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Supporting the visions of entrepreneurs one story at a time. Volume 7 | Number 3



 “The Edmonton Disadvantage” By Terry O’Flynn



38 47

 Petrochemical Incentives Paying Off for Edmonton Manufacturers By David MacLean

 BOMA Edmonton News Spring 2019



The Visionary Sandro Torrieri envisions a new economic reality, and proves that Edmonton can achieve it By Nerissa McNaughton








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What’s the Alternative? Alberta’s alternative energy sector is growing fast By Nerissa McNaughton

Cybersecurity in the Modern Age Cyberattacks are getting more sophisticated and changing almost every day. Three local experts talk about what you can do now to protect your company, and what to look for in the future By Zachary Edwards

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Edmonton’s Economy The Path Forward By Derek Hudson

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ast year, Councillor Mike Nickel described Edmonton’s skyrocketing commercial property taxes as “the Edmonton disadvantage.” Rates have increased four times faster than inflation, causing issues for local businesses of every size, from giant operations to the smaller shops that we use every day.

While many owners of large commercial properties have been eating the taxes instead of passing it onto their tenants; such large increases make such a decision untenable. The end result is that rents go up, businesses move or close and we lose parts of this city that make it such a unique and wonderful community.

Property taxes get very complicated quickly, but this simple fact remains: commercial property tax rates have risen roughly six per cent in eight years, from about 15.5 per cent to about 21.2 per cent.

To its credit, the City of Edmonton remains a very efficient machine – only one per cent of 2018’s Tax Revenue Budget went to governance (which oversees policies and practices to ensure continued sound fiscal management and long-term financial sustainability), but raising taxes runs counter to its longtime stance of attracting business. If, for example, another city has more reasonable property taxes and new infrastructure, why would it choose to move to Alberta’s capital? Even more alarming, businesses, like Amazon’s new fulfillment centre, are settling in the more business-friendly regions of our neighbouring counties; we are losing business to our literal next door neighbours.

Let’s put that in real dollar amounts. A property assessed at $400,000 in 2010 would pay $6,223.52. If that property’s assessment price rose with the provincial CPI, it would be worth $452,700, and the owner would be paying $9,605.71. So, when you take into account inflation on assessment values, business tax rates in Edmonton have risen 54.35 per cent. Comparatively, residential property taxes have risen by a scant 1.3 per cent over the same period of time, despite representing 94 per cent of all taxable properties in the city. That same property, if residential, would pay $2,939.48 in 2010 and $3,932.56 in 2018. It’s no secret that Edmonton’s economy has been in a slump for at least four years. Businesses are having a difficult time making ends meet without astronomical tax hikes. Economic instability, distrust, wage stagnation and a volatile real estate market are also making bills harder to pay for everyone in town. Property taxes should not be an added issue, especially at a rate that far outpaces what people are managing to get back as the economy recovers.

Prosperity Edmonton, a collective of local business owners and operators, was formed last year to tackle this issue directly. In one letter to the City of Edmonton, they said the tax increases and other changes have “affected Edmonton’s competitiveness, small business confidence, attractiveness in national site selection, and overall employment.” It’s hard not to agree. While corporate taxing is necessary to ensure Edmontonians have the things they need, they are a double-edged sword. Too low and the City would collapse. Too high and businesses leave, along with the money they pay, the jobs they create and the culture they help build.




Petrochemical Incentives Paying Off for Edmonton Manufacturers BY DAVID MACLEAN


dmonton area manufacturers breathed a collective sigh of relief when Pembina Pipeline Corp. and its international partner announced it will build a $4.5 billion propane dehydrogenation plant and polypropylene upgrading facility in northeast of Edmonton. The positive decision was widely anticipated but until the investors sign on the dotted line, anything can happen. This announcement comes on the heels of the $3.5 billion announcement by Inter Pipeline to build a similar facility in the Capital Region. Construction on this project is well underway, with successful delivery to the site of a massive vessel fabricated by Edmonton-based Dacro Industries Inc. These investments are a much-needed shot in the arm for manufacturers across the province. The trickle down impact begins with structural steel and large-scale fabrication to pipes and valves and advanced electronics – much of which is manufactured right here in Alberta. Both projects can at least be partially attributed to the Alberta government’s Petrochemicals Diversification Program (PDP) that provides royalty credits to oil and gas producers who sell feedstock to the plants. The Pembina project will receive $300 million in royalty credits under the program. Long story short, the government reduces its take from oil and gas producers in order to make petrochemical projects like these more competitive. The reality is, Alberta is in a pitched battle with other jurisdictions around the world to attract limited petrochemical investment dollars.

States alone. Historically, Canada has received an average of 10 per cent of that, but over the last five years Canada has captured just two per cent. That’s because competing jurisdictions like the US Gulf Coast and the Persian Gulf have been eating our lunch. Pennsylvania offered Shell $1.65 billion in tax credits to build a world-scale ethane cracker. Louisiana offered $1 billion in incentives to Sasol for development of an ethane cracker in that state. All in, U.S. government supports account for 10-15 per cent of project capital costs. On a level playing field, Alberta can compete with anyone. Cheap feedstock, declining construction costs and solid regulatory framework make our province a great landing spot for investment. Aggressive U.S. incentives, however, tip the balance in their favour. This might not make free market loving Albertans particularly happy, but we have a tough decision to make. Do we want to have a petrochemical industry in Alberta with the thousands of highly-skilled and high-paying jobs that go along with it? Do we want to see more of our oil and gas products refined into finished products to be easily shipped to foreign markets? If the answer is yes, we need a competitive policy framework. The fate of programs like PDP will be on the ballot in this provincial election. Regardless of who wins, programs like the successful PDP shouldn’t just be maintained – they should be expanded and enhanced.




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Chris Lumb to Resign as CEO of TEC Edmonton Chris Lumb, the long-time CEO of TEC Edmonton, has announced that he will resign on June 30, 2019. “After nearly 10 years with TEC Edmonton, I decided this was the right time to step down and bring a new perspective to the organization,” says Lumb. “With outstanding staff and management, a strong culture and excellent client outcomes, TEC Edmonton will continue to do outstanding work, helping to grow emerging technology companies in the community.” TEC Edmonton has been helping to grow new technology-based companies since 2011. A joint venture between the University of Alberta and Edmonton Economic Development, TEC Edmonton is the largest accelerator of its kind in the region for emerging tech companies. The accelerator also manages the commercialization of University of Alberta (U of A) technologies. In 2018 TEC Edmonton helped 11 startup companies and assisted researchers in securing nine patents. Some of the companies that owe their successful emergence to TEC Edmonton include Nanostics, who focuses on noninvasive diagnostic testing; and Tēvosol Inc., the innovators behind the lifesaving and vital Ex-Vivo Organ Support System. Last year the University Business Incubator Global Index ranked TEC Edmonton as the third-best university business accelerator in the world. Client-generated revenue in excess of $1 billion, creating more than 2,000 jobs, and helping to launch 37 U of A spinoff companies are also part of TEC Edmonton’s legacy; and Lumb has been instrumental in this success.

“Through his leadership at TEC Edmonton, Chris has made many contributions to the success of entrepreneurs,” says Cheryll Watson, VP of Innovate Edmonton. “I’d like to sincerely thank him for his contributions to Edmonton.” Wayne Karpoff, chair, TEC Edmonton board of directors, says, “Over the last decade, we’ve been fortunate to have Chris’ expertise, determination and passion. The growth we’ve seen over the last several years is very much in part due to Chris. We wish him the best in the next chapter of his journey. On behalf of the board, we thank Chris for his tremendous work leading the TEC Edmonton team and being an instrumental force in developing Edmonton as a leader in innovation and entrepreneurship.”






TEC EDMONTON HAS BEEN HELPING TO GROW NEW TECHNOLOGY-BASED COMPANIES SINCE 2011. A JOINT VENTURE BETWEEN THE UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA AND EDMONTON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, TEC EDMONTON IS THE LARGEST ACCELERATOR OF ITS KIND IN THE REGION FOR EMERGING TECH COMPANIES. “On behalf of the University of Alberta, I thank Chris for his leadership,” adds Dr. Matthias Ruth, vice-president research, U of A. “He helped TEC Edmonton grow into one of the world’s top university-linked accelerators. Under Chris’ tenure, hundreds of research-driven technologies were licensed and over 110 university spin-off companies were created to commercialize research discoveries. We wish him luck in his next chapter.”

Lumb will spend the rest of his time as CEO of TEC Edmonton working on the accelerator’s strategic positioning, community partnerships and programming. Meanwhile, the accelerator’s board of directors will start the search for Lumb’s successor. He won’t be far away from his life’s work, however. After June 30, Lumb will continue to work with local entrepreneurs.




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Get Ready for SingularityU Canada’s The Summit 2019 In 2008 at the NASA Research Park in Mountain View, California, innovators Ray Kurzweil and Peter H. Diamandis, with program funding from organizations that included Google, Deloitte, and UNICEF, launched Singularity University (SU). This is not a traditional university. SU is a think tank for technology experts, social entrepreneurs and futurists. Together, the members and leaders of SU hope to shape a better future for humankind. In 2017 SU came to Canada (SingularityU Canada). According to a press release, “Change is happening at an accelerated rate. Many of the changes are a result of

the exponential speed of technological advancement. The challenge with this kind of change is that once the underlying trajectories are obvious, it’s too late: the tipping point has been reached… Organizations from the public and the private sector, from different industries and across the country, all came together to bring Singularity University to Canada. Our first Summit (2017) brought 1,300 leaders to Toronto for two days of strategic conversations about our collective future.” Now, SU Canada is gearing up for The Summit 2019, which will take place in Edmonton on April 23 & 24. ABOVE: OREN BERKOVICH, SINGULARITYU CANADA PRESIDENT & CEO. PHOTO SOURCE: SINGULARITYU





“Following on from the success of our inaugural Summit in 2017, we are really hoping to expand the conversation by helping to share the best of Canadian and international technology, innovation, and the big ideas that are shaping our world today and in the future,” said Oren Berkovich, SingularityU Canada president & CEO. “The summit is devoted to reinforcing Canada’s global role as a key technological innovator. It aims to give a deeper understanding of how exponential technology will benefit nearly every aspect of our daily lives,” the press release notes. “Attendees can listen to and participate in expert panel presentations and open discussions; work and play with product demos that let you experience the future today; meet like-minded forward-thinkers, and join a growing network of thought leaders, trailblazing practitioners, and impact startups.” This year’s summit will focus on energy, health, citizenship, and prosperity. Topics and demonstrations will centre on the impact artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, advanced manufacturing, and digital medicine will have on our lives and our world. The first round of speakers for The Summit 2019 has been announced and will include: Dr. Irwin Adam (Future of Food), Dr. David Bray (Cybersecurity), Anne Connelly (Blockchain), Dr. Philip Marc Edgcumbe (Exponential Medicine), Suzanne Gildert (AI and Robotics), Jane Kearns (Clean Tech), Jeffrey Rogers (Leadership and Innovation), Dr. Tiffany Vora (Exponential Health), Shawn Kanungo (Innovation), Pascal Finette (Corporate Innovation) and Matthew Spoke (Blockchain).

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andro Torrieri is all about solutions. In his role as the founder and president of Interdynamix (IDX) he and his team set the goals and vision of the company and its subsidiary, IDX Labs. He entered the field of IT when it was in its infancy in the 80s, and with each new company he envisioned, brought to life, raised and sold, he dives deeper into exploring how humanity’s connection to innovation and technology can be the next evolution. Today the companies hold multiple patents across North America and Europe, but Torrieri looks to Edmonton as a city with unlimited potential as a technology hub. That is, if Edmonton is ready to embrace the title. “In my opinion, Edmonton is a smaller Silicon Valley,” says Torrieri, “and we have some amazing educational institutions in Alberta, like the University of Alberta, NAIT, SAIT and the University of Calgary. Right here in Edmonton we have AMII (Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute), which is one of the top research groups of its kind in the world. Companies like Google have moved some of their AI capabilities to Edmonton. Local professors like Dr. Sutherland and others have also invented some ground-breaking AI techniques. We have world class scientists living here.”




FOR TORRIERI, THE SOLUTION IS CLEAR: Torrieri himself was born and raised in Edmonton, as was his wife. “There is no place other than Edmonton for us,” he says proudly.


Yet, despite his love of his city and his investment in it, Torrieri is frustrated.


“I’ve been working with the mayor’s office and provincial government,” he explains, “but it’s hard to convince our leaders that we need a new economic structure in Alberta beyond being energy focused. We have an incredible amount of intellect in Alberta and Edmonton that we could be harnessing. Some of that required effort is government programs, but some of that needs to go into industry and local investors. We need local entrepreneurs, scientists and governments to strategically come together to create a new economic reality. This means more venture capital, more risk capital and access to places to bring those forums together.”


He shakes his head, noting, “We have some of the world’s leading scientists creating some of the world’s leading technology, but we fall short and need to improve ways to capitalize on this and keep those investments here. To me that is disheartening. Even more so is the fact that that our provincial and federal governments are bound by bureaucracies and institutional ways of thinking. They are placing too many bets on too many leads, minimizing the effects of their investments. Sometimes it seems like they just don’t know what to do.” For Torrieri, the solution is clear: invest in technology, artificial intelligence and machine learning and not only will the economy rebound, but Alberta will attract new business too. “The quality of job matters. For every person employed in a knowledge-based company, abundance follows with five more people having work in the broader supply chain supporting them via restaurants, dry cleaners, suppliers, etc.,” he emphasises. “Each of these jobs support these corporations. If we focus beyond the energy sector, seek some of that capital and focus it into technology, we may be able to build corporations here that are world class winners. “We need to think about taking our scientists and students and engaging them in meaningful ways. Currently, most




go to Silicon Valley or other high-tech hubs because there are few local opportunities to work here with companies that are movers and shakers. That’s why we lose people. It’s not entirely the government’s responsibility to build the technology infrastructure or pick winners and losers. However, it is their responsibility to create policies, the ecosystem and opportunities to incentivize deal flow from local and outside investors; and through that, provide the reasons for those people to stay and build.” Torrieri’s fears are not groundless. “The Alberta Centre for Advanced Microsystems and Nanotechnology Products (ACAMP) was founded in 2007. At that time Alberta was highly ranked in the world of nanotechnology. Initially we were in the top five, but now we rank in the 30s. Today we have AI. Initially, Alberta ranked high as an AI hub (top three), but we are already slipping down in the ranks. Alberta will go the way of the dodo bird if we don’t start recognizing and capitalizing on the right opportunities.” He should know. Torrieri is a man that actively seeks out and creates opportunities wherever he goes. His natural curiosity and zest for technology and innovation started at an early age – as a toddler, he shocked his mother by completely disassembling and reassembling his tricycle. However, he didn’t start his career path in technology engineering. One of his earliest jobs was working for Bill Hoffmann at NBI Inc. “That man that changed my life,” Torrieri admits. “Bill was a training manager for Xerox prior to coming to NBI. He taught me everything I know about marketing. Those skills are what I have used to develop myself further as a salesperson and as an entrepreneur. He’s my mentor to this day.” Although he didn’t necessarily enjoy working for someone else – Torrieri wanted to be an entrepreneur since his teens


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– he always valued the experiences he gained as an employee and was grateful to his employers. It was through his employment that he found the world he works in today – the world of computer technology engineering. “My wife was in the computer industry in the early 80s and through her I was introduced to the field.” He laughs, “That was the beginning of it! I blame her for everything!” Soon after entering the field, Torrieri branched out on his own. He and his wife launched their first company in 1992 and have worked together on every new company and venture since. “You are only as good as your team and your partners, be that in marriage or other aspects of life,” he smiles. “Success can be determined in a few ways: monetary and things that you have. But success can also be measured by the people around you. Over the years you amass quality people, partners and staff – and for me, that is where the real wealth is.” Torrieri’s current company, Interdynamix (IDX), launched in 1995. “IDX is an integrator,” he explains. “There is an incredible amount of R&D and thinking outside of the box. Our subsidiary, IDX Labs, is where we do our future thinking, prototype new products and incubate new ideas. “When a company has a technical problem and they have looked everywhere for a solution, that is our customer – that is our best customer. We are not the lowest priced offering, nor do we want to be. I believe we provide incredible value with our intellect in the marketplace. “Our technical capacity is truly remarkable. We never leave our customers until we have solved their problems. We don’t do much marketing. We kind of fly under the radar. Our growth has all been word of mouth. When we bring a new customer on board they are always surprised by the collective team and how good they are.” When IDX started the only employees were Torrieri and his wife. Today, the company has two partners and a staff of over 50. “Devin Vandenberg and Dave Feraco run the daily operations of IDX. I couldn’t ask for more wonderful partners in the business. They allow me to go off and look at other opportunities that we as an organization can invest in



and look at for the future. If it wasn’t for them, IDX wouldn’t be the same company.” IDX is incredibly multifaceted, but what it all boils down to is this: the company uses technology to solve problems that exist, in part, because of the rapid advancement of technology; and they are very, very good at it. In 1998 IDX founded Invidi, which later in 2017 won a Technology & Engineering Emmy Award for developing a system that executed targeted household advertising in linear television. Essentially, the team had pioneered technology that had not existed before. “When we won the Emmy, I felt like I won the lottery!” Torrieri smiles. “That award has far more value than money or anything else for me. It’s a recognition of many years of hard work by the team, technological breakthroughs and advancement. “When we started the advertising platform, we had no idea if we could actually build it. Being able to build it is a testament to the engineers, developers, managers, investors (that included heavy hitters like Google) and scientists that worked so hard to build this product. “When you win an Emmy, it’s not because you have a good product, it’s because you have really good product. You broke a barrier that was thought to be unbreakable. You are developing intellectual capital that wasn’t known at that time.” To the serial entrepreneur, the Emmy win is proof that Edmonton has the people and resources to become a world class technology hub. “There are kids in their basements and garages developing tech that will one day perhaps rival Google or Microsoft. Not everything comes out of Silicon Valley. I used to spend 35 weeks a year in the Valley, so when I make the generalization about Edmonton being a smaller Silicon Valley, I’m saying something that I really, deeply believe.” He also believes in giving back. “IDX helps other entrepreneurs with their dreams. I personally spend a lot of time mentoring and investing in entrepreneurs.”


unbreakable drive me. What is also truly rewarding for me is people. When you work with very smart minds and have the opportunity to mentor them and then watch them as they grow and mature into the individuals you hoped they would become, that is very rewarding.” Torrieri muses, “Life, and business is all about calculated changes, calculated risks, and hard work. It can’t be done alone. You need to share. You must bring people on board and make an environment of trust and openness.” Despite years in the business, several successful companies, and an Emmy in the trophy case, Torrieri still sees problems that are begging for solutions, and he’s ready to explore them. “We are at the final stages of releasing a ubiquitous new financial AI product called iDeal,” he says with growing excitement. “It’s for the housing market, the automotive market, the furniture market, and beyond. It’s a really cool concept. It took some very bright people to develop it. It is a very complex product that leverages the AI intellectual resources founded right here in Edmonton. It is very exciting.” For Torrieri, the technological landscape in Edmonton and Alberta is akin to the early wild west days of finding oil. His mentorship is part of his desire to see Edmonton maximize its potential and its people. “Trying to develop a technical solution in the Alberta and Edmonton markets is incredibly difficult,” he sighs. “Few understand tech from an investment or business perspective. When products emerge in the market and become world leaders, they amass incredible value.” He cites the example of WhatsApp, a free-to-the-user smartphone app that sold to Facebook for billions. Frustrations about the slow pace of Edmonton moving into the tech landscape aside, Torrieri finds plenty of inspiration in the Capital City, and in every aspect of his life. “If someone says something can’t be done, I’m curious to figure out how it can,” he smiles. “Patents are important to me. I believe in them. Innovation is important. Breaking new ground is very important. Barriers believed to be

“Back in the early days of looking for oil you had guys with divining rods. They were risking a lot of money putting holes in the ground, hoping to find oil,” he says. “We are doing the same thing with technology right now. Prototypes cost several million dollars. You are risking millions and years of your team’s life. You hope you have the right concept that the marketplace wants. If you do, great! If you don’t, you lose the money and that time of your life. You can’t get time back. That’s the reason why the software industry is the way it is. Not every product will generate a single penny in revenue,” he pauses to give his signature grin and impart his always-present optimism, “but If you hit it right, it can be very successful.” Sandro concludes, “Edmonton deserves many wonderous new companies. Think about that when you have an opportunity to be an early stage friend or family investor. Those kids in the garages and basements can be the next greatest technology innovators the world is looking for.”







ive kilometres west of Edmonton sits one of the region’s most active hubs – Acheson Industrial Area. With more than 10,600 acres positioned to take advantage of all the major arteries (Highway 60, Highway 16, Highway 16A, and a CN rail line), along with no additional business taxes, it’s no secret why some of the largest and

well-known industrial and manufacturing brands call Acheson home. It’s not just Acheson that is thriving. The activity and growth in the area are influencing several major building and infrastructure projects in the region.





Brad Hoffman, executive vice president western Canada, Panattoni Development Company, lists the projects Panattoni is developing in Acheson: • Northview Business Park, 120-acre industrial subdivision • Southview Business Park, 120-acre industrial subdivision • Highlands Business Park, 312-acre industrial subdivision • Navistar International’s build-to-suit for lease, a 160,000 square foot facility on 10 acres • PTI/Civeo Group’s 72,000 square foot build-to-suit for lease on 40 acres • Suncor Energy’s 110,000 square foot redevelopment for lease on 20 acres • Impact Auto’s 12,000 square foot build-to-suit for lease on 52 acres

“Often companies like ours are considered ‘best in class’ for the projects we develop,” says Hoffman. “Parkland County is truly class-leading with their pro-business and development friendly policies that allow us to maintain our best-in-class service to our clients who locate into Acheson for new build-to-suit lease facilities and/or as purchasers of our lots.” Hoffman continues, “The Acheson advantage is multidimensional. Acheson provides us an operating environment with less municipal red-tape compared to many regions in Western Canada; and Acheson has consistently maintained a cost advantage in the market with lower costs for serviced land and lower property taxes compared to other locations in the Edmonton region.” In 2018, Parkland County issued more than 950 development and building permits with construction values exceeding $180 million dollars.




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Making the World’s Best Petfood in Our Own Backyard! Champion Petfoods, the makers of award-winning ORIJEN and ACANA, is nearing completion on its new NorthStar Kitchen. Construction began in 2017 and is slated to be completed later this year. This new, world-class kitchen will showcase the advanced, benchmark capabilities that allow Champion to produce its premium, Biologically Appropriate pet foods. The new kitchen will be located in Acheson, just west of Edmonton. Learn about our kitchen and foods at


More than 20 ground breaking ceremonies were held, including Finning Used Equipment Supercentre, Western Archives & Shredding, Trailcon Leasing Inc., and Somerville’s new western Canadian head office. Sommerville, who has more than 60 years of oil and gas pipeline experience around the world, has a corporate head office in Ontario. The decision to build a new 25,000 square foot integrated office, shop, warehouse and yard in Acheson will, “maintain and support [their] continued expansion of services in Western Canada.” Meanwhile, Champion Petfoods is on track for its grand opening. The multimillion-dollar project will add around 200 more jobs to the area. Frank Burdzy, president and CEO, noted in an earlier Business in Edmonton interview of Champion Petfoods, “We chose Parkland County as the location for our new kitchens because of their business-friendly focus and strong agricultural community. The location fits not only the technical requirements of a state-of-the-art kitchen, but it will also be a great home for [our brands] ACANA and ORIJEN.”

While some brands are breaking ground on new builds, others are expanding their existing footprint. Expansions include North American Construction Group, SMS Equipment, Fraser Brothers Roofing and Frac Shack. Frac Shack is in a continual North American expansion. In addition to their growth in Acheson, Frac Shack recently opened a location in Calgary. But Frac Shack is not the only company in Acheson that grew on site and in satellite locations. In 2018, SMS Equipment was pleased to take possession of a 6,500 square foot facility in Hinton, AB. The future of Acheson Industrial Area is further secured by two major infrastructure projects. The announcement that the Government of Alberta is twinning Highway 60 between Highway 16 and 16A, building an overpass over the CN rail track, and realigning the Highway 16A interchange is very positive news for Acheson. “Highway 60 is an important economic corridor in the region. Improvements to this vital route will help industry move oversize and overweight loads to the north and northwest corners of the province and support economic ABOVE: ANNOUNCING THE HIGHWAY 60 PROJECT.



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growth in the Edmonton region,” said Premier Rachel Notley in a press release. “Twinning Highway 60 between Highways 16 and 16A will mean a safer, smoother drive for thousands of motorists who use that stretch of highway each day. These and other changes will save time, support economic development and help everyone get to their destination safely,” added Minister of Transportation Brian Mason. For Acheson, the Highway 60 project and overpass mean attracting more investors, more new businesses, eliminating delays and reducing congestion along the transportation and trade corridor. Safety is a big factor in the Highway 60 project. With roughly 15,000 vehicles per day, 25 per cent of which are tractor trucks, the road can get congested quickly. With the expansion to four lanes at the interchange, and the overpass at the rails to keep traffic moving as around 50 trains run on the main line per day, commuters and transport drivers can expect a faster, safer route. “Highway 60 is also a new component of the High Load Corridor that supports the movement of oversize and overweight vehicles and connects them to the provincial highway network,” notes the Government of Alberta press release. Another major project, the Highway 628 reconstruction, brings further good news for the industrial area. Highway 628 is a very important commuter route for those living, working and enjoying recreation in Edmonton, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, and Parkland County. As the city and its suburbs grow, traffic volume on this route is approaching 5,000+ vehicles per day. With residential and industrial development continuing in the area, this highway project is necessary to relieve congestion and improve safety. This is a massive project that will span several years. Land purchase and utility relocation begin this year.



The construction phase could start as early as 2021. Construction is expected to take between four and six years and support an additional 350 jobs. Minister Mason noted, “Safety for all the people who use our roads is my number 1 priority. As these communities continue to grow, it’s important that our transportation infrastructure keeps pace. The Highway 628 project will improve safety and reduce commute times and congestion as people make their way to visit family or friends, go to medical appointments or do their grocery shopping.” Parkland County Mayor Rod Shaigec, is also concerned about safety. “We are thrilled and encouraged by the announcement of the highly anticipated reconstruction of Highway 628. This realignment and reconstruction will not only help improve traffic flow along the highway, reducing commute times and congestion, but even more importantly – it will improve safety for all motorists in the region.” For Acheson Industrial Area, the improvement of Highway 60 means better traffic flow, improved commute times, and safer travels for the thousands of people that commute to, work in, and transport materials in and out of Acheson. Additionally, the improvements made on Highway 628 will have the longstanding effect of allowing better access for new land development in the industrial park. This will have a culminative effect that supports the growth now, and the anticipated growth in the future. The outlook is incredibly positive. The region is attracting new businesses and developers and encouraging existing businesses to expand. The Government of Alberta has taken note of the area’s prosperity and has committed to two major multi-year projects to improve access and encourage investors. In an economy that has fluctuated over the past years, Acheson remains a strong and steady economic driver that continues to grow.





ow is the real estate market in Edmonton doing? Things have been better.

“While new listings on a month-to-month basis were comparable to previous years, longer days on market caused the total inventory to continually rise. June saw a record high of more than 10,000 active end-of-month listings for the Edmonton census metropolitan area (CMA). The ripple effects of the heightened inventory impacted sales, prices and days on the market,” says Michael Brodrick, chair of REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. “Supply is in abundance, and demand is dropping. We assumed many sellers who did not have urgency to sell would hold off and wait out the buyer’s market and high inventory levels; however, this was not the case as listings continued to increase.”

Supply and demand are not the only issues. “Policy from Ottawa continues to stress the Alberta economy,” informs Brodrick. “Rising interest rates, coupled with the mortgage stress test, which was designed to cool the real estate market in Toronto and Vancouver but was implemented as a national policy with total disregard for regional differences, have had a significant downward impact on the price point at which buyers can qualify and purchase. This has lowered prices and negatively impacted home equity. “Tightened regulations are expected to reduce the number of first-time buyers who qualify for mortgages, particularly in pricier markets. There is also a growing expectation gap between buyer capacity and seller willingness to move on prices. Patience is a virtue for sellers, but also for REALTORS® as we persevere through yet another year of stagnant sales growth.”



Spotlight On: Christenson Communities Part 1: The Urban Village Concept is the Answer to a Modern-Day Dilemma


s of 2018, one in five Canadians felt lonely or isolated. A positive step in the fight against social isolation is the Christenson Developments Urban Village concept.

Urban Villages are Christenson Development’s answer to re-introduce active, vital, social lifestyles for adults 18+ by offering luxury condominium quality homes with designs intended to make aging in place more convenient. Residences include full kitchens, large balconies, strip vinyl plank flooring, larger bathrooms, wider doors, lever door knobs, and walk in showers. A choice of rental and optional life lease (to reduce rents) tenures are offered. Assisted living, available 24 hours per day, is subtly integrated into these residential, non-institutional settings so couples do not have to separate if one needs care. Two Christenson developments featuring this Urban Village model are Bedford Village at Centre in the Park (completed) and The Village at Westmount (under construction and over 50 per cent sold). Bedford Village at Centre in the Park features a beautifully landscaped courtyard, a dining room, family party room, movie room, games room, guest suites, and underground parking. For those that require discreet help, the Advantage Assist Group provides care, meals, housekeeping, laundry and personal services out of The Manor, a specially-designed building that includes ground floor dementia studios. Residents can easily access all of the Park’s amenities, which include professional, retail, grocery and banking services; green spaces; additional residences; and a pharmacy. Village at Westmount will feature a 14-storey steel and concrete high rise offering dining and social amenities similar to Bedford. The top 10 floors will be rental or life lease homes above two floors of care units, a full floor of amenities, a commercial kitchen, a Christenson Hub and adjoining coffee shop. Integrated into the Village at Westmount are retail shopping, pharmacy, professional services, dining, transit and more. Carla Howatt and Fiona Beland-Quest of How to Be Consulting are also former municipal councillors of Strathcona County,

co-chairs of the Mayor’s Task Force on Community Housing in Strathcona County, board members with the Heartland Housing Foundation, and a member and alternate on the Capital Region Housing Committee. Both applaud Christenson’s Urban Village concept. “We have seen the difference that active living has made for all ages through our work in our own community and in the capital region. More active people are happier and healthier. Christenson’s Urban Villages allows all ages to live, work and play in their own community. Allowing people to stay in the community while allowing for physical changes means less stress on the entire family. Having people age in their own communities benefits the entire community, as the longer people are able to live in their own homes, the less strain on the health care system and the more intact families remain. In some ways, the Urban Village is a re-invention of what we always knew was true; people of all ages are meant to live in community with each other.” Urban Villages are bringing people back to a place where they can share their lives together, make new friends, be active, and enjoy life fully as they age in place.

Bedford Village, Centre in the Park Terrell Edwards Outdoor Concert, September 2018


CHRISTENSON THE NAME IN ACTIVE ADULT LIVING With over 40 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 individuals with endless opportunities to accommodate a number of lifestyles by creating award winning multi-family urban villages for adults and seniors.


A frustrated Brodrick explains that issues are also tied to the energy sector. “The federal government’s inability or unwillingness to assist in getting our oil to tidewater has affected our workforce and deterred outside investment in our province. This is hurting Alberta, hurting Albertans and hurting REALTORS®.” While single family homes are still the main purchase of choice in the Edmonton CMA, buyers are increasingly turning to condos, townhouses and duplexes as a more affordable option. However, that doesn’t mean the condo market is robust at the moment. “The condominium market struggled throughout 2018 with the glut of inventory driving prices lower and lower. In 2018, only 3,967 condominium units sold – the lowest in more than a decade. This trend is likely to continue in 2019 as the condo market struggles to stabilize,” says Brodrick. Nathan Mol, REALTOR®, Liv Real Estate, agrees that the market has been tough, but he sees a silver lining – for a select group of buyers. RIGHT: MICHAEL BRODRICK, CHAIR OF REALTORS® ASSOCIATION OF EDMONTON. LEFT: MORRISON HOMES. PHOTO SOURCE: MORRISON HOMES




WHILE SINGLE FAMILY HOMES ARE STILL THE MAIN PURCHASE OF CHOICE IN THE EDMONTON CMA, “Last year was challenging for home sellers but for some buyers, there were real opportunities,” says Mol. “With lots of selection, 2019 will have great opportunities for buyers with good jobs, but only for certain areas, neighbourhoods, and property types. It will be a market where buyers who get strategic advice from their REALTOR® and make informed decisions will be rewarded.”


See them all at

“With my buyer clients, my focus is on real ground-level insight into the specific markets, neighbourhoods, and property types to create value for my clients,” he says. “Working with sellers is a full-effort strategic approach – staging, identifying possible upgrades/repairs, pricing correctly for the neighbourhood. A strong web-focused marketing plan to reach the right buyers


Find a long-term home for your business in one of our 17 properties across the greater Edmonton region.



No matter the market conditions, Mol stresses the importance of working with a REALTOR® to get the best possible results.



Mol also sees the oversupply as good news for those looking to invest in income properties, explaining, “For the first time since 2014 we are starting to see rents move up, so it may be the right time for investors to look at rental properties again, but carefully. There are great deals on the market but also plenty of mediocre and subpar properties.”




IT IS EASY TO GET DISCOURAGED IN A DOWN REAL ESTATE MARKET BUT DESPITE THE NUMBERS, HOMES ARE STILL (SLOWLY) SELLING AND BUILDERS ARE STILL BUILDING. BUYING, SELLING, OR GOING WITH A BUILDER, THE BEST ADVICE TO GET THE MOST OUT OF ANY MARKET IS TO RELY ON THE PROFESSIONALS. and demonstrate the property’s value is key to setting the groundwork for a strong negotiation.” The City of Edmonton’s Economic Indicators (January 9, 2019) report notes one area of growth: home builders have increased their volume. “Builders in the city of Edmonton broke ground on a total of 1,717 housing units in Q4 2018, representing an increase of 4.3 per cent year-over-year from 1,646 units in Q4 2017,” cites the report. However, “The moving average inched higher in Q4 2018, solely driven by the multi-family segment which includes semidetached, row and apartment starts.” Morrison Homes, a homebuilder with more than half a century of experience in delivering expert craftsmanship, has deep roots in Alberta. “Our legacy – hard work, a devotion to quality and exceptional customer empathy – was built from humble beginnings and one simple idea: treat every customer as you would a friend,” says Morrison’s Brenda Delurey, marketing lead for Edmonton. “No matter your home building dream, Morrison is by your side. We deliver an unparalleled customer service experience and have some of the highest customer satisfaction levels in the industry.” With Morrison Home’s experience and reputation, the company has some advice for first time homebuyers; advice that is prudent for this, or any real estate market. “Arranging financing is number 1. Ensure that you have a down payment of at least 5 per cent of the purchase price. Of course, a bit more of a down payment is always in your best interest,” counsels Delurey. “Speak with a mortgage specialist to receive a comprehensive pre-approval and to know exactly



what you can afford when you start shopping. Speaking with a mortgage specialist at the beginning of your home buying journey will ensure a happy ending, with a house you love and can afford.” She points out that it’s more than just affordability. Location is also key, as is knowing if you want a move-in ready home or one you can customize. “What amenities do need or want to have near you? What would your daily drive look like? Thinking about your lifestyle will help determine and narrow down the community that you want to live in. “Working with a new home builder, you have the option to purchase either a ‘spec home’ or ‘build’ home. Many spec homes are completed and move-in ready. Morrison Homes does allow changes to our spec homes that are under construction, so this may be a great option for you if you are looking to make some minor changes. If you want to be in control of all the finishes, a pre-built home is the route for you. Keep in mind this buying experience is generally a longer process taking anywhere from 6-9 months depending on the size and style of home chosen. That said, the home you choose will be finished how you’d like.” Despite the circumstances, homeowners should always maintain their property’s equity. Regardless of market conditions, when it’s time to sell a well-maintained home will always have a higher resell value and be more competitive than one that has fallen into disrepair – something to remember if you wish to climb the property ladder. “Ensure that your home is kept in tip top shape,” agrees Delurey. “Curb appeal is very important as this is the first introduction of your home. Maintain the grass, bushes,


garden and trees. Paint the trim, or the front verandah. Wash your siding and windows. “Stay on trend with your interior. Paint is inexpensive and can make a huge difference to the overall feel of your home. Depending on the age of the home and how long you’ve lived in it, you may want to consider updating the bathroom or kitchen. These are generally deemed the most important rooms in a house. “Stay on top of routine maintenance (HVAC, etc.). Book inspections or cleaning based on the manufacturer’s recommendations. Some materials have a shelf life and need to be updated to maintain their overall integrity. It is easy to get discouraged in a down real estate market but despite the numbers, homes are still (slowly) selling and builders are still building. Buying, selling, or going with a builder, the best advice to get the most out of any market is to rely on the professionals. For buyers looking for a new build, those professionals are the builder’s representatives. “If considering a new homebuilder,

Delurey says, “Research the builders in the area. Read testimonials and drive through the community to see the homes under construction. Are the sites clean and organized? Visit the show homes and speak with the area managers. Visit the completed spec homes in the area; this will help to determine your style.” If buying or selling a previously-owned home, that professional is a REALTOR®. “Both buyers and sellers can trust that their REALTOR® will ensure the transaction is completed competently and professionally. You will get advice from someone with an intimate knowledge of the local housing market and you can count on the help of a professional who has committed to serve with integrity and competence,” says Brodrick. Brodrick summarizes the year ahead: “2019 is likely to mirror 2018 with higher than normal inventory, lower sales and downward pressure on price. Sellers will need to remain patient and expect their homes to take longer to sell. Buyers will benefit from more choice but will be challenged by mortgage qualification rules.”



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New Brand and an Increased Drive Toward Excellence

1 March 2019 |

BOMA Edmonton Newsletter |

sibilities to create a platform to elevate Edmonton’s brand and the economy in the local community.” The primary objective of shifting from being known as a convention centre vs a conference centre was to appeal to a larger international audience in order to become an incubator of business and innovation, and a leader in business and entertainment tourism. Owned by the City of Edmonton and managed by the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC), the role of the convention centre as a publicly owned facility is to drive social and economic benefits for the City of Edmonton as a region. The ECC works to, “build Edmonton’s reputation, drive the global growth ambition of Edmonton companies, and attract visitors and investment – increasing resiliency and growth of the city”, the overarching goal of the EEDC.

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ou may have noticed that after 20 years the Shaw Conference Centre got a new name. As of January 1, 2019, the iconic establishment embedded in the cliff along the downtown river valley off Jasper Avenue was rebranded as the Edmonton Convention Centre (ECC). Recognizing the strong partnership with Shaw Communications as the anchor sponsor and lead name brand for the conference centre, General Manager of the Edmonton Convention Centre, Richard Wong, expresses excitement for the future of the venue. “The name change was chosen to reflect the dedication of the building to the Edmonton region and the metro region, but really with an eye to national and international destinations for events, meetings and conventions,” says Wong. It embraces the “pos-

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Working with the City of Edmonton’s vision toward sustainability and modernization, the ECC is getting a new photovoltaic solar roof that will replace all of the glass panels.

In mid-2018, the Edmonton Convention centre was recognized as one of North America’s top five performing venues by the IAVM (International Association of Venue Managers). Considering key indicators such as the pillars of performance, sustainability, people management, revenue growth, operational excellence, and safety, they were the only Canadian venue to receive the award, achieving a goal they had set out to attain by the year 2020. When asked what really sets ECC apart from other venues, Wong doesn’t hesitate - “our people are our number one resource.” After 35 years of existence, sometimes generations of families have been part of the ECC family, leading to a very high degree of employee loyalty and ownership. “They live and die by our core values, and our brand product, and that really defines our culture. It is really a differentiator, it’s intrinsic in everything we do whether it be providing great food, great service, or making sure the space is clean and safe. It is really the core essence of why this place is successful,” Wong says.

3 March 2019 |

BOMA Edmonton Newsletter |

With the current downturn in the economy, the ECC continues to operate with their sights set on the long term. This is an approach that has helped them grow their business, developing a stronger sense of who they are, what they do, why they do it, and most importantly where they are going. Through meetings, conventions and events, strategically planned 3-5 years in advance, the ECC works to drive over $200 million dollars in economic impact, not just at a local level, but in conjunction with our neighbours in Calgary, and the amenities of the province as a whole. Working with the Alberta tourism industry, the ECC aims to deliver a highly desired destination for major conferences, trade shows, and events. Exciting changes go beyond a new brand identity. The team at ECC is keen to work with industry leaders in Edmonton to improve the use of technology and increase sustainability. Engaging stakeholders from the city’s learning institutions and universities, and leveraging some of the new start-ups in the city, the ECC is working to aid economic diversification and bolster the key drivers that differentiate the region and use these to grow the city’s economy. Working with the City of Edmonton’s vision toward sustainability and modernization, the ECC is getting a new photovoltaic solar roof that will replace all of the glass panels. With obvious environmental benefits, the upgrade will also stand out on the river valley and draw renewed attention to the iconic structure amongst its younger neighbours at Rogers Centre and the new Alberta Art Gallery. In 2018, the City of Edmonton took ownership of what is now known as the Edmonton Expo Centre (previously the Northlands Expo Centre) and merged the operations of the Edmonton Convention Centre. Under the umbrella of EEDC the two facilities worked to develop one brand and one strategy to drive economic impact. The centre now has over 700,000 sq. ft. of space available to strategically and deliberately focus on the growth of meetings and conventions market, and increasing the opportunities for clients. The Edmonton Convention Centre continues to look forward and create plans for improved customer experiences, and increased economic and environmental sustainability.


ith a new year came the promise of exciting new changes to Edmonton’s downtown. City councillors voted to move forward with a proposed downtown park to replace the 3.5 acres of gravel parking lots at Jasper Ave and 102 Avenue. The proposal was initially met with some resistance, with those opposed to the project raising concerns of removing parking from the downtown, the challenges of 107th Street running through the centre of the park, and conflicts with a potential future LRT line that is proposed to run through the area. However, as the park is in the beginning stages of planning, these issues will be addressed during the development process, and councillors are already seeing progress toward their desired result with the submission of multiple rezoning applications looking to increase residential development in the area. At a special City Council meeting in January, members of the community, city officials, and interested

5 March 2019 |

BOMA Edmonton Newsletter |

developers spoke in favour of the project, citing the impact a multipurpose park space would have to attract residents into the downtown core. “The proposed space will be large enough to provide a diverse

range of activities for residents and workers in the city’s downtown,” says Kevin McKee, CEO of Pangman Development Corporation. “Without having spent a lot of time in other major markets in Canada or around the world, we don’t realize that Edmonton has a lack of downtown green space.” And he’s right. In comparison to perhaps the most famous urban park, Central Park in New York, at 843 acres, or Canada’s own Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia at 990 acres, 3.5 acres seems like a small request for a sanctuary amongst the concrete jungle. The park space is igniting excitement in the community, with the potential to offer a wide range of passive programing such as areas for workers to enjoy during leisure time or the possible addition of a dog park to appeal to pet owners who may have otherwise shied away from downtown living. McKee explains that the park offers opportunities for year-round activities such as ice rinks, baseball diamonds, soccer pitches or skateboard and BMX parks. These and sites for additional activities are large draws to the urban sprawl, and offering more options in this downtown park could possibly attract residents and visitors to a more central location. In addition to these types of passive programs, potential active programming could include space for a formal community centre for residents living downtown, which could be part of a central city market that could operate yearround. Currently the city has an outdoor market located on 104th Street north of Jasper Avenue in the summer, and inside City Hall in the winter. Outdoor markets have been gaining in popularity, and a space designed to offer the best access and amenities would benefit the city.

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Encouraged by news of city moving forward with the park’s development, they have also submitted a rezoning application for 1000-plus residential units comprised of purpose-built market rentals and condominiums.


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March 2019 | BOMA Edmonton Newsletter |

In addition, Pangman Development Corporation has partnered with John Day Developments, MacLab Properties Group and Probus Project Management on a 60,000 sq ft section of land immediately adjacent to the proposed park. Encouraged by news of city moving forward with the park’s development, they have also submitted a rezoning application for 1000-plus residential units comprised of purpose-built market rentals and condominiums. They are joined by other developers also submitting their own rezoning applications for an estimated 2,500 residential units along the edge of the park on 106th Street and 108th Street. During the process, McKee and other developers have attended meetings with City officials, and are optimistic that formal interviews held with internal and external stakeholders will continue to provide an opportunity for them to provide input as to what types of uses the development community would like to see designed into the park. As of the time this article was written, no formal process had been defined.


onstruction is underway for the complete retrofit of the HSBC Place Tower at the corner of 103 Avenue and 101 Street in downtown Edmonton. The project began in July 2018 and the new tenants are expected to move in near the end of 2019. “This project is like nothing Edmonton has ever seen before. It’s a first-of-its-kind building,” says Al Menon, Vice President of CBRE. To make that happen, the CBRE team brought together under Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) has been hard at work retrofitting the building to include more modern amenities, with a fully-integrated intelligent environment meant to meet and exceed the needs of the tenants that will populate its offices now and in the future. Enter Smith + Andersen, a consulting engineering firm with national offices across Canada, including a team in Edmonton. In addition to the mechanical and electrical engineering design, the Smith + Andersen team is providing intelligent integrated systems design, working to upgrade the systems at the HSBC Place Tower with the goal of increasing connectivity in the building. HSBC Place is pursuing Wired Certification with the WiredScore organization which, if achieved, will make it the first Wired Certified building in Edmonton (and one of the first in Western Canada). Focused on becoming a Wired Certified building to the Gold level, the wiring, systems and IT infrastructure throughout the building will be upgraded to the best on the market, and in a way that will facilitate seamless upgrades as new technology becomes available. “Office tenants can have confidence that the building has appropriate telecommunications infrastructure to support their connectivity with the outside world, with high levels of redundancy built in so that they will have confidence in their connection to the internet,” says Langdon Baker, principal at Smith + Andersen and leader of the Intelligent Integrated Systems group. Wireless connectivity - including cellular amplification and WiFi connectivity - will be upgraded using the same guidelines, providing tenants and visitors direct access through their smart devices, regardless of their location in the tower. Building intelligence involves the installation of an advanced base building infrastructure during construction to support the operations technology network within the building. The infrastructure provides a transport mechanism for the exchange of digital information between the various systems that operate the building. All systems, including mechanical, electrical, building operations, lighting control,

metering for gas, water and power, security systems, emergency power and elevators, are all conformed to interoperate. They will share information and make decisions based on the status of the information collected amongst the combination of systems. Interoperation of the systems can reduce energy usage and increase occupant awareness of the building by providing a higher level of information related

1.888.985.7141 | BOMA Edmonton Newsletter | March 2019


to the building operation. This will give more people, such as building operators or even tenants, the ability to control the building and understand how the building is performing. Building operators will have access to a portal that will connect them to the building information on demand through a digital dashboard that will give them access to vital statistics on the building from a status and energy perspective. Occupants will have access to a dashboard that allows them to control schedules for their area and amenity areas of the building. Security and building operators will have access to all systems within the building, including the ability to see all security feeds, alarms and operating systems on one common screen, which Baker describes as “a single pane of glass.” WiredScore was first introduced to select Canadian markets in 2017 and expanded across Canada in 2018. While this is not a new certification process, with many examples in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, Canadian developers and tenants are eager to implement the upgrades associated with the WiredScore guidelines for office buildings across the country. Aiming for Wired Certification drives buildings to better accommodate the needs of potential tenants. Baker explains, “with intelligent buildings,

we have the ability to leverage smart devices in the building and interconnect them, to create a truly intelligent building.” With the upgrades, the HSBC Place tower is set to be the most intelligent building in Edmonton to date. “Some technologies are more commonly used, but by using all of them together we’re looking to provide maximum efficiency and effective operations within the new HSBC Place,” says Baker. “A lot of the systems have been deployed in other buildings in isolation. When they are combined and start working together, it brings a whole new world of capabilities that can be leveraged.” One may worry that a building this advanced may go the way of the latest smartphone and be outdated before the first tenant moves in. Baker explains that this should not be a concern, that the goal of Smith + Andersen is to provide the building with a, “very robust backbone that can leverage the technology of today to support the technology of tomorrow.” The technology that is built into the building is top-ofthe-line, and the components that are the endpoints of the system right now are modular components that can evolve alongside, rather than restrict, the advancements in building technology.

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March 2019 | BOMA Edmonton Newsletter |

2019 Board of Directors Board Executive

Chair: Dawn Harsch President & CEO, ExquisiCare Senior Living and Care at Home Vice Chair: Bryan DeNeve Senior Vice President Finance & CFO, Capital Power Treasurer: Craig Thorkelsson Head of Tax, PCL Constructors Inc. Past Chair: Len Rhodes President & CEO, Edmonton Eskimo Football Club

Board Directors

Dr. Glenn Feltham President & CEO, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology Sandy Jacobson Vice President, Richardson Executive Search Elan MacDonald Senior Vice President, National Client Development, Global Public Affairs Scott McEachern Vice President, Pipeline Control, Enbridge Pipelines Inc. Dennis Schmidt Legal Counsel and Associate Development Manager, Alldritt Land Corporation LP Jeffrey Sundquist Chief Executive Officer, Clean Industrial Technologies Dr. Jenelle Trenchuk-Saik President & CEO, Parker Ford and MacKay Specialty Opticians

Edmonton Chamber Executive Janet M. Riopel President & CEO

Ottawa Must Change Course on Bill C-69 By Brent Francis, Director, Advocacy and Outreach


lbertans are not new to the challenge of trying to get pipelines built, and we’ve watched for years now as project after project is stalled after running into regulatory blockades. A recent Angus Reid poll reported that 87 percent of Albertans consider the lack of new oil pipeline capacity a crisis. It’s not Alberta alone - more than half of Canadians agree. Bill C-69 is the federal government’s comprehensive overhaul of the Canadian energy regulatory system, which amends a broad swath of legislation. The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce fully supports the government’s objectives: a new regulatory system with modern and effective governance, enhanced certainty and timelier decisions, more inclusive public engagement, greater Indigenous participation, and strengthened safety and environmental protection. However, alongside many industry leaders and policy experts, the Edmonton Chamber is voicing concerns about numerous aspects of the proposed new system. Timelines should be consistent, and political decisions should be made at the beginning One of the major challenges with Bill C-69 is allowing the federal cabinet to have final approval of a project at the end of the regulatory process. Take for example the Northern Gateway pipeline. After spending six years and hundreds of millions of dollars, Enbridge received the necessary regulatory approvals from the National Energy Board (NEB) to proceed with its Northern Gateway pipeline. Only then did the federal cabinet announce it would not approve Northern Gateway, deeming that the project is not in the national interest. If Bill C-69 passes as-is, federal politicians can still cancel a project deep into the regulatory process. This creates a major barrier to future pipeline construction. Why would a pipeline company spend years and hundreds of millions of dollars navigating a rigorous regulatory process, if there is a chance that federal politicians will simply cancel the project for political reasons? Without certainty that project proponents will actually be able to build their project following NEB approval, the prospect of major investments in significant infrastructure projects is unlikely in future.

Tim Ferris Director, Member Services

Predictable timelines are essential to creating a supportive investment environment. Investors and stakeholders need to have clear and predictable goals and deadlines. We think the best way forward is for cabinet to provide approval in principle earlier in the regulatory process, instead of later.

Brent Francis Director, Advocacy and Outreach

Protect provincial jurisdiction

Dave Warren Chief Operating Officer


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

Provinces and territories have constitutional authority over natural resource development. New federal regulations should respect that division of powers and encourage partnerships and engagement with the provinces. Alberta has its own regulatory body, the Alberta Energy Regulator, that approves projects under provincial jurisdiction, such as in-situ oilsands projects and pipelines that Continued on next page... BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // MARCH 2019


stay within Alberta’s borders. These kinds of projects should not be subject to additional federal review. Adding extra layers of regulatory review will only create more uncertainty for investors, potentially sending much needed capital investment to the United States and other oil-producing nations. We need the federal government to clearly outline which projects will be subject to the C-69 regulatory process now, instead of waiting until after Bill C-69 has passed. We strongly urge the federal government to ensure that projects falling under provincial jurisdiction would not be included on that list. Meaningful consultation Under the current process, only those who are directly affected by a project are included in the regulatory process. This is commonly referred to as the “standing test”. Bill C-69 would remove the standing test, which means the voices of groups intent on blocking a project would be heard in the same way as those who live near a project or are directly affected. It’s important that Canadians have a fair opportunity to voice any concerns about major energy infrastructure projects, but we must ensure communities and First Nations located near a project are not drowned out by special interest groups in the regulatory process. The Canada West Foundation has proposed the creation of a Public Intervener Office; we believe this could greatly help organize interveners to ensure local concerns are heard loud and clear by regulators. Further, Bill C-69 references “meaningful consultation” but does not adequately define what that means, leaving proponents with even more

uncertainty on what kinds of consultation are necessary through the regulatory process. Taking action At the time of this writing, Bill C-69 is being considered by the Senate, and is expected to return for a final vote in the House of Commons this spring. We are speaking to Alberta Senators to ensure they understand what amendments are needed to fix this bill. We have met with Hon. Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources, and Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, to express our deep concerns with this bill. We have also sent several letters to federal politicians, asking them to change course on Bill C-69. We will continue to engage on this topic and provide a strong voice at the table for business. Without new pipelines to Canada’s coasts, Alberta oil will continue to be sold to the United States at a steep discount – by some estimates this is costing Canada $80 million per day. These lost revenues mean fewer jobs, stalled economic growth and higher government deficits. Getting a pipeline built is also vitally important because of the message it will send: Canada is a place that is open for business and has a regulatory system that supports responsible investment in all sectors. To read our full policy on Bill C-69, visit We would like to hear from you! Do you have concerns or thoughts on energy regulation in Canada? You can contact us by email:

Members in this Issue REALTORS Association of Edmonton in Finding the Upside of a Down Market on page 31 Tier 3 I.T. Solutions in Cybersecurity in the Modern Age on page 58



Bridges Catering Member Profile The Bridges Team What’s your story? At Bridges, we’re celebrating over 20 years of planning and preparing fabulous food to highlight events and occasions from business breakfasts and lunch meetings to grand openings and training sessions. Whatever the event — from a boardroom meeting with a dozen colleagues to an outdoor wedding with hundreds of guests — our promise is to make it memorable. Our services cover every detail, from surveying the location to menu planning and bar services. We provide delivery, serving staff, tableware, linens, décor, onsite coordination and everything needed to make an event a success. Bridges began as a cozy bistro overlooking the river valley. The award-winning menu and welcoming atmosphere made it a favourite dining spot for many food savvy Edmontonians. In 2001 when the demand for catering from loyal clientele outgrew the restaurant, Bridges Bistro closed its doors and hasn’t looked back. We’ve built our business on our word and a handshake. We care deeply about our craft, and we pride ourselves on our high level of customer service.

What has been your biggest challenge in the last 12 months? Navigating our way through the road construction! Seriously though, it would be staying on top of trends. In the blink of an eye something new has popped up and everyone wants it, and just as quickly the latest fad has been thrown by the wayside. What do you think is the biggest issue impacting Edmonton’s small businesses at this time? Being able to shine among the big companies. Defining what a small business can bring to the table that a larger company has difficulty delivering.

What are three things people are surprised to learn about your business/or don’t know about your business? That we are an owner-operated business that has nourished gatherings ranging from startup pitches to exit celebrations to major mergers for more than 20 years.

What’s your secret to keeping your employees engaged? Feeding them. Every day we provide lunch for our employees, which give us a chance to try out new recipes on 35+ people. We can then get their feedback on how it tastes, how it will be presented, and if setting it up on-site is going to be a challenge. Our employees are our most valuable asset. We encourage professional development and ongoing education within our team. Because we are a small business, we are able to draw on people’s strengths and assist them to move forward, thinking outside the box. We are very fortunate to have many longterm employees.

We can accommodate all types and sizes of events and cater breakfast, lunch, dinner, receptions and everything in between.

Do you have a personal mantra? Customer Service, Presentation is our Hallmark, Smiles.

Bridges Catering began as a small bistro that within a year of opening was named one of the top 10 best restaurants in Edmonton.

What do you enjoy most about being a Chamber member? We enjoy the industry events; they provide the perfect environment to connect and collaborate with other Edmonton businesses. We love being part of The Taste of the Chamber! It gives us

What has surprised you in the last 12 months? Breakfast is the new lunch. We have noticed a


steady growth in the number of breakfasts we deliver each morning.


the opportunity to establish new connections and develop our relationships, all the while showcasing what we do best. The Chamber keeps us in tune with the pulse of business in Edmonton. Our Chamber mandate is to create the best environment for business in Edmonton. If you could make one substantial improvement to Edmonton’s business environment, what would it be? To encourage small business owners to become involved with their industry associations. It is important for our growth as a company to participate in industry-driven events. We develop strategies with our vendors, meet on common ground with our competitors, share our experiences, and gain insight into the

direction of our industry. Working together ensures that business in Edmonton continues to remain strong. What is your favorite thing to do in Edmonton? Shop at the farmers’ market. It gives us a chance to see what’s new and exciting in our region. Apple or android? Apple. Your most favorite place in the world? Anywhere with amazing food. Coffee or tea? Both, with cake.



Connecting Business A Conversation with Hon. Rachel Notley, Premier of Alberta Presented by EPCOR

On Thursday, January 24 the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce welcomed Hon. Rachel Notley, Premier of Alberta and leader of the Alberta New Democratic Party, to discuss her priorities and vision for Alberta’s future. This was the last event in the Provincial Leaders Series, that also welcomed Stephen Mandel, leader of the Alberta Party, Hon. Jason Kenney, leader of the United Conservative Party, and David Khan, leader of the Alberta Liberal Party.

Hon. Rachel Notley, Premier of Alberta, discussed the NDP’s vision and priorities.

A sold out crowd of business leaders and dignitaries for the final event in the Provincial Leader Series.



Stuart Lee, President & CEO of EPCOR Utilities Inc., the presenting sponsor, brings greetings.

Celebrating Business Success! THE 2019

Presented by

February 2, 2019

Bidding a warm farewell to our outgoing Board Chair, Len Rhodes, President and CEO of the Edmonton Eskimo Football Club

Welcoming Dawn Harsch, Chair of the Board, and President and CEO of ExquisiCare Senior Living and Care at Home

Brent Hesje, CEO, Fountain Tire, is honoured as the 2018 Northern Lights Award of Distinction Recipient

2019 JUNO nominee Tyler Shaw performs

Guests enjoying a night of connection and reconnection as they celebrate business success

Thank You to our Sponsors! Presenting Sponsor

VIP Lounge and Silver Sponsor

Supporting Sponsors

Telecommunications Sponsor

Official Media Sponsor

Silver Sponsor

Men’s Clothing Sponsor

Bronze Sponsors

Video Production Sponsor

Outdoor Media Sponsor

Official AV Sponsor

Host Hotel











(403) 288-6468



Alberta’s alternative energy sector is growing fast BY NERISSA MCNAUGHTON


hanthu Mano, principal and CEO, and Dr. Godo Stoyke, principal and president of Carbon Busters®, know what utopia looks like. They should – they have designed it. It’s called The Willows, a fully integrated community-style village that is not only carbon neutral and powered 100 per cent by alternative energy, but will also be an incubator for green jobs, social justice, and sustainable development. The proposed model will provide 403 residential and 40 commercial units, institutional buildings, and a community centre for a population of 1,451. A community garden, electric cars and car sharing programs, walking and bike lanes are part of the plan. Trees will not be cut down to create The Willows. The plan involves building around them – then planting even more trees. Does it seem too good to be true? It’s not. The Willows, which has been in research for more than a decade, is nearly reality. The community is under consideration by a neighbouring county.

Is this the future of Alberta in a province that is famous for coal, gas and oil? Carbon Busters says yes. “Alberta is ready for a change. Over the past decade we have seen more calls for solar energy and projects like The Willows. As plans for The Willows develop, we have lots of interested parties calling us saying, keep us in the loop,” says Mano. Dr. Stoyke points out another benefit of The Willows, “It takes 15-20 years to recoup retrofits to a typical family home to include alternative energy sources. It costs far less to build it right the first time. From the start, The Willows has farms, electrical car charging stations and many more opportunities and features beyond just green heating and cooling.” But is Alberta truly ready for this? Mano and Dr. Stoyke are lifelong green living advocates but there is nothing fringe about the science they rely on, or their championship of this alternative lifestyle. Backed by





a team that includes design specialists, an analyst, and an HVAC specialist, along with partnerships and affiliations with some of the largest green-focused councils and societies in North America, the partners know their ideas have roots. They have travelled the world to see how communities like The Willows function outside of Canada, and are intent on bringing the model home. “There is no doubt that we are a good 10-20 years behind Europe,” says Dr. Stoyke. “Alberta is a producer of energy and Canada still has a frontier mentality that sees our natural resources as unlimited.” Mano also chalks up Alberta and Canada’s slow change of mindset to its young age. “Europe has felt the impact of high populations for centuries, as have countries that must import energy because they don’t have natural resources of their own.” Carbon Busters is far from the only company in Edmonton dedicated to green living and alternative energy. While the pipeline wars and trucking convoy protests continue to make headlines, the city’s alternative energy sector has been quietly growing, as is the demand for its products. “There has been a drastic increase in the uptake for solar PV on residential and commercial properties,” informs Jake Kubiski, CEO of Kuby Renewable Energy Ltd. This company, which is 100 per cent locally owned and operated, was founded by two friends that used to work in the oil/gas and mining industry. The founders envisioned a province run by renewables, and now services all of Western and Northern Canada with solar PV, energy storage, electric vehicle chargers and electrical solutions. “I would say, easily, there has been a growth of 300-400 per cent year over year on both the residential and commercial side for solar PV,” Kubiski continues. “The biggest driving change is the current governments being pro-renewables. The cost of the equipment has come down drastically in just 3-4 years. Government rebates are also a driving factor, as is consumer awareness and media coverage on large projects such as Red Deer College’s Green Campus initiative.” Cost used to be a prohibiting factor for solar PV, but as Kubiski explains, “Solar technology is following the Moore’s law, where

the number of solar panels is doubling every year and the price is halved. Computers took the same curve and electric vehicles are also on a similar curve. This tends to happen with new tech that gets adopted on a worldwide scale.” He demonstrates how homeowners can recoup the cost of a solar retrofit. “With the Energy Efficiency Alberta rebate and the COE grant of 10 per cent, homeowners will see a return on investment in 12-15 years, conservatively. This is tough to pinpoint as the big swing factor is the cost of electricity over the next 12-15 years. Data from the Alberta Utility Commission states that there is an expected increase of 4 per cent per year, and we use this to try and predict electricity rates. If rates go up faster, the customers payback is lessened. However, the price point is at the place where it needs to be to see a return, and only gets better every year.” ABOVE: SOLAR PANELS IN ACTION PHOTO SOURCE: KUBY RENEWABLE ENERGY LTD.





As for solar PV’s efficiency, he says, “Snow is not a big factor in how solar operates in Alberta winters. Batteries are not used for the majority of the installs we do; and to answer the biggest question we get, hail will not destroy your solar panels.” While many are warming up to the idea of solar panels, another green technology is heating up. GSS Integrated Energy Ltd. specializes in alternative energy designs using advanced SmartPower CHP cogeneration and bore hole thermal energy storage. The company’s ongoing R&D develops and improves self-contained energy and utility systems. “Thermal energy exchange and storage systems are an important part of energy conservation as it enhances a number of alternative energy solutions, making them more efficient, particularly in colder climates,” says Michael Roppelt, GSS’ president and CEO. He explains how thermal energy exchange and storage (TEES) can address limitations with existing green technologies. “Geothermal systems have limitations on how much ground energy they can deliver. In cold climates, as energy is extracted the ground temperature drops, causing the returning water to be colder. This makes the system less efficient. Solar thermal installations typically require an auxiliary heat source for the majority of the space heating requirements. Combined heat and power cogeneration produce low carbon electricity and heat typically at an 85 per cent or better efficiency level, but this only applies if you can use all of the heat efficiently, otherwise it becomes very expensive electricity. Most systems are designed to meet heat demand and cannot be used to meet continuous electrical demand. This means they typically have payback periods that could take a decade or more.” GSS’ patent pending TEES systems accept rejected or generated heat and store it for months. “Thermal energy can be injected and/or extracted simultaneously, and the rate of flow within the multi-loop

system can be variable based on the amount of energy required to be absorbed or transferred,” he explains of TEES. “The TEES system uses a simple controller to assess which zones thermal energy should be delivered or extracted. The TEES system also has a footprint that is 50 per cent smaller than a typical geothermal design. GSS uses a patented installation process and the plastic pipe used in these systems can tolerate temperatures from -40°C to 70°C.” Roppelt feels the time is right for innovations like TEES. “Individuals and companies are more interested in alternative energy now than they were 10 years ago. Conventional energy costs and carbon taxes are making it harder for families and businesses to meet their bills, and are making Canadian companies less competitive. Alternative energy offers opportunities to reduce or eliminate these monthly costs.” To help homeowners and businesses understand alternative energy options, GSS has developed software called Ripple Design Studio. The user inputs information based on their location and the software lets the user design an alternative energy system for their house or business using multiple technologies individually or as an integrated system. Based on the preferred result, the software can connect users with local suppliers for those products and services, for pricing, and to answers consumer questions. “The overwhelmingly positive response we have received from the initial beta rollout of this software is indicative of today’s alternative energy climate and the shift of more energy-conscious home and business owners,” says Roppelt. Alberta is known for its energy sector. It’s an area where the province has benefited, innovated, and carved out a global presence. However, Alberta is also known for being a tough, scrappy, determined province filled with entrepreneurs and visionaries that are always at the ready to capitalize on the big ideas that change the world. We can – and should – continue the fight for the best and fairest use of our resources, but alternative energy should play a role in the future of our province, right now and as far into the future as the eye can see.







he internet. It has completely changed how we operate as a nation, as a society and as individual businesses. It lets the smallest venture connect with people around the world in an instant, often with little more than a smartphone. But for all the connectivity it affords businesses, the modern web also leaves companies vulnerable to scams, data breaches and, in many cases, loss of revenue.



An estimated one in five businesses in Canada were hit with cyberattacks in 2017, according to the Canadian Survey of Cyber Security and Cybercrime, a report released by Statistics Canada. Even this high of a number, according to Jesse Hill at Edmonton’s Tier 3 I.T. Solutions, is probably inaccurate. The real figures are likely much, much higher.


“A SMALL ENGINEERING FIRM, FOR EXAMPLE, HAS PROPRIETARY INFORMATION, DESIGNS, CONTRACTS, PATENTS AND OTHER VALUABLE DATA. THAT GETS TRICKIER FOR ANY COMPANY THAT HANDLES PERSONAL INFORMATION.” ~ JESSE HILL silence is also representative of how little companies understand what is in their data banks. “Numbers like that are only the reported incidents,” Hill warns, “and those numbers will likely go up now that mandatory incident reporting is in effect and people will have to talk about it.” These unreported incidents, in many ways, lie at the heart of cybersecurity issues in Canada. Up until recently, many companies would rather not make their incidents public and simply not talk about it. Such silence breeds vulnerability and misinformation on how to protect a business. The

“I think most businesses do not grasp the value and scope of their information,” Hill says. “A small engineering firm, for example, has proprietary information, designs, contracts, patents and other valuable data. That gets trickier for any company that handles personal information.” The truth is that every business is sitting on valuable information. Most also do not know what they do not know, from how networks are set up to the many vulnerabilities that can leave them exposed to security





breaches. They are also unlikely to know what is most valuable to people targeting them, and attacks are getting in. This all contributes to Canada’s unusually high number of cyberattack incidents, especially compared to the rest of the world and our country’s relative GDP. Rishi Patel, partner of client relations at Keeran Networks, also points out that each industry will have different data that’s valuable. “I think every industry or sector is going to have their own unique security risks,” he explains. “A retail shop would be most concerned about PCI compliance, like the processing and storing credit cards securely, or how their customer data is protected. Alternatively, an accounting firm might be most concerned about exposing client data or getting ransomware.” Ransomware is just one of the ways in which a company’s data is being used against them and is still prevalent today. In times past, data stolen from networks was sold to the highest bidder online, especially login information and passwords. Ransomware, however, cuts out the auctioning out of stolen data and instead heads straight to the original victim, locking them out and demanding money. If you do not comply, valuable data gets deleted or sold. Hill says he is seeing less ransomware attacks today but that the methods and processes are getting more difficult to counter. Patel points out that the actual technology for breaching networks is also getting more user friendly, leading to other issues. “The tools used to penetrate networks have become significantly better and much easier to use,” he says. “For example, there are sites on the internet that you can pay a small fee and they will hack someone’s network for you. Worse, if users recycle their email address and password combination on multiple sites, when one of those sites is compromised, those credentials are now available on the dark web for anyone to try to use to gain access into your network.” Dan Wadsworth, director of operations at Helix IT Inc. points out that the mass email is still one of the most popular and effective forms of cyberattack. “Currently a lot of business are receiving targeted mass email exploits, most of which are phishing in nature and try to convince someone into clicking on an infected link or file,” he explains. “I believe

TAKING IT A FEW STEPS FURTHER, PATEL ALSO RECOMMENDS EDUCATING YOUR EMPLOYEES AND USERS ABOUT SOCIAL ENGINEERING ATTACKS AND MALWARE, AND HAVING A SECURITY EXPERT PERFORM MONTHLY VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT SCANS. there will be more and more of these, and the sophistication will rise significantly.” Of the types of cyberattacks that we can expect to gain popularity in the future, Patel warns particularly against spear phishing. Unlike phishing, where mass emails are sent out to people in the hopes that someone will open them and grant access, spear phishing is more personalized. The





emails in these schemes appear to be from trusted people or contacts, meaning they are much more difficult to discern as possible attacks. Staying on top of the latest cybersecurity issues is often far too complex and ever-changing for the average business owner, but there are best practices that can help every business of every size stay more protected. “It’s best to take a multi-layered approach,” Patel says. “One, protect your network traffic with a commercial grade firewall with intrusion detection services that is updated daily, like Cisco. Two, protect the workstations with a top-rated anti-virus program like Webroot. Three, protect the users with a service like Cisco Umbrella that ensures they are visiting verified sites.” Taking it a few steps further, Patel also recommends educating your employees and users about social engineering attacks and malware, and having a security expert perform monthly vulnerability assessment scans. Wadsworth agrees, “Adequate and proactive antivirus and malware protection is the biggest [best practice],” he says. “Additional items include active gateway level intrusion prevention and appropriate IT policies to limit unneeded advanced access levels.” Hill recommends that all employees get educated as well. He regularly hosts lunch-and-learns for his clients to teach their staff about the various security best practices they can employ. He also recommends that companies start treating their hardware more seriously. “When we hire someone and give them a company vehicle, we get a driver’s abstract,” he says. “If your truck gets in an accident, it’s inconvenient.

It’s one vehicle off the road; but, if a computer gets ‘in an accident,’ it can take your entire fleet offline.” “Most companies really don’t have any policies on what people can use their company computers for, which would be unheard of with a company vehicle,” Hill continues. “It’s not like you can move a friend with a company vehicle, yet we see people downloading and streaming pirated content on their work computers. It’s opening up their company to a lot of security issues.” Hill also recommends regularly changing passwords, including the Wi-Fi password, and not giving that information out to non-employees. “Many people don’t understand that giving out their Wi-Fi password grants access to their network,” he says. “They need a security plan in place ahead of time so, for example, if an employee quits and leaves on bad terms, they can’t sit in the parking lot, access the network and manipulate, delete and destroy data.” Of course, every expert recommends backups – more than one backup in more than one place on more than one medium. Cybersecurity issues are growing in Canada. Unlike the international headlines, many attacks are quite mundane: a disgruntled former employee causing havoc or a current one opening infected emails or messages by accident. Many of the attacks are getting more sophisticated and more intense, leaving businesses locked out of their data and sometimes forced to pay large sums of money. Luckily, many of the solutions are quite accessible, including using the services of local experts who can protect your data, your investments and your reputation.









n popular culture, golf is often depicted as a sport for wealthy retired men who spend the day hiding from their wives and discussing business in swanky clubs. They smoke cigars, drive from hole to hole, and hang out in the sauna afterward. But is this depiction accurate or just based off of 15th century golf, which was initially popular amongst the ruling class? While lower classes were not banned from playing, the high cost of equipment and entry into elite clubs were hard obstacles to overcome. Female players also had more regulations and restrictions imposed upon them by their male counterpoints. Now that equipment and play times are more readily available to the masses, has golf shed its reputation of exclusivity and leisure for one of community and health? Perhaps there is more to the game than meets the eye.



“Golf is truly a game for everyone. On the outside, it appears to be a very laid back and casual sport, and it certainly can be, but that’s the beauty of this game. It can be played for your own reasons.” says professional golf coach, Trevor Moore. Trevor began playing golf at the age of 12 and immediately fell in love with the mental side of the game. He became a coach in 1994 when he registered with the PGA of Canada’s apprentice program. His clients range from 25 to 55 years of age, with a gender split of 65 per cent male and 35 per cent female. “It’s a slower sport but it is a very demanding sport, one of precision and strategy. How you manage the time between shots is every bit as important as physically executing the shots themselves,” Trevor explains. “The game teaches you how to be patient with yourself and mentally prepared



because there is no team to support you when you are down. So, you have to take what the course gives you and react one shot at a time.” While there might not be a team to support you when you are down, there is a very strong social aspect to the game, and this seems to be one of the most alluring parts. “My favourite part is the competition. I like going out with a group of guys and having a friendly match that includes some one-upmanship and ribbing. Really, it is all about the camaraderie,” says Nolan Matthias, co-founder of Mortgage360 and author of Golf Balls Don’t Float — 72 Life and Business Lessons from the Golf Course. Nolan began playing golf at the age of four at the Glencoe Golf and Country Club in Calgary. By 17, he was playing competitively at an international level. “The club ended up being like an extension of our family. In the summer I was dropped off at 7 a.m. and picked up at dusk. I often played up to 180 rounds per year. I learned how to be an adult long before I ever became one because of this. The club taught me how to introduce myself, create relationships, and spend time with people I didn’t really know,” Nolan explains. “I also like the camaraderie of playing with friends and meeting new people,” says Rob Moore, who was introduced

to the game by his brothers when he was 13 years old. Since retiring, Rob plays 70 to 80 games of golf a year at his local course, the Crown Isle Golf Club. As a relatively new resident of Vancouver Island, Rob finds the club has helped him to meet people more quickly. However, Rob doesn’t just play for camaraderie. He also likes the challenge and the variety of the game as well as the physical component. “Each shot is unique – the lie, the weather, the location of the ball and the hole on the green are never exactly the same. If a course permits it, I will always walk rather than use a cart because it’s very good exercise,” he says. Walking allows a player to really reap all the rewards of the game. The Norwegian Golf Federation’s recent research project revealed that a male golfer burns around 2,500 calories during an 18-hole round, while female players burn approximately 1,500. “As we age, staying physically and socially active is very important,” say Dianne and Kristy Hutton, co-owners and operators of Golfaround ( “Spending four to five hours outside in the fresh air is great for our health and because golf courses are, for the most part, beautiful and abundant with nature, they can be very therapeutic.” This mother and daughter duo founded Golfaround 23 years ago. As the female golf market began to expand, they wanted






to offer women a league of they could call their own. So, Dianne and Kristy developed a comfortable environment that focuses on fun rather than the typical competitive, rule-orientated game. Golfaround offers a beginner program that includes a beginner league so new golfers can learn with other women of the same skill level. “We feel that by reducing the intimidation factor, we also reduce stress levels and promote a sense of relaxation.” The lineup of golfers also changes from week to week to ensure the league does not become cliquey or unfriendly. Dianne and Kristy also do their best to offer lessons at a variety of different price points so it is affordable for everyone, and also try to get discounted green fees. Melissa Davis, who has been playing golf for five years, joined a women’s league a year after she picked up the game. “The league has made playing regularly much easier and more enjoyable than when I wasn’t a member. I don’t have to find my own partners or arrange my own tee times. There are lessons available, and we play at over 12 golf courses in and around Edmonton,” says Melissa who, prior to playing, wasn’t sure if she would even enjoy the game.

“I hadn’t expected to enjoy golf as much as I do but after only a short time of playing, I was hooked. I love everything about it. I love the fun and camaraderie and the highs and the lows. I love being outside in the fresh air, and playing a variety of courses, especially the hilly ones, and the challenge of trying to improve in all the various aspects of the game. Since my focus is on the game, it’s easy to get exercise without evening realizing it. Swinging a golf club helps maintain my flexibility as well as my core and arm strength. Even pulling my golf bag for most rounds is a workout.” Melissa plays two to three times a week from May through October. To quote Trevor, golf is a sport which mirrors life, because much like life, players need to constantly re-assess their situation, manage their emotions, accept the things outside their control and move forward from there. “Being a part of a small community can give your life so much purpose. Golf is a great place to meet new people, socialize, be active, and enjoy the outdoors, all of which offer an emotional upside,” he adds. There is science to back up Trevor’s words. A Swedish study by the Karolinska Institute found that golfers have a 40 per cent lower death rate, which corresponds to a five-year increase in life expectancy. Talk about time well spent! ABOVE: DIANNE AND KRISTY HUTTON, GOLFAROUND, CO-OWNERS & OPERATORS.



THE HIDDEN GEM Gem Cabinets has quietly but steadily made an impression for over 40 years By Nerissa McNaughton

Gem Cabinets • 40 Years



em Cabinets, a locally owned and operated family business, has been making homes beautiful with custom cabinetry for over 40 years.

Don Woods founded Gem Cabinets in 1977 with a staff of three and big dreams for the future. Fast forward to today and the company operates out of two locations with a team of 160. Gem offers a full range of installed custom and semi-custom cabinets in various styles (rustic, traditional, old world, urban, contemporary, etc.), providing options for every taste and budget. The company also offers HOMEpro cabinets, which are stocked products, ready for pick up for those that want a stylish, cost-efficient, DIY option. The impressive range of top Canadian manufacturers and suppliers sees Gem as the in-demand cabinet maker and installer for kitchens, bathrooms, mud rooms, laundry rooms, home theatres and bars, built-ins, wine rooms and so much more. Growth has been organic thanks to Gem’s reputation within the new home builders’ market and excellent customer referrals. “Gem Cabinets has doubled in growth every 12 years,” says Jeff Schoenroth, CEO. “We have recently exceeded


Gem Cabinets on 40 years!

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15435 - 131 Avenue • EDMONTON • 1.800.361.6000 2 • Gem Cabinets • 40 Years

sales of $50 million. Even during economic downturns when sales are stagnant, Gem Cabinets has grown in market share.” This growth is a point of pride for the company, as Gem has always eschewed more common routes to rapid success (massive ad campaigns and inexpensive product imports). Instead, the company has focused, from day one, on only sourcing Canadian-made products, providing outstanding customer service and creating a welcoming environment for its staff. With those building blocks in place, the craftsmanship of Gem’s tradespeople really shines through, and for decades has quietly but firmly entrenched the company as a dominant force and leader in the industry. “We are a family business with integrity, values, morals, and faith,” confirms Schoenroth. “Our founder is a strong Christian man. Treating staff like family is important to him. One of his sayings is ‘treat everyone how you’d like to be treated’ and he carries that through in all of his interactions with customers, employees and members of the community. That’s how he lives. We, the management team, have the same beliefs. We are compassionate. We know the names of our team members’ families. We celebrate birthdays. We operate as a large family.” Bob Moon, vice president, sales & marketing, adds “If it wasn’t for our staff, we wouldn’t be successful. We have dedicated, hardworking people.” Their Canadian manufacturers and suppliers, such as Montalco and Urban Effects who are Gem’s long-term partners, are another point of pride for the company. Gem Cabinets is very firm about supporting Canadian producers and showcasing the beauty, quality, style and longevity of products available within our borders. One such manufacturer is Cabico®, a leading North American high-end cabinet maker. Although Gem Cabinets has operated out of (and expanded within) the same location since 1977, the company invested in a separate Cabico Boutique just a few steps away to give the brand its own, very much deserved, spotlight. The Cabico Boutique has been open for nearly two years. “We searched for five years to find a Canadian high-end brand that could compete with international labels,” says Moon of the Cabico Boutique. “Cabico fills a void in the market and gives home builders and homeowners an upscale but local option.” With the organic growth of this humble company, many are unaware of Gem Cabinet’s true impact. It could very well be likened to…well…a hidden gem! “We provide full service,” divulges Schoenroth. “That means we design, measure, install and service. We do have HOMEpro for the staunch DIYers, but the majority


of what we do is full service. This provides the longevity, quality, and look that homeowners and builders want, along with the customization to personalize the cabinetry for each home. “Gem also operates a large in-house shop and a threebay spray booth, allowing us to quickly manufacture customizations and repairs on site. The shop allows us to fill orders and complete service requests quickly for the customer.”

Congratulations on 40 years! We are proud to be Gem’s accountants since 1990 and we wish them many more years of continued success.

Gem is proud to remain independent. “Without a corporate office directing us, we can continue to operate by leading with our core values,”

#302, 9811 34 AVENUE NW EDMONTON, AB T6E 5X9 Main Number 780-469-2361 | Fax 780-469-4395 |


40 Years • Gem Cabinets • 3

Schoenroth continues. “Being independently owned and operated means we are very nimble and fluid. We change as the market changes and are flexible enough to meet trends and customer demands. Our independence also gives us the opportunity to fully engage in the community on our own terms and build long lasting relationships in and beyond the city.”


Gem Cabinets on celebrating 40 years! We wish you many more years of success. 4 • Gem Cabinets • 40 Years

“There is,” Moon points out, “a slight downside to being autonomous. The fact is, although we have over 40 years in the business and continued growth due to referrals and reputation, we will never be a big box store name. When a homeowner is building or doing a renovation, they may not necessarily think, ‘Gem Cabinets.’ We have always heavily invested in quality and customer service


“Being independently owned and operated means we are very nimble and fluid. We change as the market changes and are flexible enough to meet trends and customer demands.”

rather than expensive marketing. We have never used Google ads. But,” he smiles, “maybe its time to look into that.” The company does, after all, move with the times. Avoiding huge ad rollouts has not hurt Gem Cabinet’s reputation. As Moon points out, Gem is widely recognized as a local leader when they attend industry functions. It’s not the recognition the management team seeks, however. The success of Gem allows the company to do something that is very important to its management team and founder, Don Woods – giving back. “If a builder is doing a lottery home for the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, we provide a substan-


Congratulations Gem Cabinets on 40 years of leadership in Edmonton’s cabinet business 100, 5908 50 ST. LEDUC, AB T9E 0R6 ph: 780-986-8651 |

Congratulations Gem Cabinets on 40 years!

40 Years • Gem Cabinets • 5

tial reduction on the cabinetry,” says Moon. Without fanfare, Gem has quietly helped many lottery homes around the city with custom cabinetry. “We are involved in many mainstream charities, and numerous other non-mainstream charities.” Gem is determined to help those in need by donating time, money, and manpower to causes big and small in the Capital Region. “We were very fortunate to be involved with the Carter Work Project for Habitat for Humanity,” says Moon of the initiative that sees President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter doing builds around the world with Habitat for Humanity. When the Carter Work Project came to Edmonton, Gem Cabinets joined in and sent 25 people to site. “It was a great experience for everyone involved,” smiles Moon.

Gem Cabinets also supports The Salvation Army®, Hope Mission, the Great Commission Foundation, Power to Change, The Mustard Seed, Young Life of Canada, OneBook, JDRF, Kids with Cancer Society, Ronald McDonald House, Edmonton Food Bank, and many more. After 40 years of constant growth, gaining market share and giving back to the community, the management team reflects on how it all began. “Establishing Gem Cabinets in Edmonton was a choice,” muses Schoenroth. “Woods had the opportunity to represent a cabinetmaker from Toronto and the vision to see there was void in the Edmonton market here in 1977. Choosing Edmonton over a larger city was a very big deal and risky venture at that time.”

Congratulations to GEM Cabinets! We wish you many more years of success.

Visit our showroom: 5825 – 98 Street, Edmonton T6E 3L4 Phone: 780.435.8686 Email:

6 • Gem Cabinets • 40 Years


“Currently the look is clean, sleek, crisp lines,” informs Moon. “Young buyers don’t want their ‘parent’s kitchen.’ If it remotely looks like their parent’s kitchen, they are running for the hills!”

Since the 70s, Woods, then later Schoenroth and Moon, have seen many style changes and trends. “Currently the look is clean, sleek, crisp lines,” informs Moon. “Young buyers don’t want their ‘parent’s kitchen.’ If it remotely looks like their parent’s kitchen, they are running for the hills!” “We are also seeing a lot of combination textures and paint with an accent colour, like white with walnut or hickory with grey. White paired with a dark complementary wood island is very popular. Black is also well-liked as an accent and as a full workup.”

Happy 40th Gem Cabinets! Your Canadian LED solution


From our team to your team, Congrats on 40 years of excellence!

Tel: 780.484.0831 | Fax: 780.486.0698 10417 - 174th Street NW, Edmonton, AB T5S 1H1

40 Years • Gem Cabinets • 7

When a customer goes against trend and wants something unique like a vintage kitchen or special project, Gem Cabinets is more than happy to put its creativity and innovation to work. This complete offering of services from start to finish has earned the company excellent third-party reviews. “The reviews are a nice way to measure the business, but we always think we can do better,” says Schoenroth. “That’s part of being a leader. We don’t sit back and rest on our laurels. We have great processes, but there is always room to improve.” For the management team, the validation of 40 years in business is not measured based on sales, but on their longstanding relationships with partners, builders, staff and clients. In many cases, those relationships span more than 25 years. “To do business with the second and third generation of our builder partners and clients is incredibly rewarding,” says Moon. “We value partnerships over recognition. To us, it is a much stronger indicator of success.” Schoenroth and Moon extend heartfelt thanks to past and present staff. “We are grateful to everyone in the organization,” they say. “Our staff are our extended family. We wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t

for the people that work here. We sell melamine, paint and wood; what makes us stand out is our staff.” They also thank former and current customers, saying, “Our biggest asset is a satisfied customer.” The next 40 years will see more of the same commitment to Canadian brands, innovation, creativity and dedication to customer service that has grown Gem Cabinets for the past 40 years. “We will focus on continuing to be a trusted partner of our staff, vendors, suppliers and customers, and remain committed to our core business value, which is building relationships,” Schoenroth and Moon conclude. “From vendors to clients to our team, we take ownership of everything we do. Gem Cabinets establishes trust and we don’t let our people, builders, or customers down. Nobody can compete with our programs and services. Better price? Maybe; but for long-term, high quality, Canadian cabinet solutions, we have the depth and strength builders and homeowners need.” Learn more about Gem Cabinets online at @GemKitchenCabinets on Facebook, @GemCabinets on Twitter and @gem_cabinets on Instagram

14019 128 Avenue NW Edmonton, Alberta T5L 3H3 Phone: (780) 454-8652 • Fax: (780) 453-2001 •

Quartz, granite and semi-precious. From builder-spec to custom back-lit features

16646 - 111 Ave. Edmonton, AB | 780.481.4511 C O U N T E R T O P S

8 • Gem Cabinets • 40 Years



BUILDING ON A FIRM FOUNDATION A&B Concrete Pumping Ltd. celebrates 40 years By Nerissa McNaughton


ruce and Marilyn Dika were visionaries. Despite living in Fort McMurray when the oil boom was approaching its zenith, they set their sites on Edmonton and on a business that could weather the ups and downs of a boom and bust economy. With the purchase of a $39K concrete pumping truck and a relocation to the capital city, the couple were ready to create their legacy. The boom went bust in the early 80s leaving the Dikas with loans on equipment and a shortage of work. Many companies don’t survive Alberta’s harsh boom and bust cycles, but the Dikas are not your average entrepreneurs. Rather than push the concrete pumping side of the business through when construction was at a standstill, they turned their fleet into logging trucks and tapped into a still-thriving sector of the economy. When oil made a comeback in 1987 and the building boom began anew, the pumps went back on trucks. 40 Years || A&B Concrete Pumping


Those values still persist,” says Jace Linman, president. Linman joined A&B Concrete Pumping in 2007 when the founders retired. Upon the 2007 retirement, The Dikas passed on the torch to their children, Lisa and Daryl Dika, and their new partner Hutchinson Acquisitions. Linman is determined to retain the Dika’s legacy while cementing and growing A&B’s reputation across Canada. We’ve had opportunities and have been approached to get into placing, finishing, cribbing, and Ready Mix supply, but as a group we have collectively decided that we are concrete pumping professionals,” confirms Linman. “That is what we are best at, and what we will stick to.” He credits the company’s 40 years of growth to knowledge and experience, and also to a relentless drive to create the safest possible environment on each project. “We pay attention to the details,” he says. “We want to be involved at the start of the project, not just show up and pump concrete. Being the concrete pumping professionals means we can suggest things that will save it time and money. We are known for being proactive, for our handson approach, and for caring about the success of the entire project. We tell our clients we will never be the cheapest, but we will save you thousands in terms of our efficiency, awareness, and methodology.”

It is this grit, determination and resiliency that has grown A&B Concrete Pumping Ltd. into the largest concrete pumping company in Western Canada. Having outgrown two other locations, A&B Concrete Pumping has recently moved into a new facility just outside of Edmonton in Acheson. The placement is no accident. Always the forward thinker, Bruce had bought land in Acheson when the company started to grow, knowing that the industrial park provided the perfect home base for quick access in and around the city. “We are the biggest company of its kind in Western Canada, but we still maintain the core family values Bruce and Marilyn instilled from the start. Their priority was not just to make money and be successful, but for their employees to have a good living, a career and time for their families.

A&B Concrete Pumping || 40 Years || 2

“When it comes to safety, we have always been ahead of the game and have contributed to many of the industry’s standardized safety manuals,” Linman continues. “Officials from Occupational Health and Safety contact us when adding to their regulations. We were doing boom inspections long before that was an industry requirement. We are always at the forefront of safety.” Their expertise, professionalism and safety has brought A&B Concrete Pumping to the sites of some of Edmonton’s most renowned projects. “A&B did a lot of the pumping in ICE District and the entire Rogers Place apart from the rink. We did the pumping for downtown’s Stantec Tower and the Marriot hotel. To be approached by PCL and formally selected as the team they want on projects like these is good for our group and good for our operators,” says Linman. A&B may be known for concrete pumping at major projects, including Commonwealth Stadium and

a tricky 960 feet of a connection bridge on the Anthony Henday that required specific equipment and expertise, but Linman and the ownership team look inside their own walls for the source of their success.

pressure units as well. We have smaller pumps for working inside tighter residential areas, larger pumps for commercial projects, and now pumps that can reach up towers. We cover all our client’s concrete pumping needs.”

“We would not be where we are today without our people,” Linman says. “We have a fantastic crew of young, energetic, motivated employees all looking to build on what Bruce and Marilyn started, and all eager to support the new partnership. I have the biggest respect and admiration for everyone’s skills and talent. Landing big projects is rewarding, but it’s the people that come together to create the projects.”

Helping to physically build the city isn’t enough for the agile company. They help build the community too. A&B Concrete Pumping is heavily involved in several charities, including Habitat for Humanity, Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, and Edmonton Down Syndrome Society.

A&B Concrete Pumping is growing up with the city, quite literally. As high rise towers continue to dominate the Edmonton skyline, A&B is alongside, helping to make them happen. “We’ve transitioned from just regular mobile pumps to specialized placing booms, and high-

The company also continues to be innovative, recently winning a national award for concrete recycling. Linman explains, “When you run a pump, you wash out on site and can leave a mess of concrete, which causes issues for removal and the potential of contamination in the drainage system. We came up with a better way and created a large poly bag to contain the washout material. We pick it up, haul it away, crush it, recycle it and sell it.”



A&B Concrete, On 40 Years!


3 || 40 Years || A&B Concrete Pumping

Today A&B Concrete is operating under the REACH Construction Services Group umbrella; the parent company includes Combined Concrete Pumping, P-Ban Concrete Pumping, All Out Concrete Pumping, Recocon Inc. and YG Concrete. A&B, however, remains the foundation and largest operation in in the group. “With 53 concrete pumps across Western Canada, we are going to continue to grow,” smiles Linman. “We have the most updated equipment in the industry and are ready to provide service for many more years to come. We are not a subcontractor, we are your partner.” Linman thanks the Dikas for their years of hard work and tenacity to launch A&B Concrete, and continually grow the brand despite Alberta’s ups and downs. He also extends thanks to the ownership group and controlling shareholders, saying, “When they came on, we were just in Edmonton and Fort McMurray. They brought a different level of business knowledge and experience that allowed us to move forward and ultimately grow in other areas.” The team further thanks their clients and suppliers, and everyone that had a hand in making the company the success it is today. What comes next? “We are expanding into British Columbia and if things work well, we will move across the border into the United States. We are committed to another 20 years of more acquisitions, expanding into new markets, growing our skillset and entrenching our brand.” Learn more about A&B Concrete Pumping online at and @ abconcretepump on Twitter.

Candian Linen and Uniform Service is recoginzed as the largest uniform rental and linen supply companies in Canada and one of the largest in North America.

Congratulations to A & B Concrete on your 40th Anniversary!

Contact us 780-665-3905 | 8631 Stadium Rd. A&B Concrete Pumping || 40 Years || 4

9939-276 St. Acheson, Alberta T7X 6A5 Phone (780) 447-3540 All Areas Toll Free: 1-877-447-3540

DRIVEN BY SUCCESS Bavaria BMW celebrates 30 years By Nerissa McNaughton


n the late 1980s Edmonton was not known as a hotspot for luxury vehicles. Most residents were more interested in economical cars or rugged pickups. That didn’t stop Dr. Hanns Maier and Klaus Maier, two men from Germany that saw a need for a BMW dealership in the Capital City. In honour of their heritage, they changed the name of the dealership to Bavaria. Today Bavaria BMW is one of the highest rated BMW dealerships in Alberta and has an almost perfect Google rating (4.4/5) from more than 780 customers.

“When you come into our dealership, our goal is to make you feel at home, like an invited guest,” smiles Lorente, dealer principal and general manager. Lorente looks to his faith-driven principles and uses that, along with a firm family focus, to inspire each member of his team. The result? A group of passionate individuals standing behind a brand with an impeccable reputation – a reputation that spans more than a century. Each person that walks through the doors of Bavaria BMW, whether they are there to buy their

Bavaria BMW • 30 Years 77

However, it is not just the way you are treated at the west end dealership. It’s also the service offerings that make Bavaria BMW stand out. “One of the things that is unique about our dealership is our exclusive rim repair,” Lorente continues. “Not just repairs for BMWs, but all high-end autos including Lamborghini, Porsche and Audi. With our rim repair we do the whole wheel, not only the damaged spot. We can match over 10,000 colours. We don’t sand out the damage. Our exclusive process uses a machine to strip the entire mag and refinish it like it is new. There is a two-year warranty on the repair and workmanship, which is unheard of in this industry; with most other rim repairs you are lucky to get 90 days. This is just one of the ways Bavaria BMW goes above and beyond for its customers.” On-site services also include valet pick up and drop off, mechanical repair, and BMW Lifestyle products and apparel, but of course, it’s impossible to miss the spacious showroom that is filled with luxury vehicles. BMW Group is relentless in its pursuit of perfection, and every year it produces vehicles that show the innovation and creativity of the brand. The latest debuts from BMW Group include specialized and individual colours, which allow drivers to completely customize the trim. The customizations do not stop with colour. One driver wanted wood grain that looked like salmon scales to show his love of salmon farming. BMW came up with a process to make that happen and complied with the request. first luxury vehicle, upgrade to a model that fits their current lifestyle, or just there to browse the inventory, gets Bavaria BMW’s one-of-a-kind customer service. Those that have experienced it, know exactly how it feels.

BMW is a major player on the automaker’s world stage when it comes to innovations in technology, safety and eco-friendliness. Just ask any Bavaria BMW team member to show you the all new BMW X7 – the brand’s largest SUV to

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Bavaria BMW • 30 Years • 2


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date. BMW X7’s elongated windows give the Tesla Model X and its famous massive windshield a real run for its money when it comes to driver and passenger views. Add on the fact that BMW X7 debuts the largest kidney grill BMW has ever put on a car, and it’s hard not to fall in love with this truly unique design.

know who they are, and we spend time with them. I don’t believe in absentee management and prefer to be actively involved with the team and the business.”

But a Bavaria BMW team member can also show you something very special if you are trying to reduce your carbon footprint. The BMW i8 has been unveiled, and Bavaria BMW has two electrical charging stations for the hybrid models in a prime position on their show lot.

“Yes, we are here to sell cars and give service and we always want to treat customers with respect, but our biggest joy is giving back,” says Lorente. “I’ve been a board member of the Special Olympics for three years and Bavaria BMW is a big supporter of charities in the city. We are involved in nearly 70 events each year. We give cash donations or cars for use. We go to people’s homes and do BBQ fundraisers. We support a fashion show fundraiser every year and have raised more than $150K over the last four years for programs at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital. It’s very important to be community orientated; if we can’t be that, we can’t be successful. With every car Bavaria BMW sells we put some of the profit into a special account so we can pay it forward. Our dealership doesn’t only care about the bottom line. We care passionately about our community.”

How special is the i8? It’s far more than the brand simply competing with other eco-focused car manufacturers on the market. It’s the continuation of BMW’s lifelong commitment to future innovation and sustainability. BMW Group’s Pieter Nota, member of the board of management of BMW AG, sales and brand BMW and aftersales BMW Group, has said of the i series, “BMW i is our incubator for visionary mobility. It’s where the major future technologies come together for the first time. Electromobility, autonomous driving, high-end connectivity and digital services are combined in BMW i to show how we’ll be travelling in the future, before these technologies are implemented in the other BMW Group brands.” As you can see, between family-friendly SUVs, mid-size sedans, sport cars, and hybrids, customers have plenty to choose from while enjoying Bavaria BMW’s famous customer service; and for the ownership and management team these products and services are just as important as the staff that sells them. “We treat our employees like family,” Lorente says benevolently. A family man himself, Lorente doesn’t take that sentiment lightly. “We create a warm and empowering environment for our team. Our staff are not just numbers. We

Also vitally important to the team is supporting the community – which is Lorente’s personal and professional passion.

As Bavaria BMW celebrates its 30th anniversary in Edmonton, Lorente and his team thank their past and present clients, BMW Group, their suppliers, and the Maier family for making the dealership the success it is today. Lorente and his team are incredibly grateful to be in a position to give back to the community, and to represent an auto manufacturer that truly cares about drivers and the driver experience. Are you ready to be excited by a brand that has been delighting drivers for 102 years? You can experience what makes BMW such a success by visiting Bavaria BMW on the west end of Edmonton. Learn more about Bavaria BMW at online, @bavariabmw on Facebook and Instagram and @ BavariaBMW_YEG on Twitter.

WE’RE BEAMING! Congratulations to Bavaria BMW on their 30 years of shining excellence.

18925 Stony Plain Road Edmonton, AB T5S 2Y4 Main:780-900-8308 • Fax:780-442-3293

Bavaria BMW • 30 Years • 4

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 2019 winners at our 7th Annual Awards Gala, and our July issue will feature the Leaders and their companies.

Save the Date Wednesday, June 19th | 6pm To stay informed on details for our event, visit or email

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We Solve Problems By Nerissa McNaughton


n 1994 Norm and Deb Kellert purchased a fleet of four trucks and launched Rebel Heart Water Hauling Ltd.

“When the company was founded, its sole purpose was to provide water services for drilling rigs and oil companies throughout Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. However, during spring break up, extended rain periods and drilling downturns, there was little to no work, which made it challenging to hold onto staff,” explains Joshua Laczko, president and CEO. Laczko joined Rebel Heart as a part-time employee in 2012. Within a few short years his work ethic, ambition and innovations resulted in his purchasing the business from the Kellerts and earning a Top 40 Under 40 nomination. “In the spring of 1999, it was decided that the company would expand into gravel trucks for the local construction industry,” Laczko continues. “This diversification would broaden the revenue sources, help smooth out the cyclical stresses of the business, and reduce downtime, thus improving our driver retention and expanding the fleet. Upon entering the local construction market, our reputation for timely

Rebel Heart Trucking | 25 Years 82

Josh Laczko

and dependable services grew and we gained larger contracts.” The company grew rapidly. Following the 2014 energy crash, Laczko applied the same diversification strategy as his former boss and mentor, enabling Rebel Heart to expand its services, adding vacuum trucks to the fleet and acquiring other companies despite adverse economic conditions.

Rebel Heart’s corporate mission statement is: We Solve Problems. This is evidenced in the company’s many high-profile projects that require a combination of hard work, software and technology, strict safety standards, site supervision and accurate cost controls. Such projects include collaborations on ice road projects in Fort McMurray, Conklin, and Wabasca; assisting in the expansion of local refineries and pipelines; helping to fight the Fort McMurray “The Beast” fire; working on Edmonton’s LRT expansion and much more. “We work on unique projects and have equipment that requires us to think and work outside the box,” smiles Laczko. “Our tractor units are customized to pull/operate multiple styles of trailers, such as: belly dumps, end dumps, tankers, walking floors, etc. Our water, gravel, and vacuum trucks have technology that shares information in real time. Equipment is built lightweight for increased payload, and specialized heating systems on the water trucks keep them working in the cold. We have built potable water pumping/storage systems that provide water

during line breaks and festivals. All of our equipment has been customized to make it safer and more effective. Everything is multi-use, which increases our utilization rate.” Rebel Heart was one of the first oilfield trucking companies to receive a Certificate of Recognition (COR) from the Alberta Motor Transport Association. “With COR we were able to become a Partner in Injury Reduction (PIR) with WCB. In 2009 Rebel Heart joined an elite group of transportation companies called Partners in Compliance (PIC). We have also joined the Alberta Construction Safety Association to access additional training programs for our staff and supervisors,” says Laczko. This year Rebel Heart celebrates 25 years and thanks its team, clients, vendors and founders for their ongoing support. Learn more at and @RebelHeartTruck on social media.

2003 – 121 Avenue NE Edmonton, Alberta T6S-1B2 780.496.7604 |

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Congratulating Rebel Heart Trucking At MNP, we know that building a successful business requires vision, innovation, courage and leadership. It’s that conviction that sets you apart to accomplish something truly extraordinary. Congratulations Rebel Heart Trucking on 25 years of success. Visit to find a business advisor near you.




n 2018, we were reminded of a lesson we have learned before: we cannot expect our challenges to be solved by others, and we cannot trust our fate to decisions being made somewhere else. We, as Edmontonians, achieve more when we come together to envision the kind of city we want to live in and work together to make it happen. I know this because we have faced pivotal moments in our City’s story many times before. I have seen what happens when Edmonton rises to meet a challenge. The 1980s and 1990s were tough for Edmonton. To pull Edmonton through, we required collaboration from many people with a diversity of expertise. We have been very fortunate that so many committed and talented people stepped forward, taking on the mantle of city builders to drive deeper conversations about what we wanted our city to be. City builders recognize that our city is more than a network of roads and a collection of buildings. A thriving community requires people who want to build

lives here, it requires a strong economy so that people can find opportunities to provide for themselves and their families, and it requires arts and culture, sports, recreation, educational institutions, and philanthropic investments.




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Edmonton approach to economic prosperity and resilience must look like moving forward. In November, at our mid-year Shareholder meeting, Edmonton City Council approved a provisional expanded mandate for EEDC. This expansion in mandate gives us responsibility to provide economic development strategy advice to City Council, in addition to our current economic development, tourism and venue responsibilities, through which we drive nearly $200 million in economic impact annually. It is our commitment to you that our approach to strategy development will be open and collaborative, and that we will reflect the diverse needs and perspectives of our community in the recommendations we develop. In developing strategy, we need to look at our economic system and how all the parts of our economy work together. My sense is that focusing on prosperity and resilience will identify many opportunities for businesses and organizations to improve and grow and to support others in that journey. I see an overall leveling-up of our economy as key to achieving our goals. We need to have a conversation about the key drivers of our economy; the most effective ways to increase outputs that will create prosperity and instill resilience. EEDC is positioned to serve as the convener and facilitator of these conversations and, with many other partners, to assist in implementation.

In recent months our economic discussions have been paralyzed by the pipeline issue. While this is a critical issue, for most of us the most effective thing we can do is work on the things within our organizations, supply chains and networks that we can control and influence. I believe we need to tune out things we cannot control so that we can spend time working on what we can control – what the

Given this expanded mandate, EEDC will be conducting comprehensive public engagement sessions over the next few months. Throughout Edmonton’s history we have demonstrated repeatedly that we, the community, are the solution to the challenges that confront us. Waiting for outside help is not what we do. Taking responsibility together to face our challenges is the Edmonton way. I believe that everyone in their own way and with their own expertise is driving to create greater prosperity and resilience for our city. The only way to understand these concepts in a new, more impactful way is to share our unique experience and expertise with each other. Everyone has an opportunity to have their voice heard. Now is the time to get involved in charting Edmonton’s path forward. Visit to sign-up for an engagement session or leave your feedback. DEREK HUDSON IS THE CEO OF EDMONTON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (EEDC), AN ARMS-LENGTH, MULTI-DIVISIONAL, MULTI-LOCATION AGENCY OF THE CITY OF EDMONTON, ALIGNED THROUGH UNIFIED PURPOSE, VISION AND VALUES. THE ORGANIZATION OPERATES SIX DIVISIONS, WHICH INCLUDE EDMONTON TOURISM, EDMONTON CONVENTION CENTRE, EDMONTON EXPO CENTRE, INNOVATE EDMONTON, ENTERPRISE EDMONTON AND CORPORATE SERVICES.



“We just want to get good beer to the good people.” Hans has five kids if you count his business, Blindman Brewing—an idea sparked between friends and self-professed beer nerds. They brought their idea to ATB and we helped them get it off the ground. Three years later, Blindman is considered a veteran of Alberta’s brewing industry. We raise a frosty pint of River Session Ale to their continued success! See his story at

Hans, Blindman Brewing

Profile for Business in Edmonton Magazine

Business in Edmonton - March 2019  

Business in Edmonton - March 2019