschewing recognition for the awards and acknowledgements he’s collected along the way.

ABOVE: BILL BLAIS, 2016 EDMONTON CHAMBER BOARD CHAIR. PHOTO SOURCE: EPIC PHOTOGRAPHY INC.

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FEBRUARY 2016 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM


MEET BILL BLAIS, THE 2016 EDMONTON CHAMBER BOARD CHAIR // COVER

THE CHAMBER HAS COME A LONG WAY FROM ITS HUMBLE ROOTS IN BOTH CANADA AND IN EDMONTON AND AS BLAIS PREPARES TO TAKE THE REINS FOR A YEAR, HE REFLECTS ON THE GREAT MEN AND WOMEN THAT CAME BEFORE HIM, PAVING THE WAY FOR OTHERS AND BUILDING UP THE REGION ONE DAY AND ONE STEP AT A TIME.

“I’m not a big believer in huge achievements. If you continue to do good work you’ll be rewarded over time. I’d like to keep turning the flywheel and executing every day rather than having a huge achievement to hang your hat on,” he admits. As a busy family man involved in his three children’s hockey teams while also being an avid cyclist, hard worker and serving in the community, Business in Edmonton was interested in learning how he balances it all. The answer? Passion and purpose. “People should pick to do what they like to do and success will follow if you are truly passionate about it. I think that’s it. Figure out what you’re passionate about. What you love to do. Then get going and keep doing that!” Blais’ term as Board Chair is one year, and he’s looking forward to everything the position entails. “I’m excited to work with a fantastic board! In the last 12 months we’ve had a new president and CEO. It feels like the Chamber is moving in a new direction and there are a lot of good things happening. We have a great policy team and volunteer work on committees. We have many fantastic events and a real focus on providing value for our membership. “I think Edmonton’s professionals and their businesses really will be able to create the city and the business climate

we want if they are willing to participate and lend staff to participate in the Chamber and other community-focused organizations. Funding for not-for-profit, government and other organizations can be quite sporadic, but if business is passionate about creating something for the city, they are the tool to execute for that. “There is great opportunity to participate with the Chamber of Commerce. All it takes is making a phone call to see where you can participate and volunteer. The time you give is rewarded with great opportunity and learning.” One of the great strengths of the Edmonton Chamber is the number of networking opportunities they provide for members. In addition to mixers and events, the Edmonton Chamber partners with some of the most well-known and respected names in Canada, such as ESSO, ATB Business, UPS, Canadian North and the University of Alberta Technology Training Centre. Member benefits also include educational business resources, advocacy, benefits for member company’s employees, influence in the business community, greater credibility for online marketing, brand building tools, discounts with partner businesses and much more. The Chamber has come a long way from its humble roots in both Canada and in Edmonton and as Blais prepares to take the reins for a year, he reflects on the great men and women that came before him, paving the way for others and building up the region one day and one step at a time. He fully believes in the Chamber’s mission to “advocate to all levels of government, provide exceptional educational tools from industry experts and connect each member to the broadest network of business communities in the Edmonton region.” Blais extends his thanks to the staff, board and volunteers of the Chamber of Commerce, noting that “they are great at what they do,” and that he has “enjoyed working with so many great people over the years.” He looks forward to the future and whatever it has in store for him. For now, his main focus in on the Chamber and when his term is done, the future will come along and whisk him into another great, deserving, adventure that has him moving and shaking the city of Edmonton, leading business in a positive direction and being a pillar in the community while grooming the next generation of leaders and Chamber chairs.

BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // FEBRUARY 2016

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EDMONTON EVENTS ARE SERIOUS BUSINESS // EVENT PLANNING AND CATERING

Serious

EDMONTON EVENTS ARE BUSINESS BY JOHN HARDY

I

n Edmonton, event planning is in-demand, hectically busy and an exciting industry. As with some other unique sectors of the service industry, event planning and coordination is often misunderstood and sometimes taken for granted. “Event planning professionals must have a crystal clear understanding of why the event is happening,” explains Alexandra Armstrong, Certified Special Event Professional (CSEP) and past president of the International Special Event Society’s (ISES,) Edmonton chapter, an association dedicated to the evolution of the special event industry and the people who work in it.

“EVENT PLANNING PROFESSIONALS MUST HAVE A CRYSTAL CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF WHY THE EVENT IS HAPPENING.” ~ ALEXANDRA ARMSTRONG

“How can we, as professionals, ensure the client’s goals and objectives are met? We have to know our clients very well in order to get to the heart of their marketing, branding and ROE – Return on Event. There has been a marked move toward apps and online services to assist with registration, venue bookings, seating plans and social interaction well before the event date. Clients want more engagement and they are relying on event professionals to guide and create impactful events. “We founded our ISES Edmonton Chapter in 2011 and having a group of creative industry professionals has had a positive impact on the industry,” Armstrong continues. “I’ve also noticed that more people are seeking further education in event management, either taking a certificate program or select classes like contract negotiation and risk assessment. It can only improve the industry as a whole.” ABOVE: ALEXANDRA ARMSTRONG, CSEP, PAST PRESIDENT OF THE EDMONTON CHAPTER OF ISES

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FEBRUARY 2016 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM


We Cater to your Cravings in 2016 Booster Juice is refreshing our catering, fundraising and healthy school lunch programs across Canada! Currently we offer a variety of catering and fundraising options as well as preferential pricing and delivery services for large orders. In 2016, we will be introducing even more Smoothie, Fresh Juice and delicious food combinations for everything from corporate meetings to team sporting events. Naturally, our school lunch menu will also be enhanced to offer students more varieties that meet each province’s nutritional standards. For more information and to place an order, please email us:

catering@boosterjuice.com

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EDMONTON EVENTS ARE SERIOUS BUSINESS // EVENT PLANNING AND CATERING

THERE IS NO DENYING THAT THE ROLE, QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE OF A PROFESSIONAL EVENT PLANNER PUTS THEM IN A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN. ULTIMATELY, THEIR SERVICE AND SKILLS ENABLE THEM TO SEAMLESSLY MIX BUSINESS WITH PLEASURE, AND TO HANDLE NUMEROUS DETAILS WITH EFFICIENCY.

“Client expectations can vary wildly from being very realistic to completely impossible,” explains Corinne Kessel, CSEP and chair of ISES Canada. “The biggest myth clients have is that working in the creative events industry is so easy that they can do it themselves. The internet does make it possible to order many components of an event online, but nothing replaces the expertise and experience of a well-connected event professional that can execute your event flawlessly with trusted and reliable vendors. If you have ordered bits and pieces online, who do you call when something is late or broken or you have 200 extra guests? Who will ensure

all your fire and safety regulations are adhered to and your guests will be protected?” There is no denying that the role, qualifications and experience of a professional event planner puts them in a league of their own. Ultimately, their service and skills enable them to seamlessly mix business with pleasure, and to handle numerous details with efficiency. Continued on page 36 ABOVE: CORINNE KESSEL, CSEP & CHAIR OF ISES CANADA

“Enterprise-based solutions for your growing business” isn’t just a catch phrase, it’s been our reason for existing since 2001. Ranchlands offers a Managed Services approach in our business practice to provide your company a stable, more reliable and proactive way to ensure your systems are available to you when you need them.

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FEBRUARY 2016 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM


Fairmont Hotel Macdonald T: 780-429-6424 E: mac.dining@fairmont.com


DIRECTORY // EVENT PLANNING AND CATERING

EVENT PLANNING AND CATERING DIRECTORY VENUES

EDMONTON MARRIOTT AT RIVER CREE RESORT

HOLIDAY INN HOTEL & SUITES WEST EDMONTON

RAMADA EDMONTON HOTEL AND CONFERENCE CENTRE

EDMONTON PUBLIC LIBRARY

HOTEL SELKIRK

RAMADA INN & WATERPARK EDMONTON SOUTH

780-484-2121 WWW.MARRIOTT.COM

780-444-3110 WWW.HOLIDAYINN.COM/EDMONTON

780-454-5454 WWW.RAMADAEDMONTON.COM

ART GALLERY OF ALBERTA 780-422-6223 WWW.YOURAGA.CA

BESTWESTERN PLUS (ALL LOCATIONS)

WWW.BOOK.BESTWESTERN.COM

CHATEAU NOVA HOTEL YELLOWHEAD 780-454-5441 WWW.NOVAHOTELS.CA

780-496-7000 WWW.EPL.CA

780-496-7227 WWW.FORTEDMONTONPARK.CA

EXECUTIVE ROYAL INN WEST EDMONTON

LA CITÉ FRANCOPHONE

780-484-6000 WWW.EXECUTIVEHOTELS.NET

LATITUDE 53 FANTASYLAND HOTEL

780-444-3000 WWW.FANTASYLANDHOTEL.COM

COAST EDMONTON PLAZA HOTEL 780-423-4811 WWW.COASTHOTELS.COM

COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT EDMONTON WEST

780-638-6070 WWW.COURYARDEDMONTONWEST.COM

COURTYARD EDMONTON DOWNTOWN 780-423-9999 WWW.MARRIOTT.COM

DELTA EDMONTON CENTRE SUITE HOTEL

FESTIVAL PLACE

780-423-5353 WWW.LATITUDE53.ORG

MERIDIAN BANQUETS & CONFERENCE CENTRE

780-464-2852 WWW.FESTIVALPLACE.AB.CA

780-940-3123 WWW.MERIDIANBANQUETS.CA

FOUNDRY ROOM

MIRAGE BANQUET HALL

RENAISSANCE HOTEL AT EIA 780-488-7159 WWW.MARRIOTT.COM

ROYAL GLENORA CLUB 780-482-2371 WWW.ROYALGLENORA.COM

SANDMAN SIGNATURE EDMONTON SOUTH

780-430-7263 WWW.SANDMANSIGNATURE.CA

SANDS INN & SUITES

780-328-7805 WWW.FOUNDRYROOM.COM

780-468-3003 WWW.MIRAGEEDMONTON.COM

FOUR POINTS BY SHERATON EDMONTON SOUTH

MOUNTAIN PARK LODGES (JASPER)

SANTA MARIA GORETTI CENTRE

780-465-7931 WWW.STARWOODHOTELS.COM

780-409-9273 WWW.MPLJASPER.COM

780-426-5026 WWW.SANTAMARIAGORETTICENTRE.COM

THE FRANCIS WINSPEAR CENTRE

NAIT

SAWMILL BANQUET & CATERING CENTRE

780-429-3900 WWW.DELTAEDMONTONCENTRE.COM

780-428-1414 WWW.WINSPEARCENTRE.COM

780-471-8493 WWW.NAIT.CA

DEVONIAN BOTANIC GARDEN

HILTON GARDEN INN WEST

NORTHLANDS

780-987-3054 WWW.DEVONIAN.UALBERTA.CA

780-443-2233 WWW.HILTONGARDENINN3.HILTON.COM

780-471-7210 WWW.NORTHLANDS.COM

DOUBLETREE BY HILTON HOTEL WEST EDMONTON

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES (ALL LOCATIONS)

RADISSON HOTEL & CONVENTION CENTRE

780-484-0821 WWW.DOUBLETREE3.HILTON.COM

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780-463-1144 WWW.LACITEFRANCO.CA

780-434-3431 WWW.RAMADA.COM

WWW.HIEXPRESS.COM/EDMONTON

FEBRUARY 2016 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM

780-468-5400 WWW.RADISSON.COM

780-474-5476 WWW.SANDSHOTELEDM.COM

780-468-4115 WWW.SWAMILLRESTAURANT.COM

SHAW CONFERENCE CENTRE

780-421-9797 WWW.SHAWCONFERENCECENTRE.COM

ST. MICHAEL’S HERITAGE HALL 780-472-4508 WWW.SMHG.CA


DIRECTORY // EVENT PLANNING AND CATERING

MS PRODUCTIONS TELUS WORLD OF SCIENCE 780-451-3344 WWW.ODYSSIUM.COM

TRESTLE CREEK GOLF RESORT 780-727-4575 WWW.TRESTLECREEK.CA

780-999-5799 WWW.MILENASANTORO.COM

CM EVENTS

780-761-6682 WWW.CMEVENTS.CA

NNS PRODUCTIONS INC. THE ENJOY CENTRE 780-419-6800 WWW.ENJOYCENTRE.CA

THE FAIRMONT HOTEL MACDONALD

780-424-5181 WWW.FAIRMONTMEETINGS.COM

THE OASIS CENTRE

780-451-9227 WWW.OASISCENTRE.COM

THE SUTTON PLACE HOTEL

780-428-7111 WWW.EDMONTON.SUTTONPLACE.COM

THE TIMMS CENTRE FOR THE ARTS 780-492-2273 WWW.TIMMSCENTRE.CA

UNION BANK INN

780-423-3600 WWW.UNIONBANKINN.COM

WEST EDMONTON MALL 780-444-5308 WWW.WEM.CA/GROUPS

MEETING & EVENT PLANNERS

780-233-7180

CANA EVENTS INC.

780-485-5955 WWW.CANAEVENTS.COM

RAYACOM PRINTING

CURRIE COMMUNICATIONS 780-413-9570 WWW.CURRIECOM.COM

RIVER CITY EVENTS

780-424-6001 WWW.RIVERCITYEVENTS.CA

EMBROIDME

780-328-2020 WWW.EMBROIDME.CA

SCOTTISH IMPORTS

780-433-6889 WWW.ANYTHINGSCOTTISH.COM

ID BOHEMIA ABOVE & BEYOND PROMOTIONS 780-637-0776 WWW.ABPROMO.CA

ABSOLUTELY EDIBLES CATERING

780-424-6823 WWW.ABSOLUTELYEDIBLES.COM

780-455-7292 WWW.RAYACOM.COM

780-221-1812 WWW.IDBOHEMIA.COM

TWO HATS EVENTS

780-217-5528 WWW.TWOHATSEVENTS.COM

IN FOCUS EVENTS

780-619-2405 WWW.INFOCUSEVENTS.COM

INVERT 720 PRODUCTIONS THE WESTIN EDMONTON

780-426-3636 WWW.THEWESTINEDMONTON.COM

TRAVELODGE EDMONTON WEST 780-483-6031 WWW.TRAVELODGE.CA

AXE HOLE

780-982-6500 WWW.AXEHOLE.CA

CEO CORPORATE EVENT ORGANIZATION INC.

780-489-7203 WWW.INVERT720.COM

KRISTIN GLASS EVENTS

780-267-4848 WWW.KIRSTINGLASSEVENTS.COM

780-421-1240 WWW.CEOINC.CA

Stag(ette) Parties, Team Building, Corporate Events, Holiday parties, Birthday Parties, Divorce Parties, Weddings, and any other Party or event

Mobile axe throwing for your corporate BBQ or events Team Building at the facility 10% off bookings if you mention this ad when booking

104, 11614-119 st NW, Edmonton, Alberta 1-780-982-6500 www.axehole.ca info@axehole.net

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FEBRUARY 2016 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM


DIRECTORY // EVENT PLANNING AND CATERING

Scottish Imports

10121 150 Street, Edmonton Telephone: 780.433.6889 • Toll Free: 1.877.246.5613 Corporate Kilt Hire, Event Planning and Highland Outfitter

FOR YOUR NEXT EVENT:

DIRECT AT T E N T I O N WHERE IT MATTERS MOST Mosaic provides full-service event management solutions so you and your attendees have a stress-free, exceptional event experience - beginning to end. We specialize in conferences, professional development, and networking events. Contact us to learn more!

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Contact Sales@MPLJasper.com or 780.852.2516 to book your next business meeting or corporate retreat.

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BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // FEBRUARY 2016

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EDMONTON EVENTS ARE SERIOUS BUSINESS // EVENT PLANNING AND CATERING

Continued from page 30

“It involves highly effective communication skills, creativity, innovation, flexibility, adaptability, resourcefulness, strong working relationships with clients, colleagues, vendors and event partners and organization,” Kessel points out, “as well as a hunger to learn and grow, and a passion for making things happen, whatever time of day!” She continues, “In the past five years or so, ISES professionals have noticed, and adjusted to, various new trends in the event planning industry, such as new ways in audience engagement and the increased incorporation of technology into events to enhance sensory experiences

and create a seamless integration between live and digital presentation. We are also seeing a greater focus on sustainability and corporate social responsibility. “No doubt about it, there is some frugal innovation happening, doing more with less and using creativity to find new solutions for our clients; and there is a definite trend toward non-attendee engagement and experiential marketing.” Since, by nature, the event industry relies on dealing with people and the notoriously thankless goal of making most of the people happy most of the time, event professionals must cater to the varying wants and needs of three distinctly different age groups and clientele: Boomers, GenXers and Millennials. “The way each demographic communicates is important,” Kessel says. “Long, detailed event binders and crew sheets don’t cut it with the younger generations. They won’t pour over the novel you give them before each event. Much better to shoot them a quick video. The younger generations are generally more interested in knowing the bigger picture and aren’t as happy to just work on their piece of the puzzle. They want to know how everything fits together. The trick is to understand who you are talking to and adjust your communication style accordingly.” Ironically, when it comes to the business of event planning, the current economy is both a boost and a problem. Throughout Alberta and particularly in Edmonton, the

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FEBRUARY 2016 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM


EDMONTON EVENTS ARE SERIOUS BUSINESS // EVENT PLANNING AND CATERING

oil price slump continues to broadside. Almost 15,000 people have lost their jobs; energy and oilfield service companies – no matter how optimistic – are dealing with a tough reality. This past Christmas, Edmonton event planners noticed a definite trend of cutting back, or cancelling Christmas parties altogether, as layoffs and low oil prices continued to hammer the industry. “A few of the larger corporations cancelled their annual Christmas events in 2015,” Armstrong notes. “Some scaled back to simpler in-house appreciation events held during work hours while others felt staging an office

party could be seen as insensitive to celebrate during the economic down turn.” However, not all is lost. In the same way the low dollar is hurting our economy, it provides a surprising benefit. “Aside from domestic business, western Canada draws a lot of business from the United States and Asia. The low loonie makes it more appealing for corporate and incentive groups to come to Canada. The dismal loonie in 2015 has been great for events in Canada. We will have many high profile corporate, conference and sporting events this year,” Kessel concludes.

Trestle Creek Golf Resort is an ideal location to host your wedding, golf tournament or corporate retreat. With 600 acres of property we can make any event a great one! We are building a new state of the art clubhouse facility that is scheduled to open in May of 2017. Our new clubhouse will be able to host weddings and events for up to 300 people.

WEDDINGS & CORPORATE RETREATS • Inside up to 72 people • Outside with tents up to 224 people • Nature walks on our 25km trails • Cross country skiing • Waterpark Directions 45 minutes West of Edmonton off Highway16 30 minutes North of Drayton Valley 40 minutes South of Whitecourt 2.5 hours East of Jasper P (780) 727- 4575 • F (780) 727- 4573 E info@trestlecreek.ca www.trestlecreek.ca

GOLF EVENTS • 18 holes of golf • PGA of Canada Golf Professionals • Rental Clubs • Beverage cart services • Power carts equipped with GPS system Hotel accommodations within 35 minutes of resort Locate 45 minutes West of Edmonton Fully licensed club house amenities

BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // FEBRUARY 2016

37


INVESTING: IS IT TIME TO PANIC? // RRSP, TFSA & TAX PLANNING

INVESTING: IS IT TIME TO PANIC? BY NERISSA MCNAUGHTON

S

hhh. Don’t look now but there’s a recession behind you. The 2008 recession kind of snuck up on us, even though we should have seen it coming; and the one that gained traction in 2015? Well, some experts think it’s just a bump in the economy and not a recession at all. Regardless, it’s safe to say the economy’s not doing as well as before, but what can we do? We are at the mercy of the ups and downs of the market, right? Not really. The key to making – and keeping – money in any economy is in smart investing. You’ll make some gains, and see some losses, but over the long term, you can make your money work for you. “If we consider investment performance in the Canadian or global equity markets as a barometer for investment success for the first three quarters of 2015, on balance this year wouldn’t be a good year. If we shift our perspective to investors in the accumulation phase of their lives, one can make an argument that these investors are better off as they are able to buy more shares with their savings,” says Marshall McAlister, CFA at Pavilion Investment House – a division of Pavilion Advisory Group Ltd. “We can’t always take the results of the public markets as an indicator of every investor’s experiences.” McAlister says that every age group, from the young professional to the retiree, from employees to

employers, can benefit from a formal written Investment Policy Statement (IPS). “Drafting an IPS requires an assessment of the investor’s goals and the determination of appropriate methods for achieving those goals. Regardless of one’s age or level of wealth, it is recommended that an investor work from a ABOVE: MARSHALL MCALISTER, CFA, PRIVATE WEALTH COUNSELLOR, PRINCIPAL, PAVILION INVESTMENT HOUSE

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FEBRUARY 2016 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM


INVESTING: IS IT TIME TO PANIC? // RRSP, TFSA & TAX PLANNING

AS WE HEAD INTO 2016, EDWARD JONES RECOMMENDS THAT INVESTORS EXPECT THE SAME VOLATILITY AS 2015, AVOID PANICKING, LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES (BUY LOW SELL HIGH!), DIVERSIFY AND REVIEW YOUR INVESTMENT STRATEGY.

written plan, as headline news and market volatility can make day-to-day investment decisions difficult. A key facet of an IPS is the asset allocation plan. Proper asset allocation sets minimum and maximum exposures to different asset classes such as stocks and bonds providing essential diversification for investors. When the capital markets cause the valuation of a particular asset class to be outside of a predetermined range, the IPS document will guide the investor’s actions.” McAlister, is the author of The Brilliance of Boring Investing, and he got the idea for the book’s catchy title from economist Paul Samuelson. “He said that ‘Investing should be dull. Investing should be more like watching paint dry or grass grow’,” he laughs. “Investments that have the potential for huge returns are almost always accompanied by high risks. Given that the mathematical significance of negative returns are so much greater than the equivalent positive return, it should be an investor’s main goal to limit the severity of negative returns. At a high level, risk is a good thing as it will drive compensation for investors that are willing to lend capital. What I tried to communicate in my book are ways investors can still benefit from the returns of the bond and equity markets, all while controlling risk through evidencebased investment principals.” Spencer Bennett is a financial advisor with Edwards Jones. “Edward Jones believes in a long-term investment philosophy focused on quality investments,” Bennett points

out. “When stock prices begin falling dramatically, it can appear that your only option is to sell in order to limit losses. We disagree. If you are a long-term investor, the difference between success and failure may be determined by your actions during a stock market decline.” As we head into 2016, Edward Jones recommends that investors expect the same volatility as 2015, avoid panicking, look for opportunities (buy low sell high!), diversify and review your investment strategy. “Investing will never be risk-free or predictable,” Bennett cautions, “but taking the steps described above, can help relieve some of the stress associated with volatility and help you stay on track toward your financial objectives. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors should understand the risks involved of owning investments, including interest rate risk, credit risk and market risk. The value of investments fluctuates and investors can lose some or all of their principal. Special risks are inherent to international investing, including those related to currency fluctuations and foreign political and economic events.” What if you don’t have surplus funds to invest? Should you borrow the money? McAlister weighs in. “The use of leverage is very much dependent on the type of investment one is considering along with the investor’s risk tolerance levels. There are many investments that are almost always made with the help of

ABOVE: SPENCER BENNETT, FINANCIAL ADVISOR, EDWARDS JONES

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INVESTING: IS IT TIME TO PANIC? // RRSP, TFSA & TAX PLANNING

As you plan your financial strategy going into 2016, there is another professional you should consider: an insurance broker. Darlene Minogue is an insurance broker and financial representative with LSM Insurance. LSM believes in using brokers over captive agents in order to get the best rates and range of advice. “In a sound financial plan RRSP’s, TFSA’s, stocks, bonds and non-registered investments are all very important and should be part of everyone’s portfolio,” advises Minogue, “but there is no complete plan without insurance; disability for accidents and sickness, critical illness for a one-time lump sum payment and life insurance in case of premature death. Without insurance you are exposing your family to financial difficulty.” leverage as the overall volatility of the investment would be low and/or the cash flow of from the investment would be stable. I would strongly recommend that professional investment advice be sought if one was to consider the use of leverage with any investment.” Bennett agrees. “Using borrowed money to finance the purchase of securities involves greater risk than a purchase using cash-only resources. Each investor must take their own financial situation into account and consider the following questions: • What is your risk tolerance? Leveraged investing requires a higher risk tolerance. • Do you understand all of the risks associated with your investments and investment strategy? • Do you understand all of the costs associated with your investments and investment strategy including the costs associated with borrowing money? • Do you have the necessary income to meet the obligations (e.g. principal and interest) of the loan? • Do you have the ability (i.e. net worth) to withstand a loss? You should speak with your financial advisor to answer any questions you may have and to help you decide whether leveraged investing is right for you.”

Insurance helps the assets and cash flow in your portfolio. “Life insurance can provide additional tax free saving as well as protecting the plan against premature death, Minogue informs. “Life insurance, disability insurance and critical illness are very important but must be structured properly. For example, disability insurance will provide a monthly income whereas critical illness will provide a lump sum payment to the insured.” If you have a healthy portfolio and cash in the bank, do you need insurance in case of illness and death, or will your investments and assets carry you through? “The best solution to this is to have a long-term care policy as any savings would be eaten up very quickly. Private care facilities are very expensive,” answers Minogue. “Government facilities meet your basic needs, but you have no say in where you are going to be placed. You go where there is a room.” It’s good to know that the market may influence, but not ultimately drive, our investment strategy. Speak with a qualified professional today, like our contributing experts, and make sure to back up your plan with insurance to protect your wealth against illness and death. The economy will always have its ups and downs, but with advance planning, our portfolios can gracefully flex with the times. There is no need to panic.

ABOVE: DARLENE MINOGUE, INSURANCE BROKER AND FINANCIAL REPRESENTATIVE WITH LSM INSURANCE.

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We sell businesses... we bring opportunities.

ccording to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, 40 per cent of small and mid-size businesses in Canada will change ownership over the next three years, rising to seven out of 10 by the year of 2017. When Jey Arul first saw this statistic it struck him that we are now in the initial stages of what is expected to be the greatest wave of business transition in Canadian history. At 5,362,440 (2011 census) strong, baby boomers represent the largest single sustained growth of population in Canadian history and this generation started and grew thousands of successful privately held businesses. As the baby-boom generation ages (this year the youngest boomers turn 52 and the oldest turn 70), a host of succession problems have reared their heads. One noticeable trend is that the children of baby boomers are less likely to take over the family business, and they face less pressure from their parents to do so. Statistics reveal today that only a third of family businesses are successfully transferred to the next generation, and a mere 13 per cent are passed on to the third generation. Armed with this statistic and his entrepreneurial spirit, Jey Arul launched VR Business Brokers in Edmonton in 2010,

representing the first business brokerage to focus on the sale of small and mid-size businesses in and around Edmonton. Affiliated with VR, the world’s largest business broker network and a member of the International Business Brokers Association and M&A Source, VR Edmonton has a team of six fully trained business brokers from a wide range of professional backgrounds including accounting, banking, real estate and sales. In addition to their business broker certificate, each is also required to complete VR’s initial training program. In the last five years, VR Edmonton has successfully completed the sale of 75 businesses. Arul credits the success to his team as well as the systematic and methodical five-step process, from an initial appraisal to confidentially managing all aspects of the transaction to a successful close. “Buying or selling a business is a big emotional and financial decision for both buyers and sellers, more so than buying or selling a family home,” says Arul. “The satisfaction of helping business owners retire and move on to the next season of their lives and the excitement of helping buyers secure the opportunity of business ownership is why we do what we do.”

VR Business Sales #203, 5104 - 82 Avenue Edmonton, AB T6B 0E6 780-469-4769 | info@vralta.com | www.vralta.com


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Eligibility: All nominees must own, be a partner, CEO, or president of a private or public company, and be a primary stakeholder responsible for the recent performance of the company. In addition, the nominee’s company must be Edmonton-based and have been in existence for a minimum of three years. Judging Panel and Criteria: The independent panel of judges will consist of a selection of successful business leaders from the community. The judges will analyze an extensive list of criteria that will include finances, strategic direction, product or service innovation, company leadership (including personal integrity, values and key employee initiatives), community involvement and philanthropic activities. As part of the judging process one or more of the judges may request a tour of the business and meet with the nominee.

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Province – Now is the Time for Hard Choices

2016 Board of Directors Executive

Chair: Bill Blais Vice President, Land Development, MacLab Enterprises Vice Chair: James Merkosky Partner, Tax Services, Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP Past Chair: Jerri Cairns, Partner, Parlee McLaws LLP

Directors

Bryan DeNeve Senior Vice President Finance & CFO, Capital Power Dr. Glenn Feltham President & CEO, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology Crystal Graham Partner & Licensed Interior Designer, Kasian Architecture Interior Design & Planning Ltd. Dawn Harsch Owner, Exquisicare Inc. Alyson Hodson President & CEO, zag creative Elan MacDonald President, Impact Consulting Scott McEachern Vice President, Engineering & Projects, Enbridge Pipelines Inc. Len Rhodes President & CEO, Edmonton Eskimo Football Club Craig Thorkelsson Manager of Corporate Taxation, PCL Constructors Inc. Janet Riopel President & CEO, Edmonton Chamber of Commerce

Contact

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

By Janet M. Riopel, President & CEO

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ometimes governments have to make hard choices. Now is one of those times. With Alberta’s resource-based economy in a freefall, many companies are already slowing growth, cutting benefits and services, reducing wages, and even laying off staff just to keep the lights on. Now is not the time to increase their burden by way of tax or fee increases. This is the time to truly stimulate the economy and create new revenue streams to replace our dwindling resource royalties. Premier Rachel Notley’s government has spent the first part of her term fulfilling election spending and tax promises and laying out a short-term fiscal plan (-$6B shortfall). The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce believes it is time to lay out the foundation for a longerterm position that provides certainty and stability for businesses to thrive. The tough choices for this government are that all of this needs to be accomplished without driving Alberta’s debt up even further. When the new provincial budget is released shortly, it should stimulate the drivers of Alberta’s economy with measures to improve access to markets. The Province needs to reinvigorate efforts to get our energy reserves to tidewater in order for resource companies to get better prices. A pipeline to coastal waters makes our oil a lot more attractive to markets in Asia and the Eastern U.S. The government should continue its efforts to diversify the province’s economy and encourage investor confidence by avoiding any measures that would harm our competitive position. The Chamber would like to see the government join other stakeholders in a broad discussion of how to achieve stabilized revenue streams in the economic conditions that Alberta is most likely to face during the coming year. Again, there will be some tough choices here as new contracts are negotiated for public sector workers, royalties and minimum wage rates are adjusted, and new tax measures are considered. The new reality for Alberta includes a very slow growth economy, much higher unemployment than before, no new pipelines (near term), a new 1% carbon tax and much market uncertainty. This reality also means much less incoming investment by business, as a result the province may also see short term L -shaped growth. Alberta politicians have tried for decades to broaden the economic base and diversify Alberta’s industrial sector. Much needs to be done in these areas to provide the long-term stability that our economy needs. This goal will require even more difficult choices. It should begin by discussing different sources of revenue, so that Albertans can have a full understanding of options available and provide feedback before any decisions are made. BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // FEBRUARY 2016

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Finance Minister Joe Ceci visited the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce in August to make a pre-budget presentation and gather ideas from our members.

possible. Finance Minister Joe Ceci said last summer that this zero deficit target is several years away, but it’s becoming clear that eliminating the red ink will also take strategic cost-cutting and not just a boost in oil prices. One of the long-term goals for this new fiscal plan should be to reduce increases in operational spending. This should become the mantra of provincial governments in Alberta moving forward in order to end the deficit/debt cycle that has been linked closely with our roller coaster economy. We encourage the government to continue its efforts to seek operational efficiencies to ensure that its current expenditures remain flat or lower in the upcoming budget, mirroring the current business environment. We support government programs to increase long term infrastructure investments. The Edmonton Chamber would like to hear what you would like to see in the new provincial budget and how Alberta should position itself for a return to economic prosperity. We welcome your opinions and comments at policy@edmontonchamber.com.

We urge the NDP government to consult with the business community and other organizations to develop: • a long-term fiscal plan, including a program review; • a pragmatic approach to project financing that includes public-private partnerships; • strong project management that keeps pace with Alberta’s infrastructure needs; • strategic opportunities for economic diversification that builds upon our strengths; • targeted education and training expenditures that address skills shortages as the province’s economy recovers. The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce has taken a position that Alberta should do whatever is necessary to eliminate the annual budget deficit within as short a time as

Finance Minister Joe Ceci responds to questions from members during a fireside chat at the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce Provincial Budget Luncheon.

Members in this Issue University of Alberta and Gateway Mechanical in Going the Extra Mile: When and Why you Should get Your MBA on page 51

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“Should have called DRIVING FORCE”

Because moving is a big enough job already!

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Edmonton Chamber Celebrates Northern Lights Award Winner At the 2016 Chamber Ball, ‘An Evening of Brilliance,’ the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce named the Naqvi Family and Cameron Corporation as the recipients of its annual Northern Lights Award of Distinction. Here is the remarkable story of this close-knit family and their impressive legacy of children, charity, and community building.

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journey across the ocean, a new land, a wise mentor, a close-knit family, great risk, even greater reward, love, charity, and more! The story of the Naqvi Family sounds like something taken from the pages of a great historical novel. But this story is not fiction, it is fact, and that makes the tale all the more impressive. The journey begins in 1964 when Javaid (Jerry) Naqvi left his native Pakistan for Canada, with an engineering degree in his pocket and a bold vision in mind. Fate led Jerry to his wife Henrietta, who sold him a shirt in their very first meeting. It must have been a memorable garment! Before long, the two had married and settled in Edmonton where Henrietta was born and raised. In Edmonton, Jerry and Henrietta would welcome their children into the world: Tina, Cameron and Rosalyn. The stage was now set for this young family to carry their core beliefs of hard work, commitment, and honesty into the world. It is from these beliefs that the seeds of success would grow into the multi-faceted real estate business we know today as the Cameron Corporation. That process began under the mentorship of the esteemed Dr. Charles Allard whose tutelage proved vital to Jerry during his time with Allarco Developments Ltd. When the time was right, Jerry ventured out on his own to form both Camtina Developments and Camrose Developments. With a solid foundation beneath them, the process of growth and expansion could now begin in earnest. From 1991 to 2002, the company welcomed daughters Tina and Rose, son Cameron, and sonin-laws Tony and Darcey into the fold. Each brought with them a unique area of expertise and the core values that have served this enterprising family and their customers so well.

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As the family expanded, so too did their business. Camtina and Camrose began the process, amalgamating into Cameron Corporation. Cameron Communities — a dedicated land development division —followed in 2011. 2014 marked the arrival of Cameron Lifestyles, a multi-residential division. Through it all, the common thread is the family-based approach and ethics that the Naqvi’s bring to every facet of their lives, from their employees, to their customers, to the many charitable contributions that have enriched and empowered the lives of so many Edmontonians. Renowned throughout the Edmonton business community for their honesty, work ethic, and charity, the Naqvi Family and the Cameron Corporation are truly deserving recipients of this year’s Northern Lights Award of Distinction. This Award recognizes individuals and organizations that have made a positive and lasting difference in our community, and there is no question that the Naqvi Family have done that. And the best part? We suspect they are just getting started! On behalf of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, our sincere congratulations to Jerry, Henrietta, Tina, Cameron, Rose and their families!


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Streamlining Your Business to Survive AND Thrive

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s 2015 drew to a close, OPEC released its World Oil Outlook report forecasting a slow recovery for global oil prices to $20 USD a barrel by 2020, and to $95 USD a barrel by 2040. While other industry analysts are more bullish on the short-term prospects for recovery in the petroleum sector, the reality is Alberta’s resource dependent economy is currently feeling this massive pinch with talks of ‘layoffs’ and ‘restructuring’ dominating the recent business press headlines. When ‘Big Oil’ feels the pain, so too does Edmonton’s business owners and entrepreneurs. The knock on effects, such as loss of consumer confidence, decline in disposable incomes and discretionary budgets, and downturn in growth investments, can pose very real threats to those companies ill-prepared to weather the storm. Most at risk are those fledgling startups still forming the foundations for solid and sustainable business success. As one of the largest Chambers in Canada with more than 2,400 members, the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce has worked with Edmonton business of all sizes and specialties during its storied 127 year history—a history that has featured its fair share of economic downturns for our fair city. How did Edmonton’s best businesses not only ‘survive,’ but ‘thrive’ during these periods of upheaval and uncertainty? The key is focusing on a two-pronged approach: 1) Streamline your business for peak efficiencies 2) Showcase your strengths for peak profitability STREAMLINE TO SURVIVE The first prong (i.e. your core survival techniques) focuses on those tactics that most experienced and effective business owners and managers understand innately and intuitively. When times are tougher, you

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When times are tougher, you have to focus with laser light intensity on streamlining every facet of your business. have to focus with laser light intensity on streamlining every facet of your business. Achieving peak efficiency can be an unachievable and even utopian objective when business is booming and you’re flooded with orders, but what happens when demand lessens? That is the time to discipline yourself to be absolutely certain that your business is running ‘lean and mean!’ In other words, at peak operating efficiency.


Here’s how: 1) Protect your cash flow Protecting your business in a downturn means, above all else, protecting the bottom line. Ensuring your business maintains maximum liquidity enables you to ride out the storm when revenues lag, and of equal importance, empowers you to pounce when opportunities arise. For peak efficiency, consider three month rolling cash flow projections to avoid a mid-month trough. 2) Pay down debt For many small businesses, particularly start-ups, waiting too long to assess and address debt obligations can be the tipping point that pushes you over the edge: resulting in lay-offs, restructuring, or outright bankruptcy. Rather than taking on additional debt, approach your bank while the bottom line is still relatively healthy to proactively discuss debt restructuring. 3) Stay on top of receivables Most managers dread invoicing and collecting from customers. As a result, it’s often a process that suffers when business is thriving and cash flow is not a concern. During a downturn? It’s mission critical. Maintain regular contact with clients, ask them how their businesses are doing, and do your utmost to solidify fair and reasonable payment timelines. Communication is the key to maintaining strong customer relationships during difficult times. 4) Cut costs with peak efficiencies in mind This is the difficult part. Where do you cut costs to achieve peak efficiencies while still maintaining the competitive advantages you need to survive, and even thrive? The key lies in defining the ‘engine’ of your own business economy? If you’ve already committed to the best practices of defining, measuring, and optimizing the performance of your business to key performance indicators (KPIs), you already know those crucial areas that drive revenue growth in your business. If not, now is the time to commit to a fruitful financial analyses to accurately quantify your lynchpin revenue generators and the key factors that support their success. Most importantly, you must assess your traditional ‘cash cows’ in a new light. Are they recession-proof? If no, where do their

Streamline to Survive. vulnerabilities lie? Are they discretionary spend items likely to be impacted when consumers feel the crunch, or are they ‘affordable luxuries’ that stay in demand as consumers sacrifice more pricey expenses? Do you have risky revenue streams, ones with protracted sales cycles or prohibitive credit terms, and are they thus more likely to be impacted should procurements budgets shrink or lending practices tighten? The key, as all good business people know, is to define those critical areas where you can best augment your value proposition to ensure customer demand during these times of economic uncertainty. What do your customers love about your business, and what keeps them coming back? Now, more than ever, you need to streamline your business to maximize those attributes. If your core value proposition is strong, augmenting it, even slightly, can often mean the difference between retaining a loyal customer, or worse, losing one during an economic downturn. THE GOOD NEWS When you ‘streamline to survive,’ not only are you evolving your business towards peak efficiency to ride out economic downturns; you are creating an agile, responsive business, well positioned to showcase its strengths and thrive when conditions improve. Next month: A look at the recommended strategies for showcasing your strengths. If you have any questions or comments on this article, or wish to suggest topics for a future column, please drop us a line at communications@edmontonchamber.com BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // FEBRUARY 2016

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Advocate The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce advocates on your behalf through… • Policy Committees and Task Forces • Strategic Policy Priorities • Small Business-Centric Advocacy

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GOING THE EXTRA MILE: WHEN AND WHY YOU SHOULD GET YOUR MBA // EDUCATION MBA

Going the Extra Mile: WHEN AND WHY YOU SHOULD GET YOUR MBA

IS AN UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE ENOUGH IN THIS DAY AND AGE? SHOULD YOU DO YOUR MASTER’S TOO? THE PROFESSIONALS WEIGH IN.

BY RECHELL MCDONALD

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re you suffering from student fatigue? Like many who sat through their final year of high school with their eye on the exciting and fast-paced world of post-secondary education, reaching the end of your time as an undergraduate student is a proud moment. You’ve been in the education stream for almost two decades and the end is in sight; or is it? It’s normal to be worn-out by the time you get your hands on that degree, and without a doubt you will be wanting to get into the job market to earn some cash and pay off those student loans. The good news is that you can still get out there and do just that fresh out of your undergrad, but seasoned professionals warn that it may not be the hard and fast track to the top that it once was. “I think it is still possible to have a fulfilling and successful career in most businesses with only an undergraduate degree if you are able to work hard and do excellent work. We find that many of our MBA students who benefit most are those who have reached a point in their organization where they are recognized as a high performing individual – but they don’t have a business background that allows them to take that next step into management,” explains Michael Maier associate dean, Master’s Programs Alberta School of Business at the University of Alberta (U of A). “We help fill that void by providing some of the formal business education. The MBA signals to the market that you have a set of marketable skills as well as the work ethic and dedication needed to pursue a long-term project.” There seems to be a growing demand for employees with master’s degrees, or higher, although as Maier points out,

you don’t necessarily have to start out with one to be successful. In Edmonton, where there is a high-demand for those with management skills and experience, obtaining an MBA is a prudent step toward making yourself a competitive job candidate, and can open up a much more diverse selection of career opportunities. Heather Speers, a current student in the MBA program at the University of Alberta, has first-hand experience with just how vast those opportunities can be and how your vision for yourself can change.

ABOVE: MICHAEL MAIER, ASSOCIATE DEAN ALBERTA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS MASTER’S PROGRAM

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GOING THE EXTRA MILE // EDUCATION MBA

SPEERS IS A REAL EXAMPLE OF THE INDIVIDUAL MAIER WAS PAINTING IN HIS DESCRIPTION OF THE MBA STUDENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA, BUT AS MAIER GOES ON TO EXPLAIN, THE SCHOOL ISN’T JUST CHURNING OUT MASTER’S STUDENTS LEFT, RIGHT AND CENTRE; IT’S QUITE THE OPPOSITE.

“I used to work for the City of Edmonton Waste Management Services doing project engineering and waste education. I decided to pursue an MBA because I wanted to do waste management consulting, but didn’t feel like I had the business skills necessary for it,” she says. “Now that I’m in the MBA program, I feel like I have a huge amount of possibilities available to me. My eyes have been opened to so many new careers that I never knew even existed before. I am in the sustainability specialization of the MBA program and have developed an interest in social, as well as environmental sustainability; I would like my future career to focus on both. My ultimate goal is to help companies, communities, and the public make a positive impact on society through their work.” Speers is a real example of the individual Maier was painting in his description of the MBA student at the University of Alberta, but as Maier goes on to explain, the school isn’t just churning out master’s students left, right and centre; it’s quite the opposite. “I think doing an MBA is always something to consider, but you have to ensure it is appropriate for your circumstances. We currently accept only around twenty-five per cent of the applications we receive for our MBA program – we are not so much interested in increasing the number of students wanting to do their MBA, but rather with ensuring our students want to do the MBA for the right reasons. One factor that we look at for admitting a new MBA student, regardless of their background, is where the MBA fits within their career aspirations.” This is an entirely different approach from many educational institutions across the country. The University of Alberta, as well as the other post-secondary institutes in Edmonton, are very market savvy. These schools are known for keeping a finger on the pulse of the job market in order to provide their students with a useful certification at the end of the day. Contrary to this are the schools that churn out high volumes of graduates into saturated markets where there is no work to be found. The U of A’s limited acceptance of MBA students speaks to their practicality and to the value they place on producing successful alumni.

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AMBITION INTEGRITY Let your success reflect your goals AND your values with an MBA from TWU

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GOING THE EXTRA MILE: WHEN AND WHY YOU SHOULD GET YOUR MBA // EDUCATION MBA

“I HAVE HAD SUCCESS HIRING MBA GRADUATES BECAUSE THEY ARE LARGELY INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE DRIVEN TO TAKE ON NEW CHALLENGES AND HAVE AN ABILITY AND WILLINGNESS TO LEARN.” ~ RICK DOWELL

“There is no question that oil prices have not been helping the employment situation in Alberta; that said, employment for our MBA graduates is holding up relatively well. Around 77 per cent of our MBA graduates this year were employed on a full-time basis three months after graduation. While this was down modestly from the prior year (in 2014 it was 85 per cent), we were very encouraged to see average starting salaries increase by nearly $10,000 over the prior year as this is an indication that employers are still seeing significant value in hiring our graduates.” Employers are always happy to weigh in on the situation when it comes to finding a reliable stream in which to find qualified, driven employees. “I have had success hiring MBA graduates because they are largely individuals who are driven to take on new challenges and have an ability and willingness to learn,” says Rick Dowell, vice president of projects at Gateway Mechanical and a former MBA student at the University of Alberta. “My experience is that the graduates who are successful are driven to take on more responsibility and take on roles where they can influence results. When you combine these traits with the additional skills and broader strategic perspective gained during a MBA program, you often end up with high performers who can really drive your business forward.” As an MBA student, Dowell found a lot of benefit and perspective in taking advantage of the extracurricular activities available. From volunteering with nonprofits

to getting involved with student council, there was a lot to learn outside of the classroom and Dowell, feels that these experiences were a valuable part of his education too. He looks for employees who also took advantage of these opportunities. Dowell also supports the same pathway that Maier does, feeling that an MBA is more valuable to someone who has a few years of work experience under their belt. “I believe there is value in working for 2-5 to five years before going into a MBA program, as that work experience allows a student to gain more from the program. The initial salary benefits of taking a MBA are very dependent on a person’s previous education and work experience as well as what industry they choose to work in. I believe the benefits of taking a MBA come later in a person’s career as opposed to the first couple of years after graduation.” There is a great deal to be gained from obtaining an MBA, but it is also important to allow yourself to gain some real world experience before pursuing this path. Not only will your work experience allow you to better appreciate your MBA experience, it will help you find your direction within the program, make you a more competitive applicant at the outset, and a more competitive employee in the end. If you are looking for a way to take your career to the next level, consider pursuing your MBA here in Edmonton, and investigate the various opportunities available to make it happen. ABOVE: RICK DOWELL, VICE PRESIDENT OF PROJECTS AT GATEWAY MECHANICAL

54

FEBRUARY 2016 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM


SUPERHEROES OF PAINTING SuperPro Painting Systems does it all – and then some – with style and panache. by Nerissa McNaughton

“E

veryone assumes that there is painting going on, but when you look at the numbers it’s a huge $380 billion dollar industry in North America,” says Michael Duchnij, the president and CEO of SuperPro Painting Systems. “When you start driving around and you look at different residential homes and commercial properties many of them will need painting. We call it the itch-cycle, itching to paint!” Duchnij had been in involved with real estate and development ventures for years, but when he teamed up with Kelly Cadwell who had been painting commercial and residential properties since 1979, everything fell into place. “For the most part, all those buildings that require painting are all serviced by mom and pop operators; there wasn’t one company that has any significant national presence,” Duchnij explains. “We saw an opportunity.” What an opportunity it was! The partners branded SuperPro in 2011 and have experienced runaway growth to the tune of 625 per cent since they opened their doors. For most companies, this rapid growth would be completely unsustainable, but for SuperPro, it’s exactly what they wanted, needed and expected. How do they keep up with the demand? “We have invested in a strategy which has become part of our concept. Our processes involve every facet of our business – our four “P’s”: people, pride, paint and performance. It’s all about

being laser focused. We trust our processes,” Duchnij points out. He goes on to say that it’s not just knowing how to paint. It’s having tried and true processes that can be applied to any job, from a single family home, to a sprawling retail complex or manufacturing facility. “We refer to it as our proprietary, SPPM (SuperPro Process Management System).This includes our triple check system and it’s phenomenal! It involves a 50step checklist to make sure we are prepared when we start to paint. Out of those 50 steps, we don’t address painting until we’ve cleared the first 30, and those first 30 steps ensure we are on the same page as our customer and fully prepared for the job. We also inspect every project on an ongoing basis to ensure that we complete the project on time, meeting or exceeding our customer’s expectations.” Follow up is equally important for SuperPro. “We offer all our customers a final opportunity to provide us with some honest feedback. Our customers complete a report card scoring us on all facets of the job and give us an overall rating out of 10. If we receive anything less than eight, we consider the job incomplete and return to rectify any areas that were below the customer’s expectations. The bottom line is that we are not happy until our customer is happy. We aren’t perfect, but we are surely getting there.” With their rapid rise in the industry and tremendous growth, one would be tempted to think that SuperPro is content, but

SUPERPRO Painting Systems | 5 Years | Page 1 55


BEFORE

AFTER

FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITIES The four franchise packages being offered are segregated by market size as follows: • Small: 1,000 – 3000 businesses & 3,000 – 20,000 single family homes • Medium: 3,000 – 10,000 businesses & 20,000 – 60,000 single family homes • Large: 10,000 – 30,000 businesses & 60,000 – 200,000 single family homes • Major: 30,000+ businesses, 200,000+ single family homes they are still pushing forward. Duchnij and his partner have a targeted plan to ensure every home and commercial property in North America gets the SuperPro touch – and they have recently began franchising to make this happen. “We’ve put together franchise packages that target four different types of territories,” says Duchnij. We plan to go into every province and into the United States. This is a superior franchise opportunity because it is a recession-resistant business. There is no question our services are in high demand.” “We respect the business. The painting industry is huge. Think about it. Drive around and you will note that every facility and property requires painting, either interior, exterior or both,” Duchnij ex-

claims. “Our biggest challenge is that the barrier to entry is so low. Anybody can call themselves a painter. We turned this challenge into an opportunity. We hire painters and provide them with steady work and in return, we put them through our CLIP school. CLIP stands for Certified Learning in Painting. Every one of our painters must go through CLIP – no exceptions. Additionally, we only hire painters that have a real passion for the profession and have the right attitude. I’m very blessed. I’m the luckiest guy in the world to have individuals that are all team players. Keep it up, team!” Duchnij points out that they are an equal opportunity employer and that a great number of their painters are women. SuperPro aims to raise the bar when it comes to respect for painters and

SUPERPRO Painting Systems | 5 Years | Page 2


Owners Michael Duchnij and Kelly Caldwell with franchisee Randy Fatt.

they do so by making sure their staff do their jobs beyond expectation. “The respect is what we are shooting for. Every one of our painters should be respected by every one of our clients.” SuperPro is known around Edmonton for providing value; great service at fair prices. They work hard to accommodate client’s needs, such as painting on weekends or at night. For example, one job had them set up at 5:oo p.m. on a Friday, paint an entire automotive showroom from the floor to the ceiling deck and be done in time for the cars to be put back Monday afternoon. By the way, this was on a long weekend! Their success has been recognized in the industry. SuperPro is the proud recipient of three 2014 BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association) awards: Certification of Customer Service Excellence, Pinnacle Award for Customer Service and Pinnacle Awarded for Above and Beyond the Call of Duty. It was the first time that one organization won three awards at one BOMA gala. “We felt like rock stars!” laughs Duchnij. In the midst of their runaway success, SuperPro takes time to give back. The company’s Edmonton Global Paint for Charity initiative offers free services to over 100 registered charities and non-profit organizations in the Edmonton area. Duchnij explains, “In Canada no one has stepped to the plate and provided painting services to repaint, refresh, and rejuvenate the facilities of registered charities and non-profit organizations. Our goal is to process over $1,000,000 in painting services for registered charitable businesses. Through our efforts, we hope to change lives and transform their facilities throughout Edmonton and Area.” It’s clear that the SuperPro management team, painters and administrators love what they do. From their beautiful new headquarters to their CLIP school, their expansion program to their charitable work, this is a company that is going places – fast.

“Our success is due to our employees. They are obsessive and creative about what we do,” Duchnij concludes. “They are instrumental. They give us an opportunity to do a great job. It’s all about teamwork and meeting and exceeding customer’s expectations. Our employees are doers, not dreamers.”

4409 94 Street NW Edmonton, Alberta T6E 6T7 1.780.395.4580 or 1.866.61.SUPER (78737) www.superpropainters.com

SUPERPRO Painting Systems | 5 Years | Page 3


Thank you for your support! RECIPIENTS OF 3 BOMA AWARDS:

Certification of Customer Service Excellence, Pinnacle Award for Customer Service and Pinnacle Award for Above and Beyond the Call of Duty

ECA “Giving Back” into the Edmonton Community - www.edmca.com/giving-back “We had a tight budget and even tighter schedule nailed both with the help of our painting contractor. I would certainly use them again and do recommend them!” ~ Louis Barron, Facility Director, Citadel Theatre “SuperPro met all my expectations and was on budget. All staff that I had communication with was knowledge and professional. In the future I would have no hesistation recommending your services.” ~ Kent Asselstine, Legend Automotive Repair, Legend Automotive Repair

Edmonton & Surrounding Area Locations 9712-153rd Avenue Edmonton, AB T5X 5V2 Unit 10, 308 Westgrove Drive Spruce Grove, AB T7X 4P9 #180 – 2181 Premier Way Sherwood Park, AB T8H 2V1 9735 – 28th Ave Edmonton, AB T6N 1N4 16411 – 118 Ave Edmonton, AB T5V 1H2 15844 – 111 Ave Edmonton, AB T5M 2R8 6907 – 39 Street Leduc, AB T9E 0W1

780-457-4646 780-962-8133 780-410-0662 780-450-8444 780-453-5700 780-451-3833 780-986-1512

www.cloverdalepaint.com

JT Moland Insurance Consulting Ltd provides individual & group benefits for SuperPro Painting Systems.

www.jtmolandinsurance.com

SUPERPRO Painting Systems | 5 Years | Page 4


SEYMOUR PACIFIC HEAD OFFICES.

10 years later:

The Story of Arrow Engineering Flying straight and true, a vibrant engineering firm uses new ideas to improve on an old industry. By Nerissa McNaughton

T

“We have always been profitable,” Burdett says “We have had strong growth over the years. In 2015 alone we won four awards”. With more than 50 competing engineering firms in the city, the fact that Arrow has thrived speaks to Arrow’s partners’ business acumen, their employees and their ability to take on projects with agility, experience and confidence. One of the monumental steps taken during the earlier years was welcoming the team from Kroening Consultants, an esteemed mechanical engineering group that had been in operation since the 1970s. “The decision for Kroening Consultants to join forces with Arrow Engineering to help build a great organization was simply about the people. The partners and staff have developed a corporate culture that I’m proud to be a part of,” explains Greg Kroening. Let’s take a look at how Arrow achieved their rapid growth. It started with opening in a sustainable way with a great part-

ARROW ENGINEERING | 10 YEARS | 1

en years ago, Greg Burghardt, Paul Burdett and Robert Prybysh launched Arrow Engineering. “We wanted to build a great engineering company and believed that together we could do just that,” says Burghardt, president and CEO of the company. They started with a team of eight – the three partners and five valued and committed staff. Each of these original staff are still with Arrow today, working among the team that now numbers over 70. “We have a very low employee turnover rate, and a talented team” smiles Burghardt. The low turnover can only be due to one thing: employees that want to stay and who are worth keeping. Why do employees remain loyal to a company? Great working conditions, opportunities for personal and professional growth, outstanding projects and a diverse workload. Arrow Engineering provides all this, and more.


2 | 10 YEARS | ARROW ENGINEERING

OUR PARENTS HOME AT BETH SHALOM. PHOTO COURTESY OF ARCHITECTURE | TKALCIC BENGERT.

nership. The first services offered were mechanical engineering along with a limited range of civil engineering. Once Arrow established themselves in the industry, they added electrical engineering in 2010, followed by expanded civil services in 2011 and structural engineering in 2014. Ten years after inception, Arrow Engineering is pleased to offer their clients the full spectrum of engineering services for the building industry, along with sustainable designs and building information modeling (BIM). Projects Arrow has been involved in include the award winning Atco Gas NEOC facility, many schools and seniors’ facilities, as well as Procura’s Intact building, to name a few. “We have a very well balanced portfolio,” confirms Burghardt. “Continuing care facilities, schools, recreational facilities, emergency response facilities, multi-unit residential projects, renovations, energy upgrades, commercial, light industrial, institutional ….” Prybysh ticks off the extensive list of Arrow’s capabilities. “We do many, many projects of every size.” The company is humble about the 4,000 plus projects completed over the last 10 years and Burghardt confides one of the secrets to their great success, “We don’t necessarily go for those big landmark projects. We go after landmark people. We assemble the best team and enable those people to do a great job for our customers. That is what we focus on. We have a great, fun, proactive and solution-orientated team that works hard for the success of our clients.” “One thing we pride ourselves on is working with our clients to determine the best engineering solutions for them,” adds Burdett. “Their budget, their desired level of control and their input is important. We are collaborative and team-focused.”

U OF A EAST CAMPUS VILLAGE STUDENT HOUSING.

Using this approach, Arrow has been able to compete with much older, more recognized engineering firms in Edmonton. How? The principals point to their diverse staff. They have a good generational blend, with very experienced senior staff actively mentoring future industry leaders with knowledge of what works in the various industries they serve and what’s new in ideas and technology. “We have very knowledgeable people,” stresses Burghardt. “We hire the best and invest in their growth.” He continues, “There is a misconception that younger firms can’t compete with the ‘old, big-boy firms’ but through our progressive approach of pairing the industry’s best people with a positive atmosphere, we have proven that we can provide the same – or even better – solutions.” It’s not just their clients that recognize the prowess of the young company. The industry itself has taken note. Recent


EDMONTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT FIRE HALL.

CONKLIN RECREATIONAL CENTRE. PHOTO COURTESY OF ARCHITECTURE | TKALCIC BENGERT.

“My personal mission is to provide a great career experience for as many people as I can. Additionally, I find it very satisfying to know we’ve helped clients succeed on over 4,000 project,” notes Burghardt. The company founders look forward to celebrating their 10 years of service and sharing the joy of this landmark event with their staff and clients. “We are not coasting on our success,” concludes Burghardt. “We are always pushing forward. We get that our clients want to deal with us because we are accessible. We pick up the phone. We deliver on anything our clients bring to us. We have vision and a reputation for quality and solid design work that continues to impress. Because of this, we are thriving.” He pauses to formulate what he wants to say the most to Arrow’s staff, clients and supporters. Then he breaks into a brilliant smile and says with gratitude shining from his eyes, “Thank you for allowing us to succeed together.” For more information please visit www.arrowonline.ca.

ARROW ENGINEERING | 10 YEARS | 3

recognitions for Arrow Engineering include nods from PSMJ Circle of Excellence, Profit 500 Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies 2015, Zweig Group Hot Firm List and Zweig Group Best Firms to Work For, and recently, Alberta Ventures 2016 Fast Growth 50. In 2014, Burghardt was one of Business in Edmonton’s Leaders of Tomorrow, and a prairie-region finalist in the professional and financial services category of the prestigious EY Entrepreneur Of The Year program. “It feels great to be on these lists!” exclaims Burghardt. “We worked hard to get to the point where we deserve the recognition. It’s nice to get external confirmation that shows we are doing things right.” Another key to Arrow’s success is what happens outside of the company’s 600+ per year projects. “We [Burghardt, Burdett and Prybysh] are all family men and we encourage our staff to spend time with their families too,” says Burghardt, noting the importance of work/life balance. “We also support what is important to our employees. Habitat for Humanity, Wellspring, Inclusion Alberta and Little Warriors are a few of the many charitable organizations we are proud to assist.” When you are building a company using fresh ideas and innovative practices, the first decade goes by quickly. Arrow Engineering reflects on the past 10 years. “Being able to drive around town and see buildings that we had an integral part in, talking to building owners that are happy with what we have provided and knowing that we have lowered the capital and ongoing operating costs of those facilities, and did our part for the environment with our designs, is what I find the most rewarding,” reminisces Burdett.


EATON CANADA WOULD LIKE TO CONGRATULATE ARROW ENGINEERING ON 10 YEARS! • Commercial Construction • Industrial • Machinery OEM’s • Residential • Panel Builder & Electrical OEM’s • Utility

www.eatoncanada.ca

Congratulations Arrow Engineering on 10 years of success! Tel: (780) 423-2731 • Toll Free: (800) 661-8020 precon.ca

Congratulations Arrow Engineering on your 10 year Anniversary!

www.mckennaagencies.com

www.rclighting.ca

11104 - 107th Avenue T. 780.468.2759 • F. 780.469.5787 www.wowlighting.com

Here’s to many more.

Congratulations Arrow Engineering on your 10 year anniversary!

4 | 10 YEARS | ARROW ENGINEERING

Congratulations Arrow Engineering on 10 years! We wish you many more years of continued success! 12944 - 148 Street Edmonton, Alberta T5L 2H8 Ph: 780.477.9231 • Fx: 780.477.3701 www.ehpriceedmonton.com

1980 Manulife Place 10180 - 101 Street Edmonton, Alberta T5J 3S4 Tel: (780) 428-8310 • Fax: (780) 421-8820 www.felesky.com


When fire or water damage puts the things that matter most on the line, you need the very best help on the line, as well. That’s why knowing the easiest ways to contact SERVPRO® is so important. Just go to servpro.com on your mobile phone or call 1-800-SERVPRO to get the team that’s faster to any-sized disaster. We’re a leader in giving control back to homeowners, property managers and even entire communities after the ravaging effects of water or fire. So whether you’re responsible for 1,000 square feet or 100,000 – be ready for the worst, with the very best. Your trusted, local SERVPRO® professional. SERVicES in canada PROVidEd bY indEPEndEnTlY OWnEd & OPERaTEd fRanchiSES Of SERVPRO inTERnaTiOnal, llc.


Rob Reeves, Owner, Castrol Raceway | Driven by passion

“I didn’t realize the business would grow like it did…

Rob Reeves, Owner, Castrol Raceway

From racing cars one week to running a racetrack, when you’re driven by a passion for what you do, things just have a way of working out.

Watch his story and get expert insights at

atb.com / WeGrowAlberta |

#wegrowalberta

Who shares your drive to succeed? We do. ™ Trademarks of Alberta Treasury Branches.

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