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October 2013 $3.50


The dedicated, hard-working and successful founder, president and CEO of FYidoctors has revolutionized eye care

Events & Catering

Supporting Edmonton’s Events

Real Estate Are the Municipalities on a Literal Collision Course?

Small Business Week

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Wireless Competition In Canada: Is Government Stacking the Deck?


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Edmontonians have vision! Learn why in this issue of Business in Edmonton.



The dedicated, hard-working and successful founder, president and CEO of FYidoctors has revolutionized eye care



Fresh News Across all Sectors


Company Profiles 113 C ESSCO FABRICATION


A Big Deal in the Making





20 years of inspiration

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October 2013 | Business In Edmonton Magazine |

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Edmontonians have vision! Learn why in this issue of Business in Edmonton.


EDITOR Mark Kandborg



Nerissa McNaughton



Nerissa McNaughton Nikki Mullett

The support teams behind Edmonton’s events are busy year-round to ensure each one is a success.






THIS ISSUE’S CONTRIBUTORS Mark Kandborg Benjamin Freeland James Cumming

Nerissa McNaughton Rechell McDonald

PHOTOGRAPHY Cover photo by Ewan Nicholson Photography Inc.

ADVERTISING SALES Samir Hamid Jennifer Snow Evelyn Dehner Bobbi Joan O’Neil Carla Wright Renee Neil bobbi@


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October 2013 | Business In Edmonton Magazine |

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ast month’s decision by American cell phone giant Verizon Wireless to partner with a British firm rather than seek entry into the Canadian market makes one wonder in retrospect – was all that fuss really necessary? Most Canadians think that wireless companies are gouging consumers on voice, data and roaming fees. In a random poll of 1,200 Canadians, taken when Verizon announced its intention to enter Canada, over 70 per cent agreed that the firm’s arrival would be positive step for consumers. But would it? The federal government certainly thinks so. “Our view has been clear, we want effective competition across Canada,” said industry minister James Moore. The government believes many Canadians support Verizon (or any other foreign wireless provider) moving into the market, anticipating cheaper phone plans and better customer service. On the other side, the domestic Big Three (Telus, Rogers and Bell) were frantic to prevent more competition from entering Canada. Their hysterical media adds equating the entry of Verizon to selling off the rights to Canada’s water testified to their desperation. Would Verizon’s arrival have ensured better service and cheaper prices? Not necessarily. A Bank of Nova Scotia report debunks the consensus that Canadians overpay for mobile and Internet service. The report concludes that the ‘Verizon is cheaper’ concept is a myth and that U.S. prices for data plans are about 10 per cent more expensive then current, equivalent Canadian plans. The report also refutes the government’s po-


Would Verizon’s arrival have ensured better service and cheaper prices? Not necessarily. A Bank of Nova Scotia report debunks the consensus that Canadians overpay for mobile and Internet service. sition that adding a fourth major carrier will ensure greater competition. Research by Credit Suisse indicates less than 30 per cent of developed countries have four or more major players. In France, the arrival of a fourth carrier (Iliad) changed the face of the industry through ‘disruptive pricing.’ It offered mobile and Internet plans at an average price of 10 per cent less than its competitors. The ensuing disruption (which markets hate) led to a massive market cap devaluation of French telecoms, which are now worth $49 billion less than just before the fourth carrier arrived in 2009. It shows that the expectation of ‘more competition, lower prices and more money’ may not be the assured outcome. To be fair, the Big Three may have a legitimate beef. The key to market success is all about acquiring wireless spectrum – the radio waves that allow mobile uses to talk, text and stream internet data. In early 2014, the federal government will auction off four blocks of 700 megahertz spectrum, and two blocks will be set aside for any new entrant to the Canadian market. The federal government sets the limit on how much spectrum major players will be allowed to purchase and it remains steadfast on it position.

October 2013 | Business In Edmonton Magazine |

Wireless spectrum has become so valuable that the last auction in 2008 raised over $4 billion. Taxpayers may see an even bigger return this time as the 700 megahertz spectrum is more valuable because it increases transmission range. The Big Three argue that setting two blocks aside for a new entrant is unfair and that all players should have equal opportunity. If a new entrant is allowed to buy two blocks of the high value spectrum, it will have a competitive advantage over existing carriers who will have to maintain their lower value spectrums as well. The authors of this article are free market economists who believe the government should intervene only when markets fail – which is an economist’s way of saying, “when the deck is getting stacked in someone’s favor at the unfair expense of someone else.” In this case, the government’s decision to set aside two blocks (half the available spectrum up for sale) for new entrants may have been going a bit too far in the effort to level the playing field. But the story is far from over and even without Verizon, early 2014 will be a very interesting time for the Canadian wireless industry. May lower wireless charges ensue. BIE Jason Brisbois is an economist and Managing Director of the University of Alberta Water Initiative.

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Greenboro Homes Edmonton has been acquired by Crystal Creek Homes. “As a native Edmontonian, I’m thrilled to bring our team in and take on Greenboro Homes Edmonton, says Crystal Creek Homes owner Justin Bobier. “I started Crystal Creek in 2004 and embarked on a journey to give people the home of their dreams. We hold a very high level of integrity here. We are committed to quality craftsmanship and exceptional customer service.” Bobier has nearly two decades of experience. He built his first home in 1994. Now, 19 years later, Crystal Creek Homes builds over 70 homes per year in seven estate communities, a high-end multi-family division, inner-city infills and personal home sites. Crystal Creek Homes has won numerous SAM building awards from the Canadian Home Builders’ Association. SAM awards recognize excellence in the areas of new homes, renovation design and construction; distinctive community development; innovative technology and construction techniques; remarkable marketing and sales activities; and commitment to green building practices. They were also the recipient of the customer-driven New Home Buyers Choice Award in 2012. Crystal Creek Homes has recently been placed on Alberta Venture’s Fast Growth 50 list. Crystal Creek Homes also builds homes in Calgary, where they have unveiled their newest product offering, V. V features luxury living in the prestigious Marda Loop, “an evolving, vibrant, urban community that is engaged, connected, and desirable.” Aimed at family living, Marda Loop provides quick access to downtown Calgary and is ideally situated for shopping, dining, parks, schools and transit. Standard fea-


tures of the V homes show Crystal Creek’s commitment to excellence and green living. These features include: 92% high efficiency forced air furnaces, two layers of 5/8” drywall on both sides with r20 batt insulation in the stud spaces (STC rating of 62), tankless on-demand hot water heaters with re-circulation lines, and high-efficiency toilets. These beautiful townhouses also feature a storm water capture and reuse system for irrigation purposes, drip style humidifiers and Fiorenzo bio-flame fireplaces. Greenboro Homes is a good fit for Crystal Creek Homes as they offer several styles of homes in a diverse range of communities. Under the Greenboro brand, multi-family, character and urban homes are offered in the communities of Emerald Hill, Sherwood Park; Maple Crest, Laurel, and Walker Lakes Station, South Edmonton; Tribute and Southfort Ridge, Leduc; and the Village at Griesbach, North Edmonton. In 2012, Greenboro Homes was an Awards of Excellence finalist in the best single family two-storey home with attached garage ($300,000-$330,000 price range) category. There is no doubt that the solid history of Greenboro combined with the expertise of Crystal Creek

October 2013 | Business In Edmonton Magazine |

will bring many more beautiful, affordable, award-winning homes to all areas Edmonton. BIE AUTOMOTIVE


On September 3, 2013, Gateway Toyota moved to their new location on 2020 103A Street SW, Edmonton, but you won’t have to go very far to find them. This new space is just four minutes away from their 3030 Gateway Boulevard location. “I am excited about it [the move],” states dealer principal, Neal Gratton. “The new facility will be there for 100 years. It is a big deal, a big commitment to our belief in the Toyota brand. Edmonton is a great place and we are excited to invest in the community.” The new location has the same great service that Gateway Toyota patrons are used to, but there are some interesting new features. These features include a touchless automatic car wash, a larger and more comfortable waiting area, a children’s play space, and a cafeteria. Of particular note is the drive-through service re-

As Canada’s largest and fastest growing independent eye care services company, FYidoctors is offering Canadians a new concept in eye care. With over 250 optometrists serving over 100 locations, and investments in the latest technologies in diagnostic care and personalized vision products, FYidoctors embraces a “patient first” approach to eye care and eye wear.

FYidoctors ... giving patients access to new technologies in eye care and the latest styles in eye wear.

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October 2013 | Business In Edmonton Magazine |

ception, improved customer parking, and easy access to 103A Street from Ellerslie Road, next to Highway 2 south. The new vehicle lot is still located at 3030 Gateway Boulevard, but the pre-owned lot is at the new location. This has allowed the dealership to expand their offering of preowned vehicles and to build a larger service centre. In keeping with offering an improved location and amenities, Gateway Toyota has created a Fly n drive program. “Gateway Toyota is the Toyota Dealer nearest the Edmonton International Airport. We have many customers living all over western Canada who literally fly to the city and drive away their vehicle purchase,” says a statement on their website. “Although we’ve never really advertised this in the past, we often help with the cost of the flight to Edmonton. This unadvertised policy has been so popular with our customers, we’ve decided to make our Fly n Drive program official.” How does it work? If you plan to fly to Edmonton to pick up your Gateway Toyota vehicle purchase, the dealership can help you find a hotel, transportation to the hotel, and even help find a great deal on a flight. While they do not book the flights for you, when your vehicle purchase is complete, they will reimburse you for the cost of the domestic flight. For full details on the Fly n Drive program, let your salesperson know you want to participate and they will take it from there. Gateway Toyota is committed to customer service. “We want to create a family atmosphere and a long-lasting friendship with all of our customers,” says their mission statement. “We believe that the sale is not the end, and that in fact it’s the beginning of that relationship. Our goal is to make us different than your average dealership. We honour three words: fairness, trust and integrity. With your trust and support, our goal is achievable.” To learn more about what Gateway Toyota has to offer, drop by their two lots, call (780) 439-3939, or check out their website at BIE


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The support teams behind Edmonton’s events are busy year-round to ensure each one is a success. SHAW CONFERENCE CENTRE CREATES DESSERTS FOR AN EVENT


October 2013 | Business In Edmonton Magazine |


dmonton is known as the Festival City, and for good reason. From the Fringe to the Heritage Festival, some of Alberta’s best-known events happen in E-town. Add in the large booking venues such as the Shaw Conference Centre and Northland Parks and you have all you need to create a memorable public or private event. Like the tip of the iceberg whose supportive base is hidden beneath the surface, so is the world behind Edmonton’s biggest events. This is a world Liane Cournoyer, a partner at TNT Communication and Event Planning, knows very well. After all, she’s been in the business for 18 years. TNT Event Planning is the face behind the city-wide Edmonton and Area Corporate Challenge. They have also planned the 4th Firefighters World Games, Bumper to Bumper’s Motorcross Classic, and Cineplex Odeon’s media ground breaking ceremony, to name a few. With her many years of experience at the front line of event planning, Cournoyer has seen some interesting trends come and go. “There was a definite downturn a few years ago, but as the economy gets better businesses are more apt to put on larger events,” Cournoyer says. “We’ve seen a definite upturn in the last couple of years. More businesses are reinstating larger Christmas parties, conferences, etc. We do a lot of charity events and that never seems to slow down. Charities continually need to find new and unique ways to raise funds and events are one way to do that.”


Another trend Cournoyer notes can be blamed on reality TV’s latest obsession. “Food trucks at events are unique and very trendy right now!” she confirms. For TNT Events, however, some things will never change. “Clients always want the newest, most hip thing and to have something at their event that no one has ever had before. The biggest thing that will never change is attention to detail – events are about the details and missing even a small one can be devastating.” Northlands is no stranger to details; they produce some of the largest events in Edmonton. Just check out these impressive attendance numbers over the years: • 2013 K-Days 781,743 • 2013 Tim Horton’s Brier 281,985, • 2012 Farmfair International 91,293 • 2012 Canadian Finals Rodeo 90,665 According to Jennifer Sheehan, public relations manager corporate relations, not only does planning for these events take a year or longer, they are carefully monitored throughout the event in a never-ending quest for quality. “We want to make sure our events are the best they can be. To do that, we have daily meetings to identify potential issues and start making notes on how to improve for future events,” Sheehan confirms.

This planning includes but is not limited to developing a site layout plan, obtaining permits, planning for the set-up phase, booking performers and contractors, developing a safety plan, staffing and scheduling the post event cleanup. It’s not just what takes place before the event that is so impressive. The support behind the events when they open to the public is equally amazing. To help us understand the magnitude, Sheehan breaks down this summer’s main attraction numerically. “Our most recent signature event was K-Days – July 1928, 2013,” Sheehan shares. “At this year’s event, attendance was 781,743 over the 10 days. Here is a breakdown of the some of the key administration groups and their contribution to making the event a success: • Volunteer Services: 539 volunteers donated 9,487 hours during this year’s K-Days. • Guest Services: During K-Days we had 230 event staff work a total of 11,072 hours. • Parking attendants: Our parking team had a fantastic time directing over 40,000 cars into stalls over the 10 day period for K-Days. The team ensured every stall was filled in all lots and even on the busiest days, no one was turned away. We had 80 staff, including both our parking cashiers and parking attendants over the 10 days. • Facilities & infrastructure: It took 16,038 hours to set up and tear down the event, 46 transformers to power the

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October 2013 | Business In Edmonton Magazine |



By Fay Fletcher


onventional wisdom says to find what you love and make a career out of it. Andrew Bryson took conventional wisdom one step further; he found what he loved and created a thriving company unlike any other in Edmonton. Bryson, who spent many years wishing IT firms would focus more on hiring qualified people who could deliver amazing results, came to the realization that he didn’t need to spend his days wishing things were different. He could make that change happen. This realization lead to Quercus, an IT firm that delivers cohesive software and computing solutions in easy-tounderstand package formats. Formats that, as Bryson is proud to say, “Customers really latch onto.” The three main service offerings from Quercus are MarQuee, LiQuid and PreQuel. While MarQuee creates custom web, desktop, mobile applications and SharePoint solutions for business and LiQuid moves office applications to the convenience of the cloud, it is their latest product, PreQuel, that has captivated the industry. “We are very excited to offer this new service line,” says manager, business development, Analee Roman. “This is one of a kind. No other company in Edmonton currently offers a product like this!” PreQuel is unique in that it is customizable to any smallto-large IT project. Research has proven that most IT projects finish over time, over budget and without delivering the desired results. PreQuel mitigates this by outlining the necessary steps, creating an understanding of what is involved, and providing what the Quercus team calls “a roadmap to success.” PreQuel gives the organization direction, showing how your project gets from conception to completion on time and within budget. Providing PreQuel to Quercus clients is a dream come true for Bryson who, as he passionately states, “strives to deliver real value for the customer.” However, creating a company that provides the real IT solutions companies need was only part of Bryson’s vision. In order to have the company his customers deserve, he knew he had to hire the right type of people. “We don’t just hire for skills,” he states. “If you don’t have passion for your job, you’re not the right person.” To this end, Bryson hired a full time human resources director, something unheard of for a young company of this size. To

Andrew Bryson

Providing PreQuel to Quercus clients is a dream come true for Bryson who, as he passionately states, “strives to deliver real value for the customer.” Bryson, however, it is money well spent. “Employee culture is just, if not more, important than sales. To build a culture of passion, you have to build a team consisting of the right people.” Has he achieved this goal? “It’s [Quercus] everything I’ve envisioned,” the business leader smiles. “We work hard, but we have fun while we’re doing it – because we love what we do.” Since opening their doors in 2005, Quercus provides more than outstanding IT services. This unique company will help you streamline your operations, modernize into the cloud, and keep your IT projects on time and on budget with their newest offering, PreQuel. The heart of every business is great service and great products that often requires great software, and that is why Quercus, whose heart is full of passion for what they do, is the perfect partner for your IT solutions. Learn more by visiting, calling 780.409.8180, emailing or dropping by 101, 15023 123 Ave, NW Edmonton.


The Shaw Conference Centre’s multiple rooms means up to 4,000 people can be served in one night. Planning the catering for large private events can start up to five months in advance. amusements and concessions, 5,161 linear feet (23,224.5 ft2) of scrim was printed, 557 linear feet (2,506 ft2) of banners were printed, and approximately 1,250 (4’x8’ sheets) or 10,000 linear feet (40,000 ft²) of corrugated plastic signage was produced.” Despite the mind-boggling numbers for just one of Edmonton’s summer events, Sheehan admits it’s all in a day’s work for the Northlands team. “Creating tomorrow’s memories every day is what Northlands stands for. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to help ensure each and every guest has a memorable experience.” Part of what makes any event memorable is the food, and creating a memorable food experience is part of Manfred Kalk’s job. Kalk is the client services manager at the Shaw Conference Centre and thanks to his eight years of chef experience, a lot of the events’ food-related decisions fall to him.

The Shaw Conference Centre’s multiple rooms means up to 4,000 people can be served in one night. Planning the catering for large private events can start up to five months in advance. Kalk has also seen the impact of the sudden interest in food trucks on the catering business. Not that they park trucks in the venue, of course, but the trend has had a trickle-down effect. “Things are not as formal,” Kalk admits. People are requesting stationed food that allows for grazing and mingling, at least for part of the meal. That is not the only thing trending in the world of catering. The local food craze is far from over, but it’s shifting in an interesting direction. Kalk points out that people want world flavours, such as Japanese and Mediterranean, but created with local foods. Other trends are more related to age and career gaps. While younger crowds are more apt to request vegetarian and meals free of red-meat, oil and gas

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So the next time you are at an event, large or small, pause to take note of the wait staff, the ticket takers, the security, the ushers – all the people that work so hard to stay in the background despite being directly responsible for your enjoyment of the event. COURTESY OF NORTHLANDS

convention goers like big, hearty meals with plenty of animal protein. “It’s a matter of knowing who your clients are and what they need,” says Kalk. Knowing the clients is only a part of what makes the client services and catering team at the Shaw Conference Centre a success. While they do not boast a large kitchen staff, (too many cooks spoil the soup, after all!) everyone in the kitchen has a wealth of experience. Constant safety checks are done to make sure the food is not out of the fridge for too long and that all the food is prepared in the safest possible manner. The word ‘diligence’ describes how they handle each and every aspect of the catering process. Events and catering have always had a place in Edmonton, but the future sees this industry growing in relation to

an ever-increasing demand. As TNT’s Cournoyer notes, “I think the future of event planning in Edmonton is bright. As the city grows there will be more and more companies looking for help with team building events, parties, conferences, etc. Also, many businesses are recognizing that it pays to hire professionals for event planning. Our field is becoming more respected and recognized. In the past, people thought of event planners as party planners – today they recognize that we are project managers who can assist with logistics and marketing.” So the next time you are at an event, large or small, pause to take note of the wait staff, the ticket takers, the security, the ushers – all the people that work so hard to stay in the background despite being directly responsible for your enjoyment of the event. BIE | Business In Edmonton Magazine | October 2013





The dedicated, hard-working and successful CEO of FYidoctors has revolutionized


October 2013 | Business In Edmonton Magazine |




ight there, under the graphically catchy logo over the door, on level two of West Edmonton Mall (WEM), overlooking the World Waterpark is one of the best examples of a truly remarkable Canadian entrepreneur success story; and it’s only one of seven bright and exciting Edmonton examples (eight more in Northwestern Alberta) and one of 105 examples, coast-to-coast. It may look like just one of many West Edmonton Mall stores, but it is the realization of a dream and an inspiring but unlikely Canadian business success story. It is a dazzling and unique, 4,000-square-foot WEM eye care facility with 15 specially trained staff. Dr. Alan Ulsifer is supercharged, focused and driven. He’s also a ferociously hard-working, but natural success story who just grins with a radiant smile and pretends not to mind the millionth time that somebody says that he is a corporate president and CEO with tremendous vision. At first it may smack of the cheap laugh from a silly joke but, in all seriousness, it may just be an understatement. He is widely recognized and respected, in his profession and also by competitors, as a truly unique and gifted Canadian entrepreneur. Before his bright idea became a remarkable Canadian success story, Ulsifer sensed that something was wrong. In various ways and for different reasons, his professional passion and chosen health-care career was becoming a frustrating and sluggish challenge, mostly due to confused public perception about optometry and partially about his chosen profession’s resistance to change.

founder, president and eye care BY JOHN HARDY

The misunderstanding was (and, to some degree, still is) about eye health, eye care and about who does and doesn’t do what. The confusing difference between optometrists, opticians and ophthalmologists was getting blurred. Ophthalmologists are medical specialists who deal with the anatomy, physiology and various diseases of the eye and usually perform eye surgery. Optometrists (in Canada and the U.S.) are certified health-care professionals who deal with the health of the eyes as well as vision, visual systems and how the eye processes what it sees. They are trained and qualified to prescribe and fit lenses to improve vision, diagnose and treat various eye diseases including prescribing medications for specific sight-affecting conditions such as eye infections and glaucoma.

Opticians are practitioners who design, fit, dispense and supply lenses and glasses for the correction of a person’s vision. Opticians determine the specifications of (usually) glasses, as tested and diagnosed by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist, that will give the necessary correction to a person’s eyesight. “As far back as I can remember, I was always interested in science and especially in medical science and health care. But MD was definitely not an option for me. I was squeamish and knew that I had a fear of blood,” Ulsifer recalls, with slight embarrassment. “It’s probably one of the main reasons why I gravitated to optometry. No blood.” In 1994, after graduating from the University of Waterloo and a few years of what he calls “paying his dues,” Ulsifer (a Saskatchewan native) came home to the West, and his feisty drive and determination launched the oneoffice Northern Vision Centre optometry practice in Grande Prairie. With his uncompromising and high-energy approach to everything he does, the office quickly became the largest revenue-generating, independent optometry practice in Canada. It also earned him kudos and awards from various provincial and national organizations – very rare feedback for a health-care provider. “When I started in practice, the field of eye health and eye care was much simpler. Glasses were unbranded. Let’s face it! Until about 20 years ago, the emphasis was about vision and seeing better. Corrective devices like glasses were medical appliances, not hot fashion statements.” He traces the evolution of consumer confusion about the overlap between optometrists and opticians to glasses increasingly becoming more and more widely (and competitively) available retail fashion options. Whether independent or franchise retail operations, getting glasses shifted to a boom in retail stores in high-traffic shopping areas and malls, offering popular and trendy styles, shapes, colours and brands of frames. “The stores didn’t (and couldn’t) provide eye care, expertise about eye health, qualified diagnoses or advice to people about what was needed for the correction of their eyesight or their eye health problem,” he explains the surging disconnect between eye care and the whim of just wanting a new pair of glasses. The focus (no pun intended) was suddenly on the selection of trendy frames from the store’s display cases, while the medical expertise of the optometrist and the actual eye health diagnosis – the eye test – became almost secondary and a nuisance catch to getting new glasses. It was also a formality which only certified (and invariably off-site) optometrists are qualified to do. For Ulsifer, the catch and the patient runaround was a glaring opportunity and it triggered a bright idea! He had always been driven by innovation and, by his own admission, he didn’t like to lose. The positive but potent combination of those two personality traits made his bright idea irresistible and instantly exciting: why not join independent practices together as a collaborative entity and build their own lens manufacturing and distribution | Business In Edmonton Magazine | October 2013




tre. They would become partners rather than competitors and also eliminate the middleman allowing for stronger negotiation power when dealing with frame suppliers. “It was such a natural concept,” he grins and shrugs. “So perfect. Aside from originally managing my own practice and working hard to achieve steady growth, I had no formal business training. Perhaps being an entrepreneur was always an urge, but I certainly never thought about organizing and growing a company and being a CEO. The business side ‘just happened’ and fell into place.” Ulsifer drafted his plan and pitched it to some optometrist colleagues who would listen: a business concept of merging independent eye care specialists and creating a business and a medical practice model that enabled optometrists to have more control over their practices, their equipment, their specialized lens supply chain as well as a retail selection of frames. “Ultimately, it was a perfect way for optometrists to have complete control over their own destiny,” he says with open enthusiasm. “We came together because we sensed the frustration and shared a belief that the quality of eye care in Canada had become diminished. As medical professionals, we saw mounting evidence that profit was becoming more important than eye health and patient care.” Maybe it was good timing. Maybe because other optometrists were also sensing frustration with their misunderstood and limiting careers, and they were mar-


October 2013 | Business In Edmonton Magazine |

ginalized to being eye test cogs for the non-medical but booming business of selling glasses. Maybe it was combination of all those reasons, but Ulsifer’s bright idea was an immediate, big hit. In 2008, the initial group of 28 Canadian optometrists (two founding partners are among the 20 FYidoctors practicing in Edmonton) launched FYi Eye Care Services and Products Inc., the Canadian brand sensation which instantly caught on with eye care patients and consumers of glasses and is now popularly and simply known as FYidoctors, a vertically-integrated company that deals in all aspects of eye care, from lens technology, manufacturing and distribution, to eye tests and the retail side of offering the latest styles and brands of frames. In less than five years, Ulsifer’s bright idea has become an Alberta-headquartered, mega successful company with 105 locations and 95 new franchise locations. “Edmonton is definitely one of our strongest markets and we have plans to increase the number of our Edmonton locations,” he says, particularly positive about Edmonton as a key market to grow the FYidoctors success story. Designed as a franchise business model, FYidoctors is made up of partnerships (not franchisees) and it is growing exponentially to now being the largest independent eye care products and services company in Canada. “I’m so proud about everything we have accomplished – never satisfied but tremendously proud – because there’s

TighT margins in a volaTile markeT.

Where do you go from here? With constant fluctuations in demand and a highly competitive industry landscape, oilfield service businesses need to optimize financial efficiencies and focus on business fundamentals to grow profits. From exploration through to production, mnP helps oilfield service companies of all types improve operating margins, manage cash flow, maximize return on investment and respond to emerging trends by providing industry insight and premium solutions tailored to your individual situation. Contact kevin george, regional leader, oilfield services at 780.733.8623 or



Ulsifer is constantly revved and ready to emphasize that his FYidoctors concept combines the best of all worlds, both for his select group of trained medical specialists and for their eye care patients and eye wear consumers.

always more to be done,” says the high-energy, dynamic and successful entrepreneur who rarely stops thinking and getting bright ideas. “All along, the concept was to re-establish the value and demand for modern eye care, and our approach is to treat our clientele as patients, not as customers, with the key being a platform of strong independent doctors, leading the company to be the premier experts for eye health and eye care in Canada. “It’s unconditionally our number one priority. Absolutely! It’s what the health care of optometry is all about: diagnostic and treatment technologies that improve people’s lives. Everything else comes second,” he says with the conviction of a solemn oath. Ulsifer is constantly revved and ready to emphasize that his FYidoctors concept combines the best of all worlds, both for his select group of trained medical specialists and for their eye care patients and eye wear consumers. “The strength of our group enables us to invest heavily in technology,” he highlights the key FYidoctors growth


strategy which combines with his career allegiance to the medical science of optometry. “Each of our primary locations has the latest, state-of-theart diagnostic equipment, including OCTS (optical coherence tomography) which is an eye-imaging test that monitors nerve fibre in the retina; our Optomap retinal scanners, allowing our doctors to do the most thorough eye exam with a much wider view of the retina; and our 30,000-squarefoot custom lens manufacturing facility in B.C. that produces our exclusive Internal Freeform lens, which is the most advanced lens technology available today. “It’s terrific! The quality, clarity and the field of view is sensational,” Ulsifer says, straddling the fine line between vibrant optometrist and pumped sales rep. “Many patients say the improvement is like the difference between regular TV and HDTV.” And he seamlessly includes the potent FYidoctors feature of offering the all-the popular fashions and styles of glasses. “Of course! Gucci, Armani, Prada, Silhouette, Fendi, Alain Mikli…” he recites from memory. Ulsifer, the married father of three grown sons and a self-confessed potato chipoholic (“actually any snack with lots of salt”), cracks a warm smile when talking about King, the family’s beloved golden retriever but

October 2013 | Business In Edmonton Magazine |

he shakes his head about the current necessity to be on the road a lot. Despite the still hectic and long days, lots of travel for huddling and meeting with approximately 220 FYidoctors partners and schmoozing potential partners, tending to various president and CEO matters, accepting recognition and awards of excellence like the proud distinction of being the 2012 Prairies EY Entrepreneur Of The Year winner as well as the 2012 Entrepreneur Of The Year for all of Canada, begrudgingly admitting to being “Samsung hooked, constantly connected and doing business from anywhere” and invariably thinking about work, often jotting down notes about everything from corporate growth strategies, new eye care equipment to ways of making a very good thing even better, Ulsifer does admit to regrets. OK, one regret. “I always have good intentions to make time,” he says, with mellow sentiment. “But the business side of the business has been quite consuming and I feel bad that I haven’t practiced optometry in about six years. I am constantly talking and dealing with optometrists and it’s always about our company, but I really miss being hands-on, dealing with eye care health, helping and treating people. I genuinely regret that, for now, I just don’t have the time.” BIE

20 years of inspiration

Entrepreneurs turn us on.

20 years of recognizing bright ideas Prairies 2013

© 2013 Ernst & Young LLP. All Rights Reserved. “Entrepreneur Of The Year” is a registered trademark of EYGN Limited.

Special supplement published by Business in Calgary and Business in Edmonton.

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Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go. –T.S. Eliot

TEC Canada salutes the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year finalists and award recipients – and all those who dream bigger, reach further and soar higher. We help good leaders become great CEOs. It’s where senior executives, business owners and entrepreneurs come together to discover how far they can go.

A million thanks for 20 great years. September 2013 has marked 20 years of business for FirstEnergy Capital. For two decades we have been making waves in the energy investment banking sector with companies, investors and the communities in which we do business. Our focus on providing clients with the most innovative and dynamic approach to investment banking is stronger than ever. We look forward to doing business over the next decade and beyond. To thank our clients and our community, and to celebrate the occasion of our 20th year in business, FirstEnergy donated a total of $1 million to 10 local charities at an anniversary gala on September 21. Please visit to learn more. A new decade. A fresh look. Still making waves.

FirstEnergy Capital Corp. is a Member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and IIROC.

Entrepreneurs turn us on... To new ideas, new ways of thinking and new possibilities. At EY, we’re big believers in the transformational power of Canada’s entrepreneurs to build a better working world. That’s why we’ve proudly celebrated their achievements for 20 years. And we’re just getting started. Entrepreneurs are the best hope of creating sustainable economic growth — in the Prairies, across Canada and around the world. They constantly use their fresh thinking and hard work to create positive change, bringing new concepts and products to market, and creating jobs and wealth that benefit their local communities and the broader economy. At EY, we share that desire. We’re committed to creating a better working world in large measure by harnessing the power of entrepreneurship and supporting the incredible men and women who have the vision, passion and determination to spark their ideas to life.




The award finalists you’ll read about in these pages show that our Prairies region is home to some of the most dynamic innovators in the world. We’re proud to share their success stories with you, and I hope you’ll be as inspired as I am by their stories. As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Entrepreneur Of The Year — and look ahead to the next 20 years — we continue to look to Canada’s entrepreneurs for the ingenuity, innovation and inspiration that will build confidence, communities and economies — and a better working world for us all. Rob Jolley Partner, EY Prairies Director, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year

20 years of inspiration 4

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013














Table of Contents Manufacturing Thane Russell - Absolute Completion Technologies Ltd. - page 12 | Joe Makowecki - Heritage Frozen Foods Ltd. page 14 | Mike Fata - Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods - page 16

Cleantech Mogens Smed - DIRTT Environmental Solutions - page 18 | Graham Illingworth - Genalta Power Inc. - page 20 | Mark Chisick - Urbanmine Inc. - page 22

Energy services Russ Hebblethwaite - Enviro Vault Canada Ltd. - page 24 | Merv Pidherney - M. Pidherney’s Trucking Ltd. - page 26 | Don Sutherland - Studon Electric & Controls - page 28

Emerging entrepreneur John Stevens - ENTREC Corporation - page 30 | Dallas Lenius, Dean Hall - Force Pile Driving - page 32 | Dr. Dennis Filips - Innovative Trauma Care - page 34 | Gregory Hartman, Dan Smith, Darrell Boulter, Paul Smith RIDE Inc. - page 36

Business-to-consumer products and services Dale Wishewan - Booster Juice - page 38 | Susan Brattberg, Elmer Brattberg, Audrey Brattberg, Holly Brattberg - The Brattberg Group - page 40 | Rick Brink - Weddingstar Inc. - page 42

Real estate and construction Jerry Naqvi - Cameron Development Corporation - page 44 | Reza Nasseri - Landmark Group of Builders Ltd. - page 46 | Allison Grafton - Rockwood Custom Homes- page 48 | Sean Rayner - Vets Sheet Metal Ltd. - page 50

Celebrating 20 years of great Prairies entrepreneurs – page 52 Technology and communications Craig Mackenzie - Ontracks Consulting - page 54 | Michael Sikorsky - Robots and Pencils Inc. - page 56 | Tara Kelly - SPLICE Software Inc. - page 58

Professional and financial services Steve King - Alaris Royalty Corp. - page 60 | Jean-Pierre Parenty - Parenty Reitmeier Translation Services - page 62 | Stanford Orme Asher - S.O. Asher Consultants Ltd. - page 63

Oil and gas Nicole Bourque-Bouchier, David Bouchier - The Bouchier Group - page 64 | Menno Admiraal - Western Camp Services Ltd. - page 66 | Dale Tremblay, Alex MacAusland, Jeffrey Bowers - Western Energy Services Corp. - page 68

Business-to-business products and services Darcy Tofin - Central Water & Equipment Services Ltd. - page 70 | Kyle Powell - SureHire Occupational Testing - page 72 | Jeff Polovick - The Driving Force Inc. - page 74 | Geoff Gyles, Kerry Green - Wolf Trax, Inc. - page 76

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EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013

To judge brilliance, you need lots of it. We couldn’t celebrate the Prairies brightest entrepreneurs without the powerful insights of our judges. We’re truly grateful.

Tony Franceschini

Curt Vossen

Linda Hohol

Stephanie Yong

Retired President and CEO, Stantec Inc.

Corporate Director currently sitting on a number of boards

President, Richardson International

Director, W. Brett Wilson Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence

Kelley Smith


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013

© 2013 Ernst & Young LLP. All Rights Reserved.

Consultant and former Vice President, Corporate Development, Viterra

For women entrepreneurs, there’s no such thing as being out of your depth. If you’re a woman entrepreneur committed to thinking big to grow your company, we can help you take it to the next level — and beyond. Apply today for the Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ program. This elite business network offers the resources and support to help you expand your horizons. Learn more at

© 2013 Ernst & Young LLP. All Rights Reserved.

And follow us on Twitter @EYCanada #WinningWomen.

Meet our Prairies leadership team Winnipeg Rob Jolley

Craig Roskos

Program Director, Entrepreneur Of The Year

Managing Partner 204 947 6519

780 638 6656

Louise Hyland

Joe Healey

Program Coordinator, Entrepreneur Of The Year

Office Leader, Entrepreneur Of The Year

403 206 5372

204 954 5568


Saskatoon Kent Kaufield

Evan Shoforost

Managing Partner

Managing Partner

403 206 5100

306 934 8000

Dean Radomsky

Greg Keller

Office Leader, Entrepreneur Of The Year

Office Leader, Entrepreneur Of The Year

403 206 5180

306 649 8218

Edmonton Managing Partner 780 423 5811

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EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013

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Ross Haffie

From here to where you want to go. We’ll help. Learn how our private mid-market team can help you take your company to new places at

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Thane Russell

Absolute Completion Technologies Ltd.


taying on top of an ever-changing field is not easy, but Thane Russell is up to the challenge. As the founder of Absolute Completion Technologies, he taps into 25 years of engineering experience, unique insight, and creative and unusual approaches to problem solving to continue to innovate down hole sand and flow control technologies. “You have to have a passion for business, and a passion for creating,” he says. “You need to give 100 per cent to it and be willing to put it all out there.” Russell has been “putting it all out there” as an entrepreneur since 1995 when he, along with several terrific partners, founded Stellarton Energy. He founded Absolute after Stellarton was sold in 2000. He says that an entrepreneur must know him or herself well to succeed. “You must be brutally honest with yourself about what your unique strengths are and what they are not,” he says. “Focus on what you are good at and either delegate, or find partners to handle the rest. Your team needs to take care of all of the things you are not good at and those things have to be their passion.” Using this collaborative approach, Russell and the Absolute team have built a company that has multiple, patented, game-changing technologies and a suite of related products that are used to complete wells in 35 countries. “I am very proud to see that technologies we have developed in Canada have been adopted around the world,” he says. “Especially to see that the products that we designed and developed work very well – it is just a thrill.” The thrill is paying off. Absolute saw sales increase 233 per cent between 2010 and 2012 and plans to grow market share to eight to 10 per cent of the global sand control products market within five years.


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013

I want to share the honour of being an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year finalist with Absolute’s management team, employees, partners, and our valued clients. Thank you, to each of you, for your skills, efforts, encouragement and support. Thane Russell, VP Business Development and Technology





Sand Control | Flow Control | Erosion Control



Joe Makowecki Heritage Frozen Foods Ltd.


f you’re eating a frozen perogy, there’s a good chance Heritage Frozen Foods made it. Between its own CHEEMO brand, storebrand private labels and food service industry sales, Heritage has cornered the Canadian market on this traditional Ukrainian food and competes internationally against multinational giants. Not bad for a family-run business in Edmonton, Alberta. “Being a Canadian, family-owned business that competes and wins on a daily basis against the major multi-national food companies is a major achievement,” says president and CEO Joe Makowecki. “We are a rarity in this country and are proud to show that Canadians can compete – and win – in the food industry.” Founded in 1972 by Makowecki’s father, Walter, Heritage Frozen Foods’ first mission was to convince Canadians that perogies didn’t just belong on Ukrainian tables. The family sold perogies out of trailers and kiosks travelling from one Alberta fair to the next in the family station wagon. Heritage got its first big order for packaged perogies from Edmonton’s Woodward’s and IGA stores – families of all cultures and creeds loved them and the company has never looked back. “In the beginning, it was difficult to convince our customers that the perogy would become Canada’s national food,” he says. “Over a number of decades we continued to build the business and made believers out of all of them.” Makowecki took over from his father in 1997 and today produces more than 500 million perogies a year using locally-sourced ingredients. Thanks to Heritage’s efforts, nearly all major grocery stores have a prominent perogy category in their frozen food section. “We have a great profitable company and we will continue to build on the strengths and principles that have served us well over the last number of decades,” says Makowecki.


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013

Thank you “

Being recognized as a Prairies Finalist in the 2013 EY Entrepreneur Of The Y Year initiative is an honour. This achievement was truly a team effort fffort by our dedicated employees and industry partners. Each day our employees put their hearts, souls and hard work into manufacturing three million CHEEMO perogies for Canadian families. This recognition also highlights the commendable involvement of our many partners –the farmers who grow the crops and provide our raw materials, the transportation companies we rely on, the food brokers who represent our products, the retailers, the food service sector and ultimately the consumer who makes all this possible by purchasing CHEEMO products week in and week out. On behalf of everyone at Heritage Frozen Foods, thank you again for the honour you have bestowed on me and our company.

Joe Makowecki, President & CEO Heritage Frozen Foods Ltd.


Mike Fata

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods


rom a 300-pound teenager to a lean certified health coach running Canada’s first hemp food company, Mike Fata knows a thing or two about overcoming obstacles.

“I think that the two things that make for a successful entrepreneur is passion for the project or business and a good gut feel for making decisions,” he says. “Passion is key, as when obstacles look insurmountable, it is pure passion that will drive someone to not quit and get past the obstacle. A good gut feel for making decisions is also key in startups and rapid growth businesses as one does not always have access to the information and many times you need to make a gut-feel decision.” So far, it seems Fata’s gut has been right. Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods has not had an easy go of it as Fata and his team have fought perception and politics to build a successful company in the pioneering field of hemp food. He didn’t just build a company, he helped create an industry. “When we started in 1998, there was no industry,” he explains. “We had to lobby the Canadian government to legalize hemp, fight the U.S. DEA when they tried to ban hemp foods in the U.S., and we’re constantly educating consumers that hemp is different from its different cousin and is a healthy food product they want to feed their family.” His activism won him the Organic Leadership Award from the Canadian Health Food Association in 2010. Fata’s passion, persistence and courage has allowed him to build one of the country’s leading health food manufacturing companies with retailers like Costco, Loblaws, Kroger, Safeway and Whole Foods Market on board. “With current distribution in 3,000 retail locations and over 30,000 potential retail partners in North America alone, we have many years of tremendous growth ahead of us.”


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013


Mogens Smed

DIRTT Environmental Solutions


rom sorting nails and screws at his father’s side at five years old, to skipping classes at university to network with other students, to a stint in Scandinavia, a bankrupt venture, a triumphant return followed by a hostile takeover, Mogens Smed’s career path has been nothing short of dizzying. But every twist and turn and lesson learned has led here: DIRTT Environmental Solutions – North America’s largest and best-known manufacturer of environmentally friendly modular wall systems. “A successful entrepreneur gets the most job satisfaction from predicting, navigating and surmounting obstacles on the way to the goal,” says Smed. Smed’s passion for people and purpose has driven him to jump many hurdles and create a company where nearly 800 people work towards making offices across the continent greener places. Using the company’s proprietary software platform, DIRTT was able to decentralize with factories in Calgary, Kelowna, Phoenix and Savannah – significantly reducing its carbon footprint and bringing jobs to areas that needed them. Since founding DIRTT with two partners in 2004, Smed has worked tirelessly to prove that a company can be green and profitable. “Our greatest challenge is to get people to let go of last-century ideas that no longer work in today’s technological age,” he says. “We have been able to prove our critics wrong by appealing to today’s demand for custom solutions and strong service.” With this ability to customize to each individual client’s needs, DIRTT has found traction in the health-care and education sectors as well. Next up: residential. “We are innovating all the time and exploring new markets,” he says. “Our nose is always pointed where we’re going. We know there will be challenges and it’s how we respond to them that makes the difference.”


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013


Graham Illingworth Genalta Power Inc.


raham Illingworth is an expert in turning flaws into fortes. From taking his first venture from bankruptcy to rapid growth, to buying a company crippled by lawsuits and turning it into one of the fastest growing companies, Illingworth knows what it takes to turn wasted energy into gold. “A successful entrepreneur is an individual who can adapt by changing weakness into an advantage while not losing sight of their strengths,” he says. So, perhaps it’s fitting that Illingworth’s first “from scratch” venture, Genalta Power Inc., takes wasted energy and turns it into usable electricity for resale. Founded in 2008, Genalta’s success is built on innovation, cuttingedge technology and a distinctive business model. This 21st century approach is complemented by Illingworth’s good old-fashioned values of hard work, integrity and honesty. “I often say I was born 100 years too late,” he says. “My greatest challenge has been in maintaining my resolve to my belief system as we are not always immersed in such a culture.” The company invested more than 100,000 hours of engineering to design effective technologies and computer modelling to convert waste energy into power while maintaining value for the client and financial returns for the investors. “I believe green ventures should be viable in the long term without government subsidies,” he says. “And Genalta is proving that’s possible.” Having achieved its five-year goal of a $100 million equity valuation in just three years, Genalta is well poised for the future. “Both myself and Genalta Power are hoping to continue to grow and develop,” he says. “I look forward to growing who I am as a person and giving back as much as life has given me. Genalta will continue to grow through geographic expansion, horizontal and vertical market development and through further development and deployment of leading-edge technology.”


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013

2013 Finalist 20 years of inspiration

Thank You

Genalta Power Employees, Investors and Clients

At Genalta Power Inc. our successes have come from our exceptional employees, our committed Board and our loyal Clients. As a result of the creative thinking and dedication of each and every employee, Genalta Power has been able to experience outstanding growth. Through these efforts, Genalta Power is able to provide solutions tailored to meet the specific and unique needs of our Clients, while generating clean energy that is improving the environment that we all live in. I sincerely appreciate and thank everyone who has touched Genalta Power in aiding our growth and achievement. ~ Graham Illingworth, CEO

600, 505 – 8th Avenue SW Calgary, AB T2P 1G2 (403) 237-9740 | The GenalT enalTa Ta Power GrouP of ComPanies P Panies inClude: GPI EnGInEErInG Inc. | GPI SErvIcES Inc. | GEnalta nalta PowEr Inc.


Mark Chisick Urbanmine Inc.


hen Urbanmine was just 10 months old, president Mark Chisick committed to growth with the purchase of five acres of property, a 35,000-square-foot building, and several pieces of heavy equipment to develop a new facility. The financial crisis and subsequent recession hit two months later, in the fall of 2008 – just prior to the company taking possession. “When we moved into our new plant in March of 2009 demand for the commodities we sell had plummeted and sales were down 50 per cent from the year before,” says Chisick. “Business was bleak yet we had no choice but to absorb all the associated costs and overhead of the new facility, and staff it. I told the team that we were not going to participate in the recession. It was an enormous challenge, but we managed to regain the lost sales and then double that number in the next year.” And that, according to Chisick, is how successful entrepreneurs roll. “You need a clear vision; it’s the fastest route to success,” he says. “Articulate that vision, surround yourself with the best people to accomplish the objective, and allow the team to do their job without interference.” Chisick’s vision was to build a modern and sophisticated scrap metal facility. Urbanmine is the result of that vision. “My proudest accomplishment is looking at Urbanmine today and seeing that our 2007 vision to redefine metal recycling has developed into a vibrant corporation that is doing exactly that,” he says. “We set out to create the company of choice for employees, suppliers and consumers. Our mission was to become a full-service recycling company that equally values integrity, reliability and profitability. We are living that dream and I couldn’t be more proud.”


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013

Urbanminers welcome here Urbanmine is changing the way the urban environment is mined for scrap metal. With decades of experience in the scrap industry Urbanmine’s team has come together with a shared vision to redefine metal recycling. Their commitment to treating customers with integrity is at the cornerstone of that promise. Whether you’re a large-scale industrial manufacturer or a neighbour down the street who needs to safely dispose of home electronics – the Urbanmine staff makes sure you’re treated with the respect and courtesy all Urbanminers deserve.

Welcome to the future of urbanmining

Winnipeg, Manitoba


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“Our greatest competition is tradition,” says Hebblethwaite. “Trying to break people out of the ‘we’ve always done it this way’ mentality is a challenge.”

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But 17 years and 26,000 vaults later, the company has enjoyed tremendous growth – particularly in the last three years – thanks to Hebblethwaite’s tenacity and instinct for hiring the right people. He oversees a management team of seven people in Calgary and nine people at the fabrication/assembly plant in Edmonton. Two of those top-notch people are his children.



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This is Russ Hebblethwaite’s recipe for successful entrepreneurship and, as the man behind Enviro Vault Canada Ltd., he’s cooked up a pretty successful run. Founded in 1996, Enviro Vault offers those storing petroleum products a clean, safe alternative tank design that prevents frozen valves, reduces contamination from valve leaks or spillage during handling, enhances operator safety and saves time and money. Of course, when an out-of-the-box (or insidethe-tank) thinker presents something new to the industry, there are always a few obstacles to overcome.


So We tax

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013

In o adv adv you ess und atta to b Eac diff the

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enerGY services

Merv Pidherney M. Pidherney’s Trucking Ltd.


here’s nothing like a good old-fashioned success story, and Merv Pidherney offers just that. Having been told by a high school teacher that he’d never amount to anything, Pidherney’s fire was lit and he set himself on a course that would find him leading more than 500 employees in one of the region’s top civil construction and hauling businesses. It was almost 50 years ago that Pidherney combined his passion for trucks and his tireless work ethic to launch Pidherney’s Trucking, hauling gravel and sand to Husky’s Ram River gas plant. “I only had two trucks and some other equipment when I said I could get the job done,” he says. “But I was determined to deliver on my promise, so I bought equipment and hired people as I needed to and was able to build my business as I went.” A firm believer in the sacred bond of a handshake, Pidherney has built his business on word of mouth and customer referrals. He’s translated his natural leadership abilities and a keen eye for opportunity into a thriving business that serves clients like the Province of Alberta and numerous municipalities across the province. He has diversified by opening the Redi-Mix plant in Rocky Mountain House in 1979 and the civil construction division in 1994. Pidherney has been a strong supporter of the communities in which his company works in and is a major sponsor of the local hospital gala fundraiser, the Primary Care Network, Rocky Kinsmen, sports teams, music events and, often, individuals in need. He regularly donates manpower and equipment to causes like the Red Deer Ronald McDonald House and the Red Deer Curling Centre, which was renamed the Pidherney Centre in April 2013. “I have been so fortunate to work with some great people for some great clients,” he says. “Entrepreneurship has been a very rewarding experience.”


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013

Rocky Mountain House Office

Blackfalds Office

Thank you In 2014 Pidherney’s will celebrate 50 years in business. Mervyn and Earlyne would like to recognize and thank both past and present employees for helping them achieve this milestone.

Rocky Mountain House Office 403.845.3072 | Blackfalds Office 403.885.9101 Toll Free: 800.558.9033

enerGY services

Don Sutherland Studon Electric & Controls


t seems fitting that Don Sutherland’s entrepreneurial flame was lit during a campfire conversation with a group of business people.

“It was after a client’s golf tournament 23 years ago when I was working as a project foreman,” he says. “These entrepreneurs were sharing stories of the perils, pitfalls and triumphs of business and it was a pivotal moment for me – I knew I wanted to start my own company.” A few years later, Sutherland was in the midst of a successful career as a master electrician when he took the plunge and co-founded Studon in 1995. He started Studon with a handful of employees, a few clients and a vision to build his company around “people, pride and service.” “I was building a young company while raising a young family,” he explains. “Every day was full of risk and reward as we learned how to compete, grow and prosper.” Sutherland and his brand new company fought to compete against much larger companies, including his former employer, so he and his staff focused on delivering the quality standards that were the trademark of his career as a journeyman electrician. “With each job we proved ourselves and built our reputation and our customer base allowing us to grow strategically with a focus on our people, pride of workmanship and service to our clients,” states Sutherland. Today, Studon employs nearly 1,000 people serving the energy, commercial, industrial and forestry sectors. “Growing a company from a dream to nearly 1,000 employees through people, pride and service is something I’m very proud of,” he concludes. “The evolution of our company and our people has allowed Studon to make a difference in many lives – and that’s what really matters.”


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013

“Success in a company isn’t measured by the efforts of one individual but that of a great team. I would like to thank the entire team at Studon Electric & Controls for turning a dream into reality as one of the premier electrical/instrumentation contractors in the energy industry in western Canada.” Donald Sutherland Chief Executive Officer

eMerGinG entrePreneur

John Stevens ENTREC Corporation


erhaps it’s his roots as an Alberta farm boy that gives John Stevens an innate ability to make things grow. Combine that with an early passion for business (he was reading the Financial Post at age 12), and he had the makings of a successful career focused on growing businesses. “My grandfather passed away when I was only seven,” he says. “But he left me with one piece of advice that has stuck with me through my entire career: remember you only have your name and your reputation.” Having studied agricultural engineering technology, business and accounting, Stevens began building a reputation early as he was recruited by Nilsson Bros. before he even finished articling and worked up through the ranks to a leadership position. As the company’s CFO, Stevens led Nilsson Bros. through a period of incredible growth through acquisitions – but not without learning a few lessons. “I made my biggest mistake early on in my career,” he explains. “After closing a deal, I learned the company had inflated earnings and it turned out to be a bad deal – but we didn’t let that set us back. I learned a valuable lesson in due diligence.” Now considered an expert in due diligence, Stevens takes a very hands-on approach and is often considered ‘one of the guys’ with the shop and field staff as president and COO of ENTREC Corporation – a leading provider of heavy-haul transportation, crane services, engineering and support services for the energy, construction and infrastructure industries. ENTREC achieved 309 per cent growth in 2012 through acquisitions and organic growth. Stevens says he owes ENTREC’s success to the management team who are “natural leaders, strong communicators, receptive to growth and accepting of taking risks.” What’s next? “We want to continue to grow and be the number-one heavy-haul and heavy-lift company in the markets we serve,” says Stevens.


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013













am honored to be recognized as an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Finalist. ENTREC’s success is driven by our people. We recognize that our people are our most valued assets. Our success is dependent upon the collective energy and intelligence of all our team members. We strive to create a work environment where motivated team members can flourish and succeed to their highest potential. I would like to thank all of the people at ENTREC for their effort to date. We could not be as successful as we are without each and every member of our team. –Thank you!”

~ John Stevens, President and Chief Operating Officer |


John Stevens (left) and staff at ENTREC

Lifting and moving safety to new heights

eMerGinG entrePreneur

Dallas Lenius, Dean Hall Force Pile Driving


n many ways, Force Pile Driving co-founders Dallas Lenius and Dean Hall couldn’t be more different. But it’s the common vision that keeps these two entrepreneurs on a path of growth and success. “Our vision is to perform to our maximum potential and to excel at providing our customers with alternatives and value-added options,” says Lenius.

Founded in 2009 – right in the middle of the economic downturn – Force Pile Driving grew quickly thanks to the team’s understanding of, and diverse experience in, the pile-driving industry. Lenius’ expertise lay in finance, marketing and commercial banking, while Hall brought field experience as a journeyman welder and senior manager in a pile-driving company. This complementary experience allowed them to move quickly and adapt to a dynamic marketplace. “Working for all sorts of oil and gas companies along with large contractors to build foundations for bridges and other infrastructure has significant challenges,” says Lenius. “We have to be flexible to work with so many different customers with different schedules and standard practices.” A conservative business model allows Force to keep overhead low which translates to savings for their clients; while maintaining the highest levels of service allowing them to compete – and win – against the big players that traditionally dominate the industry. This success has allowed Lenius and Hall to give back to the community through sponsorship of sports teams and organizations like the Boys and Girls Club of Red Deer. Currently, Force is building a new state-of-the-art shop and office space where the team can continue to grow and thrive. “We’re poised for vertical and geographical expansion and organic growth in the coming years,” says Lenius. “We’re very much looking forward to adding to our team and continuing to find new ways to build the business and serve our customers.”


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013

BREAKING GROUND. BUILDING FUTURES. Pile Driving Installation Pre-Drill Services Pipe Sales Welding Services Heavy Hauling Design-Build Engineering Services


eMerGinG entrePreneur

Dr. Dennis Filips Innovative Trauma Care


s a doctor with 20 years of service with the Canadian Forces, Dennis Filips has seen his share of battle trauma. After five tours of duty in war-torn regions around the world, he saw that most deaths in the field are the result of excessive blood loss. He began to wonder: If all soldiers were also surgeons, imagine the lives that could be saved. And so was born the iTClamp™: a device that mimics the arc of a suture needle to close wounds and stop severe bleeding. “My vision was to ultimately transform the suturing skills of a surgeon into a product that could be used by anyone at any time,” says Filips. “The iTClamp can be activated and in place in three seconds.” Filips incorporated iTraumaCare in Edmonton in 2010 and has faced numerous battles bringing his idea to life. “We were overcoming obstacles at each stage of the process about how this idea won’t work,” he says. “It was too difficult to make, there were product development challenges, initial prototype testing problems, commercial viability and so on. But a successful entrepreneur is someone who takes their vision to do something radically different and sacrifices everything to overcome all obstacles to see it come to fruition.” Since those challenging early days, iTraumaCare has caught the attention of the science and tech world winning a number of awards, opening a global commercialization centre in Texas, getting regulatory approvals in the U.S. and Europe and, most importantly, saving lives in the field. “Changing the way trauma care is delivered by making it accessible to lay users is one of my greatest passions,” says Filips. “It translates directly into lives saved and that is my life’s work.”


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013

eMerGinG entrePreneur

Gregory Hartman, Dan Smith, Darrell Boulter, Paul Smith RIDE Inc.


t was a life-threatening close call for a friend and colleague that finally convinced Paul Smith and Darrell Boulter it was time for a change on the oil derricks. The 60-year-old Geronimo system of emergency escape from a derrick had become antiquated and unsafe and the two veterans knew they could do better. So, partnering with manufacturing experts Greg Hartman and Dan Smith, they developed the RIDE Emergency Egress System which revolutionizes derrick safety by eliminating the deficiencies and confusion of the previous system and gets workers safely to the ground in 30 seconds or less. “Combining Paul and Darrell’s industry experience and connections with Dan’s and my experience in oilfield manufacturing made us the ideal team to create this new product,” says Hartman. “To be able to identify an industry need and then pool our resources and expertise to fill that need and better the industry has been key to our success.” After a few attempts at different designs, the RIDE team settled on an egress system which has not only impacted the companies using the new tool, but has prompted widespread industry change as WorkSafeBC and Alberta Occupational Health and Safety have implemented new industry safety regulations based on RIDE’s success. “We now have clients in North America, Mexico and the Middle East with planned expansion into North Africa,” says Hartman. Now in its fourth year of operation, RIDE holds four patents with applications in on two more. It continues gaining momentum with 300 per cent growth in revenue in 2012 over 2011 achieving its first profitable year. “We are now seeing our product put into use in day-to-day operations,” says Hartman. “Knowing we’re contributing to the safety and well-being of oilfield workers all over the world is so gratifying.”


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013






Business-to-consuMer Products and services

Dale Wishewan Booster Juice


he odds were certainly stacked against him. He had no experience in the food and beverage industry, or in franchising and success rates in the field are low. He had a great deal of difficulty getting prime locations for his stores and was far from the retail power centre of Toronto. He had trouble even getting in to meet retail lessors in Edmonton. But as one of his college baseball coaches said, Dale Wishewan “knows how to win.” In two years, Wishewan opened 50 Booster Juice locations – still a Canadian record. Fourteen years and 300 stores later, this Edmonton-based franchisor is the number one smoothie and juice bar in Canada. “Being an Edmonton-based franchisor of over 300 locations is a proud accomplishment and something of a rarity,” says Wishewan.

Wishewan has been named EY’s Emerging Entrepreneur Of The Year in 2005 and was recently named the 27th recipient of the Dr. Charles Allard Chair in Business honorary teaching position at MacEwan University School of Business. All the while, he has managed to find balance. In addition to playing competitive baseball and curling, Wishewan is dedicated to his wife and kids. “My family is something that is extremely important to me,” he says. “I made sure to devote the time to ensure that my kids never grew up not knowing who their dad was because of not being around.” And he’s not done yet. Having conquered the Canadian market, which is growing by eight to 10 per cent per year, Wishewan has opened franchises in India, Brazil, Mexico, the Netherlands and the U.S. Next up is the United Kingdom in 2014. “The goal is to have 450 to 500 stores and to continue to be the number one smoothie and juice bar in Canada and the world.”


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013



Booster Juice is Canada’s Premium Smoothie & Juice Company Thank you to all Booster Juice staff and Franchise Partners for believing in, and helping grow the brand. In 14 short years we have been able to accomplish more than most people thought possible. I look forward to working with our talented team to continue to grow the Booster Juice brand in the coming years.


President & CEO – Booster Juice

Business-to-consuMer Products and services

Susan Brattberg, Elmer Brattberg, Audrey Brattberg, Holly Brattberg The Brattberg Group


he Brattberg Group began as a labour of love. After decades of honing their entrepreneurial skills as farmers and Audrey’s 30 years as an educator, Elmer and Audrey Brattberg decided to combine the two passions to join the Academy of Learning in 1996. Over the next decade, they built their learning empire from one campus to seven and acquired Digital School. After their daughters, Susan and Holly, finished university and ran their own successful business, they too joined the Brattberg Group as partners and the company became a true family affair.

“Each member of our family recognizes our own strengths and weaknesses,” says Audrey. “Where one member will struggle, the other will be able to assist.” This complementary working style has allowed the Brattberg Group to grow and thrive in the private education space with their Academy of Learning campuses, Digital School, Complete Corporate Training and Global eTraining. But it hasn’t always come easy. “We have overcome many obstacles including the booms and busts of the vocational business which are counter cyclical to the economy,” says Audrey. “You have to have vision and drive and the willingness to experiment and try new ideas.” According to Audrey, their key measurement of success is the impact they have in peoples’ lives. And they walk the walk by standing by their product. The company employs about 100 full-time staff – 75 per cent of whom are graduates of a Brattberg program. Through hundreds of partnerships with companies, government, other education institutions and community organizations, the Brattberg Group provides educational opportunities to individual and corporate learners all over the province, the country and internationally. Their vision statement sums up the ultimate goal: To be a global leader in delivering skills training by leveraging partnerships and technology. This is what they are doing every day, and is how the business is growing internationally. The Brattberg Group is passionate about running businesses that genuinely help people. “We truly have a passion for education and lifelong learning, knowing that we can help to change people’s lives,” says Audrey.


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013


The Brattberg Group wishes to congratulate all EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Finalists, and to thank all of our staff members and graduates of our many programs for helping us achieve our vision of being a leader in delivering skills training locally and globally.

One Vision One Family One Hundred Staff Thousands and thousands of graduates

Business-to-consuMer Products and services

Rick Brink Weddingstar Inc.


hat do pop cans, broken hockey sticks and hand-painted porcelain wedding cake toppers all have in common? They’re all ways born-entrepreneur Rick Brink has found to make a living. It may come as a surprise that a company whose mission statement is “to put the WOW into each and every bride’s wedding experience” was founded by a European pro hockey player, but Brink says the two aren’t all that different. “Being an entrepreneur means having a never-give-up philosophy,” he says. “Like playing a professional sport, it is very competitive, and the game plan can change from week to week, and strategy plays a big part in being successful – and it’s the same in business.” From a briefcase full of Christmas decorations brought back from Denmark where he played hockey in 1984 to more than 3,000 products, 100 employees and sales in over 90 countries around the world, Brink has translated his skills and experience into a unique niche company that designs, manufactures and sells custom wedding products directly to the bride through partners around the world at Developing more than 200 new products a year, Weddingstar has offered more than 6,000 different items for sale in its nearly 40 years in operation. And, just like hockey, success is found in teamwork. “We have a strong culture of continuous improvement,” says Brink. “Our employees are recognized and rewarded for making improvements and we’re always implementing our team’s ideas to improve the company’s overall performance.” Over the next five years, Brink says he hopes to continue expansion into global markets building on the establishment of Weddingstar Australia and a partnership in Russia, along with its most recent acquisition in Great Britain, a U.K.-based company called Confetti that specializes in the online wedding market. “It is gratifying to know that there is someone in almost every country in the world who knows Weddingstar and what we are about,” he says.


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013



Cake Toppers

Personalized Invitations

Bridal Accessories


Unique Favours


Finishing Touches




Jerry Naqvi

Cameron Development Corporation


erry Naqvi was an aspiring engineer when he set off on his adventure in 1964. Leaving his family and his native Pakistan behind for a scholarship to the University of Alberta, Naqvi could never have predicted that he would end up being one of Edmonton’s pre-eminent commercial land developers – but life has a funny way of unmaking best-laid plans. Struggling to find an engineering job after university, Naqvi fell into a job as a residential real estate agent. He built a reputation for honesty and integrity – qualities that quickly made him the organization’s top salesperson. But his career truly took off in 1973 when he landed a job alongside legendary businessman Dr. Charles Allard who, in Naqvi’s words, taught him everything he knows about real estate. By 1980, Naqvi had saved enough money to venture out on his own. Today, Naqvi’s Cameron Developments, is a regional leader in real estate development and investment incorporating some of Alberta’s largest big-box retail outlets. Naqvi says the right people are the key to any business’ success. “There are a multitude of attributes which go into making an entrepreneur,” he says. “Ability, experience, integrity, resources, luck – but I believe one of the most important is to surround yourself with the right people.” That includes his children – something that brings Naqvi a great deal of satisfaction. “Aside from seeing some of our larger projects come to fruition and be successful, I would have to say my proudest accomplishment is seeing all three of my children become integral parts of our business,” he says. “Each brings their own individual strengths and abilities, and collectively they work towards the overall good of the company, its employees and its future.”


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013

Creating beautiful, healthy smiles is what we do! Five full-time hygienists Entire family all in one hour Call today for your FREE consultation and your start to a more beautiful smile.

An amazingly convenient location you can walk to from your urban home or office saving you valuable time and money. If you choose to drive, dedicated parking is available!

DOWNTOWN DENTIST • Cosmetic Dentistry • Emphasis on Prevention • General Dentistry • Tooth Whitening • New Patients & Emergencies Welcome • Direct Billing of Insurance Plans

Conveniently located under the Calgary Tower, 430 Tower Centre, 131-9 Avenue SW

403-265-3146 |

real estate and construction

Reza Nasseri

Landmark Group of Builders Ltd.


aving arrived in Canada with $75 in his pocket and an entrepreneurial dream in his heart, Reza Nasseri has built a company that has grown into one of the largest and most innovative homebuilders in Western Canada. After navigating the challenges of making a living as a newcomer to Canada and weathering the recession as a homebuilder in the early ’80s, Nasseri has landed on a technology and a business model that has distinguished him as a true innovator. Landmark Group of Builders’ Precision Building System sets new standards for construction efficiency, housing energy efficiency and new home sustainability. By taking home construction out of the field and into a state-of-the-art production facility in Edmonton, Landmark significantly reduces human error and waste – all working towards the corporate goal of building net-zero energy homes by 2015. “I have a passion for making things better and to leave the world a little better than when I came into it,” says Nasseri. And that passion doesn’t stop with environmental sustainability. Nasseri is well known for his contributions to the community and has been awarded the Peter Lougheed Award of Achievement for Advancement of Health Services, the Alberta Centennial Medal, and the Alberta Order of Excellence. While Nasseri has beaten the odds by creating a business model that is both environmentally and financially sustainable, he has a bigger goal in mind for the industry as a whole. “We will be bringing the industrialization of housing construction to North America,” explains Nasseri. “While doing all of this we want to help and inspire others to change the industry and adopt the net-zero energy standard.”


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013



I’m honoured to be recognized as a finalist for this award, however, this evening is about our family of employees who challenge themselves, and each other, to make a difference every day. Our journey to revolutionize the home building industry has been a roller coaster ride, filled with emotional highs and lows, praise and rejection, and many learning moments and challenges – but anything that’s worthwhile doesn’t come easy. Today, I can say the entire 11-year journey has been absolutely meaningful and worthy. The more we learn, the more we realize there is to learn. To our committed employees who believe in it, I extend my deepest gratitude and appreciation.



real estate and construction

Allison Grafton Rockwood Custom Homes


aunching an exclusive, boutique custom home renovation and construction company during one of Canada’s biggest economic downturns is a testament to Allison Grafton’s faith in her team and herself. “In 2009, I took immense personal risk. I left a successful investment banking career to pursue my passion,” she says. “It was a significant challenge at the outset. Despite my personal history with homebuilding and an accomplished career, Rockwood had no credit history and no one would give us credit.” During her career in banking, Grafton had built 10 luxury homes in her “spare time,” but, as many entrepreneurs will tell you, there comes a time when the dream can no longer wait. “I saw a real niche in the marketplace,” she explains. “The attention to financial detail required as an investment banker combined with my passion for designing and building is a unique combination that no other builder has. Customers like the peace of mind knowing that one of the biggest financial decisions they will make in their lives is given that level of dedication.” Together with her business partner, Grainger Nimmo, Grafton and her team have built stunning homes and a business that focuses on quality and financial management as opposed to massive growth. While the size of the builds are increasing, Grafton intends to keep the number to 10 to 12 annually to maintain quality and service. “We are the architect, the builder and the designer on every project. Accountability rests solely with Rockwood,” she says. “Word-of-mouth has built our company because of this.” “At the end of the day, I am unabashedly optimistic and that optimism has allowed me to pursue my life’s course.”


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013


“Going through the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year process has really allowed me to reflect. I’ve had to think about what success means to me and consider all of those who have helped me along the way, most notably my partner Grainger Nimmo and our Rockwood staff—you are the most devoted, hard working, passionate bunch of individuals I could have ever hoped to work with. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you. My success is your success—we couldn’t have done it without you.”

Allison Grafton

President, Rockwood Custom Homes

Photo: Allison Grafton (fourth from left) and Grainger Nimmo (fifth from left) pose with their Rockwood Custom Homes team.

ROCKWOOD CUSTOM HOMES is an exclusive, boutique custom home construction and renovation company that provides a full suite of architectural design, construction and interior design services to a discriminating client-base. For more information about ROCKWOOD CUSTOM HOMES or to see our portfolio, please visit

Phone: 403-608-3000 Email:

real estate and construction

Sean Rayner Vets Sheet Metal Ltd


ean Rayner sat nervously with his sister Erin in the living room of their Toronto apartment. On a particularly cold fall day, the phone rang, and the news changed everything. “Your dad has cancer,” his mom squeaked out. “It doesn’t look good.” They packed a suitcase each and caught the first flight to Edmonton not knowing whether they would ever see David Rayner again. Sean was only 22. David survived and would be out of the game recovering for over a year. However, the family business, Vets Sheet Metal, needed attention – someone to take over the day-to-day. Sean decided to drop his career in telecom sales to hold together a business that was reeling from change. The 82-year-old HVAC company had been complacent for years. It was time for change. “Building a company whose staff and culture had been in place and growing since well before my birth presented some challenges,” he says. He recognized early on it was important to learn from those who had more experience. Ten years later, Vets Sheet Metal has dramatically changed. The shrinking custom fabrication division was traded in for a booming ventilation market. Sean humbly passes the credit on to his new management team and the mix of new blood and seasoned veterans. “I’m most proud of overcoming the ‘old guard’ who were not on board with where we were going. It was hard to come into work every day and deal with some of the attitudes and personalities. But as the momentum took over and the people who did support what I was trying to accomplish got on board, the old guard diminished and we’re a stronger team than ever.”


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013

"Great partnerships are built on shared visions, cemented with mutual respect and trust" - W. Brett Wilson

Thank you to our hardworking team & loyal customers as greatness can only be achieved together.

Sean D. Rayner President, VETS Sheet Metal T: @Vetssince1921 E: P: 780.434.7476

Celebrating 20 years of great Prairies entrepreneurs Dr. Alan Ulsifer, FYidoctors 2012 Dan Themig, Ken Paltzat, Peter Krabben, Packers Plus Energy Services Inc. 2009 David Werklund, CCS Income Trust 2005 Bill Comrie, The Brick Warehouse Corporation 2004 David Robson, Veritas DGC Inc. 2002 Clive Beddoe, Don Bell, Mark Hill, Tim Morgan, WestJet Airlines Ltd. 2000

2000 James Kinnear, Pengrowth Energy Trust, 2001 David Robson, Veritas (DGC) Inc. 2002 Jose Correia and Brian Gingras, Bee-Clean Building Maintenance Inc. 2003 Bill Comrie, The Brick Warehouse Corporation 2004 David Werklund, CCS Income Trust 2005 Timothy Melton, Melcor Developments Ltd. 2006 Louie Tolaini, TransX Group of Companies, 2007

Rod McPike, Propak Systems Ltd. 1996

Ven Cote, ZCL Composites Inc. 2008

Prairies regional winners, 1994–2012

Dan Themig, Ken Paltzat, Peter Krabben, Packers Plus Energy Services Inc. 2009

J.R. (Bud) McCaig, Trimac Ltd. 1994

William Elkington, JV Driver Group 2010

Ed McNally, Big Rock Brewery Ltd. 1995

Mac Van Wielingen, ARC Financial Corp. 2011

Rod McPike, Propak Systems Ltd. 1996

Dr. Alan Ulsifer, FYidoctors 2012

Marcel Tremblay, The Enerplus Group 1997

Lifetime Achievement recipients

John Komarnicki, Hurricane Hydrocarbons Ltd. 1998

Jim Gray, Canadian Hunter Exploration Ltd. 2000

John Forzani, The Forzani Group Ltd. 1999

JR Shaw, Shaw Communications Inc. 2002

Clive Beddoe, Don Bell, Mark Hill, Tim Morgan, WestJet Airlines Ltd.

Clayton Ridell, Paramount Resources Ltd. 2008


Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013 20EYyears of inspiration

© 2013 Ernst & Young LLP. All Rights Reserved. ED1013

Canada’s Entrepreneurs Of The Year from Prairies

Your growth journey is all about many small steps. We’re with you all the way.

© 2013 Ernst & Young LLP. All Rights Reserved. ED1013

Entrepreneurs, let’s explore how we can help you take your company where you want to go.

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013


tecHnoloGY and coMMunications

Craig Mackenzie Ontracks Consulting


ome people might think that all an entrepreneur needs is a great idea and an opportunity to bring it to market. But Ontracks Consulting founder Craig Mackenzie says there’s far more to it than that. “Being able to identify an opportunity is certainly a critical component,” he says. “But the necessary drive and focus to convert this from an idea to a viable business is what really defines success.” Mackenzie has been defining success since leaving his career in IT consulting and co-founding Ontracks in 2007. Since then, Ontracks has become a multimillion-dollar company serving a niche market in IT and management consulting in the oil and gas sector. He says that while his business is focused on technology, its success lies with its people. “We’ve been very fortunate in having the best people in our space, but as we continue to grow, finding the best people will ultimately define our future,” he says. “Whether we’re looking to increase sales, deliver value on our projects or tackle complex business problems for our clients, we ultimately rely on highly skilled team members.” Having started with just two people, Ontracks has grown to more than 50 and today has four partners. The continuous growth year-over-year shows Mackenzie and his team that they’re doing all the right things. “Over 90 per cent of our business over the last six years has been from word of mouth,” he says. “The continued growth and referrals really makes you feel proud about what you’re delivering and gives you real affirmation that you have something that is different.” That difference, according to Mackenzie, is a personal touch in a technological space. A commitment to service and quality work has earned the company the title of one of IBM’s top premium partners in Canada.


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013

I am honored to be recognized as a finalist in the Prairies region for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year award. The staff of Ontracks Consulting’s willingness to go above and beyond is well known to us, and clearly the word has spread! I would like to extend my congratulations on this very well-deserved recognition to our entire team, we are very proud of this achievement. I would also like to thank our clients for giving us the opportunity to work collaboratively with you on a daily basis. ~ Craig Mackenzie

Ontracks Consulting is a leading implementer of IBM Maximo and operational improvement firm, working with clients

around the world to improve their operational performance. Ontracks focuses on delivering enterprise implementations and helping our clients realize tangible and sustainable operational improvements. We are successful because of the passion we have for our business, the industries we serve, and our clients. ALL of our employees from senior management to our consultants interact on a daily basis with our clients, working collaboratively to deliver real, longterm, and sustainable benefits. We truly understand the challenges our clients face. Our commitment is to delivering on our promises and ensuring client satisfaction. We are extremely proud of the fact that over 80% of our new business is from existing clients and the large majority of new business is from word of mouth.

Maximo Asset Management Solutions Ontracks specializes in asset management system implementations, best practice consulting and training. Our proven implementation methodology and experienced consultants create powerful opportunities for our clients to fulfill their visions and goals. Audits and Assessments | Training and Workshops | Maximo Implementation Services Maximo Upgrade Services | Business Process Improvement

tecHnoloGY and coMMunications

Michael Sikorsky Robots and Pencils Inc.


ichael Sikorsky is a robot. His wife and business partner, Camille, is a pencil. Not literally of course, but the software engineer and the artist/designer created the company and its philosophy: solid science complemented by beautiful design makes for a successful mobile product. Having formed the year after the iPhone was born in 2007, Robots and Pencils – a company that creates iPhone and iPad apps – had a major challenge ahead of it. “The world was stuck in a morass of PC nothingness when we started,” explains Sikorsky. “We had to convince the world to believe in mobile.” And convince they did.

“When Robots and Pencils started, it was two people in Calgary – we’ve grown to be a global team,” says Sikorsky. “Now we have clients around the world from the Fortune 500 and the FTSE 100. More than 10 million people have used our apps in over 20 countries.” And the success has been dramatic. In 2012, the company’s Spy vs Spy app hit number one globally – an impressive feat by any measuring stick. “It was a huge accomplishment we are very proud of,” says Sikorsky. Robots and Pencils is also committed to contributing to the community by way of annual scholarships (one to a robot and one to a pencil). Sikorsky also runs “Start-up School” at the University of Alberta where he gives budding entrepreneurs insight into what it takes to start, build and run a company – taken from the valuable lessons he’s learned. “From the outside, it always looks so fast and easy,” he says. “It never is. But, when you look back, it is surprising how far you can get.”


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013


WE MAKE APPS. Now in the Beltline – Call or email for an appointment 1507 – 14th Ave SW


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Tara Kelly SPLICE Software Inc.


ara Kelly is all about making connections. Whether it’s forging bonds between her clients and their customers, creating strong relationships between herself and her team, or aligning her company with international partners, it’s the synchronicity of life and business that gets her excited. As the founder of SPLICE Software, Kelly specializes in helping her clients communicate with their customers in new and unique ways. SPLICE utilizes all communication channels from mobile phones to email, video and website communications to maximize the connection between a company and its clients helping with retention rates, loyalty, accounts receivable and more. “I love the fact that we’re able to provide a human feel to interactions in an increasingly automated world,” she says. “It is not all about making money, it is about making things better. I passionately believe if you work hard to make things better and create value, there is a natural monetary reward. We need to stop talking about feature sheets and technical specs, and invest in helping people connect to all that is possible.” Somewhat of a serial entrepreneur, Kelly has founded three companies and developed her first software program at age nine. She says her passion for technology lies in its ability to make life better. “I love technology, it is changing the world,” she says. “With cloud computing and crowdsourcing and open-source software, amazing things are possible. Simple things are possible too, like having your communications personalized and relevant; yes, it is possible, and I think we all should demand it.” Set to launch a new product this fall, Kelly says her greatest satisfaction has been developing the company and its products with her team. “I think our story at SPLICE is really one about good people who won’t quit trying to make things a little better.”


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013


Communications  Personalized  Human Voice  Enterprise  Omnichannel  Market Manage Measure  Dialog Suite Communications  Personalized  Human Voice  Enterprise  Omnichannel  Market Manage Measure  Dialog Suite Communications  Personalized  Human Voice  Enterprise  Omnichannel  Market Manage Measure  Dialog Suite Communications  Personalized  Human Voice  Enterprise  Omnichannel  Market Manage Measure  Dialog Suite

Dear family, friends, clients, partners, and my fellow SPLICEer’s, Dear family, friends, clients, partners, and my fellow SPLICEer’s, Dear family, friends, clients, partners, and my Dear family, friends, clients, my for Being recognized as a partners, Prairie and Finalist fellow SPLICEer’s, fellow SPLICEer’s, Entrepreneur Of The Year® is a true honour, and Being recognized a for Prairie Finalist for I am deeply gratefulas to EY empowering Being recognized as a® isPrairie Finalist and for Entrepreneur Of Thethe Year a true honour, innovators around world. recognized as Finalist and for IBeing am deeply grateful EYa®for empowering Entrepreneur Of Theto Year isPrairie a true honour, Entrepreneur Of The Year ® is a true honour, and Iinnovators am gratefulthe to world. EY for truly empowering My deeply fellow around SPLICEer’s, I am blessed to have Iinnovators am deeply gratefulthe to world. EY for empowering around the opportunity to know each of you and to work innovators around the world. My fellow SPLICEer’s, am for truly blessed haveof alongside you. Thank Iyou bringing sotomuch My fellow SPLICEer’s, I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to know each of you and work who you SPLICEer’s, are to work Ievery day,blessed for making your My fellow am to have alongside you. Thank you fortruly bringing so much of a the opportunity to know each of you and to work mark on this company and for helping create the opportunity to know each of you and to work alongside you.toIThank you forday, bringing so much of who you are work every for making your culture that am so very proud of—may we alongside Thank you forday, bringing socreate much of mark on are this company and for helping aa who you workone every for making your forever challenge another to make things who you are worksoevery for of—may making your culture that am very proud we mark on thisinIto company and day, for helping create a little better all we do! mark this Icompany and for helping create a cultureonchallenge that amone so another very proud of—may forever to make thingswe a culture that I am so very proud of—may we little better in all we do! forever challenge one another to make things a To my challenge clients, thank you for allowing us things the chance forever to make a little betterwith in allyou weone do!aanother to work as partner to create better communication experiences for your customers! Thank you for little better in all we do! To my clients, thankand youvision for allowing the chanceand allowing us to be a small part of making it happen—working sharing the goals of your us organization to work with as a partner to create better experiences for your customers! Thank you for To my clients, thank you for is allowing us the chance for you and you with you, truly our pleasure. Wecommunication appreciate our seat at your table. To my clients, thank for allowing us the chance to work withgoals you as you avision partner to create better communication your customers! Thank you for sharing the and of your organization and allowing usexperiences to be a smallfor part of making it happen—working to work withgoals youyou, as atruly partner topleasure. create better communication experiences for your customers! Thank you for for you and with is our We appreciate our seat at your table. sharing the and vision of your organization and allowing us to be a small part of making it happen—working To my the partners, birdsvision of a feather do flock together… So all us I want toaknow is how Imaking got so itlucky to be in a flock sharing goals and of your organization and allowing to be small part of happen—working for yousuch and an withamazing you, truly is our You pleasure. We the appreciate our seatI at your table. with bunch? truly are mosaic of who am! Thank you for the unconditional love and for you and with birds you, truly our pleasure. appreciate ourI want seat at To my partners, of a is feather do flock We together… So all to your knowtable. is how I got so lucky to be in a flock support. with such an amazing bunch? Youdotruly are the mosaic I am! Thankisyou theso unconditional love and To my partners, birds of a feather flock together… Soofallwho I want to know howfor I got lucky to be in a flock To my partners, birds of a feather flock together… Soofallwho I want to know howfor I got lucky to be in a flock with such an amazing bunch? Youdotruly are the mosaic I am! Thankisyou theso unconditional love and support. And to my boys, Raymond and Samuel, you inspire me every with such an amazing bunch? You truly are the mosaic of who I am! Thank you for the unconditional love and support. day, to reach higher, to try harder, to love deeper and to create support. And to my boys, Raymond youperson. inspire me every value. You make me wantand to Samuel, be a better There is a day, reach higher, to try harder, to love deeper and to create And to my boys, Raymond and Samuel, you inspire me every great big beautiful world out there, go forward, add value and And to my boys, Raymond and Samuel, inspire me every value. make to be a person. There is a day, to You reach higher, towant try harder, to better love you deeper and to create always believe inme your dreams! day, to reach higher, to try harder, to love deeper and to create value.big You make me want be ago better person. is a great beautiful world outtothere, forward, addThere value and value. You make me want be ago better person. is a always believe in your dreams! great big beautiful world outtothere, forward, addThere value and great big beautiful world out there, go forward, add value and always believe in your My name is Tara Kellydreams! and I believe it can be better! always believe in your dreams! My name is Tara Kelly and I believe it can be better! My name is Tara Kelly and I believe it can be better! My name is Tara Kelly and I believe it can be better! Tara Kelly President & CEO Tara Kelly SPLICE Software Inc. President & Kelly CEO Tara Tara President & Kelly CEO SPLICE Software Inc. President & CEO SPLICE Software Inc. SPLICE Software Inc.

SPLICE Software Incorporated  1-855-677-5423  WWW.SPLICESOFTWARE.COM SPLICE Software Incorporated  1-855-677-5423  WWW.SPLICESOFTWARE.COM SPLICE Software Incorporated  1-855-677-5423  WWW.SPLICESOFTWARE.COM SPLICE Software Incorporated  1-855-677-5423  WWW.SPLICESOFTWARE.COM

Professional and financial services

Steve King Alaris Royalty Corp


ometimes it takes something drastic to shake us out of complacency. For Steve King, it was his sister’s battle with cancer that snapped his life into sharp focus.

“As she fought cancer, things became very clear for her,” he says. “She urged me to be true to myself. Life’s too short to wait for things to happen.” And with that, King left his successful career in investment banking to invest in his own dream. The Alaris Royalty Corp. model is unique. Alaris provides entrepreneurs of already successful businesses with capital while allowing them to maintain control of their companies by giving Alaris passive, non-voting equity with a synthetic royalty paid on pre-tax revenue or gross margin. King’s idea was something that hadn’t been seen before – so it was a risk. But hailing from a family of entrepreneurs, King had faith. “There are obviously many things that go into making entrepreneurs successful but first and foremost is belief,” he says. “You need to have an unshakable belief in yourself, your business plan and the people around you in order to succeed because all businesses go through difficult times.” And his belief was contagious as he brought on Clay Riddell, one of Canada’s great entrepreneurs and the founder of Paramount Resources, and launched Alaris in 2004. And he’s never looked back. “I have the honour of dealing with some of the great success stories in North America,” he says. “These are people who have worked hard and have built incredible businesses. I think I’ve got the best job in the world.” Having gone public in 2008, King’s company has grown to $1 billion in market capitalization and is now on the radar of more U.S. advisers. “I see the next five years as a time for increasing growth and opportunity,” he says. “I hope to be doing what I’m doing for many years to come.”


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013

A Sincere ThAnk You To our Team aT alaris for their unquestionable united value and the vital role they individually play in our success. DirecTors for their genuine support and experienced insight. auDiTors, lawyers, anD aDvisors for their contributions that surpass duty. enTrepreneurs for inspiring us to do what we do. Alaris is proud to call you a Partner.

232, 2031 33rd Avenue S.W. Calgary, AB T2T 1Z5 Ph. 403-221-7304 F. 403-228-0906

Professional and financial services

Jean-Pierre Parenty Parenty Reitmeier Translation Services


ean-Pierre Parenty says good morning 75 times in 20 different languages each and every day as he passes through the offices of Parenty-Reitmeier Translation Services in Winnipeg. This dedication to maintaining a family culture through tremendous growth is just one of the things that defines him as an entrepreneur. Now celebrating 20 years in business, Parenty says determination, confidence and a “let’s shoot the puck” attitude are what he believes has made his firm a global leader in the translation of owner and repair manuals for the mechanical field. Having launched his business with a single, $1,300 translation job for a friend, Parenty turned his bilingualism – and his natural leadership abilities – into a business that provides translation services in over 100 languages through 400 employee and contract translators globally. Of course, no entrepreneurial success story would be complete without a struggle or two. “I worked a number of jobs before becoming an entrepreneur and I always left by choice – their choice,” he laughs. Early on, Parenty was forced to claim bankruptcy due to poor bookkeeping. “It was a big lesson for me,” he says. “And it was one I learned from.” Today, Parenty is a fanatic about bookkeeping and accounting and can always tell you exactly what his company’s financial position is at any given time. And it’s a good position to be in. Parenty-Reitmeier experienced 34 per cent sales growth in 2012 and is targeting 20 per cent in 2013. He was able to grow his business significantly during the financial crisis as clients like Harley Davidson, Polaris and Honda expanded into new markets – and new languages. With a goal of doubling his business in the next five years, Parenty’s ambition is obvious – as is his dedication to his community. He has personally raised more than $500,000 for the St. Amant Foundation in Winnipeg as well as travelling to Rwanda to coach budding entrepreneurs.


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013

Professional and financial services

Stanford Orme Asher S.O. Asher Consultants Ltd


any parents may have cringed when their 16-year-old son announced he was quitting school to earn money in the workforce. But S. Orme Asher’s dad knew his son better than that. He had three words for him: “Go for it” – and he did. After more than a decade of work experience and honed interpersonal skills, Asher embarked on his first entrepreneurial venture. Within six months of starting Asher Real Estate Brokers, he grew from a three-person operation to selling more listings than any other brokerage in his native Saskatoon. From there, he built a successful river cruise business that stimulated Saskatoon’s tourism industry. But it was his next venture that defined his career as an entrepreneur. “I come from a family whose achievements were earned through honest hard work. I can be described as somewhat of a dreamer,” he says. “I had a unique idea, believed in it and was determined to succeed.” That idea was the Hospital Home Lottery. What is now a household term began as a radical new concept in 1978 when Asher developed the first ‘$100 ticket Home Lottery’ as a fundraiser for the Kinsmen Club of Saskatoon. The unprecedented success of the first Kinsmen Home Lotteries caught the attention of the Royal University Hospital. Asher then applied his successful business model when he designed the Hospital Home Lottery, and the program sold out in a matter of days. S.O. Asher Consultants Ltd. was formed and today operates with 22 employees (including his wife and son) in 10 major cities across Canada and in Australia. “Together we have raised net proceeds of more than $650 million for our clients,” says Asher. “And we will continue to find innovative ways to deliver increased net profits to our existing valued clients.”

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013


oil and Gas

Nicole Bourque-Bouchier, David Bouchier The Bouchier Group


uilding a company worth tens of millions of dollars is an impressive feat for any entrepreneur – but when you consider Dave Bouchier lost his father at age 12 and left school after Grade 9, the achievement is especially poignant. Of course, when you have partner who shares your passions and commitment in life and business, anything is possible. Taking his experience in heavy equipment and hers in stakeholder and aboriginal relations, Dave and his wife, Nicole Bourque-Bouchier, started Bouchier Contracting in the fall of 2004 with 10 people and one project working on a temporary access road for CNRL. As a small company competing with giants in the oilsands of northern Alberta, Nicole says she and Dave had to show great fortitude in the early days. “You must enter into entrepreneurship with an entrepreneurial spirit,” she says. “I think this is something you have within you and not everyone has this quality. This ensures your passion and commitment to everything you do within your business and will continually drive you forward, even during the tough patches.” In 2009, the Bouchiers added Bouchier Site Services to their road maintenance business and brought medical, janitorial and security services to a number of oilsands sites. Today, The Bouchier Group employs 500 people year round and recently Carillion Canada joining on as a minority partner in 2012 has given the now-branded Bouchier Group the capacity and resources to grow the business even more. All the while, the two have remained committed to giving back to the communities that have supported them along the way. “Philanthropy has always been a passion of ours and one area that we are giving more and more time to these days,” says Nicole. “Of course we both have a real passion for our work and furthering the awareness of aboriginal businesses and women in business.”


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013 780.790.1682

“The Bouchier Group is honored to be chosen as a finalist in the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Program 2013. David and I would like to express our sincere appreciation to our team members for your continued dedication. The Bouchier Group’s success is measured by your continued support. To our stakeholders, thank you for your continued patronage of our business. We are always looking for new ways to serve our clients more effectively and efficiently.” ~ Nicole & David Bouchier

oil and Gas

Menno Admiraal Western Camp Services Ltd


hen Menno Admiraal’s business partner was suddenly diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2008 and left the business the next day, he was faced with the biggest challenge of his life. How to continue to run and build their successful business while dealing with the grief of losing his partner and friend? The answer came in the form of his team. Empowering, developing and trusting his people would be the only way for Admiraal’s Western Camp Services to succeed and thrive. “The old adage that you’re only as strong as the team behind you is so true,” he says. “As an entrepreneur, you need to move from ‘big I and small We’ to ‘small I and big We’ quickly and seamlessly as your company grows and matures. You need to have faith and trust in your team if you want to continue to grow.” And grow it did. With a world-class culinary team and a dynamic leadership team, the company provides accommodation services all over the region to companies like Nexen and Penn West. The company achieved record revenues in 2012. “There have been many great points in the life of Western, many awards, great contracts, great profits, etc.,” says Admiraal. “But for me, the greatest accomplishment has been the evolution of our world-class corporate culture. Western truly is a place where great people work. We spend an immense amount of time developing, leading and preaching our culture.” What’s next? More of the same. “Western will continue to grow and our plan is to double our revenue and profit over the next three years. We will continue to strengthen our systems and grow and preach our culture,” says Admiraal. “No matter how large we get, Western will always be a fun place to work where everyone knows your name.”


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013

7668 69 Street Edmonton, Alberta T6B 2J7 Phone: 780.468.1568 Fax: 780.468.1948 Email:

We succeed by having a “Nothing is Impossible” attitude.

Better is our Standard Working in isolated locations, your staff needs accommodations that are well maintained and comfortable.

“I am honored to be chosen as a finalist for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013. This achievement is only possible through the superior teamwork, commitment and dedication of Western Camp Services employees. Thank you to my team for your belief and support.”

~ Menno Admiraal

Providing services to the natural resource industry, our camp facilities for 20 to 1000 men include lodging, meals, kitchen and housekeeping personnel. Hours away from major centres, you need to know you can count on a company that provides high quality accommodations and hospitality – from the essentials down to the smallest details. At Western Camp Services, we offer a variety of custom options for your camp and catering needs. • Make reservations at one of our established Open Camps • Rent the equipment and facilities you need through our Fleet Rentals division • Or contact one of our knowledgeable sales staff to customize a solution that meets your accommodations, catering and management needs Our top of the line facilities can include executive and VIP suites, recreation equipment, and of course, quality nutritional products that exceed industry standards.

oil and Gas

Dale Tremblay, Alex MacAusland, Jeffrey Bowers Western Energy Services Corp


hen Dale Tremblay, Alex MacAusland and Jeffery Bowers acquired Western Energy Services in 2009, the pumping company was in a bit of a mess. With no working capital and millions of dollars in debt, it would take a great deal of work and personal investment to bring Western back to the black. Fortunately, the partnership brought exactly what the company needed to succeed: a common vision, complementary strengths and a commitment to quality in both their people and their equipment. “We all agree on the fundamentals of how to do business,” says Tremblay, the company’s chairman and CEO. “Everything is straight up; no cutting corners. People are our most valuable assets, we’re focused on safety and we run highquality equipment in all our business lines.” After just two years, the team was able to sell the pumping business at three times what they paid for it and turned Western into a contract drilling business. With a focus on growth, the team acquired a number of service companies and has been successful in integrating these operations. Today, Western has the sixth largest drilling fleet in Canada, five rigs in the U.S., the seventh largest fleet of service rigs as well as a profitable equipment rental business. “We’re proud of the fact that we’ve delivered what we told the investment community we would,” says Tremblay. “We’ve grown, we’re profitable and our customers continuously recognize our quality equipment, people and service.” The dream team of Tremblay, MacAusland (president and COO) and Bowers (SVP finance and CFO) will continue to leverage their unique partnership to build Western’s future. Says Tremblay: “We all focus on our areas of expertise but all have experience in our business lines. We all give our input to work toward the best outcome.”


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013

Voice & Data Cabling Phone Systems Paging Systems Voip Services

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Bay B - 5815, 36th Street S.E. Calgary, Alberta T2C 2J1 Phone: 403.921.9889 | Fax: 888.341.0565

Business-to-Business Products and services

Darcy Tofin

Central Water & Equipment Services Ltd.


arcy Tofin has been pumping water as long as he can remember. Working alongside his father in the family irrigation business in rural Saskatchewan, Tofin learned the ins and outs of entrepreneurship. And so the seeds were planted for Tofin’s own enterprise. But making the leap from a declining irrigation industry to a major industrial service supplier has taken 12 years, a lot of hard work and intestinal fortitude. In fact, Central Water’s first job in 2001 was not for the faint of heart – an eight-kilometre water transfer … in west-central Alberta … in the dead of winter. “We had pumps and heaters we hoped would be sufficient,” says Tofin. “But as we started the system, the expected -27C quickly dropped to -43C and stayed over the next two-week period. The stress level was high, but we managed to pull it off.” Thanks to that success and others that followed, Central developed a reputation for delivering results on challenging projects where other companies wouldn’t take the risk. Together with his brother Perry, Darcy and their team have built a successful company moving water. From mining and forestry to industrial and oilfield, Tofin has innovated to find new ways of meeting the challenges their customers present. “The growth of our company is very important to me, along with our equipment and service capabilities we have established,” he says. Central Water is growing again with the construction of new facilities in Sherwood Park, outside of Edmonton. Tofin says the new space will allow the company to expand service to its current clients as well as grow its customer base significantly in the years to come.


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013

A strong team spells success!



Myself and everyone at Central Water appreciates the recognition of this nomination. I would like to thank Greg Keller and the group at EY, RBC, and our many suppliers and customers we have had over the years. I also wish to recognize my brother and partner Perry, our families, and of course our employees. All of those involved have made the company a success and we look forward to working with each and everyone in the years to come.

~Darcy Tofin

Central Water & Equipment Services Ltd. 302 Gladstone Crescent, Saskatoon, SK S7P 0C7

PH:306-975-1999 FX: 306-975-7175

Business-to-Business Products and services

Kyle Powell

SureHire Occupational Testing


he SureHire story is one that defines entrepreneurship: two individuals recognized a market need and set about finding a way to satisfy that need. In this case, the need was for a full-service occupational testing company offering expertise in drug and alcohol, fitness-to-work, audiometric, lung health programs and other specialized services that allow employers to get the full picture of their workforce. Kyle Powell is an experienced physiotherapist with an entrepreneurial bent. He always felt the desire to create something of his own, but it wasn’t until he was working as a physiotherapist that he realized he could put his unique skill set to help industry. Of course, as many entrepreneurs will attest, there were naysayers. “Since starting this journey in 2005 I forget the number of times I have been told that you can’t do that, you won’t be successful, or simply you will fail,” he says. “With a personal attitude of perseverance, negative comments become motivational and not believable.” Eight years later, Powell and his partner, John Hawes, run a service-oriented firm that has provided more than 750,000 individual occupational tests as of 2013. Powell says one of the biggest challenges has been educating industry on the importance of fitness-to-work testing for companies striving to meet stringent safety and productivity standards in the workplace. “We’re proud of creating an industry understanding and acceptance of the importance of our fitness-to-work protocol which tests the abilities of an applicant against the demands of the job they are applying for,” he says. “Proper occupational testing programs help employers get the full picture of their workforce which is so important in today’s zero incident safety culture.”


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013

Drug & Alcohol Program

Audiometric Program


Drug & Alcohol Program

Drug & Alcohol Program

Audiometric Program

Audiometric Program

Lung Health Program

Audiometric Program

Lung Health Program

Lung Health Program

Fitness-To-Work Program

Fitness-To-Work Program

Specialized Services

Lung Health Program

Fitness-To-Work Program

Lung Health Program

Fitness-To-Work Program

Specialized Services

SureHire is an expert in occupational testing. We offer consistent and convenient tests that enable our clients to place the right person in the right Specialized Services job, increase worker productivity, and reduce WCB claims and onsite incidents. We have our results analyzing process down to an exact science and our online booking and results system is the fastest in the industry. And, we customize our services to fit our client’s needs.

Canada’s Largest Exclusive Occupational Testing Network Fitness-To-Work Program

Specialized Services

“I would like to sincerely thank each of our employees, clients and advisors for this honor as a finalist for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year award. I am truly honored and privileged to share this recognition with you.” - Specialized Kyle Powell Services

SureHire Corporate Office | 1205 - 7th St. Nisku, AB T9E 7P8 T: 1-866-944-4473 | E: |

Business-to-Business Products and services

Jeff Polovick The Driving Force Inc.


eff Polovick began his entrepreneurial career selling seeds door-to-door in Saskatchewan. Thirty-five years later, he’s gone from seeds to sedans and runs one of Canada’s largest automotive companies with a fleet of more than 9,500 vehicles and a force of more than 425 employees. DRIVING FORCE is a unique three-pillar model focused on offering vehicle rental, sales and leasing and more recently fleet management services in Western Canada and the Arctic. Built primarily on hard work and a commitment to integrity in an industry plagued with the “used-car-salesman” image problem, Polovick’s DRIVING FORCE is an example of entrepreneurship at its finest. “Probably the most important quality a successful entrepreneur requires is an active imagination coupled with a quest for learning,” says Polovick. “Basic values of integrity, respect, commitment and passion are also essential for execution of the business plan.” Over his more than three decades in business, Polovick has repeatedly demonstrated his gift for viewing challenge as opportunity and encourages his employees to do the same. Through green-fielding and acquisitions, Polovick has grown the business to 23 locations across Western Canada and the Arctic including three HINO dealerships, a GM dealership and a non-prime retail outlet. “By diversifying our three lines of business and further diversifying geographically, we were able to weather the storms of business cycles and market conditions creating additional growth while others struggled to remain viable,” he says. But Polovick isn’t finished yet. Consistently recognized as a leader in the industry, The Driving Force Inc. is poised to capitalize on its stellar team and grow again. “We’re on a metaphorical trip to Mars with our business,” says Polovick. “We have come a long way and we look forward to expanding our geographic footprint in other areas of Canada that will support our business model. I also look forward to helping our team members meet new challenges and develop their personal skills.”


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013

It is a great honour to be named an award finalist for EY Entrepreneur Of The Year. This nomination wouldn’t be possible without our dedicated staff and loyal customers. Thank you to our amazing team and customers for making DRIVING FORCE the success it is today. - Jeff Polovick


DRIVING FORCE is your source for vehicle rentals, sales, leasing and fleet management services in Canada with 18 locations throughout Western Canada and the Arctic, including Edmonton, Calgary, Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Saskatoon, Fort St. John, Langley (Vancouver), Whitehorse, Terrace, Inuvik and Iqaluit. DRIVING FORCE has been in the automotive business for over 35 years and has been a leader in the industry. From work trucks to commercial vans, DRIVING FORCE is driven to deliver… anything you want!

We rent, sell and lease... ALL MAKES AND MODELS 18 locations across Canada Edmonton • Leduc/Int. Airport • Fort Saskatchewan Calgary • Fort McMurray • Grande Prairie • Saskatoon Vancouver • Fort St. John • Terrace • Iqaluit Whitehorse • Inuvik


Business-to-business products and services

Geoff Gyles, Kerry Green Wolf Trax, Inc


olf Trax took root in Winnipeg in 1998 when coworkers Geoff Gyles and Kerry Green saw that the science of fertilizing plants was growing stagnant and they had a great idea for innovation.

First to market was a family of six Dry Dispersible Powder (DDP) micronutrient fertilizers that addressed weaknesses in traditional micronutrients in that they offered plants micronutrients in two phases through the patented Dual Action™ concept. The company’s second patented innovation was developing a seed-applied fertilizer product designed to improve seedling growth in a wide range of crops, soil types and growing conditions. “We are providing science-based technology to growers around the world, helping them be profitable and at the same time helping to feed a growing population in the most (from a plant nutrient perspective) healthy and sustainable manner possible,” says Green. In addition to having overcome the obstacles facing many first-time entrepreneurs, like access to capital from conservative financial institutions, Gyles and Green were also up against a traditional industry that is not always open to new ideas. “Changing and challenging conventional wisdom in a very conservative industry has been a hurdle,” says Gyles. But when a product works, selling a new concept becomes a lot easier. And Wolf Trax’s products do work. The team has achieved significant brand awareness and market share in Canada and the U.S. “We are a small plant nutrition company based in Winnipeg competing head to head with some of the largest companies in the world,” says Green. Gyles adds, “The fact that we are a Manitobabased company with Manitoba-based science selling innovative fertilizers in all parts of the world makes me particularly proud.”


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013

In a whole different ball park. Fertilizer technology so advanced, there’s no comparison.

855.237.9653 •

Wolf Trax® is a registered trademark of Wolf Trax, Inc. ©2013. 21061 BIC

Header Entrepreneurs take centre stage

The EY G20 Entrepreneurship Barometer 2013: Canada



ntrepreneurs are key to building a better working world, and Canadian entrepreneurs have much to be Company thankful for. They operate in an environment that’s highly supportive of their activities. The cost of starting a business in the country is among the lowest in the G20, while entrepreneurs spend fewer hours on their tax affairs than their peers in most other nations, enjoy lower labour costs and benefit from better access to funding. As a result, levels of new business activity and startups are well above the G20 average. Those are some of the findings of the EY G20 Entrepreneurship Barometer 2013. Our survey found that Canada is one of the top performers in the world, scoring consistently high in nearly all categories of the entrepreneurial environment.


ody than might be expected. For example, 73 per cent Canadian entrepreneurs, however, are notably less positive say access to funding remains difficult, greater than the G20 average as a whole. Similarly, while Canada has the lowest insolvency costs in the G20, 36 per cent of local entrepreneurs say business failure is a barrier to future business ventures, also above the overall average. This mismatch may reflect Canadian entrepreneurs’ higher expectations. In a generally conducive environment, they may expect greater levels of assistance and support and could be prone to disappointment during tougher times. Nevertheless, these concerns will need to be met in order to encourage entrepreneurship in the country. Looking ahead, all these strengths should support growing levels of new business creation, with one report predicting the net creation of 150,000 new businesses in the coming decade — a resounding endorsement for Canada’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.1 To learn more, visit us at



. B. Tal, Start-ups — Present and Future (CIBC World Markets Inc., 2012).

EY EY Entrepreneur Entrepreneur Of Of The The Year Year 2013 2013



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EDMONTON INVESTORS ARE SMART TO INVEST HERE AT HOME With economic unrest south of us and a smattering of rebounding economies here at home, it’s time to dissect where Edmontonians are investing their hard earned dollars. Is it a real estate free-for-all over the border or are foreign stocks flying off the shelves? You may be surprised to learn about Edmonton’s true investing habits. BY RECHELL MCDONALD


conomic hardship has been an issue in the United States for much more than just the last five years and although there has been a bit of an upturn on the situation, it’s still slow going. Over the same period of time, Canada too felt the economic pressures, witnessing job losses, reduced spending and the like, but it was nowhere near the extent of our neighbours to the south. In many ways, they suffered an atomic-economic bomb while Canadians only had to bear the brunt of the fallout. In some areas of the country, the fallout was more akin to a brisk wind, with thriving industrial areas like Edmonton ploughing through relatively unscathed. Periods of economic distress, like what the United States has been going through, can often create some lucrative investment opportunities. Real estate, land and stocks tend to plummet in response to these situations, which make them ripe for the picking – for those with the dollars to buy them at least. Since we know that Edmontonians had the dollars during the worst part of the crisis and still do today, when cities such as Detroit are declaring bankrupt-

cy, it may seem logical to conclude that Edmontonians did then, and are now, taking advantage of cheap American investment opportunities – right? According to some professionals, that’s simply not the case. From recreational properties, to real estate investing and even engineering contracts, the proof is in the pudding – Edmontonians and Albertans in general are investing right here at home. Alvin Clark is the president of the Trestle Creek Golf Resort, which has current approval for 650 recreational vehicle (RV) lots, with room to expand. Although Trestle Creek is only 45 minutes west of the city, Clark confesses that lots are selling out quickly. “Our first phase is already sold out and the second phase is halfway there. What we find is that people enjoy being able to vacation close to home, year round. So far, in the first year, lot values have jumped up 25 per cent and everyone uses at least one lot personally, with some purchasing additional lots for investment purposes.” | Business In Edmonton Magazine | October 2013





Trestle Creek is in a prime position to take advantage of the beautiful Northern Alberta scenery, which offers a lot of open space, while simultaneously tapping into one of the richest markets in the country, Edmonton. The interesting thing about Trestle Creek is that it is designed and marketed entirely to domestic investors. “We are marketing to Northern Alberta but some of our investors do have similar properties in places such as California or Arizona, allowing them to winter or summer accordingly,” notes Clark. “There is a healthy market for this kind of thing though because it’s easy to travel to and from for a weekend or an entire summer.” Trestle Creek is in a prime position to take advantage of the beautiful Northern Alberta scenery, which offers a lot of open space, while simultaneously tapping into one of the richest markets in the country, Edmonton. Their impressive spread offers investors a championship golf course, 600 acres of beautiful resort land and RV lots that allow the ‘glamping’ gurus a chance to stay nestled amongst the trees without missing any amenities.


October 2013 | Business In Edmonton Magazine |

But recreational properties aside, what about investment within the confines of the city? Surely with foreign investors getting in on the oil refinery business, there must be foreign investors getting in on other areas as well? This too would appear to be a false assumption. “Albertans are investing in Alberta and themselves,” smiles Arda Ozum, engineer and owner of Acius Engineering Ltd. Edmonton. “With how hot Alberta is for construction, oil and gas, the money is all here. Some are taking advantage of stateside properties, but most are investing in their own businesses and real estate here.” Arda bases his assessment on the fact that Acius Engineering’s client base is almost entirely Albertan (with a few clients in British Columbia) and the shift in their workload has been impressive, to put it modestly. “Our workload has more than doubled in the last year and the increase since



then has been significant across the board. Although we primarily deal in commercial and industrial buildings, we have seen an increase in clients requesting custom homes or entirely unique homes.” But where does Arda and Acius invest? “I get calls quite frequently from startups or other businesses asking me to invest in them and I always say the same thing – I am investing in myself and my business! Just like everyone else here.” While Acius has the proof and workload to show just how many Edmonton based commercial and industrial clients are investing or re-investing in the city, we still need to look at the why or how of it all. Why or how are we maintaining such investment autonomy with such a hot market? “There has been a lot in the media about international investors snapping up assets in Canada. Anecdotally speaking this is also happening in Edmonton, but at a much smaller rate than other Canadian cities like Toronto or Vancouver,” Doah Ozum explains. Doah (yes, they’re related), a real estate consultant who owns an investing firm and is an investor himself, sees Edmonton clearly. “We are still a smaller market and not as visible on the international radar of investors. You have to remember that as a country we make up about two per cent of the global economy. Once you factor in investment in larger cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, you see that a very small percentage of foreign capital makes it to Edmonton. Globally speaking, we are still considered a cheap place to purchase property and over time you will see more and more foreign investors.” Doah feels as though, despite what has been seen occurring south of the border, Edmonton is less likely to suffer the same fate as other industrial cities, like Detroit. “My personal opinion is that the city has done a pretty good job in keeping up with the growth and investing in the infrastructure that makes Edmonton a great place to live. We as a city have had to invest heavily in road infrastructure to keep up with unprecedented population growth, a rapidly expanding LRT and ETS network, recreation centres, police, fire... the list goes on. We have invested heavily and in my opinion have made this a great city to live and prosper in.” As Doah explains the long list of positives that Edmonton has, both in its own investing strategies and the industry it houses, it becomes clear that Edmonton is home to some very wise investors. Whether it’s the individuals that simply purchase a home here, the housing companies that build the homes here or the industrial giants that live, play and re-invest here – Edmontonians seem to have one-up on your typical investor. They are aware of the potential in their own backyard. Doing something as typical as purchasing a home here can easily provide big returns, according to a report published by TD Bank which lists Edmonton as one of the ‘outperforming markets,’ despite the fact that “major housing markets from coast to coast appear to be landing


softly.” While it may be true that it is feasible to purchase real estate for exceptional savings in America right now, the returns on that investment may be a ways off. So why bother gambling when you can bet on a sure thing? The sheer diversity of Edmonton’s rapidly growing population provides a nice balance to the real estate sector – different ideas of what constitutes a home is fueling all types of building – and with critical changes in the downtown coming, things are going to begin booming at unprecedented rates. “I expect that the new arena will be a nice addition to the building and development that is currently taking place downtown,” suggests Doah. “You’ll see more multi-residential projects north of 104th Avenue and along Jasper Avenue heading east and west. With density comes more walkable neighborhoods and more interesting shops, but with Edmontonians being Edmontonians, there will always be a large contingent who will want a yard and this will continue the urban expansion.” Whether it’s Albertans aiming to invest in domestic recreational properties to escape the city, or large companies pouring domestic dollars into domestic engineering firms to complete domestic structures – or even the cities foresight to invest in itself, Edmonton is riding a wave of prosperity that promises to carry them into the future and beyond. Too many Canadians make the mistake of purchasing things like timeshares in faraway places, or dumping their savings into the stocks of foreign businesses. What more people should be doing is investing in where they live. Edmontonians have known this trade-secret for over a decade and their ability to foresee the benefits of it are paying off. It isn’t all about the money either – Edmonton will see this payoff in the form of what it can offer residents: better transit, more work, eclectic shopping experience, more choice in residences and perhaps even more major attractions and festivals. So what’s the short of the long? If you have yet to begin investing here, it might not be a bad time to start. BIE | Business In Edmonton Magazine | October 2013





With outlying municipalities such as Leduc expanding at an impressive rate, annexation bids are going to bring Edmonton and Leduc to a headway in the near future. At what point, if ever, will it become a necessity for Edmonton to begin looking at annexing the municipalities themselves?



he landscape of Edmonton is interesting. Alberta is a sparsely populated province with two major hubs: Edmonton and Calgary. Around these hubs are small cities and towns that take advantage of a more relaxed lifestyle outside of the city with all the amenities of the city close by. This is by no means a unique situation; most of the provinces across the country experience a similar population pattern…so what’s the point? The one variable that sets Alberta apart from the rest of the country is the strong economy and job growth. These factors are encouraging growth in the city and surrounding areas at an impressive rate. Domestic immigration is bringing workers into the province from all over the country in order to meet the needs of the job market – to say nothing of the natural growth of the population already situated here. In response to this growth is a lot of proactive planning for the city and surrounding communities. St. Albert, Stony Plain and Leduc are growing just as steadily as Edmonton and each area is making plans to deal with this growth. One of the more common methods seems to be the idea of annexing land into the city or individual municipalities in order to allow for expansion, but there is a potential problem with this solution. With the bordering cities being so close to Edmonton, and in the case of St. Albert which is nearly attached to the city, is there going to be enough land for everyone to grow? Edmonton could expand rapidly and choke off the growth ability of other municipalities, or the municipalities could grow to the extent where Edmonton is essentially boxed in. Greg Krischke, Mayor of Leduc, explained the dilemma simply as he addressed the idea of ‘rights’ in a way most would see as applicable to a living entity. “The Municipal Government Act (MGA) states that both rural and urban municipalities both have an equal right to grow. When there are disputes in where that might occur, both affected communities need to negotiate an acceptable solution.”


October 2013 | Business In Edmonton Magazine |


Mayor Krischke supports his point of view with facts from the most recent federal census for Leduc. According to Statistics Canada, the difference in population between 2006 and 2011 for Leduc was staggering, with a 43.1 per cent increase, putting them down as the ninth fastest growing municipality in the province and the second fastest growing city. “Our growth has not slowed down in the slightest. Although it has not yet been confirmed by the provincial government, we successfully negotiated the annexation of eight quarter sections of land into Leduc, with seven of them being planned for residential purposes.” This fact comes hot on the heels of the City of Edmonton’s intent to annex the strip of land that runs down the highway to the International Airport. If they are successful, the very near future will have Edmonton and Leduc shoulder to shoulder, just as Edmonton is currently with



It is clear that more and more people are choosing Edmonton and Alberta, in general, as the place they want to call home. St. Albert. Edmonton stretching out along this route makes perfect sense too, the gap separating the city from the airport is not all that large, it seems like a natural progression – but will the progression end there? There has been talk in recent years about annexing municipalities into the city, rather than just vacant land, but Mayor Krischke doesn’t seem too concerned about such a prospect. “I don’t believe it will happen. A typical municipality is primarily residential so it does not make economic sense, but there are positives and negatives to the KAREN LEIBOVICI idea. Leduc has new fire equipment and resources like that that Edmonton could benefit from but, for example, where we are policed by the RCMP, Edmonton has its own force. How would that get sorted out? Leduc has a strong sense of community here and I think that would be our greatest loss if we joined the city – people don’t just live here [in Leduc], they take pride in our great quality of life.” Surprisingly, Edmonton isn’t as aggressive about the need to annex as one might think. Exhausting all options to use available vacant land first is taking priority over bringing nearby towns into the Edmonton fold. The major issue just seems to be who has what rights to what land first. Edmonton city councilor and candidate for Mayor, Karen Leibovici is focusing on the idea of ‘responsible growth,’ acknowledging the growth that is happening across the board for all municipalities. As she explains, getting people to choose Edmonton over other places to live is going to be important to the future of the city. “We want the city to be a place where people want to come for both work and quality of life. These days, people have a lot of choice of where to live and we want people to choose us.” It is clear that more and more people are choosing Edmonton and Alberta, in general, as the place they want to call home. The fact still remains that there must be room for all these people to live at the end of the day. As Krischke points out, many people prefer the suburbs with their convenience and intact sense of community, but Leibovici says Edmonton has a very strong sense of community itself. “If you consider our growth over the years, we have never lost our sense of community. Our city has a unique way of maintaining that sense and spirit, particularly through the community leagues. This was even more apparent to me after doing some recent door knocking and discovering, much to my surprise, just how many people had their

doors wide open or at least unlocked. That’s community.” While Krischke doubts that the outlying municipalities will be under any real threat of annexation in the near future, (he actually expressed his doubt at seeing it happen anytime in the next fifty years) it will all depend on the growth trends and how they fluctuate in the coming years. It is still true that there is only a finite amount of land available for Edmonton to grow into, while the municipalities have much more space on their outlying borders. At some point or another Edmonton will have to go through the municipalities to access that outlying land, if needs justify it. It’s just a matter of whether that will become a necessity sooner or later than people predict. “We are in a pretty good position for the next 30 years,” says Leibovici. “There will be booms and busts in the economy so we must be flexible in order to provide for these times. The housing market has fluctuated over the last decade, at times suffering from a lack of diversity as far as affordable housing goes. We now have that diversity, but need to address creating more rental housing.” The councilor is wise in her assessment of the situation. Despite the American economy declining in 2008 and Canada suffering its own fallout as a result, Alberta managed to remain quite strong. In some cases these sort of busts can be projected and planned for, but not always. If the city allows itself to grow too quickly or too prematurely, an economic downturn could leave it spread too thin – literally. In short, Edmonton is doing alright with the space they have for the time being, and initiatives such as the Blatchford Project will help stave off the need to expand due to a housing shortage. Tightly packed areas of Edmonton, such as downtown, are working at expanding upward rather than outward, which is also a viable tactic for other areas of the city. The topic of the outlying towns losing their identity in the hustle and bustle of the city is not an idea that most want to entertain at this time. Leduc, with its current annexation bid and plans for expansion, is content to focus on its own prosperity, leaving the ever-encroaching city to its own devices. Similarly, Edmonton, with the promising bid to annex the land leading up the airport, is plugging away at growing fairly and responsibly – hoping that amalgamating municipalities remains an idea, rather than a reality, for as long as possible. BIE | Business In Edmonton Magazine | October 2013



Small Businesses, Big Ideas It’s time again for another round of exciting talks and lively mixers at the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce’s annual Small Business Week extravaganza. BY BENJAMIN FREELAND PHOTOS COURTESY OF EDMONTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE


f you’re a small business owner in the Edmonton area (or looking to become one) and you have yet to participate in the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce’s annual Small Business Week (SBW) events, you won’t want to miss out on this year’s. With a booming oil and gas-driven provincial economy, a commercial real estate market in a veritable sweet spot and a whole raft of exciting urban projects either recently completed or in the pipeline, the mood among the city’s businesspeople has rarely been this positive, and conversations at SBW this month are bound to be animated. In addition to the regular lineup of exciting speakers and fascinating sessions, the luncheon and mixer discussions alone should be worth the cost of admission. Alberta is a famously entrepreneurial place, but the true importance of small business to the province’s economy is often understated. Small business accounted for 20 per cent of Alberta’s GDP in 2006 and that tranche of the economy continues to grow, with the total number of small businesses in the province increasing by 18.3 per cent between 2000 and 2007. Of the approximately 150,000 small businesses in Alberta, roughly a third call Edmonton home, making the city a hotbed of small business activi-


October 2013 | Business In Edmonton Magazine |


ty. While the clichéd view of Alberta as a one-trick pony economy persists, the province’s small business picture is remarkably diverse, with nearly 18 per cent involved in professional, scientific and technical services, roughly 13 per cent in construction and only four per cent in mining and oil extraction. For over 20 years now, the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce has helped foster entrepreneurism in the city by hosting a series of talks, luncheons, trade shows and networking sessions on the occasion of Small Business Week, a national celebration of entrepreneurs and their contribution to Canada’s economy. Targeted at established professionals and aspiring entrepreneurs alike, SBW typically attracts around 800 participants, predominantly from the Edmonton region (but with a peppering of out-oftowners), and serves as a valuable event for the city’s small business community to truly come together to discuss issues and opportunities, create new partnerships and learn from the country’s leading business and economic minds. For James Cumming, the Chamber’s newly-minted President and CEO, the SBW events are an opportunity too good to miss. “Anytime you have an opportunity for peer interaction and quality speakers, you don’t want to miss that,” he asserts. “It’s an invaluable form of education, a chance to get as much information as you possibly can while also building your personal network.” This year’s Edmonton SBW program is a mix of new

additions and old favourites back by popular demand. Back again this year is the massively popular ‘Selling to the Government and the Public Sector’ seminar, featuring a cast of presenters from the federal and provincial governments, the City of Edmonton, Alberta Health Services and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). As in previous years, subjects to be covered in this seminar include public tendering, the Government of Canada’s electronic tendering system (GETS) and Alberta Purchasing Connection (APC) online tender sites, trade agreements and strategies on making public sector contacts. This all-day session will be held at the World Trade Centre Edmonton on Wednesday, October 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. “Our selling to government seminar has attracted people from as far away as Nova Scotia,” says Cumming. “It’s been a huge draw.” Among the star attractions at this year’s SBW is a small business luncheon at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald on Tuesday, October 22 featuring guest speaker Pierre Cléroux, chief economist and vice president of research of the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and one of the country’s leading purveyors of market intelligence tailored to Canadian small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Also new this year is a series of webinars provided by Gold Sponsor ATB on topics ranging from recruitment to cash flow management to social media marketing. “Unfortunately a | Business In Edmonton Magazine | October 2013



In keeping with its mission to foster excellence in entrepreneurship, the Chamber will once again present its Ignition Award on Thursday, October 24. First awarded during last year’s SBW, the Ignition Award will be presented to the year’s top new business over a luncheon, which this year will feature Maxime Bernier, Minister of State for Small Business, Tourism and Agriculture, as guest speaker.

lot of our small businesspeople simply can’t get away from their work to attend these sessions,” explains Cumming. “These webinars are aimed at people who want to participate but don’t have the time to be there in person.” In keeping with its mission to foster excellence in entrepreneurship, the Chamber will once again present its Ignition Award on Thursday, October 24. First awarded during last year’s SBW, the Ignition Award will be presented to the year’s top new business over a luncheon, which this year will feature Maxime Bernier, minister of state for small business, tourism and agriculture, as guest speaker. The week’s events will also include a mixer and trade show hosted by RGO Office Furnishings, Alberta’s leading provider of office furnishing solutions, at their stylish Edmonton offices. This networking event will take place on Tuesday, October 22 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. For Cumming, the Chamber’s SBW events represent a golden opportunity for small businesspeople to gain a nuanced picture of the overall economy and an accurate sense of what lies ahead. “Growing and scaling the business is a big issue for many SMEs,” he explains. “It can be very difficult to gauge what’s coming down the pike and these sessions provide the broader context necessary for businesspeople to plan for the future. Labour continues to be a critical issue in this province, and some of the speakers will be touching on this.” He adds that the week’s events are just as valuable for business novices as they are for seasoned entrepreneurs. “This is an opportunity for everyone, including people interested in starting a business from scratch.” As for the networking sessions offered at SBW, Cum-


October 2013 | Business In Edmonton Magazine |

ming asserts that the week’s events are too good an opportunity to miss. You’ll be rubbing shoulders with private and public sector players from every sector out there,” he contends. “Oftentimes it only takes that one chance meeting with a crucial contact to grow your business to the next level. That’s what we hope to offer.” Cumming further adds that the city’s SMEs are of particular importance to the Chamber of Commerce, and that SBW is a key mechanism for the Chamber in fostering business activity in the city. “Small business represents a large proportion of the Chamber, as well as the Edmonton private sector as a whole, and anything we can do to foster entrepreneurism in the city is critical to our overall growth.” As for what the conversations are likely to be like at these sessions, Cummings says it’s anybody’s guess. “I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of talk about the arena and the surrounding entertainment district,” he notes. “Now that we have closure on that issue, people are already leasing space downtown in anticipation of this new development, so I’m sure this is going to be on a lot of people’s minds. But beyond that there’s no way of predicting what people are going to be talking about. Edmonton is an expanding market at an exciting juncture. All I can say for sure is there’s going to be a lot to take home from it.” Small Business Week is held on the week of Monday, October 21 to Friday, October 25. For further information on the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce’s SBW events, contact the Chamber at 780-426-4620 or visit the SBW page on the Chamber website at http://www.edmontonchamber. com/wcevents/small_business_week.aspx. BIE

Roll forming steel plate

Cessco Fabrication and Engineering Ltd: A Big Deal in the Making By Mark Kandborg


f you had to use one word to encapsulate Cessco Fabrication and Engineering Ltd., that word might very well be BIG. It is, after all, a big company with big aspirations that builds big things for some of the biggest companies in the country. After 65 years in the business, this privately owned, Canadian company just keeps getting bigger. Another word you might use is SOLID. Not just for Cessco’s unique fabricated pressure vessels built for the most demanding uses, conditions and customers. Nor just for their reputation, which might better be described as rock solid, but for everything, from their management team to their ongoing commitment to being the very best they can be at what they do. Even their roots are solid. Figuratively, in that Cessco’s been

a part of the Alberta resource industry from its earliest days, and almost literally, in that their buildings sit on the very same ground where the company’s history began, in 1948. “Back then, 99th Street was a dirt trail, and it was a long way to Strathcona,” says president and general manager Don McFarlane. “Leduc #1 went on line in 1947, so we’ve been entrenched in the Western Canadian oil industry from the beginning.” A lot of companies like to say ‘we do it all’, but not Cessco (an acronym for its original name, Canadian Equipment Sales and Service Company). They have no interest in being everything to everybody. They’re specialists. “We manufacture the largest, heaviest and most complex pressure vessels in the industry, tackling projects that can’t be done elsewhere,” McFarlane says.

In-situ repairs and installation

Boiler maintenance crew

“Everything we make is unique. We design our products for different purposes, for different clients who have specific technical, operational and delivery needs. Every plant is unique. So we go into it prepared for the expected and the unexpected.” Cessco doesn’t just build and forget. As McFarlane explains, “We’re very much a service company.” Jim Kachmar, vice president of field services, agrees. “About half of our work, by volume, is in the field,” he says. “That means plant maintenance and repairs, shutdowns, emergency repairs.” Kachmar’s key word is COMMITMENT. “Commitment to quality, productivity, safety and cooperation is what the client gets, he says, “from myself to the superintendent who executes the job, through the journeymen, the foreman and the support staff. They’re absolutely key to our operation. We’re an extremely close-knit group, and we work closely together. There’s constant liaising between the sites and myself at all times. We work on a completely informed basis.” This commitment allows him to operate on a ‘no surprise’ basis with the customer. “We want our clients to be fully aware at all times of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.” On jobs with the size and intricacy of those Cessco is involved in, maintaining complete, constant, real-time awareness and transparency is no small feat. “It’s all about execution and management,” Kachmar says. “Internally, we generate detailed cost reports on each project, every day. That’s costs incurred and projected to the end of the job. These reports are shared with the clients whenever they wish. But I always know.” Another key word for Cessco is LOYALTY, all the way around. “We invest in and develop long term relationships with customers,” McFarlane says. “We have many of the same

customers we’ve had from the beginning. They’ve evolved, and we’ve evolved to meet their needs.” There’s one relationship of which the folks at Cessco are especially proud. “The Boilermaker’s Union in Alberta was first certified in our shop,” says McFarlane. “They train and supply workforce very effectively for us. We like to say our relationship with the Union is mostly historical and sometimes hysterical. We consider them to be a partner, and they continue to be very supportive of our operation.” Labour shortages, of course, are a hot topic in this province. “Everybody talks about it, and we’re not immune to it,” McFarlane says. “Albertan’s enjoy a great lifestyle because of high wages and great benefits, but that does present certain challenges to employers. You want the best people, but everyone is trying to attract them. We’ve been addressing those challenges and doing very well.” In the past, when necessary, the company turned to temporary foreign workers to top up their workforce. Since then, however, they’ve come to believe that’s not the only answer. Cessco Fabrication and Engineering is able to keep a continuous work force of top notch people, not only by offering excellent conditions, competitive wages and profit sharing, but also by developing and maintaining a comprehensive trades training program right on site. Cessco is also seen as a highly attractive workplace because they use up-to-date equipment, develop and employ the latest procedures, and employee safety always comes first. “As a result, since this most recent upturn in the industry, we’ve been able to secure, almost exclusively, local people or Canadians who have chosen to come to Alberta,” McFarlane says. “We’re blessed to have a very stable environment. People may | Page 2

come because of the opportunities, but they can look around and see others who have been here over 40 years. The message to new hires is that this has been a very rewarding place to work.” “We’re an extremely loyal group to Cessco, to each other and to the ultimate success of the project,” Kachmar adds. “There’s a complete support system from top to bottom. It’s never questioned,” he says. “People know that it’s there.” Loyalty only takes you so far, of course. You also have to produce. “Productivity is much spoken of these days,” McFarlane points out. “Lots of industry organizations are talking about the need for Canadian companies to drive for productivity. We’ve understood this for a long time.” McFarlane believes that the push for productivity and an increasing ability to produce more with less is the key to survival in this environment. “We have the challenge of operating in a very high wage environment, and that’s great for Albertans, but it’s tough as a manufacturer. So if you’re competing against off-shore suppliers who are working from a different cost base, in order to be competitive you have to be better and smarter. There has never been a time,” he says, “when that has not been the case.” One of the keys to Cessco’s productivity is their commitment to constant INNOVATION. Right from the time they start bidding a job, they’re already contemplating the manufacturing approach, McFarlane says. “You have to start thinking about your assembly sequences, how you can apply techniques you’ve developed in the past, and where the opportunities are to invest in new equipment or develop new techniques. It’s a philosophy. If we don’t have a procedure for a type of material our customer wants us to work with, we will do the research and we will develop it.” This cutting edge approach leads not only to greater productivity, but to product longevity as well. “We give our clients products that are going to exceed expectations in terms of performance and lifecycle,” McFarlane says. “We have customers come to us asking for technical details on equipment they’re now doing some repairs on. We’ll pull the information and find that it’s 40 years old and still in service.” When you have massive products to build, you need specialized, efficient facilities. What started as a single (albeit huge) fabrication building is now three, each larger than the last. Why? As the industry’s thirst for output increases, the size of the products they demand very often increase as well. Cessco’s prowess has grown to meet this need, often anticipating it. Think of it like this: if you own a car, your garage will do just fine. Add a motor home to your fleet and you’re going to need a second, larger, garage. Get into private jets? You better build yourself a hanger. To understand the cavernous reality that is the inner sanctum of Cessco’s fabrication facilities, you’ll need to see them first hand; and if you’re lucky enough to be offered a tour, as I was, you’ll need a guide. For that, you couldn’t do any better than vice president of manufacturing, Chuck Taylor. He oversees all shop fabrication that takes place at Cessco’s Edmonton facilities and he’s been with the company for 46 years, starting as a “B” welder in 1968. “When I first came here, a 10 foot vessel was big,” he says. “Now, thirty feet is.” When company president McFarlane speaks of Cessco Fabrication and Engineering, his passion and pride are obvious; he exudes the even confidence of an airline captain. Taylor’s default setting, by contrast, is one of unbridled enthusiasm. “I’ve been

Giving Dogs Their Wings True to their commitment to community involvement, Cessco supports a number of charitable organizations. “One that is very special to our employees is ‘Dogs with Wings’,” McFarlane says. Formerly known as the Alberta Guide and Assistance Dog Society, Dogs With Wings raises service dogs for a number of applications, including seeing eye and special assistance. The opportunity to help this great organization was first brought to McFarlane and his colleagues by the folks at the Boilermakers Union. Dogs With Wings offers a corporate sponsorship where the corporation picks up the tab for the feeding, care, training and development of a dog. The generous company gets the honour of naming the hardworking canine hero, but more importantly, this sponsorship enables the organization to deploy the highly trained dogs to recipients across Alberta for virtually no cost. Cessco is proud to have been the very first company to enter this highly successful program. They are now on their third sponsorship. here a lot of years,” he says, “and every day has been an adventure. I shouldn’t even still be here, I should be retired and off golfing or something but I’m having too much fun.” As I don the requisite safety gear and we begin the tour, Taylor’s passion and enthusiasm is nothing short of amazing and inspiring. “If it’s large, heavy and complicated, it suits us,” he | Page 3

says. “Building what we build is fairly challenging, and having success is very rewarding. If you go to work and make a contribution, every day, you’re going to go home a satisfied man.” As we move from the oldest, smallest shop, known as Fab 1, and onto Fab 2 and Fab 3, which Taylor helped to design (I can hardly wait until they build a Fab 4), his youthful enthusiasm is almost eclipsed by an unmistakable sense of pride. “We’ve expanded our floor space three-fold since I’ve been here. That makes me pretty happy. We have lots of smart, hardworking people,” he says, indicating the engaged and focused men and women diligently working all around us, “and we’ve developed all kinds of equipment to help them to do different things. Young welders like to be connected to a computer. They’re more inclined to use it and care for it. They have a computerized mindset.” Lest you assume that this newest wave of recruits are forcing the seasoned Taylor to embrace new technologies, think again. A lot of the equipment they now use was his idea. “I take it to our people and they build or modify it,” he says. “We have manipulators and equipment other companies don’t have, and even we didn’t have just a few years ago.” Taylor points out that the greater production made possible by the design and implementation of tip-of-the-torch technologies means, among other things, an increase in quality, and “if you’re building quality, it’s going to last.” After we pass two gigantic furnaces large enough and powerful enough to heat a small aircraft to 1,100 degrees (although their real purpose is to eliminate welding stresses in large vessels), we head back inside. Taylor wants to show me Cessco’s in-house training centre. “All the types of welding used here can be trained here,” he says. That’s everything from submerged

arc and flux-core to surface tension transfer (STT) and rapid arc, as well as training for standard shielded metal arc welding (SMAW). “And every welder we hire, we test.” Cessco employs a number of resident, government-certified welding examiners. “That means we can certify in-house.” And with that, my time in the land of Very Big Things that is Cessco Fabrication and Engineering comes to an end. As fascinating as it was for me, it was clearly a blast for Taylor. “I love giving tours,” he explains, “because I was a part of all of it.” As I reflect on the people I’ve met and the things I’ve learned about this great Edmonton-based company, I’m reminded of a comment Kachmar had made earlier, about there being something else he and his colleagues build that’s as big and as strong as anything that comes out of Fab 1, Fab 2 or Fab 3: “We build bridges with our clients,” he said. “It’s about goodwill internally and externally, based on carrying out what we commit to. It’s all about bridge building.” So maybe we should add another BIG to the list we started with, as important as all the others. This, clearly, is a company with a big heart. So there you have it: Big, Solid, Committed, Loyal and Innovative. Not a bad combination. Here’s to the next 65 years.

Edmonton: 7310-99 Street Edmonton, AB T6E 3R8 Toll Free: 1-800-272-9698 • Tel: (780) 433-9531 • Fax: (780) 432-7899 Calgary: Suite 101, 261200 Wagon Wheel Way, Rockyview, AB, T4A 0E3 Toll free: 1-800-272-9698 • • | Page 4

Back Row (l to r): Sheri Robinson, Shawn Brown, Peter Scarrow, Jacquie Cormier, Brian Kratzenberg, Adam Lewandowski, Noori Oad, Keith Tilley, Doug Farquharson, Teri Beland, Suzanne Loney, Kim Tumak and Kasia Kabat. Front Row (l to r): Peter Johnston, Joe Beland, Sandra Quinn-Boyes, James Brown and Derik Whitfield.

One Big, Happy Family

By Mark Kandborg


any of us have had this experience. Maybe when we were younger, visiting a friend’s house, or maybe as an adult, accepting a kind dinner invitation from a hospitable stranger in a foreign land. We walked in and were met with warm smiles. Our hosts were honestly happy to welcome us, to spend time with us, to get to know us. We felt like we’d found a second family. It’s a good feeling. It’s like that when you walk through the doors of Monarch Floors (1953) Ltd. The folks here, from president Brian Kratzenberg to the admin staff to the installers, are honestly happy to welcome you, to spend time with you, and to get to know you. You’ll feel like you’ve found a second family, because you have.

“It really is a big family,” Brian says. “One that’s evolved over the years. This is a group of really great, dedicated people that have a common vision. Lots of people have been here a long time. When I bring someone on, I say to them, ‘We want to grow old with you,’ and I really mean it.” If these values seem from another time, far from today’s infamous revolving doors of employment, maybe they are. Monarch Floors was founded by Brian’s father, Werner, at a time when these values didn’t seem so foreign, especially to a hardworking family man from Germany. “My father immigrated here in 1951 and started working right away as a brick layer’s helper,” Brian says. This couldn’t have been easy, as Werner didn’t speak the language, but his wife did. So right

Monarch Floors (1953) Ltd • 60 Years

from the start, cooperation and family was an integral part of his working life. “I don’t really even know how, but somehow my dad started this company two years later,” Brian says. You may be wondering where the name ‘Monarch’ came from. A fondness for butterflies, perhaps? Not exactly. “It was early days, and he went where the work was. Wherever it was,” Brian says. “He spent a lot of time up north.” Frobisher Bay in winter, no less. “He even did a job in ‘Akabah, on the Red Sea. I’m not sure why, to be honest, but he went there and installed flooring.” Wherever he went (except, one would assume, ‘Akabah), Werner could be seen in his trusty panel van. “He told me about one winter in Cold Lake where he had to crawl under it every morning with a Tiger torch to heat up the oil pan, but it always started.” What kind of van was it? Maybe you’ve guessed: a Mercury Monarch. The spirit and the name of that loyal, dependable, hardworking van are alive today, not just on the sign out front, but in Monarch’s culture. Why? Like father like son. “I always saw myself working for my dad,” Brian says, but when he was handed the reins, “I was wide-eyed. I was a decent salesperson, but I’d never managed.” So when his first year calling the shots was a less than stellar one, “I went to my dad. I told him I didn’t want to lose his money.” Werner, a man Brian describes as “funny, bright and charismatic,” knew exactly what to say as both a father and a boss. “He said, ‘Don’t worry about it. I have faith in you’.” Sure enough, the next year was better. And the one after that, better still. Now the company named after a little van that could is celebrating six decades of success. “To run a business for 60 years is a great story,” says operations manager Keith Tilley, who gave up a promising career flying corporate jets because he “wanted another challenge.” His decision lead to an Executive MBA, but not directly to Monarch. “Brian and I were waterskiing buddies. He got me thinking that maybe I was climbing the wrong ladder.”

Brian Kratzenberg, Sheri Robinson and Keith Tilley.

Or, as Brian puts it, “I set the hook and pulled him into the vortex.” Keith’s only been with the company since December, but he’s as assured in his earth-bound chair as he was in the sky. “Surrounding yourself with good people,” he says, is key. “I’m not the best at everything, but I’m good at finding who is. We use the collective strengths of everybody.” Another key is accountability. Brian agrees. “My dad used to say, ‘If you cut wood, you get sawdust.’ Things happen. One of the people here might drop the ball, but I’ll pick it up. We’ve pulled our wallet out to make things right with a client. A lot of people make excuses. We get things done.” Clearly, the folks at Monarch are determined to make it right; but as it happens, there is surprisingly little ‘sawdust’ to worry about, due in large part to the experience and dedication of each member of the Monarch Floors family, for which Brian couldn’t be more appreciative. “I’m nothing without my people,” he says, “and they have nothing without our tradespeople, our contractors and suppliers.”

TRC Distribution Congratulates Monarch Floors on their 60th Anniversary! Monarch Floors (1953) Ltd • 60 Years • Page 2

Clearly, the folks at Monarch are determined to make it right; but as it happens, there is surprisingly little ‘sawdust’ to worry about, due in large part to the experience and dedication of each member of the Monarch Flooring family, for which Brian couldn’t be more appreciative. If it isn’t obvious by now, Brian Kratzenberg likes to give credit where it’s due. He’s a self-professed shy and humble guy. “I don’t like to talk about myself,” he says, and he means it. So he invited other members of the Monarch family to share their thoughts about the company. Doug Farquharson, who worked in aviation with Keith for many years before joining him here, was happy to oblige. “I’m honoured to be part of this team, built on integrity. Part of what Brian built, and what his dad built. And what Keith will continue to build.” Joe Beland is proud of the company’s long standing connection with this city. “I lived and worked in Edmonton my whole life,” he says. “We really know this town.” Adam Lewandowski, who always seems to have a big smile on his face, had this to say: “It’s great here. Hard work tempered with a little bit of humour makes this a great place to work. It’s a fun place. And the combined experience here is over a hundred years.” It’s only right that the last word goes to the man who, as he says, will pick up the ball if ever it’s dropped. True to his humble nature, Brian’s last word is about his dad. “He was the kind of guy who was sitting at the table on Sunday night, going over blueprints. But he also liked to schmooze and entertain. The Governor of Nevada stayed at our house. Another time it was a yodeler from Germany. It was great. I think that being so good with people really helped him build the business.” “In many ways my dad and I are very similar. I’m more shy than he was, of course, but I’m a good listener. I think we all are here. That’s really what I’d like people to take away from this,”

Brian says. “We’re the real deal. We want to serve the community, make a living and enjoy our time together. And we’ll listen to your needs.” They’ll make you feel at home, too. Like I said, it’s a good feeling.

14240 118 Ave NW Edmonton, AB T5L 2M5 (780) 454-0717

Superior Service Since 1953

CONGRATULATIONS MONARCH FLOORS! 205-10441 178 Street Phone: 780-487-7135 • Fax: 780-487-7197 • ccllp.cac



Monarch Floors (1953) Ltd • 60 Years • Page 3









       

Congratulations Monarch Floors on 60 years of success!

Christopher Carpets Ltd. 16312 111 Ave NW Edmonton, AB T5M 4G3 780-421-7773

Congratulations Monarch Floors! We wish you many years of continued success! 2101 côte des Cascades Papineauville, Quebec, Canada J0V 1R0 • Toll Free: 1-877-427-5144

Congratulations and wishing you another 60 years of success!

• Natural stone • Hardwood flooring • Resilient flooring • Laminate flooring • Porcelain tile • Ceramic tile • Carpet • Rubber tile • Vinyl composition tile • Polyflor • Carpet underlay • Adhesives and setting materials • Accessories/Flooring solutions

One broker. Immediate action. Done right.

Congratulations Monarch Floors!

Congrats Monarch Floors on 60 years!

Your 60 years in business means you’re doing things right too. We’re proud to be one of your partners.

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• Staff in all locations with the knowledge and ability to help you solve your flooring installation problems • Daily delivery service to established flooring dealers in the five cities with shamrock branches • Same day shipping to all rural locations • Wide range of installation products • Continually source out innovative products • Alberta owned and operated • Partners in buying groups in both Canada and United States

Monarch Floors (1953) Ltd • 60 Years • Page 4

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Services in Canada provided by Independently Owned & Operated Franchises of Servpro International, LLC.







t has been a great four months since I joined the Edmonton Chamber. As the largest Chamber in Canada, we have been working on a broad range of events and policy initiatives that address the issues that matter to businesses in Edmonton. These are exciting times for Edmonton. The municipal election will usher in changes in community leadership. The local economy is growing and there is a broad-based recognition that Edmonton must make decisions today on how to best manage growth for the benefit of future generations. In the upcoming municipal election, it is important that Edmontonians choose a leader who is able to produce a credible plan to deal with issues, and then be able to execute that plan. It is important that this leadership be able to achieve the goals that they set for themselves and our community. Your Edmonton Chamber is taking an active role in this election by talking about the issues that impact business. There are 2,800 member businesses that make up the Edmonton Chamber. Those businesses have about 130,000 employees living in the Capital Region. Our member survey showed that business owners are concerned about same three issues that many voters are concerned about: debt and taxes, infrastructure, and regional cooperation. To address these issues, the Edmonton Chamber is hosting a mayoral candidates’ forum on September 25 where we will be asking candidates about their plans to address the issues that affect our future. We are also publishing a series of blog posts at about the policy work of the Edmonton Chamber on these issues, as well as in-depth research on the voting history of mayoral candidates. There are many good reasons for Edmonton Chamber members and non-members to be as informed as possible about the candidates for mayor and we are doing our part to provide easy-to-digest, accurate information. While the election is important, it is not the only policy issue the Edmonton Chamber is addressing this fall. Highlevel decisions need to be made about the state of Canada’s wireless telecom industry. At stake in this discussion is the


October 2013 | Business In Edmonton Magazine |

In the upcoming municipal election, it is important that Edmontonians choose a leader who is able to produce a credible plan to deal with issues, and then be able to execute that plan. fundamental belief that the free market economy should prevail. Government (all governments) should work to remove themselves as a barrier to business success. We believe that governments should be diligent in fulfilling their role: to protect the public from predatory actions, and in doing so, proactively work to address the unintended consequences that arise within regulatory environments that affect business from time to time. The Edmonton Chamber has also reached out to our membership for volunteers on policy committees to develop detailed recommendations to the appropriate levels of government on several issues: access to skilled labour, greater regional collaboration, taxation, and ideas around how to build a business environment that encourages local enterprises to scale up. You can be assured that the Edmonton Chamber remains focused on creating the best environment for business. Part of our mission is to offer business owners and their employees opportunities to connect with each other. The Edmonton Chamber has one of its busiest fall event schedules ever. The fall line-up is designed to reflect the diversity of business needs within our membership. During Small Business Week in October, we have luncheons with national experts speaking on small business and the economy. There are networking events and after-work mixers. Of note, this fall we have organized a dinner to honour the service of Mayor Stephen Mandel on October 2, 2013. After Mayor Mandel’s years of dedication to improving Edmonton’s business climate, it is fitting that Edmonton’s business community gathers to pay tribute to a man who has given so much.

Join us for the

2013 Agriculture for Life

Harvest Gala SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2013 Northlands, Edmonton, 6 pm to 11 pm

The Agriculture for Life Harvest Gala offers a unique opportunity to celebrate Alberta’s agricultural roots. Experience a fusion of urban and rural style and design; the scrumptious tastes of locally produced foods, the sights and sounds of Alberta artists, a silent auction and a chance to connect with friends in the community market. Tickets are available online ( or by calling Toll Free 1-888-931-2951. AG FOR LIFE FOUNDING MEMBERS:

Agrium Inc. ATB Financial

ATCO Group Penn West Exploration

Rocky Mountain Equipment TransCanada Corporation

UFA Co-operative Ltd.



Glacier Media Group

Mosaic Studios 06/13-21670-03


The Business of Lunch

Exceptional Events. National Speakers. Issues that Matter.

BDC Small Business WeekTM

Ignition Award

TD’s 2014 Economic Address

Success Ahead! Map Your Future Growth

with Minister Maxime Bernier

with Craig Alexander

Pierre Cléroux

Honourable Maxime Bernier

Craig Alexander

Vice President, Research and Chief Economist

Minister of State for Small Business, Tourism and Agriculture

Senior Vice President and Chief Economist TD Bank Group

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

Thursday, October 24, 2013 Westin Edmonton Hotel

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 Sutton Place Hotel












10065 - 100 Street

10135 - 100 Street

10235 - 101 Street

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

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Members – $49.95 + GST Non-Members – $69.95 + GST

Members – $49.95 + GST Non-Members – $69.95 + GST

Members – $49.95 + GST Non-Members – $69.95 + GST

Tables of 8 available

Tables of 8 available

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BDC Small Business Week is a trademark of the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) TM

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Join us in celebrating the nominees and congratulate the winner of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce Ignition Award.

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October 2013 | Business In Edmonton Magazine |

Chamber Members Attend all 3 luncheons and receive a pair of tickets to VIP reception at Festival of Trees. Order Today!





dmonton’s Serge Belair was one spot away from nabbing the top prize at the recent Global Chefs Americas final competition in Las Vegas. A sous chef from Shaw Conference Centre’s award-winning kitchen, Belair showed a strong second at the World Association of Chefs Societies’ prestigious global chef challenge. The winner goes on to compete at the world finals in Stavanger, Norway, next July. To reach Las Vegas, Belair outdid two other Canadian chefs in a competition in Edmonton earlier this year for the right to represent Canada. “What an honour it was to represent all of Canada,” says Belair. “It was an adrenalin rush from beginning to end. Time flew right by. Reaching second place is recognition of how Canada ranks in North American competition, with Edmonton in the forefront.” Belair’s creations incorporated such ingredients as Kobe

beef, Scottish salmon and langoustines as well as Norwegian farmed halibut, resulting in tantalizing dishes like leek ash and coffee rubbed Kobe beef and salmon mi cuit, cured halibut tempura and langoustine sphere. This accolade is not Belair’s first. Last summer, he won the Canadian Culinary Federation’s chef-of-the-year challenge at its annual conference. In addition, Belair was a member of Culinary Team Canada, which competed in the World Culinary Olympics last fall. Originally from Gatineau, Quebec, Belair studied at Commission scolaire la Vallée de la Lievre and honed his skills at Hotel Clarion Gatineau’s Restaurant La Pergola from 1999 to 2005. Belair headed west to become the Shaw Conference Centre’s chef de partie in 2005, then sous chef in 2007 and senior sous chef in 2011. He has mentored numerous apprentices at the Shaw through competitions. | Business In Edmonton Magazine | October 2013






N Canadian Women’s Open. The inaugural Tour of Alberta. Country Music Week. Edmonton Marathon. Eskimos game. Accustomed to hosting festivals and events year-round, it was a whirlwind fortnight in late August and early September for Alberta’s capital city, welcoming visitors and residents. Events promote Edmonton to audiences far and wide, bring new spending into the economy, rally volunteers and boost civic pride. It was Edmonton’s second time hosting the Ladies Professional Golf Association tour stop. Behind great weather and the win of 16-year-old New Zealand phenomenon Lydia Ko, 1,350 volunteers from Alberta and British Columbia were key to the event’s success. One beneficiary of the event was the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation through marquee sponsor CN’s Miracle Match program, which raised $2.7 million. The 2007 tournament created over $10 million in economic activity in Alberta, of which $8.2 million was in Edmonton — covering spectator and participant spending, capital spending and operational costs to hold the event. Drawing a record turnout, the Edmonton Marathon’s route took competitors through diverse communities. Having elite athletes take part helps to elevate the race’s profile as well as attract local runners. With 3,500 runners this year, there is room to grow, according to race organizers. Looking ahead, they envision 5,000 racers in the long term, in addition to the involvement of


October 2013 | Business In Edmonton Magazine |

downtown business sponsors, which will bring in more elite runners. As the staging ground and starting point to a top-calibre race that attracted over 15 professional cycling teams and spans 900 kilometres through 20 Alberta communities, the Tour of Alberta exposed Edmontonians to international-level competition. A cycling event of this stature had not been seen or experienced in Canada previously. The seven-kilometre prologue — which were individual time trials — took racers and television audiences through the streets of downtown Edmonton and the scenic river valley, taking in sights like the Alberta legislature and Churchill Square. In Edmonton, 1,400 room nights were generated by racers and team officials. Add spending by teams, out-of-town visitors and accredited media, tour organizers estimate 3,000 room nights were consumed by the event. Canada’s 36th annual Country Music Week celebrated the best in the genre throughout the city. Three components made up the week: an industry conference, public events and the Canadian Country Music Association Awards. Edmonton’s reputation and track record as a host city was a factor in being awarded both the 2013 and 2014 celebrations, a first-time achievement. All these events were on top of Edmonton’s staple festivals like the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival and Symphony Under the Sky. For the rest of the year’s festival calendar, visit

1 # S ’ A R T E R L E A E D ALB C M G & BUICK


18325 Stony Plain Road, Edmonton, AB 1-877-470-0333

Building Alberta through every season.

October 2013 Business in Edmonton  

Recreation Investments, Real Estate, Small Business Week, Edmonton Chamber, Event Planning, FYiDoctors, Cessco, Monarch

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