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MAY 2017 | $3.50 BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM

Junior Achievement ALBERTA & NWT BUSINESS HALL OF FAME’S 2017 LAUREATES

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Dr. Prem P. Singhmar, Dr. Herb Belcourt and Paul Douglas



A SEAT AT THE TABLE

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EDMONTON CHAMBER SECTION

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THE SPEEDMASTER AUTOMATIC

AN ICONIC RACING DIAL RETURNS

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rue to OMEGA tradition, every new Speedmaster carries the spirit and design inspiration of the models that came before. In the new Speedmaster Automatic, this is immediately clear when you view the dial.

The distinctive minute-track style on this stainless steel watch first appeared on a 1968 Speedmaster model. Linked to the Speedmaster’s motor racing heritage, it returns again, this time on a matt-black dial. Other notable features on the dial include the orange markings and bevelled 18K white gold arrowhead indexes that are filled with white Super-LumiNova. For this Moonwatch facelift, the subdials have also been slightly expanded for improved readability, and the 44.25 mm case is thinner than previous versions, thanks to the work done on the sapphire crystal. The polished ceramic bezel features a brushed Liquidmetal® tachymeter scale as well as distinctive orange wording that matches the colour of the varnished hands and tip of the seconds hand. Around the wrist, there is a black leather strap that contains a section of orange rubber through the middle. A milling tool has then been used to create micro perforations through the constructed strap that reveal the orange rubber inside. This perforated design provides the perfect sporty look and also has the benefit of aerating the wearer’s skin. The Speedmaster Automatic represents the next Speedmaster model with Master Chronometer certification. Driven by the calibre 9900, the watch and its movement have reached the Swiss industry’s highest standard of precision, performance and magnetic resistance, as approved by the Swiss Federal Institute of Meteorology (METAS).


STORY TITLE // SECTION

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

REGULAR COLUMNS

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 Brad Wall is Picking the Wrong Fight By Josh Bilyk

12 45

 To Balance the Budget, Alberta’s Government Must Learn to Say “No” By Paige MacPherson

 Edmonton Chamber of Commerce

CONTENTS COVER FEATURE

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J unior Achievement Alberta & NWT Business Hall of Fame’s 2017 Laureates By Nerissa McNaughton

ON OUR COVER: ABOVE: DR. PREM P. SINGHMAR, DR. HERB BELCOURT AND PAUL DOUGLAS. PHOTO SOURCE: SMILEY EYES PHOTOGRAPHY

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

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STORY TITLE // SECTION

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

31

THIS MONTH’S FEATURES

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CONTENTS COMPANY PROFILES

31 59 63 69

E  vents Edmonton Celebrates 50 Years

AltaPro

Celebrates 30 Years

72 8

It Takes a Village

39

A Future Without Coal

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 ow is Edmonton’s Travel and H Tourism Industry Doing?

MAY 2017 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM

The Edmonton International Airport’s Cargo Village is a boon for efficiency and the economy. By Ramona Korpan

A New Path By Laura Bohnert

It’s no secret that Edmonton was affected by the low price of oil and gas, but how has the economic downturn affected our travel and tourism industry? By Nerissa McNaughton

Celebrates 35 Years

Celebrates 50 Years

How and why leadership needs to change in today’s labour market By Zachary Edwards

36

G  emini Corporation

A  lberta Wilbert Sales

A Seat at the Table

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What is Fintech? Fintech is the newest corporate buzzword. What’s it all about? By Nerissa McNaughton


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MAY 2017February // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM RUN 2017


BRAD WALL IS PICKING THE WRONG FIGHT // ECONOMIC FACTORS

Brad Wall is Picking the Wrong Fight BY JOSH BILYK

W

hen Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall chose to write a letter to eight Alberta-based energy companies promising generous subsidies and perks to relocate to Saskatchewan, he picked the wrong fight. When it comes to overall competitiveness, Alberta, so far, is still king. In the now-infamous letter, Premier Wall offers to subsidize relocations costs, cut taxes and royalties and even offered office space in under-used government buildings if the firms moved to Saskatchewan. Wall also touts Saskatchewan’s declining corporate tax rates and the absence of a carbon tax in that province. While corporate tax and resource royalty rates are relatively comparable, there’s another variable worth considering – the employees. No matter the industrial sector, one of the biggest challenges for employers is attraction and retention of skilled workers. An energy company looking to relocate to Saskatchewan would have to ask many of its employees to pull up stakes and plop down in Regina or Saskatoon. They might not like the response they get. For starters, unlike Alberta, Saskatchewan has a provincial sales tax that was actually hiked to 6 per cent in the most recent budget. It was also widened to include children’s clothing, restaurant meals and construction services. Altogether, these measures take nearly $700 million out of Saskatchewanians’ pockets. To offset some of the tax increase, the Wall government has committed to reducing corporate and personal income tax rates a half a percentage point; but any employee looking to relocate to Regina might experience some tax bill sticker

shock. A family of four earning $100,000 in Calgary would be paying $2,100 more in Regina. As for the Saskatchewan carbon tax advantage, Prime Minister Trudeau has committed to making a $50 per tonne carbon tax the law across Canada in 2022. Premier Brad Wall has been a blessing for Saskatchewan. He’s measurably reduced taxes and made the province more competitive to run a business. Saskatchewan has even drawn some investment from Alberta in recent years – without gimmicky offers of cheap office space and moving incentives. This kind of competition between jurisdictions has been a huge benefit to Canadians – particularly in the West. Taxes are lower, businesses are more profitable and workers generally have more money in their pockets. The New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTA), an agreement to reduce trade barriers in the western provinces, has improved the flow of goods and capital by making labour more mobile, streamlining regulations and opening public procurement policies. For a long time, Premier Brad Wall was the most vocal NWPTA proponent. Premier Wall’s stunt might have succeeded in deflecting attention away from his very tough budget, but in doing so he undermined the NWPTA and unnecessarily irritated neighbouring partners. Instead of poaching Alberta businesses with gimmicky giveaways and subsidies, Premier Wall should get back to the basics. Make Saskatchewan more competitive for all businesses – not just his hand-picked energy companies. In doing so he might actually do Albertans a favour in forcing our own government to follow suit.

ALBERTA ENTERPRISE GROUP IS A MEMBER-BASED, NON-PROFIT BUSINESS ADVOCACY ORGANIZATION. AEG MEMBERS EMPLOY MORE THAN 150,000 CANADIANS IN ALL SECTORS OF THE ECONOMY.

BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // MAY 2017

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TO BALANCE THE BUDGET, ALBERTA’S GOVERNMENT MUST LEARN TO SAY “NO” // PAIGE MACPHERSON

To Balance the Budget, Alberta’s Government Must Learn to Say “No” BY PAIGE MACPHERSON

W

ith the Alberta budget comes implications for Edmontonians and all Albertans – but no one more so than future generations of taxpayers.

With the NDP government’s initial platform promise of a balanced budget in 2018 nothing but a distant memory, the province is plunging itself deeper into debt, with no real plan to pay it off. By 2020, Alberta will have a record $71 billion in provincial debt (more than doubling the current $31 billion) and will pay $2.3 billion per year in debt interest payments to the banks. This year’s budget pencilled in a 2024 balanced budget date – though the ‘plan’ to get there is to cross our collective fingers and hope oil prices rebound. We’d all like to see oil prices spike upwards, but without a crystal ball, it’s not a solid plan and it avoids the government having to make any tough decisions. The sting for future generations will arrive when the proverbial debt collectors come knocking, when debt interest payments are eating up even more of the budget, when borrowing for services has become more expensive due to further credit downgrades, and when the debt load has become unsustainable. Those tough times could come sooner or they could come later, but either way, the free-spending decisions of today’s government will be paid for by someone else who will have to make the sacrifices these politicians are unwilling to make. This budget features a record level of infrastructure spending – over $9 billion this year alone. As such, Edmonton mayor Don Iveson gave the budget a thumbs-up. Edmonton is scoring money for transit, housing, so-called green infrastructure and more.

Absent from the hundreds of pages in the budget documents was any information on city charters – the forthcoming special agreements between the province and both Calgary and Edmonton – which could include new taxing powers for big city mayors or guaranteed revenue-sharing agreements between the cities and province, costing all Albertans more. Also missing from the budget was any projections on the price of upcoming labour deals. As negotiations with bigticket government employee unions are ongoing in Alberta, it’s important to note that the enormous $12.4 billion the province is adding to the debt this year doesn’t include any potential wage increases – meaning that number could snowball further. This is significant given that compensation eats up about 50 per cent of Alberta’s budget. Thinking optimistically, the government could hold a hard line with government employee unions and actually chip away at the deficit, but neither Premier Rachel Notley nor Finance Minister Joe Ceci has committed to that thus far. With the province’s cost pressures evident to anyone with a brain and a wallet, the government has the opportunity to rein in spending by approaching labour negotiations with a heaping spoon of reality. Despite Minister Ceci insisting the province has a revenue problem, reducing spending levels to that of British Columbia would completely eliminate our $10.3-billion operational deficit. On a per-person level, Alberta spends over $2,400 more than B.C., while delivering essentially the same services. A big part of that gap is compensation costs. Demands from mayors, unions and interest groups will always be high – but ultimately, the Alberta government must learn to say “no,” or they’re screwing over future Albertans who will pay the bill.

PAIGE MACPHERSON IS ALBERTA DIRECTOR OF THE CANADIAN TAXPAYERS FEDERATION.

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Board of Governors’ Chair Named at MacEwan University MacEwan University recently announced its new board of governors’ chair: Ione K. Challborn. Challborn is the current executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association – Edmonton Region and has previously held positions as the executive director of Edmonton Women’s Shelter (WIN House) and Yellowhead Emergency Shelter for Women. “I am deeply honoured to chair the board, and I look forward to working with students, stakeholders, fellow board members and the community to ensure MacEwan University continues its proud tradition as a first-class post-secondary institution,” says Challborn. “We are fortunate to have Ms. Challborn as our new board chair,” said university president David Atkinson. “Public members play an essential role in stewarding the university and ensuring the interests of the institution are represented.” The chair represents the board of governors to the minister of Advanced Education. “Ms. Challborn’s wealth of experience with boards and her proven commitment for advanced learning will help ensure that MacEwan University continues to be responsive to the needs of learners,” said Marlin Schmidt, minister of Advanced Education. “I also want to thank interim chairs Enzo Barichello and Carolyn Graham for their contributions and for serving in this important role while the recruitment took place.” Challborn’s interactions with MacEwan University go back to 1980. At that time, she was a project developer in continuing education. Challborn was also happy to support the University’s students through practicums in social work, early childhood development, and child/youth care. She has also been a very active supporter as a chair or committee member of numerous non-profit organizations, such as Edmonton Suicide Prevention and the United Way.

The position of board chair at MacEwan University is a voluntary one, and it does not come with an honorarium. Allowable expenses are reimbursed as per institutional policy. The term runs for three years with a possible secondterm reappointment. MacEwan University was founded, originally as a college, in 1971. There is a strong focus on teaching, which enables the students to focus on their learning experiences. The University is very proud of the reputation it has built, and continues to build, for over 45 years. Students enjoy more than 65 programs, which are offered in a supportive, warm, inclusive and collaborative learning environment. Creativity, research and innovation are encouraged among the faculty and students. Globe and Mail’s Canadian University Report scores MacEwan University highly, and in the publication’s 2014 report, MacEwan students awarded the University an A+ for outstanding teaching methods and reasonable class sizes, along with an A for the teacher quality and student-faculty interaction. The Board of Governors of Grant MacEwan University is a corporation, as set out in the Alberta Post-Secondary Learning Act. The Board reports directly to the Minister of Innovation and Advanced Education, and indirectly to the people of Alberta. Annually, the board submits a Comprehensive Institutional Plan and Audited Financial Statements to the minister.

ABOVE: IONE CHALLBORNE

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5:12 PM The moment it was time to kick off your shoes. As Spring is in the air and perfect for being outside; it is the most beautiful time of the year in Edmonton. Our Patio and gardens are now open. We want everyone to experience and enjoy the most breathtaking views in the city. Feel at home with us - join us for a meal on the patio or take off your shoes in the grass. Know that we want you to feel welcome and take a moment to discover your #redchairmoment. DONNA LYNN PHOTOGRAPHY


OFF

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The Edmonton Real Estate Forum Attracts More than 1,000 Real Estate Executives This year’s forum seeks to provide clarity to the state of the industry following declines in world-wide energy and commodity prices that have been seen since 2014. The Forum, which is now in its 18th year remains one of the largest real estate conferences of its kind in Western Canada, and promises to provide answers to increasingly pertinent questions such as: how much softness exists in the downtown office market? How are the industrial, retail and multi-residential sectors performing? Is investment interest in Edmonton still strong? What are the expectations with respect to oil prices rebounding, and when?

• George Schluessel, president and CEO, ProCura

Tom Redl, president and CEO, CHANDOS Construction Ltd, will chair the event.

• Cheryll Watson, vice president, Urban Economy, Edmonton Economic Development Corporation

“The Edmonton Real Estate Forum is about perspective and knowledge,” notes Redl. “While working in our own segment of the market, we can get tunnel vision of and not see the trends and influences that will ultimately impact our business. Attending the Edmonton Real Estate Forum and hearing the broad and high level experts will help us see the broader forces at play and give us the information we need for our own business strategy. This perspective and knowledge will allow attendees to identify and act on opportunities that are and will be available in the Edmonton Real estate market.”

• Cory Wosnack, principal, Avison Young

Notable speakers from the economic development, government and real estate sectors will include:

• Brandon Kot, managing partner, Canada ICI

Edmonton Real Estate Forum is a strong believer in affordable housing that supports and betters the greater community. As such, a donation to Habitat for Humanity has been made in lieu of speaker’s gifts. This gift is timely as Habitat for Humanity gears up for a productive year in 2017. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn are touring Canada and will be bringing their 34th Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project to Edmonton. This project includes building 150 new homes in Canada, 75 of which will be in Edmonton and Fort Saskatchewan.

• Jaime McKenna, senior vice president, finance and investments, Minto Properties

Those interested in the Forum can register online at www. realestateforums.com/edmontonref/register.

• Ivan Beljan, visioneer, Beljan Developments • Bill Blais, president and CEO, Maclab Development Group • Melanie Ducholke, CFO, Camgill Development Corporation • Don Iveson, mayor, City of Edmonton

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• Darin Rayburn, CEO, Melcor REIT

MAY 2017 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM

This event, which has been designed to fit every organization’s schedule and budget, is open to asset managers, brokers, corporate real estate executives, developers, investors and other professionals active in the ownership, management, leasing, financing and marketing of commercial, industrial, investment and residential real estate. The Forum will help these stakeholders find their way forward and determine strategies for 2017 onwards.


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A SEAT AT THE TABLE // LEADERSHIP ENGAGEMENT

A SEAT

at the Table

BY ZACHARY EDWARDS

HOW AND WHY LEADERSHIP NEEDS TO CHANGE IN TODAY’S LABOUR MARKET

I

n 2010, software company Intuit released their 2020 Report, a glimpse into the future economy and working world at the start of the next decade. By analyzing market and labour trends, the report points to numerous important shifts that now, seven years later, are dominating the global economy. “With continued credit shortages, enhanced ‘cloud’ services, broader contingent workforce and greater options for plug-and-play manufacturing,” the report explains in one key observation, “Small businesses will rely on variable cost business models to adapt, respond and adjust to the ever-changing marketplace.” In short, companies in the new economy need to be agile, adaptable and versatile. Tied to this need for versatility and adaptability is the labour force itself. The traditional business model of long-term, salaried employees working for a company that offers career development, has been replaced by what experts call “the gig economy,” a trend in North American employment that sees a drop in full-time employment, even as employment rates remain fairly steady. Between 1976 and 2014, according to Stats Canada’s Perspectives on the Youth Labour Market in Canada,

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SUCH CHANGES IN THE LABOUR MARKET MEAN LARGE, CENTRALIZED OPERATIONS ARE NOW BEING REPLACED WITH A SERIES OF OFFICES LOCATED ACROSS THE GLOBE. men between the ages of 17 and 24 saw a 17.7 per cent decline in full-time employment rates; and, according to the report, “when they have full-time jobs, youth are now more likely to be in temporary jobs than in the past.” In Canada’s oil-producing provinces, including Alberta, youth “generally fared better than those in non-oilproducing provinces.” Such changes in the labour market mean large, centralized operations are now being replaced with a series of offices located across the globe. The workers, too, are no longer lifelong employees but a network of contract labourers, parttime employees, and freelancers. Instead of a top-down, clearly defined structure based on experience and seniority, many


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A SEAT AT THE TABLE // LEADERSHIP ENGAGEMENT

offices are a web of interconnected parts where your closest coworker is just as likely to live in Mumbai as in Edmonton. These changes, the increased reliance on a global workforce and using more gig-based contract employment conditions, makes companies more agile, more versatile, and more adaptable, but businesses must rethink their best practices for leading their increasingly diverse, and increasingly disparate, workforce. Leading to Disrupt Many companies are turning to leadership development firms like IN.FORM. Established by former Edmonton Oilers accounts manager Tyler Waye, IN.FORM researches and analyzes leadership in new economies. Waye’s work has taken him around the world, most recently to China for a youth leadership conference, and given him a much-needed international perspective on the future of leadership. He says the new world is about disruption. “There are two big disruptions happening,” Waye explains. “A market-led disruption and a people-led disruption. Businesses are being forced to adapt or be ready to adapt. Nobody can see when or where it’s going to come, but they know it’s going to come. Second, there’s been an evolution of work that’s sped up in the past few decades, an increased pressure on individuals, and the fallout from that is pretty sincere in people’s individual lives and for organizations that are trying to tap into the highest potential of their people.” Heather Christensen, associate dean of executive education at the University of Alberta School of Business, agrees, pointing to recent companies that have completely changed their industries. “Ten years ago, Hilton Hotels probably never imagined that their greatest competitor would be a company that doesn’t own property,” she says, referencing Airbnb. “Uber is another great example – a cab company that doesn’t own any vehicles. These companies are disruptors and the challenge for leaders today is not just how they can predict and adapt to these changes, but inspire their workforce to help them become disruptors themselves.”

Finding Strength in Diversity Today’s leaders are caught between these two major shifts: the increasingly remote workforce and the need to be quick, decisive and effective in their decision-making. Part of the problem, according to Waye, is in the term “leadership” itself. “I study and teach leadership and it’s absolutely something that has a million definitions thrown at it. It drives me nuts,” he says. “When we say ‘leadership’ here at IN.FORM, [we] mean the ability to set a new direction and bring yourself and others along. It’s very different from management, which was a name it gained 30 or 40 years ago. That was the idea that a business was trying to become more efficient and make the gears run more smoothly so they could outrun the competition. That’s certainly a concern for modern businesses, but now their top concern is ‘are we pointed in the right direction?’” Troy Price, of Price Business Solutions Inc., has worked for over 15 years in the education and financial sectors. “Successful leaders, now and in the future, must learn to be nimble and make quick-time, accurate decisions,” he explains. “They must learn to rely on their keen intuition and trust in their people to help them move the company forward.” ABOVE: TYLER WAYE, FOUNDER, IN.FORM. RIGHT: TROY PRICE, PRICE BUSINESS SOLUTIONS INC. PHOTO SOURCE: SMILEY EYES PHOTOGRAPHY

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A SEAT AT THE TABLE // LEADERSHIP ENGAGEMENT

“SUCCESSFUL LEADERS, NOW AND IN THE FUTURE, MUST LEARN TO BE NIMBLE AND MAKE QUICK-TIME, ACCURATE DECISIONS, THEY MUST LEARN TO RELY ON THEIR KEEN INTUITION AND TRUST IN THEIR PEOPLE TO HELP THEM MOVE THE COMPANY FORWARD.” ~ TROY PRICE

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A SEAT AT THE TABLE // LEADERSHIP ENGAGEMENT

At the same time, Price says, inclusion is key. “Leaders must be involved. They need to invest their time and efforts in understanding and appreciating the unique and diverse cultures that they are a part of and allow everyone to do the same. It’s important to be educated on matters like these and to promote it when possible.” Part of that education is not just in high-concept abstraction, but in breaking down the assumptions that many businesses have in what works, and doesn’t. Christensen notes that one of the challenges she has discovered in working with Edmonton businesses is effective inclusivity where everyone has a voice but strong, decisive action is still taken. “Having a workforce that is diverse in culture and even geography requires a sensitivity to their culture and their working culture,” she says. “Some best practices here may be encouraging for many people and they will be able to

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contribute to the conversation. But those same practices may not work elsewhere. You need to ensure that everyone has a seat at the table, and that they feel comfortable voicing their opinions and concerns.” Inclusivity in discussions and decision-making is just one aspect of effective modern leadership. Today’s leaders need to also understand the barriers other groups face in becoming leaders themselves. “There is research that shows diversity in your leadership makes your company more effective, so we have to understand what barriers stop certain groups from reaching those key leadership positions,” Christensen says. “Obviously, the big one on everyone’s mind is women. What barriers exist for women and how do we help them become effective leaders, but these challenges face a number of cultural groups.”


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The global marketplace has changed almost everything about the modern office, from where it’s located to how people work within it, and that makes those that can lead corporations in this “new world” vitally important. Their value remains in their ability to inspire and, as Waye says, point their organizations in the right direction and recognize that there is strength in a diverse workforce, one that can be agile, create new solutions to new problems, and perhaps even cause a few disruptions in the process.

BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // MAY 2017

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JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT ALBERTA & NWT BUSINESS HALL OF FAME’S 2017 LAUREATES // COVER

Junior Achievement ALBERTA & NWT BUSINESS HALL OF FAME’S 2017 LAUREATES

BY NERISSA MCNAUGHTON

N

ow in its 37th year, the Junior Achievement of Northern Alberta & NWT Business Hall of Fame continues to honour the leaders that enhance our

business landscape while being active in the community and mentoring others. This year’s inductees are Dr. Herb Belcourt, Paul Douglas and Dr. Prem Singhmar.

ABOVE: DR. PREM P. SINGHMAR, DR. HERB BELCOURT AND PAUL DOUGLAS PHOTO SOURCE: SMILEY EYES PHOTOGRAPHY

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MAY 2017 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM


JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT ALBERTA & NWT BUSINESS HALL OF FAME’S 2017 LAUREATES // COVER

Dr. Herb Belcourt As the oldest of 10 children, Herb Belcourt grew up in a small log home near Lac Ste Anne. As a child, Herb saw his parents learn to survive – and thrive – despite the depression that had far-reaching effects in Alberta. His father launched a fur trading business and when Herb left home at age 15 to find work, his father cautioned him to save money so he could eventually work for himself. Dr. Belcourt took that advice to heart. For 30 years, Dr. Belcourt launched small businesses in Alberta, including an upholstery company, an installation and service company for rural telephone lines, and the very successful Belcourt Construction. Dr. Belcourt was also very passionate about improving his community and would, eventually, leave the private work sector to focus exclusively on his philanthropist ventures, most of which centred around Métis housing and education. “You can’t do things alone. You jump in with both feet and get it done. If there is a project to get done, get it done!” says Dr. Belcourt of how he’s managed his businesses and philanthropic career. “You have to take things at face value. Learn to trust people and learn to read people. Learn about their integrity. I don’t seem to have any problem with the people I meet. They become friends after a while. You have to be honest with people and people can tell it in the things you do. They know more about you than you do yourself. “Do a lot of things in your life, but you have to pay attention to your family, too. They are really the important ones. Look after your family. “I’m quite proud of everything I do. With the construction company, I had a lot of people working for me over the years, and when I sold it, I think I had 165 men in the field plus the office and shop. That was my bread and butter, really. Then I had other things going all at the same time. When I look back, I wonder, how did I do that? The clothing store, the restaurant, the movie theatres and the non-profit housing corporation… We had a general life skills program, a daycare centre, a senior citizen’s lodge in Gunn with 36 suites! All this was happening all through the ’70s.

“When I sold the private business in 1980, I went fulltime into the Canative Housing Corporation (a non-profit organization that provides affordable housing to Native peoples) and I never looked back.” When asked to give his best advice for youth in the Junior Achievement program, Dr. Belcourt said, “I always go by the gut feeling. If it’s worth doing and it feels good, get into it; but if there is any negativity or questions, don’t do it. If you have negativity, you will most likely fail. Be honest with yourself and do research. Don’t jump into things blind. Ask yourself, who are the people asking you to do things? Not everyone can go into business. Be honest with yourself and be positive in everything you do. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If there is a problem, you have to talk about it. You can’t hide a problem. It will surface. Just be plain honest with yourself and other people. People see that when you’re honest.” Dr. Belcourt noted that, when he learned he was being inducted into the Junior Achievement of Northern Alberta & NWT Business Hall of Fame, he “couldn’t believe it. It was beyond my wildest dreams, to be honest. You hear about the Hall of Fame, but I never thought about it. It’s been an incredible and mind-boggling experience so far. Unbelievable! A person doesn’t look at themselves for being

ABOVE: DR. HERB BELCOURT PHOTO SOURCE: SMILEY EYES PHOTOGRAPHY

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JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT ALBERTA & NWT BUSINESS HALL OF FAME’S 2017 LAUREATES // COVER

recognized. At the time, you do things because they are worth doing. People ask for your help so you do your best.” Dr. Belcourt humbly extends his thanks. “Number one is my wife. Thank you for putting up with me and understanding! My family. There are just so many people. I’d like to thank the world for believing in me, the people that nominated me for believing in me! I just can’t say thank you enough to so many people.”

Sadly, Dr. Belcourt has stage 4 cancer, and while his time here with us is coming to an end, his work, his influence and the positive impact he has had on the causes he cares so much about will endure. Dr. Belcourt lived his life to improve the lives of others, creating a ripple of goodwill that continues to expand and will positively affect countless generations; and for that, we owe him the deepest gratitude.

Paul Douglas Paul Douglas started his career with PCL Construction as a manager in the ’80s. By 2009 he was the company’s CEO, leading the organization through a period of great growth and success. Succeeded by Dave Filipchuk in 2016, Douglas is now chairman of the PCL board. “My role, as relates to entrepreneurship, is fostering entrepreneurship and encouraging it in others in continuing to enhance the PCL culture. Entrepreneurship is part of the culture,” muses Douglas. “Leadership is engaging others and working with others to have a synergistic effect that ends up with very successful results at the end of the day. To me, ‘entrepreneur’ is more of a spirt and attitude and leadership is more of a skillset that you continue to learn and build on year after year.” Douglas has had a very long and successful career, and is the recipient of many awards, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal, for his outstanding work at PCL and in the community. However, he cites being named an Alberta Business Leader in 2016 and being inducted into the Junior Achievement Alberta & NWT Business Hall of Fame as “the snowcap on the pinnacle.” Community-focused work is, for the Douglas family and for PCL, very important. “We are very proud, PCL and the Douglas family, of what we do for the community and the industry. The United Way has always been a big one for PCL and the Douglas family. When you become part of PCL, you become ingrained in the

United Way, so we can give back to every community that we work in. My wife, Cathy, and I have a focus on international organizations, education and development of women in third world countries. We believe it is an important part of raising people out of poverty in their situation and making less fortunate communities a better place.” The Douglas family is also passionate about the province’s healthcare system. “Healthcare in Alberta is something we are

ABOVE: PAUL DOUGLAS PHOTO SOURCE: SMILEY EYES PHOTOGRAPHY

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MAY 2017 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM


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JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT ALBERTA & NWT BUSINESS HALL OF FAME’S 2017 LAUREATES // COVER

fortunate to have, as is the standard and quality of care we do have. It’s thanks to people that sit on community boards to raise money, get the best equipment, researchers, and to train the best physicians. I sat on a number of those boards and continue to try to ensure that Alberta is a leader [in healthcare], and to make sure Edmonton is a leader in the world.” The Junior Achievement organization means a lot to Douglas. “I’ve been involved with Junior Achievement mainly through PCL, and I’ve certainly enjoyed the annual sessions and meeting all the passionate young Junior Achievers out there. The spirit they have is great to see for the future of Edmonton and the growth of it, and for their own future. They are learning a lot and get to practically apply their entrepreneurship on their first stages of being a business person.” His advice for Junior Achievers is, “Education is a given these days. Students are all being well-educated. The differentiator is their entrepreneurial spirit, and a lot of that comes

down to passion and attitude, combined with the ability to recognize opportunity and translate that into something practical and functional. Always remember, because you are always full of passionate exuberance, that there is so much more to learn, particularly in the areas of leadership.” When Douglas learned he was going to be inducted into the Junior Achievement Alberta & NWT Business Hall of Fame, he felt, “Shocked, actually! Then, as I reflected on it, I felt extremely proud to be included. I know a number of other people in the Hall of Fame and admire them greatly, including some former members of PCL. The Pools, the Stollerys…to be included in the group is humbling and truly an honour.” Douglas extends his thanks to PCL. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for PCL. They trained me, grew me and gave me the opportunities and probably nominated me for this award! I have to say a big thank you to them and my coworkers, as well as to the selection committee that saw me fit to join this great group.”

Dr. Prem P. Singhmar Dr. Prem Singhmar is the president of the Singhmar Group of Companies, which incudes Singhmar Development Inc. and AUM Hotel Group, among others. He holds a Bachelor of Medicine degree and a Master of Surgery degree. After nearly a decade of medical work in India and Libya, Dr. Singhmar and his family decided to see what else the world had to offer. They considered living in Belgium, Italy and the United States. They were in Los Angeles speaking with the consulate when they learned of a new immigration system that was bringing people to Canada. In 1985, the family landed in Edmonton, saw a farm they liked and purchased it. Dr. Singhmar and his family have been in Edmonton ever since. “We were just trying to move,” laughs Dr. Singhmar of his sudden appearance in Edmonton. “It wasn’t planned out. We did not know anyone here.” He managed the farm, a 20,000 bird egg-layer poultry operation, until 1987, transitioning a few years later to

ABOVE: DR. PREM P. SINGHMAR PHOTO SOURCE: SMILEY EYES PHOTOGRAPHY

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JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT ALBERTA & NWT BUSINESS HALL OF FAME’S 2017 LAUREATES // COVER

owning and managing more than 40,000 acres of agricultural land across Western Canada.

to go to the next level. You need things like art galleries, museums, citadels, etc.”

In 1998, he noticed a motel for sale. “I bought it, and then I kept buying them,” he remembers. “I built my first hotel in 1998, and then I built eight more.”

Over his long and varied career, the philanthropist and businessman learned many lessons that he is happy to share with aspiring Junior Achievers.

The Singhmar name is well known across Edmonton because the family is a strong supporter of arts and education, as evidenced by the approximately $6 million in donations and endowments bestowed upon the University of Alberta, The Art Gallery of Alberta, the Peter Lougheed Leadership College and many more.

“Work hard, stay within the law. Work with your gut feeling. I’ve made more mistakes than what I’ve achieved. When I look into it, I think how big of a screwball I was! If time could turn back, I could do much better, but hindsight is 20/20! We succeed, not because we are good, but because the system here is good. Go into anything and stick with it, and you’ll be fine.”

In 2014, the Singhmar family donated $2.5 million to NorQuest College, creating the Singhmar Centre for Learning.

He was surprised to learn that he was being inducted in the Junior Achievement Alberta & NWT Business Hall of Fame.

“I did this for two reasons,” Singhmar explains of the generous donation. “They [NorQuest College] do a wonderful job. They turn immigrants into taxpayers, but they are not well recognized for the work they do. We have invested in culture and education because we believe that education is important for society and culture is important for our city

“I got the call and it was very humbling. I thought, what are they doing? I don’t think I’ve done much. I’m very appreciative of them thinking like that. I’m very thankful to society in large in Canada, especially Edmonton. The people here are wonderful to work with. I’m thankful I had the fortune to work here.”

BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // MAY 2017

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of content that can be viewed, which will help protect businesses against a possible cyberattack. One of the great features of SmartSecurity is automatic, up-to-the-minute updates delivered via the cloud, so customers are always protected against the latest threats – keeping their network secure so they can focus on running their business. And for businesses with more than one location, SmartSecurity can connect multiple sites and allow employees to log into the network securely from anywhere. It’s that easy. Make sure your company is adequately protected from the threat of cyberattacks and hackers. Find out how SmartSecurity can help protect your company’s bottom line so you can focus on what’s important – your business. Shaw SmartSecurity is exclusively available bundled together with Shaw SmartWiFi or Business Internet. Plans start as low as $40/month on a three-year plan and include a Cisco Meraki MX64 security appliance. Speak to a Shaw business sales expert to find a plan that best suits your business’ needs. Call Shaw Business today at 1-877-482-4448 or visit shawbusiness.ca/SmartSecurity.

ABOVE: SHAW BUSINESS SMARTSECURITY. PHOTO SOURCE: SHAW COMMUNICATIONS

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MAY 2017 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM


Events Edmonton

Dishes Up the Best Summer Festival in the City By Nerissa McNaughton with photos courtesy of Heiko Ryll Studios

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vents Edmonton is the organization behind some of Edmonton’s largest, longest-running and most impressive events. A lot goes into creating memorable, family-friendly entertainment for Edmonton’s residents and guests, and today Paul Lucas, general manager, explains what goes on behind the scenes of its flagship event, Taste of Edmonton. “Events Edmonton is a non-profit charitable association and a major festival producer in Edmonton that produces the Taste of Edmonton, Canada’s largest outdoor food festival that attracts over 400,000 people every year,” says Lucas. “As part of the summer festival scene, Taste of Edmonton is an iconic event that is loved by many Edmontonians, and that adds to the vibrancy of the festival world here in Edmonton. Events Edmonton also supports 13 charitable and non-profit groups

with honorariums of upwards of $80,000 a year, and it has a volunteer base of 700. Our connection to the community is one of our core goals as an organization.” The organization has a long and interesting history. “Events Edmonton was founded from a need to support the Edmonton Exhibition’s launch of Klondike Days in the ’60s,” says Lucas. “A board was formed that included business leaders within the Edmonton region, and it was funded by Edmonton Exhibition, the City of Edmonton and a volunteer board along with hundreds of volunteer supporters. The Klondike theme was embraced during the ’60s, ’70s and 80s, and events were created to support the Klondike theme that was embraced all over the city.”

Events Edmonton | 50 years

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As the years went on, however, Klondike Days would undergo several changes, and this affected the organization. “The Klondike Days theme and our funding was pulled in the 1980s,” Lucas explains. “Our association was advised to cease and desist from using any reference to Klondike Days, hence we were rebranded in 2005 to Events Edmonton.” However, Klondike Days, now known as K-Days, was far from the only event the brand produced.

“As the Klondike Day association formed in the mid ’60s, so, too, did many activities in and around the city,” Lucas continues. “The Klondike Kate tea party, Sunday in the promenade, bath tub races, sourdough raft race, strong man competitions, parades, Canada Day celebrations, New Year’s Eve celebrations and fireworks were staple events undertaken by Events Edmonton.” Events Edmonton also launched one of the city’s most hotly anticipated, and well-attended, annual festivals: Taste of Edmonton.

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“Pip Martin (Philip Gosford Martin) was instrumental in bringing the concept of Taste of Edmonton to life after visiting the Taste of Chicago,” Lucas explains. “At the time, when the first Taste of Edmonton was held, Pip Martin was the executive director of the Edmonton Klondike Days Association. The team that helped to produce the first Taste of Edmonton Event included Gregory S. Martin, Shelley J. Martin, Don Clarke, and Beth McIntyre.”

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Lucas loves being a part of growing Edmonton’s history and contributing to its reputation as Canada’s festival city. “As a general manager, I am blessed to be here to continue the good work laid before me by previous management and past and present board members’ visions. I am very creative and always look at things from different perspectives before making decisions with my team. I am extremely proud of all

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the accomplishments my team has achieved in the past five years. Seeing the new brand of Taste of Edmonton flourish, introducing taste-sized bites for our guests and reducing the number of tickets required per person is something the public had been asking for – for a very long time. When we decided to rebrand and listened to many comments from the public about their perceptions of Taste of Edmonton, it became very clear that we were doing the right thing, and our public embraced it.” This festival is backed by some surprising statistics. “It costs approximately $200,000 to set up Taste of Edmonton for 10 days,” informs Lucas. “We start our setup on Monday afternoon and have it completed and ready for selling to the public by Wednesday night. With upwards of 20 contractors and service providers, we could not pull this event together without their dedication and attention to detail in making

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the event work. Around 9,000 volunteer hours are put into manning the event.” In addition to the contractors and volunteers, these events are successful thanks to the efforts of the expert leadership team to make sure everything runs smoothly, on time and on budget. “Empowering others and allowing for all opinions to be heard and debated is vital,” says Lucas of his leadership style. “Any leader is only as good as the team around him. I like having people with different points of view, left field thinkers and right field thinkers, who help give different perspectives, have passion in discussions and provide input into decision making. Hearing other ideas and concepts often opens doors to a different way of looking at things—and it gives the person the confidence to be heard and respected. “Work/life balance in the events business is challenging, but having gone through this for many years, I have learned the consequences (the hard way) of putting work first and myself last. I have matured and now take care of my needs first. Since

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doing that, I have balanced my life to be more equitable, and from that I feel I am a happier person. Empowering others and trusting in others is key to giving up the need to always stay in control of every decision. “As the custodian of leadership for the past five years, I feel very proud of the product we put before the public every year. We constantly want to improve and grow as a non-profit charitable association. It is challenging to stay ahead of the curve and keep the product fresh and new. The public loves our festival, and it is fun and enjoyable to celebrate our ethnicity through the sharing of food and music. “Our suppliers, contractors and supporters of Taste of Edmonton, along with every single owner and manager, believe in our business model and are always there to support us in every way they can. I am very blessed to have so many good contractors, staff, volunteers, board members, chefs, restaurant owners and the public all supporting our event and making it one of Edmonton’s most popular events to attend each year.”

“We have a huge challenge for 2018 when we are relocating from Churchill Square to make way for major renovations on Churchill Square and the new LRT station. We have looked at nine different sites over the past two years and we have still not settled on a suitable site to host 48 restaurants, 16 food trucks, the main stage and the Canadian Food Championships. The risk to our revenue sources are significant if we move our event away from the downtown core, as that could mean a drop in net sales of over $250K. Our future site selection will be critical because infrastructure, like power, water, sewer – and above all, location – are important elements in putting up a fully serviceable restaurant in the middle of the street in downtown Edmonton that is accessible to the public.” Yet, Lucas knows that he and Events Edmonton, a group that has kept Edmonton in celebration mode for over 50 years, are more than up for the challenge, and they will keep providing Edmonton’s residents and tourists with the important cultural events that make their hearts, and taste buds, sing.

Lucas and his team are not afraid to adapt, change and grow to meet the needs of the Festival City. “Rebranding Taste of Edmonton, and bringing in the Canadian Food Championships two years ago, has been one of the most gratifying moments in my career in the events business. The board of directors for Events Edmonton has created an environment of trust and positive reinforcement.

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IT TAKES A VILLAGE // TRANSPORTATION & DISTRIBUTION

It Takes a Village THE EDMONTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT’S CARGO VILLAGE IS A BOON FOR EFFICIENCY AND THE ECONOMY.

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estled between major highways and rail lines, home to a major oil and gas industry, and serving as a gateway to the North, the perfect storm of factors have combined to make Edmonton a hub for the cargo transportation industry. The city’s optimal geographic location positions it perfectly to serve as a connecting point for cargo transfers coming from or destined for the Prairies, the West Coast or the Northwest; and while the highways and rail lines make it a perfect hub for ground transport, the air cargo business is booming as well, thanks to a unique setup at the Edmonton International Airport (EIA). EIA’s Cargo Village is a one-stop shop for all things cargo. Cargo Village consolidates transport operations into one location, streamlining processes for both the airport and the cargo companies that do businesses there. Tenants of the village range from smaller, domestic outfits, to major international companies like FedEx, DHL and a number of international airlines that service locations across North America, Europe and beyond. Both the air and ground transport industries are represented there, providing a crucial connection point for inbound and outgoing cargo. As

the name suggests, Cargo Village operates as though it were its own town. “An Aerotropolis is a multi-modal airport city, and EIA has been recognized as one of two emerging Aerotropolises in Canada,” explains Alex Lowe, manager of cargo business development at the airport. “The Cargo Village is the cargo and logistics component of our larger Aerotropolis development at EIA.” It’s this Aerotropolis setup that makes Cargo Village a logistics utopia, where businesses that provide various services within the transportation sector come together and function as their own ecosystem. “A well-designed and functioning Cargo Village allows for the many complementary components of the cargo supply chain to operate within the same geographic area at the airport,” says Lowe. “This shortens transfer times, wait times and reduces handling, while improving safety and quality. Air cargo must move quickly and seamlessly through the many links in the supply chain, including, airlines, customs, warehouses, and trucking companies. Having all of these companies within the Cargo Village maximizes efficiency.” ABOVE: CARGO VILLAGE PHOTO SOURCE: CANADIAN NORTH

RIGHT: CARGO VILLAGE PHOTO SOURCE: EDMONTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

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BY RAMONA KORPAN


IT TAKES A VILLAGE // TRANSPORTATION & DISTRIBUTION

Village has created clear efficiencies,” he says. “Our proximity to operators who offer complementing services has enabled a closer, more efficient working relationship with a quicker flow of cargo between our respective facilities.” Though many of the businesses in Cargo Village are competitors vying for the same jobs from the same customers, they still make for friendly neighbours. The proximity between cargo transport outfits reduces transfer time between companies, benefiting both parties and helping them with business retention, which provides a competitive advantage. “We saw clear advantages to relocating our cargo infrastructure to a location in close proximity to a wide array of other cargo operators and supply chain participants,” says Lewis. “This proximity has enabled shorter transfer times between ourselves and these neighbouring facilities.”

Canadian North provides air cargo and passenger transportation services to and from northern locations. They maintain a cargo services location in Cargo Village. Kelly Lewis, manager of communications at Canadian North, agrees with the notion that efficiency is the biggest benefit to Cargo Village. In fact, that’s precisely why the company chose to set up shop in there in 2015. “Relocating to Cargo

It’s not just the business-to-business relationships that make Cargo Village a prime spot for transporters. The airport has also implemented other services, amenities and infrastructure that keep cargo loads moving quickly and efficiently on to their next destination. Dedicated runways, crews and warehouses keep things rolling and reduce the risk of delays while providing rapid customs service. Canada Border Services Agency access and bonded warehousing ease bureaucratic burdens for international freight. It’s a carefully

INSET TOP: CARGO VILLAGE PHOTO SOURCE: EDMONTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

INSET BOTTOM: CARGO VILLAGE PHOTO SOURCE: CANADIAN NORTH

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IT TAKES A VILLAGE // TRANSPORTATION & DISTRIBUTION

THE ADVANTAGES OF CARGO VILLAGE SPREAD FAR BEYOND THE COMPANIES THAT USE THE FACILITIES. ACCORDING TO LEWIS, THE BENEFITS ARE PASSED ON TO CUSTOMERS OF TRANSPORT COMPANIES AS WELL. thought out setup made possible not only by wise planning, but by the luck of the area’s sweeping, wide open landscape. “Other airports have cargo areas, but EIA is blessed with the largest land area of any airport in Canada,” says Lowe. “Therefore we have the ability to plan well into the future and stay slightly ahead of demand. This allows the passenger side of our business and the cargo side of the business to grow simultaneously. We have ample space to expand the terminal, while allowing lots of room for continued growth of our cargo operations.”

When thinking of transportation and logistics at EIA, it’s important not to overlook private charter services. Airco Aircraft Charters, for example, provides (among many other charter services) hot shot transportation for cargo.

The advantages of Cargo Village spread far beyond the companies that use the facilities. According to Lewis, the benefits are passed on to customers of transport companies as well. “Our customers are benefiting from reduced transition time,” he explains, “which, in many instances, can speed up their overall delivery times.”

Airco notes that oil and gas companies, especially in Edmonton and Calgary, frequently need parts or personnel on an emergency basis. In the oilfield, equipment failure can cause costly downtime and, depending on the situation, can create a health hazard. In these situations, Airco can quickly and efficiently transport cargo and crews to site.

Lowe sees the benefits spreading even further, creating a positive impact on the regional economy and job market. “Cargo airlines and logistics companies prefer airports that allow them to arrive, be offloaded and loaded, and depart, as quickly and efficiently as possible. This is critical to staying on schedule and controlling costs,” he explains. “This comprehensive type of operation creates an import and export friendly logistics hub, connecting our region to the global market. The resulting flow of goods, in turn, drives investment and job creation in our region, which is EIA’s mission, as well as contributing to economic diversification.”

Mary Anne Stanway, Airco’s managing director, points out why her fleet is so dependable for hot shot cargo.

At the end of the day, it’s more than just the location, the facilities or the specific companies that make Cargo Village thrive. It’s the relationships and cooperation among companies that give it its upbeat energy and create an ideal business environment for transport companies. Lewis can attest to the valuable role neighbourly relationships play in keeping business running and customers happy. “Being an early arrival to Cargo Village has enabled us to build closer

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working relationships with a wide array of service partners and collaborate more effectively based on our close proximity to each other,” he says. “By working together, we are able to operate more efficiently and reduce transfer time between our respective facilities. There are clear benefits for operators located within Cargo Village, and the customers we serve.”

MAY 2017 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM

“Depending on the destination and the type of cargo, our Piper Navajo Chieftains can carry up to 1,000 pounds per load.” She further notes that, “Airco’s Beechcraft King Air 100s and Beech 1900Ds can fly further at higher altitudes and faster speeds. Under ideal conditions the 1900D can carry up to 4,500 pounds. Airco is also an approved dangerous goods carrier and can often be in the air within two hours of an emergency call.” Airco’s convenient location at EIA means the charter company can manoeuver quickly, providing the safe and reliable service companies need. EIA and the many cargo companies on site place Edmonton prominently on the international stage for efficient transportation and logistics management, and as the airport continues to grow and expand, the Aerotropolis will continue attract positive attention locally and abroad.


A FUTURE WITHOUT COAL // NATURAL RESOURCES

A FUTURE WITHOUT COAL BY LAURA BOHNERT

A NEW PATH

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he Climate Leadership Plan is already in motion, aiming to improve air quality and transition to clean and renewable energy sources by 2030—but is the phase-out of coal-fired electricity really the best move for an economy that is still reeling from a recession? According to a spokesperson from Environment and Climate Change Canada, “The use of coal as combustible to generate electricity is responsible for close to three quarters of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Canada’s electricity sector, and over eight per cent of Canada’s total GHG emissions. Coal units are among the largest sources of air pollution in the country, including sulphur dioxides, nitrogen oxides, and mercury pollutants, which cause significant health and environmental impacts. “Health studies completed by the Pembina Institute estimate that, in 2014, pollution from coal power resulted in more than 20,000 asthma episodes and hundreds of emergency room visits and hospitalizations, costing the healthcare system over $800 million annually.” Combustion of coal isn’t the only means through which pollutants are introduced into the environment; Environment and Climate Change Canada suggests that mining for coal can be harmful, too, although, “These impacts vary according to the mining method used as well as the local geology, climate, and rainfall. Coal mining operations can generate effluent, processing tailings, and solid waste, like waste rock.

“Budget 2017 lays out the Government’s plan to invest $21.9 billion in green infrastructure, including initiatives that will support the implementation of the Pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change. Together, this investment could support the attraction of the capital investments necessary to transition Canada’s electricity system towards 90 per cent non-emitting electricity by 2030. “To support the transition away from coal towards cleaner sources of generation, performance standards for natural gas-fired electricity are also being developed,” says Environment and Climate Change Canada. The requirements will ensure that new natural gas-fired units are built using efficient technology and will set clear parameters around the use of boilers converted from coal to run on natural gas. Canada also has some of the most abundant and affordable sources of hydro, wind, and solar power,” concludes the organization. “Coal mining has an area footprint impact over the course of the mine’s life,” explains Darryl Nelson, president of Nelson Environmental Remediation Ltd. “However, Alberta companies have great expertise in the remediation, reclamation and restoration of these facilities for long-term use of the land following mine decommissioning.” He explains, “The cleanup perspective of coal facilities is similar to those from other carbon-based energy facilities. Our thermal desorption process extracts and destroys organic contaminants while returning valuable, productive soil to the site for reclamation. The same values recognized

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A FUTURE WITHOUT COAL // NATURAL RESOURCES

by other industries, such as oil and gas, petrochemical, manufacturing, industrial brownfield redevelopment, and others, can be realized by the coal industry.” Those efforts in remediation could mean job creation for an economy that could be looking at significant job losses. “We put Albertans to work cleaning up sites in Alberta and elsewhere, providing job creation and, at the same time, delivering responsible environmental solutions,” says Nelson. “These facilities will be replaced with new generating capacity while also providing long-term jobs, increasing efficiency, and decreasing environmental impact. “Renewable energy sources often have a small environmental footprint, but much must be considered in the manufacturing and operation of these installations to get a true picture of the impact reduction, as there are many variables. Natural gas-fired electrical production can result in greater energy production for a given amount of carbon emission. Nuclear can be a very responsible solution when employed properly. Technology continues to advance on all of these fronts in terms of efficiency, responsibility, and lifecycle cost. “Over our 25 years in this industry, we have witnessed great improvements in facility design/operation and a broader life cycle awareness of environmental impact. Responsible corporations today have a strong focus in developing operational expertise to minimize that impact. It has taken years for the industry to evolve to where it is today, and it will continue to evolve for decades into the future.” However, as Robin Campbell, president of the Coal Association of Canada, describes, the Alberta government’s decision to label coal as an environmental detriment—and the main culprit for greenhouse gas emissions—is going to have a lot of impacts. “It’s going to impact miners, some of whom have some of highest-paying jobs in Alberta; it’s going to have an effect on future power reliability and it’s going to impact energy prices moving forward.” Campbell adds, “The government wants to go one-third renewable energy sources and ramp up natural gas, but there have been no concrete plans outlining how that looks or what it will cost. Studies report that it will take billions of dollars to convert the energy industry. Those costs create a lot of

concern, but there are also a lot of good paying jobs at risk. Around 13,000 jobs in Alberta are employed by coal mining, and the average coal minor makes $100,000 per year. “The consumer is being put at a disadvantage, too. Coal is one of the cheaper sources of energy. There are six billion tons of thermal coal ready to be used, and the mines are ABOVE: DARRYL NELSON, PRESIDENT OF NELSON ENVIRONMENTAL REMEDIATION LTD. PHOTO SOURCE: EPIC PHOTOGRAPHY INC.,

BELOW: ROBIN CAMPBELL, PRESIDENT OF THE COAL ASSOCIATION OF CANADA

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// NATURAL RESOURCES

close to power plants. It’s what we refer to as a mine-to-mouth operation; the coal is taken right out of the pit and trucked right into the power plant.” Easy access isn’t the only thing keeping those prices low. “Because it is used domestically, it is easier to control the price of coal than it is to control the price of natural gas, a world-wide commodity,” says Campbell. Alberta doesn’t need to be reminded of the detriment that can be caused when the international market causes a drop in the price of a commodity that is, quite literally, fueling the bulk of the economy. “For the local economies and towns who depend on the coal mines, this move could be devastating: real estate will drop, small businesses could go under, there will be a decrease in services, fewer opportunities, school and health systems will suffer,” lists Campbell. “The move may also be enough to slay investment in the province. Investors in heavy industry want good, reliable, and affordable power—it’s important to the business plan,” he adds, pointing to the Australia brownouts as an example of the kind of unreliable energy that could deter investors. “Global warming aside, it still gets cold in Alberta—we need reliable power when we flick that switch.” The government has proposed creating green jobs as compensation for the loss of coal mining positions; however, “There is nothing we believe they could do to replace the number and wages of jobs that will be lost,” Campbell emphasizes. “The Ontario government didn’t create nearly as many jobs as they said they would. A lot of companies outsourced or brought people with them, and how many people does it take to run wind farms versus a coal mine? There is no comparison.” As for converting old coal-fired plants into natural gas, “Not all of them can be converted,” notes Campbell. “Some will have to change their infrastructure to accommodate transmission lines, etc.—there are a lot of unanswered questions, and we haven’t seen a plan from the government on what that is going to look like.” Could there be an alternative to a complete phase-out of coal? As Campbell suggests, it’s all about technology. “New technology, like carbon capture and storage, can allow us to burn coal as clean as we can natural gas—it’s just a matter of implementing the technology and investing in it. Any company that is already doing that needs assurances that it can continue to operate, but for Alberta, that’s a no. Period. We asked the government if we could continue to use coal for power if emissions could be brought to zero and they said no. It’s an ideology versus a business plan, and the government has basically ignored the coal miners.”

THANK YOU

To all our supporters!

3508 56 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6B 3S7 Phone: (780) 463-2423 theicecreamdepot.ca BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // MAY 2017

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HOW IS EDMONTON’S TRAVEL AND TOURISM INDUSTRY DOING? // TRAVEL & TOURISM

HOW IS EDMONTON’S TRAVEL AND TOURISM INDUSTRY DOING? IT’S NO SECRET THAT EDMONTON WAS AFFECTED BY THE LOW PRICE OF OIL AND GAS, BUT HOW HAS THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN AFFECTED OUR TRAVEL AND TOURISM INDUSTRY?

BY NERISSA MCNAUGHTON

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n recent years, Edmonton’s reputation as the premier festival city in Canada was touted in travel guides and spread across the Internet, thanks to travel writers and bloggers. Is that momentum still going strong? Grant McCurdy, general manager of Doubletree by Hilton™ West Edmonton, notes, “The overall Edmonton market is down 10 per cent, but there are 600 new [Hilton] rooms coming on board this year. We have remained strong, building on community relationships and being flexible to the needs of the consumer. In Edmonton, both occupancy and rates are down due to lessened demand, especially in the corporate sectors. Edmonton is the supply and service sector for the oil industry. When prices are down and production slows down, all business is affected.” Regardless of what the economy is doing, Doubletree by Hilton West Edmonton continues to provide outstanding service and remains very much in demand, as is evidenced by its four recent awards: Employer of Choice for the second consecutive year; Leader of the Year, recognizing general manager Grant McCurdy; the CARE Cup, which

PHOTO SOURCE: EDMONTON TOURISM

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HOW IS EDMONTON’S TRAVEL AND TOURISM INDUSTRY DOING? // TRAVEL & TOURISM

“TOURISM IS AN INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT AND KEY INDUSTRY WHEN CONSIDERING THE NEED TO DIVERSIFY OUR ECONOMY. MORE THAN JUST A BUSINESS SECTOR, IT’S AN ECONOMIC DRIVER THAT CROSSES MULTIPLE INDUSTRIES AND SUPPORTS GROWTH IN EDMONTON, AND ALBERTA, IN A MYRIAD OF WAYS.” ~ MAGGIE DAVISON recognizes hotels that create a rewarding experience for guests; and Hilton’s highest global recognition, the Connie Award, acknowledging the top Hilton Worldwide hotel for exceptional products and outstanding service. “We are incredibly proud to be honoured with four awards recognizing our commitment to culture, leadership and guest experiences,” says McCurdy. McCurdy describes the city as one of the things that keeps Edmonton’s tourism sector thriving: “Edmonton offers all the attributes of an urban centre with the wilderness at our back door,” and that is something that Maggie Davison, vice president, Edmonton Tourism, can agree with. “Edmonton is one of the youngest and fastest-growing cities, in the fastest-growing province in Canada. In just two years, the city of Edmonton gained 60,000 new residents, and the city population is expected to double by 2050,” says Davison. “Throughout the recession, tourism has continued to be a support to the economy. Edmonton has some great opportunities for tourism growth, including direct flights, new visitor attractions (like Rogers Place and the Royal Alberta Museum) and a low dollar. Canada is also known as a safe travel destination, which resonates with travellers because many other competing destinations struggle with safety concerns.” Davison has seen slight a rise in tourism in Edmonton. (It is important to note that McCurdy and Davison are assessing different markets – the corporate-driven accommodation sector and the broader market, made up of tourists who are here to visit families and take in non-corporate events.) “The Edmonton region saw 8.5 million visitors in 2014 (up 12 per cent from 2013) and $1.9 billion in visitor spending

in 2014 (up 5 per cent from 2013),” reports Davison. “Tourism supports 45,000 people that are employed in accommodation and food services in the Edmonton region, the average length of stay per overnight visitor is 3.1 nights, and 14.6 nights is the average length of stay in the Edmonton region for overseas visitors. In 2016, Destination Canada reported that Canadian tourism arrivals hit a 14-year high, welcoming 19,979,334 travellers—the highest number since 2002 and the second highest ever. In further positive news for tourism growth, Statistics Canada announced recently that more and more international visitors are choosing Canada in 2017. This, in addition to expected increases in travel across the country for those wanting to participate in celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday, provides an opportunity to boost tourism nation-wide.” She notes the importance of these numbers. “Tourism is an incredibly important and key industry when considering the need to diversify our economy. More than just a business sector, it’s an economic driver that crosses multiple industries and supports growth in Edmonton, and Alberta, in a myriad of ways: 19,000 tourism operators, 127,000 tourism jobs, and $8 billion in visitor expenditures (stats via Travel Alberta’s 2014-15 annual report). “With our abundant natural resources and diverse economy, Edmonton is the city for people to make their dreams a reality. Have an idea? Taking a risk is the most Edmonton thing you can do. It’s a statement we believe so strongly in that the phrase now appears on the side of a downtown building (10150 100 Street). At Edmonton Tourism, we believe in this statement, positioning our city as a vibrant and exciting urban centre—one with unlimited potential for entrepreneurs. We focus on brand-aligned destination

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HOW IS EDMONTON’S TRAVEL AND TOURISM INDUSTRY DOING? // TRAVEL & TOURISM

marketing and a complete range of supporting programs and services that are accessible to our stakeholders, festivals, events, hotels, attractions, restaurants and activity companies located in Edmonton to encourage tourism operators and business, which supports and drives visitation. From culinary and shopping, to outdoor activities and major events, Edmonton has it all. There’s no shortage of things for visitors to see and do.” Soon, there will be even more things to see and do for residents and guests. “The federal government just announced $47.8 million in funding for Fort Edmonton Park with plans for an expansion of the Indigenous Peoples Experience, new midway rides and upgraded visitor services utilities among the highlights,” says Davison. “And of course, there is West Edmonton Mall, still the largest shopping and entertainment complex in North America, with an estimated 31 million visitors annually. We want Edmonton to be a destination 52 weeks of the year to highlight all the great things going on. We don’t just tell our visitors there’s a lot to see and do – we inspire them to immerse themselves in experiences that will leave a lasting impression.” Speaking of lasting impressions, Rogers Place in ICE District, one of the newest and most sought-after tourist destinations in Alberta, continues its runaway success. “In our first six months of operations, Rogers Place has welcomed over 1.5 million guests for everything from hockey and concerts to a gala held in Ford Hall.

Our incredible Live Entertainment Team went after an extremely aggressive opening schedule and I think it’s paid off in spades, as is evidenced not only by the number of visitors, both locally and from across North America, but also by the calibre of concerts and events that are now taking notice of Rogers Place,” says Andrea Goss, manager, corporate and Rogers Place communications. “Edmonton has always had unique gems and local hotspots to showcase, but Rogers Place has quickly become a destination for people, not just within neighbouring provinces or in Canada, but around the world, too! We’ve had visitors from as far as Germany and Australia who, without knowing much about the city, were excited to see Edmonton’s new downtown arena and the Edmonton Oilers. In addition, we’re noticing that guests are spending more time before and after events in the downtown core, including overnight stays at a number of neighbouring hotels.” Goss expects this trend to continue. “As ICE District begins to shift from construction to operation, it will become the epicentre of excitement in Edmonton. Visitors may come for a hockey game or their favourite artist, but they will be able to take in festivals and outdoor activities in the public plaza. They’ll be able to walk from their cozy room at the J.W. Marriott to some of Edmonton’s finest restaurants and retail shops. It’s about bringing the downtown core to life and creating a connectivity for locals and visitors alike.”

ABOVE: ROGERS PLACE PHOTO SOURCE: ROGERS PLACE

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The Edmonton Chamber and the United Way: Celebrating a Remarkable History Together

2017 Board of Directors Executive

Chair: James Merkosky Partner, Tax Services, Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP Vice Chair: Len Rhodes President & CEO, Edmonton Eskimo Football Club Treasurer: Bryan DeNeve Senior Vice President Finance & CFO, Capital Power Past Chair: Bill Blais President and CEO Maclab Development Group

Directors

Dr. Glenn Feltham President & CEO, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology Crystal Graham Partner & Licensed Interior Designer, Kasian Architecture Interior Design & Planning Ltd. Dawn Harsch President & CEO, Exquisicare Inc. Alyson Hodson President & CEO, zag creative Elan MacDonald President, Impact Consulting Scott McEachern Vice President, Engineering & Projects, Enbridge Pipelines Inc. Dennis Schmidt Partner, Dentons Canada LLP Craig Thorkelsson Manager, Corporate Taxation PCL Constructors Inc. Liza Wold Partner, Miller Thomson LLP

Chamber Executive

Janet Riopel President & CEO Edmonton Chamber of Commerce Max Frank Vice President, Membership & Operations Edmonton Chamber of Commerce Ian Morris Vice President, Finance Edmonton Chamber of Commerce Danuta Woronowicz Vice President, Policy & Outreach Edmonton Chamber of Commerce

Contact

Edmonton Chamber of Commerce #600 – 9990 Jasper Avenue Edmonton, AB T5J 1P7

By Janet M. Riopel, President & CEO

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he Edmonton Chamber has deep and lasting ties to the Capital Region’s United Way. Ever since Edmonton’s Community Chest (the forerunner of today’s United Way) was formed in 1941, the Edmonton Chamber has strongly supported and been involved in united fundraising campaigns, which benefit multiple organizations. In December, 1958, the Chamber endorsed forming a United Appeal in Edmonton. The Chamber was concerned over “the increasing difficulties in reaching the objectives of the Community Chest, and the multiplicity of charitable and health appeals in our City.” The Chamber reached out to Francis Winspear, 1948 Chamber Board Chair, and highly-respected business leader, to form an independent committee of “top-flight people” tasked with looking into establishing a united appeal. Representatives of the committee included organized labour, key contributors, and civic government. By 1960, the United Community Fund had been established, expanding the original Community Chest from 28 to 46 social service agencies, with Winspear as its President. The Chamber urged its members to support the fund, as noted in the historical newsletter: “One deduction for welfare, given to the United Community Fund, can and will represent Edmonton’s needs.” The Chamber also encouraged its members to make junior executive personnel available to assist in the promotion and organization of payroll deduction plans for the fundraising campaign. That campaign, which started in October 1960, raised over $1 million in just two months - the first time that a fundraising campaign had gone over the million dollar mark in Edmonton. Francis Winspear made a huge contribution through his efforts with the United Community Fund, and through many other community-building endeavours he was a benefactor of with his wife, Harriet Snowball Winspear. He went on to donate $6 million to build Edmonton’s Francis Winspear Centre for Music, the largest single private donation to a performing arts facility in Canadian history. Since 1941, at least 32 of the Chamber’s Board Chairs have been involved in the United Way and its forerunners, in various roles including leading its campaign cabinet. I was Board Chair in 1996 and have personally been a supporter and champion of the United Way for many years. I had the honour and privilege of serving as Capital Campaign Chair in 2005. Eleven of our Board Chairs have served as Campaign Chairs or Co-chairs, including the current Campaign Co-chair, Carman McNary, who was the Chamber’s 2010 Board Chair.

T: 780.426.4620 • F: 780.424.7946

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As with my campaign in 2005, the funding from each successive campaign is desperately needed by our community. I can’t fully express how gratifying it is to be involved. I’ve seen firsthand how their work really does change lives and provide crucial support to children and their families, and to so many people throughout the Edmonton Region. Back in 1958, I’m not sure that the Board realized the impact they would create when they first approached Francis Winspear. I am certain, however, that they would look proudly and with tremendous satisfaction upon their legacy—the United Way of the Alberta Capital Region. The United Way is now 75 years old and going strong. The Edmonton Chamber has just turned the page on its 128th year. Through the focused and committed efforts of community

leaders working together with Edmonton’s caring and generous businesses, we will continue to strengthen the bonds between our organizations and change the lives of those supported by the United Way. That is something to celebrate. If you are attending the Mayor’s State of the City Address at the end of May, you will get a special glimpse of the considerable history between the United Way and the Edmonton Chamber. I hope you can join us. The Edmonton Chamber wants to hear from you. Do you have a special connection to the United Way? Is your organization a longtime contributor to the annual campaign? Please email us at policy@edmontonchamber. com and we will post your responses in our e-newsletter.

Members in this Issue University of Alberta in A Seat at the Table on page 18 Edmonton International Airport, Canadian North, Airco Aircraft Charters in It Takes a Village on page 36 Nelson Environmental Remediation in A Future Without Coal on page 39 Doubletree by Hilton West Edmonton in How is Edmonton’s Travel and Tourism Industry Doing? on page 42 KPMG, ATB Financial in What is Fintech? on page 55

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AMVIC Licensed


RenovationFind Member profile RenovationFind Keith Riley, Owner/CEO renovationfind.com What’s your story? I have owned a granite countertop company for 10 years and we are usually one of the last contractors involved in major home renovations. Over the years, I have heard countless stories of homeowners being ripped off by bad contractors. Not only were people having a hard time finding quality contractors, the renovation industry was getting a bad reputation. In order to protect consumers from being ripped off and change the perception of the industry, there needed to be a place where people could find certified, reputable general contractors and renovation companies.

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RenovationFind.com is an online directory of contractors, renovation companies and suppliers that have passed background checks and achieved professional certification. RenovationFind.com eliminates the stress of renovating by providing consumers with listings of home service companies they can trust. It also helps to build a strong, successful community of home service companies who are committed to quality work, products and customer service. What are three things people are surprised to learn about your business? 1. Companies on our directory are not just vetted once. They are continually monitored on seven of the most important criteria to provide homeowners with legitimate, ethical and trustworthy companies.


2. RenovationFind is not a review site so there are no fake reviews. We monitor complaints but we do not publish them. RenovationFind is a research based website. 3. RenovationFind turns down over 70% of the companies that try to join. We are only looking for the best companies in every category. We limit the amount of companies that can be listed in every category. By limiting the number of companies we list in each category, the companies listed are 1 out of 10, and not 1 out of 500. What has surprised you in the last 12 months? I’m surprised that, during hard economic times, some business owners are cutting their marketing spend. I feel like now is the time to advertise if you want to stand out from the crowd. What has been your biggest challenge in the last 12 months? Finding the work-life balance. What’s your secret to keeping your employees engaged? Involving our employees with company decisions and letting them contribute to the growth of the company.

improvement to Edmonton’s business environment, what would it be? To educate business owners on the value of customer service. I find that more and more businesses are forgetting what customer service means. What is your favorite thing to do in Edmonton? Play soccer with my two boys. Apple or android? Android Your most favorite place in the world? I have not traveled that much, but I would have to say that my most favorite place that I have been to so far would be Negril, Jamaica. To learn more about RenovationFind and find trusted professionals to help you maintain and improve your home, check out RenovationFind.com.

Experience…

Do you have a personal mantra? Don’t make excuses, make improvements. What do you enjoy most about being a Chamber member? The amount of events that the Chamber offers. We are an online company, but we still feel that being on the ground and talking to business owners and customers is really valuable. Our Chamber mandate is to create the best environment for business in Edmonton. If you could make one substantial

VISIT US AT

EPGCC.AB.CA

CALL US

780-470-0700

BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // MAY 2017

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Big Opportunity for Your Small Business

A

s a small business owner, you have probably heard the term ‘Brand’ or ‘Branding’ before. You would have touched on branding when you decided on the name of your business and designed your logo. But there is so much more to branding, and by understanding more about what branding is, the better positioned you will be to discover your authentic brand and add value to your small business. So what is brand? Your brand is like a personality. Its attributes define who and what your business is all about. Your brand should inform your customer about your business, your employees, and your core values – and in a memorable way. To understand your brand, you need to define: • Who you are • Why you do what you do • What makes you different • Who your audience is • Why would they care • The promise and experience you will consistently deliver on, and reflect in all you do and say. Randy Cronin from RED The Agency, a marketing services company in Edmonton, says “Small businesses and start-ups may not think

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branding is for them, but whether you are an entrepreneur, a new small business, or have been in business for many years, branding plays an important role in your business proposition.” As the Director of Strategy, Randy is in the businesses of helping organizations better understand and articulate their unique value proposition and their brand DNA. How can branding support your small business? Branding helps people identify and recognize your products and services, and differentiates you from your competitors. Your brand helps to position your business against competitors, capture customer loyalty, build consumer trust, and help you be top of mind when customers are looking to purchase a product or service. Branding can include: • Visual identity: including logo, colors, website, etc. • Product design or packaging • Customer experience in your store and/or online • Advertising • Pricing • Sponsorships


Join our free loyalty membership and generate points while you play! Earning points is easy!

We offer different ways to earn points through our program. Below are just a few of the ways.

How do you discover your authentic brand? When you are thinking about your brand, think about what you feel the core essence of your business is. What is your unique value proposition? Some good questions to consider include: • How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors? • What are your most important values? • What kind of personality do you want to put forward? • Who do you want to attract?

Rounds of golf Food and Beverage purchases Merchandise Tournaments and more! Every user gets a unique QR code that our staff can quickly scan with our custom software, making it easy to earn points while you play.

Book your tournament or tee time today! Call (780) 470-4700 or visit www.theranchgolf.com Co me v

The most powerful brands tap into emotions, so when you are thinking about the value your business provides, consider the benefits on an emotional level that your brand should portray.

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s!

Randy explains that this takes a bit of selfexamination. “When we work with clients, we find that most organizations already understand their vision, mission, and purpose, but through a process of self-examination, we help clients to define their ‘authentic self’ and the ‘promise’ that their brand represents.” The price of value In a world full of endless choices, branding is key to ensuring consumers remember your products and services. With so many options on offer in-store, online and worldwide, branding can be a significant differentiator for your business. When your brand holds value in the eyes of your customer, you gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace, and this goes a long way in creating a profitable small business. If you are interested in discovering how to create or strengthen your brand for your small business, contact one of our trusted member businesses today, by visiting edmontonchamber.com/business-directory.

• Corporate Advertising & Golf Programs • Memberships • Group Outings and Events • Weddings • Gift Certificates • Golf Merchandise or Golf Passes Prime time rate $95.00 (twilight $74) includes 18 holes of golf, shared use of power golf cart, use of driving range before your round.

Contact us for more information at 780-929-4653 or visit www.coloniale.ca

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BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // MAY 2017

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Connecting Business Provincial Budget Luncheon 2017

Guests enjoyed some engaging conversations over lunch, before hearing the latest on the 2017 Provincial Budget from the Hon. Joe Ceci.

The Honourable Minister Ceci and Chamber President & CEO Janet Riopel sharing informative insight on the 2017 Provincial Guests took the time to share some light hearted conversation prior to Budget in the post event media scrum. the 2017 Provincial Budget address from The Honourable Joe Ceci.

Connecting Business World Trade Centre After Business Mixer & Trade Show

Friends reconnected and new business relationships formed during a night of fun networking.

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Guests enjoyed sharing stories and conversations over a drink after work in the downtown core.


Connecting Business NHL at 100 with Gary Bettman

President & CEO Janet Riopel thanks NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman for the engaging discussion on the current state of the NHL and where the game is headed.

Engaging the audience, the quick wit of both Commissioner Gary Bettman and Sportsnet’s John Shannon provided guests with an informative and amusing afternoon.

Connecting Business Minister Amarjeet Sohi 2017 Federal Budget Luncheon

Connecting with other members and the Edmonton business community as guests start to fill out the room for the sold-out Minister Amarjeet Sohi 2017 Federal Budget Luncheon.

Minister Sohi engaged in a Q&A session with guests following his Federal Budget address.

The sold-out event drew a crowd from across Edmonton.

BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // MAY 2017

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The 48th Annual

Edmonton Chamber Golf Tournament Thursday, June 15, 2017 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

The Quarry Golf Club 945 167 Ave NE Edmonton, AB Make putts and top flight business connections at Edmonton’s largest annual corporate golf tournament. Get out of the office and onto the green to experience a dynamic day of golf, networking and fun at this always sold-out event. • 18 holes of championship golf • Power carts • A full breakfast • A tasty BBQ banquet • Business connections • Plus excellent gifts and prizes! Registration now open for teams, pairs and individuals. Secure your spot today in Edmonton's most popular corporate golf event.

Sponsorship and exhibitor spots are available. Call 780.409.2613 to showcase your brand.


WHAT IS FINTECH? // BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY

WHAT IS FINTECH?

FINTECH IS THE NEWEST CORPORATE BUZZWORD. WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT? BY NERISSA MCNAUGHTON

W

hat is fintech? It is derived from two words: financial technology, and as John Armstrong, national industry lead for financial services in Canada at KPMG points out, it’s a game changer. “Basically, fintech and the term have evolved a bit,” says Armstrong. “It used to mean tech companies that provided services to the financial services industry, but over the last few years, the term has evolved to mean start-up companies that are focused on, disrupting or enabling the financial services industry. According to KPMG’s Pulse of Fintech – Q4, 2016 report, $24.7 billion was globally invested in fintech in 2016. American fintech investments declined while venture capital in Europe rose. Asian fintech markets hit records highs; what is the climate of fintech in Canada? “Quite robust and growing significantly,” Armstrong is happy to report. “Every year we do a Fintech 100 report in conjunction with our partner, H2 Ventures. The first 50 are leaders based on qualitative metrics. The next 50 are emerging fintech stars. Last year, Canada had two fintechs in the top 50 and three more in emerging stars. That is pretty good representation from Canada.”

Fintech’s disruptive reputation stems from start-ups that focused on direct interaction with consumers via an app, trying to keep banks out of the equation. “What we have seen over time, however, is the next shift,” Armstrong notes. “Disruptors are start-ups like peer-to-peer

ABOVE: JOHN ARMSTRONG, NATIONAL INDUSTRY LEAD FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES IN CANADA, KPMG. BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // MAY 2017

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WHAT IS FINTECH? // BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY

lenders with an aspiration to take out the bank, but there is a whole other group of what we call ‘enablers’ that work with banks. They say ‘we can partner with banks.’ We still have disruptors, but even some folks that were trying to disrupt the market are shifting because they see [the value in] providing technology to the banks that the banks don’t have. They are partnering with the banks.” As more and more banks partner with fintech startups, a new normal is emerging in the industry. Will it last? “I think so,” admits Armstrong. “Canadian banks have been embracing fintech and collaborating with the startups. Canadian banks have done a really good job of saying ‘we need to get close to and partner with fintech providers because they are doing new and innovative things and it doesn’t make sense for us to do everything ourselves.’” Armstrong cautions, “Fintech is growing, but not every startup is going to be successful. If you are looking to invest, you have to be cautious. Also, as a country we need to say ‘how do we foster innovation, which is what we want to do, but still protect consumers from fraud?’ Regulatory bodies are thinking about that. The banks would like to see a level playing field, to a degree. When you open an account at a bank, there are a lot of issues to ensure no money laundering is taking place. If you allow fintech to open accounts without doing those same checks and balances, is that fair?” Fintech innovators are working on these concerns while continuing to evolve this relatively new concept, and one of those innovators is ATB. In response to the success of, and interest in, fintech in Alberta, ATB created their own fintech space called BoostR. “BoostR is a rewards-based, crowd-funding platform. This is different than crowd lending as no ownership position, or repayment of loans are involved,” says Teresa Clouston, executive VP, business and agriculture, ATB Financial®. “Think of it as a variation of e-commerce where a product or service (reward) from a small business is exchanged for funds from the crowd. Entrepreneurs prepare an initial application describing their business and product or service, along with a target goal of funding they wish to raise, and the purpose of those funds. They then receive support from ATB crowd

funding experts working in a virtual environment to help the business flesh out their pitch, get it up and running online and provide ongoing support to breathe life into their crowdfunding campaign. The crowd (any Albertan) may choose to fund the campaign by purchasing rewards through our online platform. If the target funding amount is raised, the business then distributes rewards as promised to the crowd. The greatest benefit of BoostR for entrepreneurs is validation of their business through pre-sales, building a customer base and getting marketing and exposure through ATB channels.” This isn’t the only fintech service that ATB has recently launched. “We are very excited about a brand new offering to assist entrepreneurs in the Alberta market,” says Clouston. “ATB LendR is an online platform that connects Albertans who are looking to invest with small businesses to receive financing. “LendRs earn interest on the loan instead of rewards or equity. LendR is in its very early stages of launch at this time, but we are accepting both business who are looking for funding and investors who want to help businesses succeed and are willing to invest their funds for a risk-based financial return. “Businesses raise the first 10 per cent of the loan by private invitation, largely from family and friends. As a part of the LendR program, we help to tell the story of the business by creating a professional promotional video and write up about the business. This helps with the next stage, which is to raise the next 40 per cent from the general LendR community. If this is achieved, reaching 50 per cent of the loan goal means the other 50 per cent is funded by ATB. The loans are repaid monthly, with LendRs receiving principal and interest payments.”

ABOVE: TERESA CLOUSTON, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, BUSINESS & AGRICULTURE, ATB FINANCIAL.

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MAY 2017 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM


Join us in celebrating Edmonton’s Leaders Awards. We will be honouring 20 individuals for their business acumen, contribution to community and to their industry. These are the people who are making Edmonton a great city to live and work in. Business in Edmonton will celebrate the 2017 winners at our 5th Annual Awards Gala, and our July issue will feature the Leaders and their companies.

Wednesday, June 21st | 6pm | The Sutton Place Hotel

Contact us for tickets

Nancy Bielecki | 403.264.3270 x 230 | nancy@businessinedmonton.com To stay informed on details for our event, visit www.businessinedmonton.com/leaders

Platinum Partner

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WHAT IS FINTECH? // BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY

– we’re really excited to bring the power of money movement to customers’ mobile devices, with strong security protocols that bring a lot of confidence to transactions,” says Clouston. “Also, we’re the first financial institution in North American to facilitate the ability of payments using chatbot technology on Facebook Messenger. Right now this is under testing with a pilot group. We’re excited about the promise the future holds!” One of the local entrepreneurs that expanded her 10-year old business with the help of BoostR is Monita Chapman of Simply Supper.

Clouston points out, “Crowd lending can carry both opportunity for strong returns as well as risk of loss, including potential loss of the initial lent out funds, should the business fail. This is an important factor for investors to be aware of and comfortable with. Validating the business entity, viability, creditworthiness, etc. can be challenging for an individual investor to accomplish. LendR is supported by ATB Financials’ expertise in evaluating, validating the business entity, and while it is not a guarantee of performance, it’s our hope that this provides increased confidence for investors to help Alberta businesses. “Crowd lending provides an alternative source of financing, which many businesses find challenging. This can be from a lack of assets, time in business, or financial missteps in the past. The capital, while it may fetch a higher cost than traditional financial institution loans, provides much needed funding to allow businesses to grow. Additionally, investors will have a vested interest in the business’ success – and so they are likely to promote, advocate and even offer assistance (purchasing their products, offering advice, making connections) to the business, and that kind of support is priceless!” ATB is embracing fintech, and it is not just stopping with BoostR and LendR. “Apple Pay is a great feather in our cap

“Our vision is to take the guesswork out of supper. We want to be at every supper table in Edmonton, helping families eat healthy and delicious meals while they enjoy it together. We believe families coming together over food is important. We also want to bring out the inner chef in you and tantalize your taste buds with new and traditional flavours,” Chapman describes her company. “We have always done business with ATB and appreciate their support, expertise and drive to grow small business in Alberta. I have followed the ATB BoostR program since the beginning and have participated in other BoostR campaigns, such as House of Sew, Sugared and Spiced, Confetti Sweets and Calgary Heritage Roasting Company. We are thrilled such a program exists and is available for us as a company to participate in. “The process has been fun – I have learned a lot about myself as an entrepreneur, setting goals and creating the BoostR. We couldn’t do it without ATB BoostR and the support of our loyal customers.” So, what is fintech? Fintech is the modern way banks and startups, lenders and entrepreneurs, interact for the good of the economy.

ABOVE: MONITA, FOUNDER OF SIMPLY SUPPER. PHOTO SOURCE: SIMPLY SUPPER

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MAY 2017 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM


GEMINI CORPORATION

A DIFFERENT KIND OF EPCM FIRM BY RENNAY CRAATS

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hen Gemini Corporation was established in 1982 it was a private company with 10 employees providing engineering expertise on small jobs. Through the years, the projects grew and so did the company. By 1990, it had become a full-service engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) firm working on a variety of projects across the oil and gas sector. In 1999, the private company became public. Then in 2012, with a new forwardthinking major shareholder in Coril Holdings, Gemini became focused on doing things a bit differently. “Now, 35 years in, we are a full-service multifaceted regulatory, environmental, engineering, fabrication, construction and maintenance company,” says Bob Pavan, Program Manager at Gemini Corporation. The company has implemented a unique business model that has proven very successful. As a mid-sized boutique firm, Gemini offers a one-stop shopping experience for clients with small and medium-sized projects. It has a diverse suite of services and can fulfil one element in the process, like fabrication, design or environmental assessment and then integrate it back into the client’s project, or it can deliver every stage of the process as a fully-integrated project. “We service the asset life cycle for our customers, so we can start at the very beginning of their preconstruction and regulatory and then be with them through to maintenance and to the point where they decommission their site and then we can provide reclamation and remediation,” says Suzanne Checkryn, Director of Business Development. GEMINI CORPORATION - 35 YEARS || PAGE 1

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TERRY MARTIN, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER; PETE SAMETZ, PRESIDENT AND CEO; CHRIS PODOLSKY, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER; ROGER HARRIPERSAD, VP, HUMAN RESOURCES

In the past, this kind of process would require separate divisions to hand off the project to the next in line. However, the company now employs a much more integrated approach. A project manager follows the project through the stages so if the clients have any questions or concerns, they know there is a single point of contact at Gemini who is familiar with the project’s history and requirements. This maintains continuity and efficiency to allow the Gemini teams to better service client needs. “People are going to rotate in and out of these teams but we try to maintain internal continuity with the hand-off without losing that knowledge base,” says Pavan. This creates more of a partnership with the client, as the team understands the nuances and requirements of every project and can make changes and suggestions easily given their familiarity. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel every time, which makes for a more cost-effective and efficient project for the initial or subsequent projects. After all, that’s the goal of Gemini – to be a client-centric company, embracing long-standing relationships with valued clients, that finds ways to streamline processes in order to save clients money and to extend the life of their assets. To do that, the company does the unthinkable; it not only works for end users but also other EPC companies that would, in other circumstances, be seen as competitors. “We can come to a customer and add value by working together, so it’s not necessarily about trying to do it all, even though we

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GEMINI CORPORATION - 35 YEARS || PAGE 2

can offer that to customers. We’ll work with them to deliver the suite of services they need, whatever that is,” says Checkryn. Gemini is dedicated to meeting clients’ needs, whether that is engineering expertise, field services, environmental sustainability and lessening their carbon footprint, or fabrication requirements. The professional services firm has a very senior core team made up of experts in their fields who add value and help customers make good decisions. If the experience is a positive one and the company delivers quality work on time and on budget as promised, customers will come back again. Gemini’s impressive list of long-term repeat clients is proof that the staff’s hard work has paid off. After all, you can’t have good teams without good people, and a successful company needs good teams to grow. With a staff of more than 200 across branches in Calgary, Ponoka, Fort St. John and Fort Saskatchewan, Gemini has grown into a go-to company for clients and a first-choice employer for professionals. Employees appreciate the opportunity to do something different and be exposed to all aspects of the work, all the while benefiting from the experience of mentors who have been with the company for decades. “We have young engineers that are moving around from projects, technical, estimating, the fab shop, and we’re grooming and growing young talent,” says Checkryn.


From offering internships to University of Calgary students to attracting the best young professionals, Gemini is dedicated to developing talent so it can grow the company as well. The culture of collaboration, creativity and innovation has served the company for decades and the importance of that culture has been reinforced after the latest economic downturn. “We have really adapted our business models to the market changes and conditions,” says Angela Thompson, Director of Regulatory, Environment and Land for Gemini. Everyone at Gemini Corporation understands that as Alberta claws its way out of the recession, it can’t go back to business as usual again. Instead, the company is re-emerging with a mission to help the market overcome what wasn’t working and partner with clients to help them move forward in a different way. As a change leader in the industry, Gemini is focused on flexibility, adaptability and sustainability while challenging the old way of thinking and doing business. Gemini staff are encouraged to take chances, try new things and seize opportunities. The industry is experiencing a major shift and it’s important the company continues to be innovative to find better ways to make the market flourish. “It’s an exciting opportunity for people. We’re saying bring your brain to work, bring your best ideas to work, because we’re going to fix this together,” says Terry Martin, Chief Operating Officer.

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And with the strength and foundation provided by the old guard and the drive and dedication of the young hires, Gemini is in a great position to help change the industry moving forward to create a healthier, more sustainable system. “It’s been a very different recession in some ways,” says Peter Sametz, President and CEO of Gemini. “We’re having to do something different because of the downturn but it helps differentiate us. In some ways we’re back to being project consultants as opposed to a formal EPC.” The diverse services, flexible model and expertise mean Gemini is nimble enough to perform smaller, quick projects as well as the more detailed, larger ones that often follow them. The entire company works together across divisions to ensure the client is satisfied at the end. Gemini has operated according to its core values for 35 years – people, safety, relationships, quality and community. Now it’s adding a sustainability value in which environmentalists can go beyond the regulatory minimum to further reduce emissions or environmental impact on client projects. It’s also adding an innovation value, whether that is technical, procedural, technological or process innovation that will push the industry into this new post-recession reality. “We want the customer to see us delivering a model that’s different than what they’re used to; a more successful model. And we should grow as a result,” says Sametz.

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After 35 years of growth and adaptation, Gemini Corporation is coming out of the downturn armed with strong, smart people, diversified services and clients, and a new approach that will lead necessary change in the industry. With out-ofthe-box thinkers and innovators at Gemini leading the charge, the industry will be in great hands.

GEMINI CORPORATION - 35 YEARS || PAGE 4

839 5 AVE SW, CALGARY, AB T2P 3C8 PHONE: (403) 255-2006 • WWW.GEMINICORP.CA


Photo by Smiley Eyes Photography

Alberta Wilbert Sales Enjoys Half-Century Legacy BY RENNAY CRAATS

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acres of land at 170 Street and 129 Avenue in Edmonton in 1970, giving him the space to engineer round holding tanks and water cisterns through the mid-1970s. As the company grew, the site expanded to accommodate that growth.

“I thought I had to find something else that was going to work better than this, so having made septic tanks and burial vaults in the States, I decided to do that here,� says Leonard Traub, founder and owner of AWS.

Today, the Edmonton facility sits on 12.5 acres and houses two plants and the head office that sprawls over 90,000 square feet. The company has expanded to include a tank location in Penhold, a burial vault satellite in Winnipeg, and an office, tank yard and burial operation in Calgary, as well as distributors in Lethbridge and Grande Prairie. The one-man operation now employs about 70 people and is one of the largest independent concrete precasters in the Prairies and the largest Canadian territory in the Wilbert franchise network. Traub is the only founder in the Wilbert organization still active today.

hen Alberta Wilbert Sales (AWS) started out in 1967, it was a one-man operation dealing in funeral vaults for northern Alberta. During that first year, sales were only $35,000 and the company lost money. Thankfully, the one man in the operation was Leonard Traub. He quickly recognized some changes were needed in order to make his vision a success.

Traub added tanks to his catalogue and continued to grow and add more and larger products over the years. He bought five

ALBERTA WILBERT SALES | 50 YEARS

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Photo by 3iii Studio (Massi)

BACK ROW LEFT TO RIGHT: LEONARD TRAUB, DAVID DALLAIRE, BOB DEMCO MIDDLE ROW LEFT TO RIGHT: KENDRA BARTON, STEVE IERULLO, PETER IERULLO JR, PETE IERULLO, PAULA IERULLO FRONT ROW LEFT TO RIGHT: JONNY HOEFNAGELS, TIM IERULLO, MIKE DEPATIE

The keys to this success are simple – providing quality products and exceptional service. AWS prides itself on making superior products and exceeding industry standards to ensure its customers are getting the best value. Rather than creating different concrete batches for the tanks and vaults, AWS just uses the best batch for all its products. While vaults need to have a compressive strength of at least 5,000 pounds per square inch, AWS vaults exceed 6,500. Traub also wanted to ensure quality throughout the industry and was instrumental in introducing CSA for septic tanks in Alberta to establish a standard. He also served on the CSA board for more than 20 years.

THANK YOU ALBERTA WILBERT SALES FOR YOUR PARTNERSHIP AND CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR SUCCESS.

EDMONTON (Truck Ctr) 13520 156 Street 780.463.2404 fountaintire.com

“A contractor friend and I were instrumental in helping to establish the predecessor to what is today the Alberta Onsite Wastewater Management Association. Presently, it’s the voice of the installers,” he says. Over the past half-century, he has worked to not only strengthen the industry but to grow his company to better serve the needs of the market. To do that, AWS has stayed abreast of the latest technology and equipment, from computer design systems that help create the best tanks to the largest truck-mounted cranes. Truck-mounted cranes are critical in this business. The manufacturing facility needs cranes that are big enough to handle the huge products the company

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ALBERTA WILBERT SALES | 50 YEARS | 2

39539 (05/2014)


Photo by Smiley Eyes Photography

between spring and fall but AWS manufactures year-round. It carries $4 to $5 million in inventory on the lot at any given time. A good concrete tank made this year, and continually curing, will be even stronger next year when it is sold. AWS has a reputation for being the best, which means customers are happy but it doesn’t lend to repeat business. “When I started in business, a competitor in Calgary said ‘Leonard, why would you make a septic tank so good you’re only going to sell one?’ And, actually, we only sell one. That’s why we are mainly a wholesaler to contractors,” he says. AWS has very limited retail sales and instead caters directly to contractors and funeral directors. That way the company has access to all of the contractor’s customers rather than just one individual retail customer. If a retail customer needs something small, like a replacement pump, AWS is happy to oblige but will protect contractor pricing to maintain that relationship. LEONARD AND JANET TRAUB.

manufactures. With lifting capacity of around 30,000 pounds and space to grow, the sky is the limit for AWS. It manufactures tanks ranging from 350 up to 5,600 imperial gallons and can customize a product to specific needs. These individual units can then be connected to create larger systems for clients.

Relationships are important to Traub and his management team. The company-wide policy is people come first – clients, suppliers and employees. Some customers have been dealing

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“We added some bigger tanks and then came in with septic tanks that we call rinktop tanks, which are rectangular tanks with rounded corners to eliminate the weak point on the square corners,” says Traub. The company pours all products indoors to ensure Alberta’s climate doesn’t adversely affect the quality. It also manufactures everything upside down, ensuring air doesn’t get trapped in the concrete, thereby keeping the product water-tight. Being a largely seasonal business, most sales come Working Together To Build Our Communities®

Congratulations on 50 years of business! We appreciate our partnership and look forward to continuing to help you improve your fleet’s safety and compliance.

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Congratulations Alberta Wilbert Sales on 50 years in business! Thank you for the years of partnership.

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ALBERTA WILBERT SALES | 50 YEARS | 3


with AWS since the beginning and some staff members have been with the company for more than 30 years with many being second-generation employees. “I was employed for a number of years before starting this business. I know how I wanted to be treated,” he says.

“You can’t be late for somebody’s funeral, so we are not late on deliveries on any of our other products either. Our service is second to none,” says Traub.

That’s how he treats his staff. The work environment is supportive, respectful and friendly. People work hard but they enjoy the job and are appreciated for it. The family atmosphere keeps employees happy, and AWS enjoys little staff turnover.

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Employees are well trained both in the technical and the service aspects of their jobs. AWS is committed to delivering products on time every time. This comes from its roots in burial vaults, where being late is not an option.

The level of service AWS shows has even changed how competitors do business. Customers know deadlines will always be met with AWS and they demand the same from

Congratulations to Alberta Wilbert Sales on your 50th anniversary!

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Congratulations to Alberta Wilbert Sales on their 50th anniversary! Ogilvie LLP has proudly supported Alberta Wilbert Sales as Trusted Legal Council since 1967. We strive to develop long-term relationships that enhance our client’s success. 1400 Canadian Western Bank Place, 10303 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, AB

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Kingstoncongratulates Ross Pasnak LLP congratulates Leonard Traub & Leonard Traub & Alberta Wilbert Sales Alberta Wilbert Sales on on 5050years success. years ofof success. KRP has had the privilege of working with KRP has had the privilege working Alberta Wilbert Sales sinceof1978. Wewith are Alberta Sales since 1978. are proud proudWilbert to be associated with aWe business thatto be associated with a business that mirrors our core mirrors our core values; a commitment tovalues; aexcellence, commitmenttop to excellence, top quality service quality client serviceclient provided provided by a knowledgeable team, treating both by a knowledgeable team, andand treating both clients and staff with integrity and respect. clients and staff with integrity and respect.

TRUSTED.

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Welook lookforward forward to ourour We tocontinuing continuing association with Alberta Wilbert Sales and association with Alberta Wilbert Sales and wish them continued success for the wish them continued success for the next 50 years!

next 50 years!

ALBERTA WILBERT SALES | 50 YEARS | 5


other companies as well. Employee conduct on site and in the office is held to a high standard as well. “Dealing in burial vaults keeps everybody professional,” says Calgary manager Paula Ierullo. “The guys who work in our burial vault department also work on the tank side so it carries over. It even makes employees deal with the contractors in a more professional manner.” Traub credits the staff, past and present, for the company’s solid reputation and growth. His advisory board of Paula Ierullo in Calgary, and Bob Demco and Dave Dallaire in Edmonton, handle the day-to-day operations while Traub enjoys the perks of being semi-retired. He is confident he has the right people in place to lead AWS into the future. That future may see the company moving toward more commercial and municipal infrastructure work, and they are looking at setting up a distributor in Fort McMurray to help that community rebuild. They also have an eye on expanding the Calgary branch and introducing more products under the AWS umbrella.

CONGRATULATIONS ON 50 YEARS OF GREAT SERVICE! Michael Schmalz and Kevin Moser 5415 - 99 Street, Edmonton, Alberta T6E 3N8 T. (780) 438-2485 • TF. 1-800-316-8698 • F. (780) 436-6882 www.stowellpumps.ca

For the past 50 years, Alberta Wilbert Sales has provided the West with quality products and amazing service. With knowledgeable advisers in place who embrace Leonard Traub’s philosophy of quality and commitment, the company is poised to carry on for another 50.

EDMONTON 16910 - 129 AVENUE NW, ALBERTA, CANADA T5V 1L1 PHONE: 780-447-2222 • TOLL FREE: 1-800-232-7385 CALGARY 4315-58TH AVENUE SE, ALBERTA, CANADA T2C 1Y3 PHONE: 403-230-1666 • TOLL FREE: 1-800-232-7385

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Congratulations Leonard & Alberta Wilbert Sales Team on your 50th anniversary!

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780-993-6898 • gregreiniger@shaw.ca www.gregreiniger.ca ALBERTA WILBERT SALES | 50 YEARS


GRIT AND DETERMINATION: The Story of AltaPro By Nerissa McNaughton

30 Year Anniversary || AltaPro Electric || 1

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Photo by EPIC Photography Inc.

ert DeBruin drinks coffee. For most people, that fact is insignificant, but for Bert and Jeanette, his love of coffee is part of the grit, the history and the determination behind the rise and success of AltaPro. AltaPro is a leader in the electrical design-build industry and lives its motto everyday: Our trade is electrical. Our expertise is design-build. Our strength is people. In the span of 30 years, AltaPro has completed over 1,000 projects, including high-profile industrial assignments for Enbridge, Suncor, Baker Hughes and Weatherford, as well as commercial projects such as, the Pylypow area developments, Boyle Street, Double Tree West Edmonton Hilton, Athabasca Multiplex Center and the WSP building, to name a few. This team will soon have completed more than 15 schools in the province of Alberta in the last two years. However, getting from point A, which saw Bert and Jeanette drawing up invoices on the kitchen table, to point B, a stunning multi-level office with a pre-fab shop and training centre where field staff receive hands-on training before being dispatched out to projects to complete jobs across Alberta, was not an easy journey. “In 1987, I was pregnant with our second child, Andrea. Our eldest daughter Jaclyn who was born two years prior was just a toddler. At this time, Bert was working for another company,” Jeanette reminisces. “Those were really tough times. The mortgage rate was 13.75 per cent. That is when the company was born,” she pauses to laugh, “I was not in favour of it! We needed a guaranteed paycheck and construction does not come with guarantees. I was working for $7.10/hour at a bank and we were just trying to pay the bills.” “The economy was definitely in a spiral,” Bert admits of those early years. A lot of people were being laid off. A lot of people were losing their jobs. I worked at a residential electrical

Jeanette and Bert DeBruin

company at the time. Things had gotten to the point where the government put out a workshare program.” With this program, Albertans could go on unemployment insurance and work when jobs were available. The employer paid the staff for the days they had work for the crew and the

Congratulations AltaPro Electric on your 30th Anniversary Providing innovative solutions for residential, commercial, and industrial applications

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2 || AltaPro Electric || 30 Year Anniversary


AltaPro’s humble beginnings government covered a percentage of the wages for days when there was no work. “Every day, all the employees would drive in and sit on empty wire reels in the back of the shop, waiting for the owner to get a call from a house builder. Then he’d come to the back of the shop and point to one or two of us and say, ‘You have work. The rest of you, come back in a couple days.’ But we’d drive in every day because, if you didn’t, you wouldn’t get any work.” Bert was unhappy with this situation, and he was determined to do something about it.

included a modified camper truck where Bert stored all of his supplies until the DeBruins purchased an acreage west of Edmonton in 1987.

“On my days off, I grabbed the Yellow Pages. I started calling at A and went down the list. I focused on house and apartment builders, and by the time I got to C, I was busy. I ended up getting quite busy! I worked two to three days a week on my side jobs, and on the days I had work at my employer, I did my own jobs at night. One of my friends lent me his 500Watt halogen trouble light for my night work – I still have that special light!”

DeBruins purchased an acreage west of Edmonton in 1987. This was a convenient location for Bert to enlist Jaclyn, Andrea, and David (born in 1990) as his first part-time employees, developing their math skills by sorting materials like screws and marettes. A few years later, AltaPro upgraded to an industrial office/shop in west Edmonton. Bert and Jeanette also shared the space for a time with another up and coming electrical company with their close friends Rick Wierstra and Don Dehod. The DeBruins treasured the time they spent working shoulder to shoulder with their industry friends at Profile Electric.

As their small business progressed, Bert parted ways amicably with his employer at the time and that’s how this 30 year old company was born. AltaPro’s humble beginnings included a modified camper truck where Bert stored all of his supplies until the

Although AltaPro succeeded in obtaining contracts, the real challenge was collecting funds from their clients on time – if at all. Collecting funds was an uphill battle, and they climbed the mountain together, side by side.

o Electric

of AltaPr roud partner

P

Congratulations on your 30th Anniversary! We are proud to be part of your team! From your friends at HUB International. #LetsDoSomething Randy Singh 201, 5227 55 Ave NW Edmonton, AB T6B 3V1 780-453-8414 randy.singh@hubinternational.com hubinternational.com Business Insurance

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30 Year Anniversary || AltaPro Electric || 3


Photo by Jack Clark Photography.

Drive Products building.

The couple worked out a lean budget, one which gave Bert $2 a week for coffee. “But I didn’t like coffee,” Bert points out. “I only liked hot chocolate, but unless you had coffee, you couldn’t get free refills. On my allowance, I could only get a couple hot

chocolates, but no toast. If I wanted toast, I’d have to start drinking coffee. So I started drinking coffee.” He pauses in his narrative to take sip of that very beverage that represents one of the sacrifices he made to get AltaPro off the ground. These days he blows his $2.00-a-week coffee allowance, by just a bit!

Congratulations to AltaPro Electric for 30 successful years in business!

Design/Build Construction Management General Contracting

Kemway is proud to partner with companies who share our values. BUILDING WITH INTEGRITY

kemway.com

4 || AltaPro Electric || 30 Year Anniversary


CONGRATULATES

EATON CANADA WOULD LIKE TO CONGRATULATE AltaPro Electric on 30 Years!

• Commercial Construction • Industrial • Machinery OEM’s • Residential • Panel Builder & Electrical OEM’s • Utility

A LTA P RO E L EC T R I C ON 30 SUCCESSFUL YEARS OF BUSINESS! We are proud to be your I.T. and Web Design Team

W W W. P L A N E TCO M .C A

www.eatoncanada.ca

PARTNER. PERFECT. Congratulations to AltaPro on 30 years of continued growth and success. Ledcor values our ongoing partnership and is proud to have shared in your journey.

@ledcorgroup WWW.LEDCOR.COM

30 Year Anniversary || AltaPro Electric || 5


Bert and Jeanette work hard at During the day, Jeanette continued to work at the bank. After her shift, she would do AltaPro’s bookkeeping – and she had no patience with clients that didn’t respect their hard work. When one client, for no good reason, kept delaying his bill payment, Jeanette and her children paid him a visit in his office. It was raining, muddy and wet. The client’s office was newly renovated. The determined troupe marched through the mud, into the office, and onto the couch – in their very muddy boots – where Jeanette declared a sit in until the bill was paid.

providing an exceptional employee

Thankfully, not all collections needed that level of determination, and bit by bit, the company started to grow. Alberta, too, started to recover from the recession.

no longer about chasing projects

Jeanette points out, “During this recovery we started making a big shift at AltaPro. That was when we started doing commercial work.”

reputation alone – it’s about

“Through hard work, customer satisfaction and a growing reputation, we started getting busier,” nods Bert. “At that time, we added a partner, my best friend Phil Hoeksema. We worked together until 2001 when we parted ways. Phil now operates a successful business and we are still best buds. He started his own company and I pressed on with AltaPro. It was no-holdsbarred time! We really went for it!” The DeBruins continued on their chosen path. AltaPro was awarded the electrical and communications contract for Edmonton’s Law Courts building, a project that had them create a special courtroom where several different languages could be translated simultaneously. The expert level of design and workmanship won AltaPro an award, which was delivered with a handshake from then-Premier, Ralph Klein. Following the Law Courts project and the boost in reputation it gave AltaPro the opportunity to engage in

culture in the office and in the field while continuing to adopt technologies that will enhance the company’s productivity. It’s – those, they hope, come in on treating their people right and the intentional development of leaders in the company. larger design build projects. This was accomplished in collabortation with Terry Kemp of Kemway Builders and Ron Mah of SMP Engineering. While Bert’s electrical expertise and unrelenting determination are key factors in the growth and success of AltaPro, the fact that Jeanette stood by his side during the lean and difficult years, provided the company’s accounting and administrative services. Today Jeanette helps steer the ship leading the Human Resources strategy. She ensures everyone on the team is set up for success and drives the core values of the company.

CONGRATULATIONS! On behalf of PCL, we would like to wish everyone at AltaPro Electric Ltd. a warm congratulations on reaching your 30th anniversary. We wish you many more successful years.

SHARING YOUR VISION. BUILDING SUCCESS. Watch us build at PCL.com

Join us on social media

6 || AltaPro Electric || 30 Year Anniversary


Photo by Blufish Studios.

The staff at AltaPro.

“One of the biggest reasons for our success is working with great general contractors and having a really good team of people,” says Jeanette. “When you develop great people, they lead others.”

CONGRATS AltaPro on 30 years

National Construction Practice Group – Western Region – 587-341-9464

SMP Engineering integrity • knowledge • innovation

Congratulations AltaPro!

on your success over the past 30 years! SMP Engineering Provides Full Service Electrical Engineering For The Building Industry Edmonton • Calgary • Lethbridge • Vancouver smpeng.com

“In the beginning, we thought we didn’t have time for specialty training,” Bert admits, “but that’s an old mentality.” AltaPro engaged the services of Bea from the Bohm-Meyer Group to help fully design and grow the company’s culture. Bert and Jeanette work hard at providing an exceptional employee culture in the office and in the field while continuing to adopt technologies that will enhance the company’s productivity. It’s no longer about chasing projects – those, they hope, come in on reputation alone. It is about treating their people right and the intentional development of leaders in the company.

BUILD SAFE AND SECURE COMMUNITIES

Together their active roles on related boards are testament to their desire to strengthen the construction Industry. This recognition is also evident through their numerous awards such as “Contractor of the year”, Business Leaders of Edmonton, Profit 500, Entrepreneur of the Year finalist and most recently Top 50 Fast Growth companies of Alberta.

Total Fire, Life Safety & Security Solutions Provider

www.vipond.ca

• F ire Sprinkler Systems • F ire Alarm Systems • S pecial Hazard Systems • S ecurity Systems • D esign • F abrication • S ales and Installation • Test and Inspection • S ervice

13056 Yellowhead Trail, Edmonton AB T5L 3C1 Tel: (780) 447-1863

30 Year Anniversary || AltaPro Electric || 7


Photo by Jack Clark Photography.

FedEx building.

“My regret is not focusing on the development of leaders sooner and not focusing on culture sooner,” says Bert “We’ve always had a good culture naturally, but in the early days, we didn’t realize the importance of authentic communication with the whole team.” Jeanette adds, “We had to learn how to talk about our core values and become more transparent with our entire team, sharing what our intentions are. When your key people understand your vision, you grow a company that is like a big family that all works towards a common goal. We really believe that, if you take good care of your people, they will take care of you. It’s important they know how much we appreciate them.” Having lived through four recessions, Bert and Jeanette know what works, and what doesn’t, in this current economic downturn.

“Nowadays, more than ever, with jobs being so tight, teams are picked by price alone – but that doesn’t work. It would be like the Oilers putting out a new team of different players on the ice each game and wondering why it’s not working,” notes Bert, going on to say that sacrificing expertise and quality for price is more expensive in the long run. “That is why we prefer to work with the same teams of people. Our clients know our standards and our team knows what is expected of them,” agrees Jeanette. “As people of faith, we trust in God and we pray for our people and projects every night. Really, it’s about developing your given talents to the fullest and being good stewards of what God has given you. It’s about remembering where you came from and giving back to your people and your community.” These thoughts are evident on their website updates where donations of time and energy to support many charities are listed.

Congratulations to the whole team at AltaPro on 30 years of excellence!

Congratulations to AltaPro on your 30th Anniversary! All the best to you in the future. Chris Sieben Partner, Industrial Sales & Leasing Suite 2700, 10088 102 Ave NW (780) 420-1177 | cwedm.com 8 || AltaPro Electric || 30 Year Anniversary


AltaPro grew from a man with a trouble light working around the clock and his wife doing invoices while caring for three young children, to completing projects together with strategic partners like Kemway Builders, Ledcor Group, Clark Builders, PCL, Carlson Construction, Chandos Construction, Jen-Col, Johnson Builders, Lexon Projects Inc., and many more. Over the years, AltaPro has also collaborated with architects, developers, real estate brokers, and engineers such as ONPA Architects, Hodgson Schiller, Group2, Kasian Architecture, RPAP, Brian Allsopp Architect, WSP, Dialog, Panattoni Development Company, Melcor, Qualico, Next, Cushman Wakefield, Colliers, SMP, Arrow, and Stantec Engineering. Bert and Jeanette express, “We are thankful for these great relationships over the years as well as those we have forged with our industry partners, such as subcontractors, manufacturers, suppliers and vendors. They all very important to us.” In 2006, AltaPro achieved another milestone and took on new shareholders who were long-time employees. “We started grooming people as part of our succession plan,” says Bert. In the last year, we also added three more active shareholders, one of which is our son, David.”

Having lived through four recessions, Bert and Jeanette know what works, and what doesn’t, in this current economic downturn. “We are thankful that our son has naturally grown into his role and will continue the development and legacy of the company,” says Jeanette with pride. “His wife, Ashley, is working in the business too and holds the position of controller.” What’s next? These days, Bert focuses his energy on business development, IPD Projects and new opportunities with their team, be it growing their client base to developing their service department to new markets like solar. Jeanette is grooming her staff so she can spend more time with her family and grandchildren, as well as continue her involvement in numerous boards and committees. “The

Clark Builders congratulates AltaPro as they celebrate their 30th Anniversary

Congratulations AltaPro on your 30th Anniversary!

30 YEARS

3

Years!

Electrical Wholesalers (Edm.) Ltd. North Edmonton 14830 - 124Ave Ph: 780-451-2311

South Edmonton 4248 - 99st Ph: 780-432-2400

www.ewel.ca

Sherwood Park #104, 2833 Broadmoor Ph: 780-417-9770

Thanks to their involvement, the following projects (& many others) were Exceptional Experiences for all involved: Strathcona Public Service Yard Expansion Hudson’s on 109th Street Fort Saskatchewan Public School Leduc STAR Catholic School St. Brendan’s Replacement School Mayfield Dinner Theatre Walker Public School ASET Tenant Improvements Laurel Public School Devon Chevrolet Olds Southgate Volkswagen Pyramid Fabrication Facility Leduc Aquatic Upgrade Westcan Office Expansion Cash Store Financial Fraserway RV Office Boyle Renaissance Bartle & Gibson

www.clarkbuilders.com

30 Year Anniversary || AltaPro Electric || 9


Photo by Jack Clark Photography.

The lobby at Double Tree.

creations of systems, programs and standard operating procedures which we can leave behind for the success of our people is very important,” they both agree. To conclude, Bert provides an illustration that sums up AltaPro from its beginning, its evolutions and its role in the industry today. “When we first started working with the Bohm Meyer Group, Bea sat us down, drew a bus and asked us to identify if we have the right people, in the right seats, on the bus.” He grins broadly. “I changed the bus to a jet. A jet is more exciting. The team is on the AltaPro jet and you better buckle up. We are all part of the engine to get us where we are today and where we can be tomorrow.” Jeanette smiles along with him. “AltaPro has always looked for good opportunities, has learned its lessons and has been adaptable. If we were not, we would not have survived.”

13415 149 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5L 2T3 (780) 444-6510 || www.altapro.ca

10 || AltaPro Electric || 30 Year Anniversary


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