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SEPTEMBER 2016 | $3.50 BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM

Capitalizing ON THE EVOLUTION OF POWER GENERATION

BRIAN VAASJO AND HIS TEAM ARE READY TO TAKE CAPITAL POWER INTO THE FUTURE

WHY THE

ECONOMIC DOWNTURN PROVIDES NEW OPPORTUNITIES

TODAY’S WELLNESS

PM42455512

IT’S ABOUT EMPOWERING YOURSELF

BOMA EDMONTON NEWS - FALL 2016

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EDMONTON CHAMBER SECTION

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Make history before it’s too late. The cranes are down. The pedway is going up. Kelly Ramsey Tower is nearly complete. History is about to be made—and your company can still be part of it. Office sizes from 1,500 square feet and up are now available for businesses ready to take their success to new heights. • Spanning 101 Street to Rice Howard Way • First Financial District Tower in 25 Years • LRT Access with Pedway Connections • Planned LEED Gold Certification • Tenant Improvements Already Underway S E C U R E YO U R L E A S E Contact Dean Wulf at 780.392.1520 or dean@pangmandev.com

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LEASED


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Supporting the visions of entrepreneurs one story at a time. Volume 5 | Number 9

REGULAR COLUMNS

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 Government Should Get Out of the Liquor Business By Josh Bilyk

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 dmonton Chamber of E Commerce

GUEST COLUMNS

CONTENTS

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 Alberta Government Rubbing Salt in the Wound By Paige MacPherson

COVER FEATURE

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 apitalizing on the Evolution C of Power Generation Brian Vaasjo and his team are ready to take Capital Power into the future. By Nerissa McNaughton

ON OUR COVER: ABOVE: BRIAN VAASJO, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF CAPITAL POWER PHOTO SOURCE: EPIC PHOTOGRAPHY INC.

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

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BDC is where you need us to be: right there with you. There are a lot of different ways to grow a business. As the only bank devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs, we’re there to give you the financing and advice you need to create yours from scratch. See how we can help at bdc.ca

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STORY TITLE // SECTION

Supporting the visions of entrepreneurs one story at a time. Volume 5 | Number 9

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THIS MONTH’S FEATURES

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The Canada-Alberta Job Grant: Building a Better Nation – Part II By Nerissa McNaughton

CONTENTS COMPANY PROFILES

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Today’s Wellness: It’s About Empowering Yourself By Nerissa McNaughton

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Edmonton’s Hottest Real Estate Location is on ICE You know what they say about real estate. It’s all about location, location, location; and right now no location is hotter than ICE District. By Fay Fletcher

Digitex

Celebrates 20 Years

A  lberta Sound Group of Companies

Edmonton’s One-Stop Exterior Shop

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Good for What Ales Us Edmonton’s Brewery District continues to flourish. By Ben Freeland

B OMA Edmonton News The “Mom and Pop” that Keep Us Alive Small businesses are integral to Alberta’s economic growth and to our identity. BDC’s Small Business Week gives the little guys the attention they deserve. By Zachary Edwards

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Why the Economic Downturn Provides New Opportunities By Laura Bohnert


Travel with friends, travel for less Business Class fares from Edmonton to Amsterdam starting at $2,299* if you travel with someone. This offer is available for many destinations. Visit klm.ca or your travel agent for more information.

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Control your group benefit plan costs… without compromising choice or flexibility.

PUBLISHER

Business in Edmonton Inc.

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EDITOR

Nerissa McNaughton

COPY EDITOR Nikki Mullett

ART DIRECTOR

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ADMINISTRATION

Nancy Bielecki info@businessinedmonton.com Denise Templeton denise@otcommunications.com

REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS Josh Bilyk John Hardy

THIS ISSUE’S CONTRIBUTORS Paige MacPherson Fay Fletcher Ben Freeland Nerissa McNaughton Zachary Edwards Laura Bohnert

PHOTOGRAPHY

Cover photo by Epic Photography Inc.

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RUN May, September, November 2016


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GOVERNMENT SHOULD GET OUT OF THE LIQUOR BUSINESS // ECONOMIC FACTORS

Government Should Get out of the Liquor Business BY JOSH BILYK

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ithout exception, Canada’s liquor laws are an appalling mess. The patchwork of protectionist rules across Canada, often rooted in the prohibition laws of Canada’s past, make liquor more expensive and more difficult (if not impossible) to transport. Liquor restrictions also symbolize what often goes wrong when politics and economic policy intersect. From coast to coast Canadian liquor laws, to varying degrees, treat liquor consumers as children, subsidize or otherwise favour local producers and punish outsiders from other provinces. Since the 1990s, Albertans has have enjoyed the best liquor laws in the country, but that’s not saying much. Albertans can access virtually any alcoholic beverage produced on Earth through our mostly private system, but our system is bogged down with government regulations and high taxes. Somewhere along the line the Alberta government decided it was desirable to have a small batch brewing industry in the province, but such a thing wasn’t possible in a truly free market. They can’t compete with big brewers on price, the argument goes, so they need a preferential tax rate to “level the playing field.” For years small brewing operations have enjoyed a significant tax advantage over their big corporate cousins. Then the government decided to get fancy. They wanted to prevent small brewers in other provinces from grabbing market share from local producers, so the Notley government decided to limit the tax advantage to brewers within the New West Partnership provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Of course, this didn’t sit well with small brewers outside the New West Partnership, like Toronto-based Steam Whistle who promptly took the Alberta government to court seeking an injunction against the “discriminatory” practice. A Court of

Queen’s Bench judge agreed with the complainants and granted a temporary injunction. Seeing the writing on the wall, the Alberta government decided to scrap their discriminatory tax policy and instead adopt a universal tax on small brewery products. No matter where the beer is brewed, craft beer sold in Alberta will have the same government tax. Instead of giving locals a tax advantage, the government will write them cheques to give them a leg-up. From on high thundered Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, furious with the Notley government’s new protectionist policy that would hurt Saskatchewan brewers. Turns out Saskatoonbased Great Western Brewing Company does 60 per cent of their business in Alberta. Guess who, by orders of magnitude, has more protectionist liquor policies than Alberta? You guessed it: Saskatchewan. Not only does Saskatchewan have much higher taxes than we do here, but our brewers are lucky if they can even get their products listed in the government-run Saskatchewan system. Liquor distribution and retailing has been a political football since Confederation, and it’s time the government stepped back and let Canadians decide for themselves how to run their businesses and consume adult beverages. Alberta has the best liquor distribution model in the country, even after the Notley government’s uninvited tinkering. If you are going to have a tax policy that favours small brewers, level the playing field for everyone regardless of geography, and let the chips fall where they may. Don’t subsidize any brewers with Albertans’ beer money. Alberta brewers are some of the best in the world and can compete with everyone, anywhere. I invite all Albertans to join me in attempting to try every delicious one of them. ALBERTA ENTERPRISE GROUP IS A MEMBER-BASED, NON-PROFIT BUSINESS ADVOCACY ORGANIZATION. AEG MEMBERS EMPLOY MORE THAN 150,000 CANADIANS IN ALL SECTORS OF THE ECONOMY.

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


Helping your business through challenging times In this rapidly changing environment, a step in the wrong direction can sometimes have significant effects on corporate performance and company value. KPMG advisers can guide you through difficult times by helping to stabilize and implement a process for sustainable strategic, operational, and financial change to deliver real results for your organization. To find out more, speak with an adviser today: Robert Borrelli Office Managing Partner, Edmonton T: 780-429-6081 E: rborrelli@kpmg.ca

kpmg.ca/restructuring

© 2016 KPMG LLP, a Canadian limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved. 13775


ALBERTA GOVERNMENT RUBBING SALT IN THE WOUND // GUEST COLUMNIST

Alberta Government Rubbing Salt in the Wound BY PAIGE MACPHERSON

T

he Alberta government does not control the price of oil. If it’s been said once, it’s been said a million times. It’s the main line of defence from the government when facing its fiscal critics. The Alberta government does not control the price of oil, however, the Alberta government does control its policy reaction to the price of oil; and right now, that reaction is to grab a handful of salt and rub it right where it hurts. For the first time since Statistics Canada began collecting data in the 1970s, Alberta’s unemployment rate has surpassed that of Nova Scotia. For decades, Nova Scotians have migrated to Alberta in droves to find work. East Coasters are a dime a dozen in Edmonton and beyond, but now, alongside other Albertans, many find themselves struggling with the same lack of jobs they faced back east. Alberta’s unemployment rate was spiked recently by a large number of new people entering the province’s labour force, without the availability of jobs with which to match them. Those hardest hit are aged 15-18. These workers are mostly seeking low-skilled, part-time work – jobs generally created by Alberta’s retail stores and restaurants. Unfortunately, these businesses have small margins and are the ones hit fastest by tax and wage hikes. With the provincial recession, Albertans are already consuming less. This reality should have signalled that businesses need support in the form of lower taxes and lessened regulation. The Alberta government didn’t drop the price of oil. The government didn’t spark the recession. But they are certainly fanning the flames.

Almost immediately, Alberta’s NDP government hiked business taxes, personal income taxes, alcohol and tobacco taxes, train fuel taxes, education property taxes, doubled the existing “big emitter” carbon levy and introduced a whopper of a carbon tax and substantial minimum wage hikes. These policy choices (yes, the government had a choice) were all made at the same time the federal government hiked taxes and Canada Pension Plan premiums, and municipal governments in Calgary and Edmonton hiked property taxes for the umpteenth time. Protests at the legislature have been frequent. Business groups have begged the government to please take a step back and put their steamrolling tax hikes on hold. Edmonton’s small businesses are dropping like flies. None of it seems to matter to the government. Recently, a Lethbridge restaurant owner explained to Global News that a minimum wage hike would force him to cut staff by 50 per cent. (It should be self-evident that a business must turn a profit in order to create jobs.) He wrote to Lethbridge-East MLA Maria Fitzpatrick. Her response? Fitzpatrick called him selfish. Publicly. Why isn’t the government receptive in the least to the plain-faced struggles of those who are paying our MLAs’ tabs? Perhaps we should start phrasing it in a way they’ll actually respond to: if you want healthy tax revenue, you need a healthy business climate that respects job creators. Just ask the Nova Scotians-turned-Albertans who call this onceprospering province home. PAIGE MACPHERSON IS THE ALBERTA DIRECTOR OF THE CANADIAN TAXPAYERS FEDERATION, A NON-PROFIT, NON-PARTISAN CITIZEN’S ADVOCACY GROUP DEDICATED TO LOWER TAXES, LESS WASTE AND GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY. FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT TAXPAYER.COM.

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The Art of Building an Alberta Career: Art Price ARTICLE CONDENSED, BASED ON A LONGER INTERVIEW BY JENNIFER ALLFORD

The green lines running across the glass of the boardroom zigzag from tiny houses to office buildings to big data towers. The lines stencilled on the glass illustrate the fibre-optic infrastructure that Axia has installed across rural Alberta. But they also help tell the story of Art Price, the company’s CEO. Price’s career includes growing the family ranch into the Sunterra group of companies, running Husky Oil and heading up a transformational technology company. But for Price, it’s been a pretty straight line from the ranch to sitting in the Axia boardroom. “With my career it’s always been: ‘See an opportunity and sink or swim in that opportunity,’” he says. “I was always excited about pushing the envelope and leading a successful team, and if you put it in that context then everything I’ve done is the same.” After graduating from the University of Alberta with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1973, Price had offers from several big oil and gas companies, but he took a job at a little transmission company. By age 30, he was CEO of Husky Oil. Then in 1995, along came Axia. While most people were just waking up to the power of the Internet, Price saw an “obvious” opportunity to build a fibre-optic network across Alberta.

comprehensive fibre grid between all the communities,” says Price. Now that communities are connected, Axia is connecting individual houses in rural communities to the information grid. The company has also installed fibre-optic grids in France and Singapore – government clients that came knocking on Axia’s door. “We’re already in the right spot in those markets so it’s not like we’re short of opportunity. We’d rather take the jurisdictions where we’ve done the heavy lifting and add fibre connections to more homes, businesses and institutions.” Expanding its fibre grid to new customers just got easier. Partners Group, a $55-billion private markets investment management firm headquartered in Switzerland, has acquired Axia in a deal that pays shareholders $4.25 a share. As a privately-held company with deep pockets, Axia can make bigger, longer-term investments in building networks for the 21 century.

“The industries I’ve been involved in are rural. Oil and gas manufacturing is all in the field, in agribusiness the manufacturing plant is in the field and for most of Alberta that’s the story,” says Price. “It was clear that digital connectivity was going to be critical and there was no apparent interest by the incumbent phone co and cable cos to do anything about it.”

As the green lines of Axia reach deeper into rural Alberta, Price can’t fathom how people will use the company’s network 20 years from now, or 100. But he’s confident fibre optic is the key to delivering the information needed to make decisions in education, health care, industries, communities and government. Even high-performance mobility devices depend on fibre-optic connections.

Axia teamed up with technology heavyweights Cisco and Microsoft and won a contract from the province to connect rural Alberta with fibre optic. “Here we are 20 years later and we’re the only place in the world that has created a rural

“Roads, railroads, airports, power lines, sewer systems – basic infrastructure is needed and that’s what this is. We are going to have infrastructure that is not a barrier to any digital thing that anybody invents, ever.”

ABOVE: ART PRICE, CEO, AXIA

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$1 Million Raised for New Childcare Centre Work/life balance can be a tricky thing when you are working, caring for a family, and continuing your education all at the same time; and any parent who has had to rush their child to daycare in the wee hours of the morning before work or school can confirm how difficult that is for children and parents alike. This is why 1000 Women: A Million Possibilities raised $1 million for a childcare centre in NorQuest’s newest downtown facility. The 1000 Women movement is a connected, passionate, committed team of women dedicated to the well-being of families, friends and neighbours in Edmonton by empowering the community through education. The group set a goal of three years to raise $1 million for the centre, citing the ability to help students reach their full potential as their motivation. Earlier this summer, 1000 Women reached their goal.

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“We envisioned a place where students could continue their education while accessing a safe, affordable and convenient childcare facility,” says NorQuest College president and CEO Dr. Jodi Abbott. “And guess what? We did it!” The 1000 Women Child Care Centre will open in NorQuest’s Singhmar Centre for Learning in 2017. In addition to being a state-of-the-art childcare facility where students can have their children watched as they study on the same campus, the centre will provide hands-on experience for those in NorQuest’s childcare programs. The Honourable Lois E. Mitchell, lieutenant-governor of Alberta, was a guest of honour at the 1000 Women’s annual fundraising luncheon, where Dr. Abbott announced that the goal had been met.

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

“I appreciate the focus NorQuest College places on creating accessible and relevant educational opportunities RIGHT: DR. JODI ABBOTT, PRESIDENT & CEO, NORQUEST COLLEGE PHOTO SOURCE: NORQUEST COLLEGE


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for Albertans looking to build a better future for themselves and their families,” praised Lieutenant-governor Mitchell. “I congratulate NorQuest and the 1000 Women movement on their great achievements to date and wish everyone continued success.” Many people, organizations and corporations donated to make this centre possible, including noted Edmonton philanthropists Radhe and Krishna Gupta. The Guptas funded the Little Angels of Hope playground that will add a fun, colourful, active play space to accommodate the children’s boundless energy. The 1000 Women moment isn’t finished yet. Before the group raised the funds for the childcare centre, it raised $1 million in emergency funding to support students in need. Raising funds for the

childcare centre was the second goal. Now it’s on to the third – raising $1 million to assist NorQuest students in gaining access to the facility and child care centre. More than $185,000 has already been raised in support of this latest goal. The 1000 Women movement is making a huge, lasting difference in the lives of students who need it the most, and that difference will continue to ripple throughout the community as patrons step up to support the group’s goals, and as those who receive assistance pay it forward when they graduate and contribute in significant ways to our city, our province, and our nation. To learn more about the 1000 Women movement or the 1000 Women Child Care Centre, visit the NorQuest website and click on “supporters.”

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Significant YONA Donation Speaks to the Power of Music The Youth Orchestra of Northern Alberta Sistema (YONASistema) works with Edmonton students through an intensive after-school orchestra program. The benefits of YONA-Sistema are numerous; it allows Edmonton’s children to experience an environment rich in social and emotional interaction, along with boosting musical skill and development. The skills they attain last a lifetime and give each student a greater chance of being a more engaged and active member of their community when they grow up. YONA-Sistema is offered by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra to our city’s underserved youth five days a week for three hours a day. Qualified teachers work with the children to provide group musical lessons, nutritious snacks, homework help and physical activity time. At the end of the day, buses are provided to return students to their homes. The students and their families are not charged for this musical instruction program.

The Benefits of Music Education, points out that learning music boosts the development of speech and reading, trains children to focus better and promotes the important emotion of empathy. The report pointed to stronger neural connections and more grey matter in musically trained children along with better motor coordination and information processing skills. YONA-Sistema looks to donation of time (volunteers), money and instruments to keep operating. Recently, a very generous donation delighted everyone involved in the program. The organization calls the donation “transformative.” Within the arts world, a $1 million donation is particularly generous, especially for a new musical program emerging in the midst of an economic downturn. The donation will have a long-ranging impact for the students and for those who the students go on to influence later in life. “A huge thank you to the La Bruyère family, who generously donated $1 million to the Youth

The long-range impact of YONA-Sistema is as exciting as it is tangible. A report by the Royal Conservatory, titled ABOVE: YONA STUDENTS HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO PERFORM IN FRONT OF OVER 1,000 GUESTS WITH THE ESO AT THE ROAD TO JOY CONCERT. THE DONATION ANNOUNCEMENT WAS MADE AT THIS EVENT. PHOTO SOURCE: FRANCIS WINSPEAR CENTRE FOR MUSIC | EDMONTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA | TOMMY BANKS INSTITUTE FOR MUSICAL CREATIVITY

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“Enterprise-based solutions for your growing business” isn’t just a catch phrase, it’s been our reason for existing since 2001.

Orchestra of Northern Alberta Sistema (YONA-Sistema) program,” YONA said in a media statement earlier this year. Janice Moore, director of community investment, Francis Winspear Centre for Music/ Edmonton Symphony Orchestra/ Tommy Banks Institute for Musical Creativity, is excited about the donation and its present and anticipated impact; and, in addition to the recent donation, the ESO is grateful for its many corporate partners.

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“The ESO is proud to have generous support from the business community. Music brings people together and is the driving force behind our corporate partnerships,” says Moore. “Making music a magical part of everyone’s life begins by creating accessible programming for all audiences at an affordable price. Our partnership with ATB Financial for ATB Symphony Under the Sky and ATB Symphony in the City festivals brings people together through music, and enables us to achieve our artistic mission to bring the highest quality of live orchestral performance to a broad spectrum of the community.” During the upcoming season, ATB’s wealth management division, ATB Investor Services, will present various concert experiences featuring worldclass guest artists who will perform with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, including Joel Plaskett Emergency, Pixar in Concert, and The Music of Queen.

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

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CAPITALIZING ON THE EVOLUTION OF POWER GENERATION // COVER

Capitalizi ON THE EVOLUTION OF POWER GENERATION BRIAN VAASJO AND HIS TEAM ARE READY TO TAKE CAPITAL POWER INTO THE FUTURE BY NERISSA MCNAUGHTON

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CAPITALIZING ON THE EVOLUTION OF POWER GENERATION // COVER

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ABOVE: BRIAN VAASJO, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF CAPITAL POWER PHOTO SOURCE: EPIC PHOTOGRAPHY INC.

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CAPITALIZING ON THE EVOLUTION OF POWER GENERATION // COVER

D

o you know the name Capital Power (TSX:CPX)? Probably not. It’s one of the best kept secrets in Edmonton. This organization is worth $5 billion, is run by over 700 employees and operates coast to coast. It is headquartered in Edmonton and makes an impact across North America in the corporate world and in the community. It’s an innovative leader and is poised to be at the forefront of renewable energy. It’s time to put the spotlight on Capital Power and see how this company is lighting us up. In 2009, Capital Power was the spin out of EPCOR Utilities’ power generation business. It was the first significant initial public offering (IPO) in North America following the financial crisis of 2008. Brian Vaasjo was named president and CEO of Capital Power when it launched, and has remained in that role since. “You can appreciate how very difficult it was working through the year before, watching the markets go up and down, and wondering if we could launch the IPO,” Vaasjo reminisces. “[Launching] was a signal across North America that the capital markets were alive and working. It was significant from that perspective.” Vaasjo’s career started with IPL (which later became Enbridge). IPL had moved its head office in and out of Edmonton a couple times and as an Edmonton-born loyal resident, he didn’t want to leave the city. When the opportunity came to join EPCOR, and remain in Edmonton, he didn’t hesitate. “I was born in Edmonton. My wife was born in Edmonton. We are dyed-in-the-wool Edmontonians,” laughs the affable man. “I think it’s a tremendous place to live, raise a family, and it has excellent schools and an excellent arts community. Our kids all graduated from local universities. It’s a smaller community from the larger corporate perspective, and that is very nice. You go to functions and you know a lot of people. It feels a lot like a small town, which is a comforting environment.” Even though his career has evolved to his present position, he admits he never set his sights on the president’s chair. “Throughout my career I never had a view that I needed to have that level. It was just working hard, doing a good job and good things happened. That work ethic is what led me to this role.”

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The challenge of the role, going from COO of EPCOR to CEO of Capital Power, was a perfect fit for Vaasjo. “The nuance is that, in some respects, it was a transition from EPCOR to a stand-alone generation company as opposed to water and the other businesses in EPCOR. We went from many businesses to one. Obviously we had a lineage from EPCOR of high integrity, good values, etc. We built on that pretty significantly. We have our own culture and own values. We live the values. That has been a very significant development in the organization. We definitely elevated the leadership standards in the organization. We have strong leaders at every level and we continue to foster an environment of strong leadership and strong execution throughout the organization.” Vaasjo, who describes Capital Power as “an Edmonton-based independent power producer with operations in Canada and the United States; our focus is being competitive, reliable and safe,” is extremely happy with the company’s safety record – and for good reason. “Last year our safety record was one recordable incident. Someone needed stitches because he had cut himself very modestly with a knife. Our power plants, contractors when we are building, etc., that’s all included in our safety statistics. One incident! That’s by far the best record in Canada and among the best in North America. That is a testament to leadership, management and our staff in the plants.” He consistently credits the people across the organization with the success of Capital Power, pointing the finger away from himself and toward each employee, be it a worker in a plant or part of the executive team. “Edmonton offers a very, very strong workforce that is well educated and has a good work ethic. From our perspective, having local people (although we do hire from outside Canada as well) provides us with significant stability in the workforce. We have been able to attract very, very good talent.” Capital Power relies on this talent, not only to run the daily operations, but also to be good ambassadors in the community.


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Photo courtesy of Beaver Drilling Ltd


CAPITALIZING ON THE EVOLUTION OF POWER GENERATION // COVER

“When you look at Capital Power, for our size, we do a tremendous amount in the community and it’s not just signing cheques,” Vaasjo points out. “It’s actually participating in the community. The major areas that we support, we ensure that we have people there. I expect my executives to be on not-for-profit boards. That is part of their jobs. We are season sponsors of the Citadel Theatre and the Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA), and one of our executives is chairman of the board [of AGA]. We have someone on the board of United Way, and going back some years, I was chairman of the board of the United Way. We are involved with the Chamber of Commerce and Alberta Chamber of Resources. We have a very strong drive towards participating in and fostering good community relationships. “A couple years ago we developed a program called EmPowering Communities where, if you and your family members volunteered 35 hours a year, the company would direct $500 to the charity of your choice. What we want to put back into the community should follow the hearts of our employees. The choices they make are good, solid decisions

that stimulate further activities of the employees and help them consider different ways of volunteering.” Capital Power also launched GENerosity in 2015. This matched giving program allows employees to give to causes and organizations that are important to them, and to receive matched support from the company. In its first year, more than 280 employees across Capital Power participated, which led to a $297,150 investment in 134 charities throughout North America. The generous company continues to give back despite currently being faced with two very significant challenges. “Right now it is both my and Capital Power’s greatest challenge to manage how we work with the government to implement the Alberta Government’s Climate Leadership Plan, which is consuming an awful lot of the organization,” sighs Vaasjo. “We have the youngest and least-polluting coalpowered fleet in Alberta. The regulation and the direction of the current plan has had a significant negative impact. However, we are working with the government to deal with

ABOVE: BRIAN VAASJO, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF CAPITAL POWER PHOTO SOURCE: EPIC PHOTOGRAPHY INC.

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CAPITALIZING ON THE EVOLUTION OF POWER GENERATION // COVER

THE GENEROUS COMPANY CONTINUES TO GIVE BACK DESPITE CURRENTLY BEING FACED WITH TWO VERY SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGES.

those repercussions, how the market will look going forward, and how to introduce renewables into an open market.”

differently, and do things smarter. We see it day in, day out, and it is very cost effective.

Another issue impacting Capital Power is the same issue affecting all of Canada at the moment. The economy.

“We are actually increasing our ability to do good, smart work. We are ahead of the curve on accessing carbon credits, managing fleets and being responsible for our actions. There are a number of things that point to us being leading edge, not because some consultant came in and told us so, but because our people have been thinking about issues, thinking about problems, and they know they are working in an environment where they can make changes…. We have no operational upsets. None. That is unheard of.”

Vaasjo explains, “[There is some uncertainty] we are facing as a company, and not just because of the Climate Leadership Plan, but also because of supply and demand. Power prices right now are $15 MWh, and that’s like a $35 a barrel oil price.” However, he is very optimistic about Capital Power’s future, thanks to the progressive way the company is embracing all the existing and future changes, and also because Capital Power had plans (far in advance of the Climate Leadership Plan) to embrace and provide clean energy. “We and the power generation industry are going through a massive transformation that will last a couple of decades and will move from some of the more traditional sources, like coal and natural gas, to where we mostly use solar, nuclear, hydro and other non-emitting forms of generation. I wouldn’t be surprised if, by 2060 or so, there is very little generation that actually emits. There is very, very rapid and dramatic change that is happening. Why is it important for us to be developing wind farms and solar farms and looking at other kinds of technology? It is twofold. One is to continue to grow and develop opportunities for Capital Power and the company’s shareholders, but it is also important to stay in sync with, and in some cases lead towards, a cleaner environment.” While Vaasjo doesn’t sugar-coat the issues – issues he knows, that have very significant implications for Capital Power – he knows he has every right to be optimistic about the future. “There are significant things going on underlying our business, but the word is, we are staying the course. We will find a way through this and that way will be beneficial for all. We very much try to foster a culture of people being innovative. We don’t talk about cutting costs, we talk about spending smarter. Everyone in the organization has a sense and feeling of empowerment to make changes, do things

With that kind of empowerment, it’s not a surprise that Capital Power routinely wins awards for being a top employer. “We are very pleased. One of our objectives is to be a place where people want to work, where they enjoy work and where they find it rewarding. [Winning awards] is one of the signs that indicates we are getting there,” he says modestly of the company’s numerous awards from a variety of sources. From a corporate perspective, Capital Power is relatively young, but this corporation proves that you don’t have to have skin in the game to be incredibly effective. Current economic climate and regulation changes notwithstanding, the company is poised and ready to dive head first into the new era of power generation, and to lead the way in every aspect of it. And while there is nobody better than Vaasjo to lead the charge, he is quick to credit the current and future success of the company to the entire staff of Capital Power. On the personal side, he is very grateful to the people who have helped to shape his personal and professional life. “There are a number of people in Enbridge, EPCOR and Capital Power who I’ve learned many positive lessons from, and those lessons have been profound. My wife and family have also been very supportive in everything I’ve done and have never wavered in their support.” This is the company, and the company leader, to watch as Alberta and the power generation industry evolves to meet the needs of a new and exciting future.

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THE CANADA-ALBERTA JOB GRANT // TRAINING & EDUCATION

THE CANADA-ALBERTA JOB GRANT:

Building a Better Nation Part II BY NERISSA MCNAUGHTON

T

he Canada Job Grant (CAJG) brings government and business together to build a better workforce. The grant also ensures employees are being trained for Canada’s most in-demand jobs, and it helps to alleviate skilled worker shortages. Last month we took a look at what the program was, and how post-secondary institutions were engaging in the process. In this sequel, we explore the impact at the workforce level. When most people think third-party job training, they think of the standard seminars that employees get sent to every quarter to improve their motivation. However, those taking advantage of the CAJG quickly find that the programs available under the grant can be as varied as post-secondary courses or completely customized programs that are tailored exactly for a company’s needs. As you’ll soon see, there is no limit to what you can achieve with this grant.

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The Workforce Perspective Miles Kohan, MBA, ICD.D, vice president of Sterling Homes, wasn’t going to let a speed bump such as a soft economy get in his way of providing top-quality homes in the Edmonton region, but he knew in order to keep the company thriving, he needed an innovative approach. “I had to decide whether I was going to just go with the flow of the economy, or search for ways to gain market share,” says Kohan. “Every job was scrutinized and we restructured our operations down to the leanest we felt possible without compromising quality. Then came the search to find a sustainable competitive advantage, which is where the University of Alberta (U of A) and the CAJG program came into play.


THE CANADA-ALBERTA JOB GRANT // TRAINING & EDUCATION

“The ‘customer experience’ was something that our company could work on for a long-term advantage. I wanted to get a fresh approach, and one that expanded beyond the construction industry, so I contacted the School of Business at the U of A. Led by Marvin Washington, associate professor at the U of A, our session was twofold. The first wave was with senior managers to look across multiple industries as to what consumers were experiencing in terms of good customer service. Our team was exposed to management and strategies from ATB, Lexus, Starbucks, and Fairmont Hotels. What emerged was an understanding of the required cultural shift to move from the good customer service scores we were already getting, to excellent ones. “We then expanded this to the staff who interacted with our homeowners, and then finally to all staff and our key trades and suppliers. We have subsequently set up community teams that are made up of the area salesperson, the building supervisor, the warranty technician and a few key staff for each area of the city that we operate in. These cross-

“THE ‘CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE’ WAS SOMETHING THAT OUR COMPANY COULD WORK ON FOR A LONGTERM ADVANTAGE. I WANTED TO GET A FRESH APPROACH, AND ONE THAT EXPANDED BEYOND THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY, SO I CONTACTED THE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AT THE U OF A.” ~ MILES KOHAN

ABOVE: MILES KOHAN, MBA, ICD.D, VICE PRESIDENT OF STERLING HOMES

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THE CANADA-ALBERTA JOB GRANT // TRAINING & EDUCATION

functional teams are having fun looking for ways to do something that makes the customer’s day, or just allows us to follow the golden rule and treat others like how we would like to be treated. “The ‘Alberta Advantage’ is not limited to being a resource economy; it’s in our people that we have, and the future people we attract. I think it is essential to take advantage of this breather in the economy, and sharpen the saw within our organization. Without sounding overly self-assertive, I think leaders would be foolish to pass up this opportunity to make an investment in the best asset any company has … their people! Using the CAJG, I am improving the quality of my workforce for 30 cents on the dollar – by far the best investment out there today.”

“OUR APPROACH WAS TO VIEW CUSTOMER SERVICE NOT AS A SET OF TOOLS (WHEN TO SMILE, HOW TO GREET THE CUSTOMER), BUT AS A VALUE OR AS A WAY OF LIFE.” ~ MARVIN WASHINGTON

ABOVE: MARVIN WASHINGTON, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION, UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS

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THE CANADA-ALBERTA JOB GRANT // TRAINING & EDUCATION

Marvin Washington, associate professor of strategic management and organization, University of Alberta School of Business, enjoyed working with Sterling Homes and customizing a program with Kohan to the benefit of the homebuilder’s workforce.

A Student Perspective Kelsi Vescarelli is director of custom publishing at a business magazine in Calgary. When she learned about the CAJG and the programs it offered, she took the initiative to see if she would qualify.

“Our approach was to view customer service not as a set “It came to my attention at work and when I looked into it, of tools (when to smile, how to greet the customer), but as I realized that the program I was interested in was relevant a value or as a way of life,” says Washington. “As such, we and completely matched the criteria. My publisher said I had three phases to the program. The first phase involved could apply for the course, I applied and was accepted shortly going on site visits to see what other organizations do thereafter. It was a great overall experience. that are known for their customer service. We took tours, heard from senior managers of these organizations and “I just completed advanced photoshop in June. The got to experience them first hand. The second phase program is an integrated digital media design certificate at was as much a workshop as it was teaching in that we the University of Calgary’s continuing education faculty. developed a new vision, mission and values statements It’s completely applicable to what I do because now I aligned around excellent customer service. The last phase understand how the ads are made. I have a bachelor’s degree involved the senior managers who were in the first two sessions, and their direct reports. This session was an effort to share the new vision, invite the staff to get excited about the vision, and to answer any questions. For 100 years, Fairmont Hotel Macdonald has been “I think the CAJG is a great program. I feel that the hardest thing to do in an organization is employee hiring and retention. Letting go of valuable employees because the economy has turned poor is really tough as it will be even harder to find great employees once the economy turns around, but I get that with little money to spare, it is difficult to keep employees. I think [the CAJG] is a program that more businesses should take advantage of; provide additional training during the slow period and with the grant, the government covers part of the cost.”

Edmonton’s destination of choice, and we are excited to welcome the ICE District to the Downtown Edmonton Family. Enjoy all that the new district has to offer and then escape to the comfortable and familiar oasis of our hotel and all it has to offer. Just 10 minutes away from the excitement of the ICE District, we welcome you to #StayHerePlayThere while you visit our city centre. Book your experience now. T: 780-424.5181 E: hotelmacdonald@fairmont.com

Show your event ticket and receive 15% off of your bill. Share your #MacMemories with us @Fairmontmac

SS

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THE CANADA-ALBERTA JOB GRANT // TRAINING & EDUCATION

in marketing from the Haskayne School of Business, but I wanted to increase my knowledge in the design and creative side of marketing, so this was a great fit! The additional skills I have acquired assist with my job because it allows me to give clients a more well-rounded experience when discussing their advertising needs.” Vescarelli says the process of applying for the grant was quick, easy and painless. “It was amazing! The application took 20 minutes to fill out. Within a couple weeks we received notification saying that I was accepted. I was surprised how simple it was and how fast they replied.” The continuing education student says anyone interested in upgrading their skills doesn’t need to wait on their employer

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to suggest a course, and she encourages other prospective students to be proactive about using the CAJG. “Find a program or class that applies to your job and just bring it to your boss and ask. It’s such a simple process. I think it’s an amazing experience to build your skills with the support of your employer. They, of course, must agree to support you, but I think it’s so great that these programs exist to encourage continuing education in the workforce with the government covering two-thirds of the cost. Moving into the future, I plan to take full advantage of this program. It’s a win-win for the employer and the employee. It’s great for everyone.” The CAJG can help entire companies and/or individuals looking to excel in their careers. Visit www.albertacanada. com/jobgrant to learn more.


IT’S ABOUT EMPOWERING YOURSELF // CORPORATE HEALTH

TODAY’S WELLNESS:

It’s About

Empowering Yourself

BY NERISSA MCNAUGHTON

T

here’s no doubt about it. Albertans are learning to operate more efficiently with fewer resources. Today, three industry experts show business owners and employees how to maintain wellness during these changing times.

First, Business in Edmonton (BIE) spoke with the senior vice president of Quikcard, Aaron Best. Headquartered in Edmonton, Quikcard offers a full range of employee health benefits to companies of all sizes. BIE started by asking Best if cutting benefits when cash flow is tight is a good strategy. “No!” says Best decisively. “Employers should definitely not cut employee benefits when money is tight. Employees often rate the importance of their benefit plan higher than they do raises or bonuses. Benefits are very important to

the employees’ overall physical and mental health and if taken away, could have many negative effects on the morale and well-being of employees. Moreover, this would put the company in a negative light and could impact employee retention. A good benefit plan enhances a company’s image and displays a certain degree of social responsibility; it’s a way for employers to show their employees that they are more than just a number and that their health is important to the company. I would strongly advise against cutting employee benefits.” Well, in that case, what does Best suggest regarding affordability? He’s happy to inform us that, “Employee benefits shouldn’t be looked at as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ package that will suit the

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IT’S ABOUT EMPOWERING YOURSELF // CORPORATE HEALTH

“EMPLOYEE BENEFITS SHOULDN’T BE LOOKED AT AS A ‘ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL’ PACKAGE THAT WILL SUIT THE NEEDS OF EVERY COMPANY OR ITS EMPLOYEES. EACH COMPANY AND ITS EMPLOYEES ARE UNIQUE, SO THE BENEFIT PLAN SHOULD BE CUSTOM TAILORED TO FIT THOSE SPECIFIC NEEDS.” ~ AARON BEST

needs of every company or its employees. Each company and its employees are unique, so the benefit plan should be custom tailored to fit those specific needs. This will ensure that benefit dollars are being used efficiently and effectively. Ensure that you have partnered with a benefits company or benefits broker that understands your business and what you and your employees expect so there are no surprises. Yearly reviews should always be done to see where benefit dollars are being used, and where benefit dollars are being left on the table. “Just as your organization evolves, so should your benefit plan. One of the latest trends we have been seeing is moving more traditional insured plans into a hybrid plan where employers will insure the higher risk portions of the benefits plan and then ‘self-insure ‘or ‘self-fund’ the more routine expenses through a health spending account (HSA), which is a great way of controlling costs, minimizing risk and giving employees more choice and freedom on how and where they spend their dollars.”

Best goes on to say that employees need to fully understand their plan in order to maximize its value. For example, many plans come with an employee assistance program (EAP), which gives access to counselling; yet many employees don’t know about this added benefit. Best knows a healthy workforce is a productive workforce, and beyond benefits, employers should encourage wellbeing in and out of the office. Next, BIE turned to Lalitha Taylor, B.Sc. RD, Edmonton Southside Primary Care Network, and the owner of www. taylornutrition.ca, to learn some ways employees could take control of their health and wellness while at work. “One of the first things I think of when it comes to enhancing workplace wellness is fostering relationships,” says Taylor. “Share thoughts and feelings with another person. That can reduce stress.”

ABOVE: AARON BEST, PRESIDENT OF QUIKCARD

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Top 5

reasons to invest in a corporate health program Your competitive advantage demands that you get the most out of your people what are you doing to invest in the health of your top talent? BY NICOLE AUBERTIN

Why you need to adopt a corporate health program this year: INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY The primary goal of a Corporate Health and Wellness Program is to help your employees lead healthier lives. Improved productivity, increased concentration and heightened energy have all been shown, time and again, to be directly tied to healthier staff. A recent Canadian medical study showed that employee wellness programs increase employee productivity by 51%. ATTRACTION & RETENTION OF TOP TALENT Corporate Health and Wellness programs are an effective tool for attracting and retaining top talent. In fact, 61% of 30-year-old Canadians believe their employer has an obligation to assist them in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Companies that do not offer them will quickly be left behind. IMPROVED EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT The results are clear: healthier employees are happier, work harder and are more efficient. According to a Canadian study, employee wellness leads to an impressive 70% increase in engagement and job satisfaction. This is a result of comprehensive programs that go beyond basic healthcare needs to address disease prevention, nutrition, fitness, psychological wellbeing and even brain health.

INCREASED EMPLOYEE LOYALTY Great employees are hard to find and when you’ve got them, you don’t want to lose them. Corporate health programs drive loyalty by showing that companies care about their teams. Studies have shown that employee loyalty is closely correlated with cost containment linked to recruitment, training and employee turnover. CONTAINED HEALTHCARE COSTS While it’s difficult to quantify the benefits of increasing morale, productivity and work performance, the financial impact of decreased sick leave, absenteeism and lower health insurance premiums are easy to see. A Canadian study recently showed that employee wellness programs decreased disability costs by 36% and drug benefit costs by 27%. Nothing drives productivity like happy, healthy employees. Your key people, just like other company assets, are either appreciating or depreciating. A comprehensive health and wellness program helps you mitigate talent risk and place investments where they can drive maximum returns.

Contact us today to discuss your corporate health program options: Treena Popowich at 780-455-2273 tpopowich@copemanhealthcare.com or visit www.copemanhealthcare.com


IT’S ABOUT EMPOWERING YOURSELF // CORPORATE HEALTH

“ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS I THINK OF WHEN IT COMES TO ENHANCING WORKPLACE WELLNESS IS FOSTERING RELATIONSHIPS, SHARE THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS WITH ANOTHER PERSON. THAT CAN REDUCE STRESS.” ~LALITHA TAYLOR

“Hydration is key. Be creative! In my water, I put mint or even chopped up cucumber or frozen strawberries. We know hydration can play a role in energy too. If you are experiencing headaches or feeling tired, grab a cup of water before you grab that doughnut.” Taylor also points out the importance of a good night’s rest and suggests working towards a proper bedtime in 15 minute increments per night if you chronically go to bed late. She has plenty more tips that are easy to incorporate into your day. “Make sure you are moving throughout the workday. Ten minute bouts of movement can decrease tension. Regular exercise that can raise your heart rate and make you sweat a little can raise your mood and sharpen your mind. Not only will your body thank you, your mind will too. “Just like you plan those regular breaks for movement, plan opportunities for you to fuel your body with the right nutrients. Minimize your sugar and carb intake. Turn to foods that provide fluid and fibre, vitamins and minerals, and couple that with protein.

Alan Kearns, founder of CareerJoy™, the notable national career and leadership coach firm, knows that it in addition to maximizing your benefits and taking care of your health, one of the best ways to deal with the ups and downs of the current job situation in Alberta is to have the right mindset. “What do you have control over? Nobody had control over the price of oil or what the president of your company is doing. What you have control over is what you can manage,” Kearns points out. “Focus on what you have control over in your work situation.” How does Kearns say employees should face the possibility of job loss?

ABOVE: LALITHA TAYLOR, B.SC. RD, OWNER OF WWW.TAYLORNUTRITION.CA

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IT’S ABOUT EMPOWERING YOURSELF // CORPORATE HEALTH

“Do what you are doing now really well. Your boss or people in your organization know who is a good employee. Good employees land faster than average people. You get to be known in your industry. It’s no secret restructuring is going on, but it’s not like this is personal. When a company hires, they want to hire who is good, so be in the top 80 per cent.” This strategy can help you retain your position, but it can also help you get an excellent recommendation for a new position, or to be scouted by hiring companies. But that doesn’t mean you should rest on your laurels. “You need to get prepared for a transition,” Kearns continues. “Network. Get your resumé ready. Let people know you want to meet with them for coffee or lunch and start getting ahead of the curve to see what’s out there.” It’s about being proactive instead of reactive. Let’s say the “worst” happened and you’ve been laid off. You could search for another job, but there is another option: innovate.

“The myth is that there is not a lot of opportunity, but I would argue that there is tremendous opportunity – just not easy opportunity. When there is a transition like this in the oil and gas industry, it shows all kinds of needs and gaps. The innovators will find ways to fill those needs and shine. You are going to see small and medium-sized companies become huge companies out of this while some larger ones struggle. It’s how people address it. New startups can create solutions.” Last but not least, Kearns encourages us all to take a good look at where we are and be grateful. “Millions of people would be here, tomorrow, in Canada if they could because of the opportunities,” he notes. Retain and maximize benefits, take charge of your health and be proactive and creative within your career. Those are simply but powerful things everyone can do to maintain their physical and mental health as Alberta’s economy continues to take us all on a twisting journey of discovery. It’s not about what is lost, it’s about empowering yourself and arriving at the end stronger and healthier than ever. Now, go for it!

“THE MYTH IS THAT THERE IS NOT A LOT OF OPPORTUNITY, BUT I WOULD ARGUE THAT THERE IS TREMENDOUS OPPORTUNITY – JUST NOT EASY OPPORTUNITY. WHEN THERE IS A TRANSITION LIKE THIS IN THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY, IT SHOWS ALL KINDS OF NEEDS AND GAPS.” ~ALAN KEARNS

ABOVE: ALAN KEARNS, FOUNDER OF CAREERJOY™ BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // SEPTEMBER 2016

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EDMONTON’S HOTTEST REAL ESTATE LOCATION IS ON ICE // REAL ESTATE

EDMONTON’S HOTTEST REAL ESTATE LOCATION IS ON ICE 36

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EDMONTON’S HOTTEST REAL ESTATE LOCATION IS ON ICE // REAL ESTATE

YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT REAL ESTATE. IT’S ALL ABOUT LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION; AND RIGHT NOW NO LOCATION IS HOTTER THAN ICE DISTRICT.

BY FAY FLETCHER

W

ith 25 acres of redeveloped space in the heart of downtown, ICE District will be Canada’s largest and newest mixed-use entertainment hub, and rising above it all are two towers of opportunity. Stantec Tower boasts over 60 storeys, column-free office floor plates, and ample parking. Edmonton Tower is a class AAA office building enhanced by the beauty of public art, marble and granite. A daycare is just one of the amenities offered by Edmonton Tower’s beautiful, eco-friendly and sustainable design. Both towers are targeting LEED Gold certification upon completion. Companies headquartering or opening branches in these towers offer their employees the ultimate place to work and play. Steps away from grocery shopping, boutique retail, restaurants and theatres, ICE District is poised to attract the top companies and top talent to the Capital City.

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

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THINK OF IT AS AN ALL-ACCESS LEASE When you lease office space in ICE District, you’re staking claim to your own piece of Alberta’s most prestigious new property. A sports, entertainment and business district expected to draw upwards of 3 million visitors annually. A place where you’re always just steps away from the big game or the newest dining hot spot. No other address in Edmonton boasts more perks. Home to 1,950 ICE District residents JW Marriott luxury hotel onsite Easy access to transit and ample parking Total of 1.3 million sq. ft. of office space Total of 300,000 sq. ft. of retail space Modern state-of-the-art design and space LEED Gold targeted certification

ONLY 4 FLOORS REMAINING IN EDMONTON TOWER For more information on office leasing opportunities, call 780.429.7556 or email cory.wosnack@avisonyoung.com. W E

IceDistrictProperties.com info@icedistrictproperties.com


EDMONTON’S HOTTEST REAL ESTATE LOCATION IS ON ICE // REAL ESTATE

“THE BENEFITS ARE RELATED TO LIFESTYLE; RESIDENTS NEAR ICE DISTRICT WILL BE AT THE CENTRE OF IT ALL. YOU’LL BE ABLE TO WALK TO EVENTS AT ROGERS PLACE, RESTAURANTS, SHOPPING, MOVIES, THE LRT, MACEWAN UNIVERSITY, EVEN TO WORK IF YOU WORK DOWNTOWN.” ~ SARA MACLENNAN

“Retail and office, as well as hospitality, are complementary uses that ensure a lively and spirited development as they add vibrancy and extend the hours of operations and activity on a mixed-use project,” says Glen Scott, senior vice president, real estate, Katz Group. “We also need to ensure that we help our tenants succeed by bringing complementary uses that create efficiencies in their operations. For example, if an office tenant needs to host an annual meeting with out-of-town guests, our hotel will be ideal to optimize travel time and expenses. Our retail and plaza environments could be the ideal amenity for personal time and breaks, all within walking distance. Similarly, our retail tenants will have a stable customer base from the office tenants that will support their businesses. A well-balanced offering between retail, hospitality and office will go a long way to also utilizing, in the most efficient way, our city’s infrastructure.”

smiles Scott. “It also helps attract tenants due to our lower operating costs. With an enhanced building envelope, stateof-the-art mechanical and electrical equipment, we lower our impact on the environment – and we are able to pass along those savings to our customers.”

Not only can the city be proud of ICE District for its outstanding use of space and the lifelong contributions the development will make to the capital region, but it can also be proud of the focus that went into making both towers as sustainable as possible.

The residences in the district will attract a certain demographic, she points out. “ICE District will appeal primarily to young professionals and those without young children, simply because parents of young children in the Edmonton area tend to want plenty of space both inside and out, including a yard. While there is a trend in some cities where young families are opting to live in urban centres,

“[The targeted LEED Gold certification] is a statement to our commitment to sustainability and design excellence,

Katz Group is excited about helping companies soar in these office towers, yet office and retail development is just half of the equation. Those looking to put down roots in the city have plenty of reasons to buy in or near ICE District. “The benefits are related to lifestyle; residents near ICE District will be at the centre of it all,” points out Sara MacLennan, REALTOR®, director of marketing, Liv Real Estate. “You’ll be able to walk to events at Rogers Place, restaurants, shopping, movies, the LRT, MacEwan University, even to work if you work downtown.”

ABOVE: SARA MACLENNAN, REALTOR®, DIRECTOR OF MARKETING, LIV REAL ESTATE. RIGHT: ICE DISTRICT RENDERING PHOTO SOURCE: ICE DISTRICT JV INC

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EDMONTON’S HOTTEST REAL ESTATE LOCATION ISSTORY ON ICE // REAL ESTATE TITLE // SECTION

The Name In

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EDMONTON’S HOTTEST REAL ESTATE LOCATION IS ON ICE // REAL ESTATE

we’re not seeing a lot of that happening in Edmonton. So really, it’s a matter of preference for each buyer, whether they prefer the excitement and convenience of living somewhere like ICE District, or the space available outside the core of the city. Unlike most urban centres, the largest portion of the workforce in Edmonton does not work downtown, but is spread out around the city, so not everyone that wants to live close to work, needs to live close to downtown.” MacLennan has great advice for first-time condo buyers in ICE District. “As with any new condo purchase, buyers should do their due diligence. You’re buying into a corporation, not just a property, when you buy a condo. A REALTOR® can help guide you through the process, and help you avoid costly mistakes. At Liv Real Estate, our client concierge can match you with an agent that best meets your needs, and is familiar with the types of properties and areas that are of interest to you. “The Government of Alberta has put out some guides, as have other organizations. Google ‘condo buyer’s guide’ and you’ll find lots of info. ICE District is going to be under construction for the foreseeable future, so if you’re considering taking possession of a condo in ICE District, you should be prepared to put up with some inconvenience from construction, such as road closures and noise.” It’s true and definitely something of which to be aware. ICE District broke ground in 2014 and construction is slated to go through 2020. Those interested in office and/or residential space must consider the additional four years of construction in the area; however, for many, the thought of cranes and cement mixers outside their front door is a very small price to pay for an address in the most happening place in town. Looking forward, the next four years in ICE District bring far more than construction. They bring opportunity after opportunity for anyone looking to live, work and play where the action – and the value – resides. Location, location, location – it’s the real estate mantra, whether you are buying your home or looking for the best place to establish your business. ICE District is all about “location,” and you can have a piece of this very large, very progressive pie. To get your slice, start with these online options: • To view the construction timeline, visit: icedistrictproperties.com/vision/project-timeline.html.

• To learn about a successful future in ICE District’s office towers, visit: icedistrictproperties.com/office. • Condo purchase and rental suite information is available at icedistrictproperties.com/residential. Whether you choose to live or work in ICE District, or commute there to take advantage of everything it has to offer, there is no doubt that these 25 acres are reshaping Edmonton. The next four years of development are going to be exciting. Keep your eyes on ICE. It’s the real estate success story of our generation.

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


THE BREWERY DISTRICT IN DEVELOPMENT PHOTO COURTESY OF FIRST CAPITAL REALTY

Good for What Ales Us Edmonton’s Brewery District continues to flourish By Ben Freeland

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full year and a half has passed since a global downturn in oil prices sent the Alberta economy into its worst free fall in decades, but there is still little visible sign of a recession on Edmonton’s skyline. While excitement over the city’s downtown transformation has dampened in recent times, construction and redevelopment continues unabated. Construction is now underway on the $1.8 billion southeast Valley LRT line from Churchill Station to Mill Woods, slated for completion in 2020. The 102 Avenue Bridge reopened in July, and the city’s most hotly anticipated mega-project, Rogers Place, is set to open this month to a full slate of high-profile concerts, including Keith Urban, Drake, Dolly Parton, Kanye West, and the Dixie Chicks, as well as for the 2016-17 NHL season. On the retail front, development also continues in the highly anticipated Brewery District situated west of Oliver Square at the western edge of the downtown core. Built on the grounds formerly occupied by the city’s Molson brewery (and retaining the 1913 vintage red-brick brewery tower and ground-floor administration building into its design) the 5.26 hectare commercial property officially opened for business in June of this year with the opening of Edmonton’s first Loblaws CityMarket, a grocery outlet featuring a 12-foot cheese wall and a sushi bar. A Shoppers Drug Mart outlet opened shortly thereafter. GoodLife Fitness and Winners will open in September, with Petland opening later this year. Mountain Equipment Co-op is set to become the site’s fifth tenant in the spring of 2017.

All this is happening amid a non-stop parade of bad economic news and retail spending that has decreased three per cent in the second quarter of 2016. Yet, by some measures, Alberta remains the best-performing economy in the country, with a per-capita GDP of $77,000 (well above the national average of $53,000) and an economy that is considerably less reliant on the beleaguered oil and gas sector, resulting in significantly lower unemployment levels compared to the notorious downturn of the 1980s. Given this reality, and an expected recovery in 2017, it is perhaps unsurprising that retailers remain bullish on Edmonton.

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THE BREWERY DISTRICT IN DEVELOPMENT PHOTO COURTESY OF FIRST CAPITAL REALTY

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RALPH HUIZINGA, VICE PRESIDENT OF ACQUISITIONS AND DEVELOPMENT, WESTERN CANADA, FIRST CAPITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT. PHOTO COURTESY OF FIRST CAPITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT ULC.

“We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the continued enthusiasm we’re seeing around the Brewery District, and the continued interest in leasing,” says Ralph Huizinga, vice president of acquisitions and development for Western Canada at First Capital Realty Inc., the development firm at the helm of the Brewery District project. “Our tenants are clearly looking beyond the current cycle and seeing better days ahead. That’s not only great news for us, but for Edmonton as a whole.”

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Retailers both new and familiar are indeed lining up storefront space in the district, with South St. Burger, Starbucks, Blaze Pizza, David’s Tea, COBS, Oliver Park Dental, and Pivotal Physiotherapy all set to open shop in 2016 and others, including a full-service, free-standing Japanese restaurant situated in the northeastern corner of the property, set to follow. In other news, the property developers succeeded in securing a historical resource designation for the century-old tower and administrative building, which together represent the heart and soul of the development.

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“This was a critical achievement that has enabled us to preserve and repurpose these buildings, and fully integrate them into the new-build THE BREWERY DISTRICT | PAGE 2


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development,” Huizinga explains. “We’ve already had strong interest in the tower from several microbreweries and full-service restaurants, which means it’s only a matter of time before the building comes full circle and returns to its original use as a brewery.” While retailers clearly remain optimistic about the development, public opinion has been less than unanimously positive. In addition to overall softening enthusiasm for Edmonton’s unceasing downtown development, the Brewery District has faced criticism from some quarters–most notably from the Oliver Community League–for its perceived emphasis on vehicle parking and anti-pedestrian design, which Metro Edmonton reporter Tim Querengesser slammed as being “about as walkable as its 1990s clone, Oliver Square.” The site will feature 250,000 square feet of

underground parking in addition to above-ground parking, which has raised fears of increased traffic congestion (although the reopening of the 102 Avenue Bridge has taken some of the strain off traffic in this area), and while the site is designed to dovetail with a future west-bound LRT line, this development is still a long ways off. Huizinga defends the project, noting that while transit access issues are a reality, the site itself is indeed walkable and pedestrian-friendly. “It should be clear to anyone who has actually walked the site that it is very pedestrian friendly, with broad sidewalks and bicycle and pedestrian connections both north-south at 120 Street and east-west at 105 Avenue,” he asserts. “Our challenge has been to address the issue of access from 104 Avenue for the time being while simultaneously accommodating a future west-bound LRT line. Leaving room for this future line required that we dedicate a 15-metre setback from our property line, which has left us with a bit of a ‘no-man’s-land’ between the road and the Brewery District, but I’m confident that once people are inside the centre, they’ll find it very walkable.” Huizinga expects restoration work on the still-standing historical buildings to commence in the fall of 2016 and expects this to be substantially completed in 2017 as the district’s remaining tenants move in.

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“We hope to host a celebration in the summer of 2017 that will include all of our tenants, as well as the unveiling of a public art piece we are currently commissioning,” he says. “Over the next year we expect to see the Edmonton Brewery District slowly evolve into the vibrant and urban-oriented centre we promised to deliver to the city and the community.”

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NEW BUILDING COMBINES EDMONTON’S PAST AND FUTURE

Photo courtesy of Pangman Development Corporation.

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hen John Day originally purchased the four-storey Kelly and Ramsey buildings and their 15,000 square feet of land six years ago, he had plans to renovate the historic landmarks in the heart of Edmonton’s downtown financial district. “We really wanted to keep the buildings intact and connect them,” says the owner of John Day Developments. The 100-year-old buildings on Rice Howard Way had both been sitting vacant for years as foreclosures, badly damaged in an arson fire in 2009. “For the first year after we purchased them we really just tried to figure out a way to salvage them.” After analyzing the structures they realized the mortar was completely gone and the developer decided they were going to have to change their plans while trying to keep as much of the 100-yearold historic buildings as possible.

To make the plan work, they knew they would need more land, so they partnered with Pangman Development Corporation and some dedicated Alberta investors to begin purchasing surrounding buildings and land such as the nearby Sony store and the Swedish Jeweller’s store. When all was said and done, the developers doubled the land to about 35,000 sq. ft. and were ready to embark on their new project, with an eye to keeping Edmonton’s history while providing innovative new space for downtown dwellers. When they started construction in 2013 it was no easy feat – the two facades had to be lined up to match elevations, and the brick facades were completely reconstructed. Each and every brick was photographed, removed and replaced within two feet of its original home. Even some of the 100-year-old fir timbers were taken

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and reused from the original structures, placed on to the main floor staircase and in a pad below it. The result of all this hard work was one of Edmonton’s most unique structures downtown – a 25-storey, 550,000 sq.ft. reconstructed building with the original brick on part of levels two and four, and matching new materials on the balance. Wood products were incorporated on the outside of the building and up its side. A three-storey light box surrounds the mechanical room, illuminating the building’s top and making it appear to be a total of 28 storeys. The mixed-use heritage building houses retail on the lower levels and office space on the upper levels. The building is now named the Enbridge Centre after its largest tenant, but it continues to honour the legacy of the Kelly Ramsey building in a variety of ways in and around the building. The first tenant is slated to move in in late August and the building is now over 90 per cent leased, with raw space still available on all of the 19th floor and half of the 18th. “The space up there is fantastic,” says Dean Wulf, vice-president of leasing for Pangman Development Corp. “We have 9ft. ceilings throughout, the views are amazing and the tenants have a lot of flexibility in terms of layout options.” Wulf says he doesn’t expect the space to last long. “We leased the

rest of the space out pretty quickly, and the tenants say it’s because they just love the building and its location.” The Enbridge Centre is an exciting addition to the area, as it is Edmonton’s first new financial district tower in 25 years. “We look at our building as centre ice,” says Wulf. “The building connects to Manulife Place via a pedway that runs over top of 101 Street and an underground passage connecting to Scotia Place. So you can walk through the pedway, connect with other business people in the financial core very easily, and there are a ton of amenities in the area such as restaurants, shopping and entertainment.” While the building’s history and architecture is impressive enough on its own, the building itself is uniquely innovative, with features such as highly efficient floor plates, energy efficient lighting, dedicated bicycle parking with shower amenities, an ons-ite fitness centre and five levels of tenant-only parking that fit 369 stalls. About 2,500 people are expected to work in the $282 million building that opens in late August. “Edmonton has come a long way in terms of architecture,” says Wulf. “But when we were planning this building we really wanted to step it up. We wanted to do something new and amazing but not forget the past, and that’s what this building is all about.”

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GETTING CREATIVE WITH EDMONTON’S VACANT OFFICE BUILDINGS

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t’s been a very exciting time for Edmonton’s downtown over the past few years. Not only has the area seen a huge change in its landscape with the addition of the new Roger’s Place and its surrounding Ice District, but millions of dollars in capital investment has come the city’s way over the past few years. This has meant an influx of new commercial buildings coming on to market, such as the 62-storey Stantec Tower, the 27-storey City of Edmonton building and the 25-storey Kelly Ramsey building, adding millions of square feet to the Edmonton commercial real estate market. In fact, Edmonton hasn’t seen this kind of commercial or mixed-use development in years, but even this great story has a grey cloud that can’t be ignored – will there be just too much office space downtown?

The city already has an office vacancy rate of 9.7 per cent as of Q1 2016, according to Avison Young’s latest Edmonton Office Market Report, and this will only increase when these many new slated projects come to market. While the high vacancy rate will provide an opportunity for suburban businesses that may not have been able to access this market before, organizations like the Downtown Business Association (DBA) and BOMA Edmonton are already researching innovative options to help ensure the city’s downtown remains populated. “We’re thinking this new office space will once again increase the vacancy rate of office space downtown like we experienced in the late 1990s and early 2000s,” says Jim Taylor, executive director of the DBA. “We have some older B and C Class buildings that will suffer as the vacancy rate increases, and it’s very likely we’re going to have some empty buildings in the next year or so.”

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


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Edmonton is at its heart a forward-thinking city, full of artists and tech types, so Taylor wanted to take a look at alternative options that hadn’t been considered before. Historically, Edmonton has dealt with vacancy rates in a fairly conservative manner, turning the commercial spaces into residential buildings like they did in the early 2000s. Examples of these are still around today, such as the Churchill Assisted Retirement Community and the Liberty residential units. But Edmonton is at its heart a forward-thinking city, full of artists and tech types, so Taylor wanted to take a look at alternative options that hadn’t been considered before. For the last 13 years the DBA has partnered with the University of Alberta, bringing in a summer student to work on a chosen project. This year they decided to task the chosen MBA student, Satish Narayanan, with identifying ways to revitalize vacant office buildings in the downtown area, including the possibility of adaptive reuse. This included researching various successful and unsuccessful conversions implemented in similar buildings around the world. “This is a very exciting project that I’m really happy to be a part of,” says Narayanan. “It’s pretty fascinating to see what other major cities in countries around the world have done with their under-utilized buildings.”

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

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INSTANT HOUSING CRISIS HELPING THE FORT MCMURRAY FIRE EVACUEES O

n May 1, 2016, a fast-moving wildfire began near Fort McMurray in northeast Alberta. The fire forced the largest evacuation in Alberta’s history and destroyed more than 2,000 homes, while 90,000 people fled the flames. Evacuees headed south in a scene reminiscent of an apocalypse movie. They made it away safely, but waiting at the end of the road was an instant housing crisis. “Residents won’t be able to return home until it is safe to do so,” Alberta Premier Rachel Notley informed thousands of anxious evacuees. “Residents of Fort McMurray should not expect to return home for an extended period of time.”

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

There were apartments to rent, but a way to share information about them was missing. The Provincial Government of Alberta, including the municipal government of Edmonton, scrambled to connect fire evacuees with a searchable, trustworthy, easy-to-use housing registry. It needed to be ready fast to connect an estimated 4,500 evacuees seeking housing with new homes and apartments.

REACHING OUT

The Capital Region Housing Corporation, a social housing provider in the city of Edmonton, reached out to its real estate technology provider, Yardi Canada Ltd., part of global software firm Yardi Systems. Based in Santa Barbara, Calif., Yardi is an industry leader and well-known provider of software for real estate companies around the world. Greg Dewling, CEO of Capital Region Housing, contacted Peter Altobelli, vice president and general manager of Yardi’s Canadian subsidiary. Altobelli quickly reached out to Yardi founder and CEO Anant Yardi, who said that his company would provide development services without commercial terms. Yardi’s RENTCafé apartment search platform was ideally suited to address the crisis, and its development team was ready to leap into action. Dewling made his first call to Yardi late in the afternoon of Monday, May 9. By the early afternoon of Thursday, May 12, he viewed a nearly final product. Development of the housing registry website was complete in just 72 hours.

Dewling made his first call to Yardi late in the afternoon of Monday, May 9. By the early afternoon of Thursday, May 12, he viewed a nearly final product. Development of the housing registry website was complete in just 72 hours.


“This was an excellent test of how quickly we can mobilize the RENTCafé platform,” says Chris Ulep, vice president of multi-family product development at Yardi. “It truly demonstrated the capability of design, development and client services to work together and ensure that product update and production plan was delivered quickly.” “We were floored that they were able to turn it around so quickly,” Dewling says. “I shared this with colleagues at a real estate forum, and jaws were dropping about the speed of the initiative and what Yardi was doing to help. We were, to say the least, extremely impressed.”

BEHIND THE SCENES

The accomplishment of that 72hour site launch was a global effort by Yardi executives, managers, programmers, designers and marketers. Staff members from Toronto, Canada; Santa Barbara, Calif.; Pune, India; www.bomaedmonton.org | BOMA Edmonton Newsletter | September 2016

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With teams in four different time zones, the project was on a 24-hour clock. Web designers in Santa Barbara created a site design and handed off to programmers in Cluj, who built the site.

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and Cluj-Napoca, Romania were all part of the sprint to prepare the site. With teams in four different time zones, the project was on a 24-hour clock. Web designers in Santa Barbara created a site design and handed off to programmers in Cluj, who built the site. With the infrastructure in place, the project came back to Pune and Toronto for quality assurance and user testing. Monitoring of site performance was conducted in Toronto, Cluj and Pune. As development neared completion, marketers in Cluj learned of the project and pitched in to publicize it via social media. To start the content process, Yardi clients in Canada were asked to list their vacant Alberta units, and many did so. “Everybody was incredibly dedicated to working quickly to get this done,” says Altobelli. “Employees around the world worked overtime. There was amazing communication.” The housing registry went live for all landlords to use on Friday, May 13. Vacant apartment listings began pouring in via web form and needed to be prepared for display. “Everyone came together to participate in this initiative,” says Stephen Teague, a client services manager in Toronto.


The association encouraged its members to list their vacant units on the site and offer reasonable terms, including reduced security deposits, and reduced or free rent periods. “The RENTCafé team in Canada and India worked through the weekend to make this possible.” Renters began inquiring about apartments on Monday, May 16. By that afternoon, prospective renters had submitted hundreds of inquiries and more than 2,500 units were listed for rent. That same day, a call centre powered by Yardi RENTCafé® Connect™ opened. Potential renters with questions about the listed properties can call in 6am to 11pm MT, seven days a week.

LESSONS LEARNED

it organizations annually. Financial support of disaster relief efforts is common. Less common are chances to use software expertise to help those in crisis. “It is part of our company culture to support others in a time of need. Even as we have grown, we have not lost that humanity around what we do. It shows the true character of our company,” Altobelli says. “This effort to help happened to be made possible by our technology, and that’s a special way to make an impact.” Dewling, of Capital Region Housing, observes: “It is humbling to know that an international organization of Yardi’s size was willing to help others in this capacity. I would have to say that we were thoroughly impressed by the entire team that worked on this project.” The Centralized Housing Registry for Alberta homes and apartments can be viewed at http://www.rentcafe.com/canada/ fortmcmurraywildfires.

“The fire caught everyone off guard, and emphasized the need for emergency planning,” says Lynn Biggs, executive director of the Alberta Residential Landlord Association. “Without a pre-planned way to disseminate rental information, responsiveness was the next best solution.” “The most important thing was to Today its more than just a door... get this up so that people had a place they could go immediately,” says Biggs, whose office was fielding calls from evacuees seeking housing. The association encouraged its members to list their vacant units on the site and offer reasonable terms, including reduced security deposits, and reduced or free rent periods. Tempering the housing emergency was the fact that there were units available. Alberta’s economy has softened in 2016 due to falling oil prices, triggering residential turnover. To make sure the landlords providing listing information were reliable and to prevent imposters or scammers, the City of Edmonton verified each submitted landlord as a legitimate housing provider.

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

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STORY TITLE // SECTION THE “MOM AND POP” THAT KEEP US ALIVE // SMALL BUSINESS WEEK PREVIEW

“Mom and Pop” THE

THAT KEEP US ALIVE

SMALL BUSINESSES ARE INTEGRAL TO ALBERTA’S ECONOMIC GROWTH AND TO OUR IDENTITY. BDC’S SMALL BUSINESS WEEK GIVES THE LITTLE GUYS THE ATTENTION THEY DESERVE.

BY ZACHARY EDWARDS

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hen you scroll through your newsfeed, the small business is unlikely to be the major headline. Newspapers and business analysts don’t race to dissect the latest press release from “mom and pop” stores that exist all over the city. Yet these small businesses account for the majority of money, jobs and growth in Alberta’s capital.

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

They deserve credit and, for the third week of October every year, they get the attention they deserve through Small Business Week, which showcases the success and struggles of small businesses. This year, the event is sure to give small businesses their due, and demonstrate why the little guys are integral to Edmonton’s economic success and development.


SMALL BUSINESS WEEK

Tips on Selling a Business

Held every year in venues across the country, Small Business Week is put on by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Canada’s only bank that’s dedicated exclusively to entrepreneurs. In Edmonton, events are coordinated through the local Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by a number of businesses and institutions. This year, the theme is productivity, a particularly salient point for Edmonton specifically, since small businesses continue to grow and succeed despite the province’s economic troubles these past few years. Of the 36,000 businesses in Edmonton, 94 per cent are considered small enterprises by the Chamber of Commerce. On a provincial level, they contribute 32 per cent of the GDP, above the national average of 30 per cent, proving that small business remains an important, and growing, aspect of Edmonton’s economy. Federally, small businesses are responsible for nearly 90 per cent of the 1.5 million jobs created in Canada between 2005 and 2015. So, while small businesses aren’t always on the ticker tape when Peter Mansbridge reads the news, they form the backbone of the economy at every level. This year’s events are a combination of Edmonton’s many past success while keeping the eye on the future. Last year, Famoso Pizzeria co-founder and CEO, Justin Lussier, led a panel about growing a business, drawing on his own experience of turning a single pizza shop into a national chain. For this year, CEOs from Fountain Tire and Booster Juice will be attending the opening panel luncheon, offering advice and experience to Edmonton’s entrepreneurs who want to take their business to the next level, or simply get it off the ground. While the panels and workshops may talk about specific issues, including scaling and talent retention, the entire event, according to Todd Tougas, BDC’s vice president, financing and consulting, strives towards something more substantial. “BDC’s Small Business Week is about daring to grow the small business sector, which is never an easy task,” says Tougas. “Inevitably, there are barriers that need to be knocked down as entrepreneurs navigate the path to success. Confronting challenges is essential if small businesses wants to compete in today’s global environment.”

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

IS THERE A RIGHT TIME TO SELL MY BUSINESS?

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

WHAT SHOULD PEOPLE CONSIDER WHEN PREPARING THEIR BUSINESS FOR SALE?

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

HOW DO YOU FIND THE RIGHT BUYERS?

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

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

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THE “MOM AND POP” THAT KEEP US ALIVE // SMALL BUSINESS WEEK PREVIEW

“THERE ARE COUNTLESS EXAMPLES OF MADE-IN-EDMONTON-REGION SUCCESS STORIES THAT STARTED OUT AS SMALL BUSINESSES AND HAVE NOW GROWN INTO NATIONALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNIZED CORPORATIONS. COMPANIES SUCH AS STANTEC, LEDCOR, BOSTON PIZZA, BOOSTER JUICE, AND ALL WEATHER WINDOWS–THE LIST GOES ON AND ON.” ~ JANET RIOPEL

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Edmonton has a long history of small businesses that grew into national or international enterprises. While Famoso is just one example, Edmonton Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Janet Riopel points out that there are plenty more on the list. “There are countless examples of made-inEdmonton-region success stories that started out as small businesses and have now grown into nationally and internationally recognized corporations,” she says. “Companies such as Stantec, Ledcor, Boston Pizza, Booster Juice, and All Weather Windows–the list goes on and on.” These past and continued successes are important, but keeping Edmonton’s small business community healthy and growing is

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

ABOVE: EDMONTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PRESIDENT AND CEO JANET RIOPEL. PHOTO SOURCE: EDMONTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE


// SMALL BUSINESS WEEK PREVIEW

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essential to the future. According to Riopel, small businesses accounted for nearly 90 per cent of the 1.2 million jobs created in Canada between 2005 and 2015. Small businesses create and sustain jobs, but how many jobs isn’t just the only important statistic. It’s also about who these small enterprises employ. “Small businesses are more likely to employ young people and allow them to gain valuable experience,” Wellington Holbrook, executive vice president at ATB, says. “Inspiring and supporting entrepreneurs and small business is [a] good business strategy.” Riopel agrees. “Small businesses drive growth and are the foundation of the economy in Edmonton and across Canada,” she says. “Even with the uncertain state of the economy, the Edmonton business community continues to demonstrate resilience and innovation. Overall, and in the long term, small businesses contribute significantly to national GDP and job creation.”

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ABOVE: WELLINGTON HOLBROOK, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AT ATB. PHOTO SOURCE: ATB

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

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THE “MOM AND POP” THAT KEEP US ALIVE // SMALL BUSINESS WEEK PREVIEW

“IT IS NOT ONLY ABOUT HAVING THE WILL, BUT ALSO ABOUT HAVING THE TOOLS AND RESOURCES TO DO SO, BOTH FINANCIAL AND NON-FINANCIAL.” ~ TODD TOUGAS

OPPORTUNITIES YEAR-ROUND

Thankfully, Edmonton’s current and future entrepreneurs have a number of programs and incentives they can use to help start and grow their business. Many of these programs come from the event’s sponsors and organizers, Edmonton’s Chamber of Commerce and BDC. Riopel points out that while multiple networking events happen throughout the year, small business owners can have access to real, tangible programs and benefits. “Member businesses have access to a range of services, events and facilities,” she explains, “Including groups saving rates on products such as group benefits and insurance [which are] usually only accessible to large corporations.” For BDC, a joint venture with ATB is already securing the future of Alberta’s small businesses. This past July, both institutions pledged to collectively loan $1 billion to Alberta’s small and medium-sized businesses. The move is unprecedented for both institutions, who will each foot half of the bill. Holbrook points out this is always at the core

of ATB’s thinking. “We always remember our roots and we constantly think like entrepreneurs,” he says. “It enables us to differentiate ourselves in Canadian banking. We are the bank for entrepreneurs and small business.” For Tougas, the answer is a little simpler. “It is not only about having the will, but also about having the tools and resources to do so, both financial and non-financial.” This year’s Small Business Week will continue to encourage Edmonton’s best and brightest entrepreneurs, but it’s the support, in part generated from these types of events, that continue to help small businesses throughout the year. For Riopel, the character she sees in Edmonton’s small business community reflects what she loves about the city as well. “The tenacity, drive and entrepreneurial spirit of the Edmonton-area business community is inspirational,” she says. “Our mission [is] to create the best environment for business in Edmonton.”

ABOVE: TODD TOUGAS, BDC’S VICE PRESIDENT. PHOTO SOURCE: BDC

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Changes to the Municipal Government Act Matter to Business

2016 Board of Directors Executive

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

Directors

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

Chamber Executive

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

Contact

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

By Janet M. Riopel, President & CEO

S

ubstantial changes are coming soon to the Municipal Government Act (MGA). The act is Alberta’s second-largest piece of legislation and hasn’t been reviewed since 1995. While many people may not be aware of the act’s reach, amendments to the act will affect every single person and business in the province, including, quite likely, how much property tax we pay. The provincial government consulted on its proposed MGA changes over the summer, and the Edmonton Chamber was an active participant in order to ensure the perspectives of our members were front and centre. We gain an understanding of our members’ views through quarterly surveys on topical issues, including the state of the economy and government actions. In our June survey we asked members about specific changes proposed in the amended act. • Overwhelmingly 84 per cent of our members supported a change to the MGA that would ensure tax revenue is shared between bordering municipalities. • 74 per cent were strongly in favour of creating growth management boards, which would be mandatory regional boards for Edmonton and Calgary with expanded mandates to address land use planning and the delivery and funding of regional services. • There was also significant support–65 per cent–for creating single regional entities to manage economic development, tourism and transit in metropolitan regions. We want to ensure conditions for business and a healthy economy are supported, developed and enhanced by changes to the MGA. The Chamber made it clear that we support any efforts that will increase regional cooperation and collaboration. We raised concerns about proposed changes to the act that would allow municipalities to charge developers for infrastructure, including income-generating facilities such as recreation centres. We expressed concern about proposed changes that allow municipalities to set different tax rates for different types of businesses due to concern that this could also allow municipalities to increase tax rates unfairly. Changes to the MGA are not the only provincial-municipal factor that will affect businesses in Edmonton. Both Edmonton and Calgary are also negotiating City Charters with the province. None of the details on those negotiations have yet been shared publicly, but the Edmonton Chamber has had discussions with the City of Edmonton requesting that we are consulted on the specifics well in advance in order to ensure that any detrimental impacts to business are resolved prior to the charter being approved. Continued on the next page... BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // SEPTEMBER 2016

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We look forward to seeing the concerns we have shared with government reflected in the amended act, which is slated to be passed later this fall. The Edmonton Chamber will remain engaged in actions and events and keep our members informed in the process. We’re keen to hear how businesses in our region perceive that the proposed changes to the MGA will affect their businesses. Please let us know! You can reach us at policy@edmontonchamber.com.

Access to Tidewater Remains an Urgent Priority By Brent Francis, Policy & Research Analyst

T

he Edmonton Chamber of Commerce continues to be cautiously optimistic that pipeline projects will be approved and constructed. To be sure, there are many obstacles. The failure of the U.S. to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, the pipeline spill in Saskatchewan and the court decision against Northern Gateway, were setbacks. In order for any project to proceed, it’s critical to ensure the consultation process is done thoroughly, particularly with affected communities and indigenous peoples and, in the case of Northern Gateway, the federal government has more work to do on the consultation front. There are encouraging signs that the national climate increasingly favours pipelines. Our premier has called for a renewed sense of urgency to get Alberta’s pipelines built. Recent polls show that over half of all Canadians support them, and the majority of Canadians–70 per cent–agree pipelines are the safest way overall to transport oil. The need to act has never been more pressing. Producers have said they are close to hitting capacity through existing pipelines. They need additional infrastructure in order to move their products to new markets that will pay higher prices. Asia would be a prime consumer, and a pipeline to coastal waters would mean that our oil and gas resources are easily transported to China and other markets with huge and growing appetite for them.

Pipelines Primer Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion of an existing oil pipeline from Alberta to B.C. TransCanada Corporation’s Energy East New and converted oil pipeline (from natural gas) from Alberta to Quebec and New Brunswick. Enbridge’s (main proponent) Northern Gateway – New twin oil and natural gas pipeline from Alberta to B.C.’s north coast. TransCanada Corporation’s Keystone XL New oil pipeline from Alberta to Nebraska to connect to the existing Keystone pipeline.

The stakes are simply too high to remain on the sidelines. We need strong political leadership, in order to ensure that Alberta–and Canada–benefit from new pipelines that will enable oil and gas companies to access new markets safely and efficiently, and with the best prices possible. We all need to be effective voices in this ongoing discussion, with the Chamber leading the way in representing the objectives of the business community.

Members in this Issue Quikcard Solutions Inc in Today’s Wellness: It’s About Empowering Yourself on page 31 Nelson Environmental Remediation in Why the Economic Downturn Provides New Opportunities on page 72 Business Development Bank of Canada, Edmonton Chamber of Commerce and ATB Financial in The “Mom and Pop” that Keep Us Alive on page 56

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AMVIC Licensed


$1 Billion Boost to Alberta Businesses

B

eing named the number two ‘best place in Canada to do business’ in 2016 by Canadian Business Magazine is a big deal. It’s a big deal for the Edmonton business community and an even bigger deal for anyone looking to become an entrepreneur. This recognition is a salute to the passionate, savvy, innovative and creative people who make up our city, a city that encourages people to take a chance knowing that ‘someone’s got your back.’ The win highlights Edmonton as the place for business and emphasizes the opportunities available to those wanting to follow their dream of becoming an entrepreneur. And the dream is very much alive in Edmonton, according to the latest information from ATB’s quarterly report, Business Beat. The report surveys Alberta small and mid-sized businesses (SMEs),

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with this quarter’s report delving into the DNA of an Alberta entrepreneur, and discovering that ‘our province is one of the most entrepreneurial places in the world.’ This is great news if you have been thinking about becoming an entrepreneur and starting a business in Edmonton.

‘88 per cent of the business owners surveyed classified themselves as entrepreneurs.’ But starting a small business is a massive commitment and can be both exciting and scary.


So what does it take to be an entrepreneur and what are some of the challenges and some resources available to you? One quality that all entrepreneurs seem to possess is an overwhelming sense of passion. •97% of people surveyed in ATB’s report highlighted passion as the key characteristic of being an entrepreneur. • 29% felt strongly that ‘being a risk taker’ is part of what it takes to be an entrepreneur. • 24% felt that the ability to identify opportunities/needs was key.

“The most important time for businesses to be able to access capital is when an economy begins to rebound,” says Dave Mowat, ATB’s president and CEO in a written statement. “That’s when businesses can really start to grow and we want to help provide that opportunity. ATB is going to be there for entrepreneurs and continue growing our financial support of them in a big way.” Both BDC and ATB are each contributing $500 million each under the new program announced in July. Another innovative funding initiative gathering momentum is the use of crowd-lending, like the recently unveiled ATB LendR crowd-lending platform (ATBLendR.ca). Designed to promote economic diversity and growth in Alberta, ATB LendR creates opportunities for both entrepreneurs and savvy business investors through peer-to-peer lending. The platform is used in conjunction with a new ‘Lift Lending’ model, where eligible businesses have access to capital from the crowd, and the crowd has the potential to earn 5-7 per cent back on their capital in the form of principal and interest payments. Founding LendRs got exclusive first access to the platform and first round of businesses when it was unveiled in August 2016.

Possessing these qualities, combined with a strong vision, perseverance and the ability to not give up, can help you take that leap into the adventurous world of entrepreneurs. But what about the money? How do you finance your business? Who do you talk to and what options are available? Starting out as an entrepreneur or as a small business looking to grow, one of the biggest hurdles you can face is gaining access to muchneeded capital or finding a funding solution that works for you. Just knowing how to apply for financing, what financing options are available, or how to apply for credit if you’re not on a fixed income, can be a challenge. Business lenders now understand the unique needs of entrepreneurs and have created a range of innovative financing solutions and support services specifically designed for entrepreneurs and SMEs. Most recently, Edmonton Chamber members ATB and BDC announced a partnership agreement to support the growth of Albertabased small to medium-sized businesses by providing $1B in new business loans.

“The most important time for businesses to be able to access capital is when an economy begins to rebound,” says Dave Mowat, ATB’s president and CEO in a written statement. “That’s when businesses can really start to grow and we want to help provide that opportunity. ATB is going to be there for entrepreneurs and continue growing our financial support of them in a big way.” BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // SEPTEMBER 2016

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Alongside these new funding opportunities, Edmonton continues to fuel the energy, passion and drive of the entrepreneur community by engaging and connecting them to resources and support for every step of their journey. Chamber members like Capital Ideas, ATB Financial, Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Alberta Women Entrepreneurs, just to name a few, provide a wealth of talent, programs and support for entrepreneurs across every stage of business. For more information, or to connect with one of our member businesses to start your journey, please check out our member business directory page at edmontonchamber. com/business-directory.

Chamber members like Capital Ideas, ATB Financial, Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Alberta Women Entrepreneurs, just to name a few, provide a wealth of talent, programs and support for entrepreneurs across every stage of business.

Connecting Business North West Redwater Sturgeon Refinery Tour

Edmonton Chamber board and CEO of North West Refining Inc., Ian MacGregor touring the innovative and expansive North West Redwater Sturgeon Refinery. L to R: Max Frank, Craig Thorkelsson, Ian MacGregor, Alyson Hodson, Ian Morris, Len Rhodes, Janet Riopel, Scott McEachern, Jerri Cairns, Bill Blais.

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Ian MacGregor, CEO of North West Refining Inc., a 50 per cent stakeholder in the refinery, chatting to board member Craig Thorkelsson.

View of the expansive construction of the North West Redwater Sturgeon Refinery.

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

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Advocacy

A Chorus for Change

The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce plays a role in making the Edmonton business environment more prosperous by advocating to all levels of government, across industry sectors, and to the community on behalf of members. By listening, engaging and collaborating with you, we champion change on issues like: • Minimum wage increases • Carbon tax rebates for business • The combined impact of government cost increases on the business community We want you to benefit from an Edmonton business climate that allows you to expand your customer base and product lines, increase your workforce, and create a community we are all proud to call home. Are you passionate about creating the best environment for your business? Join one of our Policy Committees! For more information please check out edmontonchamber.com/policy

Advocacy is the difference between one voice raising a concern, and a chorus calling for change – the difference between speaking and being heard.


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Managed Services DigitexCelebrates Celebrates 20 20 Year YearsAnniversary in Business Digitex

W W

By Rennay Craats in Collaboration with Digitex Management Team

hen Digitex Canada started 20 years ago it was Digitex Canada startedselling 20 years ago, it was a hen small Red Deer company and servicing a small Red Deer sellingthen, and servicing photocopiers and company printers. Since the com photocopiers and printers. Since then, the company has grown to be a leader in providing managed print pany has grown to be to a leader in providing managed print services and solutions mid- and large-sized companies services and solutions to midand large-sized companies across the province. across the province.

Photo by EPIC Photography Inc.

Digitex first branched into the Calgary and Edmonton mar Digitex branched intoexplosive the Calgary and Edmonton markets and first has experienced growth across Alberta. ketsyear andDigitex has experienced explosive growth across Alberta. Last strategically acquired the Cypress Group, Last year Digitex Hat strategically acquiredinto thethe Cypress adding Medicine and Lethbridge fold. Group, With addingbranches MedicineinHat andFort Lethbridge intoand theSaskatch fold. With service both McMurray service branches in both Fort McMurray and Saskatchewan, they are able to support clients in major centres and ewan, they are able to support clients in major centres and remote areas acrosstheir the province. continue to opportunities to expand footprintThey through services look for opportunities to expand their footprint through and acquisitions. services and acquisitions. Despite this incredible growth, Digitex never abandoned Despite this incredible growth, Digitex never abandoned their corporate philosophy of providing the best service their corporate philosophy of providing the best in the industry. Customers remain the company’sservice highest in the industry. Customers remain the company’s highest priority. The staff takes pride in providing local, dependable service and support. service and support. Centrally headquartered in Red Deer, the majority of the Centrallyisheadquartered in Red Deer, the majority thecan hardware housed in a 25,000-square-foot facilityof and hardware is housed in a 25,000-square-foot facility and can be shipped to clients in Calgary or Edmonton in 90 minutes. be shipped to clients in Calgary or Edmonton in 90 minutes. In such a competitive market, Digitex recognizes the need to such aand competitive market, Digitex recognizes the need to beInquick responsive. be quick and responsive.

Hugh Porter, President & CEO Hugh Porter, President & CEO

operational costs and proactively manage devices through operational costs proactively manage through their MPS tools andand software. It’s all part ofdevices Digitex’s focus MPS tools and software. It’s all part of Digitex’s focus ontheir ensuring complete client satisfaction. on ensuring complete client satisfaction.

“We’ve always looked at ourselves as a service-first company “We’ve lookedan atafterthought, ourselves as a it’s service-first and whilealways sales aren’t definitelycomnot our pany and while sales aren’t an afterthought, it’s definitely “We have a dedicated team of local customer service repre number-one focus,” says Porter. “We haveto a dedicated teamservice of localcalls. customer sentatives field incoming In theservice event the call not our number-one focus,” says Porter. representatives field incoming calls.service In the techni event can’t be resolvedto over the phone, service a qualified It’s this philosophy that has fostered the company’s growth, the call can’t be resolved over the phone, a qualified service both It is geographically this philosophy that fostered the company’s cian is dispatched to diagnose and resolve the error on-site,” and has within the industry. Digitex-re technician is dispatched diagnose and resolve the error growth, both geographically and the industry. says Hugh Porter, Digitexto president. to within offer more value toDigitheir cently expanded their services on-site,” says Hugh Porter, Digitex president. tex recently expanded their services to offer more value their clients. They now management offer a scalablesoftware and customized Besides having the best employees who truly care about totomanaged IT, document and man Besides long-lasting having the best employeeswith whocustomers truly care about approach to managed IT, document management software building relationships and aged print services. building long-lasting withimportance customers and supand managed print services. suppliers, Digitex alsorelationships recognizes the of team pliers, Digitex also recognizes the importance of teaming up Digitex has come a long way but shows no signs of slowing with technology the best partners in the business. The company Digitex a longtoway butmore shows no signs of slowing offers leaders including Samsung, Canon,offers Sharp, down as has theycome continue bring value to their custom technology leaders including Samsung, Canon, Sharp, Lexdown as they continue to bring more value to their customLexmark, Toshiba, HP, Dell and Microsoft. Digitex not only mark, HP,new Dell print and Microsoft. not only ers. The largest company is determined to establish itself as best-inone of sells andToshiba, manages fleets butDigitex will manage forsells com Alberta’s independent businesses, providing and manages new print fleets, but will compaAlberta’s largest independent businesses, providing best-inpanies that have existing print fleets in manage order tofor drive down class hardware, software and services. nies that have existing print fleets in order to drive down class hardware, software and services. Digitex Canada Inc. 20 Years Digitex Canada Inc | 20 Years


In partnership with Lexmark, Digitex's MPS Program can become a productivity-enhancing part of your business workflow. Lexmark’s new generation of colour laser printers and multifunction products bring more to your workgroup: quality, innovation, reliability, lexmark productivity, and ease of use. Photos by EPIC Photography Inc.

“We are grateful to be celebrating 20 years of success in this “We are grateful to be celebrating 20 years of success in this industry,”throughout says Porter. “Thank youDigitex to our business partners associates the years. looks forward to and associates the years. Digitex lookspartner.” forward to many many more,throughout providing value as a technology more, providing value as a technology partner.”

Digitex, congratulations on your 20 th anniversary and thank you for your partnership! 9943 - 109 Street Edmonton, AB T5K 1H6

Telephone: 780.442.2770 • Fax: 780.426.1555 digitex.ca

Digitex Edmonton 9943-109 Street 9943 - 109 Street Edmonton, Edmonton, AB AB T5K1H6 1H6 T5K P.P.780.442.2770 780.442.2770

Digitex Edmonton

Hardware

Software

Services

www.digitex.ca

Congratulations CongratulationsDigitex DigitexCanada CanadaInc. Inc. on onachieving achieving20 20years yearsininbusiness! business!

We Wewish wishyou youmany manyyears years of ofcontinued continuedsuccess! success! Thank Thankyou youfor forpartnering partneringwith withSamsung Samsung

YEARS YEARS

Digitex Canada Inc. 20 Years Digitex Canada Inc | 20 Years


WHY THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN PROVIDES NEW OPPORTUNITIES // OIL & GAS

WHY THE ECONOMIC

DOWNTURN PROVIDES NEW OPPORTUNITIES

A DOWNTURN IN THE ECONOMY DOESN’T HAVE TO EQUAL A DOWNTURN IN INNOVATION. A NUMBER OF BUSINESSES ARE USING THE SLOWDOWN IN ALBERTA’S OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY TO INVEST IN RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES–AND THAT MAY ACTUALLY BE THE BEST THING FOR BUSINESSES IN THE LONG TERM.

BY LAURA BOHNERT

A

n economic downturn means a slowdown for most business operations, but this circumstance can actually provide businesses with an opportunity that may not be otherwise achievable. As operations slow down, businesses have more time, resources and workforce to devote to research and development, and that can result in uncovering new opportunities that will not only sustain the business through the downturn, but can also give the business a boost once the economy recovers and the innovations take off. Ron Feigel, technical sales and business development specialist at Universe Machine Corporation, agrees that economic downturns can turn out positive opportunities that are important to the growth and development of a business. “During economic downturns, there is typically more time available to do research and development on new and existing products, and to investigate new opportunities,” states Feigel. “We need to keep improving [Universe Machine Corporation’s] products and services to stay one step ahead of the competition.” Universe’s recent investments in research and development have included focusing on more testing and

upgrading of their existing products; utilizing compiled data and various research mediums for new or improved platforms; adding larger equipment capacities and more services; and increasing Universe’s marketing and advertising exposure, focusing on strengths, new offerings and other markets. All of this helps “to send the message that Universe Machine is continuing to move forward, even during tough times,” Feigel explains.

ABOVE: RON FEIGEL, TECHNICAL SALES AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AT UNIVERSE MACHINE CORPORATION

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WHY THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN PROVIDES NEW OPPORTUNITIESS // OIL & GAS

RON FEIGEL, TECHNICAL SALES AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST AT UNIVERSE MACHINE CORPORATION, AGREES THAT ECONOMIC DOWNTURNS CAN TURN OUT POSITIVE OPPORTUNITIES THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO THE GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF A BUSINESS.

“Difficult times create more need for efficiency improvements,” he adds, “but they also provide increased opportunities for collaboration, strategic alliances and joint ventures.” In addition, the downturn has enabled Universe to begin working on several new and revolutionary offerings. “Some are confidential,” Feigel apologizes, “but one recent new ‘Universe bucking unit’ utilizes existing items we are already manufacturing vertically for rigs, and with some creative engineering, cost effectively transforms them into a completely new horizontal product line for pipe yards, so you can more effectively and accurately pre-assemble pipes and couplings in a more controlled environment. Many Universe products have been

ABOVE: UNIVERSE MACHINE CORPORATION

DynaWest Engineering Ltd. • Delivering Dynamic Dimensions

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#105 4207 - 98 Street Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6E 5R7 780-469-5622 info@dynawesteng.com www.dynawesteng.com BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // SEPTEMBER 2016

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WHY THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN PROVIDES NEW OPPORTUNITIES // OIL & GAS

designed utilizing the same parts, which cuts down inventory costs for both our business and customers.” Feigel continues, “It’s important to invest in these opportunities now, because when the economy eventually turns around, we will be better positioned to take advantage of it.” However, Universe isn’t the only one who stands to profit from the efforts the company is taking to invest in research and development right now. As Feigel explains, this move will enable Universe “to produce products more efficiently in the future, thereby staying globally competitive and keeping staff employed here in Edmonton.” In other words, investing in research and development means investing in Alberta’s future economy, and that’s the best way to reinvest stability and growth into Alberta’s future. Darryl Nelson, CEO of Nelson Environmental Remediation, agrees that an economic downturn may actually turn out to

be the best thing for your business as well as for Alberta’s economy at large. “The best thing about an economic downturn is that it forces you to look at doing something different,” Nelson explains. “We started in the export market 15 years ago, back when we had bigger ticket projects, bigger sites and bigger cleanups.

ABOVE: UNIVERSE MACHINE CORPORATION’S NEW BUCKING UNIT, THEIR LATEST PRODUCT UNDER DEVELOPMENT. PHOTO SOURCE: UNIVERSE MACHINE CORPORATION

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WHY THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN PROVIDES NEW OPPORTUNITIES // OIL & GAS

“WHEN I SAY ‘WHAT ALBERTA TAUGHT US’, I ALSO MEAN THE UNIQUE PROBLEMS AND CONDITIONS WE WERE EXPOSED TO. WE HAD THE LUCKY FORTUNE OF HAVING JOBS THAT TAUGHT US PROCEDURES FOR WORKING IN COLD WINTERS, DIFFERENT SOIL TYPES AND MORE VARIABLES. IT’S THE IRONY OF STARTING A BUSINESS IN DIFFICULT CONDITIONS – IT GIVES YOU A VERY EXPORTABLE SKILL SET.” ~ DARRYL NELSON

It was actually the 1998 downturn that got us thinking about working abroad. This has been the fifth or sixth downturn we’ve gone through, but it’s the first one we’ve ever been prepared for because of the time we spent ensuring against the problems and conditions we were exposed to back then. We’ve actually had two record years in the middle of this economic downturn, and it’s because of what Alberta taught us in the ’90s. “When I say ‘what Alberta taught us,’ I also mean the unique problems and conditions we were exposed to. We had the lucky fortune of having jobs that taught us procedures for working in cold winters, different soil types and more variables. It’s the irony of starting a business in difficult conditions – it gives you a very exportable skill set. ABOVE: DARRYL NELSON, FOUNDER AND CEO OF NELSON ENVIRONMENTAL REMEDIATION. PHOTO SOURCE: EPIC PHOTOGRAPHY INC.

· Automate the dispensing of safety and industrial supplies · Track who gets which items · Track which jobs they are used on

Use the power of technology to reduce supplies inventory management costs.

You might make your accountant smile.

4320 - 97 Street NW, Edmonton AB T6E 5R9 • Tel: 780-433-4477 • Fax: 780-433-4488 info@canwestvending.com • www.canwestvending.com BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // SEPTEMBER 2016

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WHY THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN PROVIDES NEW OPPORTUNITIES // OIL & GAS

FOUNDED IN 1992 AND WINNER OF THE EXPORT AWARDS ALBERTA 2015 CLEAN TECHNOLOGY AWARD, NELSON ENVIRONMENTAL CLEANS UP CONTAMINATED SITES, SPECIALIZING IN THE THERMAL REMEDIATION OF SOIL THAT IS CONTAMINATED WITH ORGANIC COMPOUNDS, LIKE PETROLEUM HYDROCARBONS, PESTICIDES AND OTHER CHEMICALS.

“I always look for the upside to negatives,” Nelson laughs, “and I’m so thankful to have gone through so much struggle. It made us what we are today, and it’s why we can step abroad with confidence.”

Chinese market as well as in the Middle East”, says Nelson. “We also have projects across the United States, including a record size project in North Dakota–the largest soil remediation project in North America.

Founded in 1992 and winner of the Export Awards Alberta 2015 Clean Technology award, Nelson Environmental cleans up contaminated sites, specializing in the thermal remediation of soil that is contaminated with organic compounds, like petroleum hydrocarbons, pesticides and other chemicals.

“We can take our hard-learned lessons to foreign jurisdictions, who are at their beginning, to help them avoid mistakes and bring them up to speed. All of the companies here in Alberta have homegrown expertise, and that’s valuable. We’ve developed unique skill sets that no other corporations have developed. We need to take it abroad so we can grow and diversify in the market, and so we can capitalize on that expertise–for the company, for the employees, for job security, and to get other districts up to speed.

“Our value is clean dirt no doubt,” Nelson explains. “We sell certainty, and with our aggressive, robust technology, we are able to clean up contaminated sites, eliminating our clients’ liability, and giving them back clean soil at the end of their project.” Nelson Environmental specializes in large-scale remediation projects in both urban and remote locations, but part of its ongoing developments have included mobilizing to contaminated sites anywhere in the world, particularly to extreme climates like the Canadian Arctic or the tropics. Now the company’s recent investment in research and development is taking that skill set and developing it for the foreign market. “The work we’ve done throughout North America and the experience we’ve gained provides us with great value in the

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

“Alberta has had one of the world’s most successful exporting industries, but it’s based too much in raw resources like oil, lumber and wood. Export of skill sets,” Nelson suggests instead, “offers true wealth creation. By marketing experience, no resources are leaving the country, and we are coming home with further experiences which are further marketable. “It’s a win-win in terms of providing wealth for Albertans and being recognized for the innovations we are delivering abroad,” Nelson concludes. “We see revenue coming into Canada without resources leaving–what could be better?”


A T S OU R E B N

AL Group of Companies

D

EXTERIORS PROPERTIES

FRAMING ROOFING

Photo by EPIC Photography Inc.

Kirby Anderson, Kevin Morris and Dean Ransom.

Alberta Sound Exteriors: Edmonton’s One-Stop Exterior Shop By Nerissa McNaughton

H

e was the son of a fisherman who didn’t realize he was an entrepreneur. All he had was an idea, but within a few short years that idea had blossomed to impact all of the Capital Region. It all started on July 15, 2005, with a man named Kirby Anderson.

They say if you love something, make it your passion – so launching Alberta Sound Exteriors was a labour of love. Prior to working as an installer, Anderson studied commerce and auto mechanics, and the only construction experience he had was helping his dad build a boat and a house when he was kid.

“I was a siding installer by profession,” recalls Anderson. “I had two older brothers in the industry and I had worked for two other siding companies. I thought to myself, why not give it a shot and try it out on my own.”

“I didn’t know how to read a tape measure properly or lift a ladder!” he laughs, “But I quickly fell in love with the trade, working outdoors and every four to six days going to a new job site. The reward of completing something from start to finish was a phenomenal feeling.” He had found his calling.

Alberta Sound Exteriors | 10 Years | 1

77


The Lee Ridge Valley townhouses get a classy, modern update.

Anderson credits his tenacity to parents, and there is a funny story as to why. Anderson hails from Aylmer Sound, Quebec, and his parents are Howard and Patsy Anderson. You might recognize those names from the news. Howard and Patsy are the only two people left in town. In 2008 the government shut down Aylmer Sound and relocated the citizens. Howard and Patsy decided they didn’t want to leave – so they didn’t. As their neighbours packed up and left, one by one, they held their ground. Now the town is empty except for the two of them, and Anderson couldn’t be prouder of his parents for holding on tightly to their dream of staying where they put down (unshakable) roots. Anderson opened his company in July – and promptly felt the sting every new company owner in a competitive industry falls prey to. Nobody wanted to take a chance on the new guy. A few months later, however, Lincolnberg Communities gave him a call, and the rest is history.

“Lincolnberg still remains one of our top tier customers due to their loyalty and their business practices. We’ve since built up many great customers since 2005, but Lincolnberg holds a special place in my heart due to their loyalty and giving us a chance,” smiles Anderson. From there it was rapid growth fuelled by successful projects and a growing reputation in the industry. Kevin Morris came on as a part owner in 2012 to lead the roofing division, after working for Anderson since 2008. Dean Ransom, the president of the framing division, joined in 2013. With exterior cladding roofing and framing departments all under one roof, Alberta Sound Exteriors became the place in Edmonton where you could expect consistent quality and workmanship across an entire building envelope project. “We are an exterior finishing company with the philosophy that we do each house as if it were our own, and our ultimate

DOHERTY SCHULDHAUS LLP BARRISTERS & SOLICITORS

Congratulations on your

10 Anniversary th

AB Sound Group of Companies!

Minimizing Taxes, Maximizing Profits www.skolneyandco.com 780.469.1381 2 | Alberta Sound Exteriors | 10 Years

Congratulations to AB Sound Group of Companies on your

10 years of Success!

MILL WOODS TOWN CENTRE PROFESSIONAL BUILDING #219, 6203 – 28th Avenue Edmonton, Alberta

Phone: 780-450-1106


10 years “We strive to set industry standards through the Siding Contractors Association of Alberta and through the Alberta Allied Roofing Association. We continue to set installation and safety standards throughout the city and the province.” ~ Kirby Anderson goal is to protect the best investment of most people’s lives,” says Anderson with pride. “We continue to work with each customer, architect and designer to be innovative with both established and new and exciting products. We strive to set industry standards through the Siding Contractors Association of Alberta and through the Alberta Allied Roofing Association. We continue to set installation and safety standards throughout the city and the province.”

Giving families a place to put down

Giving a 57place rootsfamilies in Alberta for years. to put down roots in toAlberta Congratulations AB Sound Group of Companies on fortheir 57continued years.years of Success!

livebrookfield.com

The progress Alberta Sound Exteriors has made is truly remarkable when you consider their greatest challenge. “The exterior roofing, siding and framing industry continues to be an unspecified trade. If you’re a good salesman, you can create a false sense of trust,” admits Anderson. “When we are looking for workers, we get a lot people that are unqualified, but because there are no industry guidelines, they come to us with the impression that they are God’s gift to siding! We constantly fight between finding good, qualified installers and having the public realize that not just anyone can do this job. “Right now we are considered ‘unskilled’ labour, and that designation creates a false sense of qualification. Through the lack of government and insurance companies’ due diligence, there is an unfortunate cycle of poor workmanship. Anyone can slap a name on the side of a truck and go into the business. This is where the perception of the ‘bad contractor’ comes from.” Both Morris and Ransom agree that a big priority is only hiring workers who can do the job properly, safely, and fit in with the company’s teamwork culture. “I am quick to let prospective workers know if they are not qualified to our standards. As a result, the installers we do have are very skilled at what they do,” says Morris. “Even when we have lots of projects on the go and are getting hounded to send someone quickly to site, we don’t send just anyone. We always focus on quality first. We strive for 100 per cent customer satisfaction and don’t want to have any unhappy customers in the end. We do what it takes to make and do everything right.”

WESTERN ONE WOULD LOVE TO CONGRATULATE AB SOUND GROUP OF COMPANIES. WE LOOK FORWARD TO MANY MORE YEARS OF DOING BUSINESS TOGETHER!

Boom Lifts | Telehandler Forklifts | Scissor Lifts Operator Training | Heating Solutions Temporary Power | Fuel Services

WWW.WESTERNONE.CA

Alberta Sound Exteriors | 10 Years | 3


Photo by EPIC Photography Inc.

Ransom agrees. “The best employees for us are the ones that show up every day and work hard,” he adds.

“First at Making Buildings Last”... Since 1986 Wade Engineering Ltd. Congratulates AB Sound Group of Companies on 10 years of Excellence!

The co-owners know the only way to consistently please their clients is to work safely as one cohesive team. “Continuously, from day one, we promote the idea of family to each of the staff members, in the field and in the office. We are all partners and there is no ‘I’ in team. It’s always WE. We are in this together and we are all aiming for the same goal. In fact, if I could tell my clients one thing, it is that we strive to make you happy and we achieve this as a team,” says Anderson firmly.

BUILDING ENVELOPE CONSTRUCTION SPECIALISTS RESERVE FUND PROFESSIONALS www.wadeengineering.com | inquiry@wadeengineering.com

780-486-2828 Condition Reports & Technical Audits | Specifications & Drawings Inspections of Work in Progress | Reserve Fund Studies

4 | Alberta Sound Exteriors | 10 Years

ROOFMART would like to congratulate AB Sound Group of Companies on their 10th ANNIVERSARY! www.roofmart.ca


Exterior & Roofing Centre Inc. would like to congratulate...

PREMIUM SOFFIT & SIDING

“Edmonton’s new home and renovation specialists since 2005”

On... 10 YEARS!!! Partners in Exterior Perfection for over a decade!

Congratulations Kirby and all your staff for a decade of success and, commitment to quality products and workmanship.

WWW.MITTENBP.COM Alberta Sound Exteriors | 10 Years | 5


Expert roofing and exterior cladding in a residential application.

Ransom adds, “Teamwork is even more important now that we have the three divisions. Sometimes we all are doing our jobs (roofing, framing and siding) on the same project. We are looking forward to doing more of that together.”

“I thought it was a job for myself as my own boss,” says Anderson. “I soon realized I entered into a new lifestyle. You give everything to make it a success. It does get a little easier, but it’s a lifestyle. Your family and friends suffer as you strive to make a financially stable business.”

Safety is another priority – and another accomplishment – for the company. Alberta Sound Exteriors can proudly boast of having no lost time incidences.

“Yes, you buy yourself a new life,” Morris agrees. “It’s a full-time grind. We eat, sleep and breathe what we do.”

July 15, 2015, was the 10-year anniversary of Alberta Sound Exteriors, and the three owners have a lot of fun in retracing their journey together.

It may be hard, time-consuming work, but the men love getting up in the morning to work with each other, the team and do what they do best.

Congratulations

Shoemaker AB Sound Group of Companies on 10 years of success!

We are proud to be a part of your team and take pride in building the community together… Calgary 403-291-1013

Edmonton 780-463-7413

Lethbridge 403-328-3535

Grande Prairie 780-567-4131

Red Deer 403-341-6664

6 | Alberta Sound Exteriors | 10 Years

Medicine Hat 403-526-4456

Cranbrook 250-489-3640

Winnipeg 204-633-8747

Regina 306-545-5535

Kelowna 250-491-7570


10 years The owners also realize the importance of remaining agile to the changing needs of the city. For example, during the last building boom, several large residential developments were improperly waterproofed, and this led to countless problems with water entry, mould and rot. “I love working for Kirby,” Ransom smiles. He had started his division with one crew of three tradesmen. Now he has 18 on his team. “I live for working with wood and have been doing it since I was 17.” The owners also realize the importance of remaining agile to the changing needs of the city. For example, during the last building boom, several large residential developments were improperly waterproofed, and this led to countless problems with water entry, mould and rot. Alberta Sound Exteriors is restoring some of these projects, enabling the residents to live in safety and comfort. The company is adept at both new, renovation and remedial construction. When Alberta Sound Exteriors is not busy expertly cladding buildings, you will find them giving back to the community with their expertise and their time. For example, one of their recent charitable projects included donating materials and labour for the Wellspring Edmonton cancer support centre. When Wellspring opens in the fall of this year, it will offer a nurturing environment for those in the city undergoing cancer treatments. With just over 10 years in business and countless productive ones ahead, and with the three divisions in place working seamlessly together, everyone at Alberta Sound Exteriors looks forward to the next evolution of the company: being the one-stop provider for roofing, framing and exterior cladding.

Congratulations to

Alberta Sound Group of Companies on 10 years of success!

All three owners wish to say thank you to their office and field staff, their families who have supported them on every step of the way, and their customers – those who took a chance on them in the early days and those who have recently come on board. They appreciate them all. “Our family, staff and clients are part of the team. We would be nowhere without them. Thank you for your ongoing support and partnerships.”

What’s in a name? When it came time to give the company a name, Kirby Anderson was adamant about having “Alberta” as part of it because he is fiercely patriotic and loyal to the province in which he lives. After tossing out the idea of Alberta Sound Siders (abbreviate that and you will see why) he and his team felt Alberta Sound Exteriors conveyed the right message – an Alberta company that provides sound exteriors to ensure safe, warm and efficient dwellings. It was the perfect fit. A little too perfect. Sometimes they have to tell callers that they don’t sell stereos.

Alberta Sound Exteriors | 10 Years | 7


CONGRATULATIONS FROM

KENROC BUILDING MATERIALS and CRC

TO ALBERTA SOUND EXTERIORS ON 10 YEARS OF INDUSTRY EXCELLENCE www.canroof.com 8 | Alberta Sound Exteriors | 10 Years

www.kenroc.com


Congratulations

AB Sound on

10 Years! Lux Panel Advantages

Creative, high-quality, beautiful exterior finishes for Carrington Communities’ Elements Windermere project. Credit: Carrington Communities.

If you are interested in a team that works safely, efficiently, and holds themselves to the highest quality standards, look no further than Alberta Sound Exteriors. This is the team with the attitude, knowledge, and skills to take any building envelope project to the next level; and they’ve proved this time and time again.

BERTA SOU

AL Group of Companies ND FRAMING ROOFING

The Warmth of Natural Wood

Dark Cherry

Fir

Textured Coffee

Cedar

Dark AshCoffe

e

Aged Copper

EXTERIORS PROPERTIES

6235 Wagner Road, Edmonton, AB T6E 4N4 tel: (780) 430-9353 • fax: 780-430-9392 absoundexteriors.com

www.luxpanel.ca Alberta Sound Exteriors | 10 Years | 9


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