RETAILERSâ€™ LAST STAND
Can merchants in mid-sized malls still thrive in a new era? PAGES 14-17 August 2019 Vol. 22, NO. 06
PROSPECTUS R&R the ticket to earning great ROI Ever run a long-distance race, played a round of golf in the scorching sun or maybe endured a two-hour tennis match? If you have, after completing the aforementioned strenuous activity, you likely prioritized recovery. In other words, you took time to rest and replenish yourself. What about exertion in the work world? Sixty-hour work weeks, monitoring emails 24/7 or exhausting business travel all take their toll on our minds and bodies. But are you applying the same common-sense approach and prioritizing recovery when it comes to your work life? It’s August, and OBJ has vacation on its mind as we complete this newsmagazine issue and prepare for a one-week closure. It’s our sincere hope that you, our valued readers, are also unplugging for a little rest and relaxation, too. However, there seems to be a preponderance of evidence (most of it from the U.S.) that CEOs and business executives are taking less vacation time than they used to. One particular study, published
by Harvard Business Review, found that in 2000, American executives were taking, on average, 20.3 days of vacation a year. Fast forward 15 years and the number of vacation days fell to 16.2. That’s not an insignificant drop. This dip in R&R coincided with the advent of smartphones and always-on social media, which has nearly erased the concept of a typical work day. And what happens when these overworked executives do manage to take vacation? If you guessed that they continued to work, you get a gold star. One smaller survey carefully tracked time usage of CEOs and reported that, while on vacation, the executives worked 2.5 hours per day. If you’re buying the “vacation is good” argument, what’s the best way to achieve good ROI for time away from work? Here are some pro tips from the experts: • Plan your vacation at least one month in advance. You don’t want to get more stressed when planning to de-stress. • Go far from home. Physical distance seems to create mental detachment. • Do something physical. Bike, swim, paddle or simply
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explore new places on foot. Related, pick a location where you feel safe, happy and alive. • Of interest, a German study also had something to say about what not to do on vacation. Avoid Internet browsing, social media and TV. In other words, lying on your couch is not an ideal vacation. Still not convinced? OK, one last study. This one concluded that people who took more than 10 vacation days per year are twice as likely to get a raise or bonus at work. “Statistically, taking more vacation results in greater success at work as well as lower stress and more happiness at work and home,” it reported. The undeniable conclusion? Time away is also time well spent for your company and career.
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Want this great publication conveniently handdelivered to your office each month? Well, now that’s a lot easier. Thanks to a partnership with local tech company Fusebill, you can now guarantee your regular monthly delivery of OBJ through an easy online system. Simply visit www. obj.ca/delivery to place your order. It’s a nominal fee of $8 per month to get 1-25 copies of OBJ hand-delivered. Pick the number of copies that you need. It’s a flat delivery fee. Use the promo code PROSPECTUS for 50 per cent off the delivery fee for three months.
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EMPLOYEES’ Sept. 5
Keep the good times rolling this summer with a casual networking event organized by the Ottawa Board of Trade. Business After 5 is heading to Bells Corners to visit the impressive new home of Kichesippi Beer and Co. Interesting fact: Kichesippi was the Algonquin name for the Ottawa River. Register online for this 5-7 p.m. networking event at www.ottawabot.ca.
The Mayor’s Breakfast Series returns after its summer hiatus to focus on an iconic Ottawa-based company that has achieved a level of success that’s literally out of this world. In Telesat’s 50th anniversary year, president and CEO Dan Goldberg will be the featured guest speaker. Goldberg, who was named CEO of Telesat in 2006, started his career as a lawyer in Washington, D.C. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and earned a law degree from Harvard Law School, where he graduated cum laude.
Get back into the swing of things as summer winds down and the busy fall season approaches. OBJ and the Ottawa Board of Trade are once again planning Ottawa’s Best Networking Golf Tournament. This year, the tournament moves west to the Canadian Golf and Country Club. It will include 27 holes and bring together 200-plus local business leaders. As an option, you can register a foursome but ask for players to be split up to maximize networking opportunities. The tournament is almost sold out. Visit www.ottawabot.ca for info.
CH ARICDSE AW 2019-20 Sept. 23-24
Circle these two dates on your calendar if you’re concerned about HR-related talent issues. In many Ottawa Business Growth Surveys, accessing and retaining talent has ranked as the No. 1 barrier to growth for local business leaders. This oneand-a-half-day conference will do a deep dive into many of the issues involving talent. The event kicks off with a cocktail event on Sept. 23, which will also recognize the 2019-20 recipients of the Employees’ Choice Awards. The next day is a full-day conference with keynotes and panels. There are two registration options. Register for just the networking and awards on Sept. 23. The better value is a two-day registration, which includes all aspects of the conference. Watch for more details on this important event at www.ottawabot.ca.
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Farm Boy rescues Rideau Bakery brand
A Gatineau firm that develops an end-to-end solution for the order and delivery of stone, sand, gravel and other raw materials in the concrete industry has landed a major round of seed capital. Brokrete, which won a Bootstrap Award as disruptor of the year in March, recently closed a $500,000 pre-seed round with angel investors Ronald Richardson of Ottawa and Avlok Kohli of San Francisco. While contemporary apps such as Uber solve the “one-phonecall problem” of ordering a taxi, founder Jordan Latourelle says Brokrete is saving contractors upwards of five or six calls to get concrete delivered to a job site. Co-ordinating between suppliers, on-site workers and truck drivers can quickly become a time suck for contractors, some of which are placing multiple orders a day. The Brokrete app is free for contractors and for suppliers up to a point. Once a concrete supplier is using a fleet of more than 20 trucks, the premium version of the app kicks in, giving the firm its cut. The company has seen some early uptake from major players in the construction industry: Concrete giant Lafarge is signed up to supply materials in Ottawa-Gatineau. Richardson, who invests with Ottawa’s Capital Angel Network, says there are a lot of things to like about Brokrete. He was impressed with the returns the company was seeing on its “sweat equity” – with only a few thousand dollars invested in the bootstrapped firm, it was seeing exponential returns before scaling even began.
After announced it was closing its doors for good in early July, an iconic Ottawa business has found a “white knight” to revive its venerable brand. Rideau Bakery’s owners said July 10 they reached a deal to sell the historic family enterprise’s assets – including its name and recipes – to grocery chain Farm Boy. Terms of the transaction were not released. Farm Boy co-CEO Jeff York said the deal is a “great fit” for his chain, which was launched in Cornwall in the 1980s and grew into a widely recognized local brand in its own right before being acquired by Nova Scotia-based grocery conglomerate Empire Co. last year. “I think it’s a great day for Farm Boy to be able to make a deal with the owners of Rideau Bakery and actually keep a great local brand alive,” he said, noting the bakery had already been selling its goods to the grocery chain for years. Founded nearly 90 years ago by brothers David and Abie Kardish, the Rideau Bakery abruptly shut down its two locations over the Canada Day weekend, with current co-owner Louis Kardish telling various media outlets the closure was due to a combination of business and health concerns. The bakery’s two locations – the original on Rideau Street and another on Bank Street in the city’s south end – employed a total of about 40 full- and part-time staff. York said Farm Boy was interviewing some of those employees to work at the Bank Street facility, which will continue to operate as a bakery but will no longer have a storefront. The Rideau Street location will remain closed. The veteran grocery executive said his priority right now is to “get up and running as quickly as possible” at the Bank Street location. He said bread products will be rolled out first, followed by pastries and other items. “There’s a lot of demand from the community for the bread products,” he said. “Over time, we’ll look at introducing more items into the assortment.”
Gatineau firm lands $500K in seed funding
Ruckify eyes U.S. listing in 2020 Two of Ottawa’s serial entrepreneurs are setting their sights on a public listing for their latest venture, citing a torrent of investor interest as grounds for their ambitious goals. Steve Cody, the founder of the Better Software Co., and former Canopy Growth CEO Bruce Linton are also the co-owners of Ruckify, an Ottawa-based rental marketplace that connects owners and renters in the same way Kijiji connects buyers and sellers. Ruckify launched to much fanfare at an event in Ottawa last October. Linton received a rockstar ovation from the crowd as he’d just come from a whirlwind day of media tours – Ruckify launched the same day as recreational cannabis became legal in Canada – and he and Cody were joined onstage by Brett Wilson, former star of CBC’s Dragons’ Den and an investor in Ruckify. Today, the rental marketplace is live in Ottawa, Calgary and Nashville, with launches underway in Edmonton, Winnipeg and Austin. Ruckify is looking to operate in 50 cities across North America before the end of the year.
Cody says the firm has raised its funding to-date from some high-networth individuals. He isn’t specific on how much the company has taken in, saying it’s not a lot “relatively speaking,” but Linton said in a recent interview with Proactive Investors that Ruckify has raised up to $18 million. Cody says the company doesn’t want to go the typical venture capital path of raising a seed round, then a series-A, and so on. He says there’s been enough interest from investors on both sides of the border that he and Linton are confident they can secure a public listing on a U.S. stock exchange in the spring of 2020. Ruckify, which earns its cut off the top of every transaction on the platform, currently employs some 50 people in Ottawa and a few more on the ground in each expansion city. Cody and Linton bought back Better Software last year and the two firms now share space and some employees – including chief technical officer Graham Brown, who spent two decades building products at Ottawa tech company Corel.
The right thing is to get this product into our store. It makes sense for this brand to end up with us. – FARM BOY CEO JEFF YORK, ON BUYING THE RIDEAU BAKERY
Developer pitches 22-storey highrise at Bank and Slater A Montreal-based developer hopes to add more new units to the downtown core’s growing stock of apartment dwellings with a proposal for a 22-storey highrise near the corner of Bank and Slater streets. In a planning application recently filed with the city, Broccolini says the mixed-use tower at 208-212 Slater St. would include 900 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, with communal amenity space on the next three floors and 162 apartment units on the remaining storeys. A two-storey mixed-use building that now occupies the site would be demolished to make way for the new development. Because the
red brick structure is a designated heritage building, Broccolini must apply for special permission to redevelop the site under the Ontario Heritage Act. A consultants’ report included in the application says Broccolini’s plan to put red brick cladding on the proposed highrise’s podium would be a “creative solution” to help reflect “the character of the heritage buildings” nearby on Bank Street. The proposed project does not include any parking spaces for residents but will feature 81 spaces for bicycles. A visitor parking lot would have space for 18 vehicles. Noting the site’s location near the Parliament LRT station, the developers say city zoning bylaws don’t require parking for residential or retail uses.
The Order of Ottawa
MindBridge Ai hires new exec with IPO in mind
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TD Bank for the past decade, was named one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women in 2017 by the Women’s Executive Network. Announcing the new hire on LinkedIn, MindBridge CEO Eli Fathi said in a post that Yamashita will develop the company’s strategy for an initial public offering, currently slated for 2021. MindBridge founder Solon Angel, who previously held the CSO role, will shift to a new post as chief impact officer.
One of Ottawa’s rapidly growing tech firms is shifting its executive ranks in hopes of securing a public listing in the not-toodistant future. MindBridge Ai, which develops artificial intelligence applications to help auditors and bookkeepers catch incidents of fraud, has hired Miyo Yamashita as its chief strategy officer. Yamashita, who has worked in executive and C-suite roles with Deloitte Canada and
THE CONVERSATION HAS CHANGED Not so long ago, it was an ongoing challenge for CRGroup to educate customers on the benefits of taking a single, integrated approach to digital transformation. The rise of the cloud has shifted the tone of these conversations. Organizations that were once wary of trusting their data and applications to the cloud are now desperate to find reliable and forward-looking partners that can help them chart a clear path to get there. “In today’s cloud environment, technology strategy and business strategy converge and must be addressed as one,” said Dr. Vijay Jog, President of CRGroup. “However, market research firm Gartner has found that only about one in 20 service providers like us has the expertise in house to take this converged approach. We do, and this makes it an exciting time for us.”
CRGROUP FINDS ITS SILVER LINING IN THE CLOUD Merger with Quisitive means faster growth and need for new hires
customers worldwide, in almost every industry vertical. They address each customer’s toughest challenges with expertise in Microsoft Dynamics, Microsoft SharePoint, business intelligence, planning and budgeting solutions, and CRGroup’s own awardwinning employee performance management platform, CRG emPerform.
rom the not-for-profit sector to government and private enterprise, organizations of all sizes are embracing digital transformation. They are looking for the efficiencies, cost savings and operational continuity that can come by transitioning data, processes and applications from a traditional on-premise IT infrastructure to the cloud. But this transition is seldom smooth. DIGITAL That’s where the team at Ottawa’s EXCLUSIVE Corporate Renaissance Group (CRGroup) Visit OBJ.CA/OBJDIGITAL-EDITION to view steps in. the digital edition for Over the past 30 years, CRGroup’s exclusive features seasoned leadership team and talented employees have served some 4,500
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS CRGroup has always been forward-looking, to understand how its products, services and delivery approach had to evolve to remain relevant and effective for customers. With the shift to the cloud, Dr. Jog and his team realized it was time to level up. In June, CRGroup announced it was teaming up with another top-notch Microsoft partner, Quisitive. “It has always been our goal to be a ‘one-stop shop’ for process optimization and technology enablement across every aspect of business,” said Dr. Jog. “Combining our strengths with Quisitive marks the age of a new type of service provider that offers end-to-end, strategic cloud migration, strategy and execution.” What does this mean for the CRGroup brand? More opportunity than you can shake a stick at. “It means growth and greater ability to help our clients prepare and scale for the future,” Dr. Jog said. “But to deliver on that, we need even more great people. We are looking for smart, energetic folks who are driven to solve challenges.”
TAKE YOUR FIRST STEP To learn more about how CRGroup can help your organization chart a reliable course for the future, or to learn about current career opportunities, please visit www.crgroup.com.
“CRGroup has an expert team, equipped with the know-how and technology to take companies into the future.”— LAURIE CAIRNS, CPA,CHRL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CORPORATE SERVICES, CANADIAN PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE OBJ360 CONTENT STUDIO
Montreal developer to invest $300M in trio of projects in National Capital Region BY DAVID SALI
For a group expanding outside of Quebec, it’s a logical step. – Selection Group’s Rudy Hanel, on company’s decision to move into the Ottawa market
‘ATTRACTIVE WAY TO GROW’ Noting the growing trend toward combining retail and residential
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The two buildings will rise above a two-level podium that will include shared common facilities and roughly 7,000 square feet of retail space. There will be three levels of underground parking at the site. Selection Group has a 50 per cent stake in the $150-million development, with SmartCentre holding the other half. The southern Ontario-based REIT already owns a strip mall on the property anchored by Walmart, and CEO Peter Forde said in a statement the project is part of the firm’s “overall strategic plan” to add mixed-use developments to its retail properties across Ontario.
AN EXCLUSIVE REPORT ON THE OUTLOOK AND ATTITUDES OF OTTAWA’S BUSINESS LEADERS
Montreal-based developer is launching its bid to expand beyond Quebec’s borders with ambitious plans to spend more than $300 million on a trio of rental apartment and mixed-use projects in the National Capital Region. Selection Group announced in mid-July it expects to build more than 1,000 rental suites at three sites in Ottawa and Gatineau over the next two years. The two Ottawa projects – a pair of retirement residences in Orléans and a mixed-use joint venture with SmartCentres REIT at the corner of Clyde Avenue and Baseline Road – will be the company’s first foray into the Ontario market. Rudy Hanel, Selection Group’s director of development for Ontario, said Ottawa’s large francophone population, high percentage of seniors living in retirement residences and proximity to Montreal all work in its favour. “For a group expanding outside of Quebec, it’s a logical step,” he told OBJ. “It’s easier to tackle this market.” The company’s marquee project in the capital will be two residential towers on the northeast corner of Clyde and Baseline. A 15-storey highrise will feature 230 units targeted at seniors, with amenities that include optional meal plans and assisted living facilities in 28 units. The other building, a 13-storey tower with 180 rental suites, will be aimed at empty-nesters who are looking to downsize and other “mature” tenants, Hanel said.
complexes, Hanel called the new partnership with SmartCentre a “great opportunity” for both companies. “It’s a very attractive way to grow,” he said, adding the developers plan to file a site plan application with city in the next couple of months. Hanel said the property is already zoned for mixed-use development, and the companies hope to begin construction on the project early next year. Selection Group also announced upcoming projects in Orléans and Gatineau. The $120-million Orléans development will feature a pair of rental buildings – a 10-floor, 255-suite highrise targeted at seniors and emptynesters and a smaller building with 100 units aimed at a variety of tenants. The company hopes the complex near the corner of Innes and Mer Bleue roads will be ready for occupancy within the next 18 months. Selection Group spokeswoman Mylene Dupere said city officials told the company there is a “real need” for more rental housing in Ottawa’s east end, adding the Orléans market is a “good fit” for the firm due to the area’s large number of French-speaking residents. Finally, the company announced it is launching a $113-million development on the other side of the Ottawa River in Gatineau. The firm’s proposal for 245 Boulevard du Plateau includes two towers of nine and eleven stories with more a total of more than 300 rental units. At least one of the buildings will be aimed at retirees, Dupere said, with the first phase expected to open in the fall of 2020.
BUILDING BUSINESS CONFIDENCE
OTTAWA BUSINESS GROWTH SURVEY
Consistent confidence in the capital’s economy
BUSINESS CONFIDENCE INDEX 150
90 SPRING 2017
various economic sectors. Confidence within the construction sector continues to rise, likely buoyed by a wave of megaprojects including
mid rising revenues and improving market conditions, Ottawa’s business community is maintaining an optimistic outlook with intentions to grow employee headcounts and, in many cases, expand their physical office space. Ottawa’s business confidence index held steady year-over-year, but remains firmly in positive territory at levels above those recorded between 2013 and 2015. That suggests a raft of downbeat macroeconomic news – such as trade tensions, rising interest rates
and perceptions of a labour shortage – has failed to significantly dampen the mood among local businesses. “The results are remarkably stable, despite the headwinds that the economy is feeling,” said David Coletto, the CEO of Abacus Data. The local market research firm administered the Ottawa Business Growth Survey and analyzed the results. “There are no clear red flags … Businesses are feeling upbeat,” he added. While the overall sentiment is positive, the 2019 Ottawa Business Growth Survey revealed significant differences among respondents in
BY PETER KOVESSY
the second phase of Ottawa’s lightrail network, the 10-year renovation of Parliament Hill and a hot housing market. Tech respondents remain the
Mayor’s Breakfast Series A unique opportunity to enjoy breakfast with His Worship Mayor Jim Watson and hear from business and community leaders about issues critical to Ottawa. Guest Speaker: Daniel S. Goldberg President and CEO, Telesat Canada
Thursday, September 5, 2019 Location: Ottawa City Hall Registration: 7:00am Buffet Breakfast: 7:30am Presentation: 8:00am INDIVIDUAL TICKETS: $35.00 + HST (Ottawa Board of Trade Members) $50.00 + HST (Non-Memebers) CORPORATE TABLES OF 8 WITH SIGNAGE: $245.00 + HST (Ottawa Board of Trade Members) $350.00 + HST (Non-Memebers) Register online www.ottawabot.ca
8 E-mail email@example.com to receive weekly updates on all our events
Ted Mann is the managing partner of Mann Lawyers
WHAT LEGAL ISSUES WILL SHAPE THE REAL ESTATE SECTOR IN 2019? Watch the Ottawa Real Estate Show Visit Ottawahttp://bit.ly/OttawaRealEstateShow Business Journal on YouTube
Want to find out what local businesses think about a range of key issues? Check out the full report at ottawabusinesssurveyreport.ca
most optimistic out of any industry, although their confidence did fall yearover-year – movement that may reflect the sector’s inherent volatility. Elsewhere, many in the hospitality sector had feared a post-Canada 150 “hangover” characterized by declining visitor numbers in the immediate aftermath of the country’s sesquicentennial celebrations. Those concerns likely contributed to declining confidence in the sector last year;
Thursday, August 29, 2019 at 6:30pm at the Tomlinson Family Foundation Clubhouse 1463 Prince of Wales Dr Learn more at BGCOGALA.CA
with those fears alleviated and visitor numbers holding strong, confidence among respondents in the hospitality sector rebounded significantly in 2019. Confidence among retailers, on the other hand, dropped significantly for the second straight year. It’s a trend that’s also seen nationally, Coletto said, as merchants face mounting competition from online retailers and rapidly shifting consumer tastes and habits.
Ottawa’s most compelling new event. The first annual Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa Gala presented by Mark Motors Group promises to awaken your taste buds with mind-blowing signature cocktails & mocktails, delicious wines and local craft beers. Enjoy amazing dishes carefully crafted by Ottawa’s top restaurants...
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Ottawa firm hopes nanotechnology research leads to giant breakthroughs Canadian Bank Note scores $40M in federal funding for new project as it continues to diversify far beyond its roots as a printing company BY DAVID SALI
he study of particles that are too small to be seen with the naked eye could represent a gigantic pivot for Ottawa-based Canadian Bank Note. The 122-year-old firm is bestknown for printing currency for the Bank of Canada. But over the past few decades, the privately held company has diversified beyond banknotes and now produces passports, driver’s licences and other secure documents for customers around the world. Thanks to the acquisition of new technology and millions in federal funding, Canadian Bank Note is in the midst of reinventing itself once again. Researchers at a two-year-old division of the Ottawa firm called CBN Nano Technologies are in the early stages of a five-year project to boost the security of everything from passports to the polymer bills you carry in your wallet using microscopic material designed to thwart counterfeiters. Canadian Bank Note believes its investment in nanotechnology could become a big headache for criminals. For example, security features that can only be detected by a special scanner could be embedded into currency and other sensitive documents, making it much easier to verify their authenticity. “You have to try to stay one step ahead of the bad guys,” says Gordon McKechnie, senior vice-president of corporate affairs at Canadian Bank Note.
The federal government saw enough potential in the technology that it announced in July it’s pouring $40 million into the research project through its strategic innovation fund. In total, Canadian Bank Note plans to invest $212 million into finding out whether “you can actually do manufacturing that’s accurate at the atomic level,” McKechnie says. The research is still in its infancy, he notes, and where it ultimately leads is still anybody’s guess. “(Security) would be an early targeted market for us if this all works – and it is still an if,” he cautions. “The government, like us, sees the promise that it represents – not just for our business, but for a lot of other applications. Because if you can be really, really accurate in what you build, you can do a lot of stuff that solves some of the world’s problems.” Other fields where Canadian Bank Note researchers believe their study of tiny things could achieve giant breakthroughs include medicine and high-speed computing. McKechnie notes that microprocessors are almost at the stage where circuits can’t get much smaller using existing methods, potentially putting the brakes on any further increases in processing speeds. Nanotechnology could change that some day, he suggests. “The principle by which computer speed has accelerated has kind of levelled off now,” he explains. “They need a new technology to do it. This might be it.”
It’s a big gamble. We refer to this as the biggest R&D project the company has ever undertaken. But we have a lot of confidence in it. – Gordon McKechnie, senior vice-president of corporate affairs at Canadian Bank Note
Nanotechnology could open the doors to a host of potential new markets, McKechnie says, “but it’s a
little hard to anticipate before you actually prove the principle. We think that we will, within the next year or two,
be able to establish that it’s possible.” To that end, CBN Nano Technologies expects to boost its current headcount of about 70 to nearly 300 over the next several years, with most of those hires likely to happen right here in Ottawa. Canadian Bank Note bought the nanotechnology assets of a California firm a little over a year ago with the aim of establishing a research hub in the nation’s capital.
focused on printing currency that generated about $7 million in annual revenues. Today, its yearly income has ballooned to more than $300 million – with only about 20 per cent of that total coming from currency contracts. Over the past couple of decades, Canadian Bank Note has become a force in everything from lottery operations to border security software. It runs the 50-50 draws for all major sports teams in Ontario and supplies the technology for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s bingos across the province. In addition, the firm oversees the national lottery systems in nine countries in the Caribbean and Central America. Canadian Bank Note’s European office in Bucharest develops software technology that verifies passports and runs border security checks in about 40 countries. McKechnie says the company, which now employs more than 1,600 people in Canada, the United States and Europe, has blossomed under Arends’ leadership.
‘REVERSE BRAIN DRAIN’
“He’s a bit of a futurist and a visionary, and it’s paid off,” he says. “We’re not just a printing company anymore. We’ve become kind of a stealth technology company.” Although Canadian Bank Note often competes for contracts with firms 10 times its size, McKechnie says its breadth of expertise and reputation for quality – this spring, for example, its design and security features for the new Canadian $10 bill featuring civil rights activist Viola Desmond earned it an award from the International Bank Note Society – have helped it come out on top in many of those contests. “We’re really the only company in the world that is in all of the things that we’re into,” he adds. “You just have to look at our history. We used to be the world’s largest producer of American Express and Thomas Cook traveller’s cheques. They don’t exist anymore. We were the largest producer of bonds and stocks for the Euro bond market. They don’t exist anymore. You’ve got to keep moving in this industry.”
Many of those researchers have already relocated from California to Ottawa, and that makes McKechnie smile. “They’ve been working on it for a long time,” he says. “We think they’re on to something, and we were prepared to invest in it and make sure the project has the money it needs. The federal government liked the idea of reverse brain drain, quite frankly.” Most of the new employees the firm expects to add over the next few years are in highly sought-after STEM fields such as chemistry, physics, math and computer engineering – exactly the kind of cutting-edge knowledge workers the feds are looking to help Canadian industry nurture and retain. McKechnie says it’s not easy to find such highly specialized talent, but adds the allure of being on the ground floor of such a significant project makes the company’s pitch to new recruits a little easier. “People don’t really know us,” he explains. “Once they do get to know us, they don’t leave, typically. Some of the new hires into the nano project, they’ll make comments like, ‘We could have gone to work for a company like Shopify, but this is more interesting.’” The proof, as they say, will be in the pudding. But should CBN Nano Technologies’ efforts pan out, the payoff will be sweet. “It’s a big gamble,” McKechnie admits. “We refer to this as the biggest R&D project the company has ever undertaken. But we have a lot of confidence in it.” Embracing nanotechnology is just the latest step in Canadian Bank Note’s constant evolution. When current owner Doug Arends bought the company in the mid-1970s, it was a relatively small operation
FONDS DE DOTATION
From left to right: Guy Lapierre (CEO / GAL Power), Dal Bath (National Sales Director / GAL Power), Bill Garbarino (Tournament Director/ HKGU), Mike Brennan (President / Variety of Ottawa), Anita Wilson (Executive Director / Variety of Ottawa). Photo: Sharon Piccardo
A Decade of Fundraising for Children in Need
his Summer’s 10th annual Help Kids Grow Up Charity Golf Tournament, benefitting Variety of Ottawa and the Canadian Foundation for Children with AIDS (CFCA) was held on Tuesday, July 9th at the prestigious ClubLink Eagle Creek Golf Club in scenic Dunrobin, Ontario. Once again, the tournament presented by Diamond Level Sponsor, GAL Power, was a sold-out event supported by over 63 corporate sponsors and the newly established, GAL Family Foundation – contributing at a Diamond Sponsorship Level. This year’s HKGU golf tournament and pre-tournament fundraising activities have generated nearly $84,766 in net proceeds raised to date, with another event still to come in the late summer.
From left to right: Mike Brennan (President / Variety of Ottawa), Guy Lapierre (CEO / GAL Power), Leah & Ashleigh Simpson, and Anita Wilson (Executive Director / Variety of Ottawa). Photo: Sharon Piccardo
The top-notch Eagle Creek staff and tournament volunteers treated participants to HKGU’s unique brand of hospitality, while the dedicated tournament sponsors provided everyone with fuel for the day. Breakfast was generously sponsored by (Vibra-Sil), lunch by (Jim Peplinski Leasing) – gold level tournament sponsors, while platinum hospitality sponsors, (Eaton & WESCO), hosted a promotional on-course ‘Beer Tent’ featuring the Labatt promotion team handing out Stella Artois tall cans. This year’s HKGU tournament featured a Gala Reception event that celebrated 10-years of fundraising success while providing ample opportunity to network. It featured live auctions, raffles & 50/50 cash draws, an awards ceremony, food stations, wine, spirit & beer tasting stations provided by platinum sponsors (CIBC) and (Eaton & WESCO), accompanied with complimentary wine by provided gold level sponsor (Atlas Copco). Sunny skies prevailed as over 144 participating golfers were greeted with warm smiles and received complimentary registration gifts generously provided by sponsors. Throughout the day, they displayed their skills through nine on-course skill events including; chipping/putting contests, longest drive, straightest drive, closest-to-the-pin, and four
‘hole-in-one’ contests with large cash prizes and VIP Sports Fan Experiences. In addition to the on-course skill events, each year a ‘top team’ that achieves the lowest score for the day, using a scramble format, is crowned. This year’s tournament saw the setting of a new tournament record for the ‘Top Team Award’ achieved by the Sens Alumni foursome with a score of 53. That’s -19 under par! Close on their heels for the coveted award were team GAL Power 5A (Score:57), and team Gervais Towing 4A (Score: 61). During the tournament Gala Reception, long-term major tournament sponsors were recognized for their years of commitment to the HKGU tournament. Variety of Ottawa proudly presented a cheque to their selected family for this year for $5,000, while the GAL Family Foundation presented a cheque to Variety of Ottawa for $20,000. Although this is the final year for the HKGU Charity Golf Tournament the tradition of giving back will continue through the HKGU fundraising events including the 1st Annual JMM Golf Tournament being held August 26, 2019 at GreyHawk Golf Club. We hope you will join us so we can continue to expand our programs for children in need, in Ottawa and in Africa! hkgu.varietyofottawa.com
Ottawa-based CIRA secures spot in new L-Spark accelerator BY CRAIG LORD firstname.lastname@example.org
he Ottawa-based company responsible for the .ca domain is among the first cohort of companies joining a new accelerator spearheaded by L-Spark and its team of corporate partners. The Kanata-based accelerator, which burst onto the scene in 2014 with an aggressive approach to scaling software-as-a-service companies, announced this past spring that it was teaming up with Telus, BlackBerry
and Ottawa’s Solace to offer a new program focused on developing secure applications in the emerging Internet of Things field. The first cohort of the four-month program was announced in late July. Among the four participating firms is the Ottawa-based Canadian Internet Registration Authority. In recent years, the local notfor-profit has expanded beyond the declining business of domain registry into applications focused on internet security. The new IoT accelerator program
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS! SPONSOR COMMITMENT
This tournament is made possible by the tremendous support of GAL Power. They have made a 10-year commitment to raise over $680,000 through this event. GAL Power, one of Canada’s leading providers of power and temperature control rental solutions has earned leadership status by consistently supplying high-performance generators over the past 30-years. Visit www.galpower.com.
DIAMOND PRESENTING SPONSOR: DIAMOND SPONSOR:
GAL Family Foundation
Advanced Vibration & Sound Control
SILVER LEVEL: KPMG, Allan Snelling LLP, Triangle Pump, Rhodes & Williams, Tony Graham Lexus, Gervais Towing, Max Bounty, 4Refuel, Trane, Federal Electric, Waterman Sales, Algonquin College, OSEG, Soshal Group, SignFX Thank you to our BRONZE LEVEL & PRIZE SPONSORS and dedicated VOLUNTEERS. See the complete list of sponsors on the HKGU tournament website sponsor section. http://hkgu.varietyofottawa.com
Variety of Ottawa has directed proceeds to support the Leukemia Society of Ottawa and most recently to establish a commitment with CHEO to fund $100,000, over a 4-year period, towards the cost for a new heart and lung bypass machine. They have expanded their partnership with the Children’s Wish Foundation and Darcy’s Angels, and provided funding for a local child battling cancer. CFCA continues to use net proceeds to significantly expand sustainable food programs, livestock, and greenhouses within the sub-Saharan region of Africa, which has been decimated by the impact of the AIDS virus. Combined with our American counterpart AFCA, these programs are now supporting over 30,000 families across 4 countries!
provides participating companies with technical resources to develop top-line applications, including Telus’s cybersecurity and connectivity services,
HOW PROCEEDS WILL BE USED
CIRA chief executive Byron Holland. FILE PHOTO
BlackBerry’s secure operating system and Solace’s data mobility capabilities. While the three tech firms will guide the coming cohort in technical development, L-Spark will provide business mentoring and help arrange partnership opportunities between the corporate accelerator partners and participating firms. Applications to the new accelerator closed on April 30. CIRA, Montreal’s Canscan, Sudbury’s Flosonics Medical and Coquitlam, B.C.’s Platoi Industries were all selected after a hackathon competition among 12 finalists.
Beth Nagy, co-owner of the former P.A.M.â€™s Coffee and Tea franchise in the Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre, says sheâ€™s not sure what her business future holds. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON
Closing time for mid-tier malls? OBJ.CA
With Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre set to be totally rebuilt, OBJ looks at whether community retail plazas still have staying power in a world of e-commerce and changing consumer buying habits
BY DAVID SALI
n a warm, sunny morning in late July, Beth Nagy looks out at the deserted rows of seats near her coffee shop in the Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre and reminisces about the good old days of Ottawa retail.
opened shop in 2003. Her revenues have plummeted 50 per cent over that time span, she says, lamenting the loss of major tenants that also included a large branch of the Canadian Automobile Association. “When that left, that was a big hit,” she says, surveying the walls of locked-up storefronts around her that have already been vacated. “It all has a huge impact on business in a very negative way.” It’s a trend Ottawa retail analyst Barry Nabatian has seen repeating itself over and over again across the capital and other Canadian cities.
It would have been nice to go out on our own terms. – Beth Nagy, former tenant of Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre
NEW CANADIAN TIRE Down the road from Lincoln Fields at Carlingwood Shopping Centre, management would not reveal the mall’s vacancy rate or sales per square foot. But some store owners there say they’ve also witnessed a significant decline in foot traffic at the 525,000-square-foot plaza. Sears, the mall’s key anchor tenant, declared bankruptcy in 2017 and closed its Carlingwood store the following January. Mall operator Cushman and Wakefield demolished the former department store earlier this year and announced a Canadian Tire outlet would be built in its place. Vicky Maguire, who owns women’s hat and fashion retailer Unique Accessories with her husband Brian, has been a tenant of the mall for 13 years and says she’s seen “a lot of turnover” during that time. The closure of Sears “has made a big difference to a lot of people,” she adds, estimating her sales are down 20 per cent compared with a year ago. “This has been the slowest year for me, but we are a destination store. We’re lucky in that respect.” Maguire says the business, which employs four part-time staff members, is still profitable and she expects it to remain viable for the foreseeable future. “We’re not sure how long we wish to carry on anyway,” she says, noting she and her husband are both in their seventies. “But I think once Canadian Tire comes in, I really think that will do great things for the mall.” At Carlingwood’s Sunrise Records store manager Dan Ferguson echoes that optimism. “I would say with the Canadian Tire coming in, we’re going to see a lot more traffic through here for sure,” Ferguson says, noting sales at his store have
actually risen in the past 12 months. “A lot of people like to come out and actually touch and look at the product. It’s right in their hands immediately.” At the same time, he also notes that a nearby sandwich shop and the Carlingwood Restaurant, a fixture in the mall for decades, both recently shut their doors. “I think it just depends on the product really,” he says of the long-term future of stores in the 110-store plaza, which opened in 1956 and is one of Ottawa’s oldest malls. Nabatian says there’s really not much that individual merchants can do to reverse their declining fortunes. Traditional advertising isn’t as effective as it used to be, he says, and other promotional efforts such as sponsoring community sports teams can bring customers back, but “it’s very expensive.”
FINDING A NICHE Louise Kekanovich, who owns Buster’s Bar and Grill at Lincoln Heights with husband Steve Schwan, says business at her 200-seat restaurant has grown steadily during its 10 years in operation. She and Schwan are now planning to reopen their establishment at a new, larger location on Hazeldean Road in Kanata, adding she’s “very excited” about the move. Kekanovich says brick-and-mortar retailers need to find a way to stand apart from the crowd. In her case, that’s meant cultivating “loyal” regulars from across the city who come for the food, laid-back atmosphere and entertainment such as live bands on the weekend. Many of them have already assured her she’ll soon be seeing them in Kanata. “You have to look at ways to bring in customers,” she says. “They’re just not coming in to have food. They’re coming in for that experience.” Faced with a need to reinvent their properties, shopping centre owners are increasingly following the U.S. trend of redeveloping their current properties into mixed-use projects that combine commercial and residential elements. Proponents say it’s a way to generate new income from large swaths of land devoted to parking lots that now often sit half-empty at many mid-sized malls. Continued on page 17
What Nabatian calls second-tier shopping centres such as Lincoln Fields, Billings Bridge, Carlingwood, Elmvale Acres and Westgate are “struggling,” he says. Many of today’s consumers flock to big-box retailers that have the buying power to charge lower prices, he explains, while well-to-do households are turning to chic new retailers such as Quebec-based clothier Simons and upscale jewelry merchant Tiffany that have opened Ottawa locations in bigger shopping malls with more traffic. More and more, that’s leaving midlevel retailers that were the bread and butter of the second-tier malls on the outside looking in, he argues. “The two extremes are doing well, and the middle is constantly losing and being emptied out,” he says, noting that the city’s overall retail vacancy rate has jumped from four to six per cent over the
past three years, while overall retail sales per square foot have declined from $480 in 2016 to around $420 today. “(Community malls) are doing their best, but it’s just not working,” says Nabatian, a researcher at Shore-Tanner & Associates. “The traffic in these shopping centres is low. The best thing for a retailer is to be exposed to as many people as possible, regardless of whether they buy that day or not. Once they are there, they tend to shop at other stores as well.”
That would be back around 2010, when Nagy and her husband Charles owned as many as four P.A.M.’s Coffee and Tea franchises – three in the capital and one in Arnprior. But on this day, with the clock running out on summer and fall looming ever closer, the longtime businesswoman is doing a countdown of her own to the moment she closes the cash register at a P.A.M.’s for the final time. Nagy’s lease on her kiosk at the westend shopping plaza, like the other few remaining store owners at Lincoln Fields, was set to expire in a matter of days. The mall’s owner, RioCan, gave notice to all tenants back in January that they would have to vacate the building by July 31 as part of the company’s plan to tear down the aging plaza and replace it with a mixed-use development that will be home to a new retail complex and could eventually include highrise residential towers. So after 16 years, Nagy is saying goodbye to her last P.A.M.’s location, a parting she calls “bittersweet.” “It would have been nice to go out on our own terms,” she says. Lincoln Fields is just one of many mid-sized community shopping centres across the country that have struggled to adapt to changing consumer habits and the rise of online commerce. In the face of those challenges, business owners and industry experts say smaller retailers in smaller plazas can still thrive – provided they find a unique niche that draws customers from a wider area or they get a spillover benefit from new anchor tenants that are introduced as malls are redeveloped. Located on 16 acres of prime real estate on Carling Avenue, Lincoln Fields once had dozens of tenants, buoyed by household names such as Loblaws, Woolco and Walmart. The hollowing-out actually started decades ago, when Loblaws departed in 1984. Long-defunct Woolco was replaced by Walmart in 1994, but the discount retail behemoth also eventually left, pulling up stakes in 2016 and leaving 120,000 square feet of space that remained vacant right up to the mall’s last day. “Bloop, bloop, bloop, bloop, bloop – into the toilet,” is how Nagy describes the mall’s sales trajectory since she
RETAIL of the store’s revenues. But the software firm has also helped West End Kids and other local merchants boost their in-store sales. When Sheba had issues migrating her old point-of-sale system over to Shopify’s platform, the e-commerce company sent researchers to talk to her about the issues facing retailers who were using its systems. Over the years, well over a dozen Shopify employees have visited West End Kids to get a sense of how the Schmidts do everything from figuring out how much inventory they need to how they organize their in-store pickup service. The store recently switched to Shopify’s point-of-sale system, and a new team of researchers is set to stop by the store in August to get a crash course in preparing for the fall rush.
Doug Chapman, owner of Great Escape Outfitters in Westboro, says Shopify employees have visited his store ‘many times.’ PHOTO BY TED SIMPSON
Brick-and-mortar merchants benefit from Shopify effect E-commerce powerhouse’s employees ‘improve themselves constantly’ by getting a crash course in retail at local stores BY DAVID SALI AUGUST 2019
ith annual revenues that now top the $1-billion mark, 4,000-plus employees and more than 800,000 merchants using its platform, Ottawabased Shopify has become a global tech powerhouse in every sense of the word. But to Sheba and Gordie Schmidt, the e-commerce giant is more like that
friendly neighbour who comes over when your computer is on the fritz. The husband-and-wife team have owned West End Kids, a children’s apparel store on Richmond Road in Westboro, for nearly a quarter of a century. In that time, they’ve witnessed a lot of changes that have transformed mainstreet brick-andmortar retail – maybe none bigger than the rise of online shopping. “Without online, we wouldn’t be here
anymore. That’s the reality,” says Gordie, adding overhead on his 1,300-square-foot store “has gotten to such a point that you need to subsidize it” with sales via the web. West End Kids has had an online presence for years, but things really took off when the store adopted Shopify as its e-commerce platform in 2014. Online sales have quadrupled since it shifted to Shopify and now constitute nearly a third
“They’re continuing to improve themselves constantly,” Gordie says of Shopify’s employees. Shopify has launched a number of products designed to help traditional retailers. It introduced mobile card readers in 2016, and last year it added a feature to its point-of-sale system that allows customers who bought items online to exchange them at a physical store. In a statement, Shopify said it encourages its workers to “spend time learning from our merchants” in an effort to help them grow their brick-and-mortar business. The company says more than 100,000 traditional retailers used its point-of-sale product in 2018, and the system is now Shopify’s second-largest sales channel after its online platform. Just down the street from West End Kids, retailer Doug Chapman also uses Shopify for his online platform and instore point-of-sale system. The owner of outdoor clothing shop Great Escape Outfitters says the firm’s employees have been to his store “many, many times” in an effort to find out what works well and what doesn’t when merchants use Shopify’s products on an everyday basis. “You show them why it doesn’t actually work quite the way they wanted it to,” he says.
Builders mulling mall makeovers Continued from page 15 RioCan has jumped on the redevelopment bandwagon in a big way. In addition to its plans to tear down Lincoln Fields and rebuild it, the mall owner is also looking at erecting as many as five mixed-use towers beside the Westgate shopping centre that would feature retail space and hundreds of residential units. In addition, it’s proposing a major makeover of Elmvale Acres Shopping Centre that would see as many as seven new buildings with nearly 600 residential units added to the St. Laurent Boulevard site. RioCan chief executive Jonathan Gitlin recently told OBJ that although its retail properties are still thriving, with a 97 per cent overall occupancy rate across Canada, the company can’t afford to get complacent. Redeveloping its malls is just one component of its long-term strategy to reinvent itself, he added.
He said the firm, which owns about 44 million square feet of retail space across Canada, is looking to add more “servicerelated” businesses such as gyms and doctor’s offices to its tenant mix as a way to attract customers. “I think we’re doing a number of things to ensure that we have relevant retail,” he said. “One of those is changing the types of tenants that we have in our buildings. Part of is building mixed-use (developments), where we urbanize, modernize and bring residential (units) to our retail sites.” Nabatian is a fan of RioCan’s new approach. “The best solution for them ... is to have highrise rentals, even sometimes condominiums, as close to the shopping centres as possible,” he says. Back at Lincoln Fields, Nagy says she isn’t sure exactly what her future holds. But she’s almost certain that whatever her next venture is, it won’t be based at a mall. “I’m taking a break now,” she says. “I really don’t think I would ever go into a shopping centre (again).”
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Downtown office tower owners opt for a change of space
With demand for rental housing in the city centre spiking, more and more commercial landlords are choosing to spend big bucks on transforming aging office towers into state-of-the-art rental accommodations
18 District Realty is converting 170 Metcalfe St. (left) into rental housing. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON
BY DAVID SALI
he website for Ottawa’s trendiest new university residence neatly sums up what prompted Gatineau-based developer Katasa Group to buy an empty former government office tower at the corner of Rideau Street and King Edward Avenue, tear its guts out and remake it into an upscale dormitorium. “I’ve restored what was a basic and run down building and turned it into a unique and modern home for university students from all over the world,” the soon-to-be-opened Théo residence says as it answers the question “Who Am I?” Katasa’s decision to personify its newest development project is just one way it ventured a little outside the box when it jumped into the city’s growing market for privately run student housing. The firm’s ambitious choice to convert the 11-storey Constitution Building, a drab, 1960s-era government office tower once occupied by the Department of National Defence, into a state-of-the-art residential complex is the latest example of a new construction trend in downtown Ottawa: Builders gutting outdated office buildings and spending millions to transform them into rental apartments. As construction waves go, it’s more of a ripple, but real estate observers say it’s gaining momentum. In addition to Katasa’s project, District Realty has done its own conversion of office space into apartments at 169 Lisgar St. and is set to open the doors to another office-turnedrental building at nearby 170 Metcalfe St. later this year. Across the Rideau River in Vanier, Bona Properties has launched a full-scale renovation of a former federal
government office tower at 25 McArthur Ave. with the aim of turning it into apartments as well. Earlier this year, InterRent REIT, a local firm that specializes in developing and managing rental apartments, bought the 49-year-old Trebla Building at 473 Albert St. – a clear sign the 11-storey tower’s days as a commercial space are over. “They are few and far between, but they’re slowly creeping up more and more,” Emily McClelland, a commercial real estate adviser at the Ottawa office of Colliers International, says of officeto-residential conversions. “People are kind of seeing the opportunity there to convert these buildings.”
TARGETING NEW TENANTS In many ways, she says, it’s really a tale of two vacancy rates. At the same time as demand for reasonably priced rental housing in the downtown core continues to rise, more and more owners of “functionally obsolete” Class-C office space are hunting for new ways to get more bang for their tenant buck. One way is to invest capital they once would have poured into upgrading space for commercial tenants and using it to refurbish the buildings completely to target a whole new market of residential renters instead. “If you can spend that same money and convert it to a residential (building) which is a lower cap-rate product, I think there’s a huge opportunity there,” McClelland says. District Realty kickstarted the trend when it gutted former commercial space at 169 Lisgar and rebuilt it as an apartment complex four years ago. “At the time, some would have said it was a big risk,” says District Realty CEO
Jason Shinder. “In hindsight, it worked out very well. Since inception, we haven’t had a month of vacancy.” Like McClelland, Shinder says developers’ recent rush to reimagine tired office towers is market-driven. “Right now, there seems to be a greater demand for affordable housing versus B-minus, C-plus office space,” he explains. “So if you provide a good, clean, safe (residential) product, then it tends to be full. The same can’t be said for all of the office space.” Buoyed by the results of its first makeover, District purchased an eight-storey commercial building at 170 Metcalfe St. from the Canadian Red Cross last fall. It’s now putting the finishing touches on the 61 new apartment units that will fill the 45,000-square-foot space, which should be ready for occupancy by September. The folks at Théo are equally bullish on the prospects for their property. General manager Benoit Hudon says the multimillion-dollar conversion projection looks poised to pay off in spades. The 193-unit residence aimed at University of Ottawa students – which features a basketball court, music studio and games room among its five-star amenities – already has a waiting list. The building’s “prime location” just a few minutes’ walk from the UOttawa campus, the Rideau Centre and light rail made it an appealing site for such a venture, he explains. “If you want to look for land that size downtown or in the ByWard Market, it’s almost impossible to find,” Hudon says.
Gatineau’s Katasa Group has rebuilt an office tower at 305 Rideau St. into a university residence.
Right now, there seems to be a greater demand for affordable housing versus B-minus, C-plus office space. So if you provide a good, clean, safe (residential) product, then it tends to be full. The same can’t be said for all of the office space.” – District Realty CEO Jason Shinder and an understanding of how to do them properly.” Shinder agrees, saying many developers probably wouldn’t have even tried to salvage the existing structure at 170 Metcalfe St. “The costs are prohibitive, and it is very comparable to building from scratch,” Shinder says. “If it would’ve been a (seasoned developer), I think they probably would have torn the building down and built from scratch. (Development) is just not what we do.” And sometimes, no amount of money will ever be able to transform a rundown office tower into a thriving residential building, he adds. You simply can’t reshape an old building’s skeleton, or uproot it and move it to a site that offers unobstructed views on all sides.
As Shinder explains it, while an office tower might contain a handful of sinks and toilets per floor, a residential complex will typically require well over a dozen – not to mention heating and air conditioning controls in every unit, requiring a complete overhaul of HVAC systems. In addition, stripping half-century-old buildings down to their bare bones often requires careful removal of potentially hazardous materials such as asbestos, driving up costs even more. “Once you start tearing things apart, the costs can get away from you pretty quickly,” notes Kevin McMahon, founder of Urban Logic, a local real estate research firm. “I think what you’re seeing is people that have done it are starting to develop a bit of a niche in the market
“It comes down to the creativity of the architect, and it comes down to how the floor plans can fit the existing structure,” Shinder says. “It’s different than building from scratch. You’ve got to live with some of the infrastructure that exists, and you can’t have an apartment that’s 10 feet wide and 50 feet deep. At the end of the day, you’ve got to be able to fit in a useful floor plan into the guts of what you have. “There aren’t many people paying a lot of rent for a unit that has one window,” he continues. “The amount of frontage really determines how many units you can have. Some of the aging office buildings that are deeper that are sandwiched between two other buildings would be very difficult to convert.” Still, as long as the rental vacancy rates continue to hover around historic lows of below two per cent and Class-C buildings are still saddled with availability rates north of 11 per cent, property owners looking to cash in on the rental boom – with its promise of consistent long-term returns – will be scouring the downtown landscape for conversion opportunities, McMahon predicts. “You can’t just go and buy a piece of land downtown,” he says. “It’s very hard to come by and people are looking at the economics and saying, ‘Well, if I can buy an office building and completely reposition it, I’m still far ahead in terms of my costs and the benefits can outweigh that. I think you’re going to see strong demand for people looking for buildings to convert to apartments. But again, you have to be certain on the costs.” Shinder singles out 473 Albert St. as the next downtown building most likely to be redesigned for residential use. But beyond that, he’s not making any bets. “My gut would be that there are a few buildings that, in the event that they’re facing a significant vacancy, that this could be a viable alternative,” he says. “I don’t think there’s a long list of them.” Still, Shinder’s not ruling out another conversion at one of his properties if the market conditions are right. “We would definitely look at it again. You’ve got to look at every asset as to what fits best long-term.”
Still, these type of wholesale building rehab projects aren’t for the faint of heart. Typically, the entire interior of the structure must be completely destroyed, leaving only a concrete skeleton, and reconstructed from scratch. District’s rebuilds and Katasa’s Théo development required a topto-bottom reconfiguration of the building’s interiors and the installation of brand-new plumbing, heating and air conditioning infrastructure. At the former Confederation Building, contractors had to summon a crane to remove old-school boilers from the facility’s roof piece by piece.
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HOW TECHNOLOGY IS TRANSFORMING OTTAWA’S PROPERTY MANAGEMENT INDUSTRY GPS, cloud-based software and video communications improving experiences of property owners, tenants and employees
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Sleepwell has also implemented mobile apps to help with everything from move-in and move-out inspections to maintenance reports. Sleepwell staff can take photos, record video and generate reports using mobile devices, and send this data directly to the office and team without having to physically return to the office. The secure software allows Sleepwell to create fully accessible tenant profiles, organize maintenance reports, stay on top of rent collection, facilitate document signing and much more. All told, it means Sleepwell can keep property owners informed and provide them with comprehensive, timely and easily accessible records. “It’s a game-changer,” Pool says. Sleepwell has also utilized technology to increase the ease of property showings. If a prospective tenant
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is unable to view a rental unit in person, Sleepwell can arrange a virtual showing that allows the would-be renter to view the property remotely. “We take a video and post it for them online,” Pool says. “Everything links back to our software platform, where we keep the videos stored. It’s just a nice feature and an added benefit for those people who are unable to make it to the property, or who live out of the city.” These capabilities also benefit landlords, ensuring every unit is being marketed to its full potential and to as many tenants as possible. Pool says Sleepwell’s embrace of new technology is already paying dividends for its clients. “Whether they’re a landlord or tenant, they’re really excited about having these new features available to them,” he says. “This is an industry that traditionally lagged behind other sectors in terms of technological advances. Not anymore.”
onrad Pool has seen first-hand how a new generation of high-tech tools can reshape an entire business sector. The president of Ottawa-based Sleepwell Property Management, one of Ottawa’s largest third-party property management firms, says his company’s experience shows how the strategic application of GPS technology, cloud-based software and video communications improves the experiences of property owners, tenants and employees alike. “I came to the realization that the industry really had not progressed,” Pool says. “I was determined to find solutions for not only my company, but solutions that would help our clients – landlords and tenants.” Technology plays a crucial role in the operations of Sleepwell on several levels, starting with its fleet of GPS-enabled trucks. With real-time tracking of the location of each company vehicle, office staff can dispatch the closest and most qualified service technician to each job. This reduces fuel consumption and allows Sleepwell to provide accurate estimates of when its staff will arrive at a property. The efficiencies created by Sleepwell’s system allow work to be completed in the most timely and costeffective way – critical for a firm that’s sharply focused on maximizing ROI for its clients. “It allows us to know where everybody is and dispatch the most efficient resource,” Pool says. “Property managers, leasing agents and service techs – all three levels are dispatched and tracked on the GPS system.”
OBJ.Social is supported by the generous patronage of Mark Motors, Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties, Bruyère Foundation and Sparks Dental. STORIES AND PHOTOS BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS
Blue ribbon finish for Spurs & Sparkles fundraiser at Wesley Clover Parks
Organizers have really raised the bar with a creative new soirée that promotes the equestrian sport of show jumping while also helping out the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. Spurs & Sparkles, presented by Ottawa Special Events, roped in an impressive crowd of 370 attendees to the first-time charity event held at Wesley Clover Parks in mid-July. Attendees basked in some summer sunshine in an elegant but relaxed setting. They ate, drank and socialized beneath a gorgeous marquee tent that was set up as part of the two-week Ottawa Equestrian Tournaments.
The team at Wesley Clover Parks knew the tent was going to sit empty during a break in the show-jumping competitions. They decided to put the lovely space to good use by hosting a big fundraiser for the community – one that would be unlike anything Ottawa has seen before. Brookstreet Hotel catered the food stations. Organizers recruited Zack, the top hat-wearing donkey, and his pony pal Lamb Chops to greet guests on the blue carpet. The tent’s front entrance is designed as a giant horseshoe. Organizers chose the cancer foundation as a way of “honouring those
loved ones that our team has lost to this horrible illness,” said Karen Sparks, a grand prix rider and director of Wesley Clover Parks. She co-chaired Spurs & Sparkles with Catherine McLaughlin, whose 15-year-old daughter Charlotte is an equestrian rider. She won silver and gold medals during the 2018 North American youth championships. Charlotte and her father, Terlin Construction president Terry McLaughlin, made quite a team, along with CTV Ottawa sports director Terry Marcotte. They took top spot on the podium in the evening’s muchanticipated Get Up & Gallop competition.
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Ottawa Special Events with the Ottawa Senators’ mascot, Spartacat, and rider Amy Millar. Kent Browne from Royal Lepage Team Realty led the live auction, clutching a mini gavel that served more as a pointer stick than anything. The auction featured a day at The Marshes Golf Club and Brookstreet Hotel with Borowiecki; a polo lesson with Anne Marie LeBrun and Jeremy Monette of Field Day Farm, with a picnic supplied by Brookstreet; diamond hoop earrings from Howard Fine Jewellers and Custom Designers; a champagne and charcuterie VIP experience for six for the Ottawa Equestrian Tournaments’ grand prix; and a 100-level box for the Celine Dion concert at the Canadian Tire Centre, donated by Wesley Clover Foundation.
exaggerated galloping motions with their bodies, just like true cowboys. In second place in the Get Up & Gallop Competition was Team Telus, with Shannon Gorman behind the wheel, media personality Lianne Laing doing the stick-handling and junior superstar rider Sam Walker. They were followed by Team Mark Motors with rider Jonathon Millar, Ottawa Redblacks defensive lineman Nigel Romick and Mark Motors Group executive vice-president Liza Mrak. It wasn’t surprising to see them make the podium; Mrak handled her golf cart like it was a 911 GT2 RS Porsche. Also competing were: Team Solace with Solace president and CEO Les Rechan, Ottawa Senators alternate captain Jean-Gabriel Pageau and rider Melissandre Lincourt; Team Ottawa Business Journal with chief marketing officer Terry Tyo, New Hot 89.9 radio personality Jenni Condon and rider Taylor Brooks; Team Pure Country with Bell Media regional vice-president and general manager Richard Gray, Ottawa Redblacks offensive lineman Nolan MacMillan and rider Beth Underhill; Team Inflector with Wesley Clover Foundation board member and Wesley Clover Parks COO Tony Dunn, Ottawa Senators defenceman and alternate captain Mark Borowiecki (his wife, Tara, was on the organizing committee) and rider Kelly Soleau-Millar; Team RBC with the bank’s regional president, Marjolaine Hudon, retired Canadian alpine skier Ryan Semple and rider Hugh Graham; and Peter Gilroy from
The fun three-part race saw show-jumping riders and their horses partner up with corporate sponsors and celebrities to try and complete an obstacle course in the fastest time. The team effort involved show jumping, shooting a ball down the field with a hockey stick and navigating a golf cart to the finish line. The course was designed by Wesley Clover Parks’ events manager, Tracy Howard. Spectators were encouraged to hedge their bets, Calcutta auction style, with all dollars going to the cause. Ten-time Olympian Ian Millar participated, as did his daughter Amy Millar, son Jonathon Millar and daughter-in-law Kelly Soleau-Millar. The family lost its matriarch, Lynn Millar, to cancer in 2008. The family also donated to the live auction a day of private riding lessons at their Millar Brooke Farm in Perth. Prominent high-tech entrepreneur Terry Matthews, founder and chairman of Wesley Clover International, ended up being a spectator. Subbing for him on his team was his daughter, Karen Sparks, who’s also on the board of the Wesley Clover Foundation. She was such a good sport, chasing the ball down the course with hockey stick in hand while wearing a long gown. Funny coincidence: Sparks’s nickname in the equestrian community is Sparkles. She was joined by former Ottawa mayor Larry O’Brien and Ian Millar, who were so entertaining to watch as they came into the home stretch in their golf cart. O’Brien and Millar made
OBJ.Social is supported by the generous patronage of Mark Motors, Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties, Bruyère Foundation and Sparks Dental. STORIES AND PHOTOS BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS
MI CASA, SU CASA: OSEG PARTNER JEFF HUNT OFFERS UP CONDO FOR BRUYÈRE FUNDRAISER Just as wearing team colours to the Redblacks’ home games is tradition, so is Ottawa businessman Jeff Hunt’s willingness to provide his luxury condo during those games as a venue for charitable groups to raise money. His place at The Rideau at Lansdowne
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overlooks the TD Place Stadium field. Moreover, its large balcony is so close to the action that you can practically reach out and intercept a pass, or so it feels. Supporters of the Bruyère Foundation gathered there July 5 to see the Redblacks take on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. It
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Championship’s Ottawa Fury FC. It also manages TD Place stadium and arena. Until recently, Hunt was also president of the Redblacks. He had signed up to do the job for four years and stayed for an extra two. He stepped down at the end of 2018. “They don’t need my help anymore,” Hunt told OBJ.social at the party. “We’ve got so many good staff now and such a great executive team. I’ve always believed that the guy who builds a business shouldn’t be the guy who runs it once it’s built.” The self-made entrepreneur and native of Stephenville, N.L., says he’s still got a lot of gas in the tank. He’s dabbling a little in real estate. He’s also exploring other business opportunities. “Running large operating companies is not my specialty at all,” he said. “I’m looking for my next big thing that I could bring value to. I haven’t found it yet. I’ve got a couple of ideas that are too early yet to talk about.” Hunt also remains governor for the 67’s.
was the latest charity tailgate party hosted by Hunt. Dozens of invited guests watched the game while being served drinks and snacking on chili honey glazed confit duck wings, braised beef tacos, roasted pork sandwiches and other tasty treats from DISH Catering. Attendees at this year’s event were encouraged to make a donation to the charitable arm of Bruyère Continuing Care, one of the largest health care centres of its kind in Canada. It addresses the health care needs of the rapidly aging population by offering complex continuing care, geriatric rehabilitation, stroke rehabilitation, palliative care and affordable housing for seniors. Bruyère focuses on helping people return home and restoring their quality of life. Proceeds from the fundraiser will assist the Bruyère Foundation with purchasing important medical equipment not funded by the provincial government. Staff brought along a handheld ultrasound scanner that night as an engaging way of showing everyone where their money was going. Present were the foundation’s president and CEO Peggy Taillon; Bruyère Continuing Care president and CEO Guy Chartrand; Helene Sveistrup, CEO and chief scientific officer of the Bruyère Research Institute, and Bruyère’s chief of staff, Dr. Shaun McGuire, who was enjoying a father-son night out. Hunt is one of the partners of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), which owns and operates the Redblacks, the OHL’s 67’s and the USL
OBJ.Social is supported by the generous patronage of Mark Motors, Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties, Bruyère Foundation and Sparks Dental. STORIES AND PHOTOS BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS
French embassy fetes Bastille Day in style What a day to be French, or just wish that you were. The Embassy of France celebrated its country’s national day – known in the English-speaking world as Bastille Day – on July 14 by hosting a threehour outdoor reception for some 1,700 guests. The festivities all took place on the embassy’s gated front lawn. Guests ate, drank and mingled on the property, located at 42 Sussex Dr. They were surrounded by France’s national colours of blue, white and red. The sounds of whimsical music floated from the speakers. Ambassador Kareen Rispal, who has captivated the hearts of many
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since arriving in Ottawa two years ago, was on hand to personally greet guests. She is France’s first female ambassador to Canada. Rispal later delivered her welcome remarks at the podium, speaking for about eight minutes. Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna, the MP for Ottawa Centre, was also invited to speak. In attendance were heads of missions, including U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft. Also spotted were Canada’s chief trade commissioner, Ailish Campbell, Orléans’ outgoing Liberal MP Andrew Leslie and RBC regional president Marjolaine Hudon.
HOW OREB INCREASES CONFIDENCE AMONG OTTAWA COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE BUYERS AND SELLERS Realtors gain credibility from highly professionalized industry association
here are many commercial real estate professionals in Ottawa, but when it comes to standards of conduct, the commercial Realtors registered with the Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB) are in a league of their own. “Not only are OREB members required by law to abide by the code of ethics set out in the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act (REBBA), but as a requirement of membership in the Board, they must also abide by the Realtor Code, the Board’s bylaws, and MLS rules and regulations,” says Mike Lewicki, chair of OREB’s professional standards committee. Each of these items serves a very specific purpose. Taken together, these regulations give buyers and sellers of commercial real estate confidence that their Realtors are always acting with their best interests in mind – and that any transgressions are handled swiftly and fairly. And, for OREB members, the rules give commercial Realtors credibility among clients who know they belong to a well-governed, highly professionalized industry association.
“Realtor” is not a job description. It is a trademark of the Canadian Real Estate Association and stands for service, competence and high ethical practice. OREB’s commercial members who have met high standards of education and experience are eligible to become members of OREB’s Commercial Services Network. Commercial Realtors provide professional services including: • Access to listings of thousands of other Realtor members of OREB and other Boards through their exclusive MLS System access. • Far-reaching marketing services, and access to local, national, and international buyers through their commercial affiliation within Realtor.ca, which boasts 264 million visitors in 2018 and 5.3 billion views. • Professional advice based on knowledge, experience, and education. • Tenant and landlord representation. • Advice on real estate investment purchases. • Competent service based on extensive market knowledge.
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HONESTY, INTEGRITY AND COMPETITION The Realtor Code, in a nutshell, sets high standards of professional conduct for Realtors to protect the rights and interests of Canadians. Members commit themselves to “professional and competent service, absolute honesty and integrity in business dealings, utmost civility, co-operation with and fairness to all, and personal accountability through compliance with the Canadian Real Estate Association’s (CREA) Standards of Business Practice.” OREB’s bylaws, meanwhile, identify the Realtor Code, CREA’s solicitation guidelines and the principles of competition as the minimum standard of practice for the conduct of all members. “The Board enforces its rules, regulations, and
bylaws through its professional standards processes and procedures,” says Lewicki. “We follow the principles of natural justice to ensure procedural fairness.” The MLS rules and regulations, finally, govern OREB members’ use of the MLS System, a powerful sales tool that contains complete historical and current data on thousands of residential and commercial real estate transactions — and one of the most valuable tools at an OREB member’s disposal. “The Board’s professional practice team also conducts daily audits of commercial and residential listings to ensure that data is accurate,” says Lee Freeman, OREB’s manager of professional practice and education. “Keeping the data clean is our priority.” This is certainly a lot to keep track of, but OREB members are deeply familiar with all of these rules and regulations, and are outfitted with an abridged pocket guide of the REBBA Code of Ethics for good measure. Every year, thousands of real estate transactions take place in Ottawa with the help of a Realtor, and these rigorous standards ensure that the vast majority go down without a hitch. But with so much volume, missteps do occur on rare occasions. When this happens, action is taken with great swiftness and care. OREB’s 17-member professional standards committee reviews and researches complaints within its jurisdiction. “Complaints are taken very seriously and every effort is made to ensure that complaints are thoroughly investigated and that all parties concerned have an opportunity to be heard,” says Freeman. “The Board investigates and sanctions conduct that does not meet the Bylaws, sections of the Realtor Code and MLS rules and regulations.” In combination, these rigorous standards ensure a safe and secure experience for anybody that uses an OREB Realtor for their commercial real estate needs. “Using a Realtor for your commercial real estate needs is an added layer of security for your transaction,” says Lewicki.
CONNECTING TECH IN OTTAWA
Ottawa tech sector tight on space to grow BY CRAIG LORD firstname.lastname@example.org
ttawa’s highly concentrated tech talent market may be in danger of stagnating if the city doesn’t find more room for local firms to grow, according to an analysis of CBRE’s annual tech talent scorecard. CBRE’s annual report positions the nation’s capital at No. 19 in the real estate services firm’s top 50 tech talent markets across Canada and the United States. Topping this year’s list was San Francisco’s Bay Area, followed by Seattle and Toronto. Ottawa’s 2019 ranking is a drop from last year’s spot at No. 13. Fellow Canadian cities Vancouver (No. 12) and Montreal (No. 13) edged out the capital in the latest rankings. CBRE’s tech employment figures, sourced from Statistics Canada, show Ottawa’s tech sector contracted by 5.3 per cent from 2013 to 2018, with some 64,500 people employed in the sector as of April. The city’s contingent of software developers has dropped 40 per cent over those five years, standing at around 15,600 workers as of last year. At the same time, jobs in computer support and tech engineering-related fields grew 23.4 per cent and 12.9 per cent, respectively. While some of the numbers look grim, CBRE Ottawa managing director
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Shawn Hamilton remains bullish on the Ottawa tech scene. Though he can’t speak to StatsCan’s methodology, he says he hasn’t seen the drop-off in losing 6,000 jobs reflected in the real estate market. “We are seeing a disconnect between what Statistics Canada’s numbers are telling us and what we’re seeing on the street. And what we’re seeing on the street
is that companies are growing,” he says. What’s most pressing to Hamilton, however, is a lack of space for those companies to grow into. CBRE stats show Ottawa’s office vacancy rate hit an eight-year low this past quarter, with availability in the central business district sinking to a rate of 6.7 per cent. Though those figures alone aren’t worrying to Hamilton, he says the
available office space is mostly divided into smaller chunks of real estate, which could hamper the expansion of downtown firms or discourage tech giants from landing in Ottawa. “If you’re looking for 50,000 square feet or greater in downtown Ottawa, right now, there’s precious little to draw from,” he says. “We need more bigger blocks of space that can accommodate tech growth.”
“We need more bigger blocks of space that can accommodate tech growth.” - Shawn Hamilton, CBRE Ottawa
TOTAL TECH OCCUPATIONS
64,500 -5.3% (Employed 2018) -40%
SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS COMPUTER SUPPORT, DATABASE & SYSTEMS
COMPUTER & INFORMATION 7,300 SYSTEMS MANAGERS 15,800
Source: Statistics Canada
One of the other concerns facing Ottawa companies is a drain on talent coming out of the city’s universities. While tech hubs such as Toronto and San Francisco are able to attract new talent to the city, CBRE’s report shows Ottawa is net negative on degrees granted vs. jobs added in the past five years. While he says Ottawa’s postsecondary institutions are “worldclass,” Hamilton says more alignment between tech firms and academic curricula – such as Shopify’s partnership to train Carleton University computer science students at the firm’s Ottawa headquarters – would help to convince homegrown talent to stay. Despite the apparent drop in magnitude of jobs in the field, Ottawa still took the No. 2 spot in tech
talent concentration, or the relative representation of tech workers across the city’s entire labour market. Ottawa’s tech sector represents 9.9 per cent of the city’s entire workforce, narrowly edged out by San Francisco at an even 10 per cent. While the public sector remains Ottawa’s top employer, and likely will for the foreseeable future, Hamilton says the city’s highly educated workforce and concentration of tech workers are key differentiators when positioning the capital as a destination in the global war for talent. “It’s all a question of perception. Do we want to look at ourselves as a government town? I think there’s truth to that. But I think we should also acknowledge the fact that we are a true tech hub,” he says.
Techopia Live: Ottawa
firm follows ‘tectonic’ shifts in customer engagement BY CRAIG LORD email@example.com
ompanies that live or die on customer engagement are in no short supply of feedback these days – look no further than the average brand’s Twitter account for proof. Kanata-based Benbria is capitalizing on the explosion of digital touch points with its platform to help track customer satisfaction across a range of channels, so CEO Jordan Parsons joined Techopia Live recently to break down how the field is evolving. Though the firm started more than a decade ago as a way to immediately broadcast emergency notifications
over as many channels as possible, today Benbria is using those channels to listen more than speak. The company’s Loop platform collects customer feedback across websites, social channels and even physical kiosks to give clients such as A&W and Delta Airlines a fulsome view of their customers’ journeys. This omni-channel perspective gives companies the opportunity to not only track major trends or see where a particular location might be lagging, but also swoop in when needed to turn a customer’s sour experience from a loss to a win. “We call them the ‘moments of truth’ in the customer journey – it’s where
interview with Jordan Parsons, CEO of Kanata-based Benbria.
you need to be able to insert yourself where something has gone wrong, or an insight you can capture,” Parsons told Techopia Live. Today, there are more “moments of truth” than ever. Parsons said that in addition to Twitter and Facebook pages, which present direct lines of communication to even the biggest of brands, Benbria is plugging into emerging platforms that are already dominating users’ attentions. Next month, for example, the company is unveiling a WhatsApp integration.
By building a company profile on the popular messaging platform, Parsons said, Benbria can provide its clients with direct access to more of their customers than they’ve ever had in the past. “The fact that 1.5 billion people are already on WhatsApp … and that we can aggregate and help (businesses) respond to people on those channels, is tectonic to say the least.” To hear more about how the field of customer engagement is changing with the digital revolution, watch the full video above.
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Beau’s All Natural Brewing 10 Terry Fox Dr. Vankleek Hill, ON K0B 1R0 613-678-2799 beaus.ca
9 11 10 13 11 14 11 14 13 16 14 17
Steve Beauchesne CEO
Lugtread; Wild Oats series; Farm Table series; Gruit series; Halcyon Barrel House; Beau’s + Friends Series
LCBO; The Beer Store; grocery chains
Destination craft brewery in Eastern Ontario. All beers are certified organic, our brewery is employee-owned. 25+ award-winning brands.
Paul Meek president and owner
Heller Highwater; 1855, Wuchak Series; Cheshire Cat Pilsner
Brewery retail store; pubs and restaurants; LCBO; grocery chains; Beer Store
Family-owned business focused on professional, quality service and products from staff, beer and overall customer experience.
LCBO; The Beer Store; local pubs and restaurants
Family-run business for over 25 years, 12,000 sq. ft. open retail tasteing bar; free tours and tastings
Points of sale Brewery retail stores; LCBO; Ottawa area licencees; tap room LCBO; The Beer Store; grocery chains
Company description Specializes in full-flavoured ales. Distribution is currently focused on the Ottawa area, with points of sale across the province. Destination craft brewery in Eastern Ontario. All beers are certified organic, our brewery is employee-owned. 25+ award-winning brands.
Kichesippi Beer Co. 866 Campbell Ave. Ottawa, ON K2A 2C5 613-728-7845 kbeer.ca
Perth Brewery 121 Dufferin St. Perth, ON K7H 3A5 613-264-1087 perthbrewery.ca Company/Address/ Beyond the Pale Brewing Phone/Fax/Web 106-250 City Centre Ave. Ottawa, ONNatural K1R 6K7Brewing Beau’s All 613-695-2991 10 Terry Fox Dr. beyondthepale.ca Vankleek Hill, ON K0B 1R0 613-678-2799 beaus.ca Broadhead Brewing
Volume brewed 500,000 (litres)
No. of local 21 employees
Josh Laroque Jamie White Paul Meek co-founders president and owner
Backbone Standard; Longshot White; Grindstone Amber; Wildcard PaleSeries; Ale; Heller Highwater; 1855, Wuchak UnderdogCat Pale Ale; Dark Horse Stout; Cheshire Pilsner Bodacious Blueberry Blonde
LCBO; The Beer Store; local pubs andretail restaurants; grocery Brewery store; pubs and stores restaurants; LCBO; grocery chains; Beer Store
DIY brewery focused on session ales and occasionally concept seasonals. Provides brewery Family-owned business focused on professional, tours and tastings attends local quality service andand products from staff, beer festivals andcustomer events experience. and overall
Brew pub; craft beer; comfort food Family-run business for over 25 years, 12,000 sq. ft. open retail tasteing bar; free tours and tastings
20 (as of Oct.21 2018)
Lowertown Lager; Lowertown Pale Ale; Lowertown Dark Euro Lager; Lowertown IPA; Last Duel Lager; Pilsner; Bonfire Lowertown Fife; assorted seasonal Black Lager;Red Hopside IPA; Calypso IPA; brews Oh Canada Maple; Honey Lager; Easy AmberPorch; Ale; Last Duel Lager Front Bogie; Bleep Bloop; Five
On-site restaurant LCBO; The Beer Store; local pubs and restaurants
David Morphy Todd Brown Jeremy Steeves Terry Steeves Cathy Brown co-owners Mike Wagner
Local pubs and restaurants; IslandFuzz; Watermelon K&P Ale; One retail store at breweries Pink Rye Guy;Gose; The Darkness; AroBrewery retail stores; LCBO; Off Sour; One Off IPA; Highlander; Bomb- Ottawa area licencees; tap matherapy; Saison Tropicale; Yummy!; shell Blonde; Clean Cup Hopped Up On Pils room
Onsite pub; outdoor patio; brewery tours; specializingin infull-flavoured barrel aged beers; tap room and Specializes ales. Distribution restaurant Kanataon asthe of Oct. 2018area, with is currentlyinfocused Ottawa points of sale across the province.
White; Amber; Blonde; IPA; Brown; feature beers and brewer taps Backbone Standard; Longshot White; Grindstone Amber; Wildcard Pale Ale; Underdog Pale Ale; Dark Horse Stout; Velocipede IPA; Frequency APA; On the Bodacious Blueberry Blonde Lam NE IPA; various seasonal releases Lowertown Lager; Lowertown Pale Ale; Lowertown Dark Lager; Lowertown IPA; Lowertown Red Fife; assorted seasonal brews Tenacity PaleBogie; Ale; Bravado American Front Porch; Bleep Bloop; Five Pale Vim & Vigor Pilsner; IslandAle; Watermelon Gose; K&PValor Ale; One Saison; Fortitude Rabble Rouser Off Sour; One OffStout; IPA; Highlander; BombIndia Pale AleHopped Up On Pils shell Blonde;
3 Brewers locations (Sparks St. and Kanata) LCBO; The Beer Store; local pubs and restaurants; grocery stores Brewery retail shop and Brewery Tap Room, Ottawa area On-site restaurant licensees, LCBO
We have a passion for creating the perfect glass of brewed on-site beer. We offer an authentic tasting experience in on an atmosphere reminisDIY brewery focused session ales and occent of Northern pubs. casionally conceptFrance’s seasonals. Provides brewery tours and tastings and attends local Down to and earth craft beer with a focus on hoppy festivals events IPAs. Small batch brewery using locally grown Brew pub; craft beer; comfort ingredients when possible. Tapfood Room, patio and retail shop on site.
Brewery Local pubs and restaurants; retail store at breweries
Neighbourhood brewery. Onsite pub; outdoor patio; brewery tours; specializing in barrel aged beers; tap room and restaurant in Kanata as of Oct. 2018
White; Amber; Blonde; IPA; Brown; Et La Lumière Fut;brewer Allumante; feature beers and tapsCarpe Diem; Diable Au Corps; La Nuit des temps; Bouillon de la Chaudiere
3 Brewers locations (Sparks St. La Trappe a Fromage; Broue and Kanata) Ha Ha; selected IGA and Metro locations in Gatineau
We have a passion for creating the perfect glass Beers brewed on-site. craft of brewed on-site beer.Contemporary We offer an authentic beers, traditional brownreminisales, pale tasting experiencebeers, in an stouts, atmosphere ales and ambers. France’s pubs. cent of Northern
Velocipede Frequency APA; On the Golden Rail IPA; Honey Brown Ale; Caboose Lam NE IPA;Craft various seasonal releases IPA; Franco Lager, Prorogation Brunch Stout and Cranberry Saison
Brewery stores; retail shop and BrewGrocery restaurants; ery Tap Room, Ottawa area LCBO licensees, LCBO
Down toOntarien earth craft beer with a focus on hoppy Franco brewery producing year-round IPAs.seasonal Small batch brewery using locally grown and beers. Exhibits at more than 80 ingredients when possible. Tap Room, patioand and events and festivals per year; on-site tours retail shop on site. tastings
Tenacity Pale Ale; Bravado American This One California Common; Anytime Pale Ale; Vim & Vigor Pilsner; Valor Pale Ale;Fortitude ShagginStout; WagonRabble IPA; Jeanne Saison; Rouser D’ark Pale oatmeal India Ale stout; Bleu Nuit blueberry saison; Summer Slam cucumber wheat; Ripe watermelon wheat Carpe Et LaNow Lumière Fut; Allumante;
Brewery LCBO, grocery, fine restaurants and pubs from Pembroke, Ottawa and the Valley to Cornwall, on-site brewery retail
Neighbourhood brewery. Orléans’ first micro-brewery, owned and operated by three Orléans residents. We specialize in fresh, uncompromising, palate-awakening craft beer. Our beer is all-natural, punchy but accessible, andon-site. brewedContemporary the way we like it. Beers brewed craft
81 Auriga Dr.Beer Ottawa, Kichesippi Co. ON K2E 613-695-9444 866 7Y5 Campbell Ave. broadheadbeer.com Ottawa, ON K2A 2C5 613-728-7845 kbeer.ca Lowertown Brewery 73 YorkBrewery St. Ottawa, ON K1N 5T2 Perth 613-722-1454 121 Dufferin St. Perth, ON K7H lowertownbrewery.ca 3A5 613-264-1087 perthbrewery.ca Calabogie Brewing 12612 Lanark Rd. Calabogie, Beyond the Pale Brewing ON K0J City 1H0 Centre 613-752-2739 106-250 Ave. calabogiebrewingco.ca Ottawa, ON K1R 6K7 613-695-2991 3 Brewers beyondthepale.ca 215-240 Sparks St. Ottawa, ON Brewing K1P 6C9 Broadhead 613-380-8140 3brewers.ca 81 Auriga Dr. Ottawa, ON K2E 7Y5 613-695-9444 Bicycle Craft Brewery broadheadbeer.com 812-50 Industrial Ave. Lowertown Ottawa, ON Brewery K1G 4K2 73 York St. Ottawa, ON K1N 5T2 613-408-3326 613-722-1454 bicyclecraftbrewery.ca lowertownbrewery.ca Tooth and Brewing Nail Brewing Co. Calabogie 3 Irving Ave. Rd. Calabogie, 12612 Lanark Ottawa, 1Z2 ON K0JON 1H0K1Y 613-752-2739 613-695-4677 calabogiebrewingco.ca toothandnailbeer.com 3 Brewers Brasseurs Du Temps* 215-240 Sparks St. 170 Montcalm St.,6C9 Gatineau, Ottawa, ON K1P QC J8X 2M2 819-205-4999 613-380-8140 3brewers.ca brasseursdutemps.com Bicycle Craft Brewery Microbrasserie Cassel 812-50 Industrial Ave. Brewery Ottawa, ON K1G 4K2 715C Principale St. 613-408-3326 Casselman, ON K0A 1M0 bicyclecraftbrewery.ca 613-369-4394 casselbrewery.ca Tooth and Nail Brewing Co. Stray 3 IrvingDog Ave.Brewing 4-501 Lacolle Way Ottawa, ON K1Y 1Z2 Orléans, ON K4A 5B6 613-695-4677 613-830-7364 toothandnailbeer.com straydogbrewing.ca Brasseurs Du Temps* Flora Hall Brewing 170 Montcalm St., Gatineau, 37 QCFlora J8X St. 2M2 819-205-4999 Ottawa, ON K2P 1A7 brasseursdutemps.com 613-695-2339 Microbrasserie Cassel florahallbrewing.ca Brewery
LARGEST CRAFT BREWERIES (RANKED BY NUMBER OF LITRES BREWED)
Jeremy Steeves Terry Steeves Cathy Brown co-owners Year established Local 2012 Rob McIsaac in Ottawa area executive(s) Shane Clark Al Clark 2006 Steve co-owners Beauchesne CEO
president Rob McIsaac and general Shane Clark manager Al Clark co-owners Paul Lightfoot Mario Magnan general managJosh Laroque ers Jamie White co-founders Laura Behzadi Fariborz David Morphy Behzadi Todd Brown co-founder
14 of 20 (as Oct. 2018)
Matthew Mike Wagner Tweedy president brewmaster and general
Paul Lightfoot Alain Geoffroy Mario Magnan Dominique general managGosselin ers Marc Godin Laura BourBehzadi Mario Fariborz geois Behzadi Benjamin co-founder Bercier co-owners
Matthew Marc Plante Tweedy Justin MacNeill brewmaster Gen Brisebois co-owners
Alain Geoffroy Dave LongbotDominique tom Gosselin president and Marc Godin ownerBourMario
715C Beer Principale St. Nita Casselman, ON K0A 17-190 Colonnade Rd. 1M0 613-369-4394 Ottawa, ON K2E 7J5 casselbrewery.ca 613-668-2337 nitabeer.com
Stray Dog Brewing Microbrasserie-Bistro 4-501 Lacolle Way Gainsbourg Orléans, ONGatineau, K4A 5B6QC J8X 9 Aubry St. 613-830-7364 2H1 819-777-3700 straydogbrewing.ca gainsbourg.ca
Flora Hall Brewing Rurban Brewing 37 Flora St. 412 Cumberland St. Ottawa, ON 1A7 Cornwall, ONK2P K6J 5C4 613-695-2339 613-360-0661 florahallbrewing.ca rurbanbrewing.com
Nita BeerBrewing* Stalwart 17-190 Rd.Place, ON 10 HighColonnade St., Carleton Ottawa, K2E 7J5 K7C 4S2ON 613-253-2307 613-668-2337 nitabeer.com stalwartbrewing.ca
Last Duel Lager; Euro Pilsner; Bonfire Black Lager; Hopside IPA; Calypso IPA; Oh Canada Maple; Honey Lager; Easy Amber Ale; Last Duel Lager Brands and specialties Pink Fuzz; Rye Guy; The Darkness; Aromatherapy; Saison Tropicale; Yummy!; Clean CupWild Oats series; Farm Table Lugtread; series; Gruit series; Halcyon Barrel House; Beau’s + Friends Series
Flora English Ordinary Bitter; Diem;Hall Diable Au Corps; La Nuit desNorth East IPA; American Pale Ale; Farmtemps; Bouillon de laOat Chaudiere house Saison; Blackberry Sherbet Sour; West Coast Oatmeal Golden Rail IPA; Honey BrownStout Ale; Caboose IPA; Franco Craft Lager, Prorogation Ten 12 Blonde Ale; Cranberry 5 Fingers Brown Brunch Stout and SaisonAle; Mr Brown Has Gone Coconuts; OPA Balanced OPA;
Marc Plante René Lessard Justin MacNeill Nicolas Gen Brisebois Cazelais co-owners
This One California Common; Anytime Scotch Ale, Double IPA, Côte Ouest IPA, Pale Ale;Tie Shaggin Wagon IPA; Orange Wrap, Session IPA Jeanne D’ark oatmeal stout; Bleu Nuit blueberry saison; Summer Slam cucumber wheat; Ripe Now watermelon wheat
LCBO, grocery, fine restaurants Chelsea Pub, Broue Ha Ha, and pubsune from Pembroke, Veux-tu bière. )n-site bottle Ottawa the Valley to Cornand kegand sales. wall, on-site brewery retail
Orléans’ first micro-brewery, and aoperRestaurant and microbreweryowned featuring ated by three Orléans residents. Wepub specialize selection of beers on tap and great meals in fresh, uncompromising, palate-awakening and snacks. craft beer. Our beer is all-natural, punchy but accessible, and brewed the way we like it.
Dave LongbotAndy Rorabeck tom Rorabeck Karen president and owner
Flora Hall English Ordinary Bitter; North WND East IPA; American Oat Pale Ale; Farmhouse Saison; Blackberry Sherbet Sour; West Coast IPA; Oatmeal Stout
Flora Halllocal bar and Selected pubsretail and store, select bars in restaurants in2018 Cornwall and Ottawa
Centretown brewery servingsmall-batch hand crafted beer Independent, family-owned brewery and food in heritage building.beer Diverse roster of using all-natural ingredients; is unfiltered beers with emphasisWide on balance, flavour and unpasteurized. variety of beersand such drinkability; a passion forbeers. cask conditioned ales. as lagers, IPAs and dark
Andy 12 Blonde Ale; Fingers Brown AdamNita Newlands Ten Full-flavoured ales:5Dr. Feelgood IPA;Ale; Big Bridget Carey Mr Brown Gone Coconuts; OPAThe Edwin McKinley Papa pale Has ale; Bad Moon rye stout; Balanced Nathan Corey ZigzaggerOPA; IPA; The Bachelor double IPA, Space Dragon black IPA
Local pubs and restaurants; On-site retail store and tap LCBO; The Beer Store; grocery room; restaurants and bars in stores; online Carleton Place area, Ottawa and Valley
Passionate about beer, life, and making thebrewFormed by former restaurant co-workers; most of them both. ing a balanced and full-flavoured beer.
Chelsea Pub, Broue Hagrocery Ha, LCBO; The Beer Store; Veux-tu une pubs bière.and )n-site bottle stores; local restauand rantskeg sales.
Restaurant featuring a your A company and thatmicrobrewery believes you should “earn selection of beersoutside, on tap and great pub meals beer” by playing getting shit done and and snacks. having fun.
Local pubs and restaurants, Selected local pubs brewery retail store;and LCBO restaurants in Cornwall and Ottawa
Small local brewery focused on producing Independent, family-owned small-batch brewery quality beers and working with other small busiusing ingredients; beer is unfiltered nessesall-natural in the community. and unpasteurized. Wide variety of beers such as lagers, IPAs and dark beers.
and seasonal beers. Exhibits at more than 80 Passionate beer, and making theand events and about festivals perlife, year; on-site tours tastings most of them both.
Adam Newlands Full-flavoured ales: Dr. Feelgood IPA; Big Edwin McKinley Papa pale ale; Bad Moon rye stout; The Nathan Corey Zigzagger IPA; The Bachelor double IPA, Space Dragon black IPA
On-site retail store and tap room; restaurants and bars in Carleton Place area, Ottawa and Valley
Formed by former restaurant co-workers; brewing a balanced and full-flavoured beer.
LCBO; The Beer Store; grocery
A company that believes you should “earn your
Root of Evil Pre-prohibition Lager; Caro-
20 17 18
Grocery stores; restaurants; LCBO Local pubs and restaurants; LCBO; The Beer Store; grocery stores; online
Centretown brewery serving hand crafted beers, traditional beers, stouts, brown ales,beer pale and in heritage building. Diverse roster of ales food and ambers. beers with emphasis on balance, flavour and drinkability; a passion for producing cask conditioned ales. Franco Ontarien brewery year-round
geois Andy Nita Benjamin Bercier Carey Bridget co-owners
Microbrasserie-Bistro 120,000 40 2013 René Lessard Scotch IPA, CôteLager; OuestCaroIPA, Whiprsnapr Brewing 80,000 7 2014 Ian McMartin Root ofAle, Evil Double Pre-prohibition Gainsbourg Nicolas Orange TieBlond; Wrap, Inukshuk Session IPA 106-14 Bexley Pl., Ottawa, ON owner lanne Irish Canadian IPA; 9 Aubry Gatineau, QC J8X Cazelais K2H 8W2St.613-281-9882 OK Lah Ginger Coriander Cream Ale; 2H1 819-777-3700 whiprsnaprbrewingco.com Black Sunshine Black Lager; gainsbourg.ca Covered Bridge Brewing 65,000 4 2013 John vanDyk Dirty Blond; Amber Rose; Eternally Rurban 100,000 2 2013 Andy Rorabeck WND 6-119 IberBrewing Rd., Ottawa, ON K2S president Hoptimistic; MSB: Double Double 412 Cumberland St. Karen Rorabeck 1E7 613-915-2337 Cornwall, ON K6J 5C4 coveredbridgebrewing.com 613-360-0661 rurbanbrewing.com *These companies did not respond to this year’s survey in time for publication, or declined to participate. The information is from previous years.
WND = WouldStalwart not disclose. Brewing* 10 High St., Carleton Place, ON K7C 4S2 613-253-2307 stalwartbrewing.ca
La Trappe a Fromage; Broue Flora bar and retail Ha Ha;Hall selected IGA andstore, Metro select bars 2018 locations inin Gatineau
14 18 16 19
FOR THE RECORD Helping students be successful ... is a big part of why we’re here. – Claude Brulé, who takes over as president of Algonquin College on Aug. 12
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE
After two decades in a variety of senior jobs at Algonquin College, Claude Brulé still gets excited to go to the office every morning. The reason, he explained, is simple. “The variety,” Brulé says. “I’ve had opportunities to stretch my wings outside of my core role.” The metaphor is right on point. Before joining Alonquin, Brulé spent nearly two decades in the air force, earning a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics and a master’s degree in mathematics from Royal Military College. He went on to become an instructor and eventually chief of staff at the Canadian Forces School of Communications and Electronics, with a stint as a math and computer science professor at RMC in between. Brulé’s star continued to rise when he joined Algonquin in 1999. After starting out as the chair of the information and communications technology department, he became dean of the faculty of technology and trades. Seven years ago, he was promoted to the role of senior
Claude Brulé/Algonquin College vice-president, academic. His career ascent is now complete. In mid-July, Brulé was named the college’s ninth president and CEO, replacing Cheryl Jensen. He will officially begin his five-year term on Aug. 12. The former military man has been a driving force in pushing for new approaches to learning at the 52-year-old post-secondary institution, changes that could include offering students a greater choice of electives and more flexibility when designing their schedules. As VP academic, he also oversaw a recent move to cut academic
terms from 15 to 14 weeks and give students a week off from classes every semester. The goal of such changes, he says, is to remove as many obstacles to academic achievement as possible for 19,000 full-time and 25,000 continuing education students. “Meeting students, helping students be successful – that is a big part of why we’re here,” the fiftysomething educator says. “Coming to work every day, being able to make a difference in someone’s life and watch them becoming successful and launching their own career? It doesn’t get better than that.”
Brulé says his military background gave him a solid foundation for his academic career. “In the military, we do an extensive amount of training,” he notes. “We recruit people and then we train them, not only for military aspects of their career … but we also prepare everybody for their occupational roles. If you’re a pilot, you’ll go and learn to fly an aircraft; if you’re in the communication/electronics world, you’ll go and learn about electronics, you’ll learn about radios, radar and so on. “A lot of that same preparation was very helpful to me when I joined the college because in many ways, there are similar aspects to how the training, the curriculum is developed.” Among his top priorities is deepening connections to the private sector. Making sure Algonquin’s grads are job-ready is top-of-mind for the presidentelect: He says connections to partners in industry are “critical” to aligning its programming with workforce needs. Brulé has nothing but kind words for Jensen, who retired to much fanfare last month. He credits his former boss with leaving a “fantastic legacy,” including setting Algonquin College’s current strategic plan. Brulé says he intends to continue the “great direction” set by Jensen, which includes a focus on innovation, sustainability and connections to Algonquin’s indigenous roots. “Of course, I’m going to add my own flair to it,” he adds. – David Sali, with files from Craig Lord
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE Derek Kuhn has been named president and general manager of Sciemetric. Kuhn was also recently appointed to the board of directors of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association. Before joining Sciemetric as senior vicepresident in 2017, Kuhn held various management roles at a number of tech firms, including BlackBerry, QNX, AlcatelLucent and Newbridge Networks. Rick Corcoran is the new general manager of the Château Laurier hotel, replacing Claude Sauvé. Most recently, Corcoran was general manager of the Ritz Carlton San Francisco. Before that, he served as GM of the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa. Previously, Corcoran held various interim general manager roles with Fairmont properties in Vancouver, Dubai and Boston. Cory Michalyshyn is joining Ottawa investment firm Celtic House Venture Partners as its chief financial officer. The graduate of Queen’s University was previously CFO and chief operating officer at Solink, helping lead the video software firm to three consecutive appearances on OBJ’s list of fastestgrowing companies from 2017-19. Tartan Homes has appointed Andrew Levitan president of operations and Rick Primett has been named manager of construction. Most recently, Levitan served as president of Larco Homes. In addition, Bruce Nicol has assumed the role of executive chairman. Jordan Bianconi has been named vicepresident of acquisitions and business development at Inside Edge Properties. The real estate industry veteran most recently worked at Bassi Construction and Colliers International.
John Delacourt has joined Hill+Knowlton Strategies’ Ottawa office as vice-president and group leader of the public affairs team. Delacourt previously served as vice-president of Ensight Canada. Before that, he was the director of communications at the Liberal Caucus Research Bureau, where he worked closely with the Prime Minister’s Office providing communications issues management support on a wide range of policy initiatives. The Ottawa Film Office has appointed Erin Benjamin, Christina Ruddy, Lise Sarazin and Frédéric ThibaultChabot to its board of directors. Benjamin is president and CEO of the Canadian Live Music Association, Ruddy is operations manager at Omamiwinini Pimadjwowin – The Algonquin Way Cultural Centre, Sarazin is the executive director of Le Regroupement des gens d’affaires de la Capitale Nationale, Ottawa-Gatineau’s francophone chamber of commerce and Thibault-Chabot is dean of the Institute of Technology, Arts and Communication at La Cité. John Swettenham, Ross Meredith, Zubair Siddiqi, Mariève Desmarais, David Smythe, Colin Morrison, John Cosentino, Nina Kressler, Joel Tkach, Cindy VanBuskirk, Steve Ball, Paul Akehurst, Steve Wilson, Kelly Eyamie, Peggy DuCharme, Stefanie Siska and Heather Dawson have been appointed to Ottawa Tourism’s board of directors for 2019-20.
information about recent contracts, standing offers and supply arrangements awarded to local firms. Thales Canada 1 Chrysalis Way Optical sighting and ranging equipment Buyer: DND $25,990,000 S.i. Systems Ltd. 300-170 Laurier Ave. W. ADP software Buyer: DND $15,632,093
IBISKA 1500-130 Albert St. Informatics professional services Buyer: DND $7,555,180 Pacific Safety Products 124 Fourth Ave., Arnprior Special purpose clothing Buyer: RCMP $6,220,740 altisHR 302-102 Bank St. Human resource services Buyer: DND $4,117,155
Emerion 200-368 Dalhousie St. Informatics professional services Buyer: Canada Border Services Agency $3,858,171 TPG Technology Consulting 100-887 Richmond Rd. Informatics professional services Buyer: Canada Border Services Agency $3,156,685
Get your OBJ at Hillary’s Cleaners OBJ’s monthly newsmagazine can be conveniently picked up at select Hillary’s locations, including World Exchange Plaza, Constitution Square, Place Bell, Minto Place and 1235 Bank St. in Old Ottawa South.
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Seniorly has named Ottawa businessman Gabi Szabadi one of its top 10 startup founders over 60. Szabadi, 66, launched tech startup iOTProximity at age 63 to help reduce accidents at construction sites using AI smart cameras, electromagnetism, lidar/radar and sensor fusion to create virtual safety barriers.
CONTRACTS The following contains
Leonovus announced the appointment of George Pretli as chief financial officer and corporate secretary. Pretli takes over from Chris Benk and will work on a part-time basis. Pretli recently retired as full-time chief financial officer of Intouch Insight.
Shirlee Engel has joined Compass Rose as a public affairs counsellor. Most recently, Engel was a media relations officer for Oxfam Canada and previously spent 10 years as a journalist for Global News, where her duties included covering Canadian and international politics.
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Four keys to staying ahead of the curve in business Most company leaders would agree it’s important to innovate, but how do you actually do it? Klipfolio chief innovation officer Allan Wille offers a few tips ALLAN WILLE
process of moving into my new role, and in particular I want to spell out how a company can make innovation a part of its culture.
WHAT IS INNOVATION?
Last year, I took on a new role as Klipfolio’s chief innovation officer. It’s an exciting change for me, and it’s allowing me to spend some time thinking about – and researching – the whole concept of innovation. It’s a fascinating area, and I’ve learned two big lessons so far. The first is that innovation is hugely important. Companies quite literally live and die by their ability to innovate. The second is that most companies equate innovation with mad scientists wearing lab coats. They don’t understand the process, and as a result aren’t deliberate about being innovative. What I want to do in this column is to share what I’ve learned during the
There are plenty of definitions of innovation, both for tech companies and for businesses in general. I like the simple approach taken by Bill Aulet, an MIT professor and managing director at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship. He says innovation, in the business sense, is an invention that generates value – or as he puts it, Innovation = Invention X Commercialization. Innovation is a deliberate process that is the result of thought, planning and effort throughout an entire company. It’s a collective and collaborative effort, not the purview of a single person or division. Innovation is not limited to science or business. It can happen in any field.
But from a strict business sense, an innovation has to be something you can make money with.
WHY INNOVATION IS IMPORTANT You’d think that companies would spend time thinking about how they can innovate. But the fact is, most don’t. Most get too caught up in running their business on a day-to-day basis to think about the future. Or they spend time and effort looking to improve existing products or processes instead of truly innovating. There’s a danger in that approach. Not innovating threatens the survivability of any company. Think of Kodak, Xerox or Blockbuster. They were big companies in their day, but they did not move with the times. Companies need to anticipate trends and see how they can take advantage of them (or work around them). In fact, a company that wants to grow must innovate. Innovation is not a one-shot deal. It’s about making sure you are always coming up with good ideas and implementing them. It’s about anticipating trends and linking innovation to survivability. And the only way to do that is to build a culture
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of innovation into your company. Innovation is everyone’s job. Here’s how to create a culture of innovation:
START WITH A MISSION STATEMENT A mission statement is a long-term, strongly held belief about what the company needs to do to make the world a better place. It defines your purpose and helps explain why you do what you do. The mission statement cannot be product-centric; products and markets evolve, and your mission statement must transcend that.
LEARN TO OBSERVE
TURN OBSERVATIONS INTO IDEAS The next step in the process is turning observations into ideas for innovation – as Percy Spencer did. This is where a company really has to be deliberate – for example, by setting up ideation or blue-sky days where you ask “what if” questions and
consider realistic (or at least possible) future outcomes. Don’t be afraid to get creative when speculating about where innovative ideas might lead in the future. Stay within the bounds of reality – no unicorns or flying elephants – but push the envelope where you can. Everyone in the company must be involved in the generation of ideas; it can’t be dumped on just one person. I may be chief innovation officer, but what I’d really like is for someone else in the company – an intern, perhaps – to approach me and say: “I’ve observed X, and I think it’s something we can really learn from.”
PUT WORTHWHILE IDEAS INTO PRACTICE Believe it or not, this is the hard part. Why? Because people are often reluctant to adopt new and different ideas or ways of doing things. What every company needs is a way to push good ideas forward. One concept that caught my eye is the ‘squirmy no.’ If you present an idea and everyone says no, then the idea is probably not a
good one. If everybody says yes, then the idea is probably not innovative enough. What you want is what I’ve heard described as a ‘squirmy no,’ where people don’t necessarily agree, but it’s not an immediate no. If you get a squirmy no, you are probably on the right track. Another problem with getting innovative ideas adopted is that there’s a measure of risk involved – and some people (think venture capitalists and investors) are going to be assessing how much risk they face if your ideas get implemented. The bigger the risk or disruption, the bigger the upside needs to be. Innovative ideas, ultimately, are far too easy to kill. They need to be nurtured and protected. It takes courage. It starts with a strong mission and a desire to choose the future. It’s about understanding the risk and opportunity and pushing past most of the naysayers. Allan Wille is co-founder and chief innovation officer of Klipfolio. He’s also a designer, a cyclist, a father and a resolute optimist.
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To be truly innovative, companies (and the individuals within them) have to pay attention to what is happening in the world around them. That includes being able to observe mega-trends within society and the world as a whole, but also changes happening within their own industry and among their customers. For example, what hacks are your customers (or your employees) using to get around certain problems?
Be aware also of things happening in other industries and consider how they might be applied to yours. Look also for the unexpected. Here’s an example. Percy Spencer was an American engineer working with radar in the 1940s. He noticed that microwaves from a radar set he was working on melted a chocolate bar he had in his pocket. He wondered whether microwaves could be used to cook food and soon began experimenting with popcorn and eggs. From that observation (and his subsequent experiments) the microwave oven was born. Spencer was not the first person to notice that microwaves acted on food, but he was the first to follow through with experiments.
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Ottawa's authoritative source of business news, covering tech, tourism, real estate and other key economic sectors in Canada's capital.
Published on Jul 26, 2019
Ottawa's authoritative source of business news, covering tech, tourism, real estate and other key economic sectors in Canada's capital.