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A ‘super geek’ in high school, You.i TV co-founder Jason Flick is getting the last laugh > PAGE 3
October 23, 2017 Vol. 21, NO. 1
OBJ.social PAGES 10-13
For daily business news visit obj.ca
Firm spies key niche Kanata company’s system that analyzes wireless signals becomes a coveted weapon in the fight against terrorism and corporate espionage. > PAGES 4-5
Big Apple bargain
Budget-minded tourists, take note: Columnist Michael Prentice has found a great way to save on travel to New York. > PAGES 8-9
Born and raised in Ottawa, Kevin Ford has worked his way up from the bottom to become one of the city’s most respected tech executives. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON
Ford shifting Calian into high gear After guiding Kanata firm to record revenues, humble leader is OBJ’s 2017 CEO of the Year Down-to-earth executive known for his work hard-play hard ethic uses clever acquisitions and sales acumen to fuel growth > PAGES 14-15
Commemorative book highlights the best of the nation and its capital
the perfect corporate gift for the holidays www.canada150book.ca
Read about the book launch on page 6
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“I love tech. I’m just passionate about it. I need change. I thrive on new things, and technology is definitely where that is.”– You.i TV co-founder and CEO Jason Flick
From high school ‘super geek’ to Ottawa tech superstar You.i TV co-founder Jason Flick’s passion for technology has put the Kanata-based software firm at the forefront of a television revolution BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT JASON FLICK
He’s passionate about astrophysics. “I love dark matter, dark energy, the big bang.” He has a subscription to CuriosityStream, an online streaming service. “You’d think after working all day, you’d want to want to shut your brain down, but I just love it.”
As a teen, Mr. Flick had the characterbuilding summer job of priming tobacco and detasseling corn. “Your hands would get so calloused that you could pick up a log that was still burning,” he quips. This was before he landed his first real job during high school at Canadian Tire.
Mr. Flick is married with two kids, Reid, nine, and Danicka, 10. His wife Deb also works with You.i TV, but their relationship isn’t all business; they go on regular “date nights” together. He also takes at least two holidays a year with his family and makes a point of spending one-on-one time with his kids.
4 Jason Flick is a self-professed geek whose tech dreams came true. PHOTO BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS
He launched Flick Software, a mobile technology and services company, and ran it out of the top floor of his apartment. He recruited his unemployed tech friends to help him with his first big contract, building a top-secret security tracking system (it all sounds very Big Bang Theory-ish, Season 10). From there, things started to pick up, although Mr. Flick did suffer a setback with his mobile interactive guide. The product failed, he says, because it was too much technology and not enough art.
Being Dutch (both parents were born and raised in the Netherlands), he loves salted black licorice and spicy Gouda. And, of course, hagelslag (look it up – breakfast will never be the same).
help newer startups. He currently sits on the advisory board at Turner Ad Labs, is a board member at Invest Ottawa and was formerly on the board of The Ottawa Network. “Ottawa has such potential and, if we all help each other, the rising tide lifts all boats,” he says. “Whether we’re hiring or mentoring each other or doing business deals together, it’s critical to help each other.” Mr. Flick says he’d like to see local tech companies take bigger risks. “Everybody would agree Ottawa has incredible technology, but a lot of companies don’t think audaciously enough,” he argues. As for that computer from his youth – the TS 10000 – it was shadow-box framed and gifted to him by his dad. It currently rests on a windowsill in his office as a reminder of his little-boy dreams that came true.
‘OUR APPS ARE BEAUTIFUL’ “You’ve got to bring art into technology,” Mr. Flick explains, referring to a TED Talk he delivered in 2015 on artistry and innovation. “Technology is great. If you look back at the last 20, 30 years, it was ruled by technologists, but, really, I believe the next 20, 30 years will be ruled by artists bringing creativity to technology.” Having a product that “just works” isn’t good enough anymore, he continues. “That’s part of what You.i TV does; we bring the designer into the process. Our apps are beautiful.”
A major turning point in Mr. Flick’s career came when he met Stuart Russell, whom he describes as “crazy, crazy brilliant, and a nice guy, too.” The pair hit it off and co-founded You.i TV in 2008. They created their startup at a time when smartphones – led by Apple’s iPhone – were set to rule the “post-PC era,” when sales of personal computers began falling in favour of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. You.i TV remains one of Kanata’s fastest-growing firms, doubling its headcount year after year while reaching roughly 200 employees. The awardwinning company, which was named one of Canada’s top 25 mid-sized workplaces by the global Great Place to Work Institute, is preparing to move to its new 40,000-square-foot digs at nearby 307 Legget Dr. “You kind of have to pinch yourself when you know where you started,” says Mr. Flick, recalling how the company began in cubicles in the hallway of 349 Terry Fox Dr. (now the Ericsson building). “It was just a cheap space, and we kept getting booted around.” Mr. Flick says he now likes to look for opportunities to mentor others and
He’s a fan of German-made cars (he drives an Audi) and German-style board games, such as Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne and Dominion. His playful enthusiasm has obviously caught on; his office holds a weekly game night.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2017
rowing up in the ’80s, Jason Flick taught himself computer programming on an entry-level Timex Sinclair 1000 while dreaming of one day leaving behind his sleepy southwestern Ontario hometown for a life full of technology and innovation. “I was a super geek,” admits the chief executive and co-founder of You.i TV, and self-professed president of his high school chess club. “That’s the epitome. I don’t think I had the broken glasses, but I was definitely a geek.” We all know how this story ends: with the high school geek getting the last laugh. Today, You.i TV is an Ottawa-based Canadian success story. The company works with some of the largest media and TV brands in the world to redefine how people experience television, producing software that makes it easier for viewers to interact with devices from TVs to tablets. Just to drop a few names it’s associated with: Turner, Fox, Sony, Rogers Communications, Corus Entertainment and the Canadian Football League. “I love tech,” says Mr. Flick, 47, while speaking in his office on Solandt Road in the city’s tech hub of Kanata North. “I’m just passionate about it. I need change. I thrive on new things, and technology is definitely where that is.” Mr. Flick has become an industry leader, shaping the future of television, but it was the Ottawa high-tech meltdown of 2001 that kickstarted his entrepreneurial career. He grew up with three older sisters in Aylmer, Ont.; his mom was a hairdresser and his dad a dyed-in-the-wool businessman. He moved to the nation’s capital in 1990 to study computer science at Carleton University, working part-time at NAV Canada to put himself through school. After graduating from Carleton, Mr. Flick continued to work in the city’s booming high-tech sector until 2001, when the industry began to tank. Many of his high-tech friends fled to the federal government for jobs. Not Mr. Flick, though. “I said, ‘I’m going to stick with this,’ and I started my own business, which I always planned to do, but it happened a little sooner.”
TECHNOLOGY Kanata-based ThinkRF’s future secure thanks to new funding Wesley Clover leads $5M investment in cutting-edge product used by spy agencies and private companies to prevent terrorism and corporate espionage BY DAVID SALI firstname.lastname@example.org
MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2017
local tech company that has developed a cutting-edge device aimed at thwarting terrorism and corporate espionage has landed $5 million in venture capital from one of the city’s top investment firms. Kanata-based ThinkRF says it will use the new funding to expand its sales team and further develop its technology that intercepts and analyzes wireless signals sent from devices such as smartphones. Ottawa’s Wesley Clover International led the new round, with several private investors also participating. The company says its notebooksized product can “listen in” on a wide spectrum of wireless signals and analyze their frequencies to determine if they come from a “friendly” device such as an iPhone or something potentially more nefarious such as a surveillance bug. ThinkRF says it already has hundreds of customers, from government intelligence agencies that use the hightech boxes to track down terrorists to Fortune 100 companies looking to suss out competitors that might be spying on corporate meetings. The spectrum analysis market is projected to be worth $1.75 billion by 2022, the firm says, and CEO Jim Roche says ThinkRF’s product is the leader in its field. “It solves a problem that our customers desperately need to be solved,” he says.
The company says its device is smaller, lighter, less expensive and more energyefficient than competing products that are often as big as a suitcase, weigh up to 30 pounds and can run upwards of $130,000 apiece. By contrast, ThinkRF says its platform is small enough to be tucked away under a desk or in the corner of a room where it won’t be noticed – and, at an average price tag of $13,000, is one-tenth the cost of similar devices. “To our knowledge, there’s nothing out there that actually competes (directly) with this,” says vice-president of product management Jas Obhi. He says no data is stored in the device itself, meaning it’s useless if lost or stolen. The platform is connected to clients’ computers via Ethernet; special software is then used to analyze signals in an effort to determine their source. ‘COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE’ The company stresses the system can’t pinpoint the exact identity of the signal’s sender, but rather flags frequencies with characteristics that suggest “anomalous activity” that warrants further investigation. In a world where “bad actors” are becoming more sophisticated every day and allegations of Russian hackers sabotaging the 2016 U.S. election continue to swirl, ThinkRF’s products are in growing demand, says Wesley Clover vice-president of marketing Steve Langford. “The competitive landscape now is very aggressive all over the planet,”
ThinkRF chief executive Jim Roche is excited about the company’s future. FILE PHOTO
he says. “In some areas, you can’t necessarily trust those you’re doing business against. It’s an unfortunate reality of the world we’ve come to live in today. That’s the sort of stuff we need to guard against.” Now at about 30 employees, ThinkRF currently has revenues well into seven figures and expects to more than double those numbers next year, Mr. Roche says. The firm recently opened a sales office in the Washington, D.C., area to serve the growing U.S. market and is looking to aggressively expand into Australia,
France, Germany, Great Britain and New Zealand in the near future. In many ways, the company is the proverbial overnight success that was years in the making. Founded in 2007 by Nikhil Adnani, a former engineer at the federal government’s Communications Research Centre, the firm was originally backed by Wesley Clover and spent the better part of a decade refining its technology. About a year and half ago, ThinkRF began stepping up its marketing efforts, and Mr. Langford says investors believe
“In some areas, you can’t necessarily trust those you’re doing business against. It’s an unfortunate reality of the world we’ve come to live in today. That’s the sort of stuff we need to guard against.”
COMMITTED TO SERVING THE COMMUNITY
– WESLEY CLOVER’S STEVE LANGFORD
the company is now “ready for prime time.” “This is not trivial stuff,” he explains of the product’s years-long development cycle. “When you’re going to put a message out there that says, ‘We’re going to increase your security,’ you better be able to walk that talk. It takes a long time to do that and keep pace with the perpetual arms race that is the nature of security these days. From an investor perspective, we believe this is really a tipping point now.” Mr. Roche concedes the firm is facing many of the same challenges that confront most high-growth tech ventures. That includes beefing up R&D spending and finding the right engineering talent to ensure its products remain ahead of the curve while at the
same time ramping up its marketing to capitalize on that competitive edge – “the core blocking and tackling required to aggressively grow a high-tech business,” as the CEO puts it. Nonetheless, he knows those are good problems to have. “It’s exciting to be here,” he says. “We have developed a technology which is unique and potentially applicable in a much broader market.”
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OBJ publisher Michael Curran, Mayor Jim Watson, the Ottawa Media Group’s Kimothy Walker and Ottawa 2017 Bureau head Guy Laflamme. PHOTOS BY MARK HOLLERON
Gowling partner Stuart Ash peruses the new publication.
Mr. Watson with Calian’s Kevin Ford and Ottawa Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi.
Mr. Laflamme signs a copy of the book.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2017
OBJ’s Michael Curran with Commissionaires chief of staff Harry Harsch and Ottawa At Home publisher Mary Taggart.
ith festivities and events marking Canada’s 150th birthday continuing throughout the fall, several Ottawabased organizations have joined forces on a new book that highlights the best of the nation and its capital. O Canada! A Celebration of 150 Years was officially launched at Ottawa City Hall in early October with the help of Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, Ottawa Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi and Guy Laflamme, the executive director of the Ottawa 2017 Bureau. “This book not only showcases the expansive beauty of Canada but shines a spotlight on the nation’s capital and all of the exciting events that made this year’s celebrations so memorable,” Mr. Watson said in a statement. An entire section of the coffee table book is dedicated to Ottawa 2017’s signature events, such as La Machine, Red Bull Crashed Ice and the Interprovincial Picnic on the Bridge. The publication also includes essays from well-known Canadians, including former governor general Michaëlle Jean, Canadian filmmaker Jean-Daniel Lafond, social justice advocate Allison Fisher and historian Andrew Iarocci. O Canada! A Celebration of 150 years can be purchased online at https://10kfeet. myshopify.com/products/canada150book. A portion of the proceeds from each purchase supports the Michaëlle Jean Foundation to help Indigenous and underserviced youth. The book was created by the Melbourne Group, Ottawa Media Group and Great River Media, the parent company of OBJ. – OBJ staff
06 Mr. Naqvi with David Collenette, writer Bob Plamondon and Mr. Watson.
JOBS Region’s GDP to jump in 2017-18
Silver Star Swag keeps it local for innovative tech products
“It’s the only media that receives a thank you” still on the plane or about to tumble onto the baggage carousel. It is the perfect promotional product for Air Canada. Air Canada’s vice-president of global sales, Duncan Bureau, says that “working with the most creative promotional team continues to offer opportunities for cutting edge items such as the Beagle Scout. This item is not only ideal for our industry, it’s a unique take on a luggage tag that no one should be without.” Silver Star Swag’s partnership with PowerStick means the business can largely stay in Ottawa. All of PowerStick’s products are designed in the city, with all of their charging products also manufactured here. Having worked with Silver Star Swag for three years now, PowerStick’s Harris holds the company in high regard. “We have partners who really
understand what we do and understand what their clients want. And then, we have some that don’t understand – they’re like ‘deer in the headlights’ when they try to understand client needs and how to convey them to suppliers,” says Harris. “What’s nice about Silver Star Swag is that they get it. They’re very, very easy to deal with.” Building strong relationships within the promotional products industry – whether locally or beyond – is part of what gives Silver Star Swag an edge on the competition. To learn more about what Silver Star Swag can do for your business, visit www.silverstarswag.com.
hen deciding on promotional products for your organization or event, there is a seemingly neverending list of options available. With so many choices – different pieces, branding options and distribution methods – it can be easy to make a wrong move. At Ottawa’s premier promotional products company, Silver Star Swag, they make the process straightforward and effective. “Working with promotional solution specialists is vital to success in selecting the right items for your brand,” says Carol deVille, president of Silver Star Swag. “Whether it’s a thank you gift, a tradeshow giveaway, an employee incentive, a customer appreciation token or an item that attracts new customers – the piece you choose has to be a true representation of your brand.” Silver Star Swag, an affiliate of The Branding Company, offers branded products for all occasions. The company prides itself on creating pieces that truly make a difference in an organization’s marketing efforts. “It is the only media that receives a thank you,” notes deVille. She credits some of the company’s success to its partnering with great suppliers, including several based close to home in Ottawa. “One of our key priorities is to buy Canadian and buy locally,” she explains. One supplier is PowerStick, an Ottawa-based company that creates innovative tech promotional products. As an industry leader in creativity, safety and innovation, deVille says PowerStick is a logical choice as a partner. PowerStick products run the gamut of technology, from creatively branded phone chargers to full virtual reality viewers. “It doesn’t matter what the requirement is. We can help them,” says PowerStick CEO Nigel Harris of the partnership with Silver Star Swag. Among the firm’s most innovative offerings is the BeagleScout, a Bluetooth-enabled luggage tag. It allows users to track the exact location of their bag, whether it’s
MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2017
hanks to a federal hiring spree, millions of tourists flocking to Canada 150 celebrations and an LRT-fuelled construction boom, OttawaGatineau’s economy is set to enjoy its best two-year stretch in a decade, the Conference Board of Canada says. In its latest metropolitan outlook published Tuesday, the agency is forecasting the region’s GDP to jump by 2.5 per cent this year and another 2.2 per cent in 2018, the biggest back-to-back increases since 2007-08. Ottawa-Gatineau’s economy is expected to create an average of 9,100 new jobs this year and again next year, the Conference Board said, a significant boost from the fiveyear annual average of 5,900. That growth is expected to push the unemployment rate down from 6.5 per cent in 2016 to 6.1 per cent by 2018. The agency attributes much of the upswing to an expanding public administration sector, which is expected to add up to 10,000 jobs between 2016 and 2018. “A big increase in federal government spending has been accompanied by a significant upswing in local public service hiring,” the report said. “Following several years of cutbacks, public administration employment has increased strongly since 2016.” The agency said the feds will likely continue to boost their payroll through 2021, though it did add a caveat to that prediction. “However, there is downside risk to this outlook, as high budget deficits may require greater spending restraint over the medium term, thus limiting job gains in the federal public service,” the report reads. But an uptick in federal hiring was far from the only source of optimism for Ottawa-Gatineau’s economy, the board said. The region’s tourism industry is enjoying a “banner year,” the report said, noting Canada 150 events such as La Machine, Red Bull Crashed Ice and the Juno Awards have drawn visitors “from far and wide.” Still, the agency added that “tourism activity will undoubtedly slow in 2018.” The board also had good news on the construction front. That sector is on track to grow by three per cent in 2017 and a further 2.3 per cent next year, powered by projects such as the $1.2-billion light-rail line slated for completion in 2018 and a rebound in housing starts. – OBJ staff
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Big Apple by bus worth it for those driven to save After driving to Syracuse and busing from there to New York, consumer columnist Michael Prentice declares the journey a viable option for the budget-conscious traveller
MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2017
lmost everyone, I suspect, dreams of visiting the Big Apple. But many never go. Why? Among the explanations I’ve heard: It’s too far; it costs too much to get there; and it’s too crowded, noisy, dangerous and expensive. All the areas of New York City that you might want to visit are at least as safe as most parts of Ottawa, I believe. And getting to and from New York can be surprisingly affordable. In more than 40 years of living in Ottawa, I’ve been a frequent visitor to the Big Apple – on leisure trips by car and occasionally by plane. But, until recently, it never occurred to me to look into going by bus. You can forget about taking a bus from Ottawa to New York City. The best a clerk at the Ottawa bus station could offer was regular daily service with a change of bus in Montreal. But that journey takes about 11 hours. Eleven hours on a bus, compared with about eight hours by car taking a more direct route, is unacceptable to me. Then I got to thinking: Surely there must be good bus service to New York City from Syracuse in upstate New York?
And Syracuse is a very easy three-hour drive from Ottawa. Bingo! There are up to 16 daily bus departures from Syracuse to the Big Apple. The scheduled journey time is about five hours, including a 20-minute rest stop, and the one-way fare is about $40 in U.S. funds or $50 in Canadian money. I decided to try it for myself, first driving uneventfully from Ottawa to Syracuse. Then the bus journey to New York City turned into an adventure (or nightmare, some would say). Soon after an intermediate stop in Binghamton, N.Y., the bus broke down and came to a juddering halt precariously close to the inside lane of the busy interstate highway. There, I and an almost full load of bus passengers were stuck for close to four hours. It took almost two hours for a bus company mechanic to reach the scene and decide he could not fix the problem, which seemed to be a broken gas line. And then it took almost another two hours for a spare bus to reach us from Syracuse. We eventually arrived in New York City four hours late. The passengers’ behaviour was
exemplary. No one lost his or her cool (although I came close, feeling the police and the bus company could do more to get us out of harm’s way and speed up the arrival of a backup bus). Such is life. These things happen. And it did not put me off bus travel or alter my view that the Syracuse-New York City bus link is a good option for budgetminded Ottawans. SMOOTH RETURN TRIP After a little more than 24 hours in the Big Apple (and taking in two operas), I wondered what the return journey would be like. Our bus departed a few minutes behind schedule, but we arrived back in Syracuse right on time. Is it worth the three-hour drive to Syracuse to take the bus? I think so, if you don’t have money to burn. If the bus stays on schedule, the total journey time is hardly any longer than if you drive all the way to New York. I estimate my savings on gas and parking in New York City were close to $200. (Parking in Manhattan can be as much as $80 U.S. per 24 hours.) Quite a few Ontarians – no doubt mostly from Ottawa and eastern Ontario
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Is it worth the three-hour drive to Syracuse to take the bus? I think so, if you don’t have money to burn. If the bus stays on schedule, the total journey time is hardly any longer than if you drive all the way to New York – have already discovered this. About 10 per cent of cars in the parking lot of the Syracuse bus station had Ontario plates on the day I took the bus to New York. The daily parking rate is $8 – one-tenth of what you could pay in Manhattan! In case you are wondering, I do not believe it’s worth driving from Ottawa to Syracuse to catch a flight to the Big Apple. When I checked, JetBlue, a leading American discount air carrier, wanted $261 U.S. for a round-trip flight from Syracuse to New York City at the times I wished to go. That’s about $326 in Canadian money. I asked my Ottawa travel agent for the best price he could find for a return flight from Ottawa to New York City on the dates I wished to travel. He quoted
me a price of $344 from Porter Airlines. And Ottawa-New York City economy return flights can cost $700 or more. That is seven times the cost of that return bus ticket from Syracuse to New York City, meaning huge savings for those prepared to make a three-hour drive to Syracuse to take the bus. If you think about it, it costs more to take a 20-minute taxi ride to catch a flight from the Ottawa airport than it costs to take a 450-kilometre bus ride from Syracuse to New York City.
Michael Prentice is OBJ’s columnist on retail and consumer issues. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
L U N C H L U N C H
S E R I E S S E R I E S
Topic: Smart Development and Design L U N C H
S E R ITopic: E S When: Featuring: When: Smart Development and Design Cocktail Networking Recepti Thursday, November 2, 2017 GregTopic: Richards When: Thursday, November 2, 2017 Smart Development and Design Telfer School of Management Cocktail Networking Reception Featuring: What: 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm Thursday, November Cocktail and Canapés 2, 2017 Featuring: Panelists: Telfer School of Management 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm Networking Reception Telfer School of Management Andrew Reeves Linebox Studio Where: Where: Where: Panelists: Panelists: National Arts Centre National Arts Centre National Arts Centre Jennifer Mallard Andrew ReevesReeves Andrew 1 Elgin 1 Elgin Street, Street,Ottawa Ottawa Linebox Studio Diamond Schmitt Architects 1 Elgin Street, Ottawa Linebox Studio Individual Tickets: Mallard ToonJennifer Dreessen, Individual Tickets: $30.00 (Ottawa Chamber Member) Diamond Schmitt Architects $30.00 Jennifer Mallard (Ottawa Chamber Members) Dreessen Cardinal Architects Inc. $40.00 (Non-member) Individual Tickets:
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to see something, make changes and see the results of those changes in real-time,” explains Mr. Mooney. Recent users of Energy Ottawa’s dashboard services include Morguard and KRP. While Energy Ottawa remains the sole Canadian distributor of the monitoring technology, it’s been used in the facilities of many major organizations in the US, including McDonald’s, Staples and Aramark. In addition to the EnergyFlow Monitor, Energy Ottawa also offers in-depth audit services provided by their skilled team of energy engineers. Their energy and water audits assess a facility as a whole - taking everything from lighting to HVAC to water usage into consideration. Energy Ottawa then reports back to the client, both with usage data and recommendations on how to
pre-existing metering or to install new ones - whether to track water, electricity or natural gas consumption. These are then connected to a gateway, which sends this data to the cloud. The second component of the system is the EnergyFlow Monitor software. It presents a facility’s data in a real-time, easy-to-navigate dashboard that building managers or owners can access and customize. The system displays usage data and estimated costs. It also offers comparison features, so organizations can compare themselves to corporate benchmarks. The system is ideal for reporting on the Ministry of Energy’s recently introduced Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarking initiative. “It gives you that mechanism to be able
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he management of an organization’s environmental impact has become a natural part of doing business. In response to the demand for improved energy efficiency and reduced waste among businesses, Energy Ottawa has answered the call with services designed to measure and optimize a facility’s usage. “In the whole culture of energy and resource efficiency, if you can’t measure it, it’s hard to save it,” explains Glenn Mooney, Manager of Energy Services at Energy Ottawa. Among the services Energy Ottawa offers is the EnergyFlow Monitor, which tracks a building’s energy and water use in real-time, providing valuable data to identify inefficiencies or adjust settings based on occupancy patterns. It was developed by US-based Noveda Technologies, with Energy Ottawa as the exclusive Canadian distributor. The EnergyFlow Monitor service is twofold. First, Energy Ottawa ensures all the necessary hardware is in place. They deploy energy engineers to either access a facility’s
improve the building’s energy efficiency. As an organization reduces its energy use, it in turn results in reduced greenhouse gas emissions, as less power needs to be generated for a facility in the first place. Energy Ottawa calculates a facility’s greenhouse gas emissions based on their energy consumption, and includes this data in its report. Energy Ottawa also identifies incentives that businesses can use to fund retrofitting or updates to their facilities. Energy Ottawa is a trusted service provider for the Building Owners and Managers Association’s BOMA’s Best certification program, Canada’s largest environmental assessment and certification program for buildings. Each year, many of the recipients of BOMA certifications earned them through audits conducted by Energy Ottawa. In addition to Energy Ottawa’s array of advanced reporting services, the organization also offers turnkey energy efficiency project management. Commonly referred to as “continuous commissioning,” Energy Ottawa is able to not only identify potential areas for improvement in a facility - the organization also has the ability to implement efficiency improving changes. This includes the installation of a number of new technologies, ranging from advanced lighting solutions, HVAC conversions, building automation systems and server room optimization to renewable energy and beyond. To learn more about how Energy Ottawa can help your business or organization improve energy efficiency in your facilities, visit www.energyottawa.com.
Stories and photos by Caroline Phillips
Diwali & Awards Gala celebrates Indian holiday in style
From left, Umesh Kumar (Upcoming Business Leader Award winner), Cuckoo Kochar (Hall of Fame Inductee), Monica (Geeta) Channa (Upcoming Business Leader Award), Deepak Chopra (Hall of Fame Inductee) and NetIP Canada presidenet and gala chair Sid Kumar.
Manjit Sandhu with Kanata-Carleton Liberal MP Karen McCrimmon.
From left, gala honourary co-chairs Raj Narula and Yasir Naqvi, the attorney general of Ontario, deliver their welcome remarks.
Ene Schonberg and her husband, Tom Schonberg, president and CEO of the Queensway Carleton Hospital, with Sara Cinq-Mars and her husband, Kevin Cinq-Mars, president of Tomlinson Group of Companies.
create new services, such as drive-through parcel pick-up centres and fitting rooms for faster merchandise exchanges. “In 2011, when I started, it was left for dead; most people had written off Canada Post,” said Chopra. “But these 65,000 people have transformed Canada Post to become Canada’s No. 1 parcel company.” Last month, Canada Post released a new stamp celebrating Diwali to reflect Canada as a land of diverse faiths, customs and celebrations. As well, India Post and Canada Post have entered into bilateral agreements to open up e-commerce between the two countries. Event sponsors included Carleton University, represented by interim
president Alastair Summerlee and his predecessor, Roseann O’Reilly Runte, now president and CEO of the Canadian Foundation for Innovation. They handed out the awards on stage. Summerlee told an uplifting story about the importance of light, based on his humanitarian work in refugee camps in Kenya. The girls there were denied the ability to get an education due to the fact that they had to work all day and had no electricity to study at night when it was dark. The solution – to provide them with solar lamps – led to a big jump in the number of girls getting an education and, moreover, winning scholarships.
Should innovation be a function or a mindset? ey.com/ca ll Rights Reserved. ED None.
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For those seeking the bright lights and big parties, Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is where it’s at. The Network of Indian Professionals (NetIP) Canada hosted a major celebration Oct. 13 in honour of the most important holiday of the year in India, and there was no shortage of luminaries in sight. The seventh Diwali & Awards Gala took place at the opulent Infinity Convention Centre. It was held in support of the Queensway Carleton Hospital and was chaired by Sid Kumar, a 2017 Forty Under 40 recipient and president of NetIP Canada, a non-profit organization dedicated to boosting the achievement and advancement of South Asian professionals. Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi served as honorary co-chair with InCa Synergies founder and chief executive Raj Narula. The gala is NetIP’s way of connecting with the broader community, he told OBJ.social. “I think what’s important, in my view, is that we start bringing our (Indo-Canadian) community into the mainstream,” said Narula. “I think our community is reaching out more and more. It’s a great story in terms of leadership and in terms of giving and in terms of getting involved in the community.” The gala saw the first-time induction of three exceptional individuals into NetIP Canada’s Hall of Fame. They were developer Cuckoo Kochar, president and CEO of platinum sponsor Phoenix Homes; High Commissioner of Canada to India Nadir Patel (he delivered a thank-you message via video); and Canada Post president and CEO Deepak Chopra. Chopra accepted his award on behalf of the 65,000 employees who work at Canada Post. He lauded their entrepreneurial innovation in helping to
“The power of light and what it means to people across the world is really important,” said Summerlee. “To be here celebrating with you during Diwali and to be able to share the power of light together is very meaningful. Thank you for including me in this very auspicious occasion.” There was a group of students there from Carleton being hosted by Kochar. The students are from India and are part of a $1.2-million scholarship program funded by Kochar to allow them to pursue graduate studies in civil engineering, architecture or urban planning. Also handed out at the gala were Upcoming Business Leader Awards to Monica (Geeta) Channa from Akran Marketing and Umesh Kumar, co-founder of CellChem Pharmaceuticals. Early in the evening, Naqvi took to the stage with Kanata-Carleton Liberal MP Karen McCrimmon, regional president Tina Sarellas from platinum sponsor RBC, Mayor Jim Watson and India’s deputy high commissioner, Arun Kumar Sahu, for the diya lighting ceremony. Diwali is India’s biggest and most important holiday of the year and is recognized by millions of Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains in Canada and around the world. During the festival, houses and shops are decorated with candles and lights. This is meant to represent light over darkness and the Hindu belief that good will always triumph over evil. For many observers of the holiday, Diwali honours Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Attendees included Tom Schonberg, president and CEO of the Queensway Carleton Hospital. It serves one of the fastest-growing and aging populations in all of Canada, the room heard. Other supporters included Milan Topolovec, president and CEO of TK Financial Group, Jeff Mierins from Star Motors of Ottawa, Cistel Technology CEO Nishith Goel, and Drs. Nalin Bhargava and Rani Telang, principal dentists at Southgate Dental. The evening was emceed by lawyer Amita Chandra and Ottawa CBC News anchor Adrian Harewood.
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MENTAL HEALTH BENEFIT RAISES RECORD-BREAKING $110K FOR OTTAWA SALUS
Infinity Convention Centre, Ottawa November 2-3 2017
TiECon Canada connects entrepreneurs, industry veterans, investors and influential voices from businesses around the globe. There has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur, as Ottawa propels innovation through many of its successful startups and small businesses. The time is now to make the most of this global melting pot by attending TiECon 2017. This year TiE Ottawa, celebrates 15 years of helping businesses and entrepreneurs at the grass root level through its global network of mentors, experts, venture capitalists and businesses.
From left, Susannah Dalfen, who’s on the board of Ottawa Salus, with retired judge Brian Lennox and his wife, Susan Lennox, and Ellen Wright.
Michael Katchen WealthSimple
Tim Draper Silicon Valley VC
David Ross Ross Video
Umang Dua Handy
Jeff York Farm Boy
Steve Beauchesne Beau’s
Nandini Tandon Biotech leader
Paul Wagner Emmy Winner
Sheryl Wudunn Author & banker
ALSO, DON’T MISS
3 Technology panels on artificial intelligence,
augmented reality/virtual reality, Blockchain, cybersecurity
3 See Ottawa’s top technology startups pitch their venture at PitchFest 3 Seek mentorship from the most sought-after entrepreneurs in the region 3 Meet Investors, potential partner and customers Register now at www.tieconcanada.org
Liberal politicians: the late Herb Gray and Orléans MP Andrew Leslie, who was in attendance). Ottawa Salus has been around for nearly 40 years and owns and operates 14 buildings, ranging in size from a single family home to a 42-unit apartment building. “We are small, but we are mighty,” executive director Lisa Ker said while standing at the podium alongside board president and lawyer Paul Taylor, a senior associate at Borden Ladner Gervais. Attendees included George Weber, president and CEO of the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group, and such Salus donors as Stan Ages, president of Paramount Properties, and his wife, Fran. Also seen were Harley Finkelstein, chief operating officer of Shopify, with his wife, Lindsay Taub, and Bay Ward Coun. Mark Taylor, the city’s special liaison on homeless and housing issues. Ottawa town crier Daniel Richer auctioned off a lunch for six with Alfredsson, at a location of the top bidder’s choosing. It sold to the two top bidders, at $4,000 each. One of those bidders, Roland Davis, president of Davis Engineering Ltd., told OBJ.social he was planning to bring along his hockey-fan children and grandchildren. The other top bidder was Jana Mitchell, founder and CEO of Wheels for the Wise. She later said it was “a pleasure to support such an amazing cause and one that hits close to home for me.” Marie Anik Desmarais, owner of Anik Boutique in the ByWard Market, blew away her competition bidding on a fourcourse embassy dinner for 10 with the ambassador. She paid $11,000 but told OBJ.social she was happy to support a cause like Salus.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2017
When you drop the name “Ottawa Salus” in the general community, you’re more likely to get blank stares and radio silence than nods of recognition and affirmation. That wouldn’t have been the case at the Soirée Salus, however. The hugely successful fundraiser on Oct. 5 brought in $110,000 for a “small but mighty” charitable organization that provides affordable housing and support to hundreds of adults living in this city with serious mental illness. Not only did the soirée sell out, attracting more than 300 guests, but there was a continued demand for tickets after word got out that Daniel Alfredsson would be there. It didn’t hurt that the benefit was back at the gorgeous Embassy of France on Sussex Drive, hosted by Ambassador Kareen Rispal. Distinguished guests also included celebrated mental health advocate Sharon Johnston, wife of former gov. gen. David Johnston. Alfredsson took to the podium, delighting everyone with his easy-going and obliging introduction (“Je m’appelle Daniel”). He learned some French in high school while growing up in his homeland of Sweden but came up short of mastering the language, he admitted. He shared a Swedish expression that sounds quite French if one pronounces and rolls the “r”s. When translated, the expression means, “Eat porridge with a wooden spoon in a wood shed,” he said good-humouredly. Alfredsson, who has a sister with generalized anxiety disorder, has been a longtime champion for mental health. He’s been working with The Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health for almost 10 years to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness. But like many, he hadn’t heard of Salus until recently receiving an invitation to attend its signature fundraiser. “I read up about it and I’m really impressed with what they’ve done, and with how much they’ve supported the community and filled a void in our health-care system,” said Alfredsson. Fiona Murray Cook co-chaired the elegant $125-a-ticket evening with Camille Therriault-Power, president of RH Belvedere HR. Committee members also included Elizabeth Gray-Smith of Bluesky Strategy Group and mining executive and Canadian Forces reservist Erica Leslie (they’re both daughters of
TIECON CANADA 2017
Stories and photos by Caroline Phillips
NAC serves up fresh, modern look while welcoming new chef The National Arts Centre has never looked as fresh and modern as it does today, thanks to a $110-million facelift that’s left areas of the property completely unrecognizable, not in a famous actress kind of way but in a thrilling and breathtaking way. It organized a social gathering on the afternoon of Oct. 18 in one of the renovated building’s bright and airy new spaces, the Lantern Room. Expect to see it all lit up beginning this New Year’s Eve and onward. The space (it still has that new construction smell!) was used to officially welcome the NAC’s new executive chef, Kenton Leier. He was previously the executive chef directly across the canal at The Westin Ottawa. He was selected for the job following a long and thorough hiring process, described by NAC food and beverage manager Nelson Borges. The room heard how Leier nailed his interview, particularly
when it came time for him to answer this tricky question: define Canadian cuisine. It’s the goal of the NAC to promote Canadian cuisine as much as possible. “Canadian cuisine is a melting pot,” Borges said, speaking in front of a wall of windows with clear views of Parliament Hill. “If you look at perogies, who would have thought they were Canadian? But they are, because they’re a staple food from the Prairies.” Leier holds the proud distinction of being the NAC’s first Canadian-born chef. He’s originally from Saskatoon. “It’s humbling and exciting to be chosen,” said Leier. “I love where this country has come in the culinary world, and I think we still have lots to explore.” Leier spoke of legendary NAC chef Kurt Waldele, who was a champion for Canadian cuisine and products long before it was the thing to do. He also gave a nod of the chef’s hat to his predecessors, John Morris and Martin Levesque.
ARTPRENEUR OTTAWA 2017 CONFERENCE | NOVEMBER 4, 2017
Shenkman Arts Centre
“They were setting this place on the right path, and it’s up to me to build a team and continue where they were headed,” Leier added. According to the NAC, its food and beverage department generates annual revenues of $7 million, making it one of the largest operations of its kind in eastern Ontario. It includes le café Restaurant, a major catering operation, seven intermission bars and hospitality services. Every year, the NAC hosts 800 events, such as weddings, graduations, meetings and conferences, and serves more than 56,000 guests at its restaurant. The NAC’s Architectural Rejuvenation Project, which won the support of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals and Stephen Harper’s previous Conservative government, is being completed in three phases. The first part of the work was done in time for Canada Day. Its final phase will see the reopening of the NAC’s Canada Room, formerly the Panorama Room, in February.
From left, Nelson Borges and Kenton Leier with National Arts Centre president and CEO Peter Herrndorf.
From left, Adam Kane from Scotia Wealth Management with National Arts Centre development officer Karine Mayers and his colleague, Keegan Gomes.
It will be twice as big as before. “The views are spectacular,” Adam Kane, senior private banker and team lead with Scotia Wealth Management, told OBJ. social. “It’s a fresh and modern look.”
SME DAY OTTAWA 2017
CONNECT. BUILD. GROW. SPEAKERS | NETWORK | EXPO HALL
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OCTOBER 25, 2017
SHAW CENTRE, OTTAWA KEYNOTE 1:
ALEXANDRA BADZAK Director and CEO, Ottawa Art Gallery, The Latest Artists’
ARTPRENEUR Helping artists succeed
Artistic Director of Indigenous Theatre, Canada’s National Arts Centre
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GALA PREVIEW ambassador. He told everyone how lucky he was to have had music in his life as a child. He learned flute and clarinet and performed in a band (brass, not rock). “I think making music together teaches people to co-operate and work with others,” Pehringer told OBJ.social. Attendees included Rob MacDonald, a partner at Gowling WLG and board chair of the Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra, and members of the 18-member organizing committee, including longtime supporter Grant McDonald, Ottawa managing partner of KPMG, and Birgitte Alting-Mees, as well as some new faces, such as Dr. Aly Abdulla and Crickett Lindgren. Also helping out will be Micheline Saikaley, who’s currently busy as co-chair of next month’s Ashbury Ball. Other supporters included Ward Griffin, president and CEO of the LoweMartin Group. This year’s Viennese Winter Ball is shaping up to be great, according to Armour. “It’s really coming together well,” he told OBJ.social. Proceeds go to Music and Beyond’s young people’s initiatives, Thirteen Strings Orchestra and the OrKidstra music education charity. Single tickets go for $450 and tables start at $3,600.
RECEPTION WHETS CROWD’S APPETITE FOR VIENNESE WINTER BALL Sure, it’s all sun and shirt weather last week, but come February, an evening of fine dining and dancing to live orchestral music is just what you’ll need to pull through the depths of winter. Patrons of the annual Viennese Winter Ball were treated Oct. 18 to a reception, hosted with much warmth and spirit by Austrian Ambassador Stefan Pehringer at his official residence in Rockcliffe. The ball is slated for Saturday, Feb. 10, in the Trillium Ballroom of the Shaw Centre, but with so much delicious talk happening about schnitzel and spaetzle, it felt like the event couldn’t arrive soon enough. The menu features golden-beet borscht, veal schnitzel and a chocolate cake dessert known as Sachertorte. One of the highlights of the Austrianthemed ball is watching teenaged girls and boys perform Viennese waltzes and other traditional dances. The youth, who attend various area high schools, all audition and rehearse at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio
From left, Yves Laberge, general manager of Star Motors, with Andrej Droba, ambassador of the Embassy of the Slovak Republic, and his wife, Daniela, along with longtime supporter Roland Pirker.
during the weeks leading up to the event. The ball was founded in 1996 and is now in its 21st season. “I was there the very first year,” recalled Julian Armour, founder and director of the non-profit organization Music and Beyond, which has been running the ball for the past three years. “I’ve always admired it. I feel it’s the most elegant and glamorous event in the entire city.”
From left, Goldy Hyder, president and CEO at Hill+Knowlton Strategies, with his wife, Fatima, along with Spiteri & Ursulak LLP partner Chris Spiteri and Ted Wagstaff, president of North45 Partnerships.
Armour touched on the charitable cause: raising money to help youth have better access to music education. Most private schools offer good music programs, but only about 20 per cent of elementary schools in eastern Ontario have a dedicated music teacher, he said. The room also heard from Chris Spiteri, board chair of Music and Beyond and partner of Spiteri & Ursulak LLP, and from the
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CEO OF THE YEAR ‘He’s always building up the people around him’ A west-end Ottawa kid made good, Calian boss Kevin Ford has embraced a work hard-play hard philosophy that’s carried him to the pinnacle of the capital’s tech world BY DAVID SALI email@example.com
MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2017
f it’s possible to sum up a person’s essence in a single image, Sandra Cote just might have done it with her photo of Kevin Ford. In the cellphone shot taken at an office party a couple of years ago, a tuxedo-clad Mr. Ford is a picture of concentration as he strums a bass guitar, a hint of a smile crossing his mouth. Beside him, a woman in the band is grinning broadly, clearly enjoying the moment. “That is Kevin,” says Ms. Cote, a vicepresident at Ottawa-based Calian Group. “He’s the last one to leave the dance floor, but he’s the first one at work here in the morning.” Work hard, play hard. It’s been Mr. Ford’s lifelong credo, one that’s propelled him from an entry-level key-punch job at a software firm to the pinnacle of his profession as CEO of one of Ottawa’s largest publicly traded companies. Now, the guy who grew up in Britannia and says “everything about me is Ottawa” has made the final step up the ladder. In just his third year at Calian’s helm, Mr. Ford has been named the 2017 CEO of the Year by the Ottawa Business Journal and the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce. Since taking over as chief executive in early 2015, Mr. Ford has tackled a host of challenges with his trademark blend of determination and good humour. He’s led the effort to rebrand a company that many locals still think of as an IT staffing firm long after it branched out into sectors such as providing health-care services and manufacturing satellite components. He’s also continued a string of acquisitions he began when he joined the company as head of its business and technology services division in 2010. And perhaps most importantly, he guided the firm to the biggest contract win in its 35-year history – a renewed 12year deal to provide health-care services to the Canadian Armed Forces that could be worth up to a billion dollars. Signed last month, the latest agreement brings the RCMP and Veterans Affairs Canada into the fold, further expanding Calian’s customer base.
Those moves have translated into record annual revenues at Calian, which brought in nearly $275 million last year, and the company’s share price has risen more than 60 per cent under Mr. Ford’s leadership.
“What I love about Kevin is just he’s one of those leaders who genuinely leads. He’s always teaching and coaching people without them even realizing that he’s doing it.” – FORMER KANATA NORTH BIA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR JENNA SUDDS
The firm also hasn’t had a losing quarter since the turn of the millennium, and he has no intention of seeing that streak come to an end on his watch. “I’m a visual guy, so I equate it as this ocean liner that’s been steaming out there on the seas for 35 years,” he says during an interview at his office on Legget Drive. “As a leader, what you need to understand is when you push an ocean liner, to make an ocean liner move an inch or two, it takes a lot of work. We have been evolving for 35 years.”
The Calian Group’s Kevin Ford is OBJ’s 2017 CEO of the Year. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON
WOODROFFE GRAD So has Mr. Ford, who graduated from Woodroffe High School in the early ’80s, around the time Larry O’Brien was getting Calian off the ground. After taking a three-month data processing course at a private career college, the kid from Ottawa’s west end entered the workforce as a key-punch operator at software outfit Computel. When a government job opened up at the Department of National Defence, Mr.
Ford jumped at the opportunity. “It was the best thing that ever happened in my career because with defence, I was sent on training,” the 53-year-old father of four says. “While my buddies were all doing computer science degrees or whatever, I was working on one of the largest mainframes in Canada. Then they sent me on programming training, COBOL programming at that time. I thought that was a dead art, but I just saw an RFP with a COBOL
requirement. I’m thinking maybe if this Calian thing doesn’t work out, I can become a COBOL programmer again.” That dry, self-deprecating sense of humour has been one of Mr. Ford’s most enduring and endearing traits on his rise to the top. “I hit it off with him pretty quickly, as most people do,” says former Calian chief executive Ray Basler, who lured his eventual successor away from IBM seven years ago. “He’s an easy guy to like.”
But married to Mr. Ford’s down-toearth demeanour are a burning ambition and a willingness to take risks. While many others would have simply played out the string and counted down the days to retirement, he abandoned the secure world of government in 1996 and jumped to the private sector, becoming a sales executive at IT consulting firm DMR. Three years later, he moved to competitor LGS, which was eventually bought out by IBM. “To leave government was a big decision for me,” says Mr. Ford, who had a young family to support at the time. “To go into a sales job, it was obviously a bigger jump for me. But I did it.” Over the next decade, he blossomed as a salesman, eventually leading IBM’s global defence sector. “The innovation that IBM brings to the market all the time, it was fascinating to be part of that engine, frankly,” he says. “I think I grew up a lot at IBM. My boss, Stan Roy – he’s just one of those guys that if you look back on your career, you always look at those three or four people that have helped mould you. He was one of them, for sure. I also learned how to manage some pretty big programs. The scale of what IBM does is not insignificant. You don’t get that in a small company. It was a huge growth opportunity for me.” Then in early 2010, Calian came calling. The firm’s top executive in Ottawa was retiring, and a headhunter recommended Mr. Ford for the job. It took six months of convincing for Mr. Basler to finally pry him away from Big Blue. “I tend to overanalyze these kinds of things,” concedes Mr. Ford, who’s even been known to use a spreadsheet when car-shopping. “I wasn’t looking to leave IBM. I was happy. I was an executive at IBM, like how cool is that, right?
Basler, Mr. Ford hit the road with chief financial officer Jacqueline Gauthier to spread the gospel of Calian. “We spent time with every investor who wanted to talk to us,” he explains. “Not to talk about some marketing fluff in the context of what we want to be, but more importantly who we are. At that point, we had 60 consecutive profitable quarters, 4-5 per cent dividend yield, no debt, strong balance sheet. I didn’t understand why we weren’t on everyone’s radar.” Those efforts are beginning to pay dividends, he adds. “We had one analyst (covering the company) at the time; we now have four. So the story’s getting out there. We still have a lot of work to do, but we’re getting there.” In addition to growing the firm’s client base and redefining its brand, Mr. Ford also kickstarted a drive to expand through acquisitions. Since he came on board in 2010, Calian has bought five companies, four based here in Ottawa. Every deal has been a winner, he says, largely because his due diligence goes well beyond the balance sheet. ‘CULTURE TRUMPS EVERYTHING’ “He breathes the mantra that culture trumps everything,” says Ms. Cote, who’s known her boss for almost two decades. “It’s not always just about revenue. Sometimes it’s about the people who are at the table.” Mr. Ford is quick to note he’s passed on potential deals that just didn’t feel right. A longtime minor hockey coach, he uses an NHL analogy to illustrate the importance of following his instincts when looking at acquiring a competitor. “Some teams are trying to run their
the switch for me. It’s like, man, how can you not be part of that? I have no regrets and I haven’t looked back, frankly. It’s been a blast.” The company he joined was a multifaceted enterprise with more than 2,000 employees and operations in both Ottawa and Mr. Basler’s home base of Saskatoon, the site of the firm’s systems engineering division that manufactures satellite components. As head of the Ottawa-based business and technology services division, Mr. Ford oversaw a large group of employees who provided everything from medical services on military bases to aircraft maintenance training. His instantly became the firm’s chief evangelist, promoting Calian to the world. As usual, he jumped in feet first. “We needed a champion,” Mr. Basler says. “We had gone a long time at Calian with basically the same management team, the same book of business, more or less, not a huge amount of growth. Kevin gave us that outward-facing role that we really needed in that division.” As CEO, Mr. Ford has tried to redefine the firm’s mission in the eyes of the public. Last year, the company changed its name from Calian Technologies to Calian Group, part of a marketing effort that aims to put the focus on why the firm exists rather than the myriad of products it offers. “If we can connect that to our core purpose, I think it will be very powerful, not only for us but for our staff,” he says. “We’ve spent a lot of time on this. We’re going to define the Calian Group by why we exist, not what we do: (helping customers) communicate, innovate, lead healthy lives and stay safe.” Not long after taking over from Mr.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2017
‘I’VE BEEN VERY FORTUNATE’ “I’ve been very fortunate. Marlene, my wife for 31 years now, in every one of these milestones, she’s actually been the one who convinced me to go. One time she said, ‘I’m never worried about your ability to find a job. If this doesn’t work out, you’ll find something else.’” Once again, Marlene’s intuition was razor-sharp. “I would never have the opportunity in a big company like IBM to be part of the board or be the CEO or anything like that,” Mr. Ford says. “Once I understood the Calian story and actually got to know it, I said, ‘I’ve got to be part of this.’ There’s a lot of things that we do here. I think some of it was just me getting comfortable with who Calian was. That took time.” Once he’d made up his mind, he was all in. “I was just so impressed by all the things Calian was doing as well as the growth opportunity I thought existed,” he says. “The company was the best-kept secret around, and my job was to come on board and tell the story. That’s what turned
Mr. Ford still loves to play guitar when he gets the chance. PHOTO COURTESY SANDRA COTE
organizations by analytics, but they’re not winning Stanley Cups. Why? It’s the heart and mind thing,” he says. “I think leadership is still about 50 per cent, 60 per cent, your gut. “I think acquisitions are a great example. There’s a very financial lens on an acquisition. You can talk about rate of return, you can talk about multiples. But in your gut, it has to feel right that this company, this organization, is going to be able to fit into our organization for not only us but for them. The success rate of acquisitions is quite poor, if you actually look at it. I’m not sure the gut’s getting involved enough in these decisions.” To ensure his gut has its say, he always makes a point of getting to know the faces behind the business in a social setting. “We have dinner, we have beers. I just want to know that they’re thinking the same way, that these are people I want to work with.” Mr. Ford’s gift for inspiring colleagues to find common ground and work together extends beyond his day job. After realizing that companies in his neighbourhood lacked a strong voice to represent their interests, five years ago he spearheaded the drive to create the Kanata North BIA and served as the organization’s first chairman. “He was really one of those visionaries who saw a need and helped to actually make it happen,” says Jenna Sudds, the association’s original executive director. “What I love about Kevin is just he’s one of those leaders who genuinely leads. He’s always teaching and coaching people without them even realizing that he’s doing it.” Mr. Ford’s talents are such that OBJ and the Ottawa chamber aren’t the first organizations to tap him as CEO of the year in 2017. He received the same honour from the West Ottawa Board of Trade in early April, and Ms. Sudds says his words of thanks that day spoke volumes about the character of the man. “His acceptance speech was nothing about himself,” she recalls. “It was all about the team and how the team got the company to where it is now. He’s so humble, and he’s always building up the people around him.” Even when he’s not at work, he remains a mentor to the core. His four children – Cody, 27, Tristan, 25, Skyler, 22, and Liam, 19 – might be all grown up, but Mr. Ford still relishes standing behind the bench on a Wednesday night at the Metcalfe arena, coaching a new batch of hockey youths. “I do it because it’s a passion,” he says, grinning. “I’m always excited when somebody stops me on the street and says, ‘Hey, coach,’ and it’s a kid I coached when he was eight years old. There’s just so many good life skills there, it’s just awesome. I’ve always felt, if I’m going to be at the arena, what the hell, I might as well be on the ice having some fun with the kids.” Work hard, play hard. It’s the Kevin Ford way.
JOIN THE BIGGEST CELEBRATION OF LOCAL BUSINESS IN 2017 • Walk the red carpet and celebrate with recipients 2•3 R D A NaNthree-course I V E R S A R Y dinner and inspiring show Enjoy
• Network with VIPs in business, politics and community CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2017 RECIPIENTS
• Welch LLP • Rainbow Foods Assent Compliance N• O VEM B E R 1 0 , 2 0 •1 6ThinkWrap Commerce • Sampford Advisors • Solink T•HCollab E WSpace E S T I N OT TAWA • Blackberry QNX • numbercrunch inc. • Shopify • Celebrations Ottawa Inc. • Ottawa 2017 • uOttawa Food Services • CBRE Limited • You.i TV • Ottawa Tool Library • Kinaxis • Giatec Scientific Inc. more to come!
NOVEMBER 15, 2017
T H E W E S T I N OT TAWA
Guests of Honour Kevin Ford CEO of the Year John Ruddy Lifetime Achievement Recipient
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A Shared Vision
Shopify adding second office in Waterloo
ttawa’s e-commerce darling is expanding its presence elsewhere in Canada, announcing Oct. 19 that it plans to triple the size of its workforce in Waterloo. That means an additional 300 to 500 jobs over the next three years and a second office in the city. New positions will go towards the development of Shopify Plus, which is already the focus of the Waterloo outpost. As of last March, Shopify had 170 employees in its Waterloo office. In 2015 the firm moved to a new location with the capacity for 300 employees. Roughly a year ago, the firm bolstered its presence in the city through its acquisition of product design firm Boltmade. The firm’s new office in the city, slated to open in the first quarter of 2018, will double its existing physical footprint. The latest investment in the city’s tech sector reflects the emerging relevance of the Toronto-Waterloo corridor as a regional technology hub, according to
Shopify Plus general manager and vicepresident Loren Padelford. “We believe that the corridor is anchoring the next great wave of technology, and we’re excited to play a big role in providing talent a home in our community,” Mr. Padelford said in a statement. He added that the firm’s growth in the area has “outpaced and exceeded” initial expectations. On the other end of the corridor, Shopify is preparing to move into a new space as the anchor tenant at the King-Portland Centre, still under development. Roughly 300 people work for Shopify in Toronto, but this location will have a capacity of 1,100. The firm is also hiring in Ottawa, looking to fill 325,000 square feet of space on Laurier Avenue with 2,500 employees. That building should be ready for occupancy by early 2018, Shopify’s director of internal operations, Greg Scorsone, told OBJ in March. – OBJ staff
OTTAWA, ONTARIO (October 10, 2017) EMERION, headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario, is proud to announce the merger of its company with Cofomo, headquartered in Montreal, Quebec. Both companies, renowned for their global business and IT solutions in Ontario and Quebec, intend to take advantage of this merger to diversify their respective service offerings and to position themselves in a strategic manner in the Canadian market.
marketplaces.” Randy Hicks and Claude Brulé, Partners. “This merger enables Cofomo to strategically grow its business footprint in the Ontario market and diversify its service offerings, while maintaining superior service as it pursues its goal to become a national player. This is an excellent opportunity for both companies to bring additional value in the digital transformation of our clients.” Régis Desjardins, President.
With an aggregate of 1850 experts and cumulative revenues of nearly $195 million, this merger forms one of the largest Professional Services Information Technology firms in Eastern Canada.
About EMERION Headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario, EMERION has more than 250 experts who provide Business and Technology consulting services to both public and private sector clients in the National Capital Region and Toronto. Founded in 2003, EMERION has built an enviable reputation within the industry. Please visit www.emerion.ca for more details.
Both companies will continue to serve their respective clients with the same high standards of quality under the existing organizational and administrative structures. We advocate synergy and collaboration of the teams in projects requiring specialized talents from one company or the other. This will allow us to offer a wider and deeper service offering to valued customers, greater and more varied opportunities for consultants, and better potential for positive and challenging career growth for internal staff. “Through this merger, EMERION will be able to capitalize on Cofomo’s structure, staffing, expertise and accomplishments giving us the credentials to expand our client base with strengthened capacity and overall service capability to valued customers in the National Capital Region and Toronto
About Cofomo Headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Cofomo employs more than 1,600 experts who serve both private and public sector clients in Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto and Chicago. For more than 22 years, Cofomo has offered global solutions in Business and IT consulting, expertise management and digital transformation. It is the second largest IT Professional Services company in the province of Quebec and is in the Canadian Top 10. Please visit www.cofomo.com for more details. For further details, contact Communications@ emerion.ca
WEST OTTAWA LIVING GUIDE Live, Work and Play MEET THE HUMANS OF OTTAWA WEST > STARTING ON PAGE 7
Gain Valuable Insights into Ottawa’s Economic Trends and Growth Sectors
own the building from which they operate their business.
LIGHT-RAIL TO BOOST DOWNTOWN MARKET
MICHAEL CHURCH, PRINCIPAL AND MANAGING DIRECTOR, AVISON YOUNG
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This data is part of the Ottawa Business Growth Survey. Conducted by Abacus Data and made possible by Welch LLP, the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and the Ottawa Business Journal, the survey gathered input from hundreds of local businesses. A free 40-page report can be downloaded at www.ottawabusinessgrowthreport.ca.
FROM CEO TO CEO
MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2017
“The core is a little softer than it has been in recent years, particularly in the class-B and C office markets. (But) in 2018, LRT will arrive downtown and most of the construction that we’re living through will end. As access to the core improves, people are again going to look at downtown. Already, there is a growing trend with some of technology companies to look at (locating in) the downtown core.”
MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2017
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32
Location/Address/City Place de Ville - Podium & Towers A, B & C 300 Sparks St./320 Queen St./ 112 Kent St./330 Sparks St. Ottawa Constitution Square I, II & III 340, 350 & 360 Albert St. Ottawa Place Bell Canada 160 Elgin St. Ottawa World Exchange Plaza I & II 45 O’Connor St./100 Queen St. Ottawa James M. Flaherty Building 90 Elgin St. Ottawa Sun Life Financial Centre 50 O’Connor St. Ottawa Jean Edmonds Tower North 300 Slater St./365 Laurier Ave. W. Ottawa The EDC Building 150 Slater Ottawa Sun Life Financial Centre 99 Bank St. Ottawa Centennial Towers 200 Kent St. Ottawa 296 Laurier Avenue West* 296 Laurier Ave. W. Ottawa Woodline II 100 Constellation Dr. Ottawa Performance Court 150 Elgin St. Ottawa 131 Queen 131 Queen St. Ottawa Manulife Place 55 Metcalfe St. Ottawa 350 Legget Drive 350 Legget Dr. Ottawa 181 Queen 181 Queen St. Ottawa 349 Terry Fox Drive 349 Terry Fox Dr. Ottawa 66 Slater 66 Slater St. Ottawa 275 Slater Street 275 Slater St. Ottawa 333 Laurier 333 Laurier Ave. W Ottawa 255 Albert 255 Albert St. Ottawa 222/230 Queen 222 Queen St. Ottawa 1601 Telesat Court* 1601 Telesat Crt. Ottawa 303 Terry Fox Drive 303 Terry Fox Dr. Ottawa 975 St. Joseph 975 St-Joseph Blvd. Gatineau 110 O’Connor 110 O’Connor St. Ottawa 250 Albert 250 Albert St. Ottawa 400 Cooper 400 Cooper St. Ottawa Churchill Office Park 1600 Carling Ave. Ottawa Heritage Place 155 Queen St. Ottawa, ON 350 Sparks Street 350 Sparks St. Ottawa
LARGEST OFFICE BUILDINGS (RANKED BY TOTAL LEASABLE SQUARE FEET)
Total Leasable square feet
Last renovated Management company
18, 21, 19
1986, 1992, 2007
Brookfield Ontario Holdings Ltd. and Crehoy Inc.
Transport Canada; Canada Revenue Agency
Oxford Properties Group
OMERS Realty Corp. and CPP Investment Board Real Estate Holdings Inc.
International Development Research Centre; Canadian Commercial Corporation; SAP Canada Inc.; Payments Canada; Scotia Capital; TD Waterhouse; Defence Construction Canada; Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP; Osler, Hoskin Harcourt
H&R REIT, Toronto
Bell Canada; federal government; Gowlings
QuadReal Property Group
bcIMC Realty Corp.
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP; Ogilvy Renault; EDS Canada; Ernst and Young; Deloitte; TD Bank; RBC Dominion Securities; CTV
GWL Realty Advisors
The Great-West Life Assurance Co.
Department of Finance; Treasury Board
Bentall Kennedy (Canada) Ltd. Partnership
Sun Life Financial & ONTARI Holdings
Business Development Bank of Canada; Canada Deposit Insurance Corp.; Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP; Public Services and Procurement Canada
Brookfield Ontario Holdings Ltd./ Crehoy Inc.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
The Manufacturers Life Insurance Co.
The Manufacturers Life Insurance Co.
Export Development Canada
Bentall Kennedy (Canada) Ltd. Partnership
Sun Life Financial & ONTARI Holdings
CATSA; EY; PSPC; PwC
GWL Realty Advisors
Great-West Life Assurance Co.
Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada; Tax Court of Canada
GWL Realty Advisors Ltd.
The Great-West Life Assurance Co. and The London Life Insurance Co.
Public Safety; Health Canada
Arnon Group of Companies
The Manufacturers Life Insurance Co.
The Manufacturers Life Insurance Co.
KS Slater Inc., Toronto
Privy Council Office; Office of the Ethics Commission; Veteran’s Affairs; DND
2305088 Ontario Inc.
Cowater International; BDO; Canadian Construction Assoc.
GWL Realty Advisors
The Great-West Life Assurance Co.
Huawei; Amdocs; March Networks
The Manufacturers Life Insurance Co.
The Manufacturers Life Insurance Co.
Corel, MNP LLP
WND = Would not disclose. *Did not respond to 2017 survey – using data from previous years. Should your company be on this list? If so, please send details to email@example.com This list is current as of August 9, 2017. © 2017 by Ottawa Business Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be reproduced by any method in whole or in part without written permission by Ottawa Business Journal. While every attempt is made to ensure the thoroughness and accuracy of the list, omissions and errors sometimes occur. Please send any corrections or additions by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. OBJ lists are primarily compiled using information provided voluntarily by the organizations named. Some firms that may qualify for the list are not included because the company either failed to respond to requests for information by press time, because the company declined to take part in the survey or because of space constraints. Categories are drawn up in attempt to gather information of relevance to the Ottawa market. Research by Patti Moran. Please send questions and comments to email@example.com.
FOR THE RECORD People on the move
an instrumental role understanding the requirements of NCTC members and helping them evolve their video infrastructure.
Espial announced the addition of three new members to the North American sales team. Matt James joins as vice-president of sales, Clayton Wagar becomes vice-president of technical sales and Doug Hull will play
Deloitte announced that former governor general David Johnston has joined the firm as an executive adviser. Mr. Johnston will be based in Ottawa and advise in innovation, leadership development, inclusion and helping
Contracts The following contains information about recent contracts, standing offers and supply arrangements awarded to local firms. Calian Ltd. 340 Legget Dr. Description: Medical advisory services Buyer: DND $275,000,000 Calian Ltd. 340 Legget Dr. Description: Nursing care services Buyer: RCMP $18,600,000
Calian Ltd. 340 Legget Dr. Description: Nursing care services Buyer: Veterans Affairs Canada $17,300,000 Asbex Ltd. 2710 Lancaster Rd. Description: Confederation building – window rehabilitation, phase 2 Buyer: PWGSC $6,208,779 Excel Human Resources Inc. 102 Bank St. Description: Professional services
businesses make courageous choices to improve growth and productivity.
Buyer: PWGSC $5,403,825 ADGA Group Consultants Inc. 110 Argyle Ave. Description: Services of one senior EMSEC Buyer: DND $1,376,609 Service Star Building Cleaning Inc. 3971 Greenbank Rd. Description: Janitorial services – Louis St. Laurent building #2, 455 Boul de la Carrière Buyer: PWGSC $1,028,566
BMO honoured three women leaders at the BMO Celebrating Women program event. Celebrating Women recognizes female leaders in their communities as part of the bank’s commitment to the advancement of women. The following honourees were recognized: Innovation and Global Growth: Marina Kun, the owner and president of Kun Shoulder Rest Inc. The Community and Charitable Giving award went to Francine Whiteduck, who is the founder of Whiteduck Resources Inc. The Expansion and Growth in Small Business award was given to Anna Belanger, owner of Anna Belanger and Associates. James Armstrong, the Ottawa International Airport Authority’s vice-president of security, emergency management and customer transportation, was named security director of the year by Canadian Security Magazine. The awards program is judged by a panel comprised of the
magazine’s advisory board. The Hydropothecary Corp. has been awarded the Coup de Coeur Award at the inaugural Québec Employment Creators Award. The awards are given annually to honour major job creators in Quebec and its 17 administrative regions. The International Council of Shopping Centers named St. Laurent Centre in Ottawa as a gold award winner for its Mom and Baby on the Move promotion in the Customer Service Experience/ Engagement category, and a Silver Award winner in the Multi-Channel Marketing category for its As Fresh as the Tulips campaign. Rideau Centre apparel retailer Icebreaker won gold in the Retail Store Design category, while the mall also won silver in the Design and Development category for its 2016 expansion project. Illumisoft Lighting’s LED retrofit fixtures have been named the most efficient in North America by the DesignLights Consortium, a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the widespread adoption of high-performing commercial lighting solutions.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2017
OTTAWA TODAY with MARK SUTCLIFFE
2017-03-30 2:32 PM
Mussels and shellfish at Arôme restaurant! MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2017
From November 7 to December 7, 2017, come and enjoy our special mussels and shellfish menu. Daily, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. RESERVE NOW! 819-790-6410 Free outdoor parking and WiFi
we’re all play
Published on Oct 19, 2017
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