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June 2012

Thunder Bay’s Bombardier Plant Experiences Growth See special insert inside!

City Will Work With Partners to Maximize Ring of Fire Benefits Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life Chairman Wins Battles Do You Need a Lawyer in Small Claims? Speed-Networking with SHIFT Bryan Adams Performs In Thunder Bay

Young Entrepreneur Opens Business: Gino’s Pizza See Page 8 New VP External Relations is a Dynamic Advocate See Page 2


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THUNDER BAY BUSINESS JUNE 2012

City Will Work With Partners to Maximize Ring of Fire Benefits BY SCOTT A. SUMNER

Thunder Bay BUSINESS May 11, 2012 The City of Thunder Bay is developing a multi-faceted Mining Readiness Strategy that will work with key stakeholders to capitalize on the Ring of Fire Development. We fully understand the magnitude of the Ring of Fire and plan to maximize its benefits by working with Fort William First Nation, other First Nations, the CEDC, the

I have heard from Bill Boor, Cliffs Senior Vice-President of Global Ferroalloys, and will be discussing this plan further with him. I will also follow up with Natural Resources Minister Michael Gravelle to reinforce the need to move forward. The City and Fort William First Nation put forward an excellent proposal to Cliffs and we will continue to make the most out of this incredible opportunity, the Mayor said. Mayor Hobbs added that ongoing commu-

Tim Comisso, City Manager Thunder Bay We want to make sure in the next few years we have all the pieces in place to accommodate the Ring of Fire spin off activities in Thunder Bay. I take the view people probably want to live in an urban centre as we have all of the services here. We do need more serviced residential lots for sale. There are 1600 available but there is talk of 5000 homes so we will have to accelerate the number of lots available and that will be a challenge because we want to stay within the urban setting. We need to be more strategic now as this is coming at us and how do we plan to accommodate it. We are talking about hundreds of millions of additional GDP growth for the city. We started with 1 assay lab and now have 5 with 2 more coming. They have 300 employees currently. Our total economy in Thunder Bay is a little over $6 billion. We need to get a handle on residential and industrial lands. We are looking at communities like Fort McMurray and how they adapted.

Thunder Bay with the three institutions and others around that are supportive of the educational economy. I think Thunder Bay is a smart city and by that I mean a city that has all of the elements to develop a knowledge-based economy and value added economy. This could be supporting the mining industry or revitalizing the forestry industry as well as adding more manufacturing. I think we have all the elements there but just need to continue to work on the plan to create more jobs. The new law school will become the last educational piece at Lakehead University. We will be a fully comprehensive university offering everything from medical to engineering, natural resources and so on. We have a whole number of faculties that are professionally oriented. Deb Comuzzi who was born and raised here is coming back for a new role with us. This is a new vice presidents role that is really looking at how we can reach out to the community, expose the community to what we do here and raise money for our causes.

Keith Hobbs, Mayor Thunder Bay

Province and our key Regional stakeholders, said Mayor Keith Hobbs.

nication and consultation between all levels of government, including First Nations, is extremely important to maximize the benefits from the Ring of Fire one of Ontario s largest economic development opportunities. Some Mining Readiness Strategy goals include maximizing job creation opportunities for people living in the Thunder Bay Region; maximizing business opportunities by using regional companies to explore, construct and operate mines; and identifying, developing and training the region s workforce to support all new employment requirements. With this Strategy, we will continue working diligently with both the Province and the Federal Government to further the interests of Thunder Bay and our Region, said Councillor Joe Virdiramo, InterGovernmental Liaison Committee Chair. We understand the importance of working together and look forward to increased growth and investment related to mining.

We are working hard and like George Chuvalo we may be on the ropes but we have to keep getting up. The taxpayers are on my case if I m not doing a good job and we are going to be on the Cliffs case to make sure we get as much activity here in Thunder Bay. I think you will see a lot of services based out of Thunder Bay with flights to the site from here. Right now Sudbury does about $5 billion in value added business. We do about 1/2 billion and I can see us doing a $1 or $2 billion of value added activities. It is huge for the economy. Hotels want to open new properties here; our airport activity is up 30%. We have a good work force in Thunder Bay as well. NOMA, CEDC, the Chamber and FWFN are a part of the plan moving forward. We are already enticing business to Thunder Bay. The Northern Growth Plan sets the approach. We will do what we can to entice people here.

Dr Brian Stevenson, President and ViceChancellor of Lakehead University What is your opinion on the current state of the Thunder Bay economy? The Thunder Bay economy is an economy that is in transition and evolving. What we are aiming to do is to support the natural resource base to have value added to that base and then to develop other industries particularly knowledge based. This is where the university, college and hospital play a critical role in the future of the economy not only as institutions that serve the economy each in their own sphere in terms of education but also economic leaders and drivers for a new economy that will be knowledge based. I am very impressed as someone new to

Harold Wilson, President Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce What is your impression of the Thunder Bay economy? I am anticipating a good year economically for Thunder Bay. The Mayor and others have done a good job in identifying those sectors such as the transportation sector and the education sector with a new law school coming on board. We also see incredible progress at the Regional Research Centre. I was interested to hear today about the supply of housing lots for the city and we will be following up on that. There are very few house listings available compared to the normal inventory. We don t have the large housing developer today like we had before although we have many good builders. There are a lot of businesses sitting back, watching and the indicators have shown that we have high occupancy in hotels so we are getting more announcements. I think a small hotel development near the new courthouse would work well. We have been very supportive of the events centre and want it to be a sound financial project and provide the greatest economic benefits for the community. When they release the results of the study we will look at the location choice. The Chamber has been providing input to the process and knows there are some events we can t attract because of the lack of space available. The Prospectors Trade Show is out growing the venue here for example


THUNDER BAY BUSINESS JUNE 2012

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THUNDER BAY BUSINESS JUNE 2012

Young Entrepreneur Opens Business: Gino’s Pizza BY SCOTT A. SUMNER

Thunder Bay BUSINESS It was fun to meet Jan Wieckowski, age 24, who recently opened his first business this past April. He is following in a long family business tradition in the Thunder

Bay area. Jan went to Confederation College taking Marketing for 2 years and then entered the nursing program at LU for 1 semester before deciding to start his own business with a Gino s Pizza franchise.

very much and want to keep our family together. I love Thunder Bay; there is nothing else to say about it. This is the reason why I started my business years ago.

Alexandra Wieckowski is the sister of Jan and went to Lakehead University taking the Honours Bachelor of Commerce pro-

gram majoring in HR. She will also be involved in the new Gino s Pizza business. As soon as I graduated I moved to Toronto working in my field for over 6 years but decided to come back to Thunder Bay. I miss my hometown and all of my family here. When my brother had started the business I decided to come back, said Alexandra. I will help him on the back end of the business in accounting and can help up front if we wants me to. There are some HR jobs available in Thunder Bay, which I hope to get. You get a very nice lifestyle here. I find it easier to develop a sense of community here in Thunder Bay.

Mom comes out and helps out a lot as well. My mom does the paper work for me including payroll. Coming from a business family has helped a lot, said Jan. I am assuming for the next 6 months I will be here 7 days a week. I want people to enjoy my product and to be a successful business. We are creating jobs and helping the economy. It kinds of makes me realize

what makes the world go around. Everybody benefits. I would definitely recommend business ownership to young people.

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I had worked in the other Gino's Pizza in Thunder Bay and knew the product well. The owners then had talked about the franchisor always wanting another Gino's in Thunder Bay. I talked it over with my parents and they thought it was a good idea. I wanted to stay in Thunder Bay so created my own job. said Jan.

I chose Gino's because I know the product and have worked in pizza for close to 6 years now. I thought it would be a good idea. This northward location was available and I always thought of this location as a good site. We opened early in April and it has been very busy. It is hard to explain how busy Friday and Saturday nights are, it is almost overwhelming, said Jan. We get a lot of people from Current River, the County Fair area and Oliver Road. A lot of business people come in for lunch and get slices. It is different for them than from what they are used to.

Jan s parents, John and Sandra Wieckowski, are both business owners and come from a business family. John currently owns Frankie & Johnny s Auto Body Ltd. Sandra s family has owned a school bus company for many years in the area. I was a human relations officer for a government department and then worked with a life insurance company in management. They always wanted me to move away from Thunder Bay but I couldn t because I also love hunting and fishing

Gino s Pizza has a total of 14 people on staff working on certain shifts as well as delivery drivers. I am starting to enjoy being the owner although I am not really used to being somebody s boss. It is a lot of stress and pressure. The staff will come up to me and say need help with someone on the phone. I am learning more everyday. It is always a learning experience. You have to kind of stay calm, be polite no matter what they are saying to you on the phone and believe me I have heard it all.

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Thunder Bay Business June 2012 Colour  

Business happenings in Thunder Bay