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Living My Life

BY MY DESIGN

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CANDICE ROOKES, THE CO-FOUNDER OF RECRUITMENT PARTNERS, AND THE NEW PRESIDENT OF EO EDMONTON, SHARES WHAT SHE HAS LEARNED IN BUSINESS AND IN LIFE



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INNOVATIVE BUSINESS TO YOU BY CANADIAN

Jodi McDonald President, Keystone Labs Inc. The success is also due in part to Keystone Lab’s commitment to customer care, something McDonald uses to distinguish the lab amongst the competition.

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eystone Labs is a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) lab providing analytical and microbiological testing for the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, nutraceutical, medical device and cannabis industries in Canada. “I founded Keystone Labs in 2005,” says Jodi McDonald, president. “I was in the biotechnology industry in Alberta and saw an opportunity to provide a service to the province’s growing biotechnology sector.” She continues, “When I was working in the biotech sector, I noticed that much of the testing that needed to be contracted out was being sent to Eastern Canada or into the U.S.. I had worked in a number of labs and felt like this was an exciting opportunity to do something I loved. “Providing testing solutions for people who are innovating new cutting edge products is always exciting. We get to work with a wide variety of people and projects; every day is different. Even with my best laid plans, I never know what might happen the next time the phone rings or the front door opens. Every night when I go home, I am excited about getting back to work to find out what the next opportunity might be.” McDonald credits her team for Keystone Lab’s success. “For me, on a personal level, I have been tremendously lucky to work with an innovative team who love science as much as I do.”

“The experience that I had with contract test labs prior to starting Keystone was testing as a black box; I sent samples in, and magically I got sent data,” she explains. “There was no connection of the data to the process or the product, and this often left me with more questions than answers. At Keystone Labs, we put the data into the context of our clients’ process so they can use the data as a tool to monitor the quality of their products, ensure that the process is consistent, and recognize when everything is in a state of control. We believe in going beyond the data.” McDonald is pleased to be a co-inventor of a cannabis testing product for home growers, calling this innovation her “biggest accomplishment.” The cannabis industry is still in its infancy in Canada, unlike in other countries around the world. This can be challenging at times. “We are always ensuring that we are up-to-date with the regulations here in Canada and elsewhere in the world where our clients are working,” McDonald says, “The rewarding part of what we do is seeing our partners’ success with their products.” “Innovation can be tremendously rewarding, but it is a long road,” McDonald concludes. “Having a plan for moving a project forward is critical but having the flexibility to respond to changes is just as important. My best advice for women entrepreneurs is to work with people that you enjoy. The team that you assemble, the clients that you work with, the professionals that you rely on to support you – this is your community and they support you in the good times and sustain you when things are difficult.” Learn more at www.keystonelabs.ca.


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Val Fearon CEO, Custom Coatings International

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ince 2017, Custom Coatings International has used exclusive coating solutions to extend the longevity and durability of metal parts, tools and other components. The coatings prevent corrosion, erosion and wear. Innovation is a big part of what the team at Custom Coatings does; there is seldom a need where they can’t find or create a solution. The solutions Custom Coatings International offers include polymer coatings, sand/bead blasting, industrial coatings, fire protection coatings, thermal sprays and heat treatments. “I like providing solutions to end users to help improve efficiently in their own life,” says Fearon. “While we haven’t created new coatings (we offer coatings developed for our exclusive use) we are known for being early adopters of new technology for application and deployment of the products.” When Fearon became the CEO of Custom Coatings she interpreted innovation in a different way. Being a female entrepreneur is difficult at the best of times – in a male dominated industry it is even more challenging. Her solution was to bring more women into leadership roles. “I’m proud to say we have a very female dominate company,” Fearon smiles. “Out of our 25 employees, 20 are female and most have been with me for over seven years. I have an incredible, amazing group that I work with in such a heavily male dominated industry, and that’s awesome. Initially we had

a lack of contacts since we lacked access to some networking opportunities. Custom Coatings overcome this by aligning with amazing people and letting the work speak for itself. Our certifications and end results prove what we can do.” The certifications include ISN® Member Contractor, COR, ISO 9001:2015 and NACE® International Certified Coating Inspector. Fearon also uses innovation to apply their products in ways outside of the traditional streams. For example, after trying to find an impact crate strong enough for her large dog, and realizing one didn’t exist locally, she helped develop a coating for dog crates to fill the need for herself and other pet owners. That’s not all the active entrepreneur does. “I’m taking a laser technology course, opening a hair salon and medi-spa in South Edmonton Common (Flawless Beauty & Body Boutique Inc.) and partnering with a welding/ fabrication shop to add another layer of service to Custom Coatings International,” the ambitious businesswoman says. When asked how she does it, Fearon has a very straightforward answer, “Failure is not an option.” She concludes with advice for other women in business, saying, “Don’t be scared to dream. Go after it!” Learn more at www.cintl.ca.


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

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Reduce – Reuse – Return By John Liston

Alberta Manufacturers Need to Watch the Net Zero Drive By David MacLean

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Edmonton Chamber of Commerce

CONTENTS COVER FEATURE

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Living My Life by My Design Candice Rookes, the co-founder of Recruitment Partners, and the new president of EO Edmonton, shares what she has learned in business and in life By Nerissa McNaughton

ON OUR COVER: ABOVE: CANDACE ROOKES PHOTO SOURCE: EPIC PHOTOGRAPHY INC.

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Titan Flooring

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Celebrates 15 Years

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B OMA Edmonton News Fall 2021

The Return to the Workplace Workplace return plans require empathy, structural shifts and flexibility By Natalie Noble

E  dmonton: For Rent Positive prospects By John Hardy

Opportunities for all in Parkland County By Nerissa McNaughton

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REDUCE – REUSE – RETURN // JOHN LISTON

Reduce – Reuse – Return BY JOHN LISTON, VICE PRESIDENT, ALBERTA ENTERPRISE GROUP

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must admit I’m one of those people who has trouble remembering what all the acronyms mean. ESG, CCUS, and the list goes on. As one business owner suggested once he discovered what Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) meant, “Isn’t that the stuff we’ve been doing all along?” Let’s back up even one step further, could you describe what greenhouse gas emissions are and how they are produced? How they actually harm the environment? Where does carbon dioxide and carbon fit in? Are they good or bad? I guess I should have paid attention to the periodic table a little more closely in chemistry class. If you have those figured out, then explain net zero, carbon neutral, carbon footprint or blue hydrogen versus green or pink hydrogen. Over the last few months as the restrictions have been lifted and businesses have had a chance to re-open (or not), Danielle Smith and I have been speaking to hundreds of businesses. What is amazing is the mindset of the business owners. Clearly the environment and net zero are a focus for businesses. They understand their social responsibility, and they could teach courses to governments on governance. Businesspeople get it, and from my experience they always have. At AEG we are excited to see the development of technology and expertise in how to turn what was considered bad into good. Utilization is the ‘U’ in CCUS. Can we utilize carbon as a feed stock instead of considering it a waste product? Absolutely. Carbon fibre for example is five times stronger than steel and twice as stiff. It is lighter than steel, making it the ideal manufacturing material for many parts. Methane, which is CH₄, can be broken down to hydrogen, a much sought-after energy source, and then the carbon can be reused for carbon fibre.

There are so many brilliant minds creating solutions because that is what entrepreneurs do. They see a problem and want to solve it. There is an emerging view with entrepreneurs in the energy sector that the hydrocarbon industry needs to transform, not transition, by treating emissions in a circular fashion. We can reduce emissions by retrofitting homes and buying zero emissions vehicles, including hydrogen cars, which are some of the ideas mentioned in the report. We can reuse emissions by capturing carbon dioxide and turning it into useful products such as carbon fibre, cement, industrial minerals, ethylene and propylene. Demonstration projects already exist that are doing this. And we can return emissions underground by either capturing from the air – a process being developed by carbon engineering – or capturing them at source – a process pioneered at Boundary Dam in Saskatchewan – and storing it underground. We’ve spoken to Mike Monea, the global expert for CCS deployment behind the Boundary Dam project, and he tells us Alberta likely has enough capacity to capture all of Canada’s emissions and more. Imagine that? We could start charging the rest of Canada and even the rest of the world for the service of capturing and storing their emissions. Wind and solar are not carbon neutral until concrete, steel, fibreglass, crystalline silicon, rare earth minerals, metals like copper and aluminum, and heavy equipment transportation are carbon neutral. Let’s quit with this make-believe world of just turn off the taps on energy for the world and begin to practically apply these three important words reduce – reuse – return.

JOHN LISTON IS VICE PRESIDENT OF ALBERTA ENTERPRISE GROUP.

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ALBERTA MANUFACTURERS NEED TO WATCH THE NET ZERO DRIVE // DAVID MACLEAN

Alberta Manufacturers Need to Watch the Net Zero Drive BY DAVID MACLEAN

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he biggest long-term trend in global manufacturing is the drive for net-zero emissions. Alberta manufacturers (large and small), ignore it at their peril.

This is part of a broader push for measurable environment, social and governance (ESG) plans. Everywhere you look, Canadian companies are signalling their intent to achieve net-zero status within the next 30 years. Ford Canada’s Oakville Assembly Complex is retooling its global hub for battery electric vehicle production. This $1.8 billion investment represents one of the most significant investments in the province’s auto sector in a generation. Vale has committed to investing around US$2 billion in renewable energy over the next 10 years to support and bring solutions to the low carbon economy. Rio Tinto plans to spend $1 billion on climate-related projects in Canada and abroad to reduce absolute emissions by 15 per cent by 2030. Cenovus continues to work on solvent co-injection technology in the oil sands and is part of the Oil Sands Pathway to Net Zero alliance, which plans to reduce oil sands emissions by 68 megatonnes of CO2 over the next 30 years. The first phase of the plan includes a massive carbon capture and storage trunkline connecting the oil sands to a carbon sequestration hub near Cold Lake. These are the titans of Canadian industry and they are responding to demands from policy makers (including the Alberta government), shareholders, employees and the communities in which they operate. Inevitably, they will turn

to their suppliers for similar actions and that’s why small and medium-sized companies need to follow closely. For the overall sector, net zero does not mean the full elimination of all emissions. The goal is to, through wide range of actions, both reduce and offset the GHG emissions of the sector through measures such as tree planting or employing technologies that can capture carbon before it is released into the air. Manufacturers have been moving in the right direction for decades. The sector’s emissions intensity, defined as the volume of emissions per unit of real GDP, has also been improving, especially over the last 10 years, declining at an average annual rate of 2.1 per cent between 2009 to 2019. Both these trends will need to continue if we are going to hit our targets. If we want Canadian industry to succeed in achieving net zero in the medium term and maintain economic growth, manufacturers will need national and provincial plans. That could mean direct investment supports for emitters of all sizes to help them adopt new technologies. Canada will need to develop transition strategies with our key trading partners to ensure we are aligned and simply don’t push emissions (and jobs) to competing jurisdictions with lower standards. Achieving net zero won’t be easy, but it will be necessary. Edmonton manufacturers need to stay ahead of the curve or risk being left behind. Policy makers must be at the table ready to support them.

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Tim J. Latimer Retires as CEO of Cashco Financial Inc. Lindsay Dodd Named CEO and Tim Latimer transitions to Board Director & Founder Early summer, Cashco’s Board announced that Tim Latimer will be retiring as chief executive officer; the Board has named Lindsay Dodd, previously a Cashco board director, as the organization’s new CEO. Latimer continues to participate in the organization as a board director and founder. “We are enormously proud of what we have achieved thus far and what we will achieve in the future. Cashco has such a talented team of innovative, compassionate and passionate individuals making a difference in people’s lives every day by breaking down financial barriers for Canadians. While attempting to end financial exclusion our plans will transform not only Cashco, but also our communities and the opportunities for the thousands of people who pass through our doors on the way to their own futures.” – Tim Latimer As Cashco signaled to its stakeholders earlier this year with the release of its inaugural Pathway Report, that they are on a journey. The organization is transitioning their sustainability strategy to better align with social impact frameworks and the UN Sustainable Development Goals guiding the business community over the coming years. Latimer shares, “Cashco is entering a new chapter; the opportunity to take global principles and apply them to our business allows us to demonstrate our continued commitment to social impact. These are exciting times, and I will continue to be a cheerleader for Cashco.” Lindsay joins Cashco as CEO and transitions from his current role as board director. He is also past chair of the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation Board of Trustees, a director with the Edmonton Elks Football Club, and is a member of the Edmonton Executive Committee of the Institute of Corporate Directors. He holds Board positions with two private companies and is the former chair of the board of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. Dodd shared his excitement, “Cashco is founded on the ideals of supporting society in solving their biggest

problems. It has a unique ability to innovate and create solutions to end financial exclusion. The people and culture of Cashco are like a magnet — the positivity and energy that comes from this team draws you in knowing everyone is 100 per cent committed to making a difference. The opportunity to create a positive social impact for underbanked Canadians is immense. I am honoured to take on this role.” Cashco is a champion for the underbanked of Canada. The underbanked are people who do not have access to mainstream banking, are often declined for credit, and depend on alternative financing. Cashco’s Pathway to Using Business as a Force for Good report (Pathway Report) is designed to change the conversation. The Pathway Report aligns Cashco’s business strategy with the overall purpose to provide relief today and hope for tomorrow and demonstrates its commitment to inclusive financing. ABOVE: TIM LATIMER PHOTO SOURCE: EPIC PHOTOGRAPHY INC. SOURCE: CASHCOFINANCIAL.COM

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Innovate Edmonton Welcomes New Innovation Growth Council to Advise on Needs and Trends in Capital City Ecosystem Today, Innovate Edmonton is proud to announce our new Innovation Growth Council – a group of diverse advisors and evangelists from across Edmonton’s innovation spaces. These 14 Council members were selected through an indepth process conducted over several months and will serve as ambassadors and champions for innovation, representing a broad swath of our community. “Innovation is a big tent and Edmonton will benefit from the insights of an Innovation Growth Council that represents our diverse strengths across all sectors of innovation, from tech to sustainability, arts and finance to postsecondary and Indigenous ingenuity,” said Innovate Edmonton CEO Catherine Warren. “Innovate Edmonton convenes industry, academia, entrepreneurs and investors to shape urban transformation, building Edmonton’s innovation ecosystem and the jobs that go with it. I am looking forward to the perspectives that this group of community champions will bring to our Council table.” The volunteer Council is dedicated to advising the CEO and board while exploring and connecting the diverse range of Innovators in Edmonton. Information about the Council and the new Council Members can be found at innovateedmonton.com/innovation-growth-council. Members: • Abby Aiyeleye, Co-Founder, Clavis Studio • Carolyn Campbell, President & CEO, Norquest College • Claire Theaker-Brown, Founder, Unbelts • Connie Stacey, Founder & President, Growing Greener Innovations • Gail Powley, President, Technology Alberta • Ghalia Aamer, CEO, TalkMaze/University of Alberta student representative • Jacquelyn Cardinal, Co-founder & Managing Director, Naheyawin • Jason Suriano, Founder & CEO, TIQ Software • Karra-Lee Gerrits, VP Strategy & Business Development, Protein Industries Canada • Keenan Pascal, Founder & CEO, Token Naturals • Lana Cuthbertson, Founder & CEO, Areto Labs

• Pilar Martinez, CEO, Edmonton Public Library • Ron Mills, CEO, Tevosol • Sandra Stabel, VP Innovation, HelpSeeker Technologies The creation of the Council comes at an important time for Innovate Edmonton as the new organization supports the City of Edmonton’s post-pandemic recovery and efforts to build long-term economic resiliency. Innovate Edmonton is focused on promoting entrepreneurship, experimentation and encouraging greater economic growth through a healthy and inclusive ecosystem. The Council will play a key role in connecting Innovate Edmonton with diverse innovators and establishing a more holistic innovation inventory in Edmonton. They will also advise Innovate Edmonton on inclusive programming, identify supports to unlock innovators’ potential and advance creative ways to tell Edmonton’s fresh success stories. About Innovate Edmonton Headquartered in Alberta’s capital city: Innovate Edmonton leverages, unites, and promotes home-grown innovation as a gateway to solving the world’s most pressing problems. We harness the power of the public and private sectors, ground-breaking academic research, and purpose-driven investment to build a shared prosperity and open international markets. From sustainable climate solutions to public health and digital education, Edmonton is a leading global centre for inspiration, ingenuity and inclusion. SOURCE: INNOVATE EDMONTON

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LIVING MY LIFE BY MY DESIGN // COVER

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LIVING MY LIFE BY MY DESIGN // COVER

Living My Life

BY MY DESIGN

CANDICE ROOKES, THE CO-FOUNDER OF RECRUITMENT PARTNERS, AND THE NEW PRESIDENT OF EO EDMONTON, SHARES WHAT SHE HAS LEARNED IN BUSINESS AND IN LIFE

BY NERISSA MCNAUGHTON

C

andice Rookes knows how to make things happen. As a co-founder of Recruitment Partners Inc., she helped build a business that now has offices in both Edmonton and Calgary. She’s also president of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Edmonton, as the second female leader to hold that title. “In 2011, Joe Gagliardi, Kathy Fayad and I started Recruitment Partners at our kitchen tables,” says Rookes. “Six months later we leased an office and hired a receptionist. Every month we grew a little more.” Recruitment Partners offers vetted permanent, contract and temporary placement recruitment in addition to a career centre to help recruits with resumes, interview skills and offers. The company also provides executive search for senior leadership positions. “We get it!” says Rookes of Recruitment Partners’ services. “Finding the right fit for your business is no simple task. It is time consuming and sometimes painful. Our goal is not to only meet your expectations, but to exceed them. It’s simple; we must source you a more superior candidate than who you could find on your own for free, or our fee is unwarranted. From identifying strong, qualified candidates, to supporting you throughout the selection process and providing ongoing advice through our collaborative consultative approach, we offer a simply unparalleled experience. Whether you are a locally owned startup on your way to the top, already a wellestablished organization or a Fortune 500 firm, we have the solution for you.”

Rookes thinks back on the drivers of Recruitment Partners’ growth. “When we decided to start our own business, we never thought ‘what if it doesn’t work… what is the backup plan?’ This was the plan, this was what we were going to do, and there wasn’t a second thought.” However, the growth, especially during 2020, wasn’t without challenges. “Hands down the COVID crisis was our biggest challenge to date,” admits Rookes. “In 24 hours we went from ‘if we had to lay off’ to ‘we are laying off some of our team today.’ It was insane, frightening, emotional and a whole bunch of other things all wrapped into one. We have an amazing team and had to lay off people that we had just hired. I hope it is something we never have to endure again. We have come out the other side, much better for it, but COVID left a scar. “However, our greatest challenge was also our biggest opportunity and learning curve. Pre-COVID, I would have never said we could grow our business and take it to the next level while retaining the small company, personalized feel that we have with our employees, candidates and clients; but, during 2020 we launched our executive search and expanded into other parts of Canada and into the U.S., as we found working remotely allowed us to do so very effectively.” Executive search service was launched to align with clients that were looking for more than recruitment and needed executive leadership level candidates. Rookes continues, “We

ABOVE: CANDACE ROOKES PHOTO SOURCE: EPIC PHOTOGRAPHY INC.

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LIVING MY LIFE BY MY DESIGN // COVER

expected it would take a little time to get off the ground, but to our pleasant surprise it took off faster than we anticipated, and we continue to be exceeding our expectations.” Always agile, Recruitment Partners works with the way the market has changed. It is a constant adaptation of the local market. “The days of employers having all the control over candidates is over. It is a candidate market now and maybe it will be for a very long time. COVID has really put things in perspective for many people. Candidates are not interested in long hours, rigid environments or lack of employee-centric cultures. They want to feel valued, be actively contributing and know they are being heard.” Requirement Partners is up for the challenges of the new market and continues to enjoy building partnerships among employers and job seekers while having a great working environment for their team. “We have the opportunity to change lives every single day in our community. We get to significantly impact the lives of our team, provide them life-changing opportunities and develop them into our future partners and leaders. When it is all said and done, we will leave a legacy – and that’s amazing! We are all about building long-term relationships, no matter what the dollars look like. We always want to do the right thing for our team, our candidates and for our clients.” One way Rookes focuses on building relationships is through the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Edmonton. “In 2012, I had attended a learning conference where I was so underwhelmed by the peer learning experience, the facilitator and the general feel of the room that when I went home, I spent the next couple of hours looking for somewhere, some place or group, where I could learn from and interact with other business owners and be a better leader,” says Rookes. “I wasn’t looking for a typical networking, lead generating group – I wanted more, and I wanted to be challenged. Although I had no idea what I was getting into at the time, I applied to EO, went through their newly developed test drive process and was accepted. “Peer-to-peer learning is a big part of why I chose EO. I have had the privilege of being in the company of very

established and successful entrepreneurs that are all willing to give me their time, lend an ear and most of all not judge my choices. Having said that, peer-to-peer learning is a very small part of what EO can do for each of us. We have the opportunity to be mentored by well-known and influential business owners in our city, pursue a masters in executive education at MIT, participate in the path of leadership at regional and global levels and learn from leaders around the world at global events.” Rookes discusses what she calls EO’s biggest impact, which is providing a safe place to be real in business and to be real in life. “I thought I was going to learn some business strategies, take them to the office and call it a day. Instead, I learned so much more. EO has provided me with a voice and a platform to learn and recognize a dream that I didn’t even know I had. The little things and the smallest conversations at the most unique of times have had the biggest impact on me personally. EO has helped me put things in perspective (especially post COVID) and helped me consider what is important. Now, Rookes has moved from EO member to EO president. “EO has guided me to own my own vulnerability and my courage,” she shares. “Every single EO member that I have had the opportunity to know or interact with and talk to has somehow influenced me and prepared me for the role of President this year. For that I am grateful!

ABOVE: REGIONAL LEADERSHIP ACADEMY.

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LIVING MY LIFE BY MY DESIGN // COVER

“When I joined EO, I thought it would make me a better person in business, but what it really did was open me up to so much more. • Vulnerability – Being myself, having the courage to let people get to know me and be real with them. Being vulnerable is really the power to my success, as it is for all of us. The people that inspire me the most are authentic and vulnerable and REAL! • Empowerment – I encourage my team to bring solutions for issues rather than exacerbate the problems. This, in turn, empowers them and develops them into leaders. By doing that we have developed a very high performing team. • Collaboration – Teams want to be creative and contribute to the success of the organization. Work alongside them and collaborate with them, and great things will be achieved. • Feedback – Honest conversation with positive intent helps each team member build on their strengths and create their own opportunities for growth, and that comes from trust and respect. Feedback is how we grow. • Fun – Remember to have fun along the way and create balance! I am good at the fun part but still working on balance!” For those still thinking about, but have yet to join EO Edmonton, Rookes says, “Stop thinking about it! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Seriously if you are an entrepreneur and want to get outside of your comfort zone, grow, be challenged, be a better spouse, business leader and friend, EO will be transformational.” Rookes notes with a smile, “EO Edmonton remains one of the largest and most successful EO chapters in the Canadian region, not to mention worldwide! I have been on the other side of the world when a group of EOers ran up to us asking ‘are you the Canadians?’ Maybe the ‘Canadian tuxedos’ had something to do with it, but I am telling you, the Edmonton Chapter is well recognized around the world. We are currently celebrating 30 years and a legacy that gets better every year.” Giving back to the community is important to Rookes. Both Recruitment Partners and EO Edmonton align with her charitable values.

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“At Christmas the whole Recruitment Partners team provides gifts for families through Wings. Throughout the year we support our client, Bissel Center, with whatever their greatest need is at the time. We have supported The Shoebox Project, Hope Mission, Winnifred Stewart Association, Edmonton Community Foundation and more. The best part is our team does not have to be coaxed into giving back to the community. They recognize the need and appreciate their own good fortune enough to give back. I love that!” As for EO Edmonton, Rookes shares, “Since we are a member-run organization with 100+ members, it is difficult to align ourselves with any one cause. Having said that, we encourage our members to support and engage in as many charitable interests as they want. Many of our members are heading up charitable causes, volunteer on boards and committees and supporting community initiatives in their own right. This past year, COVID had changed so much about how EO Edmonton interacted with each other with the cancellation of events, that in response we planned an outside event at the Edmonton Valley Zoo and collected food for our local food bank.” Rookes concludes, “EO has been instrumental in my growth as a business leader and has provided me with experiences, courage and education from which I draw on and bring to our business every day. Our team at Recruitment Partners has also been instrumental in the growth of our business. Our greatest strength is our people. We have been fortunate to have the kind of team that we can build our business around. They work hard, play hard and are ferociously protective of our culture. My business partners and our team have built an amazing culture that provides us a clarity of vision and a road map to get us where we want to go and who we want to be.” Where does she want to be in the future? Rookes’ plans include building a house in Mexico as part of her “living my life by my design” strategy and growing her company with the next generation of leaders. For now, however, she’s looking forward to seeing EO members and clients again now that COVID restrictions have eased. Learn more at recruitmentpartners.ca and www. eoedmonton.com.


BONNIE DOON CENTRE – A COMMUNITY HUB RE-IMAGINED

T

he air is alive with excitement, especially at Bonnie Doon Centre and its new Bonnie Doon LRT stop, as the southeast portion of the Valley Line LRT is slated for completion in late 2021. Bonnie Doon Centre has long been more than a shopping mall. It has been a community hub, cherished by community members as a meeting place and a convenient location for retail, grocery, dining, and entertainment amenities. The centre and its many iterations span back decades. “Even though it’s an enclosed shopping centre, it’s very much like a neighbourhood mall,” says Margaret Knowles of Morguard Investments Ltd., and the project manager of the Bonnie Doon Centre project. Residents in the neighbourhood have come to depend on the conveniences in the centre for banking, shopping and entertainment.

The focus on community will remain the focus of the future plans for the site. “The Bonnie Doon community has been so great in the way they relate to the shopping centre, and we don’t want to take that away,” says Knowles. With the development of the LRT station, property managers and stakeholders have plans to develop Bonnie Doon Centre and surrounding properties into a prime mixed-use development. The project is slated to include approximately 3,000 residential units and 1.5 million square feet of commercial space on the site, developed over a 20-30 year time frame. But Morguard is not waiting 20-30 years to start work — they are actively leasing out the existing shopping centre as is and are glad that anchor tenant Safeway has renewed its commitment to remain in the shopping centre. BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // SEPTEMBER 2021

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“We have already started developments to welcome the forthcoming LRT station with a significant project, which includes landscaping the access from the station to the shopping centre to provide pedestrian access, shelter and seating,” says Knowles. The plaza in front of the doors is part of the facelift, including the removal of the telltale Shoppers Drug Mart arch and new updated lighting. The updates are part of the obligation to the City of Edmonton to provide a landing for people getting off the train, but Knowles expects that residents using the train to access the neighbourhoods surrounding the mall will appreciate the access to the shopping centre, especially in the wintertime. The project should wrap up about the same time the station is complete, in the late fall of 2021. MaKami College, the new tenant occupying the entirety of the former Sears space, is pursuing a development permit for a new daycare on-site, and Knowles’ team is working with them to create a beautifully landscaped area for the daycare’s children on the exterior of the facility. Similar to the experiences of other property managers during the pandemic, Knowles found most organizations were not interested in investing in new development. Right now, Morguard is optimistic in the residential market in Edmonton and has been working hard to get site approval to begin construction on the new residential developments. “It’s still early, but the development really speaks to what we heard in our public meetings as to what the

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community is looking for in terms of rental residential accommodation,” says Knowles. The property management team is working hard on both fronts, with the existing shopping centre with current tenants helping them to improve their premises, and ultimately looking at the first residential development. Besides the ingrained loyalty from the community, this site is prime real estate for its location. The proximity to downtown without being in the heart of downtown is something that many young professionals appreciate. Some feel there is a different ambience and style of living and more of a sense of community. With a library, medical facilities and the popular and eclectic Whyte Ave nearby, Bonnie Doon offers something special to residents and businesses alike. “At the end of the day, it is all about location. There is no better location for mixed-use, sustainable development that leverages transit than Bonnie Doon,” says Knowles. “Someone working downtown, or just someone who doesn’t want the commute of living in the suburbs will appreciate being four stops away from downtown and all the conveniences this area has to offer. Moving out of the beehive of downtown, closer to nature with easy access to bike trails, yet minutes away from all that downtown has to offer, makes Bonnie Doon ideal.”


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BOMA BEST GETS EVEN BETTER WITH TWO NEW CERTIFICATIONS FOR SMART BUILDINGS AND CLEAN COMPANIES S ay you’re a business owner looking for a new office location. Sustainability is top of mind, and you’re wondering about the environmentally responsibly of a prospective space. How would you find out? Or, say you’re a building owner or manager, wondering how you can reach your sustainability goals in the interest of climate change, tenant recruitment, and your bottom line. Where do you turn? The answer is BOMA BEST. Standing for Building Environmental Standards, BOMA BEST is Canada’s largest environmental assessment and certification program for existing buildings. Since its inception in 2005, more than 7,000 buildings have obtained certification or recertification

through BOMA BEST. The program has historically been solely focused on sustainability, but BOMA listened to the needs of their members and this year, the program is expanding to include two new certifications. In 2021, they are introducing the world’s first Smart Buildings certification program and the Clean Companies Certification program. The BOMA BEST Certification for Sustainability has become synonymous with education, awareness, hard work, success and excellence. “Sustainability will remain at the core, but we have a ton of industry support and we are very excited to roll out these sister programs across Canada, the United States and Mexico,” says Benjamin J. Shinewald, president and CEO of BOMA Canada. BOMA is a broad-based or“Enterprise” ganization that focuses on broad-based tools. Their focus isn’t just a catch phrase, it’s been our reason for existing since 2003. is not just on the best and peak a stable and of excellence — it is about eduRanchlands offers reliable cating and creating a framework your business for all buildings. The aim is to esenvironment tablish industry standards for building owners and managers to a managed, assess, learn from, and strive toout-sourced IT PARTNER ward. “We fully expect that not all of the buildings or organizations provides value to your company with applying for these certifications are the best-of-the-best,” says Shinewald. “But they want to be assessed and learn where they to provide an affordable, more can make improvements, and reliable, and approach where they compare to other similar buildings or organizations in the industry.” The Smart Building Certification program was inspired by Thano ensuring your systems are available Lambrinos, senior VP of Digital to you when you need them Buildings, Experiences & Innovation at QuadReal Property Group. managing access and backups of your He emphasized the lack of indusdata try standards regarding smart Phone: 780.809.2999 buildings and the importance of a common system of measurestructured cabling equipment sales & installs Managed Services

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ment and reward. Lambrinos and his counterparts across the industry have worked closely with BOMA Canada to do for smart buildings what BOMA has already done for sustainability. The pilot for the Smart Certification program is running in the summer of 2021, with hopes to have the first certifications going out in fall or winter of 2021. BOMA Canada defines smart buildings as, “Creating more informed and streamlined decision-making capabilities through analytics and automation, enabled by sharing information between systems. This enhances wellness, supports sustainable environments, and creates a unique and tailored experience for the users, underpinned by technology.” There are six indicators used for the Smart Building Certification, including:

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The second new program is the BOMA BEST Clean Companies certification. A certification for the janitorial industry, it’s not so much for the buildings, but more for cleaners. As the industry emerges from the impact of the pandemic, it’s safe to say we’ve all gained a deeper appreciation for the importance of cleanliness. “Through the BOMA BEST Clean Companies certification, our owner and manager members can have some comfort, and communicate to their tenants that same comfort of knowing that the companies they’ve hired to clean the buildings meet a specific and high standard,” says Shinewald. The BOMA Clean certification has been an idea in the peripheral for a few years. To finally launch the pilot is exciting. For a janitorial service to be BOMA Certified gives property owners and managers peace of mind, but also a clear indicator to tenants of the standards being adhered to for their spaces. It’s also a competitive advantage for cleaning companies. “This certification is different for BOMA because the target is the cleaning companies and not the building owners and managers,” Shinewald says. “The other major difference is that it is a binary program — there are no levels; you either meet the standard or you don’t.”

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Certifications are expected to be out as early as this fall, and even if the building itself is not BOMA BEST Certified, one may see the familiar sticker in the window that the building is cleaned by a BOMA BEST Clean Service provider. Like BOMA BEST and BOMA BEST Smart, BOMA Canada has defined the key indicators for the BOMA BEST Clean certification, such as: 7.

Business information

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THE RETURN TO THE WORKPLACE // CORPORATE HEALTH & WELLNESS

The Return

TO THE WORKPLACE WORKPLACE RETURN PLANS REQUIRE EMPATHY, STRUCTURAL SHIFTS AND FLEXIBILITY

BY NATALIE NOBLE

A

s more Edmonton professionals head back to the workplace this fall, businesses are finding there’s no one way to roll out their plans. For leaders working to support teams and individuals through all this transformation, it’s all about understanding, structural shifts and flexibility. Lucie Martineau, director of People and Culture at Showbie, has seen incredible growth with the education-based app. “We’ve grown organically in team size over the years, always keeping headquarters based in Edmonton,” she says. “In March 2020 we had approximately 29 employees and our company culture was based around being in our office in that start-up vibe. When the pandemic hit, everyone went remote.” Not surprisingly, Showbie experienced a surge in demand for their product given pandemic-related restrictions. That summer, they closed a Series A investment round and extensions for a total $12.5 million (CAD) with Vancouver’s Rhino Ventures. It’s allowed the team to grow globally to 90 international employees today. “It’s changed the dynamic of what our team looks like and how we operate,” says Martineau. At Optimum Talent’s Edmonton market office, managing director Tricia Mullen and her colleagues had the capability for flexible and remote work, but prior to the pandemic most executives worked at the office or out at client locations. “I don’t know that people necessarily felt as comfortable taking advantage of the opportunity in the past,” says Mullen.

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The integrated talent management company with offices across Canada was acquired by Gallagher in early 2020. Aside from the initial weeks of pandemic restrictions, Optimum Talent continued to have an executive presence in the office according to individual choice. Each employee’s comfort level continues to guide the process as more return to the office. “We care about our people and what they want,” says Mullen. “We also collaborate when it better meets the needs of our client.” Jodi Edmunds, director of Employee & Labour relations at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) remembers this adjustment period well. Approximately 2,200 academic, non-academic, management and other staff typically worked in-person on NAIT’s various campuses prior to the pandemic. “The pandemic-related changes came as we were finishing up our term in April of that year so [we had] six weeks in instruction left,” says Edmunds. “We had a massive shift to move most of our instruction to an online format so instructors and students could complete the semester.” Four months of solid summer planning allowed NAIT to build their traditional in-person learning into an online platform. This fall, they continue to work towards a distributed work model as the path to their future on-campus structure. “This is going to be a gradual transition,” says Edmunds. “We’re not going to be flipping a switch where suddenly everyone who’s been working from home goes back to the way things were pre-pandemic this fall.” One of the biggest challenges is meeting the need for collaboration and addressing clients’ and students’ inperson needs.


Showbie’s staff of IT professionals were capable to work remotely pre-pandemic but they preferred to work in-office. “Working collaboratively had really fed into our company culture and connected us. We didn’t know what a hybrid work environment might look like for us,” says Martineau. Similarly, Optimum Talent has always been people and clientcentric with a collaborative work structure. “This is more difficult to facilitate when you’re not hearing one another talk and listening to how people are dealing with day-today work challenges,” says Mullen. Working team-by-team and projectby-project, safety and client needs remain priorities. At NAIT, avoiding in-person interaction made on-campus lab and shopwork challenging. It was completed on-campus depending on student and program requirements, and only when essential. “We instituted health and safety protocols according to the Alberta Government’s guidelines and [saw] much smaller numbers than our normal activity,” says Edmunds. With unknowns around plans for young children who spent last year at home, employers understand there will be challenges reconfiguring people’s workdays. “We want to encourage them to do their job from whatever space works best for them and their families ¬– whether it’s at home, the office or even wanting some

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THE RETURN TO THE WORKPLACE // CORPORATE HEALTH & WELLNESS

workdays from vacation, that works for us,” says Martineau. “This has been very well received.” Optimum Talent conducted in-house training to reinforce the importance in mindfulness around what others might be going through. “Your reality may not be everyone’s reality,” says Mullen. “You may be extremely comfortable coming back into the office. Others may be taking care of a medically fragile person, perhaps they rely on public transit to get to and from work, or they may have mental health reasons that make it tougher to come into work.” NAIT put extra promotion into their employee family assistance supports and their headversity mental health wellness app. “This is a resiliency tool and phone app with education for staff and students to remain aware of their wellness and energy management,” says Edmunds. “We’ve had really good uptake of the headversity app amongst our staff.” Having outgrown their workspace just prior to the pandemic, Showbie’s new office opened the second week of July with some restrictions and parameters implemented to test things out. “We’ve created a hybrid setup with some permanent desk spots available to our team members and implemented a hotspot desk booking system for individuals and entire teams to collaborate,” says Martineau.

These flexible work structures may be here to stay. “Collaborative work feeds some people’s energy at work so team interactions at work are great for them,” says Martineau. “On the other end, maybe it’s rolling out of bed in pajamas and getting right to work at home; that’s amazing too. Some people don’t want to work in the office yet and that’s okay. It’s about being flexible for our team and what their needs are. We’re going with the flow for now.” NAIT’s new distributed work model is also based on the evident success flexible work structures have achieved. “We’ll be using this model on a long-term basis. It has less to do with COVID-19 and more to do with the fact that people can do their work in non-traditional ways,” says Edmunds. “The pandemic accelerated the realization that we can all be productive and experience positive gains for the employees and the organization as a whole by working from different locations.” Mullen encourages businesses to use their values and organizational mission as guidance. “For my personal team, they can dig in and work at home or come into the office for more collaboration,” she says. “I encourage them to be mindful and strategic of who’s in the office on which days so they can get the most out of those days. We make it fun, let people know it’s okay to feel anxious and that we look forward to seeing them again. We’re following the direction of our community of staff and clients.” ABOVE: THE PANDEMIC MADE IT CHALLENGING FOR NAIT STUDENTS TO COMPLETE THEIR HANDS-ON LAB AND SHOP WORK BUT LEADERS FOUND A WAY TO FOLLOW HEALTH AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS TO GET THEM ON CAMPUS, ALBEIT IN SMALLER NUMBERS THAN USUAL.

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EDMONTON: FOR RENT // REAL ESTATE

EDMONTON: FOR RENT POSITIVE PROSPECTS

BY JOHN HARDY

T

he new homes, condos and re-sales that are traditionally the focus of the Edmonton real estate market now have an additional market factor: rentals.

Edmonton’s real estate market has been heating up since the end of the spring lockdown and, added to the usual strategy of sales-to-listings ratios, forecasting supply and demand trends, Edmonton is tracking rental stats and investors are catching on to Edmonton rental properties as viable, longterm investments. Patrick Francey and JG Francoeur are executives with the Real Estate Investment Network (REIN), respected as Canada’s most trusted real estate investment, education, analysis, research and strategic leadership resource. “We’ve been very bullish on Edmonton for the past year,” Francey says. “Even before the pandemic hit, we started to see Alberta’s economy recover, offering great investment opportunities in real estate.” Francoeur explains that the pandemic’s impact on the Edmonton rental market was marginal. “Like most of rental markets, once the dust settled from the initial lockdown reactions, Edmonton’s rental market was not really adversely impacted, and overall government stimulus programs such as CERB provided renter households with income needed to pay rent.” According to the most recent (January 2021) CMHC Rental Market Report, slower rental demand due to weaker economic conditions and lower migration combined with higher rental

supply resulted in an increase in the Edmonton rental vacancy rate. Despite the increase in the overall vacancy rate, there was no significant change in average rents. Edmonton’s rental vacancy rate (for a two-bedroom rental) increased 7.4 per cent with an average monthly rent of $1,272.

ABOVE: PATRICK FRANCEY IS AN EXECUTIVE WITH THE REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT NETWORK (REIN).

BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // SEPTEMBER 2021

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EDMONTON: FOR RENT // REAL ESTATE

REIN’S FRANCEY UNDERSCORES THAT, SAYING “IN MOST MARKETS, THE KEY FACTORS ARE THE SAME: EMPLOYMENT CMHC economist Michael Mak explains that, “Vacancy rate increases are largely focused in central Edmonton, around the downtown core, as well as near the University of Alberta. But property operators have opted to compete with nonprice measures such as free amenities and certain months of free rent. Over 90 per cent of recent primary rental growth is in the one- and two-bedroom units.”

GROWTH, SUPPLY AND DEMAND, TENANT

REIN’s Francey underscores that, saying “In most markets, the key factors are the same: employment growth, supply and demand, tenant profile, property type, price point, region. This is what our research team focuses on. Purpose-built multifamily apartment style residential units in Edmonton continue to remain soft, with recent signs of improvement.”

RESIDENTIAL UNITS IN EDMONTON

Stats also show that market conditions continue to be tight in Edmonton’s condominium market. The condo vacancy rate decreased from 2.5 per cent in 2019 to 2 per cent in 2020, mostly due to the increase in demand for condominium apartment units resulting from consumer preferences in the Edmonton CMA.

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PROFILE, PROPERTY TYPE, PRICE POINT, REGION. THIS IS WHAT OUR RESEARCH TEAM FOCUSES ON. PURPOSE-BUILT MULTIFAMILY APARTMENT STYLE CONTINUE TO REMAIN SOFT, WITH RECENT SIGNS OF IMPROVEMENT.” renters. We are still in the early innings of the restrictions loosening and it’s too early to say what the data will show by the end of the third quarter.”

The increase in condo demand is in spite of rents, that were on average, 11.3 per cent higher than those for purpose built rental apartments.

Both Francoeur and Francey agree that Edmonton represents a significant value opportunity where buyers can get more for their dollar than in other markets. “In Edmonton and Calgary, both cities experienced a multi-year decline in real estate prices due to the downturn in the oil and gas economy,” Francey says.

“Edmonton’s condo market is overbuilt and tenants have a lot of selection and options,” Francoeur adds. “On the supply side, investors are having to work harder and be innovative in general to keep maximize rents and keep units rented. Vacancy has stayed relatively consistent depending on property type. Rents were starting to come up pre-pandemic, and then flattened during the pandemic. For well-managed properties, many investors are seeing rents increase.”

“Calgary is recovering price-wise and has caught more attention from investors seeking to purchase single-family detached homes, townhomes, condominiums and duplexes at significantly less cost than in most parts of British Columbia and Ontario. The Edmonton rental market is not as far along as in Calgary,” he adds. “We look at what goes on in Calgary, and we see the future of what will go on with the market in Edmonton.”

Not for competitive stats and rankings but for the purpose of understanding the present and strategizing for future trends and possibilities, most real estate professionals reference and compare Edmonton with other markets.

At the moment, Edmonton offers slightly better opportunities as the average price of a home in the city is about $401,000 versus about $441,000 in Calgary, according Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) figures.

“Ultimately jobs are the key factor,” Francey notes. “Employment attracts immigration or interprovincial migration, creating population growth and demand for rental units. Currently Edmonton’s unemployment remains high, particularly in the service sectors such as retail and restaurants, of which the demographic are commonly

Mak says, “Edmonton, like Calgary, is largely affected by migration, both international and interprovincial, due to job prospects. A sizable student population were affected by pandemic restrictions. Employment in the energy sector continues to be a strong driver in the rental market, with ties to adjacent sectors like construction, engineering and transports.”

SEPTEMBER 2021 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM


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// REAL ESTATE

Alberta’s energy situation impacts the Edmonton rental market. “Yes, oil and gas are still major sources of employment,” Francoeur points out, “but Alberta’s economy continues to show signs of shifting and cities like Edmonton are now less dependent on oil and gas compared to the past. Although the change is slow and momentum and employment prospects do remain connected to the energy sector, the tech industry and new business like the Amazon distribution centre moving into Edmonton are very good news.” The forecasting agrees that Edmonton is a positive prospect for rental properties and real estate investors. “Vacancy has stayed relatively consistent depending on property type. COVID has driven many renters to want and need more space,” Francey says. “Single family detached rental units and townhomes remain in-demand. The key is for these rental units to be updated, well maintained and well managed. “One of the most important components of any investor’s strategy is timing and timeline,” he cautions. “The longer your timeline, the less you need to worry about timing. Only those investors looking for short-term gains need to worry about perfect timing, but they should also be careful because they’re bordering on speculation.” Like other common aspects of Edmonton’s real estate market, there are always unpredictable variables. Forecasts are difficult. “We expect lower vacancy rates into the fall,” Mak says. “With interprovincial travel resuming, and recommendations by the province of Alberta to resume inperson post-secondary classes, demand for rentals should come back. Average rents are expected to be stable and will not see any significant changes until vacancies reach pre-pandemic levels.” Despite the business broadsides of the lockdowns, the outlook for Edmonton rentals is encouraging. “Edmonton – and Alberta overall – can position itself well for future business,” Francey adds with positivity. “The cost of business operation and the cost of living for staff is comparatively low in the Edmonton market and that should attract businesses looking to increase their bottom line. The work-from-home trend sets employees up to work in affordable cities with terrific lifestyle options, like Edmonton.”

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2021 Board of Directors

Chamber Advocacy Yields Results

Board Executive

Chair: Elan MacDonald Vice President (External Relations), University of Alberta Vice Chair: Dennis R. Schmidt Principal, ALTURA Legal Advisory Secretary-Treasurer: Craig Thorkelsson Head of Tax, PCL Constructors Inc. Past Chair: Bryan DeNeve Senior Vice President, Operations, Capital Power Jeffrey Sundquist President & CEO, Edmonton Chamber and World Trade Centre Edmonton

Board Directors

Haydar Al Dahhan President and CEO, Design Works Engineering Aziz Bootwala Managing Principal, Edmonton, Vice President, Business Development, Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning Ltd. Nathan Carter Vice President, Operations Audit, ATCO Jonathan Gallo Managing Partner, Gallo LLP Chartered Professional Accountants Sandy Jacobson Vice President, Richardson Executive Search Annemarie Petrov President and CEO, Francis Winspear Centre for Music Jason Pincock CEO, DynaLIFE Medical Labs

Edmonton Chamber Executive

Scott Channon Director, Marketing and Communications Brent Francis Director, Advocacy and Outreach Christen Rumbles Director, Finance Amin Samji Director, Member Services

Contact

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

T

Jeffrey Sundquist, President & CEO

hroughout the COVID-19 pandemic, your Chamber of Commerce has advocated forcefully and effectively to ensure governments understood just what was happening to your business – and how they might best assist you.

Thanks to our ongoing advocacy around skyrocketing property tax rates, City Council approved two years of zero percent tax increases in 2020 and 2021. You may recall (and have enjoyed) the benefits of the Chamber’s 2020 efforts to have the City support a declaration allowing restaurants to set up patios outside. We were pleased to see the accelerated patio process adopted again this summer, and approval timelines have been, generally, very good. We remain focussed on the City’s permitting system, and finding increased flexibility for other permitting applications. We also saw the federal and provincial governments act on much of our policy in their annual budgets. Alberta invested $3.1 billion in sector-specific growth strategies, which will help to diversify our economy in the years to come. There was also a clear recognition for the need to bring budget experts together to examine Alberta’s revenue streams and find a path forward towards more stable government budgets. In our view, this panel cannot ignore the most challenging question – whether or not Alberta should institute a consumption tax. Federally, we saw a $30 billion commitment to affordable child care and $1.5 billion for rapid housing initiatives, which the Chamber has been calling for since our Forging our Future consultations last fall. The challenges of inaccessible child care were laid bare during the pandemic, and making it more accessible would allow more parents to fully participate in the workforce, boosting our productivity and GDP growth. New funding for rapid housing will be important in building an inclusive economic recovery, as housing is a key factor for breaking the cycle of homelessness. We also saw a $1 billion investment through the Universal Broadband Fund to support rural broadband initiatives. As we can all appreciate – access to high-speed internet is no longer a “nice to have”… it is an essential tool for business success in every category. You may have read our last article discussing the vital importance of reopening the Edmonton International Airport for international travellers. I am pleased to report our advocacy has once again yielded results, and EIA will resume international flights effective August 9th. We will continue to work with our airport partners to help attract U.S. and international flights back to Edmonton, as airlines work to establish their flight schedules. Along with Edmonton Global and EIA, your Chamber advocated and for the creation of the Edmonton Airport Air-Services Opportunities Fund, which has now raised $15M in support of new direct U.S. and international routes. The Government of Canada subsequently committed approximately $25M for airport safety and operations. With employees across the Edmonton Metropolitan Region returning to their physical workplaces in the coming weeks we’re all getting an important dose of normalcy back to our lives. But that does not mean the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic are over and done. Your Chamber will continue to ensure the concerns of business are top-of-mind as Edmontonians and Canadians head to the polls this fall. BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // SEPTEMBER 2021

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TAP INTO NEW MARKETS. GO GLOBAL. The Trade Accelerator Program connects your business with top export advisors, mentoring and coaching you to develop and execute a personalized market-entry export plan so you can grow globally.

REALIZE THE EXPORT POTENTIAL OF YOUR BUSINESS. Learn more & apply at edmontonchamber.com/TAP

TAP EDMONTON PARTNERS

NATIONAL FOUNDING PARTNERS

NATIONAL LOGISTICS PARTNER

The Trade Accelerator Program is supported by the ‘Mobilizing SMEs to Export’ initiative to assist in delivering Canada’s Export Diversification Strategy.

ADVISORY PARTNERS

ADVISORY PARTNERS

NATIONAL NATIONAL LOGISTICS ADVISORY PARTNER PARTNER

PROGRAM CREATORS

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Memberships that grow your business.

As a member of one of the largest chambers in Canada, you have access to a wide range of contacts, resources, policy representation, events, networking opportunities, discounts, and brand exposure that will help support and grow your business.

It’s what we do.

Call us today at 780.426.4620 and start leveraging your membership.

edmontonchamber.com


Powerlink Electrical Ltd. Member Profile Laura Erickson, Business Development Manager & Alfonso Funaro, Operations Manager www.plelectrical.ca What’s your story? Powerlink Electrical Ltd. is an Alberta Based business that has provided electrical service and repair work to Edmonton, St. Albert, Sherwood Park, and surrounding areas since 2016. We are very proud to be a Certified Aboriginal Business along with Metis Works. We have been in business for a little over five years and are very proud of the many accomplishments we have had to date. We have many designations such as Avetta, Merit, and Certified Aboriginal, among others, that help our organization stand out. Powerlink Electrical Ltd. has its core values firmly entrenched in honesty and reliability. We make sure all our customer’s expectations are met or exceeded.

Laura Erickson and Alfonso Funaro.

one of our business owners, Laura, who is Metis and the other, Alfonso, who is Italian. We love helping others kickstart their career in the electrical trade and enjoy having apprentices, as it is great knowing we help others get started.

We empower women in trades and value the embodied leadership of Laura, one of two owners of our organization. We go above and beyond to ensure our customers receive the best work. That starts with our highly trained team members and delivering the best craftsmanship to achieve superior results. What do you enjoy most about being a member of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce? We enjoy the many events the Chamber has throughout each year, along with all of the networking opportunities the Chamber allows us to take part in. We have met so many other companies that we can partner and work with. It is truly great being a Chamber member. What is one thing people are surprised to learn about your business? We are a certified Aboriginal Business (Majority owned) with

Your local Edmonton firm that thinks regionally, nationally and globally

At APP & Associates LLP, our objective is to provide value added business advisory services including: • Accounting and Assurance • Tax and Estate Planning • Advisory and Consulting Suite 212, 1524 – 91 Street S.W. Edmonton, AB T6X 1M5 Telephone: (780)489-4424 • Fax: (780)489-4420 info@appllp.ca • www.appllp.ca BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // SEPTEMBER 2021

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WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED Titan Flooring & Interior Design Celebrates 25 Years By Nerissa McNaughton with photos by Rebecca Lippiatt

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itan Flooring & Interior Design Ltd. serves the commercial, renovation, builder, property management, insurance and retail markets with a wide variety of quality coverings that include hardwood, carpet, custom tile, stone, laminate, sheet vinyl, luxury vinyl and cork. “I can’t believe it’s been 25 years!” says Terry Moritz, founder and President. Time must fly when you are on the right path because he started the company when he was just 27 years old. Now, at this milestone anniversary, he reflects on the journey and the company’s growth.

“I grew up in the flooring industry working alongside my father,” says Moritz. “When he sold his business, I went to work for someone else but quickly realized I wanted to do my own thing.” In 1996, Moritz started Titan Flooring in a 1,000 square foot upstairs showroom. Six months later his father, Peter, joined him. Father and son were happily working together again, and Peter remains a business partner today. With their experience, customer service and product selection, it didn’t take long for customers

Titan Flooring • 25 Years 40


BUCKWOLD WESTERN WOULD LIKE TO CONGRATULATE TITAN FLOORING ON 25 YEARS!

Congratulations Titan Flooring and Interior Design Ltd. MNP commends your vision, innovation, courage, leadership – and 25 years of success. Congratulations!

Western Canada’s Most Trusted Name in Flooring Distribution

MNP.ca

www.buckwold.com

COLOR MAKES THE ROOM. YOU MAKE THE MEMORIES.

Congratulations Titan Flooring on 25 Years!

www.shawfloors.com

Available exclusively at your local Shaw Titan Flooring • 25 Years • 2 Flooring Network retailer.


CONGRATULATIONS TITAN FLOORING ON 25 YEARS!

E: customerservice@gesco.ca T:1-800-268-1497 F: 1-800-970-5412 gesco.ca

We are Interface.

And we're changing the world.

Interface is a global leader in modular flooring, offering an integrated collection of carpet tiles and resilient flooring. www.interface.com

to spread the word about Titan. Largely based on referrals, the company outgrew its starter space in under three years. “When we moved into the building we operate out of today, we occupied about 4,000 square feet,” says Moritz. “We continued to expand and now we occupy over 20,000 square feet and have grown to a team of over 20 in the office, not including our installation teams in the field.” The rapid growth was sustainable, but it wasn’t without challenges. Like many entrepreneurs, Moritz started his business while working an additional job. He split his days working in insurance restoration while growing Titan Flooring. He also started with two silent partners and what he calls “a minimal amount of cash.” “The silent partners put up the initial cash flow and within the first nine months it was all paid back,” Moritz notes. “All my partners over the years have brought a lot to the table and helped to guide the business; and I have learned a lot from them, especially my father.” A willingness to learn, take risks, align with partners and mentors, and remain up-to-date on the product and service offerings are part of the reasons behind Titan Flooring’s success. Moritz also attributes the 25 years of business to how he and the team work with their customers. “We are a very hands on, personable company run by family values. Our code of conduct is honesty, mutual respect, accountability, communication and being forthright with information. We work on this every day. We have a great work ethic and we pull together as a team.”

Congratulations Titan Flooring on 25 Years! Email: info@lauzonltd.com Phone: 1-800-665-6765 Fax: 1-877-427-6531

Trends come and go in the interior décor business, as seen on Pinterest and popular shows on HGTV. Titan strikes that tricky balance of maintaining the classics and bringing in the latest trends – but only if they will benefit the customer long-term. Titan offers what is durable, will remain fashionable, what will add value, what is functional, and most of all – what is best for families and the environment long-term. Titan Flooring • 25 Years • 3


No matter if he and his team are doing a consultation to refresh a small space or are part of a larger construction project, what they love the most is seeing the smiles on customers’ faces when a project is complete. “When we started all flooring stores would carry was carpet, linoleum and a little hardwood,” Moritz explains. “Now the product availability has grown exponentially, and the current buzzwords are luxury vinyl plank.” Titan operations are lean and green. Moritz explains, “We are involved in all opportunities presently available for recycling (underpad, cardboard, etc.) in our industry. To help with the environmental impact we also have a large number of LEED products for commercial customers. Additionally, we donate our excess product to Habitat for Humanity.” No matter if he and his team are doing a consultation to refresh a small space or are part of a larger construction project, what they love the most is seeing the smiles on customers’ faces when a project is complete. “Every day is memorable and our best memories are when we have a happy customer,” says Moritz. Those happy customers start their good first impression when they enter the showroom, which is bright, roomy, airy, comfortable and offers an incredible array of products.

CONGRATULATIONS TITAN FLOORING ON 25 YEARS! We wish you many more years of continued success.

www.timelesswoodfloors.ca. Titan Flooring • 25 Years • 4


CONGRATS TO THE

TITAN TEAM ON

25

years

FROM YOUR FRIENDS AT

“Not only does the showroom contain every solution you could want or need for your flooring, it’s all arranged and organized beautifully, and is backed by a knowledgeable team ready to take your project from good to great,” says Moritz. “We ensure people understand what they are purchasing instead of just going for what looks pretty. When you come to Titan Flooring you deal with the same person from start to finish and they are very involved right to the end. We are hands on. Each customer knows what they are getting, and why it’s the best choice for the space and their long-term needs.” Outside of the showroom you’ll find Titan Flooring very involved in the community supporting numerous charities. Pre-COVID Titan has hosted a charitable golf tournament and helps support research designed to conquer cancer, ALS, MS and other debilitating conditions. Titan is also a proud supporter of Habitat for Humanity. “We’ve used a food truck experience before as part of our customer appreciation events so we could be inclusive of everyone,” adds Moritz. “Historically some tournaments, like golf, typically just involve the owners or upper management along with select clients. In our work culture we want to say thank you to all parts of our customers and teams.” With 25 years in, Moritz couldn’t be happier to be working alongside his father, with a great team, and providing Edmonton and surrounding residences and businesses with flooring, consultation, and installation. “I’m thankful to Peter and all my original partners,” says Moritz, “along with everyone I have met over the years. All have been instrumental in shaping our business. Most importantly, I thank our staff and crews. Without them we can’t do what we do. Every owner has a support network behind them – family – that helps us do what we do. Our families are important to what we do every day. I wouldn’t be where I am, or who I am, without them.” What’s next for Titan Flooring? “We will continue to strive to be better and stand out with our product offering and service levels. That is what has built our brand, mainly by referrals, from day one,” Moritz concludes.

16512 111 Ave NW Edmonton, AB T5M 3V8 780-489-8929 www.titanflooring.com TitanFlooringLtd on Facebook. Titan Flooring • 25 Years • 5


OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL IN PARKLAND COUNTY // PARKLAND COUNTY

OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL IN PARKLAND COUNTY

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pportunities abound in Parkland County, whether you are looking at starting a business, relocating your corporate headquarters, or settling down with a family. Parkland County is uniquely and optimally situated; located only 20 minutes from the largest and northernmost airport, not only in Canada, but in the world. The airport features a 12,500-acre business park, comprised of over 400 businesses and counting. The Edmonton International Airport is also home to two intermodal railway facilities, both located within a 30-kilometre radius. When factors such as access to major logistics routes through Canada, Mexico, Alaska and across the country via Trans-Canada Corridors are taken into account, it’s easy to see why many businesses are taking a keen interest in Parkland County.

BY NERISSA MCNAUGHTON

Acheson, the county’s industrial park, is also only a short drive from Edmonton and is accessible by both major highways (16 Trans-Canada and 16A). Acheson is also located on Highway 60, the Canada/Mexico corridor, and has access to the Alaska corridor along Highway 43. With over 10,000 acres, Acheson has approximately 7.9 million square feet of developed space, as well as 500 acres of shovel-ready land, and over 1,500 acres of ready-to-develop land. Just some of the major brands that call Acheson home include Gregg Distributors, Sysco, Myshak Group, Champion Pet Foods, Standard General, Supreme Steel, Fountain Tire and the recently announced Amazon Robotics Fulfillment Centre, which is the first of its kind in North America. Parkland County works with its residents, businesses, local Chamber of Commerce and various associations within the

ABOVE: ACHESON BUSINESS PARK.

BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // SEPTEMBER 2021

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OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL IN PARKLAND COUNTY // PARKLAND COUNTY

County to facilitate introductions among business leaders and potential partners. The County’s goal is to showcase available commercial and industrial real estate, inform on incentives, consult on relocations, and offer concierge service for business locating within the County. The concierge service includes input from a dedicated project manager in order to streamline the permitting, inspections, and any other regulatory processes. Parkland County is business friendly, diverse and progressive with several agricultural, manufacturing, transportation and logistics and IT-oriented companies that call the County home. Earlier this year, the County was pleased to announce that Amazon’s first Robotics Fulfillment Centre was locating in Acheson, bringing 700 jobs during construction and another 1,000 full- and part-time jobs to the region. The centre, which will be more than 3,000,000 square feet, will open in 2022. Robotics will select, package and ship items like electronics, books and toys. “Our strategic location and skilled workforce helped us attract Amazon to Parkland County,” said Laura Swain, Interim chief

administrative officer. “Their presence is a welcome addition to our growing logistics/distribution eco-system.” “Council is tremendously excited to welcome Amazon to Parkland County,” noted Mayor Rod Shaigec. “The facility is a major investment and will create a significant number of jobs in the region.” Mayor Shaigec couldn’t be happier about the developments going on in Parkland County and the incentives bringing business to the region. “One of the things that makes our county very appealing is a very attractive tax rate, which puts us in a strong position regionally and globally,” he says. “Another thing that sets us apart is our staff and their focus. We have a staff that truly are business and customer service oriented, and focused on solutions. In particular, with larger investments like Amazon, we provide a concierge level of service. Our senior staff are directly involved to provide assistance and oversight that expedites the entire process from permitting to the company opening their doors.”

ABOVE: OVERLAND CONTAINER TRANSPORTATION SERVICE (OCTS) FACILITY.

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SEPTEMBER 2021 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM


OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL IN PARKLAND COUNTY // PARKLAND COUNTY

The Mayor continues, discussing the announcement from Amazon, “It is obviously a significant development for Parkland County, and it will help generate much needed tax revenue. As with many municipalities, there have been challenges with the economic downturn and we are just starting to recover from the pandemic. We are still trying to replace some tax revenue from the accelerated phase out of coal-fired electricity generation.” Parkland County is currently engaged in a transitionary phase as it moves from one evolution (coal fired power generation and general manufacturing) to the next (valueadd manufacturing/transportation/distribution and IT orientation). Agriculture and agri-foods remain a big part of the region’s identity, however, with large multinational organizations like Amazon and Champion Pet Foods (NorthStar Kitchen) calling the area home, that identity is quickly evolving into one of industry-leading and diverse opportunities. “What I’m hoping about Amazon is that it is a signal to the world that we are truly playing in the global marketplace, not just in Parkland County, but for the region,” says Mayor Shaigec. “We are innovative; robotics, AI, machine learning – those are being deployed in a number of sectors right now, making us globally competitive. We have a highly skilled workforce to meet demand in this and other sectors that are being provided by the region’s world class educational institutions.

“WHAT I’M HOPING ABOUT AMAZON IS TO SIGNAL TO THE WORLD WE ARE TRULY PLAYING IN THE GLOBAL MARKETPLACE, NOT JUST IN PARKLAND COUNTY BUT FOR THE REGION,” SAYS MAYOR SHAIGEC. “We are also diversifying and focusing on the Ag sector through value-added agri-foods. We have a land supply with some of the best soils not just in Canada, but globally. With Canada identified as one of six net exporters of food by 2030, we have a tremendous opportunity to attract business and create employment opportunities.” He continues, “Parkland County believes in working collaboratively with our local neighbours and supporting regions to ensure that the Edmonton Metropolitan region leverages their respective resources to enable growth in all areas. We achieve this by sharing information and working closely with the Edmonton Metropolitan Regional Board (EMRB) and Edmonton Global.” Partnerships such as these have enabled local amenities, like a bus service into Acheson, that transports the workforce to the industrial park from Edmonton, Spruce Grove and Stony Plain.

ABOVE: AMAZON FULFILLMENT CENTRE CONSTRUCTION SITE.

BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // SEPTEMBER 2021

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OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL IN PARKLAND COUNTY // PARKLAND COUNTY

“Currently we are developing a regional agriculture master plan,” says Mayor Shaigec. “I am confident that it will be endorsed by the EMRB. We are creating conditions and a framework for the agriculture sector to become very prosperous in the region as we balance the needs of both urban and rural municipalities. We have lost some prime agricultural land to urban sprawl and, as a result, we are planning for smarter growth.” While Parkland County grows economically it also grows demographically, attracting people from a wide array of cultures and backgrounds. Parkland County provides its residences a high quality of life at an affordable cost of living comparatively to other regions. “Parkland County has so much to offer families and individuals, which is why I think we are attracting a diverse population,” says Mayor Shaigec. “We offer country living in close proximity to urban centres like Stony Plain, Spruce Grove, Devon and Edmonton. We have a great recreation centre for individuals, attractions for tourists, the North Saskatchewan River on the south and Pembina River to the

west. We have the University of Alberta Botanic Garden, Chickakoo Lake and other recreational ammenities – we should be proud of what we have.” Mayor Shaigec knows that a county can have a growing population, outstanding natural areas, recreational facilities, and lots of business opportunities, but it won’t matter if it lacks one thing. Thankfully, it’s the thing the Parkland County has plenty of – great people. “Our people are the most important aspect,” the Mayor concludes. “They are so invested in the community and give so much of their time. What makes a community are the people and their efforts, and in Parkland County our people are dedicated to enhancing everyone’s quality of life. We have 24 community halls and each one has a number of volunteers dedicated, passionate, and committed to the events they host there.” Parkland County has plenty to offer businesses, individuals, corporations and families. Learn more by visiting www.parklandcounty.com.

ABOVE: AKE WABAMUN AERIAL PHOTO.

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SEPTEMBER 2021 // BUSINESS IN EDMONTON // BUSINESSINEDMONTON.COM


Your capital needs – simplified. KV Capital celebrates 15 years of providing simple, straightforward solutions. BY NERISSA MCNAUGHTON

MEET KV CAPITAL’S LEADERSHIP TEAM

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he late Steve Jobs once said, “Simple can be harder than complex: you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

The concept of simple has become an operational mindset adopted by KV Capital. Whether for their investors, borrowers, employees, or other stakeholders, the team strives to be known as a company that has the skill and expertise to make complex processes and investment decisions simple; efficient, easy to understand, and easy to execute on. Leading the team are Shafin Kanji, Chairman of the Board; Aleem Virani, Chief Executive Officer; Curtis Power, President, Private Mortgages; Nicholas Jeanes, Managing Partner, Asset Management; Jonathan Herman, President, Private Equity; and Marc Prefontaine, Managing Partner, Commercial Real Estate Finance.

“Simple is what we strive for.” 49


“Simple is what we strive for,” says Virani. “At its most basic form, simple is the answer that we’d want our clients to describe their interactions with KV Capital. It not just about the solution, but also the process. We work hard to break down complex financial processes into a simple, stepwise and understandable experiences for everyone we connect with.” KV Capital was founded in 2006 by Shafin Kanji, Aleem Virani, and Farhan Virani with the objective to act as an alternative service provider in the complex world of finance. A true family business – Aleem and Farhan are brothers, and Shafin is their brother-in-law – the three founders work closely together to instill a culture of collaboration and trust across the organization. The company began its journey as The Mortgage Corner. However, the 2007 - 2009 financial crisis brought about new opportunities for growth given the limited amount of capital that was available for business and property owners. “We started procuring private capital with those that needed it to support their growth and over time have transitioned into an asset manager and capital service provider that continues to service the real estate industry,” says Kanji. Having rebranded to KV Capital in 2010, the company now provides solutions for commercial real estate finance, private mortgages, residential mortgages, asset management, and private equity. Today, KV Capital currently has approximately $200M in assets under management and has funded over $1B in loan and private equity investment opportunities.

“Think of someone you trust, that you would turn to for advice and know that they would have your best interest in mind. That’s KV Capital. We build long-term mutually beneficial relationships predicated on trust, on respect, and on providing value,” says Jeanes, when describing KV Capital’s service platform. “We help clients simplify complex financial transactions. It’s that simple.”


“We build long-term mutually beneficial relationships predicated on trust, respect & providing value.”

KV PRIVATE EQUITY’S FUND I PORTFOLIO COMPANIES

NORTHERN LITE

ESCAPE TRAILERS

CAMPION MARINE

OFF GRID TRAILERS

In addition to providing capital to commercial and residential real estate clients, KV Capital’s asset management team provides mortgage and private equity investment opportunities through two funds: KV Mortgage Fund and KV Private Equity Fund. Interesting to many and not commonly known, within KV Capital’s private equity portfolio are four exciting recreational vehicle manufacturers: Northern Lite, Escape Trailers, Campion Marine, and Off Grid Trailers. For everyone on the team, every opportunity represents far more than monetary value. “We are not transaction focused. We value long-term relationships and for that we need to continue to be able to add value. If we can’t add value, we’ll tell you and help refer you to someone who can,” says Power. “Getting to know our clients’ needs comes first and we believe that great business relationships are built on mutual trust, understanding and win-win scenarios. When working with a new client across any of our business units, we start things off by listening so we can understand their unique needs,” explains Prefontaine. Each of KV Capital’s five business units are equipped with distinct teams, each lead by experts in their industry, driven to help find the best financial solutions for each client. “The single biggest contributing factor to KV Capital’s success is our team,” says Virani with pride. “There isn’t a single person, a single product, service or idea that defines KV Capital. We have great people that have created an incredible culture where we challenge and support each other and where differences are seen as a sign of strength. Further adding to the organization’s expertise is the educational background of the team, which includes 15 Chartered Professional Accountants, many of whom also hold multiple designations such as a Chartered Business Valuator (CBV), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), or Master of Business Administration (MBA), amongst others. With a diverse array of skills and backgrounds, KV Capital has invested over $800 million in mortgages since 2006 with no loss of investor capital.


KV Capital provides the same attention to detail to the team as they do for clients, celebrating success and helping them grow professionally. When asked about his fondest memory with the company, Virani shares that it was a time of collective celebration; the entire team took a spontaneous trip to Las Vegas to celebrate reaching $50 million in assets under management. Team members enjoy paid volunteer days and donation matching, an employee share purchase program, professional development compensation, fitness reimbursements, residential mortgage perks, and a paid day off on their birthday. KV Capital is proud to call Edmonton home. “Edmonton is a vibrant business community with an abundance of innovative and motivated professionals who actively support fellow entrepreneurs. It’s both refreshing and constructive to feel the type of support we see in Edmonton, which can feel like a ‘big small town’ in the right ways when it comes to business and family. It’s easy to form connections here, and there is a myriad of talent when it comes to finding the right people to help you reach your business goals,” says Herman. Giving back to the community is an important value for everyone on the team. KV Capital is proud to be a long-term supporter of Aga Khan Foundation Canada and has also contributed to CASA, Edmonton’s Food Bank, the Lieutenant Governor’s History and Heroes Alberta Foundation, and more in recent years. KV Capital has been on Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies (formerly Growth 500) list for six consecutive years. Their simplified approach to capital solutions has put the organization on the map with marked success and an expanding footprint. KV Capital now seeks to build on the progress achieved in Edmonton and grow into new geographic markets with leaders that share their passion and values. As KV Capital celebrates 15 years, the partners say a big thank you to the team, whom they call “the most instrumental group to the growth of KV.” Gratitude is also expressed to the independent board of directors for KV Mortgage Fund and KV Private Equity Fund. “The combination of their time, expertise and many other contributions have added an element of strength to our team. We’re truly fortunate to have them oversee such a critical piece of our operations.” Learn more about KV Capital along with its commitment to simplified, proven solutions across a variety of financial markets by visiting their website. The company is also active on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook.

KVCAPITAL.CA Suite 101, 1290 91 St SW Edmonton, AB T6X 0P2 T: 780.433.1222 | TF: 1.888.933.1222


Gladys Ajiboye, Grant Rae, Kevin Martin, Je Hanz Daza and Diana Murphy. Photo by Rebecca Lippiatt.

BIRD AND STUART OLSON Redefining Canadian Construction Together by Rennay Craats

Bird and Stuart Olson

Celebrating 100 Years 53


T

Photo by Rebecca Lippiatt.

o find one thriving century-old construction services company in Canada is incredible. To find two of them combining is historic. That is exactly what happened in the fall of 2020 as Bird Construction and Stuart Olson joined forces to create a company with increased breadth and experience to better serve its client bases across the country. “You’re bringing together two equivalent 100-yearold companies, which brings together an incredible amount of experience and depth,” says Grant Rae, VP district manager for northern Alberta. “We’ve now got resources across Canada that we can draw on and that provides our clients and ourselves the best chance for success on our projects.” And the firm is successfully expanding its footprint and further growing the business across sectors and across the country.

GROWING SINCE 1920 Since Bird and Woodall Construction Company started in 1920, the business has consistently grown in scope and geography. By the mid-1940s it was the largest home builder in Canada and had set up operations in Alberta to facilitate its foray into the energy sector. Public since 1949, Bird Construction has worked on enormous projects ranging from university campuses to clean coal silos, big box stores to military facilities, hydroelectric generating stations to schools. The company set up new districts as it secured clients in diverse fields. To accommodate its growth, Bird acquired its first company in 2007 to facilitate its push into the Maritimes. Then in the mid-2000s Bird acquired another to support its heavy civil infrastructure, mining and energy interests and expanded again with the acquisition of a leader in water and wastewater facilities construction. In 2017, Bird recognized the opportunities surrounding modular construction and acquired 50 per cent of Stack Modular. In 2020, Bird Construction acquired Stuart Olson, another leading construction company that has operated across Canada since 1911. While it is an acquisition by definition, it is a merger by approach, and the teams on both sides of the deal are excited at what this relationship means for the industry and for the new Bird. What Bird and Stuart Olson Can Do Together The new Bird and Stuart Olson team has proven that one plus one is greater than two, and both legacy companies are working hard to maintain a sense of team.

Bird and Stuart Olson

Celebrating 100 Years

2

Grant Rae, Vice President and District Manager, NAB.

“Stuart Olson and Bird are very aligned in culture, in process, in reputation, which will make the integration easier,” says Rosarie Zimmerman, office manager and executive assistant to Grant Rae. While the businesses were similar in culture, they offered some different services delivered in a different way. The merger diversified the portfolio of the new company, and the complementary nature of the two sides’ strengths opened opportunities for new business. The companies were essentially operating in separate market sectors so the overlap found in many mergers wasn’t present at Bird and Stuart Olson. There were things that Bird Construction did that Stuart Olson had not, and offerings at Stuart Olson that Bird had not explored. The teams are now amalgamating the best practices and processes into a new approach to business, thus leveraging more value for clients. While Stuart Olson historically applied more of a construction management delivery approach, Bird Construction took more of a hard bid, lump sum method. Today’s company can offer most delivery models, finding success with general contracting and construction management, design-build, integrated project delivery, engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), and public-private partnership (P3) models.


ALUMINUM COMPOSITE PANELS MEMBRANE ROOFING ROOFING SERVICE & MAINTENANCE METAL ROOFING SPECIALTY WALL CLADDING FIBRE CEMENT SIDING & PANELS INSULATED METAL PANELS Cold Lake Energy Centre with Bird

Woodhaven with Stuart Olson

Beyond Building Envelope Commercial - Institutional - Industrial

Edmonton - Calgary ccscontracting.com

Congratulations Bird Construction/Stuart Olson on your 100th anniversary!

100 years

committed to excellence

As the number one cordless brand in Canada, Milwaukee Tool provides innovative tools for every trade. That’s why Milwaukee is a proud partner of Bird – celebrating 100 years of construction experience in Canada. Thank you, Bird, for supporting Milwaukee Tool as we continue to innovate alongside you for safer and more productive jobsites across Canada. NEW

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Bird and Stuart Olson

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“It is a very interesting yin and yang where there’s different experience and strengths that come from the two different companies and each company has developed a certain style. Then you bring them together and we’re picking the best from both companies and combining it into the new Bird,” says Rob Otway, executive vice president, Buildings West. The new toolkit of skills and perspectives is attractive to both potential and existing clients. A client now has an expanded menu of capabilities, allowing them to use Bird and Stuart Olson as a one-stop shop that can cover all aspects of a job. The combined company checks off most boxes on a client’s list of needs, and there is now a team equipped to meet nearly any requirement a client could have. “The opportunity of the merger between these two companies is not lost on me,” says Rick Andison, director of business development. “We’ve got a unique and grand opportunity to do really good things in a short time.” There is little the new company can’t provide clients and with more that 5,000 employees operating in 18 districts across the country, Bird and Stuart Olson can cover greater territory and create specialized teams. The company has expertise in a wide range of industrial construction and maintenance, infrastructure, and agricultural/food projects. It can offer clients financing options to kickstart projects that otherwise would be grounded. The company also has a strong buildings division that is broken into Buildings East covering jobs from Manitoba east and Buildings West servicing clients in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.

BUILDINGS WEST As part of the company’s growth plan, Buildings West is looking to add people who are a cultural fit with the company and to place the right people from within the company into the right positions to increase volume and opportunities across the West. Rob Otway came out of retirement to join the company after the merger to assist with the next exciting phase of growth. “It really is like rebuilding a company, like it’s a 100-year-old start up,” says Otway. “We’re trying to create an approach where rather than having three offices for Buildings West that are siloed, we have teams in each area that look after the local geography and clients but also cover Western Canada as a group.” It is a hybrid approach where the three western districts have their areas but are available to help with a project in Edmonton, Calgary or Vancouver as needs arise. This allows the company to serve more than just metropolitan centres as it can call upon expertise in other areas to take on jobs across the buildings division.

BUILDINGS DIVISION GOING STRONG Bird and Stuart Olson have a robust buildings division nationwide and services a diverse client base. It has an extensive footprint in the commercial and retail arena, engages in a variety of residential projects, and boasts a strong portfolio of institutional projects. The company has also been involved in cultural and recreational projects along with various food processing, defense and military, and transportation buildings.

Blueprint for a Bright Future For more than 55 years, Herc Rentals has served customers in Canada with equipment and expertise to get the job done. As a company, we are honoured to have Bird Construction as a partner leading us into the next 100 years. Congratulations to Bird on its 100-year anniversary and Stuart Olson acquisition.

HercRentals.com | 1-800-654-6659

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Edmonton Convention Centre Skylight Replacement. Photo by Sean Stewart Photography.

Bird has embraced the growth of modular buildings, integrating conventional site construction with the opportunity to leverage pre-built steel frame modular buildings of up to 40 storeys. The company has partnered with Stack Modular on a variety of remote housing, hospitality, long-term care, and multi-unit residential projects. Bird is also currently involved in a large LNG project in Kitimat incorporating 400 units. This aligns with the combined company’s commitment to environmental practices too as modular construction reduces waste, consumes less energy during construction and operation, and minimizes noise and other site disturbances during construction.

BUILDING GREEN Environmental practices are ingrained in Bird’s culture and it is implementing sustainability practices at multiple levels. The company delivers systems that meet LEED, Green Globes, Passive House, and Zero Carbon building requirements and, combined with Stuart Olson, has built more than 200 LEED buildings to date. It also seeks out strategic partnerships with environmental companies to provide the best green options for clients while exploring inhouse net zero possibilities.

Congratulations Bird Construction/ Stuart Olson on their 100th anniversary!

100, 1415 - 90 Ave NW Edmonton, AB. T6P 0C8 Ph: (780) 440-6440 • Fax: (780) 464-6496 Goldbarinc.com

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Congratulations Bird Construction/Stuart Olson on your 100th anniversary! We wish you many more years of continued success.

780-885-3928 info@benkspainting.ca www.benkspainting.ca

You Can Bank On Benks

For all your painting and wall covering needs!

Congratulations

christensen & mclean roofing co.

Since 1958

On your 100 year anniversary. We wish you continued success for many more years to come. From your proud partners at Christensen & McLean Roofing Co. Ltd.

Jasper Place Library.

Bird and Stuart Olson employ innovative energy-efficient initiatives for sustainable construction and low carbon solutions. Their mass timber projects use renewable wood-based resources to capture carbon and offset total CO2 emissions. The company also implements plans to reduce waste and reuse materials when possible to avoid the landfill.

Congratulations Bird Construction/ Stuart Olson on your 100th anniversary!

“There is a lot that we engage with on a regular basis on the environmental side – reclamation of old sites, environmental cleanup, solar power – and it seems that every new opportunity that comes along opens up a new universe because we have the tools and resources at our disposal including a solid team of knowledgeable people able to deliver and bring that value-add to the client,” says Andison. To further help the company build smarter, more efficient environmentally-friendly buildings, Bird and Stuart Olson created the Centre for Building Performance. This group helps construction teams, designers and clients implement systems that optimize building systems sustainability while reducing its environmental footprint.

Calgary: (403) 870-2753 Edmonton: (780) 245-2753 www.unitedroofing.ca Bird and Stuart Olson

Celebrating 100 Years

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Once the building is turned over, the Centre provides building management solutions that can reduce


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Congratulations Bird Construction/ Stuart Olson on your 100th anniversary! We wish you many more years of continued success.

Jasper Place Library.

operating costs and improve efficiency over time. Clients can monitor building operations in real time to identify if systems aren’t operating at peak capacity. The Centre helps teams implement the best smart building technology system for each individual project to get the best outcome for clients. The team at Bird and Stuart Olson is proud of their commitment to sustainability and is drawn to clients who are as dedicated to reducing environmental impacts as they are.

10805 - 50th Street SE • Calgary, AB T2C 3E5 Canada P: 403.279.6661 • F: 403.279.6604 • 24/7 Service: 403.279.6661

www.crestviewgroup.com

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COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT The company is dedicated to the health of the environment as well as the health of the communities in which it works. The company contributes to more than 60 causes and scholarships yearly, with employees often steering the initiatives’ direction. They host a quarterly blood drive in the Canadian Blood Services facility Bird built, and partner with organizations like Zero Hungry Kids to make sure kids in schools like those they build don’t go hungry. The company and its employees donate

United Supreme would like to congratulate Bird Stuart Olson for years of servicing commercial construction clients in Calgary and surrounding area. UNITED SUPREME GROUP

CALGARY 403-569-1101 • EDMONTON 780-784-4040 unitedsupremegroup.com

University of Alberta Resource and Collections Facility.

time, funds, and fundraise for many causes dear to them to better their communities. This includes bettering the First Nations communities touched by many of its projects.

CONGRATULATIONS

Bird Construction/Stuart Olson on celebrating their 100th anniversary! Calibre Coatings (Calgary) 6224 29 Street SE • Phone: (403) 287-7728

Calibre Coatings (Edmonton) 8804 51 Avenue NW • Phone: (780) 451-6680

“We are committed to our Indigenous Relations program, and to fostering long-lasting, and holistic partnerships with Indigenous communities; and we also provide mandatory Indigenous Relations training for employees,” says Rae.

www.calibrecoatings.ca

AFFORDABLE HOUSING WITH A TWIST

Bearstone Ex Inc. Masonry Professionals

Commercial | Residential | Restoration

CONGRATULATIONS BIRD/STUART OLSON! 53 Industry Way S.E., Calgary, Alberta T3S 0A2 403-466-0006 | office@bear-stone.com www.bear-stone.com

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Encouraging workforce participation is happening in Edmonton as well. Stuart Olson is proud to help address Edmonton’s affordable housing shortage with its Londonderry Affordable Housing project, a 240-unit redevelopment in north Edmonton. But the company is doing more than just building the facility. In partnership with Civida, Stuart Olson is creating a unique labour engagement initiative that helps break down employment barriers by recruiting the same people who would live in the complex to work on it. They aim to have five per cent of the


Thermo Design Insulation Ltd. provides construction supply & installation services for pre-insulated metal panels throughout Canada.

Congratulations Bird Construction/ Stuart Olson on celebrating 100 years of excellent business.

3520 - 56 Avenue, Edmonton, AB T6B 3S7

780-468-2077 | info@thermo-design.com WWW.THERMO-DESIGN.COM

contractors

University of Alberta Central Academic Building.

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Photo by Rebecca Lippiatt. Diana Murphy, Kevin Martin, Grant Rae and Je Hanz Daza. Photo by Rebecca Lippiatt.

trades workforce recruited from Civida’s affordable housing program with hopes that it leads to a new career path for them beyond the project.

on what clients are really asking for – the relationships and collaboration as well as the technical expertise,” says Otway.

“The city of Edmonton has a shortage of affordable housing beds and we know that we’re only taking a small bite out of it – but we’ve taken a bite. It’s super satisfying,” says Rae.

It’s exciting times at Bird and Stuart Olson and the integrated team is more than up to the challenge.

Bird and Stuart Olson are moving forward post-merger with sights on measured growth through a quality product coupled with social and environmental responsibility.

FUTURE IS BRIGHT As the combined company enters its second century in business, it is revamping its IT and delivery systems, financial systems and technology to be ready to meet the challenges of the future. It is leaning into digitizing the business, working with 3D-digital versions of buildings to allow clients and teams to look at all aspects of a building virtually in pre-construction. “The new Bird going forward is going to be a very modern and sophisticated company that delivers Bird and Stuart Olson

Celebrating 100 Years

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Take a look as two 100-year-old companies come together for #OurBestBuildYet


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Business in Edmonton - September 2021  

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