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LEONARD TRAUB:

Follow the Leader THOSE THAT FOLLOW LEONARD TRAUB INTO BUSINESS, PARTNERSHIPS AND FRIENDSHIPS ARE REWARDED WITH A DEPTH OF KNOWLEDGE, HIS INDUSTRY SAVVY AND HIS INFINITE KINDNESS.

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EDMONTON’S MAJOR CONSTRUCTION PROJECT IS AS COOL AS ICE 

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Make history before it’s too late. Fresh concrete has now been poured 25 storeys above century-old bricks. The final chapter of the Kelly Ramsey Tower is about to be written—and your company can be part of it. Various office sizes from 3,000 square feet and up are now available for businesses ready to take their success to new heights. • Spanning 101 Street to Rice Howard Way • First Financial District Tower in 25 Years • LRT Access with Pedway Connections • Planned LEED Gold Certification • Now Available for Tenant Improvements • Opening August 2016 S E C U R E YO U R L E A S E Contact Dean Wulf at 780.392.1520 or dean@pangmandev.com

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Supporting the visions of entrepreneurs one story at a time. Volume 5 | Number 3

REGULAR COLUMNS

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$1 Billion is Great, but a Pipeline is Much, Much Better By Josh Bilyk

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 Urbanomics Urban Development Discussion: The Permit’s the Thing By John Hardy

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CONTENTS

 Edmonton Chamber of Commerce

COVER FEATURE

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 eonard Traub: L Follow the Leader Those that follow Leonard Traub into business, partnerships and friendships are rewarded with a depth of knowledge, his industry savvy and his infinite kindness. By Nerissa McNaughton

ON OUR COVER: ABOVE: LEONARD TRAUB, OWNER, ALBERTA WILBERT SALES. PHOTO SOURCE: EPIC PHOTOGRAPHY INC.

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

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W. Brett Wilson Empowerment, Entrepreneurship, Philanthropy and Wealth Transfer

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The Molson family legacy, Lessons from one of the oldest family businesses in Canada

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Karen Laprade

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Lead Family Enterprise Advisors Samoan Circle: Talking Sex, Death, and Money in Family Business

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Supporting the visions of entrepreneurs one story at a time. Volume 5 | Number 3

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THIS MONTH’S FEATURES

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Looking at the Industrial Heartland in 2016 Industry may be buckling down and waiting out the oil storm, but for many midstream energy sector business in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, it’s more or less business as usual. By Rechell McDonald

CONTENTS COMPANY PROFILES

71 75

B  uzz Box Liners

Buzzing with Passion: Buzz Box Liners Turns 30

A  dvance Coolant Technologies Advanced Coolant Branches Out

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32 47

Motley Brew The Brewery District is set to redefine semi-urban design in Edmonton in summer of 2016. By Ben Freeland

Here’s Why Edmonton Motorshow 2016 Will Rev You Up By Fay Fletcher

51 59

B OMA Newsletter Official newsletter of ‘Building Owners and Managers Association’ of Edmonton

The New Mortgage Rule (and Why Edmontonians Don’t Need to Worry) Whenever mortgage rules change, people get a little tense. The good news is that with this change, few people in the Capital Region will be affected. Here’s why. By Rechell McDonald

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Edmonton’s Major Construction Project is as Cool as Ice A massive construction project in the heart of the city with record breaking statistics and the coolest amenities in Canada? Some would call that impossible. In Edmonton, we call it ICE District. By Nerissa McNaughton

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Nominations are now closed; thank you to all who have nominated, and to the nominees who are part of this year’s program. We look forward to assembling another group of influential people from our business community who will be honoured for their contributions towards making Edmonton a great place to live and work! Business in Edmonton will celebrate the 2016 winners at our 4th Annual Awards Gala, and our July issue will feature the Leaders and their companies.

Save the Date Wednesday, June 22th | 6pm To stay informed on details for our event, visit www.businessinedmonton.com/leaders or email leaders@businessinedmonton.com

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$1 BILLION IS GREAT, BUT A PIPELINE IS MUCH, MUCH BETTER // ECONOMIC FACTORS

$1 Billion is Great, but a Pipeline is Much, Much Better BY JOSH BILYK

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n January word leaked out that Prime Minister Trudeau would focus economic stimulus efforts in oil-producing Alberta and Saskatchewan to help soften the blow of the oil price shock. Rumour had it the government was in talks to quickly allocate $1 billion in infrastructure projects in the two provinces – money earmarked by the government but not yet delivered. Edmonton-area members of Parliament were dispatched to engage with constituents in a series of federal budget roundtable conversations. One of the questions posted by elected representatives was “If you had $1 billion to spend, how would you spend it?” The unspoken answer that ran through my mind was “keep the $1 billion and approve our pipelines.” There’s no doubt Alberta deserves and needs every penny of the infrastructure money coming our way from Ottawa. The economic slowdown hasn’t in any way diminished our need for investment in bridges, highways, schools and hospitals; but if the Trudeau government’s goal is keep Albertans working and paying taxes, $1 billion in infrastructure spending is a drop in the bucket compared to impact of approving Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP) or TransCanada’s Energy East. A recent Conference Board of Canada study on the economic impacts of TMEP shows the project’s economic impact in Alberta will be staggering. Between 2012 and 2038, it is estimated the project will create 28,000 person years of employment, while generating $7.5 billion in GDP growth and directly contribute $14.5 billion to the provincial treasury. TMEP benefits aren’t contained in Alberta. Nation-wide TMEP

could create 123,000 person years of employment, generate $95 billion in GDP growth and $28 billion in the bank accounts of various levels of government to help pay for health and education. Think about that. We’re talking about a single pipeline expansion project. All this growth can happen without a single penny from Ottawa. It’s worth understanding the magnitude of the decline we’re experiencing in Alberta. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers predicts that the industry lost 100,000 workers in 2015 and estimates capital investment declined by $21 billion. A fast-tracked $1 billion “stimulus” injection of cash into Alberta won’t even leave a mark on the Alberta economy. That’s not to say we don’t need it. We’ll take it, and we have countless projects across the province that could use the boost. However, we need to remind our elected representatives that there is a way they can make a significant contribution to the Canadian economy without spending any public dollars at all. They can simply find a way to approve the Trans Mountain Expansion Project as quickly as possible and when they are done that, figure out how to make Energy East a reality. In the coming months we expect TMEP will be approved by the National Energy Board. At that point it will be in the hands of the prime minister and his cabinet. It’s up to all of us to help them make the right decision. Alberta Enterprise Group members and their tens of thousands of employees understand the benefit. We, as Canadians, all need to reach out to Members of Parliament across Canada with a simple message: If you want to create wealth across Canada, approve the Trans Mountain Expansion Project now. ALBERTA ENTERPRISE GROUP IS A MEMBER-BASED, NON-PROFIT BUSINESS ADVOCACY ORGANIZATION. AEG MEMBERS EMPLOY MORE THAN 150,000 CANADIANS IN ALL SECTORS OF THE ECONOMY.

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Junior Achievement Announces 2016 Alberta Business Hall of Fame Inductees Thirty-six years ago, the Junior Achievement of Northern Alberta & NWT Alberta Business Hall of Fame opened to seek out and honour business people that improve the quality of life, work opportunities and interactions of Albertans. With 72 men and women named as Laureates, the Junior Achievement Alberta Business Hall of Fame is the province’s most distinguished leadership honour. Inductees are recognized on the Alberta Business Hall of Fame Wall of Honour in Manulife Place. Junior Achievement (JA) of Northern Alberta & NWT is proud to announce the 2016 inductees. • Chief Victor S. Buffalo, OC, AOE, LLB (Hon) | Peace Hills Trust • Tony Franceschini, director and former president and CEO | Stantec • G. Donald Love (Posthumous), founder and chairman | Oxford Properties Group • Javaid (Jerry) Naqvi, CEO | Cameron Corporation “This year’s inductees are a diverse group of well-established business leaders that have contributed greatly to the growth of our province, and in turn, its economy. We are pleased to honour them, their accomplishments, and our support to the Junior Achievement of Northern Alberta & NWT Alberta Business Hall of Fame. Thank you to our nomination partner, Grant Thornton, for their support during the selection process,” said Harold A. Roozen, JA laureate and executive chairman, CCI Thermal Technologies Inc. Each inductee will be welcomed into the Junior Achievement Alberta Business Hall of Fame during a special dinner and

ceremony that will take place on May 5, 5:30 p.m. at the Northlands Expo Centre. Guests can purchase tickets for $350 each or $3,500 for a table of 10. All the proceeds will go to support future JA programming and the development of upcoming business leaders in the community. Alberta Business Hall of Fame includes many notable inductees from a wide variety of industries. Each has greatly enriched the lives of their employees, communities, and often Canada as a whole, in many different ways. Such inductees include John and George Poole (1980), William Comrie (1988), Eveline Charles (2003), Jean Paré (2004), Ted and Lois Hole (2005), the Ghermezian family (2011) and John Leder (2014). Junior Achievement of Northern Alberta & NWT is pleased to have worked with and inspired students from grades 3 to 12 for over 50 years. The free programs teach students about entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy. In addition to these important skills, the students gain relevant experiences that translate directly into everyday life. Many go on to find success in the global business landscape. The program includes many successful business leaders that speak to the students and more than 350 volunteers that are expected to reach over 25,000 JA participants in 2016. Alberta’s finest business leaders are inducted into the Alberta Business Hall of Fame, presented by CCI Thermal Technologies Inc., in May. To learn more about JA or the upcoming induction ceremony, contact Junior Achievement of Northern Alberta & NWT at 780-428-1421 ext. 233. To order tickets online for the induction ceremony, visit www. albertabusinesshalloffame.ca. ABOVE: PAST ALBERTA BUSINESS HALL OF FAME LAUREATES ATTEND THE WALL OF HONOUR UNVEILING AT MANULIFE PLACE LAST YEAR. PHOTO SOURCE: JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT OF NORTHERN ALBERTA & NWT

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An Insider’s Perspective of the Oil and Gas Industry My name is Kirk Morrison and I work in the oil and gas industry ... these days it feels like I should be in recovery for that. Prices are low and dropping, friends and relatives are reluctant to ask about work, we’re viewed as a major contributor to a “pending global environmental catastrophe,” and many of my fellow Canadians don’t support pipelines that would open up new markets for our shared resources. Heck, we can’t even agree on the right name for the stuff (think “oilsands” versus “tarsands”). So as we move along in an uncertain 2016, in an attempt to maintain our sanity, I’ll provide some thoughts on where we – as an industry, and industries that rely on oil and gas – should focus. Firstly, don’t despair. We’re not going to kick the hydrocarbon habit for a while. The world consumes over 90 million barrels of oil each day and it’s still increasing. While Canada is the fifth-largest producer in the world (4.3 million per day) this represents less than five per cent of global production. The developed world relies on petroleum products and the developing world wants more of them. We can argue about ethical oil and carbon footprints, but for the foreseeable future, if the world can’t get Canadian oil and gas, it’s going to have to use someone else’s supply. There’s plenty of market share for our product. Secondly, let’s keep working to make our products more marketable. Getting costs down, eliminating spills, continuing to reduce emissions and engaging our communities in our business all make us more competitive and accepted. Some of these are harder to accomplish than others, but the only thing that gets in the way of achieving these goals, is us. We can control all of them through our ingenuity, creativity and hard work. Our industry has continually transformed in the nearly 70 years since Leduc No. 1’s discovery, and we can do it again. Thirdly, remember we’ve been here before, and have always emerged stronger. We’ve certainly seen low prices – I’ve worked through the ups and downs in Calgary since 1982 – but I can’t think of either a city or province where more

opportunity could have been realized. Equally importantly, we’ve successfully dealt with major environmental issues in the past, and found solutions. Recall the concerns over chemical production in the 1960s, following Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring. Next, in the 1970s and 1980s, acid rain became the issue of the day. We can debate the significance of these relative to climate change, but they were life-and-death issues at the time. Then, as now, industry, governments and NGOs developed solutions together. Fourthly, we all need to be vocal advocates for our industry. It’s easy to complain amongst ourselves about politics, pipeline approvals (or the lack thereof), Neil Young, Leonardo DiCaprio, et al. It’s harder to step up and take both our story and message to our community, the country and beyond. However, that’s what we need ABOVE: KIRK MORRISON IS THE EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF ENERGY AND RESOURCES FOR STANTEC, AND SERVES ON THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE CANADIAN ENERGY PIPELINE ASSOCIATION FOUNDATION AND SILVERA FOR SENIORS. PHOTO SOURCE: STANTEC.

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Tips on Selling a Business ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE, RELIABLE ENERGY IS A CORNERSTONE OF OUR SOCIETY. IT’S WHY WE LIVE LONGER, ARE HEALTHIER THAN EVER, AND WHY WE HAVE TIME TO EDUCATE OUR KIDS AND OURSELVES. to do, and it needs to start at the grassroots level – at the dinner table, social gatherings, our kids’ schools, on the street and at community meetings. Our message is simple, but compelling, and you can summarize it in three simple statements: 1. Access to affordable, reliable energy is a cornerstone of our society. It’s why we live longer, are healthier than ever, and why we have time to educate our kids and ourselves. 2. Our oil and gas resources are one of Canada’s most significant assets, and their development has played a major role in getting Canada to our enviable position in the world today. Responsible use of assets is a good thing. No one can argue with that. 3. Finally, we in the oil and gas industry are good at what we do (we’re actually world class, but being understated is a Canadian virtue). We care about our society and our environment, and we strive for continuous improvement. Simply put, we will continue to develop our resources responsibly. Period. One final thought on advocacy, and demonstrating leadership: there is no argument about the benefits of emitting less CO2 and other greenhouse gases. We can debate who’s responsible, but at the end of the day, our lifestyles drive energy consumption and hence emissions. We can all use energy more efficiently: think about how we choose to commute, vacation, construct our homes, eat, etc. – the list of choices we make is huge. By those of us in industry taking the lead and making energy-efficient decisions in how we live and work, we send a stronger message to the global community than our words ever could.

As a business broker I speak with lots of business owners who are planning the sale of their business. Here are some tips for those thinking of selling their business.

IS THERE A RIGHT TIME TO SELL MY BUSINESS?

It is best to sell before everything has gone “pear shaped” – while sales and margins are increasing, and there is still blue sky for the buyer. It is tempting to hold on in the hope the price will be higher later. But the people who sold before the last economic slowdown (between 2009 - 2010) may well prove to have been smarter than those who stayed on, as the business cycle now suddenly appears headed for a downturn. Generally it pays to plan ahead and prepare your business for sale.

WHAT SHOULD PEOPLE CONSIDER WHEN PREPARING THEIR BUSINESS FOR SALE?

The most important thing when preparing for a sale is to make yourself redundant. It is very hard to sell a business that is totally dependent on you working 60 hours a week. Who wants to pay good money for a life like that? Next is the question of perceived risk for the buyer: the lower the risk, the higher the price. So the more you can do to instil confidence in the buyer, the better. You can do this with documentation – document your sales process, keep your financials updated, renegotiate your supply agreements with suppliers and customers, prepare operational procedures, etc.

HOW DO YOU FIND THE RIGHT BUYERS?

A hairdressing salon has no value to a butcher. If you offered it to him for free, he still wouldn’t want it. So you need to search for motivated buyers who think they can add value to the business. They will see less risk in it, and be prepared to pay more. You can do this through “target marketing,” where you concentrate your marketing activity on searching for qualified buyers with a strategic interest in buying your business, rather than relying on luck, or paying a fortune to advertise to people who are never going to be buyers. It helps to hire a qualified business broker with a proven track record to do the job.

Jey Arul, MBA, CBI is the president of VR Business Brokers in Edmonton. VR in Edmonton has sold over 75 businesses in Edmonton since 2010. For more information, visit www.vralta.com. BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // MARCH 2016

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THE PERMIT’S THE THING // URBANOMICS

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

The Permit’s the Thing Timing is everything BY JOHN HARDY

E

dmonton, like every other municipality, has a process; a system riddled with necessary protocols and, like so many things which are ultimately the authority and responsibility of the municipality, nothing happens without the permit. In communities with dynamic, new development and housing start growth – like Edmonton – the sometimes slow permit paper trail is often a consequence of overwhelming high volumes. In Edmonton there is a difference between a development permit (DP) and a building permit (BP). The zoning bylaw outlines municipal land use requirements while the Safety Codes Act and Alberta Building Code are provincial requirements. “The Development Permit regulates impact to neighboring properties while the Building Permit regulates safety of structural, fire and life,” explains Nancy Domijan, director of safety code permits & inspections with the City of Edmonton’s Current Planning Branch. “The DP and BP are further subdivided into residential and commercial uses and requirements. For residential properties, the City allows builders to apply for both at the same time through a house combo permit.

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“Overall, the process really depends on type of permit submission. Generally all applications include a form, associated fee and supporting drawings/materials. Detailed information on what each application needs can be found through the various applications and specific requirements for each type. More complex applications would include those for commercial buildings where the information needed is more extensive, whereas residential permit submissions would be simpler. Minor residential permits for decks, garages etc. can be approved with minimum information, often while the customer is in the City offices. “Major projects such as hospitals or arenas require detailed engineering and architectural drawings, extensive engineering studies, and can take several years from start of design to final permits and occupancy.” The Branch staff underscore that, as with most paperwork, having papers that are in order and complete makes a big difference. “The main thing builders can do is ensure their application is complete when submitted. This includes making sure all information provided on the form is correct, the associated fees are paid and all required drawings are part of the package. For the most part, delays in the permit


THE PERMIT’S THE THING // URBANOMICS

review and approval process are often as a result of either incomplete submissions or long response times when requesting additional information or clarification from an applicant,” says Domijan. The City also offers the Expedited Development Permit Review program, implemented in 2013. The program, developed by the City in collaboration with the local homebuilding industry, accelerates the processing of house combo permits for builders that qualify. In order to qualify, builders go through a City training program and must successfully complete a number of permit applications correctly. For now, qualified builders can submit permits and enjoy a 24 hour DP turnaround time, although processing of associated building permits typically takes about 10 working days (or less, depending on seasonal work volumes). Like other stacks and files of paper trails, some are trickier than others and some invariably trigger more speedbumps (and delays). “The most detailed part of the submission is usually the supporting drawings or materials,” according to Domijan and the Current Planning Branch staff. “There is often more information requested, and the requests can vary from simply providing clarity on an item to requiring revised plans due to non-compliance with the zoning, and/or building code requirements. Some applications do get trickier than others. “For example, a simple residential deck application might be reviewed and issued in-person directly with the person at the time of application. Other more complex permit applications may require ongoing consultation to reach a satisfactory outcome.” For the majority of the greenfield single detached home development permits, the applications (located

in Edmonton’s suburban neighborhoods) are simpler, and a majority are issued within 10 working days before moving on to the building permit. On the other hand, infill applications in the mature neighborhoods may need to be circulated to different departments for review, and likely need more consultation with the community. The typical timeline for infills applications can be several weeks. Domijan and the Branch staff cite 2014 as a good example. It was a record year for permit applications, due mostly to the booming economy. During unique times like those, the sheer volume of applications increases quickly and causes unavoidable delays. Is there a “permit normal”? According to the staff, “response times for permits are dependent on several factors including, the type of permit being applied for, the complexity of the application, the quality of information provided and the support received from the applicant when further information is requested. But, no doubt about it, the completeness of an application and availability of staff resources are the key factors that impact processing time. “Under the Expedited Development Permit Program, the existing Edmonton target timelines for house combo permits (DP and BP) is usually 10 working days. For all other permits, the target is within 30 working days.” The only predictable aspect of the timing of Edmonton development permits is that … it is unpredictable!

ABOVE: CONSTRUCTION OF THE EDMONTON CIVIC TOWER AT THE CORNER OF 101 STREET AND 104 AVENUE. THE EXCAVATION (ON THE RIGHT) IS THE SITE OF THE FUTURE STANTEC TOWER AND MARRIOTT HOTEL.

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

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What Does Your Debt Really Cost? Money Mentors shows Edmonton how to escape the harsh cycle of debt, even in an uncertain economy.

I

n 2015, Canada’s delinquency rate (that does not include mortgage debt) fell to just 1.05 per cent in the third quarter. This was great news; even in a soft economy Canadians were paying back their debts – well, at least in most of the country. Here in Edmonton, delinquency rates spiked by nearly 8 per cent, contributing to Alberta’s ranking as the highest debt-riddled province in Canada. For the proud Capital City, this revelation was a bitter blow and while many are quick to point the finger at rampant job loss in the energy sector and a soft economy worldwide, the fact remains – too many Edmontontians are spending more than they make. It’s easy to turn to credit cards and loans when the gap between your paycheck and expenses is a little wide, but Money Mentors knows there is a far better way to get Edmonton back in the black: empowerment and education. Money Mentors is the only non-profit debt and counselling agency in Alberta and tackles the high cost of debt by providing credit counselling, debt management and free courses. To date, more than 3,000 Albertans have improved their personal financial situation through classroom and online courses such as Budget Boot Camp, Credit Cross-

Training, Spending Less & Saving More and Tackling Debt. Money Mentors is also the exclusive provider of the Orderly Payments of Debts (OPD) program, which is managed on behalf of the Government of Alberta. More than 8,000 Albertans have used OPD to pay off creditors by consolidating unsecured debt into one low monthly payment with a manageable 5 per cent interest rate. It’s easy to see why Edmontonians’ spending can be so high. As the city providing a robust labour force for the energy sector, budgeting doesn’t seem important when the oil is flowing and the paychecks are steady. However, when the boom cycle goes bust, the truck payments, mortgage, school loans and other expenses don’t disappear. Suddenly completion for jobs is fierce as bills and debts mount. Poor planning, such as carrying debt on credit cards, quickly exasperate the situation and for many, this cumulates in years of crushing debt that takes a heavy toll on finances, health and relationships. The sad fact is, if you cannot manage your finances or pay back your debt, the bounce back of the Loonie won’t make much of a difference. Your debt becomes a cycle – but it doesn’t have to be that way. To date, Money Mentors has helped over 400,000 people solved their debts through their OPD program and

Financial Literacy for Youth • Currently, the program is in 7 cities across the province Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat • Money Mentors has about 29 youth presenters through the province giving presentations in various schools

• In November 2015, Money Mentors launched the finlitab.ca program website dedicated for youth financial literacy • In 2014 alone, Money Mentors had 3,630 Albertans attend a free financial literacy class • Money Mentors currently present in over 1,583 classes

• Since program inception, Money Mentors has reached over 45,201 students across Alberta through classroom presentations

• Money Mentors are in 155 schools

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PHOTO SOURCE: EPIC PHOTOGRAPHY INC.

other services, resulting in over $125 million returned to creditors. Money Mentors has helped thousands of Albertans understand the relationships between money, debt, finance, interest and budgeting and has helped thousands more break the cycle and live debt free. This progressive company uses in-house consolation, phone, Skype – whichever method of communication works best for you. Since personal finance isn’t on many curriculums or often taught at home, Money Mentors is also going to schools to teach youth how money works. Their Budgeting & Wise Use of Credit presentations are changing the way young Albertans think about, earn and handle money. Each year, Money Mentors reaches 14,280 students across

The average debt for Albertans is $26,000

Alberta through classroom presentations, creating a much brighter financial future for our children; and late last year Money Mentors launched their finlitab.ca website for youth financial literacy. The one and only goal of Money Mentors is to help you live debt free and with expansion into Fort McMurray and remaining agile in their programming as the economy ebbs and flows, there is no reason why you need to be up at night, stressed about your debt and not knowing how to get out from under it. Let Money Mentors help you with your existing debt and teach you how to manage your personal finance. Join the many people in Edmonton that made the call and escaped from the high cost of debt.

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LOOKING AT THE INDUSTRIAL HEARTLAND IN 2016 // ENERGY

Looking AT THE INDUSTRIAL HEARTLAND IN 2016

INDUSTRY MAY BE BUCKLING DOWN AND WAITING OUT THE OIL STORM, BUT FOR MANY MIDSTREAM ENERGY SECTOR BUSINESS IN ALBERTA’S INDUSTRIAL HEARTLAND, IT’S MORE OR LESS BUSINESS AS USUAL.

BY RECHELL MCDONALD

A

lbertans have really felt the pinch of the economic change over the last year, and 2016 is promising to be another year of modesty. A lot of businesses in the oil and gas sector have been directly impacted by the drop in oil prices, but for those companies that don’t sit on the upstream end of the oil and gas industry spectrum, things are going pretty well. “Some businesses are actually thriving right now,” says Laurie Danielson, executive director of the Northeast Capital Industrial Association (NCIA). “The reduced commodity prices are reducing the overhead in their manufacturing. Most of our members are not ‘upstream’ but rather mid or downstream facilities and are therefore somewhat removed

from any direct impact of low oil prices. That being said, low commodity prices impact everyone. Many of our members who are mid-stream in the natural gas industry are actually growing at this time, including companies like Pembina, Plains Midstream, and Keyera, but they are feeling the impact of a slower economy in general.” Danielson makes it clear, however, when discussing the general impact of the economy on Alberta’s Industrial Heartland businesses, no one has been left entirely unscathed. “Fundamentally, everyone is impacted to some degree by the sluggish economy, which has manifested primarily in salary freezes and reduced contractor staffing. Depending on the sector, some are doing really well and others are being squeezed a bit.” ABOVE: THE NORTHWEST REDWATER PARTNERSHIP STURGEON REFINERY UNDER CONSTRUCTION. PHOTO SOURCE: NW REFINING

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


ENERGY

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Agriculture Financial Services Corporation’s (AFSC) Commercial Loan Program assists Alberta business owners as they look to finance a new or existing business. AFSC Danielson is predicting that we won’t be privy to a recovery this year and believes we need to stop waiting on the edge of our seats for it to happen. “I don’t anticipate a significant improvement this year – maybe near the end – but it’s not likely. We all need to recognize that this may be a new ‘normal’ for everyone, not just industry.” He reminds us that there is no value in guessing when things will turn around, and the state of affairs in oil is far out of our hands. “We can’t predict the future; 90 per cent of the time we are wrong and the other 10 per cent of the time we are just lucky. This change in the oil market is outside of our power. A change for the better is in the hands of a market outside of our own.”

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ABOVE: LAURIE DANIELSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NORTHEAST CAPITAL INDUSTRIAL ASSOCIATION (NCIA). PHOTO SOURCE: NCIA

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

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LOOKING AT THE INDUSTRIAL HEARTLAND IN 2016 // ENERGY

NW REFINING INC., PREVIOUSLY NORTH WEST UPGRADING, IS ONE SUCH COMPANY, AND IAN MACGREGOR IS ITS PRESIDENT AND CHAIRMAN. THIS COMPANY IS IN THE MIDST OF BUILDING A NEW REFINERY IN PARTNERSHIP

Vanessa Goodman, chair of Life in the Heartland, explains how the changes are impacting communities in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland region. This encompasses the communities of Sturgeon County, Fort Saskatchewan, Strathcona County, Lamont County and the City of Edmonton. “From the community standpoint I get the sense that people are feeling some uncertainty based on news from across the province and around the globe, but in the Heartland region itself, the direction is still forward. Obviously not as quickly as in boom times, but forward rather than at a standstill, or even backward, nonetheless.

“Because some of the heartland industries are midstream operations, they aren’t as impacted by oil prices and therefore neither is the community. Of course, there are still likely some businesses and families who have to readjust to these economic conditions. In general, however, the region’s industrial facilities are still running and spending approximately $1.5 billion locally every year to source goods and services. This is a huge economic boost for the community.” In many ways the events of the last year and half have been a learning experience for us all. Alberta has now seen the folly of putting too many eggs in the oil basket and as a result more people, as Goodman says, “have an appetite for new

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


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WITH CANADIAN NATURAL RESOURCES LIMITED IN STURGEON COUNTY, AND AS MACGREGOR EXPLAINS, THINGS ARE LOOKING GOOD. THE PROJECT IS CALLED THE NORTHWEST REDWATER PARTNERSHIP STURGEON REFINERY.

industrial projects that generate employment, diversify Alberta’s economy, and expand the province’s petrochemical sector through value adding.” Even still, we can’t ignore the difficulties that the trickle-down effect has had on the people of this province. Prices at the pumps may be down, but other numbers, alarming numbers, are on the rise. Yet there is one truth we can always fall back on: oil prices will recover. We can’t say when with any certainty, but the day will come. In the meantime we can fall back on the knowledge and positivity that different sectors in this province are thriving and there is lots of work to be had if you are willing to make a change, from a booming hospitality industry to industrial work that is not at the top of the oil food chain. NW Refining Inc., previously North West Upgrading, is one such company, and Ian MacGregor is its president and chairman. This company is in the midst of building a new refinery in partnership with Canadian Natural Resources Limited in Sturgeon County, and as MacGregor explains, things are looking good. The project is called the Northwest Redwater Partnership Sturgeon Refinery. “Progress is on schedule and on budget. We are building the first of three identical phases. Phase 1 has an estimated cost of $8.5 billion. It will come online late 2017. We have spent more than $5 billion so far on the first phase. Since we are not yet in operation, the current economy hasn’t affected us much. We have seen good signs of increasing productivity and labor availability at the site. We expect that these trends will continue given the current oil price environment. We are currently employing about 7,000 people on the project; 3,500 at the site, more than 3,000 in shops in the Edmonton area that are supplying modules and about 400 on our staff.”

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This project, once completed, will do some pretty impressive and unique things too. “Each phase of the facility will process approximately 80,000 barrels per day of dilbit feedstock and convert it into about 80,000 barrels per day of high value Be assured. LEFT: IAN MACGREGOR, CHAIRMAN & CEO, NW REFINING INC. PHOTO SOURCE: NW REFINING

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

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LOOKING AT THE INDUSTRIAL HEARTLAND IN 2016 // ENERGY

MACGREGOR ALSO TOUCHES ON THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ABLE TO TRANSPORT CONVENTIONALLY GIVEN THE PIPELINE ISSUES AND STRESSES THE NECESSITY OF PRODUCING PRODUCTS THAT CAN BE EXPORTED TO THE WORLD MARKET NOW, THE WAY THINGS ARE.

refined products including 40,000 barrels per day of diesel. The facility will also capture and sell large volumes of CO2 for enhanced oil recovery. It is the first refinery in the world that was designed to capture its CO2 emissions from conception. The diesel that our refinery produces will have an embedded CO2 content that is 5 - 7 per cent less than a refinery in the U.S. that is using the average U.S. crude slate,” explains MacGregor. “This is a significant achievement because the dilbit feedstock that we start with is about 20 per cent higher in CO2 according the United States Department of Energy.

2016

“The diesel produced by Phase 1 will be sold in western Canada. Subsequent phases will be exported either to other parts of Canada or to the Pacific Rim. NW Refining can transport diesel, particularly diesel with a low embedded CO2 content, through the existing infrastructure and with the existing social license.” MacGregor also touches on the importance of being able to transport conventionally given the pipeline issues and stresses the necessity of producing products that can be exported to the world market now, the way things are.

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

When up and running, Phase 1 of the project will employ 300 - 400 people, and since it uses a plentiful local feedstock to create an indemand product, its future seems brighter and far more stable than many other businesses running under the energy umbrella. What does MacGregor attribute NW Refining’s success to? “Locating so the building can be done with skilled Albertan tradespeople who sleep at home at night and see their kids every day. These are the most skilled and productive tradespeople in the world. Secondly, keep the value and jobs here for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.” These are just two factors in the larger scheme of the company’s success model, but perhaps they are more poignant now than ever.


LEONARD TRAUB: FOLLOW THE LEADER // COVER

ABOVE: LEONARD TRAUB, OWNER, ALBERTA WILBERT SALES. PHOTO SOURCE: EPIC PHOTOGRAPHY INC.

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LEONARD TRAUB: FOLLOW THE LEADER // COVER

LEONARD TRAUB:

Follow the Leader

THOSE THAT FOLLOW LEONARD TRAUB INTO BUSINESS, PARTNERSHIPS AND FRIENDSHIPS ARE REWARDED WITH A DEPTH OF KNOWLEDGE, HIS INDUSTRY SAVVY AND HIS INFINITE KINDNESS.

BY NERISSA MCNAUGHTON

N

early 50 years ago, Leonard Traub left North Dakota to launch Alberta Wilbert Sales. Starting from scratch as the new kid on the block, and facing competition from two established concrete companies, the driven young man rolled up his sleeves and got to work. “I only made burial vaults. During that first year, 1968, my sales were $35,000 and I lost $7,800. I could see things were going nowhere. It was necessary to get into something else. We [Monarch Concrete & Wilbert Vault] had done septic tanks in North Dakota, so I decided to go into septic tanks here.” The rest, as they say, is history. Today Alberta Wilbert Sales holds the largest Canadian territory in the Wilbert franchise with three locations, Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton. Traub continues to lead the charge as the head of the company, and while the last 49 years may not have been

all smooth sailing, Traub still has that sparkle in his eye that betrays how much he’s enjoyed – and is still enjoying – the ride. Having strong sales wasn’t good enough for Traub. The company was intent on innovating and providing superior customer service, a practice the company still continues today. Traub explains, “I would attend our district Wilbert meetings. One was held in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where I saw a circular tank that Clarence Josten was making. This circular tank boosted our business by 30 per cent. We also produced tanks for multi-lot subdivisions, and later on manufactured lift stations. There was a large project in Grande Prairie for which we decided to do the interior plumbing on the septic tanks in-house. We supplied an all-in package that included the pump, the pipe and fittings, and

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

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LEONARD TRAUB: FOLLOW THE LEADER // COVER

the electrical components. When the tank arrived on site it was literally plug and play for the contractor, resulting in greatly reduced field times. With over 500 units and counting, it was well worth the effort.” Another innovation - Alberta Wilbert’s rink top tanks. “It’s like a hockey rink,” Traub explains. “We found the weakest portions of a square tank are its corners, so we simply eliminated that problem.” The company is even improving on the way they are made. “The weather certainly affects the quality of the product, and that is why we do not manufacture anything outside. You can’t control the weather, but you can control the quality of your concrete by pouring it indoors.” Traub doesn’t just sell product. He sells an entire customer experience. “What I’ve found by starting from scratch on

our tank business is that a tank is not just a tank and a company is not simply a company,” the president explains. “If someone wants a septic tank at 10 a.m. on a Thursday, it will be there 10 a.m. on that Thursday. We take our service very seriously. No matter what, we are going to service the customer as best we can.” This commitment to excellence is demonstrated as well in their burial vault sales. Traub remains committed to servicing funeral directors with Wilbert Burial Vaults throughout Western Canada. “Even today, after 48 years, our burial vaults are 20 per cent of our volume,” he confides. “I don’t think we will ever divorce ourselves from the burial vaults. I have a real affection for funeral directors because of what they do for families in their time of need.” He credits the company’s strong culture and work ethic to their early, and continuing,

ABOVE: LEONARD TRAUB, OWNER, ALBERTA WILBERT SALES. PHOTO SOURCE: EPIC PHOTOGRAPHY INC.

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


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LEONARD TRAUB: FOLLOW THE LEADER // COVER

work in burial vaults. “You can’t be late for a funeral,” he says with his dry sense of humor. “If a funeral director needs a vault at 2 p.m. in a cemetery, you are there.” His dedication to the funeral industry is deeply appreciated in Western Canada. In 2012 Traub was awarded the REMCO Lifetime Achievement Award, becoming the first non-funeral director to be given the honour. “To get that award was really special because your customers are giving you an award for looking after them,” says Traub with emotion. “It was the highlight of my life. I don’t know if I will achieve anything higher than that. It is very, very dear to me.” Also dear to Traub are the many relationships he’s built over the course of half a century within the funeral and concrete industries, with his staff and with his customers. “We produce year-round and carry approximately $5 million inventory to meet our customer’s needs. We are fortunate that we can give the best service to them. The fact that we retain our customers is because of relationships, being a onestop shop for all their needs, consistent quality and service. Retired customers still drop by. I see them and we keep in touch. It’s been just wonderful having these relationships.” He continues, “We have excellent employees. I would estimate our average employee today has 10 years’ service, with some employees being second generation. Some have been with the company for over 30 years. My first accountant, Otto Laiss, still comes in daily, and he retired over 20 years ago.” One of the team’s members created their AWSum Pro tool; a computer program that allows users to design systems to meet the standards of Alberta Private Sewage Systems’ regulations. AWSum Pro uses inputted data to recommend the ideal tank, the size and configuration of the applicable disposal system and the size of pump required for a project. Alberta Wilbert provides this program free of charge to their clients. He relies on his team’s enterprising ways to keep the company moving forward. “Today there are five people charged with running the company. This management group consists of Bob Demco, CPA and general manager who has been with the company for 30 years; Dave Dallaire, sales manager, five years; Paula Ierullo, manager of the Calgary branch, five years; my son Kevin, operations manager, 20 years and Frank Boisso, manager of our Winnipeg operation since 1999.”

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How does he know this team is the optimal way to keep Alberta Wilbert Sales going strong? “I first went to France for three weeks. They did well. Two years ago I lived in Italy for two months. I came back and everything was fine. So I went on a world cruise for four months. Contact was relatively non-existent. I came back and found the company was better than when I left! I have to thank these people and the other employees for my ability to slow down a bit today.” Well, slowing down is a relative term. While there is no denying the company patriarch deserves a rich and rewarding retirement, the mere thought of leaving what’s he’s built up makes him laugh. “I’m still working and one day I know I have to retire, but I’m fortunate that nobody is going to make me retire,” he chuckles. “That’s the nice part about being an entrepreneur. I will retire when I’m ready.” He won’t be ready anytime soon. “I downhill ski in the winter,” he says but then pauses and a startled look comes over his face. “I’m 76! I guess I’m probably going to have to quit doing that soon!” The years mean little, though. They have not aged him. Instead, they have given him a lifetime of rich and rewarding experiences – and he takes full advantage of his young spirit. “I fish. I ride a motorcycle. I’ve ridden in every state in the U.S. and every province in Canada. I started in 1988 with a Honda Gold Wing and now ride a BMW 1600. Unless you ride a motorcycle, there are no words to describe the feeling. I can have the worst day, and I get on the bike and the world is right.” With age comes wisdom, which is why he can clearly see a path through Alberta’s recent economic woes. “I lived through the early ’80s with Trudeau Sr.” He admits, “I think I had more confidence in the government back then; can’t say I feel the same about it today. We will survive this one with the attitude of all the people we have. This downturn, we are financially much stronger than in the 1980s.” Leading by example, Traub has also made personal and professional sacrifices to ensure the wellbeing of the company and staff. It’s noble, but to the leader, it’s just good business. “Don’t hurt the mother ship,” he advises. “That’s what finances everything.”


LEONARD TRAUB: FOLLOW THE LEADER // COVER

Traub has also learned the value of community and giving back. He was president of the Northgate Lions Club with a small membership and they were instrumental in the building of the Northgate Lions Seniors Recreation Center. He was on the board of Thermoform Plastics, (a subsidiary of Wilbert Inc.) in St. Paul, Minnesota for 15 years and on the board of Wilbert Inc. for 11 years. Other charitable initiatives include supporting Little Warriors, donating to the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, and being involved with Wilbert Inc.’s program which helps individuals through the bereavement process. He takes the time to share a little more about what he’s learned over the years. “If I had to change anything, I would probably have – if I could have in those early years – taken a little more time off. Starting the business got to be seven days a week. It caused me some issues in private life.” He seems to have worked out the winning formula. “You have to be happy. I’m just very fortunate, I always look forward to going to work and look forward to going home. In the early years, it wasn’t the same. If you are going to be an entrepreneur you have to remember…what is that old saying? ‘Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.’”

As the company’s 50th anniversary looms, Traub reflects on the journey. “During the four years of high school, I was president of the class twice. It was the same with college. I just seem to be fortunate to give a feeling that people can depend on me. That feeling made me independent. I left home at 17 for a short stay in the United States military before going to college. That gave me confidence to move to a foreign country.” Alberta Wilbert Sales has had, and continues to have, a tremendous impact on Western Canada’s funeral industry and septic services, all along ensuring the employees are taken care of. It takes a great man to lead such a company to this level of success, but as far as Traub is concerned, 50 years is just the warm-up phase. “We are going to continue and expand. If you are not growing, you are going backwards.” Traub has one direction – forward; he and Alberta Wilbert Sales will keep moving in that direction for a very long time.

ABOVE: LENOARD TRAUB STANDS WITH WIFE JANET AFTER RECEIVING THE REMCO MEMORIALS LIFETIME FUNERAL SERVICE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD. PHOTO SOURCE: LEONARD AND JANET TRAUB

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

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Motley Brew The Brewery District is set to redefine semi-urban design in Edmonton in summer of 2016.

By Ben Freeland

W

hat is one to do with an antiquated building that has long outlived its usefulness as originally intended? In Edmonton the answer used to be simple: tear it down and build something else. This unsentimental, utilitarian attitude towards old buildings has resulted in a relative paucity of historic buildings in most of the city. With the exception of a few neighbourhoods, Edmonton’s streets and skyline are mostly unrecognizable from archival photographs from 60 years ago or before, and even the beloved turn-of-the-century architecture of Old Strathcona, much of which dates back to before its amalgamation with Edmonton in 1909, would have been razed back in the 1970s had it not been for a concentrated effort on behalf of the area’s residents to save the neighbourhood. The past decade, however, has seen a dramatic shift in Edmonton’s attitude towards its long-repudiated architectural heritage. In the decade since former mayor Stephen Mandel’s infamous “No more crap” speech, in which he challenged Edmonton’s developers to create a more edifying, environmentally responsible, and community-focused city, Edmonton has experienced a veritable architectural renaissance, culminating in some of the boldest architectural design the city has ever seen. At the same time, this move THE BREWERY DISTRICT | PAGE 1

towards more aesthetically appealing buildings has resulted in a move to preserve key aspects of its architectural heritage. The Kelly Ramsey Tower, which is expected to be completed later this year, perhaps exemplifies the new Edmonton style better than any with its beguiling blend of old and new, while other historic landmarks like the old CKUA building have been retrofitted for service well into the next century. With preservation of old buildings becoming standard practice in Edmonton’s downtown core, the trend is beginning to make its way further outside the core. This is exemplified by Edmonton’s new Brewery District, which is set to open in the summer of 2016 with the arrival of its first commercial tenants, Loblaws City Market and Shoppers Drug Mart. Built on a 5.26-hectare piece of land formerly occupied by the Molson Brewery and an adjacent property to the east (formerly occupied by Crosstown Chrysler), the Brewery District will notably incorporate the 1913-vintage red brick Brewery Tower and ground floor administration building into its design, whose focus from the start has been on sustainability, walkability, and transit accessibility. “The original tower was identified early on as being important to many of our stakeholders,” explains Ralph Huizinga, VP of acquisi-


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The original building was designed by Bernard Barthel, a turn-of-the-century Chicago architect famous for designing German revival-style breweries, and built by hotelier, brewer, and former Strathcona mayor William Henry Sheppard. Purchased by Molson in 1958, the building remained a linchpin of the Oliver area west of downtown until its closure in 2007 and subsequent partial demolition. For a time it looked as through the derelict building would soon be consigned to the history books, until a $4.2 million preservation grant (the largest in the city’s history) allowed First Capital to save the building as the anchor point of the new Brewery District.

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The tower itself will eventually house a brewpub, slated to be among the last tenants to take occupancy in the district in 2018. In addition to the first Alberta outlet for Loblaws’ City Market brand and Shoppers Drug Mart, other major tenants will include Mountain Equipment Co-op (set to move from its current 102 Avenue location later in the fall of 2016), Good Life Fitness, Winners, Pivotal Physiotherapy, and Massage Heights. While the specifics of further tenants could not be confirmed, Huizinga asserts that the district will feature a prominent coffee outlet, a familiar bakery and tea shop, fast food outlets, and a full-service restaurant, which will gradually take possession of spaces in the district between the summers of 2016 and 2017. The site will also feature 250,000 square feet of underground parking in addition to above-ground parking. While the anticipated demand for parking spaces in the Brewery District has been a source of some controversy in the surrounding areas, designers and developers insist that the developers have prioritized walkability and transit access in the district’s design. “The district is

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located on a designated future LRT station on 120 Street,” says architect Darrell Halliwell, project principal with Dialog Designs. “Parking is of course important, but in fact this development has a relatively low parking ratio owing to its designation as a Transit-Oriented Development (TOD). It’s also within walking distance of residential areas, including a number of upcoming high-density apartment blocks, so between this and transit access, it’s far less reliant on vehicle traffic than previous developments of its kind.” Reusing and repurposing old structures and building materials were not solely a matter of historical preservation, but also an important plank in the project’s sustainability measures that helped it secure LEED status. “The demolition process was done in a way where as much of the old building materials as possible were salvaged,” Huizinga explains. “Everything from bricks and scrap metal to old brew tanks were salvaged; we’re still not sure what we’re going to do with the brew tanks, but they’ll probably be kept as displays. From start to finish we’ve focused on sustainable development, including brownfield site remediation, sourcing sustainable wood, LED

lighting, energy-efficient HVAC systems, and so on. We’ve also focused on very high-quality brick masonry with very little stucco, making it a very high-quality, energy-efficient development.” With the Brewery District set to open in the summer of 2016, Huizinga and his colleagues are duly excited about what the development means for the city as a whole. “We’re starting to see that downtown revitalization energy spread further afield into this semi-urban setting,” he notes. “We’ve seen all kinds of development along that 104 Avenue corridor, with the ICE District and MacEwan University’s expanded campus. The Brewery District is a further extension of that energy, and it’s very exciting to be part of it.” Halliwell concurs, adding that the saving of the brewery tower represents a major victory, not just for him and his collaborators, but for the city as a whole. “The old CN railyard and the buildings that once sat adjacent to it, like the brewery, are an important part of this city’s heritage,” he contends. “We worked very hard with the city to ensure that this building, among others, received the historical designation it deserved, and in the end we were able to make it work. What we have here is a type of mixed-use development unprecedented in Edmonton, and one that is going to inject new life into a storied part of the city where it’s been long overdue.”

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2016 Board of Directors

Pragmatism Required to Stimulate Economic Growth

Executive

Chair: Bill Blais Vice President, Land Development, MacLab Enterprises Vice Chair: James Merkosky Partner, Tax Services, Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP Treasurer: Len Rhodes, President & CEO, Edmonton Eskimo Football Club Past Chair: Jerri Cairns, Partner, Parlee McLaws LLP

Directors

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

Contact

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

By Janet M. Riopel, President & CEO

T

ough times call for practical decisions. Given the state of the Canadian economy, the new Liberal government needs to put a halt on increasing its operational expenditures and put forward a federal budget that focuses on stimulating the economy. Recently, the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce participated in a federal pre-budget roundtable. We told the government that, given the current economic environment, one of the best ways to support all Canadians is to show leadership with fiscal restraint. Now is the time to hold back any new program spending and initiatives, so there are no additional increases to the federal debt load or any further burdens placed on struggling businesses. It’s simply not the time to be increasing taxes on any segment of the economy. The government should instead adjust the tax mix to reduce the heavy reliance on income and profit taxes, and rely more on consumption-based taxes. This should be done in combination with a multi-year plan to reduce personal income tax rates. All of these measures would be even more effective if carried out in conjunction with a comprehensive review of taxing statutes. The objective here should be to create ways to simplify tax legislation, reduce the complexity of Canada’s tax system and decrease compliance costs. This review should include an examination of the hundreds of exemptions, deductions, rebates, deferrals and credits in order to determine which ones are inefficient or wasteful and can be eliminated. Measures must also be taken to recognize the broad and detrimental cumulative effects of fiscal measures that all three orders of government are imposing. New taxes, higher taxes, increasing labour costs, climate change policies, and royalty adjustments all have an impact - and the impacts increase significantly as one is layered upon the next. In these difficult economic conditions, this layering effect could eventually break the backs of some businesses. Energy prices and the Alberta economy are in a downward spiral and we have likely not seen the bottom yet. As a result, our businesses are feeling much pain and the ripple effects are impacting all sectors of our economy. To further assist the energy sector, the federal government should create a competitive regulatory framework that encourages investment, promotes regulatory alignment across jurisdictions, while avoiding additional barriers that would compromise project viability. Prime Minister Trudeau’s government has already made it clear that it will use infrastructure projects to stimulate Canada’s beleaguered economy. It’s important that the government focus on strategic infrastructure that will improve access to tidewater for all BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // MARCH 2016

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Economic benefits of pipeline projects extend way beyond construction and operations.

Digital technology is fuelling transformation across major business industries.

World Trade Centre headquarters in downtown Edmonton.

Canadian products, allowing them to flow seamlessly within the country and to international customers. To this end, the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce recommends that the government develop a national utility corridor plan that will support a comprehensive transportation and utility system. Forward planning is needed to secure transportation and utility corridor rights of way throughout Canada with the potential for rapid transit, freight networks, telecommunications, regional municipal utilities, transmissions lines and pipelines. The federal government should utilize tax policies to rekindle investment in the crippled energy sector - a good start would be to reinstate the accelerated capital cost allowance for oil sands projects. This program should also be broadened to cover resource processing investments, including integrated upgraders, merchant upgraders and petrochemical projects. Economic growth can be encouraged by continuing to support and expand trade agreements, including the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Canada and European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, and Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. As well, the government needs to continue to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of Canada’s Foreign Trade Zone policies. Canada’s new government needs to work closely with business groups and industry associations to create an economic plan that will target opportunities to build confidence and attract investment, while creating jobs and growth. The Edmonton Chamber is eager to hear your ideas on the new federal budget and on measures to stimulate the economy. You can join the conversation by contacting us at policy@edmontonchamber.com

Members in this Issue Gateway Casino & Entertainment Ltd. in Edmonton’s Major Construction Project is as Cool as Ice on page 64

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How to Network Your Brand in an Economic Downturn The 2016 Need-For-Speed mixer was a racing success and focused on bringing together members and exhibitors into a new environment of ProKart racing and open networking. From speeding around the racetrack with indoor ProKarts at no charge to event attendees, to engaging with colourful exhibitors, it was a fantastic team building opportunity for the fast moving Chamber Member on-the-move.

A

s a business owner, you dedicate each and every day to growing your business and making your customers feel like VIPs. You know that a happy client equals a happy business. Yet today’s economy leaves many of us with more questions than answers. How do you grow that same business when customers are spending less because of the recession? How do you increase your opportunities to reconnect with them on a personal level? Networking is one of the keys to success for building and growing your business, especially in an an economic downturn. Getting out in front of your target markets and personally marketing your brand can go a long way towards getting a sale or retaining an existing customer.

Speeders Jerry LeClair and Chamber CEO Janet Riopel are all smiles on a fun night of entertaining and heart-pumping racing.

However, networking is more than talking and mingling. It’s an art that includes: • Developing a personal branding statement • Making a good first impression • Remembering names • Maximizing events • Effectively exiting conversations When done correctly, networking can land you more than a business card. It can land you at the front door for opportunities to pitch your services or products to the right audience, with the right message, at the right time. However, getting in front of your intended audience without being stopped by gatekeepers is a different story altogether. So, how do you get in front of this segmented audience you may ask? That’s where the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce can help. “Chamber events and mixers give our members the opportunity to interact in a casual setting with their community, and get

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Chamber members gather to celebrate a night of successful racing, networking, and meeting new friends.

to know their business leaders,” says Nicole Ralph, Manager of Member Development with the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. “We focus on an atmosphere that doesn’t have a timer and is ideal for relationshipbuilding with CEOs and company presidents.” Recent Chamber events, such as the Chamber Ball, and Need-For-Speed mixer,


have showcased these ideal business environments for networking, by giving members an opportunity to network in a fun, relaxed environment. Some members went for an evening of dinner and dancing, and others spent a couple of hours ProKart racing. The result was still the same. The member’s target market was there, easily accessible, and ready and willing to engage. The more you practice your batting swing, the better odds you have of hitting a homerun with every chance at the plate. Networking is no different. The more you practice your personal brand statement, the more likely you will be successful in presenting your value to a company at the right moment. So get out there and start swinging for the fences! You never know what could happen or who you might meet.

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Streamlining Your Business to Survive AND Thrive Part Two: Showcasing Your Strengths for Peak Profitability

A

s one of the largest Chambers in Canada with 2,430 members, the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce has worked with Edmonton business of all sizes and specialties during its storied 127-year history – a history that has featured its fair share of economic downturns for our fair city. How did Edmonton’s best businesses not only ‘survive,’ but ‘thrive’ during these periods of upheaval and uncertainty? The key is focusing on a two-pronged approach. Last month, in part one of this two part series on ‘Streamlining Your Business to Survive AND Thrive,’ we focused on the crucial first prong: streamlining your business for peak efficiencies. This month, we focus on the vital second prong: showcasing your strengths. ‘Showcasing your strengths’ (i.e. your techniques for thriving) is a clear eyed plan of attack for reinforcing to the marketplace what you do best, at a time when many of your competitors are cutting costs and losing vital visibility. Much like the contrarian investor is buying up stocks or real estate at value prices when the rest of the market is dumping out, a commitment to showcase your strengths during times of economic uncertainty recognizes that an economic downturn can actually represent an era of opportunity for the savvy and disciplined business owner. 1) Embrace cost effective marketing For most companies, particularly those without a marketing-led culture, an economic downturn often results in marketing budgets being slashed, or worse, suspended entirely until the economic climate improves. In doing so, such companies are essentially ceding market share to their competitors – particularly those who have built a sustainable, measurable marketing infrastructure on a foundation of data-driven principles. Much more than a buzzword, data-driven marketing is the competitive edge that ensures

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your advertising is still driving cost effective leads and sales while less savvy competitors are slashing ad budgets and losing prospects. Key areas of focus include: • Focusing your media spends on digital media where ROI is fully quantifiable. • Optimizing in-campaign execution to ensure you’re getting the biggest and most efficient bang for each and every dollar spent. • Leveraging barter deals with customers where appropriate to achieve free ad inventory in return for services rendered. • Utilizing all the weapons in your digital marketing arsenal (multivariate testing, conversion optimization, retargeting, learning algorithms) to cost effectively reach the right prospects at the right time with the right message. 2) Sell smarter Let’s face it. Talk of downturns or recessions does not engender consumer confidence, and with a drop in confidence comes the potential for formerly warm sales ‘prospects’ to turn into cold call ‘suspects.’ When faced with this situation, many capable sales professionals can often be swayed by human nature, giving in to the temptation to work ‘harder’ to increase their total prospects to make up for a decline in their closing ratio. The key, as always, is to work smarter not harder. • Decrease your overall prospects to increase the value of your remaining leads. • Better leverage ‘upsells’ and ‘value ads’ to increase your average sales value. • Work with marketing and operations to enhance your value proposition until it is bulletproof. • Mine your historic sales data for trend data and re-target accordingly. • Compare notes with colleagues in other verticals to re-confirm winning tactics • Now, more than ever, mine your best contacts for solid, actionable referrals.


Building better relationships engenders customer loyalty that will sustain your business through turbulent times.

3) Build business relationships that stand the ‘test of time’ The old saw is that ‘you don’t know who you are friends are until times get tough.’ The same holds true for business. As a capable and conscientiousness business owner, you’ve consistently made the effort to go above and beyond to satisfy your customers. In doing so, you’ve accrued a valuable currency, one that will sustain you through difficult times – customer loyalty. Remember those fast growth competitors who treated their customers like a number on a balance sheet? For a time, it looked like they might pass you on the outside corner. Unfortunately for them, they traded potential loyalty for short-term volume, and they’ll be the first to feel the pinch when economic conditions worsen. In contrast, those companies that have focused on ‘relationship building’ will reap the benefits as budgets tighten and priorities narrow to the most business critical functions. In tough economic times, you’ll work closer with your customers: you’ll compare notes, you’ll share ideas. You’ll continue to broaden and deepen your relationship. In short, you’ll find out who your friends are, and like all true friends, you’ll help each other through the tough times.

4) Prioritize clear communication and thought leadership “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” -Winston Churchill Showcasing your strength during difficult times is no easy feat. It requires courage and the steadfast belief that a dark tunnel of recession is inevitably followed by the bright light of prosperity. Much like Winston Churchill galvanized his fellow Englishmen with his memorable speeches during the blitz in WWII, for companies looking to survive AND thrive through an economic downturn, it is imperative that you demonstrate leadership through clear and confident communication. In times of stress or uncertainty, your employees, suppliers and customers will look for reassurance, clarity, and calm. By ‘showcasing your strengths,’ you will demonstrate each of these traits in abundance. Most importantly, you will position your business to ‘survive and thrive’ by turning adversity into opportunity. Remember, ‘there are no problems, only solutions waiting to be found.’ If you have any questions or comments on this article, or wish to suggest topics for a future column, please drop us a line at communications@edmontonchamber.com BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // MARCH 2016

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

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Contact us today for more information at membership@edmontonchamber.com or 780.426.4620

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HERE’S WHY EDMONTON MOTORSHOW 2016 WILL REV YOU UP // EDMONTON AUTO & TRUCK SHOW

HERE’S WHY EDMONTON MOTORSHOW

BY FAY FLETCHER

E

leasha Naso, assistant executive director of the Edmonton Motor Dealer’s Association, couldn’t be more excited. It may be her first year organizing Edmonton Motorshow, but she’s no stranger to the city’s favourite car show. She’s been heavily involved in this event for 14 years and before he retired, Bob Vilas, who organized the show for 16 years, couldn’t say enough about Naso’s ability to take the show to the next level. “I love it!” Naso admits, as she pauses in her cross country trek to bring the best brands and innovative automotive solutions to the Expo Centre from April 7 – 10. “I always look forward to opening to the public and seeing people come in, smiling, with their family. I love the customer satisfaction. There is truly something for everyone.”

2016 WILL REV YOU UP

There really is. In addition to the regular features such as a turnout of all the major manufacturers showcasing their latest models and the auto emporium, which happens to be the largest aftermarket parts show in Canada, the exotic car display is returning to fill one hall with cars many have only been seen in movies. “It’s a show stopper,” Naso admits of the Auto Exotica display. Last year’s Exotica hall included McLaren, Ferrari, ABOVE: ATTENDEES CHECK OUT THE LATEST MAKES AND MODELS AT LAST YEAR’S EDMONTON MOTORSHOW. PHOTO SOURCE: EDMONTON MOTOR DEALERS’ ASSOCIATION.

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HERE’S WHY EDMONTON MOTORSHOW 2016 WILL REV YOU UP // EDMONTON AUTO & TRUCK SHOW

Maserati, Lamborghini and brought Rolls Royce to the exhibition for the first time. The 7,500 square feet of space dedicated to Exotica was crammed with visitors, all eager for a glimpse of cars that sold in the $250,000+ range. This year, Bentley joins the line up in Exotica, and with the success of the movie Spectre last year, many are looking forward to seeing which James Bond-worthy Aston Martin will be showing in the hall as well. Luxury brands are also on the menu once again in Lux Lane. This hall is where you’ll experience the best that MercedesBenz, Audi and Lexus, among others, have to offer. For 2016 there’s a change in the program that has really got our motors running. “We’ve created a huge social media build up,” smiles Naso. “It offers everyone a sneak peek behind the scenes at how the show is put together, not to mention a few surprise reveals.” Naso knows the addition of social media is in keeping with how most people interact and get their news today. “It’s a better way for us to reach our patrons and clients,” she confirms.

While the social media rollout includes some delightful spoilers, there are still plenty of secrets that won’t be unveiled until the doors open and Naso, although she can’t say much about them yet, is just bursting with excitement. “We have some Canadian reveals that will be a surprise. These are products never before seen in Canada!” One major component of Edmonton Motorshow is the hotly anticipated collector car auction. With approximately 150 collectibles in the auction, it’s no surprise that attendance in this hall has increased year over year. “There are collectors that come just for that event,” says Naso. “It’s very high energy.” Last year’s auction was brimming with attendees eager to buy, sell and view the beautiful and lovingly restored cars of yesteryear. The Precious Metal Gala is a large part of Motorshow and runs the day before the main event. This year Precious Metal is on April 6 and as always, the charity event will raise funds for high school shop programs and post-secondary scholarships for students learning automotive trades.

ABOVE: FROM DREAMY EXOTIC CARS TO PRACTICAL SEDANS, ELECTRIC ECOWONDERS TO AFTERMARKET MARVELS, EDMONTON MOTORSHOW HAS IT ALL. PHOTO SOURCE: EDMONTON MOTOR DEALERS’ ASSOCIATION.

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SEE THE EDMONTON MOTORSHOW THE WAY IT WAS MEANT TO BE SEEN–UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT Join us for the automotive social event of the year, and gain exclusive access to some of the most elegant and striking vehicles available, while enjoying decadent fare and unique entertainment.

For more information and to purchase tickets visit edmontonmotorshow.com


HERE’S WHY EDMONTON MOTORSHOW 2016 WILL REV YOU UP // EDMONTON AUTO & TRUCK SHOW

Even the weak Loonie can’t dampen the enthusiasm for the show. “What is happening right now is affecting every business,” Naso admits. “Sales have been affected but [Alberta’s automotive industry] is not in dire straits and there is nothing to be concerned about. You can only have so much progress in a boom economy until the cycle has to start over again. There is still so much optimism in the industry.” Of course, there is one major aspect of Alberta that manufacturers love. “We are always going to be Truck Country,” Naso laughs. “I don’t see that changing…not to take anything away from smaller cars!”

“Last year’s Precious Metal Gala was very well attended,” says Naso. “In fact, it was a record breaker. With funds from the Motorshow and the Gala, $241,000 was raised. We are quite happy with this and with how we are making the public more aware and involved in this important industry.” Edmonton is very important to Alberta’s automotive industry. With a large number of oil and gas, construction and manufacturing industries, not to mention a sprawling city and open-road province that makes owing a vehicle more of a necessity than a luxury, residents are snapping up everything from practical commuter vehicles to full sized company fleets; and post-secondary training such as the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) automotive service technician program is making sure all those vehicles are running safely and in tip top shape on the road.

Edmonton Motorshow isn’t just for the auto enthusiasts. It’s for everyone. The show makes a wonderful family outing and is a hit with those looking for innovations such as hybrid or electric cars. Anyone in the market for a new car will also benefit from the on-site representatives offering show-only deals and on-the-spot financing. It’s a great way for grandpa and grandma to show the grandkids the cars that journeyed with them through their childhood when the only “Windows” integration were the ones they looked out of and instead of connecting with WiFi, they connected with each other. It’s also a chance to pretend you’re the villain in the latest spy thriller as you snap photos of the sleek cars in Auto Exotica. You don’t need to be looking for a new car to enjoy the show. The Auto Emporium will take your existing vehicle to new heights with your choice of aftermarket parts, custom paint jobs, specialty rims and enhanced entertainment systems. Don’t miss this show. Tickets are now available online and on show days at the Edmonton Expo box office. Whether you are coming to make a purchase, enhance your car with aftermarket parts, invest in your commercial fleet or enjoy the collector car auction, it’s a fun-filled event for everyone. “Plan to spend a more than an hour. Spend an afternoon. We fill out every hall and cover every base,” encourages Naso. Visit edmontonmotorshow.com to buy your ticket early and learn more about the show.

ABOVE: IT WAS FUN FOR ALL AT THE EDMONTON MOTORSHOW 2015. PHOTO SOURCE: EDMONTON MOTOR DEALERS’ ASSOCIATION.

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THRIVING ALBERTA CAPITAL ESCAPES OILINDUCED DOWNTURN W

hile much of Alberta feels the pinch of a struggling global economy - with workers in energyfocused centres such as Fort McMurray and Calgary packing their bags to leave in droves - Edmonton is still noticeably open for business. During your typical workday, Edmonton’s streets are bustling with people – university students, government workers, bankers and more. They hustle alongside one another, criss-crossing in front of the brick and concrete buildings that line the downtown core, or meeting at restaurants, hotels and conference rooms for lunch. It is, by all appearances, business as usual. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. While the northern city is not well-known as an economic powerhouse and has often been overshadowed by its private sector-driven rival Calgary, the Alberta capital’s economy is well-positioned to continue thriving despite low oil prices. While geographically located closer to the oil sands, Edmonton is actually less dependent on the energy sector and more diverse than any other centre in the province. Many oil and gas workers who do live in this city are still gainfully employed with maintenance, service and related projects. Still others work in areas less impacted by energy, such as the public sector, health care, education and finance. The city was named the third best Canadian city to live by MoneySense Magazine in 2013 and one of the top 10 places to take a summer trip by National Geographic in 2015. Figures released by Statistics Canada reveal that despite the province’s energy-induced slump,

Edmonton

Edmonton’s economic growth was 3.8%, gaining a total of 28,000 jobs in 2015. Economists and community consultants alike have agreed Edmonton is a city ripe with opportunity and positioned to be one of the best cities in all of Canada, but the private sector and government will have to roll up their sleeves to help make that happen, both now and in the future. In November 2015, Edmonton welcomed Hal Bastian to the city. Also known as “Mr. Downtown L.A.,” Bastian is a 32-year commercial real estate veteran who has spent the last two decades helping create the Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) Renaissance. Between 1999 and 2015, he made sweeping changes to the culture of central LA, heading up successful initiatives that saw the city’s downtown population grow from 18,000 people residing downtown to 70,000. Bastian says he sees a lot of potential in Edmonton, but a lot of similarities to L.A.’s under-populated and economically struggling downtown of old. “The fundamentals of Edmonton are a very solid foundation on which to build a mansion,” Bastian says. “You have a new hockey arena and new museum coming. You have a lot of old, unused commercial buildings that could be turned into residential space. But what you’re missing is the residents.” It’s hard to argue with Bastian. The snarling traffic that leaves the downtown core is evidence of Edmonton’s cultural draw to suburban living. Edmontonians spend an average of almost an hour commuting back and forth to work each day. Since the 1980s, the city, community groups and oth-

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ers have worked hard to revitalize downtown. More recent endeavours have included holding and better promoting downtown festivals, expanding Grant MacEwan University, construction of the new Rogers Place arena and the successful attraction of scores of notable new restaurants and clubs along the increasingly popular Jasper Avenue. While these initiatives are a great start, Bastian says building a downtown community is not a linear process, and it involves a lot of elements, such as building communities. To start, Bastian suggests adapting old or empty commercial buildings into full or partial residential 1-2 bedroom rental and purchased “micro-units,” where owners charge a lower amount of money for a smaller amount of space, making the community attractive for people of all economic classes and age groups. But how do you make people want to downsize and live downtown? This is Bastian’s area of expertise, and you’d be surprised at some of his suggestions. “A critical element is making the downtown dog-friendly,” he says. “When you become dogfriendly in a downtown area, it creates community and public safety. People are on the streets morning, noon and night, because they have dogs and they interact with each other.” Creating a walkable and more interactive community will also help, he adds. “People should be able to leave their condo

Two decades ago, AEDARSA was created to bring independent oversight to the installation and ongoing safety compliance of elevating devices, amusement rides and passenger ropeways throughout Alberta. It has been quite a ride! We have established a new level of cooperation and collaboration with industry and agent/owners in our efforts to regulate, monitor and enforce safety standards – for the protection of all Albertans. We look forward to continuing to reach higher in order to maintain the highest level of safety possible.

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March 2016 | BOMA Edmonton Newsletter | www.bomaedmonton.org

While these initiatives are a great start, Bastian says building a downtown community is not a linear process, and it involves a lot of elements, such as building communities. and walk maybe 10 minutes to get to a restaurant, or an indoor park or rec centre where their kids can play,” Bastian says. “During the summer months, give people aesthetically-pleasing places to sit in parks, with tables and chairs, where they can enjoy their Tim Hortons and interact. Give them a sense of community and make it an attractive place to live.” Planning ahead is another important part of Edmonton’s downtown and overall economic future. Doug Griffiths, president of 13 Ways and author of best selling book, 13 Ways to Kill a Community, is an experienced community planner who sees Edmonton not for what it is today, but for how it will be in the future. He encourages Edmonton’s private and public sector to do the same. “Edmonton and the Capital Region is ripe with incredible opportunities, and I firmly believe if the region is going to maximize the opportunity we have we can’t just build, we have to focus on how were going to build and what we’re going to build because the world is going to change,” says Griffiths. Common projects we take for granted just may not be required in the future, such as housing, parking lots, roads and public transit, Griffiths suggests. “I’ve done some research and in talking to the younger generations, they talk about condos and parks, not houses and back yards. So their anticipation is a little more urban-esque, and they understand the desire to grow up and not just out. That’s something we’re going to have to consider very seriously.” Our view on transit - and our dependence - is also changing. “The younger generation doesn’t care about vehicles at all, and why should they? We have things like Uber cars, autonomous or self-driving cars coming out right now, and if you imagine the predictions are right, in 10 years, 35% of the vehicles on the road are going to be autonomous vehicles; five years after that – 15 years from today – it’s 85%, because we adapt technology remarkably well. How is that going to impact the way we build communities? Will we need large parking garages under condos if no one is driving? Will we need to invest billions in public transit if there’s no one to take it?” Griffiths admits these changes may not happen right away, but the private and public sector should start asking some of these fundamental questions. “We should be building in ways that will accommodate the way we anticipate we could live 20 years from now,” he says. “It makes for wise investment and better communities.” You can learn more about Hal Bastian at halbastian.com or by emailing him at hal@halbastian.com or Doug Griffiths at 13ways.ca or via email at doug@13ways.ca Research, writing and editing by MKT Communications. For more information visit mktcommunications.ca.


BOMA SUPPORT HELPS ABUSED WOMEN REBUILD L

eslie had been married for seven years, during which she was always under her husband’s control. Leslie says she felt like a slave, as her husband would dictate every part of her life: what she could eat, where she could go, how she could look, who she was allowed to talk to. A few years into their relationship, the control had gotten so severe that her husband became enraged with her for not giving birth to their child fast enough. There are hundreds of stories like this in Edmonton alone. In 2014, the Edmonton Police service received approximately 7,600 domestic violence calls – and that unfortunately represents only a fraction of the total women in abusive relationships or other vulnerable positions. The Edmonton Women’s Shelter Ltd., most commonly known as WIN House, is one of the only free resources available to these women.

The not-for-profit has its humble beginnings in the basement of All Saints Cathedral in 1970. Since then, it has become a full emergency shelter and comprehensive support to women and children fleeing domestic abuse, with three centres helping women in all vulnerable situations 24 hours a day,

In 2014, the Edmonton Police service received approximately 7,600 domestic violence calls – and that unfortunately represents only a fraction of the total women in abusive relationships or other vulnerable positions.

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365 days a year. In 2015, the WIN House provided emergency shelter and support services to more than 250 women and 350 children fleeing domestic violence. The continued operation of the WIN House is reliant on the generosity of the Edmonton community, including individuals, businesses and organizations who donate time, money, and inkind goods. This past December, for the 12th year in a row, the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Edmonton chapter was proud to do its part. The long partnership was first struck by Percy Woods, now President & Chief Staff Officer, who is a passionate supporter of the organization. “This is an organization I believe very strongly in supporting,” says Woods, who has been on the WIN House’s board of directors since 2003. “The tireless work these people do to help women and children get away from sometimes very dangerous situations is one of the most impactful services of its kind in the city.” One of BOMA’s biggest fundraisers for the organizations is its annual Christmas luncheon. About 300 members at-

“To some it’s just what it says, a shelter in a time of need.”

tend the popular event, which includes raffle tickets and a silent auction with dozens of items donated by many members and other partners. This year the luncheon raised a record $20,000. In total, BOMA has raised $135,000 for the organization. “We couldn’t be more appreciative of the help BOMA and Percy have provided to our organization over the years,” says Marc Quinn, Fund Development Co-ordinator for WIN House. “Without community support like this, we would not exist, and we wouldn’t be able to provide food, shelter, a place to sleep and more for these women and children who need it in such desperate situations.” The WIN house requires approximately $1 million per year to full operate. If you would like to contribute with a financial donation or by hosting a community event, please visit www. winhouse.org or phone (780) 471-6709. Research, writing and editing by MKT Communications. For more information visit mktcommunications.ca.

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March 2016 | BOMA Edmonton Newsletter | www.bomaedmonton.org


O

CREATING A CULTURE OF COMMUNICATION

n commercial and industrial sites, misunderstandings can cause damage ranging from tarnished professional reputations to injury or death. As a company focusing on services such as specialized utility locates and gathering critical data for engineers and geophysicists, Maverick Inspection Ltd. knows the importance of effective communication. For example, companies such as Maverick locate gas, power, and water lines prior to excavations. They provide data related to ground stability before large cranes are set up for critical lifts. Maverick provides information regarding the amount and placement of structural steel in concrete buildings. Engineering decisions are made based on these dialogs, and it is easy to imagine how small miscommunication could have large consequences. These are extreme situations; however, they create a culture of communication that applies to less dramatic but

invaluable day-to-day activities. Client frustration and satisfaction is inseparable from the diligence of communication. This easily translates directly to the health of a business relationship or even an entire company’s success or failure. Not all business communication is as obviously critical, but even mundane interaction should not be underestimated. Here are a few proven, basic principles to establishing client trust and earning their respect. The first step is to make sure that clients do not feel ignored. We have all experienced the frustration of trying to contact someone who we believed could make a pressing problem go away. It might have been a mechanic, a landscaper, or any range of professional services. If we can’t easily establish contact, the relationship starts on the wrong foot. We start looking for an alternative solution. Even if there is not another choice, an adversarial mindset has already been established.

1,350 tonne crane collapse in China due to soft ground conditions.

www.bomaedmonton.org | BOMA Edmonton Newsletter | March 2016

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A Maverick technician performing traditional utility locates.

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March 2016 | BOMA Edmonton Newsletter | www.bomaedmonton.org

This means the business relationship will require extensive repair before it has even begun. Service starts by responding to all client requests immediately. Even if you cannot fully answer questions or provide a required service at the exact moment of the call, clients should be confident that someone knows what they need and that they will be taken care of as soon as scheduling or other factors permit. This seems like a very simple and obvious aspect of doing business; however, it is easily lost in the background activity of a busy workplace. If a client is making the effort to establish contact, then it is the service provider’s obligation to make the rest of the process as easy and successful as reasonably possible. Another necessary dialog is establishing when and how processes will unfold. We are all familiar with appointments such as appliance or furniture deliveries. If you have to spend an entire day waiting for someone to arrive, then there is an underlying sense that your time has no value. If the delivery does not occur, and there is no communication until the day is over, then there is additional frustration. Maverick has learned to use this scheduling process as both a quality and sales tool. For instance, when a crew knows their arrival time for their next scheduled concrete scan in a commercial building, they will contact the client representative and provide an update. This is the case whether they are early, on time, or delayed. Typically, the client representative will have other contractors and issues to deal with. Once they know when to expect the ground-penetrating radar (GPR) crew, they are free to spend that time productively. Again, this simple practise creates mutual respect and


Wear and wall loss modeled from a laser scan of a buried pipeline.

sets the tone for the rest of the relationship. It is very basic, but it is not a common standard. To apply this to another type of business activity, you can imagine professionals completing a residential real estate purchase. This is an activity that most of us have had personal experience with. If the lawyer and/or agent initially provide their clients a clear outline of what will occur, when, and in what order, then this puts the clients’ minds at ease. They know what to expect and what will be expected of them, so they can relax. This confidence is especially important for sellers new to real estate, and helps to guarantee referrals and repeat business. Finally, Maverick trains all technicians about the importance of the provided reports and billing documents. Regardless of everyone’s expertise and professional manner on site, the digital or paper record of the event is often all that is left as a record of success or failure. Decision makers, purchasers, and other key contacts often won’t be involved in the details of work on a site. They will, however, have access to the

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Design Services | Product Solutions www.ddlgroup.net www.bomaedmonton.org | BOMA Edmonton Newsletter | March 2016

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trail of data that is generated, from the descriptions of what was accomplished to the resulting invoices. Never underestimate the importance of well written documentation. A document that is full of errors and lacking in information will make the entire process appear to be of low quality. A well-written description of services with clear and detailed billing information gives an impression of quality and value. If you have ever received cell phone, utility, personal investment, or other reports or billing, then you understand the relative joy or frustration generated by paperwork. These are some simple examples of proven best practices. However, all dialogues, formal or informal, have the same criteria for success. If you can switch perspectives and imagine what your clients want and need, then you will be able to make sure they are satisfied. If you recognize the value of your clients’ time and the effort that they made to contact you, then you will be equipped to create a beneficial long-term relationship. If the wrap up communication and invoicing gives the work you did the respect it deserves, then you will leave behind a paper trail that will lead to repeat business and referrals. These seem like very simple ideas, especially in a world of very rapid and technologically-driven exchanges of information. However, as Maverick has learned and dem-

Radar results showing possible voiding with no corresponding surface indications.

onstrated, you still have to build a foundation of simple and effective communication between people. Communicating well is necessary whether it is a life and death situation or simply a follow-up call to a client. Human interaction is, after all, the underlying principle of all business relationships and a cornerstone of sustainable success. Maverick Inspection Ltd. has been pioneering specialized non-destructive testing in Western Canada since 1994. Alberta owned and operated, Maverick researches and develops inspection methods and provides inspection services for industrial, commercial and municipal clients.

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March 2016 | BOMA Edmonton Newsletter | www.bomaedmonton.org


THE NEW MORTGAGE RULE (AND WHY EDMONTONIANS DON’T NEED TO WORRY) // REAL ESTATE

THE NEW MORTGAGE RULE

(AND WHY EDMONTONIANS DON’T NEED TO WORRY) WHENEVER MORTGAGE RULES CHANGE, PEOPLE GET A LITTLE TENSE. THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT WITH THIS CHANGE, FEW PEOPLE IN THE CAPITAL REGION WILL BE AFFECTED. HERE’S WHY.

BY RECHELL MCDONALD

D

epending on whether or not you are in the market for a new home right now, you may or may not have heard about the change in the mortgage rules resulting in more money down on homes over $500,000. Whatever camp you are in, however, it likely won’t affect you.

it will have a minimum impact on the Capital Region housing market. In 2015 the average single family home price in Edmonton was $437,569, while in Toronto the average was $825,470 and more than $1.2 million in Vancouver,” reassures Collin Bruce, mortgage broker with Dominion Lending Centres.

“The rule change is expected to affect less than 1 per cent of the overall housing market in Canada. With this rule change targeting the more expensive housing markets, like Toronto and Vancouver,

Bruce also mentioned that when the new rule was initially announced, there was a misconception about it because of the way the information was presented. “The initial headlines that came out spoke

ABOVE: COLLIN BRUCE CAPTION: COLLIN BRUCE, COLLIN BRUCE MORTGAGE TEAM, DOMINION LENDING CENTRES. BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // MARCH 2016

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Southwoods Village:

Satisfying the Pillars of Development

N

ear the heart of downtown Edmonton, a project is raising the bar that will set the new standard for future developments in the city. Christenson Developments has chosen the Southwoods region of Hazeldean to pilot a new sustainable village concept. Located next to walking trails, parks and schools, Southwoods is the perfect preexisting community to revitalize and modernize. Combining new technology with current infrastructure, Christenson Developments has planned an energy-conscious project right from start through to finish. The pillars, upon which this project will be built, will be the revival of the population demographics, reusing existing buildings and infrastructure, as well as new environmentally-friendly technology and energy-independence. For Greg Christenson, owner of Christenson Developments, it’s about creating an inclusive, diverse and healthy community. “We’re trying to build a little village in Hazeldean,” says Christenson. “The whole neighbourhood is in a healthy upswing.” The project will begin with the relocation and renovation of town houses. Rather than tearing down the original buildings and building new town houses from scratch, Christenson noticed the buildings were well designed and built, and would still fit the needs of the targeted modern family. “Our business model was rather than knock down any of the town houses, we would relocate them within the site,” he says. “There’s no reason to knock them down, creating a whole bunch of debris to haul to the landfill.” At roughly 60 years of age, the Hazeldean subdivision in Edmonton was built just south of the city centre following the Second World War. The first phase will relocate 12 town house units, which will be a more efficient use of space and also for the employees of the seniors’ facilities. Christenson says that Hazeldean is a typical mature neighbourhood, where populations tend to decline after the 35th or 40th year. “The families and kids grow up and move away,” he says. “Many of the residents in the single-family homes are still the original residents from 60 years ago, which puts their age in the mid- to late 80s and even early 90s.” Christenson Developments’ goal to revitalize the community aims to keep the elderly population in place, while attracting younger families with children into the community.

“The word we use is ‘inclusive’ community, which means a mixture of incomes and age profiles,” Christenson says. “Both the target audiences – seniors and families looking for affordable living – are very sensitive to incremental cost increases.” By increasing the population as well as the density, the impact will improve the social quality of life for everyone. Looming over the whole project is the ever-growing demand for energy by consumers and Christenson Developments has developed a strategy that will marry different technologies in a completely innovative way. Combining natural gas cogeneration plants with geothermal technology, Southwoods Village will reduce its initial energy dependence on the grid by nearly one megawatt. Bruce McFarlane, Christenson Developments, says the goal is to create dependent and affordable energy for the target audiences, which are on limited and fixed incomes. “They’ll have a fixed monthly cost that they’ll be paying,” McFarlane says. “We’ll review that cost so they wouldn’t have utility bills coming from anywhere else other than the company that will be running it.” The project has received approval from the City of Edmonton, and the combined use of cogeneration plants and geothermal bore fields has attracted the attention of the provincial and federal governments. By employing a strategy to revitalize the population, reducing the cost of building and waste of materials as well as using cogeneration combined with geothermal, Christenson says Southwoods Village satisfies the pillars of development. “The three pillars of sustainable development are: social, economic and environmental,” he says. “Southwoods is a model that actually looks at all three.” The project is already under redevelopment and Christenson Developments is currently leasing the new suites in the seniors’ building. For more information, visit CDLhomes.com.


MORE TIME MORE CHOICE

MORE FREEDOM The Name In Active Adult Living With over 35 years of experience, Christenson Group of Companies has been providing Edmonton and surrounding areas with more than just a home. Christenson is committed to affording 71 Ave 71 Ave individuals with endless opportunities to accommodate a number of lifestyles by creating award Ave 70 Ave for adults and seniors. winning 70multi-family urban villages Good

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For more information about Southwoods visit our Info Centre at 9472 - 65 Ave or call at (780) 975-2509 or send an email to Lynne at LynneC@CDLHomes.com.

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Citadel Village 15 Erin Ridge Rd (780) 934-6636


THE NEW MORTGAGE RULE (AND WHY EDMONTONIANS DON’T NEED TO WORRY) // REAL ESTATE

of increased down payment requirements. I believe at first, most people assumed they would need 10 per cent down when buying a home at any price range, not just on the amounts above $500,000.” So to the point then, what is this change, really? Bruce was kind enough to present us with an example of how it works. “Presently if you buy a home for $700,000, the minimum down payment required is 5 per cent (if you are a first-time buyer) or $35,000. As of February 15, if you were to buy a $700,000 home, the minimum down payment requirement would be 5 per cent on the first $500,000, which is $25,000, plus 10 per cent on the remaining $200,000, which is $20,000. The total down payment is now $45,000, which represents an increase of $10,000.” “I believe the new policy was created to help control dollars invested in home ownership by ensuring buyers have saved adequately and are in a more stable position should there be a downturn of over- inflated markets,” says Geneva Tetreault, realtor and former chair of the REALTORS® Association. Like Bruce, she confirms that it primarily addresses exorbitant markets like Toronto and Vancouver.

Tetreault also provided some great numbers for us to see exactly how this change will be felt here at home. She reports that 17,298 sales were recorded in 2015 for the Edmonton CMA, and of these, 15 per cent were over $500,000, and 8 per cent of those were homes priced between $500,000$600 000, or the lower end of the newly affected price range. “There will be some impact,” Tetreault admits. “There are some who would have planned to put just the minimum down, however, I think it would be a low percentage. With this tiered system, the impact will be further reduced.” Tetreault has some advice for buyers and sellers. “With any purchase we encourage buyers and sellers to consult with a realtor early in the process, ideally before they are ready to begin. Sellers will be, as always, at the buyer’s mercy in terms of a buyer’s ability to purchase. Buyers need to make sure they plan and budget properly.” This tidbit is particularly important to remember as we make our way through 2016, battling a tough economy, employment difficulties in certain sectors, and all the other variables that come with an economic downturn. We need to shop smart and within our means, especially when it comes to our homes.

ABOVE: GENEVA TETREAULT, BROKER/OWNER, CENTURY 21 VANTAGE REALTY LTD. AND COREY YOUNG, ALBERTA ON FIRE INVESTMENT TEAM.

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


THE NEW MORTGAGE RULE (AND WHY EDMONTONIANS DON’T NEED TO WORRY) // REAL ESTATE

FOR BUYERS, PARTICULARLY FIRST-TIMERS, NOW IS THE TIME. BETWEEN AMAZING INTEREST RATES AND A WEALTH OF CHOICE ON THE MARKET, THERE MAY NEVER BE A BETTER TIME FOR YOU TO GET INTO THE EDMONTON REAL ESTATE MARKET THAN 2016.

From the investment perspective, Corey Young of Alberta On Fire Investment Team, explains that it will be smooth sailing for his clients. “There should be nearly a zero effect on rental properties or those looking to flip properties. Investors are already required to put 20 per cent down when purchasing a property as a rental, or any property that will not be their residence. This increase in down payment requirements will only impact home buyers at this time.” Young also touches on the major difference between the average home prices in Edmonton versus the more inflated markets in Canada, including Calgary. He also added the ever important point that, “Those that can afford to make a purchase of that value (over $500,000), typically can afford the extra down payment costs.” Young also has some advice for investors going in 2016. “Because there is more product on the market, there are more opportunities to make a great purchase. Whenever there is fear in the market, it bodes well for buyers. They can play on that fear when constructing their offer. Although prices in Edmonton are not down, the current fear in the market does give buyers more negotiating power on things like closing dates, conditions on the offer, and so forth. “My advice for any buyer in our market would be to buy for cash flow. Make sure that any purchases you make can cash flow above your expenses enough to sustain current rents, while also being conservative enough to include rental decreases. As long as your rent covers your expenses, it is much easier to sustain an investment property long term. Be conservative in your number calculations!”

From the residential mortgage perspective, Bruce admits that it’s a great time to buy for several reasons. “Interest rates are still near record lows and with the number of new listings coming on the market it’s definitely a buyer’s market. At some point though, oil prices are going to recover and when they do the Capital Region’s housing market is going to be back and busy! Today is a great time to get into the market. Low interest rates, in most cases, means some mortgage payments are cheaper than rent. These low interest rates have such an impact on how much principal is paid down on the mortgage too.” We are all experiencing some fear and uncertainty these days. Whether your job is threatened, your stocks have been affected, or you are in a position where you need to sell your home – the economy has touched us all in one way or another. The good news is that if you do have a home you need to sell, the value of it hasn’t been diminished, the bad news is that you likely won’t get the benefits of a bidding war due to all the properties on the market right now. You will have to be more open to the conditions of the buyers and do your best to secure a purchasing agreement that you are comfortable with. For buyers, particularly first-timers, now is the time. Between amazing interest rates and a wealth of choice on the market, there may never be a better time for you to get into the Edmonton real estate market than 2016. Take the advice of our experts and budget wisely, save more than you think you need and shop for a home that you can actually afford – not the one the bank approves you for. If you are shopping just below the $500,000 cap, the new down payment rules won’t even touch you.

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

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EDMONTON’S MAJOR CONSTRUCTION PROJECT IS AS COOL AS ICE // CONSTRUCTION/RENOVATIONS

EDMONTON’S MAJOR CONSTRUCTION PROJECT IS AS

Cool as Ice

A MASSIVE CONSTRUCTION PROJECT IN THE HEART OF THE CITY WITH RECORD BREAKING STATISTICS AND THE COOLEST AMENITIES IN CANADA? SOME WOULD CALL THAT IMPOSSIBLE. IN EDMONTON, WE CALL IT ICE DISTRICT.

BY NERISSA MCNAUGHTON

A

s Edmonton’s beloved Rexall place started showing its age and the need for a new arena became apparent, Daryl Katz thought about how this construction project could be so much more for Edmonton.

“Daryl Katz’s dream of revolutionizing downtown Edmonton was in motion even before he officially purchased the Oilers in 2008. Katz Group partnered with the City of Edmonton to build Rogers Place, home of the Edmonton Oilers. In 2012,

ABOVE: ICE DISTRICT RENDERING. PHOTO SOURCE: ICE DISTRICT JV INC.

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


EDMONTON’S MAJOR CONSTRUCTION PROJECT IS AS COOL AS ICE // CONSTRUCTION/RENOVATIONS

Katz Group joined forces with WAM Development Group to create what is known today as ICE District Properties. Together they are set to complete the vision and develop a downtown district that brings Edmontonians together and attracts visitors to a city that’s truly world class,” says Glen Scott, senior vice president, real estate with the Katz Group. Phase 1 of the project, consisting of Rogers Place, the Winter Garden, the first office tower and several parkades, are on track for a fall 2016 opening. “Construction of Rogers Place is on time and on budget,” confirms Tim Shipton, vice president, corporate communications & government relations, Oilers Entertainment Group. “We have been extremely pleased with the construction process and really it has been a true partnership between the Katz Group and City of Edmonton, with strong support from our construction and design partners – PCL and Icon. “We are going to load Rogers Place with entertainment in its first year – [performances] of all different types. It is going to start with 30 - 40 days of top entertainment so that the whole city will be able to feel a part of the new building and get to see it firsthand; and, it will culminate with the grand opening and the first Oilers home game at Rogers Place.” It’s a fitting grand opening for Rogers Place to show off its impressive statistics that include:

7 LEVELS 9.5 ACRES 141 FEET IN HEIGHT 182,000 SQUARE FEET OF UNDERGROUND PARKING 9,000 TONNES OF STRUCTURAL STEEL 57 EXECUTIVE SEATS 24 THEATRE BOXES 24,000 SQUARE FEET OF SPACE FOR PUBLIC AND PRIVATE EVENTS

Rogers Place will also be the first LEED silver certified NHL facility in Canada, achieving the LEED goals of development density, community connectivity and alternative transportation. As impressive as it is, Rogers Place is just one of the major construction projects in ICE District. When finished, the entire District will span more than 25 acres. Retail, hospitality, office towers and residential condos are under construction in addition to a child care centre, a new Cineplex theatre, a Rexall pharmacy…and the hotly anticipated JM Marriott hotel (the first in Alberta) and the Grand Villa Edmonton Casino. “JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts is not part of the Marriott Hotels chain, but is a global luxury hotel brand with 77 properties in 27 countries under Marriott International’s Luxury + Lifestyle brand portfolio, which also includes The Ritz-Carlton, BULGARI, EDITION, Autograph Collection Hotels, Renaissance Hotels, AC Hotels by Marriott, and Moxy Hotels,” explains Scott. “Consisting of beautiful properties in gateway cities and distinctive resort locations around the world, JW Marriott is known for its highly choreographed, anticipatory service as well as its alluring and modern design. The brand attracts sophisticated, selfassured guests who seek enriching hotel experiences and is committed to finding new and differentiated ways to engage the next generation luxury traveler. At JW Marriott, guests leave richer and more fulfilled than when they arrived.” The JW Marriot Edmonton will feature 356 rooms, over 25,000 square feet of conference space, a spa and a restaurant. Weddings and other events can take advantage of what will be the city’s largest ballroom which will be over 10,000 square feet. “By aligning our objectives with those of JW Marriott, we have designed and will construct a building that is sustainable, modern, practical and architecturally interesting,” informs Scott. “ICE District is exploring initiatives in sustainability and environmentally conscious design throughout the entire District. Specifically, we are designing Block EF (Stantec Tower) and Block D (Edmonton Tower) office buildings, to meet a LEED gold standard. The JW Marriott hotel will pursue green design but would not seek LEED certification. The design of the JW Marriott hotel

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

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EDMONTON’S MAJOR CONSTRUCTION PROJECT IS AS COOL AS ICE // CONSTRUCTION/RENOVATIONS

focuses on design and innovation, while being pragmatic about achieving long term efficiencies relating to a high performance building envelope. Good green design starts with the more passive elements of a building, these include giving attention to the following: building orientation and massing, glazing and framing selection, external shading devices and insulation levels. With these factors in mind, we will achieve a balance of beauty and efficiency.” The JM Marriott will open in 2018. “The property is one of the most significant hotel developments in Edmonton in more than three decades,” says Scott. “This remarkable new property will continue to reinvigorate downtown Edmonton and demonstrates our commitment to best-in-class amenities in ICE District.” Those staying at the JM Marriott will likely try their luck at the new Grand Villa Edmonton Casino. Opening in 2016,

this $32 million, 60,000 square foot marvel is generating years of employment during the building phase and will add up to 200 new and permanent job positions in Edmonton. In a statement, Tony Santo, CEO Gateway Casinos & Entertainment said, “We’re thrilled to be a part of such a dynamic, world class development. The Grand Villa Edmonton will deliver a gaming and entertainment experience unlike anything in Edmonton – first class gaming, dining and entertainment.” Gateway, who owns the Baccarat Casino downtown, plans to shut down the aging facility and move the Baccarat employees to the new location in ICE District. During the casino’s announcement speech Santo admitted, “When I took over as CEO at Gateway, I was keen to make the rounds and visit all of our properties across British Columbia and here in Edmonton. There’s no doubt, when

ABOVE: GRAND VILLA EDMONTON CASINO RENDERING. PHOTO SOURCE: GATEWAY CASINO & ENTERTAINMENT LTD.

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


EDMONTON’S MAJOR CONSTRUCTION PROJECT IS AS COOL AS ICE // CONSTRUCTION/RENOVATIONS

AS CONSTRUCTION CONTINUES AND THE BIGGEST CHANGE TO EDMONTON’S LANDSCAPE IN DECADES TAKES SHAPE, IT’S CLEAR THAT ICE IS MORE THAN JUST A COOL NAME. IT HAS A VERY CITY-SPECIFIC MEANING.

I came to Edmonton to visit the Baccarat for the first time, I thought we can do better by Edmonton; we can do better for our customers and for our employees. The Grand Villa Edmonton will deliver that in spades. Our location within ICE District will put us in the centre of the action in an entertainment destination that is quite literally changing the landscape of this city.” Scott is also excited about this development. “Grand Villa Edmonton Casino will provide patrons with a first-class experience, featuring a spectacular gaming floor with exciting entertainment and an array of dining and culinary options. The Grand Villa Edmonton will be an exceptional addition to ICE District.”

Scott lets us in on how ICE ties it all together in name, form and function. “ICE District will completely change the way people perceive Edmonton and Alberta. By employing local trades and attracting tourists from around the world, ICE District will establish a strong sense of civic pride among citizens.”

We have the insight necessary to help visualize the unique construction solutions for your needs. Before

As construction continues and the biggest change to Edmonton’s landscape in decades takes shape, it’s clear that ICE is more than just a cool name. It has a very cityspecific meaning. “ICE District is a celebration of Edmonton’s winter city status and a development fuelled by the optimism of what Edmonton can be: a destination for people from all corners of the city, the country and the world. We want Edmontonians to share in this unforgettable experience and be proud of what it means for the future of our city,”

After

Just ONE call to Rencon and we will organize your entire project from START to FINISH!

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112, 6202 - 29 Avenue Beaumont AB T4X 0H5 780-986-2160 • info@renconindustries.ca • www.renconindustries.ca

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

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Crown Isle, in Comox Valley

Vancouver Island Golf:

The Ultimate Cure for Cabin Fever If you’re an Alberta golfer, come late February and lasting into April, your cabin fever starts hitting dangerous levels. Going “golfless” for all those bleak and blah months definitely takes a toll. Brown, dead-looking turf? Frozen fairways? Covered greens? It’s too much to take. It’s why so many Albertans grab their sticks (before they go stir crazy) and go somewhere green and grand at spring break. This year, especially, that “somewhere” appears to be Vancouver Island. Of course, snowbirds and diehards don’t typically wait until spring break. They’ve long since learned that getting out of “brownsville” and going to “greensville” as soon as possible is the way to go. And they’ve also come to realize that lush turf and beautiful courses are close at hand. Like a one-hour flight away. In their own country. Where nasty exchange rate issues are not relevant. Indeed, the slumping Canadian dollar and the downturn in the oil and gas industry is resulting in many Albertans taking their vacations closer to home. And for golfers needing a fix, the perfect solution is Vancouver Island.

“Early season bookings from Alberta are up an impressive 120 per cent,” says Patrick Meagher from Golf Vancouver Island’s central booking office. “February is far too early to predict the golf business from Alberta for the entire year but, suffice it to say, we have birdied the first two holes and are excited to see how the rest of the 2016 ‘game’ will play out!” Trisha Larsen, director of marketing for Golf Vancouver Island, shares the same enthusiasm. The statistics on their website, www.golfvancouverisland.ca, have recently seen a significant spike. And it’s coming from you know where. “Through the first quarter, site visitations from Calgarians are up over 55 per cent over the same period from last year,” says Larsen. “And Edmonton isn’t far behind. Early season indicators are certainly encouraging, especially when you consider that we have just launched our Alberta marketing campaign with the biggest push still to come.” Although the economy is causing some companies to reconsider their corporate golf outings to exotic, far-flung locations, Vancouver Island is reaping the benefits of those

…for golfers needing a fix, the perfect solution is Vancouver Island.


Bear Mountain, one of the flagship golf resorts on the island.

companies that are now excited by the cost-saving appeal of the island. “The Canadian dollar is providing the perfect storm for keeping Canadians in Canada and also encouraging U.S. visitors to Canada,” says James Fry, director of sales and marketing at Bear Mountain, one of the flagship golf resorts on the island. “We’ve always had a strong relationship with Alberta, both with corporate groups and homeowners who consider the island a second home. We are optimistic about strengthening those ties in 2016.” Another premier facility on the island, Crown Isle in the Comox Valley, is also seeing more traction from Alberta. “Corporate group bookings, stay-and-play packages and real estate activity are definitely trending positively for us,” says Rod Prieto, director of golf at Crown Isle. “Unquestionably, a big reason for this is Alberta. Our year-round golf climate here is obviously a huge selling point. You can hop on a plane in Edmonton or Calgary and be on the tee box at noon. Crown Isle is just minutes from the airport in Comox. It just doesn’t get any easier.” While the cost-savings appeal and easy logistics of a spring golf getaway on Vancouver Island are obvious benefits, the courses themselves ice the cake. From the daring and dramatic Nicklaus-designed mountain courses at Bear

Mountain in Victoria to the pristine parkland layout at Storey Creek in Campbell River, the 12 courses that comprise the Vanvouver Island Golf Trail are one of the strongest collections in Canada. The 250-kilometre Vancouver Island Golf Trail includes four main golf hot spots: Victoria, Cowichan Valley, Parksville and Qualicum Beach, and North Island. And each of these regions has its own character. Its own vibe. While it’s tough to top the beautiful harbour city of Victoria and its old-world charm, the pastoral wine region and warm climate of the Cowichan Valley is ideal for golf. And, of course, the beaches and seaside resorts in Parksville and Qualicum Beach are first-rate. The North Island, with its world-class salmon fishing, marine wildlife tours and peaceful tucked-away courses, will appeal to another set of golfers who crave adventure add-ons with their getaway. Whether it’s a corporate outing, a boys’ golf weekend, a getaway with the girls or a romantic couples retreat, the travel professionals at Golf Vancouver Island will be able to put together a custom-made trip that will fit your eye, your budget, and your every need. And, rest assured, regardless of where you choose to stay and play, a Vancouver Island golf trip is the ticket to curing your cabin fever.

To book your golf getaway on Vancouver Island visit www.golfvancouverisland.ca or call 1-888-465-3239


BUZZING

Bob Rachuk needed a box liner, so he created a company. That’s the type of passion that keeps a company going for over 30 years.

with Passion: Buzz Box Liners Turns 30

“T

hirty years! Has it really been 30 years?” Kim Rachuk of Buzz Box Liners & Truck Accessories can’t believe how quickly the years have flown by since the company opened its doors, but it’s true. The first wooden box liner was produced by Bob Rachuk three decades ago, setting in motion a chain of events that has spanned three generations – so far. Bob Rachuk was larger than life. His passions were simple: he was a family man and he loved to customize trucks. In 1985 he needed a wooden box liner but the options in Edmonton were limited. He couldn’t get the liner he wanted done in the time frame he needed. Annoyed, he opened his own truck liner company. “My dad lived life to the fullest. If he wanted it done he would get it done,” smiles his son Darcy Rachuk who started working at Buzz Box part time in 1987. “I built box liners in the evenings. I left it for a year to go to college and came back to do installs and work in the back.” Darcy married Kim in 1996 and by 1999, Kim was working at Buzz Box too. Not that she needed much persuasion. “I couldn’t see myself doing anything else! I’ve always been into trucks. I drive a big truck and I love my vehicle.” For a few years, everything was wonderful. Bob and Joyce (Darcy’s parents) ran the company with Kim helping to update everything to the new computer system and the shy Darcy in the back working on trucks. Then everything changed. Bob passed away suddenly in 2001.

“My dad lived life to the fullest. If he wanted it done he would get it done,” smiles his son Darcy Rachuk who started working at Buzz Box part time in 1987. “I built box liners in the evenings. I left it for a year to go to college and came back to do installs and work in the back.” Buzz Box Liners | 30 Years | 1 71


CONGRATULATIONS

Buzz Box Liners on your 30th Anniversary! We wish you many years of continued success! JK McKenzie Holdings Ltd 17523 107 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5S 1E5 780-483-6042

Buzz Box Liners | 30 Years | 2

It was unexpected and it broke the hearts of the family, the Buzz Box team and the hundreds of friends and clients that loved his huge heart, his sense of humor and the unique ability he had to customize any vehicle to a client’s specs. With the family reeling from the news, Darcy slipped away and sat in his father’s office. He looked around at the familiar trappings; the garage in the back where he had worked side by side with his father, the personal items that made the office a second home. The phone rang. “Where are you?” Kim was worried. “I’m at the office.” “What are we going to do?” “I don’t know.” At first he was lost, but the Rachuk spirit was strong. He took a deep breath and thought about his family, the staff and the hundreds of loyal Buzz customers. “We go on,” he decided. So they did. Darcy quietly assumed command. With Kim by his side and a team of loyal employees that immediately stepped up to ensure the Rachuks had time to grieve while they kept the company running, Buzz Box Liners thrived. Today, the company is buzzing with demand for custom accessories of all kinds. “People look at our name and automatically assume we just do box liners. Yes, we just did that when we started but now we go from suspensions to towing products. We do fuel tanks, headache racks and lighting. When you see a fancy done-up


Darcy and Kim Rachuk

truck, anything you want from ground up, that’s what we do,” Kim explains. Buzz Box Liners does far more than what you can pick out of a catalogue (even though their catalogue is thousands of pages long). “We tackle any project from something as small as tires to putting a supercharger on. We don’t shy away from anything. If it can be put on a truck, we give it a whirl,” says Darcy with pride. This includes parts and upgrades other customizers say can’t be done. Well, many have said, “we can’t do it. Check over at Buzz Box.” For example, some truck owners are not ready to part with their vintage models but aging has made it difficult for them to get into the truck. Not wanting to spoil the look with running boards, Buzz Box can add a discrete step that enables the owners to enjoy their ride for many more years. For Kim and Darcy, it’s all about those little details. “It’s an extension of your personality,” says Darcy of why people choose to lift, enhance, accessorize and customize their trucks. “It’s not just for guys either. Girls do it too.” Kim points out her truck that is lifted, supercharged and has hints of pink inside and out. There is also a practical aspect to customizing. “The commercial guys need a mobile office and everyone needs to protect their investment.” “We trust and stand behind every product we sell,” Darcy notes. “If it’s a new part, we test it on our own vehicles first.” Being trustworthy has paid off many times over. In fact, on Queen Elizabeth’s latest visit to Edmonton, Buzz Box Liners was selected to help customize the vehicle that took her around the city. Darcy and Kim heap praise on their staff, and consider them a part of their family. “Buzz is a group. It’s not just one person,” Darcy says. Kim has plenty of praises to sing as well. “Bob was a huge part of the company and [after his death] we moved forward because of Darcy. The way he mentors and leads is to work side by side with the staff. They see his honesty and hard work. Even through emer-

Congratulations Buzz Box Liners on 30 great years! We are proud to be a part of your success!

VILLAGE

COMPANY

17630 102 Avenue NW • Ph:(780) 484-0079

Buzz Box Liners | 30 Years | 3


gencies, they stepped up and ran the company. Our staff is one of our greatest strengths. They have passion and loyalty.” Passion. The company is buzzing with it. You feel it from the moment you step through the doors. The atmosphere is clean, bright and friendly. The staff are knowledgeable and helpful. The showroom gets you thinking about customizations you didn’t even know were possible, and when you meet Kim and Darcy, they light up the room. The company was founded on a passion that continues to shine every day. It’s what pushes the Rachuks to do customizations others deem impossible. It’s what got them to their feet when Bob passed on and it’s what keeps customers coming through their doors decade after decade. The company is thriving. The legacy continues. The vehicles they customize are outstanding and every day the team embodies their slogan, “Buzz Duzz.” Bob would be pleased.

17323-107 Avenue, Edmonton AB T5S 1E5 Phone: 780.486.9006 www.buzzboxliners.com Buzz Box Liners | 30 Years | 4


Advanced Coolant Branches Out Visionary owners take a former coolant recycling company to new heights with an expanded range of products and services. Photos and Editorial by Nerissa McNaughton ADVANCED COOLANT TECHNOLOGIES | 15 YEARS 75


E

lmer and Duane Bassani were asked to join Advanced Coolant Technologies in 2009. In 2010, Duane’s wife Rita joined the company. As two busy entrepreneurs seeking that elusive work/life balance, they saw the offer as an opportunity to get involved with an interesting, niche product while using their entrepreneurial skills and having more time to devote to family. They said yes and seven years later, they have never regretted that decision.

a lot of changes in the past few years – and a lot of growth. “We established a facility in Calgary in 2013. We always had a presence there but grew to the point where we needed a facility to service southern Alberta.”They’ve branched out too. The original founder set up ACT as a coolant recycler, but careful business strategy and customers pleased with ACT’s service enabled the husband and wife team, along with Elmer Bassani, Duane’s father and business partner, to expand their services and products.

Advanced Coolant Technologies (ACT) provides cost-effective solutions of glycols and coolants and recovering coolant products for their clients. Not only does this help companies save money, it keeps dangerous chemicals out of landfills and bodies of water. ACT processes automotive, commercial and industrial fluids; manages waste coolant and installs bulk coolant and windshield washer fluid systems. Depending on the application, ACT can provide virgin or recycled fluids. The company deploys their diverse range of services across many industries including mining, automotive, industrial and oil field. ACT also supplies glycols for heating systems in high rises, hospitals, government buildings, office towers and historical landmarks, to name a few.

While ACT still recovers coolant, the company only sells new coolant for engines. The recovered coolant is sent to the industrial market for a variety of eco-friendly applications. These days ACT provides an extensive variety of coolants, including: fully formulated, pre-mixed extended life, nitrite free coolants, methanol, heavy duty extended life, windshield washer fluid, and pressure testing solutions.

“ACT used to be based north of St. Albert,” Duane says, “but the company quickly outgrew that location.” In fact, there have been

The owners have greatly enjoyed expanding the business beyond its original concept, and clients have been quick to

ACT provides services for a wide range of industries include: pressure testing, equipment maintenance, beltwetting, ice prevention, dust suppressant, heat transfer fluid, glycol dehydration towers, collection and transportation of coolant, and so much more.

ADVANCED COOLANT TECHNOLOGIES | 15 YEARS | 2


Duane, Rita and Elmer Bassani. ADVANCED COOLANT TECHNOLOGIES | 15 YEARS | 3


respond to what they have to offer. The fact that they are a mid-sized company does not detract from their ability to service nationally recognized companies.

honoured when a large company endorses us and is happy to have a one-stop solution to blend, deliver and pump the products they need.”

“We have an affiliation with a large oil company. That was very good for networking for us,” says Rita. “It opened a lot of doors for our industrial applications. We still service a wide variety of smaller businesses, lube shops, dealerships and commercial clients but this affiliation helped us expand into a much larger market.”

The business owners reflect, from time to time, on what affords them their continuous success and when asked what advice they would give to emerging entrepreneurs, they speak from many years of experience.

“We have the ability to service very large industrial projects for large industrial contractors,” confirms Duane, and servicing clients of all sizes isn’t the only way this company stands out. “We are able to produce, customize and deliver the product ourselves according to their unique specifications.”

“It’s best to work with your employees not above them. They have good insight and recommendations that should be taken into consideration,” counsels Rita. “It is important to also maintain a healthy respect for each other.” “Work hard and be involved, not at arm’s length,” adds Duane. “You have to be there with your staff.”

“Customer service is a big thing for us,” adds Rita. “We have received a lot of positive comments about our customer service. When you call you get a real person who strives respond to inquiries and fulfill order requirements as quickly as possible.”

As the first quarter of 2016 draws to a close, Duane and Rita are pleased with the progress ACT has made so far – and look forward to many exciting things for the company in the future.

Advanced Coolant is family owned and run. The values of teamwork, honesty, dedication and initiative drive everyone from the management team to the reception desk. “Our staff are valued and we have a great team. We work well together and appreciate their dedication,” acknowledges Rita of their hard working staff. Everyone here knows that the customers come first and they all ensure that the client’s needs are met.

“There is new technology in automotive coolant,” they are very excited about this development. “It’s a different type of coolant to work with changing engine specs. We are also excited about our growth and the latest facility in Calgary. Our focus now is to prepare for our future growth.”

As with so many other companies in Alberta right now, the plunging Loonie and price of oil have affected ACT, but the ever-resilient entrepreneurs don’t just see challenges. They also see opportunities. “The price fluctuates for our products based on the U.S. dollar,” Duane admits, “but we always work on getting the best pricing and being competitive in the market. We shop around and do our due diligence.” This strategy has paid off. “Lately we have brought on several new customers and big projects. We are always

Best wishes to Advanced Coolant Technologies for continued success on the occasion of their 15th anniversary. 1.800.565.8132

rogersinsurance.ca

The experienced duo and their outstanding team of employees will no doubt experience that future growth, thanks to careful business planning, product development and putting the needs of their clients first.

22643 - 113 Avenue, Edmonton, AB T5S 2S3 Phone: 780-488-0777 • Toll Free: 1-877-460-0779 advancedcoolant@gmail.com • www.advancedcoolant.com

Congratulations to Advance Coolant Technologies on 15 years in business. Your contributions towards building our communities exemplifies all that make Western Canada a great place to live, work and play. We look forward to helping you reach even loftier heights in the years to come. Edmonton Main branch / 12230 Jasper Avenue T. 780.424.4846 / cwbank.com

ADVANCED COOLANT TECHNOLOGIES | 15 YEARS | 4


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Mark Nolan and Paul Brassard, Co-Owners, Deville Coffee | Loving the daily grind

“I wish I knew how

valuable credit is…

Paul Brassard, Co-owner, Deville Coffee

Paul and Mark are your typical overnight success…seven years in the making. A lot of hard work, long hours and countless lattes later has given them a deep sense of pride in the business they’ve built.

Watch these entrepreneurs’ stories and get expert insights at

atb.com / WeGrowAlberta |

#wegrowalberta

Who always has time to talk business over a cup of coffee? We do. ™ Trademarks of Alberta Treasury Branches.

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