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THE FINISHING TOUCH

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Supporting the visions of entrepreneurs one story at a time. Volume 6 | Number 2

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 No Pipelines? The Ugly, Deadly and Costly Consequences By Brock Harrison

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 The Secret to Impacting Government Policy Decisions By Colin Craig

 Edmonton Chamber Of Commerce

CONTENTS COVER FEATURE

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Len Rhodes Means Business The new Chamber chair values business, community, innovation and creativity. By Nerissa McNaughton

ON OUR COVER: ABOVE: LEN RHODES, CEO AND PRESIDENT OF THE EDMONTON ESKIMO FOOTBALL CLUB AND NEW CHAMBER CHAIR. PHOTO SOURCE: EPIC PHOTOGRAPHY INC.

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From left to right: Helen He Willow Frissell Suzanne Joyal Brendan Feser Emily Wooding Paul Gotaas Chidinma Amobi Paige Kennedy Jinghui Yang Matt Neustaeter

Success Adds Up Success is the result of perseverance, hard work and the ability to capitalize on opportunities. MNP proudly congratulates our Edmonton region candidates on successfully completing the 2017 Common Final Exam (CFE). As one of Canada’s largest national accounting and business consulting firms, here are 10 more ways we can help your business succeed. Contact Dustin Sundby, Regional Managing Partner, at 780.453.5382 or dustin.sundby@mnp.ca


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Supporting the visions of entrepreneurs one story at a time. Volume 6 | Number 2

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CONTENTS COMPANY PROFILES

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THIS MONTH’S FEATURES

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K  -Jay Electrical Ltd. Celebrates 45 Years

Are Robo-Advisors Rendering Investment Managers Obsolete? By Laura Bohnert

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The Finishing Touch How Edmonton’s post-secondary institutions are connecting graduates with jobs By Zachary Edwards

New Ways to Think about Your Financial Future By Nerissa McNaughton

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

Parkland County Feature Part I: Highlighting industry and transportation potential in Acheson Industrial Park By Laura Bohnert


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NO PIPELINES? THE UGLY, DEADLY AND COSTLY CONSEQUENCES // BROCK HARRISON

No Pipelines? The Ugly, Deadly and Costly Consequences BY BROCK HARRISON

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here’s an overlooked statistic energy watchers like to keep an eye on throughout the year. It doesn’t always get a lot of press or attention, but it’s one that always tells an important story. I’m talking about how much oil we ship south via rail. It’s a small fraction of what we move through pipelines – usually between 3 and 5 per cent of total product shipped – but the trends are what matter. There are range of factors that contribute to this number, including price differentials and other commodity markets, but this number has been on a steady climb for most of 2017. Canadian crude oil shipments to the United States topped 137,000 barrels a day in October, a six-month high, and up from only 92,000 a day in July. In May, it was an 18-month high of 155,000 barrels. Bloomberg reports that number could shoot up to 400,000 in the early part of 2018. In early December, Plains Midstream announced it had reopened its mothballed train-loading terminal in Saskatchewan and a group of investors and First Nations is expected to announce financing for an Alberta-to-Alaska oil rail line early in 2018. This comes at the same time as news that Canadian railroad operators can’t keep up with the growing demand for their capacity. So, why is it happening, and what does it all mean? It’s pretty simple, actually. Producers are scrambling to load their wares on any rail car they can find because our pipeline network is chock full – and with the future of major pipeline projects very much up in the air, industry is starting to respond. Enbridge has reported that it’s planning for its system to be at or near capacity until 2021. With current pipelines jammed and proposed pipelines stalled, more and more crude will find its way onto trains that travel through populated areas and environmentally

WE WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE OIL-BY-RAIL NUMBERS, BUT THE TRENDS ARE FAIRLY OBVIOUS AND, THEREFORE, WORRISOME. HOWEVER, ON THE BRIGHT SIDE, THEY MAKE THE CASE FOR MORE PIPELINES EVEN STRONGER. sensitive ecosystems. This should concern everybody who cares about the safe transportation of oil. We all remember the 2013 Lac-Megantic disaster, when a 74car freight train carrying Bakken formation crude derailed in the Quebec town, killing 47 people and destroying half of the downtown. Other recent derailments, in New Brunswick and Ontario, ignited fires and caused other environmental damages on First Nations land. Each one was a tragic reminder that rail oil spills are larger, more frequent, and cause substantially more damage to property and human life than pipeline leaks. Oil shipped through pipelines produce between 61 and 75 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions than oil on a train, and also costs between $5 and $10 less per barrel to move. We will continue to monitor the oil-by-rail numbers, but the trends are fairly obvious and, therefore, worrisome. However, on the bright side, they make the case for more pipelines even stronger. On virtually every single count – whether its cost, safety, reliability or environmental performance – pipelines win.

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

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THE SECRET TO IMPACTING GOVERNMENT POLICY DECISIONS // COLIN CRAIG

The Secret to Impacting Government Policy Decisions BY COLIN CRAIG

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usiness owners often ask our organization what they can do about rising taxes and expensive regulatory decisions.

Sadly, calls and emails along those lines have been mounting over the past couple years in Alberta. Too many businesses are struggling to stay afloat, while many government officials continue to think of businesses as ATMs with endless amounts of money. As an advocacy organization that has been around for nearly 30 years, and one that has successfully convinced governments to make a number of positive policy changes, one piece of advice stands out above all the others. You need to speak out. Intuitively our advice may seem unlikely – how could one person’s phone call or email to a politician make a difference? In most cases a single call or email on an issue will not sway a politician’s opinion. However, it takes a surprisingly low number of calls or emails to get their attention. A former assistant to a member of Parliament previously told the Canadian Taxpayers Federation that it would merely take five calls or emails on an issue in order for them to know the public was upset about something. From there fear grows in the office about how the issue could cost their boss votes. Think about that example for a second. A typical member of Parliament serves around 100,000 people and yet it would take just five calls or emails to get their attention. A couple city councillors previously told us a similar figure – they both estimated it would only take a dozen or so calls or emails for them to know they had an issue on their hands.

These astonishingly low numbers are likely due to the fact that apathy is quite high in Canada. Consider that over the last five Alberta elections between 43 and 59 per cent of eligible voters didn’t even vote. We can probably assume many of those same people aren’t calling or emailing their elected officials either. The takeaway from these anecdotes is that when you take five minutes out of your day to call your local politician, it actually has a sizable impact. If a few others also make a quick call, you can see how easy it is to start impacting a politician’s decision. When our organization convinced federal members of Parliament to scale back their golden pensions in 2012, we achieved an important victory – one that pundits said would never happen – by convincing Canadians to speak out. We sent emails to our supporters across the country urging them to call or email their MPs and demand a reduction to the golden pensions. We released reports, put up billboards and did dozens of media interviews coast to coast to keep the story in the news and put pressure on Ottawa. Ultimately, federal politicians scaled back their own pensions not because they wanted to, but because they received lots of phone calls and emails from the public. They knew that if they didn’t take action, they might lose votes. So as governments continue to pile on costs for your business, know that the best thing you can do is take a few minutes out of your day and call your local politician. Tell them your story about how an issue impacts you – even if it’s just a 100-word email or a five-minute conversation. Even better – take a couple more minutes and encourage your friends and business contacts to also speak out.

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

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A Brand New Franchise Hops into Edmonton Founded in Ontario, Hopscotch is a health-conscious fastcasual concept, built on a commitment to better food, better communities, and a better planet. This year, the franchise lands in Edmonton. “We are excited to announce that our first Hopscotch in Edmonton will be located at the world-famous West Edmonton Mall,” say founders and brothers Wyatt and Aiden Booth. “We chose Edmonton because of the exciting development that’s currently happening throughout the city, like the recently opened Rogers Place Arena for the Edmonton Oilers, new office buildings, condominiums, and so much more. It’s bringing more people to the city of Edmonton and creating a refreshing vibe, more jobs, and a need for more incredible food. We wanted Hopscotch to be part of this exciting new movement.”

quality, fresh ingredients for all diets and lifestyles, including halal, antibiotic- and hormone-free chicken, local honey for our smoothies and crispy bacon for our avocado cobber. “We offer something for everyone, but can also easily tweak all of our menu items to meet someone’s dietary needs. The biggest benefit Hopscotch offers is that everything is prepared-to-order, so we always do our best to satisfy our customers’ needs.”

Hopscotch focuses on vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free dishes, but that’s not all.

The young entrepreneurs are enjoying their first foray into the hospitality business.

“To us, dietary restrictions are not so much restrictions – they are a lifestyle now,” confirm the Booths. “Someone who eats meat can still enjoy a vegan dish, and someone who is not dairy-sensitive can still enjoy a dairy-free smoothie. Whether it be vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free or dairy-free, these lifestyles have pushed culinary skills to a whole new level by emphasizing and utilizing fresh produce and nontraditional ingredients that create options anyone can enjoy.

“The biggest challenge being young entrepreneurs was getting people to believe in our vision. We needed landlords, banks and a variety of other services to look at our business plan and understand what we were trying to create. Many times we found ourselves educating people on sustainability, locallysourcing products, health benefits, and the longevity of the lifestyle that Hopscotch and its customers lead. It’s always rewarding to be standing on a street corner and overhear happy customers talking about and carrying our product, or when a customer comes in and tells us how much better they feel after eating Hopscotch. It’s nice to know they are truly receiving the benefits of the ingredients we choose to use.”

“It wasn’t a single article or study that set us off; we were living active lifestyles and personally felt the benefits of eating healthier options, and that ultimately served as the inspiration for creating Hopscotch. Hopscotch will never restrict its menu to solely vegan or vegetarian options. There are great restaurants that offer those cuisines, but it’s not in our nature to restrict ourselves to one thing. We source high-

Hopscotch has four locations planned in Edmonton. Keep an eye out for the grand opening later this year, and get ready for a fresh, new experience.

ABOVE: THE GREAT GUSTO - A FOCUS ON GREENS IN A SALAD FROM HOPSCOTCH. PHOTO SOURCE: HOPSCOTCH & AJENDA PR

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Stantec Tower Has Topped Off the Commercial Level Late last year, the top commercial level of Stantec Tower was completed, marking a milestone event for both Stantec and ICE District. This phase of the building took 18 months of planning and 28 hours of continuous pouring. Once the Tower is complete on all levels, it will stand a soaring 251 metres high and will be the tallest building in Western Canada. Stantec Tower is also the first building of its kind in Edmonton to incorporate an aboveground transfer slab, which stabilizes the building with 1,580,000 pounds of reinforced steel. An additional four 500,000-pound structural steel trusses will support the exterior columns for added stabilization. “The topping off is a significant milestone for both Stantec and ICE District,” says Gord Johnston, (at the time of his statements incoming) chief executive officer, Stantec. “This pour, at the 30th storey, represents a feat of engineering and architecture that demonstrates the creativity our Stantec employees bring to work in serving our communities every day. Stantec’s roots are firmly planted in Edmonton, and we look forward to moving into our new home next year.”

District presentation centre, will be ready for occupancy in 2019 and will make up the top 36 floors of the Tower. With the combination of Stantec employees, SKY Residences and high-profile commercial tenants, Stantec Tower is currently 90 per cent leased. Stantec employs 22,000 people working in over 400 locations on six continents to provide engineering, architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, surveying, environmental sciences, construction services, project management and project economics services. The company oversees projects from their first concept through completion and works hard to benefit the communities in which it operates.

“This commercial level topping-off is an important milestone that recognizes the extensive work and meticulous planning that has gone into Stantec Tower,” says Glen Scott, president of Katz Group Real Estate. “It is an honour to be a part of a project that will shape the city of Edmonton and be an exemplary contribution to Edmonton’s skyline.”

The headline-making ICE District continues to evolve into Canada’s largest entertainment and sport locality. Rogers Place is in use showcasing world-class concerts, along with NHL and WHL hockey and other events. Grand Villa Casino draws residents and tourists in for high-class gaming. Plans for cinema, boutique shopping, dining, festival spaces, and more are planned for the commercial and residential areas of ICE district.

Stantec Tower is expected to reach completion in 2018. The Tower is a mixed use development with multi-family residences and retail space. Families will reside in SKY Residences, the condo units that sit above the commercial level. SKY Residences, which can be explored at the ICE

Rogers Place was developed by the Oilers Entertainment Group and the City of Edmonton. ICE District Properties surrounds Rogers Place and Ford Hall, and it is being developed through a joint venture between Katz Group and ONE Properties (formerly WAM Development Group).

ABOVE: STANTEC TOWER UNDER DEVELOPMENT IN EARLY 2017 PHOTO SOURCE: DARREN KIRBY

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2017

Thank you to our 21st Annual Snowflake Gala sponsors, guests and volunteers who helped raise more than $1.1 mIllion* to fund leading-edge training for the remarkable staff at the Stollery Children’s Hospital. Together, we are giving the sickest kids the best chance, anywhere in the world, to live a long and healthy life. We look forward to celebrating with you at our next Snowflake Gala on December 10, 2018.

Thank you to our 2017 Snowflake Gala sponsors

THE HALINA FAMILY FOUNDATION

The Garritty’s Mike, Robi, & Family

Photos by Anika Loewen, Mandy Dawn Photography and Riyaz Sharan

*Gross revenue


LEN RHODES MEANS BUSINESS // COVER

LenMEANS Rhodes BUSINESS THE NEW CHAMBER CHAIR VALUES BUSINESS, COMMUNITY, INNOVATION AND CREATIVITY. BY NERISSA MCNAUGHTON

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ith roots going back to 1889, the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce has a long history of developing and influencing the city’s business landscape. Standing strong and advocating for business throughout the economic impact from both World Wars, the Great Depression, the discovery of oil in Leduc and several energy-related boom and bust cycles, the Edmonton Chamber is now one of Canada’s most influential business organizations.

for-profit organization. Winning the Grey Cup in 2015 ranks among the top five things to occur in his lifetime. Another career highlight is Northern Kickoff, where the Eskimos played in Fort McMurray in what would become the two most northern games in the history of the football league. Rhodes is also pleased about the opening of the Edmonton Eskimos Sports Bar at EIA, and he is thrilled that Edmonton is hosting the 2018 CFL Grey Cup.

The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce’s board is chaired each year by a successful, charismatic, influential, businessfocused individual, and 2018 is no exception. This year, Len Rhodes, CEO and president of the Edmonton Eskimos Football Club, is excited to take the chair and bring his signature enthusiasm, passion and drive to the role.

“The last time we hosted the Grey Cup was 2010, and it sold out in six days,” he smiles. “From a business standpoint, we estimate that the 2018 event will generate $80-$100 million in economic impact. In 2010, hosting the game in Edmonton generated $75 million. What makes the timing so great is that this year’s game will coincide with the 40th anniversary of Commonwealth Stadium, and the 70th year of play of the Eskimos.” Rhodes will be co-chairing the Grey Cup game alongside Brad Sparrow.

Rhodes joined the Eskimos in 2011. He’s proud of the fact he runs one of the very few football clubs that operate as a not-

ABOVE: LEN RHODES, CEO AND PRESIDENT OF THE EDMONTON ESKIMO FOOTBALL CLUB AND NEW CHAMBER CHAIR.

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PHOTO SOURCE: EPIC PHOTOGRAPHY INC.

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


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LEN RHODES MEANS BUSINESS // COVER

ALWAYS FOCUSED ON BETTERING THE COMMUNITY, RHODES IS ALSO INVOLVED IN A LARGE VARIETY OF CHARITABLE INITIATIVES, INCLUDING ENDING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, FOSTERING DOGS FOR DOGS WITH WINGS AND SUPPORTING AMATEUR FOOTBALL. Always focused on bettering the community, Rhodes is also involved in a large variety of charitable initiatives, including ending domestic violence against women, creating awareness for cancer and supporting amateur football. In November 2016, Rhodes’ life was changed forever when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. “I’m a big believer that, if something touches my life, I use my platform with the Eskimos to bring awareness to the greater community,” says Rhodes. “I went to Derks and got a custom made plaid jacket in green and gold, and it became an iconic symbol for the Plaid for Dad – Prostate Cancer Canada fundraising drive. I thought I’d be happy to raise $20,000$30,000, but I raised $57,000 in support of research for the cause! That just blew me away. The response in my network was phenomenal.” Running one of the most beloved sports teams in the city, however, isn’t without controversy. Rhodes, never one to shy away from tackling difficult and sensitive subjects, handles this side of sports management with tact and diplomacy. Right now, the topic on everyone’s mind is the Eskimo name controversy. “We use the Eskimo name with pride and respect,” says Rhodes firmly. “It has been the team’s name since its inception in the late 1940s. A lot of tradition comes along with the name. It’s important to know we value all of our citizens.” Rhodes meets routinely with Natan Obed, the president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), to discuss this and other matters pertaining to the respectful representation of the Inuit people. “I look forward to having an ongoing dialogue with him in the future,” says Rhodes. “We are listening to the conversation going on in the community. That feedback must include our own fans as well. There is a lot of conversation, and it’s been one that I’ve been listening to and having

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dialogues with people in the community over the past two years. Right now, the best approach is to listen to what people say. It certainly doesn’t lack different opinions. You can’t say there is a consensus on either side of the issue, but we are making sure every voice is heard.” Rhodes brings this same even-keeled sensibility to discussions that affect the Chamber. Late last year, the Chamber released a statement about a controversial issue – the selling model for cannabis. The statement summarized, “The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce supports the Province of Alberta’s plan to adopt a private retail model for selling cannabis.” “This is important because things are being introduced at a very fast pace,” notes Rhodes. “After spending 11 years in the beer business, my own experience and personal assessment as I’ve travelled throughout the country is that the private business model is the one that works best. The Chamber is very pleased that the government adopted a private model. The model is consistent with Alberta’s liquor system, which is very efficient. Private businesses are ready, able and willing to take on the challenge. This decision benefits business and government. Let businesses do what they do best. “I feel like a nerd when it comes to cannabis, but I’m an expert in the beer industry! When it becomes legalized on all fronts, the private retail model is the optimal model. “Right now, there are lots of questions surrounding cannabis and the rights of the employer and employee. Our role as the Chamber is to allow certain people to deal with certain aspects. What we were interested in was a model that is skewed toward the private system.” Discussions like this will be ongoing for Rhodes in his role as Chamber chair, but he has plenty of experience behind him. In 2015, he became a director in the Chamber. He was


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LEN RHODES MEANS BUSINESS // COVER

asked to join after seeing the Chamber members in action at a social Eskimos event, and it didn’t take long for him to decide to align himself with the historic organization. “What I love about the Chamber is that it’s all about business. I love commerce. I took commerce in university and worked with small businesses and large corporations since I was 14. I’m excited to play a role advocating for business because I love everything about business. It drives employment, generates income, creates revenue streams and supports citizens. The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce brings a fair and balanced perspective, offers constructive advice and bolsters the competitive environment. It encourages policy and decision makers. It champions Edmonton as the place to live and do business.” Since joining in 2015, Rhodes has chaired the finance & risk, and policy committees. “What I love is the diversity on the board, based on skill sets, business representation and a healthy balance when it comes to gender,” he smiles. There are many things he’s looking forward to in his role as Chamber Chair.

“The board’s role is one of governance, financial sustainability and blessing and influencing the strategic direction of the organization, all while removing barriers in business and creating a strong business environment that allows our members to prosper. Creating value for our members is one of the most critical areas. “There is a new economic reality in Alberta: new taxes, a 48 per cent increase in minimum wage, new costs from the carbon levy, potentially higher employer premiums with WCB and increases in corporate taxes at the federal level. All of this creates a huge burden on business. The Chamber will be a strong voice and will stand up for its members’ needs. “Given my hectic schedule with the Canadian football league and co-chairing the Grey Cup, one of my challenges for 2018 will be giving everyone the attention they deserve. All my time management skills will be coming into play. To some people, this schedule appears to be overwhelming, but to me it’s downright exciting because each aspect of it complements the other very well. “If you believe, as I do, that the overall community and citizens benefit from a prosperous environment, what

ABOVE/RIGHT: LEN RHODES WEARING A CUSTOM SPORTS JACKET IN SUPPORT OF PLAID FOR DAD. PHOTO SOURCE: LEN RHODES

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LEN RHODES MEANS BUSINESS // COVER

of Distinction that publically honours people that make a lasting contribution in our business community. Each year, the winner is announced at the Chamber Ball. That is always a highlight!” Rhodes knows there are some members of the business community that have not yet joined the Chamber, and he encourages them to consider membership. “Your Chamber is pro-business,” he says. “Consolidating all of your needs into one major voice can go a long way. As a member, we can serve you best. We are the voice for small business, medium business and large business. Our business is your business. Your business is our business.

is there not to be excited about? Business creates jobs. Jobs create wealth for citizens. Competition is tough, but companies conducive to communities will thrive. There are more opportunities than barriers. Let’s focus on them to take our businesses to the next level.” In addition to supporting existing businesses, the Chamber supports the upcoming generation of business leaders. “I love anything to do with scholarships,” Rhodes smiles. “We can give an opportunity to students that don’t have an opportunity for business or post-secondary education. I grew up in a low income neighbourhood in Montreal. I worked hard and was able to get post-secondary education. Now I want to give back. The Chamber has three scholarships with Junior Achievement of Northern Alberta & NWT, and one scholarship with Centre High. I’m proud that the Chamber is involved in that. There is also the Northern Lights Award

“A healthy business environment is one where business gives back to the community. As business custodians, we plant the seeds for the future; it is as important as what we do within our businesses today. Whether you want to get involved as a member, volunteer or join the board, it’s vital to unite under one umbrella. We are excited about working as a group. The Chamber stays relevant due to active participation.” As he looks forward to the busy year ahead, Rhodes can’t help being enthusiastic and excited about all the possibilities. “As long as I can contribute to the company I work for and to the community in which I live, I will remain motivated to continue down this road. I want to bring active leadership and two values to everything I do: innovation and creativity. As for becoming the Chamber chair, I respect the current culture and will not create radical change. I see myself as a custodian in a long line of predecessors and successors and will start every board meeting by asking ‘what’s in it for our members?’ If it is not supporting business, it will not be relevant to pursue. The Chamber is a proponent of balance. I like that. In fact, I like that a lot. Think of the Chamber as being a steady hand in a world that is changing at a rapid pace.”

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

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ARE ROBO-ADVISORS RENDERING INVESTMENT MANAGERS OBSOLETE? // INVESTING

ARE ROBO-ADVISORS RENDERING INVESTMENT MANAGERS OBSOLETE? BY LAURA BOHNERT

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nvestment management fees have been stirring up controversy of late, but is the rise of robo-advisors rendering investment managers and advisors—and their fees—unnecessary? “No,” says Bruce Sansom, president, Global Wealth Builders Ltd., Investment Managers & Consultants. Sansom, who founded the first investment management firm in Edmonton in 1976 (Managed Investments Ltd.) before starting Global Wealth Builders Ltd. in 2003, has seen the industry’s share of changes, but he’s also seen the importance of what investment management can offer.

“A client hires a registered portfolio manager to contain risk, select investments, monitor the portfolio, report performance, and ensure each investment is appropriate for the client and consistent with client objectives,” Sansom explains. “It is not certain whether [the robo-advisor] approach will prosper through an entire market cycle. I think the methods are overly dependent upon historical data in the selection process. The process does not seem to be sufficiently forward looking. I suspect it is a process that is very reliant on bull (upward trending) market conditions to succeed—and that means the investor must be content with higher volatility.”

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ARE ROBO-ADVISORS RENDERING INVESTMENT MANAGERS OBSOLETE? // INVESTING

“REGISTERED PORTFOLIO MANAGERS ARE HIGHLY QUALIFIED INVESTMENT PROFESSIONALS THAT POSSESS IMPRESSIVE TRAINING AND HIGH ETHICAL STANDARDS.” ~ BRUCE SANSOM

“Management fees are based on the market value of the client’s portfolio,” he adds. “They generally range between 1.00 per cent and 2.00 per cent annually, and are a taxdeductible expense from the portfolio’s income. “The investment environment is cyclical, and there are periods during the upward cycle when management fees are questioned. During the down cycle, the same fees appear to be a bargain. Comparisons against the popular indices are not credible because the indices do not have any costs, and it is impossible to invest without cost. Consequently, I feel that argument is entirely bogus,” he laughs. “Registered portfolio managers are highly qualified investment professionals that possess impressive training and high ethical standards,” Sansom stresses; however, he also understands that selecting a portfolio manager can seem daunting. His tip for choosing one? Find someone who is forward-looking. “Investors tend to attach too much importance to past performance, which is natural—but past performance may not be repeatable. It is important to determine whether performance is repeatable or just good luck. It is also important to gain an understanding of [the investment manager’s] investment disciplines and why they adhere to them.”

Jonathon A. L. Gold, B. Comm., CIM, FCSI, DMS, CFA, president and portfolio manager, Gold Investment Management Ltd., is quick to agree that there are clear advantages to opting for humans over robots when investing. “I am sure it will be perfected one day, but for today, there is no way a robot is going to advise on matters including, but not limited to, RRSP versus TFSA, RRSP contribution versus a lump sum mortgage payment, RDSP rules, RESP rules, converting an RRSP to a RRIF, etc. Investment managers are human beings. We can not only use computer algorithms to formulate a recommendation, but we also draw on experience and intuition. We have learned hard lessons through trial and error and can impart this knowledge to our clients.” In response to the investment management fee controversy, Gold explains, “There is a wide range of investment management fees. At the very high end, guaranteed investment fund (GIF MERs) can easily top 3 per cent. Mutual funds are becoming more competitive, but can still be costly. Portfolio management firms will typically charge less than mutual funds and can offer a value-added, bespoke service (as a PM firm, we are naturally biased, but this service offers the best value, in our opinion). Finally, at the

ABOVE: BRUCE SANSOM, PRESIDENT, GLOBAL WEALTH BUILDERS LTD., INVESTMENT MANAGERS & CONSULTANTS,

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ARE ROBO-ADVISORS RENDERING INVESTMENT MANAGERS OBSOLETE? // INVESTING

low end of the fee scale are the robos—but be warned, most are designed so you never speak with a human being.” Gold’s tip for finding a good investment manager? Ask about their investment philosophy. “A good manager should have a well-articulated investment philosophy, style and process. Ideally, a manager will have long-serving senior employees that hold designations such as CIM, FCSI, and CFA.” Marshall McAlister, CFA, private wealth counsellor and principal, Pavilion Investment House, agrees that the human component of investment management is critical

to its success, saying, “In my many years of service to investors, I have never had a client leave our firm and move to a robo-advisor. In fact, the growth of our firm as well as our Edmonton practice does not, in any way, show us that successful savers in Canada are looking to computers to deliver wealth management advice.” Proper wealth management is about more than algorithms. “At Pavilion, we begin all of our relationships by conducting in-depth client interviews to discover and understand each client’s unique situation. Only then are we able to design a portfolio that truly seeks to address their entire financial

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ARE ROBO-ADVISORS RENDERING INVESTMENT MANAGERS OBSOLETE? // INVESTING

“FIND AN ADVISOR THAT HAS COMMITTED TO EDUCATION; LOOK FOR DESIGNATIONS SUCH AS CFP OR CFA, BUT ALSO LOOK FOR AN ADVISOR THAT ACTUALLY PROVIDES FINANCIAL ADVICE, AS OPPOSED TO JUST SELECTING INVESTMENT PRODUCTS.” ~ MARSHALL MCALISTER

picture. There are no ‘one-size-fits-all’ plans at Pavilion— especially with some of the complicated financial lives of some of our clients.” McAlister credits Pavilion’s combination of scientific investment strategy, tailored portfolio construction, and longterm relationships, as well as their ability to connect wealth planning to the tax and legal advice of other professionals, for the success of the company—and their clients. “While the majority of fees in the industry are charged based on specific investments made, we feel that the most valuable service provided to investors is advice that includes the planning and the structuring of their financial affairs, which should happen before any specific investments are recommended, as well as monitoring and oversight, which is ongoing. There is much more to financial advising than picking stocks, bonds, or funds. Items such as preparing a financial plan, constructing a proper asset allocation, ensuring that assets are properly allocated across accounts to maximize after-tax returns, monitoring and re-balancing investment portfolios, and reporting progress on a regular basis generate value for investors. Further to that, items that transcend investing, such as family risk management, estate planning, and philanthropic support, provide clients with

financial as well as emotional value, and it is hard to place a dollar value on that piece of mind.” McAlister’s advice for finding an investment manager? “Find an advisor that has committed to education; look for designations such as CFP or CFA, but also look for an advisor that actually provides financial advice, as opposed to just selecting investment products. Fund management is a tool that is used as part of an overall solution, but it should not necessarily be the sole service provided. When investment solutions are proposed in the absence of the full understanding of an individual’s circumstances, wants, and needs, they run the risk of not delivering the desired outcome for the investor.” Russ Dyck, co-founder and financial planner at Finovo, explains how robo-advisors can actually be credited for founding a new way to look at financial planning. Finovo is a new, fee-only, Alberta-based financial planning partnership that works with young professionals. “We are a virtual firm and have clients throughout Alberta, including Edmonton,” Dyck explains. “We meet with clients via video calls since our clients’ schedules are often filled with work and family responsibilities. Video calls give our clients the convenience of meeting us wherever they are and not wasting their time on travel.

ABOVE: MARSHALL MCALISTER, CFA, PRIVATE WEALTH COUNSELLOR AND PRINCIPAL, PAVILION INVESTMENT HOUSE.

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ARE ROBO-ADVISORS RENDERING INVESTMENT MANAGERS OBSOLETE? // INVESTING

“THE HUMAN ELEMENT THAT A GOOD FINANCIAL PLANNER OFFERS IS TRULY UNDERSTANDING YOUR GOALS, EMOTIONS, BEHAVIOURS, AND HABITS AROUND MONEY. WE BELIEVE THAT THE RELATIONSHIP WE FORM WITH OUR CLIENTS IS KEY IN THAT PROCESS AND IS NOT SOMETHING A ROBOT CAN DO.” ~ RUSS DYCK

“Our business is built around the opportunity created by robo-advisors. We are big believers in the passive investing model that is utilized by robo-advisors (since 90 per cent of actively managed funds underperform their benchmark over a 10-year period), so we don’t attempt to beat them. Instead, we focus our efforts on offering a truly comprehensive service and helping our clients improve their behaviors and habits around money. Those behavioral changes will ultimately improve their financial situation more than changes to their portfolio. “The human element that a good financial planner offers is truly understanding your goals, emotions, behaviours, and habits around money. We believe that the relationship we form with our clients is key in that process and is not something a robot can do.”

Unfortunately, too few people get this distinction, and that causes the majority of the public to over-value investment choices and under-value the larger impact everyday actions have on their overall financial situation.” What’s Dyck’s tip for finding a good financial planner? “Avoid looking solely at past performance. Instead of trying to find a great fund manager, find a great, unbiased, and fee-only financial planner instead. Ask them about their compensation structure, qualifications, philosophy, and most importantly, their biases around helping people with money. If they will only ever talk about investments, you have a onetrick pony.”

On the other hand, the rise of robo-advisors, Dyck points out, points to an important shift in client needs. “In this day and age, unless you have a complex estate situation or have a seven figure or larger portfolio, we don’t believe investment managers are as important for young professionals who are just starting out.” But this doesn’t mean that robots are the answer. “A comprehensive financial planner is extremely important, but there is a big difference between the two.

ABOVE: RUSS DYCK, CO-FOUNDER AND FINANCIAL PLANNER AT FINOVO.

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Official Nomination Form

Go Online to www.businessinedmonton.com/leaders Submissions Directions: Please complete the application in its entirety. Send the form via email to leaders@businessinedmonton.com; fax to 587.520.5701; or mail to us at: Suite 1780, 10020 - 101 A Ave. NW, Edmonton, AB T5J 3G2. For further information on the Leaders program please contact 1-800-465-0322.

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.

Nominee

Nominee’s Name:

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Business Address:

Title: Company Name: General Company Phone:

City:

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Company Website: Nature of Business:

Nominee’s Phone:

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THE FINISHING TOUCH // EDUCATION MBA

The Finishing Touch BY ZACHARY EDWARDS

HOW EDMONTON’S POST-SECONDARY INSTITUTIONS ARE CONNECTING GRADUATES WITH JOBS

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he story of today’s graduates in Alberta, be it a Bachelor of Commerce or a focused college business certificate, is similar to many other parts of the country. Faced with a gig-focused labour market and increased competitiveness for the dwindling full-time positions, students need an education that not only gives them knowledge and skills, but helps them network and discover opportunities in the labour market. It is a problem that has only grown more common over the past decade, and will continue to change as Edmonton’s economy transforms in the coming years.

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THE FINISHING TOUCH // EDUCATION MBA

“WHETHER A STUDENT ENDS UP IN MARKETING OR ACCOUNTING, IT IS IMPORTANT TO HAVE A FUNDAMENTAL UNDERSTANDING OF EACH OF THE DIFFERENT AREAS OF BUSINESS, HOW THEY INTERACT, AND WHY EACH IS IMPORTANT TO A BUSINESS’ SUCCESS.” ~ CHRIS LYNCH

Stories of this labour market vary from year-to-year, and from person-to-person. If full-time employment is your only metric, then prospects are looking good for many commerce degree graduates. The University of Alberta ran a survey in 2015 that found “85.5 per cent of all newly minted Bachelor of Commerce grads who responded to an online poll have landed full-time jobs.” Job vacancy rates in Alberta in 2016, however, had fallen “down by 35,000 (-47.9 per cent) from the first quarter of 2015 to the first quarter of 2016,” according to Statistics Canada. Graduates with university degrees were and are finding employment as receptionists and filing clerks. Fulltime employment is secured, but the statistics suggest many grads were working outside of their chosen field. This is a problem that many of Edmonton’s post-secondary institutions, especially in their business faculties and programs, are tackling head on. A number of degrees and programs at the University of Alberta, MacEwan University and NorQuest College offer practical experience and the opportunity to work directly with local companies. Robert White, who teaches business law at MacEwan University, believes this is the right step. “Working in a business is a lot easier when you know the business’ industry well,” he says. “I think many students go out into the workforce without a knowledge of the industry in which they end up. Providing specific knowledge of certain industries will give students a head start, and may also help them figure out what type of business they want to work in.”

Combining Education and Experience At the University of Alberta, MBA students must complete a capstone project, a course that sees students meet with

real businesses and work on a strategic issue that local companies are facing. The program helps students gain realworld experience and a more rounded understanding of how businesses work. According to Chris Lynch, senior director of recruitment at the University of Alberta’s School of Business, understanding the multifaceted nature of businesses is important. “Whether a student ends up in marketing or accounting, it is important to have a fundamental understanding of each of the different areas of business, how they interact, and why each is important to a business’ success,” he says. “[The capstone] gives students some experience applying what they’ve learned in the classroom out in real organizations. Every business or organization has their own strengths, challenges, and constraints – it’s good for students to see how different industries operate.” ABOVE: CHRIS LYNCH, SENIOR DIRECTOR OF RECRUITMENT, UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS.

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For more information on our MBA: 1-800-561-4650 business.athabascau.ca/mba

“The MBA has helped me realize a more holistic view of the business by learning facets of every department from HR, to marketing, to finance, to operations. To be able to bring it all together adds tremendous value to any organization.” Len Hoang, MBA ’17 Operations Manager Nando’s Canada


THE FINISHING TOUCH // EDUCATION MBA

The capstone offers benefits for students and businesses. Besides giving students practical experience and a possible network contact, Lynch says “the capstone projects help organizations with business challenges they are facing, but also exposes students to sectors or industries they may never have considered working for otherwise.” At NorQuest College, the relationship with local businesses starts before the students even register. Faculty and program heads work directly with local businesses to determine the courses and skills businesses are looking for, and adapt their offerings to help students who graduate. “We have program advisory committees and what they do is bring business and industry in to talk about current trends and the skills that business and industry need,” says Corey Mushynsky, associate dean at NorQuest College. “Then we look at revising our curriculum so that we are giving them those grads with the skills that they are looking for. We try to do that across all of our programs.” One such example of responding to the needs of today’s businesses is a broader scope within their specialized programs. “We have specializations that focus on things like accounting or HR or management and, within those, we offer focused courses on business operations or even entrepreneurship,” he says. “It’s about helping students become well-rounded, and have the ability to work in a flexible environment.” This aspect of curriculum development is key to NorQuest College’s focus on what they call “workforce relevant programming,” programs that help students minimize the time between getting the skills they need and being productive members of the workforce. “Our students are typically looking for programs that get them to work a little quicker. They’re coming in here for short programs so they can get into the industry and be productive,” Mushynsky says.

Just like at the University of Alberta and MacEwan University, NorQuest connects students with local businesses for practical experience and networking opportunities. “Within business, we have noticed our students need more opportunities to work on their networking skills. Many of the businesses we work with like to give back to our students, so they help them expand their networks and contacts so that when they do graduate, they have some people to contact for work.”

Connections Today, Opportunities Tomorrow Within this focus on getting students into the real world is a chance to help students develop their soft skills. Looking forward, White believes one of the key issues that Alberta will continue to face is communication, something that, in his experience, can lead to costly, time-consuming issues. “[Students] need to learn effective communication, both oral and written,” he says. “Many misunderstandings and

ABOVE: COREY MUSHYNSKY, ASSOCIATE DEAN AT NORQUEST.

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THE FINISHING TOUCH // EDUCATION MBA

“WE HAVE SPECIALIZATIONS THAT FOCUS ON THINGS LIKE ACCOUNTING OR HR OR MANAGEMENT AND, WITHIN THOSE, WE OFFER FOCUSED COURSES ON BUSINESS OPERATIONS OR EVEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP, IT’S ABOUT HELPING STUDENTS BECOME WELL-ROUNDED, AND HAVE THE ABILITY TO WORK IN A FLEXIBLE ENVIRONMENT.” ~ COREY MUSHYNSKY

problems, including legal problems, arise because of ineffective communication. Learning how to communicate so there cannot be misunderstanding avoids a lot of problems.” These problems, he says, are expensive for all parties involves, from small businesses right up to the government itself. “Legal disputes are inefficient and decrease the province’s economic performance,” he points out. “They inhibit production, result in the transfer of wealth, and incur extra costs for businesses. They can even destroy businesses. Educating ‘legal-conscious’ business people will improve the province’s economy as these legal disputes are reduced.” Alberta’s economy is changing. Faced with new prospects and new industries, along with developing new technologies for its existing economic powerhouses, Alberta needs to think long-term, starting with the education of the next generation of workers, innovators, and leaders. Doing so is not only important for Alberta’s future, but also for its present. As students graduate, they need to not only have the skills needed to move Alberta forward, but

the opportunity to do so. For Edmonton’s major postsecondary institutions, ensuring students are well-equipped in knowledge, skills and networks is essential, especially as Alberta’s economy continues to change.

THIRTY YEARS OF DISTINCTION

PRESCHOOL KINDERGARTEN ELEMENTARY JR. HIGH

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

“Outstanding students, outstanding results.” proacad.ca

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

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PROFESSIONAL PARTY PEOPLE // EVENT PLANNING & CATERING

Professional

PartyPeople

Edmonton’s event pros go the extra mile to create standout experiences BY RAMONA KORPAN

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akes suspended from the ceiling. Custom perfume stations. Impeccably costumed entertainers. It’s all in a day’s work for Edmonton’s event professionals.

In an industry that relies heavily on referrals and repeat clients, constantly outdoing yourself is a must. Event hosts and their guests are always looking for new ideas, themes and elements to create experiences so incredible they’ll live on in memories, conversations and photo albums long after the house lights are turned up, the cake crumbs are swept up and the last guest has gone home. It’s a lot of pressure, but event entrepreneurs and professionals in this city are up to the challenge. We caught up with three of them who shared their biggest challenges and triumphs, how they stay ahead in a demanding industry and the event trends you can look forward to as you plan your next personal event or corporate function.

Anything you can Dream up, With Icing on Top If there is one name synonymous with stunning, largescale events in Edmonton, it’s River City Events. The event planning and rental business has been pulling off fearless

fetes for over a decade now, but according to corporate event consultant Vania Asenova, there’s no falling into a rhythm. Clients’ tastes change all the time, and the only thing they’ve come to expect is the unexpected. “Event creators are seeking out less traditional options to wow guests. Creating one-of-a-kind experiences is definitely

ABOVE: VANIA ASENOVA, CORPORATE EVENT CONSULTANT, RIVER CITY EVENTS.

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


HOST BETTER EVENTS Redefine the meaning of fun when you plan your next event at The Rec Room. With up to 60,000 sq. ft. of entertainment space, Canadian-inspired dining, and gaming options ranging from shuffleboard to the latest virtual reality, it’ll be like nothing you’ve hosted before. With our onsite professional event planner always ready to assist, you’ll have everything you need to pull off your best event yet.

LOCATIONS

Take the hassle out of planning your next event. For a preview of our offerings visit

· South Edmonton (AB) · West Edmonton Mall (AB) · Toronto (ON) · Calgary (Deerfoot, AB) · Coming Soon: London (ON), Mississauga (ON) + Vancouver (BC)

TheRecRoom.com

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® Cineplex Entertainment LP or used under license.


PROFESSIONAL PARTY PEOPLE // EVENT PLANNING & CATERING

ABOVE/TOP RIGHT: A DESSERT TABLE IS AN EXCELLENT WAY TO IMPRESS GUESTS.

ABOVE: MAKING USE OF EDMONTON’S MOST INTERESTING VENUES, COMMONWEALTH TRANSFORMS INTO AN OPEN AIR BANQUET HALL.

ABOVE: THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX! A PERFUME BAR IS MEMORABLE, IMPACTFUL AND ENTERTAINING.

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PROFESSIONAL PARTY PEOPLE // EVENT PLANNING & CATERING

JACQUELYN STEEVES KNOWS A THING OR TWO ABOUT TURNING VISIONS INTO REALITY. AS THE OWNER OF CAKE AFFAIR, HER CUSTOM CAKE REQUESTS RUN THE GAMUT FROM FAIRY TALE CHARACTERS TO GRAPHIC PRINTS TO TOWERING FLORAL MASTERPIECES.

the main focus,” says Asenova. “The integration of interactive stations is definitely on the rise, from oxygen bars to virtual reality experiences, to personalized gifting lounges and even mobile perfume stations where people can mix their own scent. These are experiences that are driven by event attendees, their personalities, styles and desires.” “Our clients think outside the box and challenge us,” says Asenova. “I worked on a movie-themed event where the client requested that the costumes of the entertainers must look exactly like the ones in the musical. We couldn’t source the costumes so we actually printed scenes from the movie and we made them. It was a small detail, maybe not evident to the event guests, but it was important to our client and their event story, and I think that’s what’s important – their event story and how we can help them tell it to their guests.” Jacquelyn Steeves knows a thing or two about turning visions into reality. As the owner of Cake Affair, her custom cake requests run the gamut from fairy tale characters to graphic prints to towering floral masterpieces. “In many cases these items are a focal point,” she says. “They are photographed and talked about. People are often in awe that we can create art with food.”

“We recently hung a cake from the ceiling to mimic a chandelier. That was pretty neat,” Steeves explains as she describes the unexpected requests that come with working in the cake business. “I thrive on chaos and I’m not sure I’m ever truly prepared for the unexpected, but I welcome it with open arms. I love a good challenge and I just dive in.”

Sometimes Less is More Of course, taking an event to the next level doesn’t always mean going over the top or relying heavily on a novel theme. When Ricky Dhanju and his brother took over their uncle’s established event business, Meridian Banquets, less than a year ago, they quickly learned that sometimes the most memorable events are the most understated. “What I have seen is that people are trying to scale back a lot. I think a lot of people have done over-the-top events, so they’re trying to do something different now.” Though the desire for a simpler soiree is often a matter of taste, it can also be the result of budgetary limitations. Whatever your motive is for wanting uncomplicated elegance, Meridian wants to make sure the experience is consistently high quality, so they take steps to make sure their venue is stunning enough to make an impression without any added accoutrements. “We’ve upgraded our facilities so guests won’t need as much to make their event look great,” says Dhanju. “We’ve put in

ABOVE: JACQUELYN STEEVES, OWNER, CAKE AFFAIR.

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PROFESSIONAL PARTY PEOPLE // EVENT PLANNING & CATERING

dimmers on all of our chandeliers so you get a nice soft glow. We work with clients on cost-effective options, so you can make the event look really nice without having to add a lot of extra decor elements.” When the frills are scaled back and the decor is decidedly unfussy, it leaves more room for some of the other event elements to shine. “One thing we believe should always stand out is the food,” says Dhanju. “Our food is by far the best. The chefs that we hire, the quality of ingredients that we use—we don’t take shortcuts. It’s the most important thing for us because everyone remembers the food.”

If you think all that intense social media posting will have your guests working up an appetite, there are plenty of trendy treat ideas to help them refuel. According to Steeves, the hottest dessert tables are stocked with donuts and mini pies. “And we can’t forget the unicorns,” she says of the trendiest dessert decor motif. Steeves is also quick to point out that sometimes what starts out as a trend actually has a much longer shelf life. “There was a lot of talk of cupcakes not being popular at weddings anymore but they are still going strong,” she says. Of course holding on to a favourite doesn’t mean eschewing novelty altogether. “New trends for cupcake design seem to pop up often,” she adds.

What’s hot Right now So what favours, feasts and flourishes have been captivating guests over the past couple of years? According to Asenova, it’s all about engagement and interaction. “We’ve noticed that corporate events put a huge emphasis on social engagement. This trend is a massive market opportunity and really activates your guests as your brand ambassadors, event promoters and marketers,” she says. “For example, technology like Instagram stories and Facebook Live encourage your event attendees to broadcast their event experience. We also see a lot of social media walls. Twitter or Instagram feeds that are visible to everybody really generate realtime excitement and encourage attendees to post and share their event experiences.”

It’s all About a Personalized Experience Whether your event is personal or corporate, big or small, over the top or understated, our event experts all agree that one key element should always be present: the personal touch. “When people gather, having something unique brings them closer together,” says Steeves. “The first thing we ask our clients when they come to us is what story do you want to tell and how do you want your guests to feel?” says Asenova. “Storytelling and personalized experiences are at the heart of a successful event, so my advice to event hosts is to create your complete event story.”

ABOVE: ATTENTION TO DETAIL INCLUDES AMBIENT LIGHTING.

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2018 Board of Directors Board Executive

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

Board Directors

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

Chamber Executive

Janet Riopel President & CEO Edmonton Chamber of Commerce Tim Ferris Director, Member Services Edmonton Chamber of Commerce Ian Morris Director, Organizational Excellence Edmonton Chamber of Commerce Danuta Woronowicz Director, Advocacy and Outreach 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

Key Policy Priorities for 2018 By Brent Francis, Senior Policy & Research Analyst

T

his will be a pivotal year for Edmonton and Alberta. As the effects of the worst economic downturn in a generation continue to be felt, our political leaders need to lay the groundwork for our future economic success.

Over the course of 2018, the Edmonton Chamber will be focused on ensuring decision-makers deliver results that drive economic sustainability and growth. Our policy priorities for 2018 are: • • • •

Fiscal responsibility in budgeting Cumulative impact of layered-on cost increases Access to markets Trade agreements, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) • The legalization of cannabis • Innovation and productivity Fiscal responsibility in budgeting The Chamber is looking to both the federal and provincial governments to present clear plans that will lead Alberta and Canada back to balanced budgets. As the City of Edmonton drafts its next four-year budget in 2018, the Chamber will encourage Mayor and Council to ensure the City’s rate of spending growth is modest. Over the past decade, municipal tax increases have far outpaced population growth and inflation. That pace must slow as increasing costs on business will only slow down our economic recovery. If the trend of growing government spending, without a clear plan to reduce debt, is not reversed, Alberta and Canada’s competitive position will be harmed. We want to avoid continued fiscal pain and an unmanageable legacy of debt for future generations. Cumulative impact of layered-on cost increases In recent years, all orders of government have increased the cost of doing business in Edmonton. This will continue in 2018: • The provincial minimum wage is increasing to $15 per hour, up from $10.20 in 2015. o This is a 48% increase in only three years. • Federal tax reforms will increase the tax burden on businesses. o Changes to income sharing and passive income came into effect on January 1, 2018. • The carbon tax has increased the cost of gasoline, diesel and home heating fuels. o The tax increased 50% on January 1, 2018 from $20 per tonne to $30 per tonne. Continued on the next page... BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // FEBRUARY 2018

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The Edmonton Chamber will continue to urge all orders of government to consider the negative consequences and overall cumulative economic impact caused by layering-on multiple cost increases to business. Access to markets The Edmonton Chamber is a long-time, vocal advocate for major infrastructure projects that ensure Alberta’s people, products, and services reach new markets. With producers warning they are close to reaching maximum capacity for transporting oil and gas through existing pipelines, there is an urgent need to get shovels in the ground on a new pipeline to tidewater in 2018. This will benefit all of Canada by providing safe and efficient access to new markets that have growing demand for the quality products we offer. NAFTA and trade agreements When the North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiations began last year, the hope was to have a new deal by the end of 2017. Now, it’s uncertain when, or if, a deal will be reached. In the face of this uncertainty, strengthening our trading relationships nationally and globally will be of the utmost importance. Despite protectionist measures by the U.S., other countries are open to trade. • The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) came into force in 2017. • A revived Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would open up free trade between Pacific Rim countries, including Japan, Australia and Canada, is on its way to being finalized. • Canada and China are in the early stages of pursuing a free trade deal. The Chamber will continue to support and investigate expanded trading opportunities throughout 2018. The legalization of cannabis In 2018, Canada will do something no country has done: legalize the production and consumption of cannabis. This will open

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Despite the downturn, Edmonton has numerous significant economic advantages including strong regional connections, a skilled labour force and an entrepreneurial business sector. up a brand new, multibillion-dollar industry with plentiful business opportunities in numerous areas including retail, agriculture, testing, security and tourism. While we’re pleased Alberta chose the private retail model the Chamber championed, we know legalization also brings risks, including workplace safety issues. The Chamber will continue to advocate for a balanced approach to ensure that any potential harmful impacts and costs of legalization are minimized and that the potential economic benefits are maximized. Innovation and productivity The economic downturn has accelerated the need to diversify our economy through emerging industries. In 2018, the Chamber will be investigating innovation policy to determine what will help and what will hinder promising industries such as artificial intelligence, health technology, clean tech, advanced manufacturing and agri-food processing. Despite the downturn, Edmonton has numerous significant economic advantages including strong regional connections, a skilled labour force and an entrepreneurial business sector. As we move ahead on the issues that affect the economy, we will amplify the voice of the business community throughout 2018 and beyond to ensure the city, region and province realize their full economic potential. The Edmonton Chamber would like to hear from you. What is your perspective on these issues and how they will affect your business in 2018? You can contact us by email: policy@edmontonchamber.com.


AMVIC Licensed


Imagine Research and Technology Member profile Doug Whyte, CEO imagineresearchtech.com Imagining ‘tomorrow’s reality’ is something that Doug Whyte is very familiar with. Having recently returned from The ACE (Annual Creativity in Electronics) Awards in Silicon Valley, where his Edmonton based company was a finalist in the ‘Tomorrow’s Reality’ category, Doug is optimistic about the future tech development opportunities available in Edmonton. What’s your story? My background is electronic engineering technology. My twin brother and I graduated from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton, and I worked for many years at the University of Alberta in Electrical Engineering and Computing Science as a lab technician. During my time at NAIT, I became aware of a real industry-wide need to improve the reliability of electronics. Addressing this issue has become a lifelong focus. For example, with self driving vehicles coming, that need has become life-critical. Who would buy a selfdriving vehicle, let alone put his family in it, if it wasn’t as reliable as possible? What are three things people are surprised to learn about your business? 1. Electronics doesn’t have to fail like this. The products we are introducing are based on discoveries in a heady world of sub-microscopic quantum physics. But it’s not necessary to try to understand the physics behind it any more than you need an understanding of the inner world of electronics to use your TV. Electronics just works. Or it’s supposed to. THAT is what this is all about improving electronics. 2. People are surprised that a game-changing nanoelectronic technology, that substantially rewrites electronics as we know it, could come out of Edmonton. Silicon Valley, maybe. But Edmonton? Yes. This city has some astounding high-tech work going on.

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Doug Whyte, CEO, Imagine Research and Technology.

3. The fact that our company has three, ongoing joint research projects with the University of Akron and Purdue, two patents pending, two products at the market stage, and an additional six in the pipeline is amazing to many people. It’s meant several full trips back to the drawing board! What has surprised you in the last 12 months? How supportive our shareholders have been, and how extraordinary their own dreams, goals and aspirations are. Their stories constantly amaze me. We are fortunate to have them involved, and will give back to them profoundly. Just today I got an email from one of our shareholders, a retired grandmother in Nova Scotia, who wrote this to me:


“The reason you exist dear man is to create! We all know that. Benefiting others is always the desired outcome, but ‘creating’ is the spark. One of my careers was in nursing. I said then, and I say now, and truly believe, that ‘work is love made visible’.” Our shareholders are our joy. We are so deeply grateful to them. What has been your biggest challenge in the last 12 months? Getting people to comprehend the scope of what we are doing, and to be confident that in Alberta, we are moving forward strongly to an economy that powerfully coexists with the oil industries. It seems like Edmonton needs to wake up and realize that some very big things are going on “under the hood” in this town. What do you think is the biggest issue impacting Edmonton’s small businesses at this time? Becoming self-reliant, and developing technologies and products that can fit into a world economy. Edmonton small business needs to realize that Edmonton is world-scale. Look at us. Just a couple of local guys that began with a dream. But the nanoelectronic technology we have developed will affect the entire electronics industry. It is a fundamental, underlying, enabling technology. From the first two of our current group of eight products alone, we are estimating an $11 billion dollar market within 5-8 years of introduction.

person? Now release it to the universe to take care of. As a new Chamber Member, what have your first impressions been? I’m so impressed by the creativity, energy, and openness of the people I’ve met at the Chamber. What an amazing resource. Our Chamber mandate is to create the best environment for business in Edmonton. If you could make one substantial improvement to Edmonton’s business environment, what would it be? Show people how to truly develop themselves. Profound personal development: it is the underlying key to success in life. What is your favorite thing to do in Edmonton? Several times a week in the summer I meet my friends after work. We go down to Laurier Park, light a fire, do our Transcendental Meditation, have an impromptu supper and simply enjoy the evening together. Lots of laughter. That, and Blues on Whyte on Saturday afternoons. Wow!! Apple or android? Apple for sure. They do things well, and differently. I like that. Your most favorite place in the world? The Languedoc region in the south of France, sharing a bottle of Sancerre wine.

What’s your secret to keeping your employees engaged? Treat them like adults, and give them the freedom to create.

Coffee or tea? Mmmm. Coffee with Amaretto. Wrapping my hands around the warm mug on a chilly winter evening.

Do you have a personal mantra? To be grateful every day. Visualize your dream as done. What does it really feel like to be that

If you would like to learn more about Imagine Research and Technology Inc. please check out www.imagineresearchtech.com.

Members in this Issue Global Wealth Builders Ltd. in Are Robo-Advisors Rendering Investment Managers Obsolete? on page 25 University of Alberta, MacEwan University and NorQuest College in The Finishing Touch on page 31 River City Events in Professional Party People on page 36 ATB Financial in New Ways to Think about Your Financial Future on page 49

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Connecting Business Let’s talk health with Hon. Sarah Hoffman, presented by TELUS Health

Minister Hoffman engaged in an active Q&A session with guests as she discussed Alberta’s health system and the impact it has on Edmonton’s economy.

Minister Hoffman delivered an informative and invigorating keynote address about the key issues impacting our health services.

Chamber members and the Edmonton business community took advantage of the networking opportunities prior to hearing from the Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, the Hon. Sarah Hoffman.

Guests from across the health industry had the opportunity to engage with other business leaders and grow their connections.

2017 Board of Directors Christmas Reception

Edmonton Chamber Board Members, Policy Committee Members, and Chamber staff connecting at the annual Edmonton Chamber Board Christmas Reception.

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Lisa Rau from the Chamber team enjoying a conversation with 2017 Board Chair James Merkosky and fellow Board Member Crystal Graham.


A conversation with Premier Rachel Notley, presented by Capital Power

Janet Riopel, President & CEO, Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, welcomes Premier Rachel Notley, members and guests to the sold-out event.

Premier Notley shares ‘There’s work to do, but things in Alberta are looking up. We’re going to keep working with all of you to help create good jobs for people in Edmonton and throughout Alberta in the months ahead.’

A valuable networking opportunity for Chamber members and the business community as guests packed out the Shaw Conference Centre to hear from Premier Rachel Notley.

Guests enjoying the hospitality and chance to connect.

Wild night at the Zoo: Member and family appreciation night, presented by ENMAX

Chamber members and their families enjoyed ‘going wild’ at our member appreciation event at the Edmonton Valley Zoo.

Guests enjoyed the interactive animal experiences and colourful Zoominescence exhibition with their families. BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // FEBRUARY 2018

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THE 2018

Presented by

We would like to thank all our generous sponsors for truly making Chamber Ball 2018 ‘An Evening of Brilliance’

Presenting Sponsor

Telecommunication Sponsor

Vehicle Sponsor

Silver Sponsors

Official Print Sponsor

Official Media Sponsor

Bronze Sponsors

Supporting Sponsors

Airline Sponsor


NEW WAYS TO THINK ABOUT YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE // RRSP, TFSA & TAX PLANNING

NEW WAYS TO THINK ABOUT YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE

BY NERISSA MCNAUGHTON

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questions, such as: what do I want my retirement to look like? Will I fund my child’s entire post-secondary education or expect them to work? Is maxing my RRSP a better option this year than paying down large loans?

The old advice is tried and true, but it simply doesn’t hold up for everyone. Instead, you should be asking yourself key

The truth is, many Albertans are in no position to max out anything besides their credit cards. Last year saw Edmonton’s non-mortgage debt average out at $24,354.

e’ve heard it all before: save a million dollars for retirement; max out that RRSP; and by all means, put that extra money – you know, the overflowing funds you have no idea what to do with after you’ve maxed out your RRSP – into your TFSA.

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NEW WAYS TO THINK ABOUT YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE // RRSP, TFSA & TAX PLANNING

“WHAT YOU NEED TO DO IS HAVE A HARD LOOK AT YOUR INCOME AND EXPENSES. UNDERSTAND WHAT IS COMING IN AND WHAT IS BEING SPENT. THAT’S A BIG EYE OPENER FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE.” ~ BRIAN BETZ With the tight reality of many consumers in Alberta, it’s time to look at new ways to think about your financial future. Brian Betz is a debt counsellor at Money Mentors. When asked if it was best to save for retirement or to invest when one is already carrying significant consumer debt, he said, “I wish there were black and white answers to everything! It would make our job so much simpler!” Then he got down to the nitty gritty. “The first thing that comes to mind would be, if you are carrying significant consumer debt, you have to ask yourself why. To me, that indicates that something is wrong, and the most common issue is continuing to borrow money to fund a lifestyle you can’t afford. “What you need to do is have a hard look at your income and expenses. Understand what is coming in and what is being spent. That’s a big eye opener for a lot of people. Once we determine that, we can look at the question of if it’s consumer debt. If so, what is the interest rate? How much is the debt? How much is the payment? There may be a way to pay debt and save for retirement, but a lot of that goes to income level. Should one cash out a retirement product to pay down debt? Again, Betz says the answer is, “it depends.” “The common answer is that it’s not a good idea to cash out a retirement product,” he notes. “You are only allowed to contribute so much to an RRSP, and if you cash it out, you can’t replace that contribution. Having said that, you have to look at what kind of investments you have in your retirement products and what kind of return you are getting. Do I have $100,000 in an RRSP versus $5,000 in consumer debt? Then, why do I have that debt, what can I do with my budget to figure it out?

“If you are 30 years old and your goals have changed and you want to pay off that debt, you have enough time to replace [an RRSP] before retiring. If you are 55, that’s a different scenario. Cashing in retirement products is the last scenario I would advise looking at. It’s just too hard to replace.” One of the best things anyone can do for their finances, especially if they carry debt, is talk to a professional. “People are afraid of the term ‘debt,’ Betz says. “They think, ‘oh boy I have to do something I don’t want to do, like a diet says I can’t eat what I want.’ Don’t think of it that way! If you just want to do better with your money, have questions about where the money going or how to achieve a goal: ask for help. You don’t have to be in a serious debt situation to ask. Access the tutorials on our website or get free consultation on the phone, in person, or over Skype. We are not going to try to

ABOVE: BRIAN BETZ, DEBT COUNSELLOR, MONEY MENTORS.

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NEW WAYS TO THINK ABOUT YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE // RRSP, TFSA & TAX PLANNING

“It is important to have a proper risk tolerance done, and a discussion on volatility. “Sometimes, debt repayment (especially high interest debt) should be a bigger priority than saving for retirement. High interest debt comes with a guaranteed loss, while most investing does not come with a guaranteed gain. “Some people also tend to have a hometown bias when it comes to investing. It is important to diversify your equities across the global stage, not just in the country or sector you may live and work in. “Using registered accounts (RRSPs and TFSAs) can be a great way to save money on taxes, but first check with your accountant to make sure they are best for you and your financial situation.

sell you anything. We can consolidate at a low interest rate to provide education and opportunity.” Spencer Bennett, financial advisor, Edward Jones, says a key part of financial planning comes down to the “planning” part of the equation. “One of the most common mistakes is that people often don’t have a plan,” he says. “If they do, it may not be including some important factors, like inflation, extra expenses, etc. Many people also think their work group plan is enough to retire on. This is seldom the case. Setting up a monthly contribution and sticking to it can go a long ways. I would recommend seeking the advice of a financial advisor to make sure you have a properly prepared and regularly reviewed plan. It is also important to make sure you are taking appropriate risks. Don’t be shy to ask how much your advisor is charging you, and what your returns are. The value your advisor provides should be greater than the fees they charge.” He also puts aside the one-size-fits-all approach in favour of tailored plans for each individual, especially when it comes to risk, and he encourages his clients to keep an open mind about the best path to their goals. His key points for consumers are:

“Where appropriate, life insurance (including permanent solutions, such as whole life) can provide a great solution for estate planning. Life insurance usually pays out tax free, and can be a great way to provide for the needs of the surviving family members. Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors are not estate planners and cannot provide tax or legal advice. Please consult a qualified tax specialist or lawyer for professional advice regarding your specific situation.” Bennett summarizes, “Meet with an advisor who takes time to learn what’s important to you and your family; that helps create a personalized financial strategy to help you reach your goals.”

“ONE OF THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES IS THAT PEOPLE OFTEN DON’T HAVE A PLAN,” HE SAYS. “IF THEY DO, IT MAY NOT BE INCLUDING SOME IMPORTANT FACTORS, LIKE INFLATION, EXTRA EXPENSES, ETC.” ~ SPENCER BENNETT

ABOVE: SPENCER BENNETT, ADVISOR, EDWARDS JONES.

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NEW WAYS TO THINK ABOUT YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE // RRSP, TFSA & TAX PLANNING

“A FINANCIAL PLAN IS A LIVING DOCUMENT THAT PROVIDES AN INVESTOR WITH CONFIDENCE AND PEACE OF MIND THAT THEY ARE ON THE RIGHT TRACK TO ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS.” ~ CHRIS TURCHANSKY

reality is that everyone’s situation is unique, and so is what they are saving for. The advice that clients receive should be tailored to their situations.” He continues, “The complexity in the investment world continues to increase, resulting in a number of people who are putting off getting started. Individuals should focus on finding an advisor or company they trust and looking for smart, simple, and helpful solutions that minimize the complexity of investing. As clients pass through their 20s into their 30s and 40s, it is important to continue to make sure their investment solutions are aligned to their time horizon. Although the end product is important, creating a plan, having a diversified portfolio that matches the risk an investor is comfortable with, and controlling costs are key. “A financial plan is a living document that provides an investor with confidence and peace of mind that they are on the right track to achieve their goals.” Chris Turchansky, president, ATB Investor Services, agrees. “It all starts with an advisor who will take the time to understand a client at a very deep level and develop a plan and solutions that fit the situation,” says Turchansky. “Rules of thumb, like ‘save $1 million for retirement,’ help to reduce complexity and can be a guide; however, the

What’s the best way to think about your financial future? The way that makes the most sense for you, be it travelling the world during retirement or downsizing to a cozy cottage, putting the kids through school or buying rental property, paying off debt or buying a house – it’s your money, it’s your plan, and the right financial advisors will help you achieve the goals that mean the most to you.

ABOVE: CHRIS TURCHANSKY, PRESIDENT, ATB INVESTOR SERVICES.

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PART I // PARKLAND COUNTY FEATURE

PARKLAND COUNTY FEATURE

PART I:

HIGHLIGHTING INDUSTRY AND TRANSPORTATION POTENTIAL IN ACHESON INDUSTRIAL PARK

BY LAURA BOHNERT

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ocated just west of Edmonton, Parkland County is known for its vibrant, idyllic setting, offering residents, visitors, and businesses owners a mix of country charm, easy access to city amenities—and a booming industrial park. “Acheson Industrial Park spans over 12,000 acres of industrial land and is located just west of Edmonton city limits,” explains Mark Edwards, director, Economic Diversification for Parkland County. With close proximity to five major highway routes and access to CN’s main line, Acheson Industrial Park has significant advantages in transportation. Additionally, Acheson has extremely competitive land, tax, and operational advantages. “Parkland County’s non-residential taxes are one of the lowest in the region and there are no business taxes,” Edwards notes. “A key component of what Acheson has to offer is that business owners are able to purchase substantial parcels of serviced land for large scale business operations,” Roger Ward, president, Acheson Business Association (ABA) and CAO of Gwent Building Systems Ltd., says, “There is also a lack of congestion of road transportation.” These advantages are why Acheson has seen so much recent growth.

“The Acheson Industrial Area has grown by more than 150 per cent in size during the last 15 years,” says Ward. “Acheson has seen consistent and substantial growth,” Edwards agrees. “Large scale businesses, such as TLC Supply Chain (Save-On-Foods), Supreme Steel’s new head office, Western Star Trucks and Impact Auto have chosen to make Acheson their home. Additionally, Champion Petfoods is in the process of building their NorthStar® Kitchens here – the facility is scheduled to open in 2019. “This growth has been driven by the economic advantages of land costs, taxes, etc., and also by the availability of fully serviced land that has excellent transportation access. The

ABOVE: MARK EDWARDS, DIRECTOR OF ECONOMIC DIVERSIFICATION, PARKLAND COUNTY.

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PART I // PARKLAND COUNTY FEATURE

TRANSPORTATION, DISTRIBUTION AND LOGISTIC BUSINESSES IN ACHESON: · KAL TIRE · MYSHAK SALES · MANITOULIN TRANSPORT INC. · NAVISTAR · NCSB CRANE AND HEAVY HAUL · NEW WAY TRUCKING · NORTH AMERICAN CONSTRUCTION GROUP · OVERWAITEA · PINNACLE PIPE HEAVY HAUL LTD. · POWELL CANADA · Q-LINE TRUCKING · SMS EQUIPMENT · SYSCO · WESTERN STAR NORTH TRUCKS

approved Area Structure Plan defines the land uses, which allow for a variety of medium industrial, commercial, and business industrial uses. This planning has created a blueprint for development.” For developers concerned about land availability, Edwards stressed that this is not an issue in Acheson. “Currently, Acheson has almost 1,000 acres that are under development or shovel-ready, plus another 2,000 development-ready acres,” Edwards says. “Land is available in various parcel sizes, from 100+ acres to 1-2 acres, and everything in between.” The Acheson Industrial Area consists of 12,000 acres of prairie land, of which 8,000 acres are currently developable under the Acheson Industrial Area Structure Plan. To date, approximately 3,500 acres of land have been developed and serviced. The area is served by the Capital Region Utilities Board, including truck services for potable water and wastewater. While storm water is managed by Parkland County through a series of storm water retention ponds, drainage ditches and sewers discharge into Big Lake. The oversizing of services and construction of truck routes is funded through development levies. However, as both Edwards and Ward have indicated, availability of land is only part of the equation. Transportation access is another part of why Acheson is so in-demand—and it also plays a role in how Acheson’s growth is taking shape.

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“During [its 15-year period of growth],” Ward observes, “it has become noticeable that the new businesses are more distribution- and logistical services-related than they are associated with the energy industry. In part, this is due to the close links to the primary highways and the railway intermodal yards.” Acheson is directly served by five major highways and several secondary highways. On the northern boundary running east and west is Yellowhead TransCanada Highway number 16, ultimately heading west to the Pacific Coast and east to the Maritimes. Turning south off Highway 16 is Highway 60, which runs to Highway 2, leading to the Edmonton International Airport, Calgary, and further in the United States. Also, running west from Edmonton through the centre of Acheson is Highway 16A, connecting with the City of Spruce Grove and the Town of Stony Plain and, further west, joining up with the TransCanada 16. “Acheson also includes Highway 628, which runs east-west and will be the future Whitemud extension to Stony Plain, and Highway 44, which runs north. There are also a number of rail spurs in Acheson, and the CN Intermodal terminal is 10 minutes away,” Edwards adds. “All of these are major transportation/trucking corridors,” Edwards stresses. “Acheson provides excellent transportation access to the north, south, east, and west, and it is a short distance from CN rail’s intermodal yard. This access, combined with low operating and development costs, have made Acheson an attractive option for business. In addition, there are complementary businesses that benefit from being located close to each other.” Acheson’s desirability hasn’t gone unnoticed. Ward explains, “Easy access to the to the primary Alberta highway road network that serves Acheson has attracted a substantial number of firms to this industrial area. Regional food distribution centres, large and small logistics, transportation, equipment, oil industry supply companies, along with a soonto-open animal food centre have made Acheson a key centre in their distribution chain. Along with these core businesses, there are a substantial number of support firms that have located in Acheson as well. The construction industry is represented through equipment dealers, material suppliers of aggregates, asphalt, and other building materials firms,


PART I // PARKLAND COUNTY FEATURE

as well as various contractors. A regional grain distribution and unit train loading facility are located off the main line of the CNR. Another industry that is notable for its substantial involvement with road transport is a lumber reload centre and a lumber re-manufacturing and exporting company.” “Transportation, distribution and logistics, warehousing, manufacturing, oilfield services, value-added agriculture, construction, along with notable businesses like Entrec, Champion Petfoods, Impact Auto, Western Star Trucks, Sysco, TLC Supply Chain, Williams Scotsman, O’Hanlon Paving, Standard General, Manitoulin, Alta Link, SMS equipment, and Powell Canada,” Edwards exclaims, “Acheson’s consistent industry growth and potential makes it an important area for the region.” “Next to the power generation industry, Acheson is the second largest tax base in Parkland County and is an import component of the Economic Diversification Strategy. It is home to nearly four hundred businesses and has a workforce of almost 10,000 employees.”

Most of whom, Edwards notes, “live in the surrounding communities, such as Edmonton, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, St. Albert, and Devon.” “The Acheson Industrial Area is a key employment hub for the region,” observes Edwards, and Ward agrees, noting that “The wide range of business operations that are not dominated by any one industry or business operation make the area attractive for both large and small businesses. This provides an opportunity for the smaller support businesses that are necessary for the support of bigger operations to grow.” “It is also one of the largest transportation hubs in the Capital region, which is substantial in light of the fact that the area is less than 50 per cent developed,” Ward concludes. Major transportation access, land availability, and a locus for industrial growth—Acheson’s growing importance to Parkland County and surrounding areas is becoming ever more apparent.

Highlands Business Park Acheson | AlbertA highwAy 60 & 92 Avenue

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

www.panattonicanada.com


K-Jay Electric Ltd. Hits Milestone Anniversary The electrical company looks back on 45 years, and looks ahead to the years to come By Nerissa McNaughton

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-Jay Electric Ltd. is on a mission to establish a long-term, mutually rewarding relationships with each of their valued customers by consistently exceeding expectations and gaining trust through the exemplary and dedicated performance of every member of the Team. As they celebrate their 45th anniversary, it’s clear that this mission is a successful one. In 1973, John Bakker and a business partner started K-Jay

Electric. One year later, John bought his partner’s shares and became the sole owner of the company. “He started the business to create a better life for his family. I’m grateful to him for making this decision,” says his son and company president, Mark Bakker, noting that like most ambitious entrepreneurs, Bakker Sr. preferred to work for himself and forge his own path.

K-Jay Electric Ltd. • 45 Years 57


K-Jay Electric Ltd. • 45 Years • 2


Since opening its doors, K-Jay Electric has not advertised. Word of mouth and referrals have grown the company from a startup with four people to a thriving enterprise with over 130 staff during some points. “[Not having to do any marketing] says a lot about what we do and how we do it,” says Mark with pride. What they do is provide a range of electrical contractor services to customers in and around Edmonton. K-Jay Electric is also one of the oldest and largest electrical contractors in the city, and they specialize in residential, multi-family, and commercial projects. “People, people and more people. It’s all about the people. We have no real capacity for growth without outstanding people, and we have some of the best in the industry,” Mark says of how the company has become so successful. “Also, we are easy to get along with and are focused on solutions, not problems. We just figure it out and move forward.” He continues, “We are a family business. My dad hired my uncle and he runs our residential field. He hired me then

my brother, then I hired my brother-in-law and my cousin. Even the people that are not related by blood are considered family. I grew up with them in the business for over 20 years. K-Jay Electric is about people, whether it’s about the family atmosphere in the shop, office and field, or the amazing relationship we have with our building partners.” Mark isn’t afraid to make tough decisions. He recalls having to make a hard choice for the good of the team. “Replacing a longterm employee that was holding everybody back; my letting that person go was a highlight for everyone involved. It gave us the freedom to do what we do best instead of working around someone. We were able to move forward as a whole, and we gelled instead being of disjointed.” Staffing, Mark admits, can be a challenge. “Finding the right people – we invest a lot of time and money in making sure we have the best of the best. That is always a challenge. They have to match our company’s culture.” While staffing can be challenging, it’s the staff that Mark sees as his motivation and reward for coming to work each day.

Congratulations to K-Jay Electric Ltd. on your 45th year! It is always a pleasure doing business with you.

EATON CANADA WOULD LIKE TO CONGRATULATE K-Jay Electric Ltd. on 45 Years! • Commercial Construction • Industrial • Machinery OEM’s • Residential • Panel Builder & Electrical OEM’s • Utility

www.eatoncanada.ca K-Jay Electric Ltd. • 45 Years • 3


One of the first van magnets

CONGRATULATIONS TO TO K-JAY K-JAY ELECTRIC ELECTRIC LTD. LTD.

Celebrating Celebrating 45 45 years years in in business. business. We are proud to provide insurance solutions for K-Jay Electric Ltd. for over 15 years, and look forward to continuing to meet your insurance needs.

“The sense I get from all the employees is that they are a part of something,” he smiles when asked about what he loves best about his job. “They see working here not a means to an end, but as if they are a part of something larger. The staff works with us, not for us. Everyone here is constantly laughing, smiling, joking and having a good time. Nobody comes in and says, ‘this is terrible’. It’s upbeat and fun.” The employees play a huge role in the company’s success, and so do K-Jay Electric’s trade partners. “We are committed to long-term relationships,” Mark says firmly. “We try to build that kind of long-term relationship with every new client we take on. We have been with most of our building partners through the ups and downs and over many years.” Mark grew up seeing his father run the business, and now that he’s the company president, he makes sure to lead the team with thoughtfulness and consideration. He leads by, “Letting people do what they do best. Help them in goal setting and try to get out of their way, but assist them when required. Our focus is on finding the most efficient path from each project’s start to its conclusion, and I’ve learned over the years that teamwork is essential.” They all work together, and being part of the K-Jay Electric team means having an employer that supports a healthy work/ life balance. “Understanding work/life balance is essential. Family is always top of mind. We help the staff meet their family’s needs and obligations by being understanding when they need family time.”

K-Jay Electric Ltd. • 45 Years • 4


Proud Partner of K-Jay Electric Ltd.! We wish you many more years of continued success!

During his downtime, Mark enjoys skiing and snowboarding with his kids. He’s really into wake surfing and “anything behind a boat,” and he loves to play golf. After 45 years, what comes next? “We are currently building a new 30,000 square foot shop of which we will occupy 13,000 square feet. We will lease the rest, confirms Mark. We are looking forward to a bounce back in the economy and we promise our trade partners that we will always be looking for ways to improve.” As for their anniversary celebration, Mark says they are just, “taking it all in and focusing on being grateful for the opportunity we have to do this for as long as we have. We are so proud to have hit this milestone.” On behalf of the staff, management and team, Mark thanks K-Jay Electric’s trade partners, and everyone that has played a part in the company’s nearly half century of success. “Everyone adds a piece to the business,” he concludes. “Through failures and successes, we learn from each one. Without our trade partners, we couldn’t do any of that.”

Specializing in Energy Efficient Solutions

He smiles as he thinks about the years ahead. “Hopefully there are big things in our future.”

5919 90th Street Edmonton, AB T6E 6C2 Phone: 780-468-0999 Toll Free: 1-800-661-3947 Fax: 780-466-7718 10752 178 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5S 1J3 (780) 484-1721 • kjayelectric.ca

www.comlight.com

K-Jay Electric Ltd. • 45 Years • 5


K-Jay Electrical would like to thank the businesses listed below for their ongoing commitment to our business. Pacesetter Homes Sterling Homes Lincolnberg Homes Bedrock Homes Coventry Homes Impact Homes Carrington Communities Goven Brown Hibco Jen-Col Peter J’s Eton-West Seko Pelham/Nearctic


What’s your next move? In today’s challenging economy, access to capital can help ensure your vision of tomorrow becomes a reality. Whether you need capital to grow, to finance an acquisition, to buy out a shareholder or to pay yourself a dividend, KPMG advisers can guide you through the process and help you access financing so you can be ready for your next move. To find out more, speak with an adviser today. Jon Edgett Senior Vice President KPMG Corporate Finance T: 780-429-6076 E: jedgett@kpmg.ca kpmg.ca/enterprise

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