Business in Edmonton - May 2023

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4 MAY 2023 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM STORY TITLE // SECTION Supporting the visions of entrepreneurs one story at a time. FIND US ONLINE! BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM @BUSINEDMONTON BUSINESS IN EDMONTON BUSINESSINEDMONTON CONTENTS 17 REGULAR COLUMNS 9 Canada’s Economy and its Future Prosperity are in Jeopardy
46 Selling, Building and Using Real Estate: AI is Behind it All
44 Edmonton Chamber of Commerce ON OUR COVER : ABOVE: MYRON KEEHN, PRESIDENT & CEO OF EDMONTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (YEG) PHOTO SOURCE: EDMONTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (YEG) COVER FEATURE 16 More Flights to More Places: YEG Moves You Myron Keehn shares YEG’s growth, goals and exciting future By
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6 MAY 2023 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM STORY TITLE // SECTION Supporting the visions of entrepreneurs one story at a time. 32 33 55 CONTENTS COMPANY PROFILES 33 JEN COL Construction Celebrates 45 Years 47 A. Clark Roofing & Siding Celebrates 70 Years 55 Caliber Control Systems Ltd. Celebrates 15 Years 59 Optimax Benefits Celebrates 25 Years THIS MONTH’S FEATURES 10 The Positive Momentum of Edmonton Housing Migration, affordability and less red tape By
21 Cargo Puts Edmonton on the Logistics Map It’s about increasing air capacity and global market access By John Hardy 28 Travellers and Travel Agents Regroup The new travel and tourism normals
Volume 11 | Number 5
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Canada’s Economy and its Future Prosperity are in Jeopardy

No thanks to the federal Impact Assessment Act or Bill C-69 – even with a global energy crisis and the world pleading for Canada’s responsibly and sustainably produced natural resources, Canada, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), is on track to have the worst performing economy of the G20 over the next 10 years. Our organizations – the Alberta Enterprise Group and ICBA Alberta – are in the Supreme Court of Canada, supporting the Government of Alberta and almost all other provinces and territories in their fight against the federal government’s Impact Assessment Act.

This is most apparent in the case of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The USA and Canada stood together on the starting line in 2013, both considering how to launch an LNG industry in their respective countries. A decade later, the USA now stands as the largest exporter of LNG in the world, while Canada remains at least two years away from exporting any measurable volume of LNG. In the time Canada took to approve and build one LNG export facility, the United States approved and built seven LNG export facilities and has five more under construction with an additional 15 approved.

Canada has done such a thorough job of saying “no” and turning away capital and talent through regulatory uncertainty, red tape and resource opposition – $150 billion in cancelled energy projects alone since 2017 – that two years ago, the World Bank ranked Canada 64th in the world in the time it takes to approve a major construction project. Furthermore, in Canada, in every year since 2014, outbound investment has exceeded inbound investment.

What precisely is it about the federal Impact Assessment Act that discourages capital investment and resource development?

The federal Impact Assessment Act or Bill C-69 replaced a streamlined National Energy Board with the bureaucratic multi-layered Canada Energy Regulator (CER) and the narrow-scoped Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency with the broad-scoped Impact Assessment Agency. In addition, the Act essentially institutionalizes jurisdictional duplication and red tape.

For example, a project may have to go through both a provincial review as well as a federal assessment; time limits for review may be suspended at the discretion of the CER, while stakeholder participation is expanded – meaning one no longer needs to be directly affected by a project or even be in the affected provinces to participate in the process.

Investors can be forgiven for thinking that Canada is focused on entrenching regulatory gridlock with the never-ending demands it places on project proponents. Thus, for investors, the risks are too high and the uncertainty too great; meaning, Canada is a bad prospect for investment.

Investment should not come at the cost of a healthy environment. We believe we can do both. But robust regulations do not have to mean lengthy and uncertain timelines for assessments and project reviews, or unreasonable environmental and social requirements bound by sticky layers of red tape.

If we wish to establish a framework to strengthen Canada’s economy and future prosperity, then we need a better development regulatory process. This would be a process that appropriately balances the care for the environment we all want with the economic and resource development we need within appropriate constitutional boundaries to ensure prosperity now and for the future.

BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // MAY 2023 9
REPRESENTING
MEMBERS EMPLOY OVER
AND
BILLIONS IN ECONOMIC ACTIVITY EACH YEAR.
ALBERTA ENTERPRISE GROUP (AEG) PUTS ALBERTA BUSINESSES FIRST BY SHARING INFORMATION, ADVOCACY AND BUILDING BRIDGES TO NEW MARKETS. AEG MEMBERS
ARE
BUSINESS OWNERS, SENIOR EXECUTIVES, INVESTORS AND ENTREPRENEURS
FIRMS IN EVERY MAJOR ALBERTA INDUSTRY. AEG
100,000 ALBERTANS
GENERATE
(AEG),
CANADA’S ECONOMY AND ITS FUTURE PROSPERITY ARE IN JEOPARDY // CATHERINE BROWNLEE

THE POSITIVE MOMENTUM OF EDMONTON HOUSING

MIGRATION, AFFORDABILITY AND LESS RED TAPE

While most Edmonton construction experts and insiders wouldn’t exactly call it a “boom,” they are optimistic about a resurgence, growth and positive momentum in housing construction. Just as Edmonton’s capital and infrastructure construction has bounced back from the pandemic and funding slump of a couple of years ago – due to various reasons and with some hiccups and speedbumps – Edmonton’s housing construction is now also on the rebound.

“Residential and mixed-use development has been accelerating slowly with increased funding for affordable housing as well as a need for rental housing,” explains Derek Ciezki, partner at SMP Engineering and chair of the Edmonton Construction Association (ECA).

“In the works are projects like The Parks downtown with a new 40 storey tower, the Garneau towers at the U of A and multiple low-rise housing projects for the city of Edmonton. Commercial development has been steady with private development in new areas of the city, but with interest rates increasing there has been more pressure on owners requiring more capital and quicker ROIs for private investors.

“There was a stall in development and construction over the last couple of years during the pandemic. This has resulted in spurred development and increased private investment and government funding on new schools, rec centres and healthcare projects.”

10 MAY 2023 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM THE POSITIVE MOMENTUM OF EDMONTON HOUSING // CONSTRUCTION
ABOVE: DEREK CIEZKI, PARTNER AT SMP ENGINEERING AND CHAIR OF THE EDMONTON CONSTRUCTION ASSOCIATION (ECA).
“RESIDENTIAL AND MIXEDUSE DEVELOPMENT HAS BEEN ACCELERATING SLOWLY WITH INCREASED FUNDING FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING AS WELL AS A NEED FOR RENTAL HOUSING,” EXPLAINS CIEZKI.
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There is an enthusiastic focus on the positive trends in Edmonton’s residential housing sector. This is mostly, but not exclusively, due to a definite boom in migration and a demand for housing. Province-wide, migration records are being shattered.

According to Statistics Canada, Edmonton’s total net migration spiked from 17,746 in 2020 and 6.692 in 2021 to an impressive 36,560 in 2022; a 446 per cent increase, year over year. It is partially migration from outside Canada. We can also look to the trend of more and more people, aged 25-44 (prime demographics for housing and home builders) fleeing areas like Vancouver and Toronto due to a combination of unaffordable, unsuitable or insufficient housing reasons, and opting for Alberta.

“Edmonton is the most affordable place to live in Canada,” he adds. “So, it makes sense that Edmonton is attracting many new people moving to the city and province.”

According to StatsCan, in 2021, the enumerated population of Edmonton (City) was 1,010,899, which represents a change of 8.3 per cent from 2016. This compares to the provincial average of 4.8 per cent and the national average of 5.2 percent.

The dynamic of more people moving to Alberta also translates into encouraging news for Edmonton’s housing sector.

“Edmonton’s business-friendly environment is a strength and our land market is competitive compared to cities like Toronto and Vancouver,” says Kalen Anderson, executive director at UDI-Edmonton Metro. “There is a great quality of life here in Edmonton and the region. There are good paying jobs and affordable housing.”

She credits Edmonton’s migration/people stats as positive housing trend factors.

“Edmonton’s large urban economy of $105B per year in GDP is the second fastest growing in terms of population, just behind Ottawa. We have the second youngest media age, at 36.8 years, after Saskatoon. Edmonton has 130,000 full-time students in eight post secondaries, graduating between 22,000 and 30,000 students each year. Not to mention, 84 per cent of Edmonton’s new immigrants stay in Edmonton once they arrive.

Anderson also notes that we have the best household income-to-home ownership costs of all major centres in Canada. For context, the share of income a household would need to cover home ownership costs is 29 per cent in Edmonton, versus the Canadian average of 60 per cent. Toronto is 83 per cent and Vancouver is 90 per cent.

“These social and economic strengths are the premise of the province’s latest marketing campaign, Alberta is Calling, which invites people to move to Alberta for its affordability, livability and rich job opportunities. The campaign also boasts about the province’s low rents and disposable incomes.

“From a business perspective, Edmonton yields big returns and premiums for investors and is a low-tax environment. We need to continue to push for permissive, flexible regulations that make it easy to develop land and open businesses,” she urges.

It was a boost when the Canadian Home Builders Association (CHBA) recently ranked Edmonton as a national leader on the contentious topics of housing affordability and supply. The CHBA Municipal Benchmarking Report highlighted three categories for Edmonton’s excellent rating: approval timelines, government charges and planning features.

When it comes to housing construction issues, delays and cost hikes, industry insiders blame the frequent curse of city red tape. It is an Edmonton priority to continually improve the situation and minimize the red tape of home-building rules by automating development permits, removing minimum parking requirements, abolishing single-family-home-only zones and more.

Edmonton was one of the first major Canadian cities to remove parking minimums, which are notorious barriers to affordable housing and business development, and it continues to amend zoning by-laws to encourage a range of land uses, buildings, developments and investments.

It’s a boost for housing because streamlining the development process and making it more efficient works out to millions of dollars and days of work savings for developers and home builders.

However most builders, contractors and construction professionals mention the other “elephant in the site trailer,” which is the ongoing labour shortage.

12 MAY 2023 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM THE POSITIVE MOMENTUM OF EDMONTON HOUSING // CONSTRUCTION

“It is a significant issue in our current market, specifically for field labour,” says Ryan Christensen, senior project manager, principal with Edmonton’s Delnor Construction and a director of the ECA. “General contractors and subcontractors are deficient in overall crews by up to 25 per cent, which means a potential loss in productivity. It also means project schedules suffer in terms of duration, leading to a further increase in the cost of projects. The low supply of workers means that the qualified and skilled workers that do work in the construction industry are asking for increased wages, which further increases the costs of construction.”

Anderson also mentions another important housing factor. Spiked mortgage rates are impacting home buyer confidence.

“Rising mortgage rates are eroding affordability. Currently, we are in a volatile landscape of changing policies, processes, supply chain pressures, inflation issues and more. Higher mortgage rates impact both new homebuyers and existing

homeowners. Consumers looking to purchase a new home will feel the pinch even more, due to higher mortgage rates.

“The impact of this is erosion of affordability, putting downward pressure on the housing spectrum to more affordable housing,” she says. “It may include more of a shift towards rental as people are priced out of home ownership.”

With much experience, she cautions that the Edmonton housing bubble may not, and usually doesn’t, last forever.

“We can’t take for granted that Edmonton will continue to be an attractive place for people to migrate to and from across Canada and around the world, nor for capital investors and job creators to place their big bets here. Talent and capital are both extremely mobile, so we need to support the business community to keep investing in Edmonton and provide individual families and businesses of all sizes with confidence and clarity. Cities are in a competitive game, and Edmonton is no exception.”

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THE POSITIVE MOMENTUM OF EDMONTON HOUSING // CONSTRUCTION

INCOME TAX IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART

Taxation is a difficult topic. Albert Einstein has often been quoted as saying: The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax

Well, I think Mr. Einstein was correct. Income tax, and in particular taxation policy, is not for the faint of heart. It involves a multitude of disciplines include economics, public policy, numerous areas of law, accounting and, of course, politics. The Canadian Income Tax Act is a massive beast of a statute and it truly requires specialists to interpret its numerous complex provisions to make sense of it. With such a complex subject, it is not a surprise that tax has often become the subject of numerous misleading platitudes (more on that below) and mythology. It really is difficult and intimidating for the average person to make sense of the subject.

Notwithstanding, good taxation policy is very important for a functioning society / democracy.

Speaking of which, do you recall the “Alberta Advantage”? Many Albertans do not. What was it? The phrase was popularized by Premier Ralph Klein who was premier of Alberta from 1992 until his retirement in 2006. In 2019, esteemed Economist Jack Mintz described the phrase “Alberta Advantage” as: “No doubt, it is a combination of low taxes and good public services, especially education, health and infrastructure”. While other areas are also important, I’ll focus this article on my area of expertise: taxation. I’ve spent my entire career working at a specialist level in taxation and volunteering at a leadership level for virtually all of the prominent taxation bodies in Canada including the Canadian Tax Foundation. I’m concerned about the future of Alberta and whether or not we can ever return to an era of the Alberta Advantage.

During the heydays of the “Alberta Advantage”, Alberta had the lowest corporate and personal tax rates in Canada and such rates competed nicely with our gorilla neighbour to the south, the USA. The low taxation rates were an important factor in attracting significant investment and talent to Alberta. In 2015, that all changed. It started with a proposed personal tax rate increase by then-Premier Prentice. When the new socialist provincial government – the NDP – was unexpectedly elected under the leadership of new Premier Rachel Notley, they promptly increased personal and corporate tax rates significantly. When combined with a new federal tax for “high income” earners introduced by the newly elected Liberal government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, this pushed personal tax rates from a high of 39% to 48% almost overnight. Poof…there went the Alberta Advantage (from a tax perspective) and it hasn’t returned to date.

Many have argued that the Alberta Advantage couldn’t be sustained because of the long oil and gas slump from 2014 until 2021 and the nasty COVID period that put significant financial pressures on the Alberta government. No doubt those events caused major

Kim G C Moody, CEO and Director of Moodys Tax / Moodys Private Client

problems for the Alberta government. However, it is well known that Alberta’s public sector and spending had also become very expensive with recurring deficits occurring years before those events took place.

Socialist governments, like the provincial NDP’s reign from 2015 - 2019, are known for their strong emphasis on public ownership and control of the economy. In such a system, the government typically desires to own or control the means of production and distribution of goods and services. Private businesses and job creators, on the other hand, are often seen as a threat to the socialist model, and socialist governments tend to be hostile to them. This hostility is often reflected in tax policies, like the significant increases in personal and corporate tax rates that occurred in 2015 and 2016.

Such high tax rates quickly became an issue for Alberta entrepreneurs. Combine that with ever increasing regulations introduced by the NDP and inbound investment from the USA quickly diminished. Many entrepreneurs looked south to deploy their capital. As the old saying goes, capital is agnostic and will look to fertile grounds to invest. Friendly taxation policy is a critical element that investors and job creators look at carefully when deploying capital. The same goes for attracting the “best and the brightest”. High personal tax rates are an impediment when attracting skilled labour from outside of Canada. Alberta needs to compete in this space aggressively to attract many skilled people such as doctors, technology executives and many others.

Socialist governments, like that of the Alberta NDP from 2015 – 2019, tend to be more interested in achieving social / progressive goals rather than promoting sound economic policies. Socialism is based on the principle of social equality, and socialist governments often view economic growth as secondary to this goal. As a result, tax policies are often designed to redistribute wealth from the so-called “rich” to the poor, rather than to stimulate economic growth. An example of this would be the very poorly thought out carbon tax that was promptly introduced by the NDP once they came into power. Thankfully, such tax was promptly repealed when the UCP came to power in 2019.

In addition, the NDP corporate tax rate increases were promptly eliminated when the UCP got elected in 2019. Ultimately the corporate tax rate was reduced to the point of being the lowest in Canada (for companies that are not eligible for the small business deduction). Having the lowest corporate tax rate in the country – combined with significant reduction in business “red-tape” – has significantly improved in-bound foreign investment into Alberta and has definitely been a factor in attracting new business investment and jobs to Alberta. The corporate tax rate reductions have often been referred to by the NDP (while in opposition) as a “$4.7 billion no-jobs corporate giveaway”. Such a shallow comment reflects a complete lack of understanding of taxation, taxation policy, knowledge, overall reality and respect for the critical role that private business plays in contributing to the economy and well-being of each and every Albertan.

Socialist governments and taxation policy are an oxymoron and usually not a good recipe for economic well-being to help Albertan’s pay their bills and prosper. Instead of viewing private businesses as keys to success, the NDP view them as a threat to the socialist system. Alberta cannot afford a step backward after much progress – but admittedly much more to do – to return Alberta to the “Alberta Advantage”. I’m confident we can get there with a government that understands the importance of good taxation policies and the critical role that entrepreneurs play.

2020 4 St SW #210, Calgary, AB T2S 1W3 Canada 403.693.5100 | info@moodysprivateclient.com moodysprivateclient.com

MYRON KEEHN SHARES YEG’S GROWTH, GOALS AND EXCITING FUTURE

MORE FLIGHTS TO MORE PLACES: YEG MOVES YOU

Myron Keehn, President and CEO of Edmonton International Airport (YEG), sees his role as more than running the airport. He sees it as a chance to turn it into an economic driver and job creator while making a difference in the lives of the people that work at, and travel through, YEG.

“I believed our airport is and can be a gamechanger for the Edmonton Metro Region and Canada’s North,” says Keehn. His aviation sector experience has taken him around the world and he’s excited to bring that global inspiration to the capital city.

Keehn says, “My diverse experiences have given me a unique perspective on the critical role airports play in communities. When the opportunity to work at YEG arose, I saw the potential to shift YEG’s role from a utility to having a real economic impact in our region. However, even with this

potential, this ability to turn the opportunity into reality is because of the team at YEG and the previous great CEOs and Board of Directors who dared to imagine the art of the possible. It is the people, not only at the airport but within our community, that attracted me to YEG and the reason why I have been here for 15 years.”

Despite a long career in aviation, it was not Keehn’s original plan.

“Only because at that time I did not see aviation beyond airplanes and airports,” Keehn explains. “Over my career, I have learned that aviation is an extremely complex business involving many different sectors and industries. Airports are vital assets to communities. They are economic engines that drive activity, jobs and investment. It’s not just about the movement of people but also goods.”

He describes his five overarching goals for YEG.

16 MAY 2023 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM
MORE FLIGHTS TO MORE PLACES: YEG MOVES YOU // COVER
ABOVE: MYRON KEEHN, PRESIDENT & CEO OF EDMONTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (YEG) PHOTO SOURCE: EDMONTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (YEG)

“First, airports are economic enablers that can accelerate growth. We are working towards growing our network of nonstop flight destinations and capacity for key routes, which can help facilitate investment, business attraction and visitors. The number one consideration that site selectors look at is access – this drives investment and import/export, which also helps groups like our agri-food producers.

“The second is redeveloping our terminal through innovation expansion. We have invested in providing a personalized passenger experience by integrating technology and digitization to streamline our operations.

“Third, we are investing in infrastructure to facilitate growth as we increase our passenger numbers and cargo activity.

“Fourth is a commitment to ESG (environmental, social and governance). As an airport, we are global leaders in ESG and sustainable aviation. We have made several commitments in hydrogen, solar, sustainable aviation fuel, nature-based solutions and so forth in our goal to reach net zero by 2040. YEG recently won two international awards for our leadership in sustainability; the Corporate Sustainability Award from The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) and the Sustainability Award from Ground Handling International. Both awards were in recognition of our inspirational leadership in environmental initiatives at YEG’s Airport City Sustainability Campus and our impacts in transforming air cargo and ground handling operations.

“Lastly and most importantly, it’s the people and our YEG team. We have attracted and developed the best talent in aviation at our airport.”

The focus on the five aforementioned areas has yielded great success.

“YEG has the largest landmass of any airport in Canada, with over 7,000 acres of land, which we have unlocked to create the Airport City Sustainability Campus,” he explains. “Additionally, in the three years prior to COVID, we generated over $3.2B of economic output and supported over 26,000 jobs. We have also attracted over $1.5B in private investment from local and international partners, which is the most of any airport in North America.”

That’s not all. Keehn continues, “Working with our partners, we have created five incubators to help accelerate the growth of start-up and scale-up companies in our community. Some examples of companies include Indigenous Box, AERIUM Analytics, Wild and Pine, Absolute Combustion and VEXSL.”

Of course, the pandemic had an effect on YEG. With travel taking one of the biggest hits, Keehn and his team decided to be proactive instead of reactive.

“Our team continued to work hard during the pandemic. We weren’t sitting idly by and neither were our municipalities. Our community came together to build the Regional Air Service Opportunities Fund to drive more passenger and cargo activity. This has resulted in more destinations now than before the pandemic, even though we were shut down internationally for 18 months. We also experienced record cargo growth when global cargo volumes were declining.”

YEG continues to make changes following the pandemic.

“We remain focused on the health and safety of our passengers to keep travel a safe and positive experience for everyone,” smiles Keehn. “As we are on the path to recovery, we see the demand for travel continually increasing. We are expecting to reach 90 per cent of pre-pandemic passenger levels by the end of this year, marking a much faster recovery than we projected and hoped for in the depths of the pandemic. In 2022, we collaborated with existing airline partners to gain four brand-new destinations and resume service to 24 destinations, while continuing to increase capacity to more than 50 non-stop destinations.”

This collaboration with airline partners has seen the addition of Lynx Air and Porter Airlines, WestJet’s largest network expansion in the airline’s history (including new U.S. routes and non-stop service to Minneapolis and Seattle) and Condor’s non-stop seasonal flights to Frankfurt.

BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // MAY 2023 17
MORE
COVER
FLIGHTS TO MORE PLACES: YEG MOVES YOU //
ABOVE: LIVING WALL AT YEG

Condor’s flights are a very strategic move for YEG. Keehn says, “The seasonal service boosts our region’s access to Europe and the world. Frankfurt Airport is a key global hub with 300 destinations in 98 countries. Connecting with international hubs is an important step in re-stimulating the economy. This new flight will help propel and diversify both business and leisure travel and provide efficient cargo access for the movement of goods between continental Europe and Alberta, the Canadian Prairies and Canada’s North.”

Also proving popular is KLM’s non-stop route to Amsterdam, Air Canada’s daily service to San Francisco and United’s twice daily service to Denver. Recently, Air Canada also launched its first sun destination they have served from Edmonton in over 10 years – Cancun.

Additional routes were not the only changes inspired by COVID. YEG now has touchless check-in kiosks for departures, UV-C coated handrails on the busiest escalators and virtual queueing thanks to the YEG EXPRESS online reservation system.

Outside of COVID, important upgrades continue to take place as Keehn and his team strive to be an “Airport for Everyone.” Under this initiative is Aria, an app that provides a live agent to help people who have low vision or who are blind navigate the airport. It also includes the Sunflower program, which helps people with hidden disabilities like autism or anxiety

be able to get extra time or help with navigating the airport. YEG’s pet therapy sees cute dogs (with their handlers) calming nervous flyers in the terminal. Speaking of dogs, YEG features several pet relief areas for service animals.

From the flights to the customer care to the “Airport for Everyone” initiatives, it all adds up to a seamless experience for all involved.

“YEG is successful because of our YEG airport team,” says Keehn. “We have over a dozen organizations that are involved in seeing a flight off – NAV Canada, customs, security, catering, de-icing, baggage, check in, etc. It is a complex operation and we all work closely together. Our most valuable asset is our people and the successes we achieve in every facet of our airport are because of our talented and engaged team. We are dedicated to creating a culture of purpose and mastery in our business and we do this by offering opportunities for education and growth, fostering an innovation culture where it’s safe to challenge the norm and communicating our ambitions and goals regularly within all business areas.”

Yet it is not all smooth sailing…or should we say…flying. There are some areas where YEG experiences turbulence.

“Economies are cyclical and we want to work collaboratively with our community to support our air service and connectivity,” admits Keehn. “We live in an increasingly global and connected world. We are competing not only in Canada but globally for flights.”

Keehn set out to make YEG an economic driver because he believes Alberta continues to have an advantage for businesses and individuals alike.

18 MAY 2023 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM
MORE FLIGHTS TO MORE PLACES: YEG MOVES YOU // COVER
ABOVE: JAXTON THE SHILO SHEPARD - THE LARGEST DOG ON THE YEG PET THERAPY TEAM.
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“The opportunity that we have here in Alberta, and particularly in the Edmonton region, is something you can’t find anywhere else,” he says. “The quality of life, pioneering spirit, camaraderie, collaboration and ‘coopetition’ (cooperation, even amongst competitors) are what makes Alberta an advantageous place in which to live, work and do business.”

Anyone flying non-stop from YEG can help drive the Alberta advantage and help grow the airport.

Keehn explains how by saying, “When planning your flight, it is important to always fly to/from Edmonton International Airport. Airlines respond to demand and the air industry is competitive. Airlines decide where they fly based on seats filled and they are very careful to ensure sufficient demand for a new route. It is important to continue using YEG as a departure/arrival airport to trigger data collected by airlines to indicate that we are a viable location to introduce new routes or increase demand for current routes. Be sure to advocate that with friends, family and colleagues in other regions outside of Edmonton to use YEG as their connecting hub.”

Intent on helping the community thrive, YEG gives back robustly to charitable and non-profit interests by supporting approximately 100 charities through its Community Investment Program.

“The program supports organizations that build community spirit, provide long-term benefits and enhance the region’s quality of life. We also host an annual charity golf classic that has raised over $1M in seven years. The Edmonton Metro Region has a great community and partners that all rally together to support our region,” Keehn adds.

Under Keehn’s leadership, YEG is thriving despite two years of pandemic disruptions; but, after 15 years he is just warming up. There are plenty of good things ahead as he works with YEG to continue executing on its vision.

“Our vision is simple: more flights to more places. We know people don’t want to connect through other airports and wish to fly non-stop to their end destination. We hear this and are listening to our community,” smiles Keehn. “We will continuously speak to international audiences to attract new air routes, more cargo service, more business investment and more visitors to our airport and in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region.

“Providing efficient, affordable travel is an important part of the recovery of the aviation and travel industries and YEG is

DID YOU KNOW…

YEG is strategically located in North America – all flights from Asia to the east coast and flights from Europe to the west coast fly over Edmonton. This means, YEG is home to the largest controlled air space in the world!

focusing on attracting affordable airlines as they play a huge role in supporting industry growth and success. Ultra-low-cost carriers open up a new audience and demographic for YEG and provide increased service to new and existing destinations.”

Plans also continue to innovate and grow Airport City Sustainability Campus.

“The campus provides opportunities for businesses to push the boundaries in fields like AI, drones, reforestation and energy sources such as solar and hydrogen. Additionally, in 2023, our partners are breaking ground on the world’s largest airport-based solar farm. The solar farm is being developed in partnership with Alpin Sun on 627 acres of YEG’s southwestern lands. It will provide enough electricity for approximately 28,000 homes and offset about 106,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually. We are using our Airport City Sustainability Campus to be home to Canada’s first consumerfacing hydrogen hub, bringing together local and international companies to form partnerships, test new technologies and showcase the power of emissions-free hydrogen fuel.”

YEG will also play a role in helping to reverse the cargo and shipping challenges brought on by COVID.

Keehn is happy to share, “In 2022, the federal government announced $100 million in funding to increase our cargo and logistics handling in the new International Cargo Hub. This will convert approximately 2,000 acres of land to a global cargo hub, expanding our multi-modal distribution throughout Canada, the United States of America and Mexico. The development includes new runway connections and taxiways to integrate new cargo handling aprons with direct airside handling operations and expansive facilities for handling, warehousing, automated e-commerce logistics and distribution.”

YEG is here to move you, in more ways than one. It’s a hub that transports goods and people while leading in sustainability practices and showing that aviation can be done in the most efficient, tech-forward and eco-friendly ways.

Learn more by visiting flyeia.com. YEG is also active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

20 MAY 2023 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM MORE FLIGHTS TO MORE PLACES: YEG MOVES YOU // COVER

CARGO PUTS EDMONTON ON THE LOGISTICS MAP

It’s unfortunate but despite being widely recognized as a key cargo and logistics area, Edmonton’s cargo sector is often overlooked in the gush of other, high-impact business news.

“Cargo and logistics play a major role in our region’s economic growth and development,” explains Mammen Tharakan, director of e-commerce, cargo, aviation real estate and business development at Edmonton International Airport (YEG). “Increasing air capacity and global market access for exports and trade opportunities is a gamechanger for our region, as well as the international supply chain. It drives the growth of small and medium enterprises in Alberta, in the region and in the rest of Canada. It definitely creates jobs and it spurs investment.”

Cargo Village is the cargo and logistics component of YEG. It allows many complementary components of the cargo supply chain to operate within the same geographic area at the airport, shortening transfer and wait times, reducing handling and improving safety and quality.

A basic but essential fact of the logistics sector requires that air cargo must move quickly and seamlessly through the many links in the supply chain, including airlines, customs brokers, handlers, logistics partners, warehouses, trucking companies and others that deal in the business of handling and processing air freight.

“The Edmonton edge is having all the components within Cargo Village. It maximizes efficiency and is forged on strong partnerships with various top-tier cargo service providers,” he adds.

BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // MAY 2023 21 CARGO PUTS EDMONTON ON THE LOGISTICS MAP // TRANSPORTATION
IT’S ABOUT INCREASING AIR CAPACITY AND GLOBAL MARKET ACCESS
ABOVE: MAMMEN THARAKAN, DIRECTOR OF E-COMMERCE, CARGO, AVIATION REAL ESTATE, AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AT EDMONTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
“THE EDMONTON EDGE IS HAVING ALL THE COMPONENTS WITHIN CARGO VILLAGE. IT MAXIMIZES EFFICIENCY AND IS FORGED ON STRONG PARTNERSHIPS WITH VARIOUS TOP-TIER CARGO SERVICE PROVIDERS,” ADDS THARAKAN.
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As a vital part of YEG’s Airport City Sustainability Campus, Cargo Village is a key hub of transportation, logistics, manufacturing, sustainability, technology development and tourism.

“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 our cargo operations to grow simultaneously,” Tharakan says. “The relationships and cooperation among companies make Cargo Village successful and create an ideal business environment for cargo and logistics companies.”

There is a positive distinction that, according to the numbers, YEG not only has the largest land area of any airport in Canada, it has also activated over $1.5 billion in on-airport development, more than any other airport in North America. This translates into exciting potential.

“We have ample space to expand the terminal while allowing lots of room for the continued growth of our cargo operations,” he says with enthusiasm. “Building out the air cargo network with increased frequency from carriers like DHL and FedEx, the launch of nonstop service to Frankfurt (a major cargo hub for Europe) and the upcoming regional cargo service to the North will also help drive growth.”

Over the past three years, Cargo Village had a surge in activity from dedicated cargo operators looking for a freighter-friendly airport, providing a high standard of uninterrupted service. The YEG cargo capabilities became even more critical during the pandemic, with the increased movement of COVID-19 rapid test kits, vaccines and other medical supplies to protect the Edmonton community. The extra good news? At the same time, shipments of agri-food and e-commerce products through Cargo Village also increased.

“Since 2015, private investment has added 370,000 square feet of new cargo, warehouse and office space in Cargo Village, further enhancing YEG’s ability to drive the region’s economy by enabling faster and more convenient international trade,” says Christina Chu, Senior marketing advisor with the City of Edmonton.

She adds that in 2014, YEG invested more than $30 million in new cargo areas, taxiways and land servicing and, in recent

years, YEG has attracted more than $1 billion in investment and thousands of quality jobs through Airport City and economic diversification.

For 2023 and beyond, Tharakan itemizes YEG’s focus of four key priorities that are specifically related to cargo: expanding capacity, building out the air cargo network, driving innovation and continuing its sustainability efforts.

In terms of physical infrastructure, late last year, YEG completed the construction of a $36-million, 47,000-squaremetre expansion of its cargo apron, enabling it to accommodate more planes at one time and hold six more wide-body aircraft.

24 MAY 2023 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM CARGO PUTS EDMONTON ON THE LOGISTICS MAP // TRANSPORTATION
ABOVE: VILLAGE IS BUSY AT YEG.
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With increasing volumes expanding Cargo Village’s space and capacity, innovative aspects of logistics are also becoming a reality.

Drones are now a Cargo Village focus. Tharakan notes YEG’s goal to explore opportunities to work with regulators and partners to expand the options and soon offer BVLoS (beyond visual line of sight) drone delivery services. Various other factors continue to give YEG, and specifically Cargo Village, significant and positive bragging rights in the air freight and logistics sector.

According to EEDC, YEG is the only Canadian airport with the globally recognized CEIV Pharma certification from the International Air Transport Association. It’s a potent credential because it means YEG meets the highest standards in the world for handling temperature-sensitive

cargo, such as agriculture and food products, pharmaceutical and medical cargo.

Chu also highlights that an emphasis on sustainability initiatives has allowed YEG to become the first airport in the world to decouple growth of the airport from carbon emissions.

“YEG has doubled in size in recent years, but its energy consumption has been cut in half through the integration of BOMA Gold and LEED Gold standards across developments like the inclusion of three cogeneration units to produce its own power to heat buildings.”

Cargo Village’s success is a multi-factored story.

“It is a reflection of successes in our region,” Tharakan says. “The strength and spirit of the many entrepreneurs and industries in the Edmonton region are key factors in the logistics growth at Cargo Village. From a business perspective, ultimately, the goods moving through the airport are being brought in to enable a business in the region or are being shipped out from a producer, manufacturer, artisan or reseller in our region. On the consumer side, the volumes are a reflection of the economic environment and speak to residents ordering more goods through retailers.”

The numbers show Cargo Village’s growth and its value as an important component of YEG’s business, particularly making it possible for the airport to diversify its revenue stream beyond passenger traffic.

“The size and location of Cargo Village is a driver for enhancing the air cargo industry by embracing modern technologies and practices to sustainably and fairly serve trade and social development, regionally and worldwide,” Tharakan concludes with a mix of excitement and pride.

26
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TRAVELLERS AND TRAVEL AGENTS REGROUP

THE NEW TRAVEL AND TOURISM NORMALS

There have been many changes! Technology, COVID disruptions, a season of high-profile flight cancellations and sordid luggage disasters, shifting consumer trends and other broadsides have forever changed travel, tourism, travellers, airlines, airports and even the role of travel agents.

However, some things never change. In Alberta, and Edmonton, travel and tourism continue as dynamic drivers of the economy.

“The visitor economy is extremely important to Edmonton, its businesses and the region,” says Paul Hawes, vice president destination development and marketing at Explore Edmonton Corporation. “Tourism is made up mostly of small enterprise; in fact, more than 90 per cent of the tourism industry is a small-medium enterprise.

“At Explore Edmonton, we deliver on a broad mandate, not just marketing the city but driving direct business and revenues into the city. In 2022, Explore Edmonton drove $194.2M in direct economic impact, 241,097 room nights and supported 68,531 jobs.”

Hawes notes that for the past three or four years and for a number of reasons, travel and tourism have been victims of circumstances and complicated challenges.

“It’s no secret that the visitor economy was hit hard, especially through the pandemic. Some areas of the business, specifically conferences and business events, have been some of the hardest impacted segments. Although we are seeing good signs of recovery, we are not at 2019 numbers, yet,” he says.

28 MAY 2023 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM TRAVELLERS AND TRAVEL AGENTS REGROUP // TRAVEL & TOURISM
RIGHT: PAUL HAWES, VICE PRESIDENT DESTINATION DEVELOPMENT AND MARKETING AT THE EXPLORE EDMONTON CORPORATION.

“Our Edmonton hotel partners tell us that occupancy levels are slowly climbing but there is a lot of room to grow. We work closely with our partners at Travel Alberta and generally, we predict that we will see a return to prepandemic numbers by late next year or even into 2025.”

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It was a transformational double whammy for travel agents. Already adjusting to technology re-defining their profession, the pandemic scramble abruptly put travel on hold and shut down their businesses.

“The impact of the pandemic was devastating on tourism and particularly on Alberta travel agents,” admits Wendy Paradis, president of the Association of Canadian Travel Agents (ACTA). “With travel restrictions being in place for more than two years and travel agents being laid off for so

BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // MAY 2023 29
TRAVELLERS AND TRAVEL AGENTS REGROUP // TRAVEL & TOURISM
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HAWES NOTES THAT FOR THE PAST THREE OR FOUR YEARS AND FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS, TRAVEL AND TOURISM HAVE BEEN VICTIMS OF CIRCUMSTANCES AND COMPLICATED CHALLENGES.

long, we now face a significant labour shortage. Now, while COVID restrictions have eased in Canada and around the world, there is a strong demand for travel and agents are very busy. Many travellers are looking for the expertise and personal touch of a travel specialist post-COVID because if any challenges happen during a trip, people rely on the help of a qualified and knowledgeable professional.”

Just when travel agents in Edmonton started digging out and regrouping after COVID, they had to deal with yet another sucker punch. Weather and other complications like airline and airport issues and helping to sort out their customers’ concerns.

“After being shut down for two years, the restart of the industry has definitely been a bumpy ride,” Paradis says. “The entire travel and tourism system was significantly impacted, not just airlines. The winter storms around the Christmas and New Year holiday period were very challenging for the travel industry, and most importantly, for travellers.”

There’s no denying that smartphones, tablets, easy internet accessibility, e-ticketing and even e-boarding passes have re-defined travel booking options, allowing people to make DIY travel arrangements. The huge volume of online options is not only overwhelming for many travellers, but also extremely time consuming. Especially since the recent tsunami of airline delays, cancellations and scrambling for DIY problem solving, re-bookings and travel crisis management underscore the value of, and the need for, professional travel agents.

According to a recent study by the American Society of Travel Agents, over half of Millennial (59 per cent), GenXer (53 per cent) and Boomer (58 per cent) leisure travellers who used agents believe that their vacations were better than DIY arrangements.

“Travel agents and tour operators, known collectively as travel trade, have always been a significant contributor to the business mix,” Hawes points out. “For consumers’ needs, comfort level or the reliable understanding of a destination, people rely on travel agents, especially in our longer haul markets.

“The pandemic definitely shone a light on travel agents and their knowledge. While consumers used travel agents for big trips to places they had little knowledge about, there is now a shift for also relying on professional travel agents for shorter, domestic travel. They are that trusted source of information that can really make the difference to planning and the travel experience.”

The good news, for Alberta and particularly Edmonton, is that the travel sector is recovering and has rebounded.

“As our visitor economy gets back to pre-pandemic levels this year, we expect that many Canadians will stay motivated to explore all that Alberta has to offer,” says David Goldstein, CEO, Travel Alberta. “Simultaneously, we’re developing experiences and destinations across the province to ensure we’re ready for high-value U.S. travellers to make a full return in 2024.

30 MAY 2023 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM TRAVELLERS AND TRAVEL AGENTS REGROUP // TRAVEL & TOURISM
ABOVE: WENDY PARADIS, PRESIDENT OF THE ASSOCIATION OF CANADIAN TRAVEL AGENTS (ACTA).
“AFTER BEING SHUT DOWN FOR TWO YEARS, THE RESTART OF THE INDUSTRY HAS DEFINITELY BEEN A BUMPY RIDE,” PARADIS SAYS.
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“Approximately 40 per cent of people interested in travelling to Alberta from our core markets identified an event or festival as their reason for travel. Edmonton has the potential to become Canada’s premier festival city, particularly in ICE District, and a major destination for business travel.”

Paradis shares the enthusiasm about travel’s regrouping. “The key draws for tourists visiting Alberta are the beautiful and natural environment such as the Banff, Lake Louis and Jasper areas. For Edmonton, families often ask about Dinosaur Provincial Park, West Edmonton Mall and some of the urban natural environments such as Edmonton’s river valley.”

Hawes adds, “Edmonton is known for many great attributes. Fort Edmonton Park, including the Indigenous Peoples Experience, has added an internationally acclaimed experience to what Edmonton has to offer.

“What we also hear from consumers experiencing the city is that they are coming for our dining and culinary scene, major sports and cultural events. Music plays a big part

of the nighttime economy, with small intimate jams up to major concerts, big names and special events like Edmonton hosting this year’s JUNO Awards.”

Explore Edmonton was instrumental in bringing the JUNOS to Edmonton. Hawes explains, “We also took the opportunity to showcase Edmonton with a newly created commercial, focused on awareness of Edmonton’s arts, culture and events experiences. Although we are still working on the final impact numbers, a good estimate is the JUNOS delivered more than $13M total economic impact for the city.”

As travel and tourism bounce back, Edmonton travel agents get busier and travellers assume new normals, Hawes mentions room for improvement and tourism growth.

“Access, specifically air access, is a key factor in tourism recovery,” he says. “Direct air access into YEG plays a fundamental role in reopening pre-existing markets and new markets. We’re thrilled to see new flights coming into Edmonton from Minneapolis as well as strong domestic routes like Toronto and Ottawa returning.”

32 MAY 2023 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM TRAVELLERS AND TRAVEL AGENTS REGROUP // TRAVEL & TOURISM

How to Build a Better Future: JEN COL LEADS THE WAY

JEN COL Construction Celebrates 45 years 33

JEN COL Construction is an Alberta-based commercial construction services firm that earned a well-deserved reputation for its successful school and public facility projects. Today, JEN COL has branched out into a diverse array of projects across Western Canada’s public and private sectors. The values that the company was founded on, however, have never changed: to provide the unrivaled project experience and to build a better future.

For JEN COL, building a better future transcends providing expertly constructed buildings. It means being active in the communities in which they operate. It means providing a corporate culture that empowers each team member. It means driving value into the project by optimizing processes for every single build. It means constantly striving for improvement and never resting on one’s laurels. This is the way the company was founded and now that Cory Jodoin, president & CEO is at the helm, he is determined to continue JEN COL’s legacy.

“My parents, Ron and Yvonne, founded JEN COL in 1978,” says Jodoin. “They wanted to be proactive about their own destiny, build stability and be able to live the values they espoused.”

Jodoin grew up in the family business and spent his summers on job sites with the crews. He learned the business from the ground up and became a partner in 2000.

“I always wanted to be involved with the business full-time,” smiles Jodoin. “When I was young I loved going to site, building things and seeing the end product. For me now, it is more about building the business instead of building a building. I focus on building relationships with clients, solving challenges and growing communities.”

Jodoin has seen many milestones come and go for JEN COL, including the move in 1989 from the shop

JEN COL Construction || 45 Years || 2
Cory Jodoin, President & CEO 4-Storey 85-Unit Seniors Affordable Housing Project.
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BUILDING SUCCESS

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proves it. Our people and our corporate culture are different. There are many great construction companies out there, but at JEN COL we focus first on the personal experience of each client. That personal experience only works if we have a great internal culture and people who are in alignment with our values. When you have people actively engaged and liking what they do and where they work, they do better work.”

He continues, “JEN COL’s focus is not solely on profit because we know that by focusing on client satisfaction, employee engagement, safety and community building, profit is a natural by-product, as is success. If we only focused on profit, that would change how we treat our employees and our clients. We get the best subtrades, partners and team members because they know we will treat them right.”

It’s all part of building a better future – the foundation the company was built on and the value Jodoin leads with every day.

“Building a better future is our core purpose,” Jodoin says firmly. “That means understanding our clients and their challenges and raising the bar to provide them with the service they need to be successful. It means growing and developing our team internally. It means going into a community and not just leaving behind a building, but a positive economic impact by employing local contractors and giving back to local initiatives. It means being fully engaged in the community and in the business. For us, business is not ‘just business.’ It’s always personal.”

Making it personal is something that permeates throughout the organization, especially when it comes to corporate social responsibility (CSR). JEN COL’s three CSR focus areas are mental health, waste reduction and education. Initiatives have included annual awareness campaigns

100, 1415 - 90 Ave NW Edmonton, AB. T6P 0C8 Ph: (780) 440-6440 • Fax: (780) 464-6496 Goldbarinc.com Congratulations JEN COL Construction on your 45th anniversary! JEN COL Construction || 45 Years || 5 Emergency and Protective Services Facility
Project.

for various mental health programs, partnering with local seniors to repurpose construction materials destined for the landfill and using those materials for fundraising efforts and providing scholarships to high school students looking to pursue further education and careers in the skilled trades. It is important to note that all initiatives are employee led, and it is this passion for CSR that is a true testament to the culture of giving back to their communities at JEN COL.

The company is also very invested in the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology’s (NAIT) Construction Engineering Technology (CET) program.

“We hire graduates from NAIT’s CET program and invest our time and resources into their training and education. We also hire summer interns in our offices and job sites to help students gain valuable practical experience. Personally, I sit on NAIT’s Program Advisory Committee as chair for the CET program.”

It’s about looking to the future for Jodoin when it comes to being the program chair and to encouraging young people to choose a career in trades.

“There is a lot of push for students to choose university but this means trades, like construction, routinely get overlooked,” Jodoin explains. “JEN COL advocates for youth to understand what the construction industry is all about. It’s not like how it used to be; construction tends to have a negative reputation. Many things have changed thanks to technology, corporate culture guidance and construction science. As a result, there are many wonderful opportunities in construction – and not just working in the field, but areas like estimating, project management, accounting and business development. However, there is a lack of awareness of these opportunities. We are working hard to change that.”

He continues, “I’m committed to helping people realize that construction is a great career. I’ve seen people come

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into the industry right out of high school to be able to start a family, put kids through college and have a great quality of life. Construction can provide a wonderful life for an individual or for a family.”

JEN COL, and Jodoin, are certainly on the right track. The company that started 45 years ago with just two people and a shop on a family acreage is now the construction brand on everyone’s lips in the industry, thanks to a team that is nearly 100 employees strong and thanks to high profile projects that stand testament to JEN COL’s experience. Those projects include but are not limited to, Spruce Grove’s protective services building, numerous

schools across all divisions, activity centres such as outdoor rinks and pools as well as fully enclosed sports centers, Edmonton’s Lewis Farms transit facility, healthcare centres, daycare facilities, supportive living communities for seniors (e.g. Folkstone Place in Stony Plain), Sawmill restaurants across the province and many more. See the full list and project details at jencol.com/our-builds.

Jodoin adds, “We have several current projects underway with Indigenous partners and communities in B.C. and Alberta that are very important and significant to us. It’s essential to us that we don’t just leave a building behind

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Saddle Lake Elementary School Ground Blessing Ceremony.

economic self-sustainability.”

For each project, he notes, “The hardest part of construction is before the shovel goes into the ground. There are always challenges but it can be a fun process with the right partner if that partner is focused on the client’s needs and wants in a collaborative manner. We become a part of each community when we build a project. We work on Western Canada’s most innovative centres in health care, education, sports, dining and more. We are proud to work with many different clients from so many different industries.

“What we are the proudest of is when we complete a project while exceeding our clients’ expectations – and they recommend us to others. We love to take our clients’ visions and turn them into reality. Not many people say,

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be different from what you have experienced with other construction partners,’ it just doesn’t get better than that!”

As he reflects on 45 years, Jodoin points to the culture of innovation fostered at JEN COL as a key reason for the firm’s longevity.

“Our focus is on incremental innovation through process improvement — not necessarily latest and greatest. This is the sweet spot of construction as our clients increasingly demand quality results with added value, completed in shorter timeframes while being a steward for the environment. Innovation at its core is about solving problems and we’ve cultivated a culture of learning and improvement where we can build a better way of doing things using our existing technologies to solve those problems.”

From concept to completion, our team offers a full spectrum of electrical services.
DESIGN-BUILD & INTEGRATED PROJECT DELIVERY SERVICE & MAINTENANCE SOLAR & RENEWABLES Your premier full service electrical company serving Edmonton and area. Alternative Energy is the future. We have established systems and training opportunities to take full advantage of this new and exciting sustainable product. Ensure a complete integration of project objectives as you have single source responsibility for design and construction. www.altapro.ca Phone: 780-444-6510 Fax: 780-483-4073 AltaPro Electric Ltd. 13415 149 Street Edmonton, AB T5L 2T3 Congrats JEN COL on 45 Years! Congratulations on 45 years and wishing you many more years of success! Toll-Free: 1.800.665.5243 www.lloydsadd.com JEN COL Construction || 45 Years || 9 Commercial Office Building
By maintaining good customer service, before and after installation, we solidify our position as the premier full service electrical company in Edmonton and surrounding areas.
Project.

christensen & mclean roofing co.

Since 1958

On your 45 year anniversary. We wish you continued success for many more years to come.

What is the future of JEN COL?

Jodoin is happy to say, “We will continue to redefine and shape the industry. A lot of clients look at construction as a commodity and don’t always see how experience and the right corporate culture can drive a project. A low price does not necessarily mean the best value. This is an industry-wide challenge. JEN COL is determined to show that when you take the time to learn about clients’ needs and when you ensure you have the right internal resources, culture and talent, it all adds up to a great experience and a successful project.”

“I’m excited about our continued growth and expansion,” Jodoin concludes. “I’m excited to reflect on how well we have done while expanding on that and giving our team and our clients an unforgettable, positive experience. I want to raise the bar on the construction industry. That was the goal from the start and what JEN COL will continue to do. I’m excited to build a better future for us all.”

Architectural Signage & Design Since 1952 behrendsgroup.com • 1-587-880-3272 100-9620 266 ST Acheson, AB T7X 6H6 P: 780-963-6523 • E: jen-col@jen-col.com jen-col.com JEN COL Construction || 45 Years || 10
From your proud partners at Christensen & McLean Roofing Co. Ltd.
Congratulations
Retail Project at West Edmonton Mall.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

JEN COL is an unusual name for a company.

How did it come about?

Cory Jodoin, president and CEO, explains, “JEN COL stands for Jennifer and Colinda, my two sisters.”

He continues, “Perhaps the hardest part of starting the business was registering the name. Back in the 70s there was no quick Google search. You had to write in, wait for approvals… and it all happened back and forth in the mail.

“My dad tried 19 times with various names and those names would always come back taken. Finally, he amalgamated my sisters’ names and mailed off the application while muttering, ‘nobody will have this one!’

“He was right! And that is how our name came to be.”

WESTERN CANADA’S SOURCE FOR COMMERCIAL, INDUSTRIAL AND We would like to congratulate the team at JEN COL Construction on 45 years of leadership and excellence in the construction industry. #202, 8657-51 Avenue Edmonton, Alberta T6E 6A8 Telephone: 780-468-7232 E-mail: info@ya.ca www.ya.ca CONGRATULATIONS JEN COL CONSTRUCTION on 45 Years!
JEN COL Construction || 45 Years || 11

2023 Board of Directors

Board Executive Chair: Haydar Al Dahhan President and CEO, Design Works Engineering

Vice-Chair: Aziz Bootwala Managing Principal, Edmonton, Vice President, Business Development, Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning Ltd.

Secretary-Treasurer: Jason Pincock CEO, DynaLIFE Medical Labs

Past Chair: Dennis R. Schmidt

Principal, ALTURA Legal Advisory

Board Directors

Nicole Bird Owner, Rsvp Design Inc.

Nathan Carter

Vice President, Projects and Construction, ATCO Energy Solutions

Jonathan Gallo Managing Partner, Gallo LLP Chartered Professional Accountants

Sandy Jacobson

Vice President, Richardson Executive Search

Sam Kemble Chief Operating Officer, Workforce Delivery Inc.

Annemarie Petrov President and CEO, Francis Winspear Centre for Music

Amir Shami President and CEO, Rotaflow

Celia Wanderley

Chief Customer Officer and Head of AltaML Invent, AltaML

Randy Allaire Chief Risk Officer, Servus Credit Union

Edmonton Chamber Executive Cadence Bergman Director, Policy

Alexandra Hryciw Director, Strategy and External Affairs

Bobbi Elliott Executive Director, Finance and Operations

Amin Samji Director, Member Services

Contact Edmonton Chamber of Commerce #600 World Trade Centre 9990 Jasper Ave, Edmonton, AB T5J 1P7 T: 780.426.4620 | F: 780.424.7946 edmontonchamber.com

Federal Budget 2023

The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce is the official voice of business in the Edmonton region. With over 1,700 member companies that employ more than 100,000 people, we are one of the largest and longest standing Chambers in Canada.

In February, the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce submitted 2023 Federal Budget Recommendations after meeting with the business community. Inflation uncertainty and volatility has left many businesses grappling with a slow return to “normal” and facing major barriers to sustained economic growth.

Canada is expected to enter a shallow recession in 2023 and the real GDP growth is projected to decelerate from 3.4 per cent in 2022 to 0.3 per cent in 2023. Furthermore, Canada’s unemployment rate is expected to rise to 6.3 per cent by the end of 2023. High inflation will remain a concern for the current Liberal government. Budget 2023 embraces some restraint because of the cost of providing economic supports during the pandemic. However, despite promises of fiscal restraint, the federal government still projects a $40.1 billion deficit in 2023-24, which is nearly $10 billion more than the forecast in the 2022 Fall Economic Statement.

The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce had six key areas it wanted to see addressed in this budget, including affordability and access to supports, economic development and diversification, climate change and the energy transition, talent, skills and jobs, supply chain challenges, and cybersecurity. While not every recommendation was addressed, each of these themes were featured.

Affordability and Access to Supports

Budget 2023 introduces new, targeted inflation relief supports, designed to avoid exacerbating inflation. This includes a new Grocery Rebate to provide inflation relief to 11 million low-and modest-income Canadians, a key piece to uphold the Liberal-NDP agreement.

Particularly on health care, the Budget reiterates the government’s previously announced $46.2 billion in new funding to provinces and territories through new Canada Health Transfer measures and tailored bilateral agreements with each province and territory. For Alberta, this means $233 million through the immediate top-up and $2.92 billion through a bilateral agreement to be allocated for greater access to high quality health services and attracting and retaining health care workers.

Another key piece of the Liberal-NDP agreement was included in Budget 2023, dental care. The government is committing $13.0 billion over five years to implement the Canadian Dental Care Plan, and $250 million over three years, starting in 2025-26, and $75 million ongoing funding to Health Canada to establish an Oral Health Access Fund.

On housing, Budget 2023 announces the government’s intention to reallocate funding from the National Housing Co-Investment Fund’s repair stream to a new construction stream in order to boost the construction of new affordable homes.

The government will also be launching a third round of the Rapid Housing Initiative, providing $1.5 billion to create 4,500 affordable units, with 25 per cent of investments for projects targeted towards

your thoughts on business issues with the Edmonton Chamber at policy@edmontonchamber.com
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44 MAY 2023 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM
Haydar Al Dahhan, Board Chair

women. They will also launch consultations on changes required to remove regulatory barriers for homebuyers from diverse communities.

Economic Development and Diversification

The government has also committed more than $33 billion in investments through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to go towards new public infrastructure projects that provinces and territories will submit for review.

The Department of Finance has reiterated its Budget 2022 commitment to review the Scientific Research and Experimental Development program to improve the development, retention, and commercialization of intellectual property, including the consideration of adopting a patent box regime. While no details have been shared, the department is expected to engage with stakeholders in the coming months.

The government has committed significant funding towards the revitalization of Canada’s biomanufacturing sector through a Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences strategy. In addition to its $1.8 billion investment in biomanufacturing projects across the country, the government will focus on new ways to develop life sciences tools and will be consulting Canadian and international efforts on how to best organize its biomanufacturing capacity.

Climate Change and the Energy Transition

As part of the government’s plan to turn Canada into a reliable supplier of clean energy, at home and abroad, Budget 2023 contains measures to implement “clear and predictable” investment tax credits that will support the manufacturing of clean technology, including clean hydrogen, zero-emissions technology, and carbon capture and storage initiatives.

This budget lays out the design details of the Investment Tax Credit for CCUS, with proposed changes expected to cost about $250 million over five years. In addition to Alberta and Saskatchewan, the tax credit will also be available to projects in British Columbia.

On the Clean Hydrogen Investment Tax Credit, expected to cost $5.6 billion over the first five years and $12.1 billion the following five years, the highest levels of support in the credit (40%) are being allocated to projects which produce the cleanest hydrogen. It will also extend a 15% credit to equipment needed to convert hydrogen into ammonia to transport it specifically for clean hydrogen purposes.

Additionally, the budget has outlined specific labour requirements to be met to receive the minimum amount of the Clean Technology and Clean Hydrogen Investment Tax Credits. Businesses must pay a total compensation package that equates to the prevailing wage.

Talent, Skills and Jobs

As Canada continues to face labour and skills shortages, the government has announced several measures to help workers acquire the skills they need.

Budget 2023 proposes to invest an additional $625 million in 2023-24 in the Labour Market Transfer Agreements to ensure Canadians continue to have access

to the supports they need to get their next job and $922 million to provinces and territories through the Workforce Development Agreements in 2023-24.

As part of the green transition plan, the government is spending $250 million for the Upskilling for Industry Initiative and $125 million to launch the Sustainable Jobs Training Centre. These are expected to help more than 15,000 workers re-train and upskill.

Supply Chain Challenges

To improve its procurement policies and develop a more resilient supply chain, Budget 2023 announced that the government will undertake targeted engagement with provinces and territories, industry stakeholders, and workers and unions on concrete reciprocal procurement measures, so they can be implemented in the near term. The proposed measures will include placing conditions on foreign suppliers’ participation in federally funded infrastructure projects, applying strict reciprocity to federal procurement, and creating a preference program for Canadian small businesses.

Budget 2023 also contains investments in infrastructure to support trade and movement of goods across the country and that Canada’s transportation and supply chain systems are resilient and reliable. Including $27.2 million over five years to establish a Transportation Supply Chain Office at Transport Canada, and $25 million over five years to improve data sharing in the supply chain.

These measures are part of the government’s National Supply Chain Strategy, expected to be released in the coming months and drafted based on the recommendations made by the National Supply Chain Task Force.

Cybersecurity

The Government of Canada has secured commitments from Visa and Mastercard to lower fees for small businesses by up to 27 per cent from the existing rate. In addition to saving eligible small businesses approximately $1 billion over five years, this will include free access to online fraud and cyber security resources to grown online sales and prevent frauds and chargebacks.

Finance and Taxation

The federal government is introducing a number of new measures to improve Canada’s tax system for Canadians and to ensure sustainable, efficient and effective spending. The government is cutting $15.4 billion in spending over the next five years through targeted reductions, including an effort to curb the use of professional services and management consultants and a reduction in travel expenses.

New rules have been proposed to facilitate the use of Employee Ownership Trust to acquire and hold shares of a business. These would define qualifying conditions to be an EOT and propose changes to tax rules to facilitate the establishment of EOTs.

Starting next year, the CRA will pilot a new automatic filing service that will help vulnerable Canadians who currently do not file their taxes receive the benefits to which they are entitled. Following consultations with stakeholders and community organizations, the CRA will present a plan in 2024 to expand this service even further.

BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // MAY 2023 45

Selling, Building and Using Real Estate: AI is Behind it All

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of joining Amii’s board of directors as a representative for the University of Alberta. Amii, spun out of the U of A, is one of the most elite artificial intelligence and machine learning groups in the world.

There are so many entities, right here in Edmonton, that are innovating and using AI to address complex, global problems and attracting and retaining top talent to the area while they’re at it. So, where will these talented folks and flourishing businesses reside? The answers lie within Edmonton’s real estate and commercial development sphere.

This month I’ll be moderating a session at the Edmonton Real Estate Forum where we’ll examine the continued diversification of Edmonton’s economy and what it means for employment, growth, and consequently, real estate demand. The AI industry is a key selling point for potential investors and a competitive advantage that Edmonton offers over many other markets. AI doesn’t just influence how we attract and sell real estate and commercial development. It also influences how we construct and use our physical spaces.

Here at the U of A, I’m fortunate to have a front-row seat to the practical application of AI in our own spaces. On our north campus we are reimagining a 100-year-old building called University Commons that will be a crossroads for academic and student services in our community and a gathering and learning place for everyone. When it opens this year, it will be much smarter too.

Researchers, like Eleni Stroulia, vice dean in the Faculty of Science, are creating a complex system that will allow us to understand exactly what happens in the building – from occupancy levels and types of activities to temperature,

ventilation and lighting control, so that we consume less energy and reduce the cost of the building’s operation while maintaining or improving the comfort of the occupants.

Using sensors – from thermostats to WIFI access points and personal devices – the building’s AI will be able to adapt to the needs of its occupants in real time. It will improve health by monitoring and improving air quality, security by controlling personalized access codes for each occupant, safety by detecting dangerous events and aiding in evacuations and content by informing and connecting the community.

“This building will house amazing people and amazing students doing cool stuff,” says Stroulia. “We’ll be able to showcase it, giving access to the occupants to show their research and tell everybody what they’re doing, and make connections and discoveries together.”

University Commons is just one example of how AI is changing how we live, learn, work and interact with each other and with our natural and built environments. While you may not have an expert team of AI innovators behind your business, you do have opportunities to benefit from AI.

Whether you invest in some practical applications to improve your security access system or conserve energy –and one day, even sell your excess energy to the building across the street – the more AI continues to grow in our region, the more people and organizations will put down roots here; and that real estate, commercial development and economic growth will benefit us all.

46 MAY 2023 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM
ELAN MACDONALD IS PAST CHAIR OF THE EDMONTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND A FOUNDING DIRECTOR WITH EDMONTON GLOBAL. SHE ALSO SITS ON THE BOARDS OF COVENANT HEALTH, ATLAS BIOTECHNOLOGIES AND ALBERTA BALLET. SHE IS THE VICE-PRESIDENT (EXTERNAL RELATIONS) OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA. HER COLUMN APPEARS MONTHLY IN BUSINESS IN EDMONTON.
SELLING, BUILDING AND USING REAL ESTATE: AI IT BEHIND IS ALL // ELAN MACDONALD

THE RELATIONSHIP BUILDING TRAILBLAZERS

&
• Celebrating 70
By Nerissa
A. Clark Roofing
Siding
Years
A. Clark Roofing & Siding celebrates 70 years
Mario Glynn, sales manager and Jay Dunlop, general manager.
47
Photo by Rebecca Lippiatt.

In an industry known for seasonal work and transient labourers, A. Clark Roofing & Siding is showing Alberta how a roofing company can go the distance. This year is its 70th anniversary; a landmark occasion for any business but especially one of this kind. What’s the secret?

For Jay Dunlop, general manager, it’s not a secret at all. It’s a value the founder injected into the brand from day one. Thanks to this value, which is infused in every aspect of the business, A. Clark continues to grow and thrive. That value is: building relationships.

“Archie Clark founded the company in 1953, after serving in World War II,” says Dunlop. “At that time, it was just him and his brother. They launched in Calgary but over time moved the headquarters to Edmonton. For Archie, business is all about relationships – with the people on your team, the community, clients and suppliers. Relationships were the key.”

That value is still what the company stands on today.

“What Archie was hoping for,” Dunlop continues, “was to be one of the most respected roofing companies. Not the biggest, just the best.”

It’s safe to say that Archie got his wish. Alongside numerous Readers’ Choice awards from Edmonton Journal and Edmonton Sun, A. Clark is the longest serving member

in the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) as a member since 1954; has maintained a 60-year record in good standing with the Better Business Bureau; and has a nearly perfect 5/5 star rating from hundreds of reviewers on Google, Facebook, HomeStars and GuildQuality.

Dunlop points out the significance of these milestones, saying, “After the last big hailstorm in Calgary, over 100 ‘roofing companies’ popped up overnight. This is a very cutthroat industry with no barriers to entry. You only need a truck and tools to call yourself a roofer and it is very easy for people to make it seem like they know what they are doing. We have a full-time service department that spends a lot of time helping homeowners fix ‘fixes’ that should never have happened in the first place.”

A. Clark Roofing & Siding • Celebrating 70 Years • Page 2
Jay Dunlop, general manager. Photo by Rebecca Lippiatt.

Although Dunlop joined A. Clark 10 years ago, he is no stranger to the company. He is also a testament to how relationship building starts internally.

“The people we hire have been around for a long time and come from diverse backgrounds. Working together as a team, we have the experience to solve all sorts of roofing and siding problems. With all due respect to our partners in the industry, there are times we get referrals from other roofing companies when they run into a project they are not equipped to handle. We love being trusted to accept these challenges as a team.

“I’m the third generation in my family to work here. My father worked for A. Clark as did my grandfather. The Clarks are entering their third generation here too. This is truly a family-style business. Even though I left and explored other options and schooling, I kept coming back to this. I really enjoy helping people understand the problems with their roof and being part of an experienced, reliable solution for our clients.”

Relationship building is very evident in how A. Clark works with homeowners. Dunlop is happy to explain.

“When we think of relationships with our clients, we strive to understand what the communities we serve need.

A. Clark Roofing & Siding • Celebrating 70 Years • Page 3
“When we think of relationships with our clients, we strive to understand what the communities we serve need. One big aspect is quality control. That is why we physically inspect roof projects upon completion,” says Dunlop.

One big aspect is quality control. That is why we physically inspect roof projects upon completion. Service is a big part of what drives us. I remember a few times going up on a roof and a homeowner or neighbour being surprised. When they ask why I was there, I say we always check to make sure the job was done well. We are always trying to make sure we are doing the right thing and that our customers are happy. We are honest. If a roof doesn’t need to be replaced, we say so. We never sell a service or product that is not needed.”

Despite providing a great corporate culture, the reputation of roofing makes finding team members a challenge. For Dunlop, this is a symptom of a larger problem involving all the trades.

“It’s tough to find people who want to work in roofing because our industry needs to find better ways to connect and draw people into the trades. It may not be flashy work, but it is very rewarding and interesting.”

To help promote roofing and the trades, A. Clark is active with a variety of organizations including the Edmonton and Calgary Construction Associations, CHBA and the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce.

Dunlop has wise advice for those thinking about roof repair or replacement, and he bases this advice on the experience of a company that has seen and done it all over the past 70 years.

ANNIVERSARY 70
Happy to A. Clark Roofing & Siding Old-World Charm, New-World Performance.
A. Clark Roofing & Siding • Celebrating 70 Years • Page 4
Manoir –Bavaria WITH :

CONGRATULATIONS TO A. CLARK ROOFING ON THEIR 70TH ANNIVERSARY!

We are honoured to have been a part of your history, excited for the present and confident in a prosperous future.

Thank you for allowing us to become a part of your family and your success!

CALGARY NORTH | CALGARY SOUTH | EDMONTON | GRANDE PRAIRIE | KELOWNA LETHBRIDGE | CRANBROOK | MEDICINE HAT | RED DEER | REGINA | WINNIPEG | SURREY| BC CEILINGS
www.shoemakerdrywall.com
A. Clark Roofing & Siding • Celebrating 70 Years • Page 5
Despite providing a great corporate culture, the reputation of roofing makes finding team members a challenge. For Dunlop, this is a symptom of a larger problem involving all the trades.

He has further advice for those living in homeowner associations (HOAs).

“We have seen many instances where homeowners did not check with their HOA before doing a roofing project. Using

an unapproved product could lead to a re-roof. Always check those HOA standards!”

A. Clark has been widely praised and recognized numerous times over the years for its work in the industry and giving back to the community. However, instead of pointing to trophies and plaques, Dunolp says the biggest reward is, “Hearing that we did a good job. Hearing that a person on the team went above and beyond. Hearing that our customers are happy with our service.”

When not on roofs or re-siding buildings, you’ll find A. Clark giving back in and around Edmonton and Calgary. The company supports STARS by working on their lottery showhomes and also supports Little Warriors and Wellspring Alberta.

Dunlop is excited about the future of A. Clark.

www.roofmart.ca

“On behalf of the team we say thank you to our founder Archie and also to his son Doug, who has been running the business for the last few decades and doing a wonderful job of maintaining what his father started. Doug’s sons are now coming into the business and will be the third generation. Like his father, who is the company president, they will ensure the company stays close to its founding fundamentals.

“Going on three generations in an industry where companies come and go quickly is an honour. We will continue to hire the best staff and stay true to who we are. As technology changes a lot of roofing companies are becoming more distant. They quote the roof using satellite imagery and send a quote online. It is possible to set up a project without talking to a single person! We won’t do that. We continue to adopt industry technology but we will always value being face-to-face with our customers and physically on their roofs so we can fully understand the project and discuss it with the property owners. We use tech, but not in a way that changes our foundation or impacts our relationships.

“In that respect I don’t think we have to change. We don’t want to change. There is no reason to change. Simply put, we care about our service towards our team and our customers. So, to us, the future means we keep doing what we have been doing.”

It’s a good plan. After all, it has got them this far for 70 years.

Learn why A. Clark Roofing & Siding has been going strong for seven decades by visiting them online (www.aclark.ca) and on Facebook.

CANADA’S NATIONAL DISTRIBUTOR FOR EXTERIOR BUILDING SUPPLY ROOFING | SIDING | METAL | BUILDING ENVELOPE CONGRATULATIONS
THE PINK
& © 1964–2023 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved. The colour PINK is a registered trademark of Owens Corning. © 2023 Owens Corning. All Rights Reserved.
A. Clark Roofing and Siding LP on 70 Years!
PANTHER™
CELEBRATING 70 YEARS OF COMMITMENT TO THE COMMUNITY!
A. Clark Roofing & Siding • Celebrating 70 Years • Page 6
When not on roofs or re-siding buildings, you’ll find A. Clark giving back in and around Edmonton and Calgary. The company supports STARS by working on their lottery showhomes and also supports Little Warriors and Wellspring Alberta.
Beacon is the largest publicly traded roofing distributor with o North America. Founded in 1928, we are among the oldest and mos distributors in the industry. www.beacon-canada.com Edmonton 9610-54 Ave 780-437-7003 Calgary South 2845 – 107 Ave 403-720-0600 Congratulations to A. Clark Roofing on reaching another Milestone. Moving soon! 3120 93 St. Edmonton, AB T6N 1C7 Phone: 1-780-465-7571 | Admin: admin@aclark.ca Service: service@aclark.ca | Sales: sales@aclark.ca www.aclark.ca A. Clark
& Siding • Celebrating 70 Years • Page 7
Roofing
Jay Dunlop, general manager and Mario Glynn, sales manager. Photo by Rebecca Lippiatt.

LEADING THE CHARGE IN AN EVOLVING INDUSTRY CALIBER

CONTROL SYSTEMS

CELEBRATES

15 YEARS

Caliber Control Systems is the reliable and innovative choice for industrial electrical, instrumentation, automation and solar projects across North America.

Established in 2008, Caliber provides 360 degrees of service, from design and fabrication to installation, commissioning and maintenance for the oil, gas, petrochemical and mining industries. The latest division, Caliber Total Green, was established to service the renewable energy sector. Its QA/QC program outlines

Caliber’s commitment to exceeding industry and client expectations when it comes to project quality, customer service and worksite safety.

Environmental stewardship is always top of mind; Caliber rigorously adheres to government legislation in all operations. The company proactively reduces environmental harm by recycling, composting, reducing vehicle emissions and working towards becoming a paperless organization.

Caliber Control Systems • 15 Years
55
Darin Barker, Dave Lee, Denee Flodell, Ryan Stasiuk, Donna Schellenberg, Jordon Flodell and Jeff Thiel.

A main value of Caliber is corporate and community social responsibility. With this value at its core, the management team leads by example and encourages each staff member to be active in volunteering, sitting on boards, contributing to fundraisers and supporting amateur sports.

In just 15 years, Caliber Control Systems grew from a concept to servicing high-level projects across North America and it all started with one man, Jordon Flodell.

Flodell, president and CEO, began his career as an instrumental technician.

“I was working as an instrumental tech but the company I was working for was very hands off, says Flodell. “I felt that the organization lacked a good corporate culture. When an opportunity came up to do something in my field that I was passionate about, I jumped at the chance and welcomed the challenge.”

That opportunity was to open Caliber Control Systems. For Flodell, the corporate culture of his company would be every bit as important as the work they would go on to do. With this in mind, he opened the doors and introduced the industry to a new way of doing business –a business where people mattered and customer service was key.

As with most success stories, Caliber had humble beginnings.

“I started Caliber at the kitchen table, processing paperwork on evenings and weekends after days in the field,” Flodell reminisces. “So, the first milestone was buying a shop and an office. That truly legitimized the business.”

The next milestone for Caliber was estimating, being awarded and completing its first major project.

“We had instilled confidence in our client and this ended up being a very successful project.”

“I have an instrumentation background, so we were known for that,” Flodell continues. Over time we added electrical and then automation.”

Those additions led to another milestone when the company was called in from the onset to give input for, and to provide, all of the electrical, instrumentation and automation services for a substantial project.

Although Caliber Control Systems is celebrating 15 years, it’s still a well-kept secret that the brand offers all three services: electrical, instrumentation and automation. Flodell looks forward to growing industry awareness about how Caliber is a one-stop operation for those in need of those services, and how the sister company, Site Resources Ltd., also adds value to projects.

“Site Resources is our lloT, instrumentation, automation and lubricant solution,” says Flodell. “Our services and products

Caliber Control Systems • 15 Years • 2

through Site Resources started by relieving common issues in Alberta’s oil and gas sector. Now we provide solutions worldwide. We provide GPS; density, level and pressure measurement devices; mass flow and pipeline integrity devices; plunger lift controllers and lubricants.”

“It is important,” Flodell continues, “to see what is coming down the pipeline in our industry and to adapt and grow. For example, technology and automation are making strides and so are green solutions.”

With that in mind, and with a commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly practices, Flodell opened the Caliber Total Green division.

“Caliber Total Green is about clean, safe, renewable energy,” he says. “One component of this is grid parity. Through interconnected and remotely managed systems, we can maximize our power output while monitoring every solar panel, wind turbine and energy storage system in real time. Through automation, we ensure all of the systems are operating at peak capacity with continuous uptime. We upgrade the technology as needed to ensure we are constantly generating green power for the market.”

An array of tech-forward services and green energy options keeps Caliber busy and ahead of the curve, but for Flodell, success is something earned through hard work, honest communication and outstanding customer service.

“We are a family-owned business. We wear our heart on our sleeve with the people we employ and with our industry relationships,” he says. “We cherish them; we offer a high level of service to our employees and to our clients.

“When it comes to customer service, our phone is always on and we are quick to respond. Every client has a different need. We adapt to them individually and quickly because we are a very agile company that knows there is never a one-size-fits-all solution. We are proud to have so many long-term clients.

“I’m also very proud of our team. They are the reason for our continual growth. We have some great people with us and I’m so happy to have them. It is a priority to provide a workplace for them that empowers them to support their families and take pride in their career.”

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Flodell admits, “Some of the past years have been very challenging due a number of factors (COVID, changing economics, shifting political landscape, energy prices) so to come through and thrive is a real blessing.”

There are still challenges. As with most trades-based businesses in the province, Flodell feels the pinch of limited labour.

“Skill trades are hurting,” he acknowledges. “There are not as many young people getting into the trades and there is a large displacement as older people leave the

Caliber Control Systems • 15 Years • 3
Congratulations Caliber on 15 years!!

people coming in.”

The solution, he knows, is a long-range plan based on many different factors. For his part, he will continue to advocate for young people to enter the trades while providing an outstanding corporate culture as a leader and example in the industry.

“Both our clients and our team can expect a consistently high level of service and quality based on our industry experience and drive to create an outstanding workplace for our people.”

Caliber Control Systems, and Flodell, make supporting the community a priority as well. They give back to the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, the annual Alzheimer’s Face Off Pro-Am tournament and more.

For many years Flodell was a part of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Edmonton. He credits EO with helping him run Caliber and take care of its clients and team.

organization is made up of great people and business minds in Edmonton and provides amazing networking opportunities. That, for me, was a huge advantage. EO is advantageous for businesses across Edmonton and was instrumental during some of the tough industry years.”

Although he took a break from EO to complete his EMBA, Flodell looks forward to rejoining the organization.

“EO’s mentors and peers are part of the reason why we are where we are today,” he smiles.

Caliber Control Systems has grown and changed in many ways since Flodell used to run the company from his kitchen table. Now, with clients across the globe, being an early adopter of green solutions, creating space for those that choose the trades and supporting the community, the entrepreneur is happy to look back and know that when that opportunity came along 15 years ago, he made the right choice.

The future? He confides, “Diversifying into other markets. Growth. Providing more opportunity for the people we employ.”

Congratulations on 15 years and wishing you many more years of success! Toll-Free: 1.800.665.5243 | www.lloydsadd.com #108, 11360 255 Street Acheson, AB 24 hour on-call service: 1-855-962-7945 Learn more at calibercontrolsystems.com and siteresourcesltd.com Caliber Control Systems • 15 Years • 4

THE OPTIMAL SOLUTION

Optimax Benefits celebrates 25 years

Earl Shindruk, president, founded Optimax Benefits in 1998 because he wanted to create a company that would always do the right thing for the right reasons.

“Optimax is a specialized employee benefits consulting firm and brokerage in Edmonton. We provide services with exceptional client care and we play an active role in the community by supporting a variety of local charities and notfor-profits,” Shindruk says.

Photos by Rebecca Lippiatt
Optimax Benefits celebrating 25 years 59

The Optimax team is known for the way they take the time to personally engage with clients and learn about the goals they have for their companies and employees. They actively work with clients to help them make the right decisions regarding challenges and they design a comprehensive employee benefits plan to address those areas.

As a brokerage, Optimax works for the clients, not for any single insurance carrier. This allows the team to shop the market on each client’s behalf and customize plans that work for each client’s best interests.

“A benefits brokerage always ensures companies are effectively represented in the Canadian benefits marketplace. We bring a national perspective to the process, which results in better pricing and objective analysis,” Shindruk adds.

As Optimax celebrates 25 years, Shindruk reflects on how it all got started and where things are today.

“In our first few years, as the company was establishing itself, I was the only full-time employee,” he says. “Today, we have three full-time staff members who manage client onboarding, research, implementation and that face-to-face customer service that has always set us apart.”

“One of the reasons clients enjoy dealing with us is because we are a locally owned and operated company,” he continues. “Our clients are our neighbours. We have long-term relationships and we have earned the trust of our clients. We also have high service standards and include frequent touchpoints with each client every year. We are very community minded and support those who help and care for other people.”

Hiring the first employee was one of Shindruk’s memorable moments.

“That was a true highlight and helped solidify and grow the business,” he smiles. “However, our most memorable and impactful moments happen daily when we receive feedback from our clients. Having a business owner tell you he is sleeping better at night because he knows his employees are being looked after… well, it’s hard to put a price on that!”

Insurance is a changing field with plenty of challenges. Shindruk and his team face those challenges head on and overcome them.

“The employee benefits field, like most industries, is becoming more competitive. We are very fortunate that we grew steadily and slowly with a solid business plan. We’re small but mighty – agile and local with access to employee benefit offerings from

across Canada. It also helps that we have history with our clients; we understand their challenges.

Change is a constant in this industry too. Shindruk explains, “We help employees in time of need with the most comprehensive coverage within their budget, provide disability coverages for when an employee gets injured or contracts a disease and incorporate prescription drug plans that help pay for medications to keep workers healthy and productive. However, we have also evolved with the times to provide a more holistic approach to benefits. Now, a gym membership or a treadmill could be included as part of a package and we are willing to explore more options that may not be considered traditional. For example, with the onset of COVID-19, our services expanded to include virtual health care, enhanced employee assistance programs and increased counselling services.”

“Although Edmonton feels like a small town, it’s a proud, growing community that has always boasted a can-do spirit!” he says. “It’s an exciting place, as evidenced by a large number of companies starting and expanding each year. Another difference between Edmonton and many other big cities is that people here are invested and involved in their communities. It’s an honour for us to partner with so many of those folks throughout the year.”

One of the hallmarks of Shindruk’s career is giving back to the community personally and professionally. He achieves this, in part, as a guest speaker at MacEwan University, U of A, CPHR Alberta and the International Personnel Management Association (IPMA). He taught sessions in employee benefits and human resources at MacEwan University for many years, serves on many not-for-profit boards, volunteers

Optimax Benefits celebrating 25 years • 2
“A benefits brokerage always ensures companies are effectively represented in the Canadian benefits marketplace. We bring a national perspective to the process, which results in better pricing and objective analysis,” Shindruk adds.

with numerous causes, was one of the founders of the Meningitis Foundation of Alberta and was a founding member of 100MenYEG. To date, 100MenYEG has raised over $200,000 for more than 40 local charities.

He adds, “We also host an annual charity golf tournament, the Optimax Open, that raises awareness and funds for a chosen local charity. We are proud to be hosting our 10th annual tournament this year.”

CONGRATULATIONS TO OPTIMAX BENEFITS ANNIVERSARY! ON YOUR 25TH

The Optimax Open has raised more than $42,000 since it began in 2012. The proceeds from the 2023 tournament will benefit Adeara Recovery Centre.

Shindruk learned the value of giving at an early age.

“When I was young, we had enough but my family was considered poor by today’s standards,” he muses. “A big part of my life was the store my father owned – Sprucefield Cash Store with an Esso pump next to it. I spent a lot of time there

Willowglen Systems has been a client of Optimax Benefits since 2017. Earl Shindruk is a man of his word, delivering and following through with every commitment his company has made. A big congratulations for your many years of excellent service.

Optimax Benefits celebrating 25 years • Page 3
Earl Shindruk (benefits advisor and founder), Todd Shindruk (client relationship coordinator) and Carlee Franczak (client relationship manager).

stocking shelves, pumping gas and selling items

“However, business was slow and one year just before Christmas, my father decided to close the store. He had boxes of chocolate he brought in that were not selling, so he drove from farm to farm giving the chocolates away.”

That one act changed everything.

“What happened next is what I consider a miracle,” Shindruk continues. “The families from those farms came into the store more often instead of driving to a nearby town. They wanted to support the local business. From that Christmas on, my father continued to hand out gifts. That is where I learned about the value of giving back to others. With his one humble act my father had not only saved the store but also brought more

In 2018 Shindruk received a national philanthropy award for his work in supporting local charities that

On behalf of the team, Shindruk says, “We are fortunate and grateful to have had the encouragement and support of many mentors and friends over 25 years. Additionally, business training and coaching from Canada Life was very helpful in obtaining focus, direction and guidance

He concludes, “The next steps for the business include continuing to grow and expanding in Alberta and British Columbia. We will do so by ensuring each client is treated with care and provided with all the support they need for their employees and their group benefit and

www.sunlife.com CONGRATULATIONS Optimax on your 25th Anniversary! 6060 88 St NW Unit 15, Edmonton, AB T6E 6G4 (780) 490-5945 optimaxbenefits.ca Optimax Benefits celebrating 25 years • 4
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