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SASKATCHEWAN

SUMMER 2020  ISSUE 2 VOL. 4

industrywestmagazine.com

Business

in the Time of COVID-19

and Beyond

Roadmap to a Robust Food Processing Industry Tax Autonomy Key to Unlocking Indigenous Innovation Pick a Lane: Rebranding a Behemoth Special Section: Tech in Saskatchewan


COVER

Business in Saskatchewan in the Time of COVID-19 and Beyond A Discussion on Saskatchewan from the New Normal to What’s on the Horizon BY BROOK THALGOTT  PHOTOS BY GLEN SCHULER

NATASHA VANDENHURK (OWNER/CEO, THREE FARMERS FOODS)

CASEY COLLINS (CEO, PRAIRIE MEATS) AND BLAIR FLAVEL (PRESIDENT, DEGELMAN INDUSTRIES)

Over the last three decades, the mindset has changed to supporting companies here at home, and there is local capital available for Saskatchewan companies to grow here which creates jobs and impacts our economy and local communities.

not one of them has compared to how fast or how deep our GDP has been impacted as with COVID-19,” says Hunchak. “It’s the steepest, fastest slide in the last 59 years since we’ve been tracking this data.” COVID-19 affected many sectors of the economy hard and overnight, and the business landscape changed dramatically. While all the companies in the room were essential services or allowable businesses (as defined by the Government of Saskatchewan) and continued to operate, the threats posed by the pandemic to life and livelihood were not taken lightly.

While Saskatchewan’s tech ecosystem is growing by leaps and bounds, what hasn’t changed is what we offer the world, notes

O

n July 7, 2020—armed with public health guidelines and plenty of hand sanitizer we gathered business leaders from various sectors across the province to discuss business in Saskatchewan—from the “new normal” to what lies ahead. Led by Wanda Hunchak, Executive Vice President of Westcap Mgt. Ltd., a local investment fund manager that, over the past three decades, has invested more than $1 billion into over 200 Saskatchewan companies through its diverse funds, including Golden Opportunities Fund and the Westcap MBO Private Equity Funds. The group included Grant Kook, Westcap’s President, CEO and Founder and leaders from its portfolio of companies: Natasha Vandenhurk (Owner/ CEO, Three Farmers Foods), Casey Collins (CEO, Prairie Meats), Garth MacDonald (CEO, G-Mac’s AgTeam), Blair Flavel, (President, Degelman Industries) and Rob Harasymchuk (Director of Operations, 20

Maxie’s Excavating). Together, yet separated, they pondered the pandemic’s impact on business and what the future holds for the province’s entrepreneurial community. Recorded in Saskatoon at Innovation Place, the entire conversation can be seen on our YouTube Channel, @iwmediagroup. Laying the Groundwork Hunchak began by asking about the founding principles for doing business in Saskatchewan. Kook has seen the economy change over the last 30 years since Westcap was founded as one of the first portfolio fund managers in the province registered with security regulators. “When we first started in this province, it was really an ag economy,” says Kook. “Over the course of time, things have changed. We found out that we have a tremendous mining sector. We found out that we have potash, uranium, coal, diamonds, and now helium. We found out that oil and gas didn’t stop at the borders. Over the course of time, we became a province with agriculture, mining and oil and gas—a three-legged stool.” While these sectors dominated the provincial economy then, Kook notes that in the last 10 years innovation has come out from the shadows and into the forefront. Westcap was involved as an early investor in this space. “We are proud to have played a part in this,” says Kook. He sees that innovation—new technologies, new products, and new processes— has now become the fourth pillar for Saskatchewan’s economy. Kook notes that this has now turned our province’s stool into a chair—much more stable and diverse. “We went from an economy where there was little capital for small to medium-sized enterprises and Saskatchewan people were exporting their hard-earned money out of the province, to one of the fastest growing innovation ecosystems in Canada with out of province investors stopping and saying ‘we better take a look at what’s happening in Saskatchewan’.”

Kook noted that the first thing Westcap did was focus on an efficient remote work environment for their team saying “we needed to make sure our team and their families were safe and then turned our attention to our portfolio companies.” Westcap focused on people first and cash flow second. The team "Fundamentally, we will keep investing in these remained in constant communication ensuring proper safety leading Saskatchewan companies due to the work protocols were established within their portfolio companies to ethic and culture of our people which has never protect employees and customers, and that portfolio companies had changed." – Grant Kook the liquidity they needed to weather the storm. Next, and as Kook mentions was equally important, they reassured their thousands of Kook. “We’ve always had food, fuel and investors and stakeholders that their investments which Westcap manages had good fertilizer. The only thing that is different fundamentals and would endure the pandemic. now is that the world recognizes it.” Kook also comments that Saskatchewan has And then, Westcap turned to see where they could help the community. Through always been an export driven economy and their Virtual Hugs initiative, Westcap worked closely with the COVID-19 Hospital now we realize just how important we are Fund and donated $250,000 for over 330 iPads and data plans to be delivered to the to the rest of the world. He also comments 158 Saskatchewan Health Authority publicly funded long-term care homes across that, “fundamentally, we will keep investing Saskatchewan, so that residents could connect with loved ones virtually to help alleviate in these leading Saskatchewan companies loneliness and isolation during this time. “During this pandemic we lived by the motto that due to the work ethic and culture of our how we treat our employees, our stakeholders, our investors, and the broader community people which has never changed.” This at large is how we’ll be judged after COVID-19,” says Kook. extends to Westcap’s long-standing Feeding the Province executive and senior leadership team that During times of crisis, attention turns to the necessities. Everyone needs to eat. An has a century of investment expertise industry leader in Saskatchewan for more than 35 years, Prairie Meats worked in overdrive combined working with local companies to continue production to keep food staples—like ground beef—on their shelves. They here in Saskatchewan. also focused on helping remote communities in the province that were impacted by buying restrictions as the pandemic took hold. “It was our responsibility to make sure The Pandemic in the Room To p u t t h e p a s t fe w m o n t h s i n to that these rural and remote communities had access to food,” says Casey Collins, CEO. perspective, Hunchak shared some The company used its distribution channels to ensure that rural and remote regions of eye-opening statistics “According to the the province had the food supplies they needed. While most people know Prairie Meats Bank of Canada, the country is officially in a as a retailer, its primary business is in wholesale. “We opened up our delivery channels recession following Q1 2020. We have had not just to our wholesale customers, but to the general public. This provided options and five recessions in Canada since 1961 but the ability for people to take care of their family,” says Collins. “A lot of our team members 21


COVER

Business in Saskatchewan in the Time of COVID-19 and Beyond A Discussion on Saskatchewan from the New Normal to What’s on the Horizon BY BROOK THALGOTT  PHOTOS BY GLEN SCHULER

NATASHA VANDENHURK (OWNER/CEO, THREE FARMERS FOODS)

CASEY COLLINS (CEO, PRAIRIE MEATS) AND BLAIR FLAVEL (PRESIDENT, DEGELMAN INDUSTRIES)

Over the last three decades, the mindset has changed to supporting companies here at home, and there is local capital available for Saskatchewan companies to grow here which creates jobs and impacts our economy and local communities.

not one of them has compared to how fast or how deep our GDP has been impacted as with COVID-19,” says Hunchak. “It’s the steepest, fastest slide in the last 59 years since we’ve been tracking this data.” COVID-19 affected many sectors of the economy hard and overnight, and the business landscape changed dramatically. While all the companies in the room were essential services or allowable businesses (as defined by the Government of Saskatchewan) and continued to operate, the threats posed by the pandemic to life and livelihood were not taken lightly.

While Saskatchewan’s tech ecosystem is growing by leaps and bounds, what hasn’t changed is what we offer the world, notes

O

n July 7, 2020—armed with public health guidelines and plenty of hand sanitizer we gathered business leaders from various sectors across the province to discuss business in Saskatchewan—from the “new normal” to what lies ahead. Led by Wanda Hunchak, Executive Vice President of Westcap Mgt. Ltd., a local investment fund manager that, over the past three decades, has invested more than $1 billion into over 200 Saskatchewan companies through its diverse funds, including Golden Opportunities Fund and the Westcap MBO Private Equity Funds. The group included Grant Kook, Westcap’s President, CEO and Founder and leaders from its portfolio of companies: Natasha Vandenhurk (Owner/ CEO, Three Farmers Foods), Casey Collins (CEO, Prairie Meats), Garth MacDonald (CEO, G-Mac’s AgTeam), Blair Flavel, (President, Degelman Industries) and Rob Harasymchuk (Director of Operations, 20

Maxie’s Excavating). Together, yet separated, they pondered the pandemic’s impact on business and what the future holds for the province’s entrepreneurial community. Recorded in Saskatoon at Innovation Place, the entire conversation can be seen on our YouTube Channel, @iwmediagroup. Laying the Groundwork Hunchak began by asking about the founding principles for doing business in Saskatchewan. Kook has seen the economy change over the last 30 years since Westcap was founded as one of the first portfolio fund managers in the province registered with security regulators. “When we first started in this province, it was really an ag economy,” says Kook. “Over the course of time, things have changed. We found out that we have a tremendous mining sector. We found out that we have potash, uranium, coal, diamonds, and now helium. We found out that oil and gas didn’t stop at the borders. Over the course of time, we became a province with agriculture, mining and oil and gas—a three-legged stool.” While these sectors dominated the provincial economy then, Kook notes that in the last 10 years innovation has come out from the shadows and into the forefront. Westcap was involved as an early investor in this space. “We are proud to have played a part in this,” says Kook. He sees that innovation—new technologies, new products, and new processes— has now become the fourth pillar for Saskatchewan’s economy. Kook notes that this has now turned our province’s stool into a chair—much more stable and diverse. “We went from an economy where there was little capital for small to medium-sized enterprises and Saskatchewan people were exporting their hard-earned money out of the province, to one of the fastest growing innovation ecosystems in Canada with out of province investors stopping and saying ‘we better take a look at what’s happening in Saskatchewan’.”

Kook noted that the first thing Westcap did was focus on an efficient remote work environment for their team saying “we needed to make sure our team and their families were safe and then turned our attention to our portfolio companies.” Westcap focused on people first and cash flow second. The team "Fundamentally, we will keep investing in these remained in constant communication ensuring proper safety leading Saskatchewan companies due to the work protocols were established within their portfolio companies to ethic and culture of our people which has never protect employees and customers, and that portfolio companies had changed." – Grant Kook the liquidity they needed to weather the storm. Next, and as Kook mentions was equally important, they reassured their thousands of Kook. “We’ve always had food, fuel and investors and stakeholders that their investments which Westcap manages had good fertilizer. The only thing that is different fundamentals and would endure the pandemic. now is that the world recognizes it.” Kook also comments that Saskatchewan has And then, Westcap turned to see where they could help the community. Through always been an export driven economy and their Virtual Hugs initiative, Westcap worked closely with the COVID-19 Hospital now we realize just how important we are Fund and donated $250,000 for over 330 iPads and data plans to be delivered to the to the rest of the world. He also comments 158 Saskatchewan Health Authority publicly funded long-term care homes across that, “fundamentally, we will keep investing Saskatchewan, so that residents could connect with loved ones virtually to help alleviate in these leading Saskatchewan companies loneliness and isolation during this time. “During this pandemic we lived by the motto that due to the work ethic and culture of our how we treat our employees, our stakeholders, our investors, and the broader community people which has never changed.” This at large is how we’ll be judged after COVID-19,” says Kook. extends to Westcap’s long-standing Feeding the Province executive and senior leadership team that During times of crisis, attention turns to the necessities. Everyone needs to eat. An has a century of investment expertise industry leader in Saskatchewan for more than 35 years, Prairie Meats worked in overdrive combined working with local companies to continue production to keep food staples—like ground beef—on their shelves. They here in Saskatchewan. also focused on helping remote communities in the province that were impacted by buying restrictions as the pandemic took hold. “It was our responsibility to make sure The Pandemic in the Room To p u t t h e p a s t fe w m o n t h s i n to that these rural and remote communities had access to food,” says Casey Collins, CEO. perspective, Hunchak shared some The company used its distribution channels to ensure that rural and remote regions of eye-opening statistics “According to the the province had the food supplies they needed. While most people know Prairie Meats Bank of Canada, the country is officially in a as a retailer, its primary business is in wholesale. “We opened up our delivery channels recession following Q1 2020. We have had not just to our wholesale customers, but to the general public. This provided options and five recessions in Canada since 1961 but the ability for people to take care of their family,” says Collins. “A lot of our team members 21


COVER

COVER

“This has definitely opened are from remote regions, and they felt a sense of responsibility and Flavel notes that during our eyes to the possibilities gratification by making sure that they took care of their hometowns.” and where we can go in the more than 40 years To make the changes needed to meet the demand, Prairie Meats next decade.” – Casey Collins with the company, shifted resources—in a hurry. “We had to adjust our model to meet he has never seen demand as we started to experience what typically would have been an entire week of anything like the pandemic. “We’ve certainly sales start to come all in one day,” says Collins. “We focused more on our retail channels, seen peaks and valleys in the ag industry. being creative and working with businesses in our wholesale network to help people We were anticipating a fairly strong spring survive through this.” Collins witnessed his customers and partners changing everything 2020, our order books were good—and that they did overnight. “We knew that in the current climate, if we had an employee get they remained good,” says Flavel. “We had sick or a family member get sick, we could lose our whole production facility, we saw it to make sure we could safely fill those happen in other facilities across the country,” says Collins. “We had to change everyone’s orders and deliver the product on time schedule. We changed everything that we do in production and still tried to manage to because our farmers were relying on that.” produce the levels that our customers expect.” While it was a major adjustment, the The company pulled their team together, company recognizes that they were able to accomplish much more than they ever sending home anyone who could work thought possible. “This pushed us and changed how we look at our business going remotely and ensuring that the production forward and what we are capable of,” says Collins. “This has definitely opened our eyes to team was safe. “In manufacturing, its the possibilities and where we can go in the next decade.” impossible to work from home,” says Flavel. It is also hard to sell from home. Strength in Local Supply Chains In-person trade shows are a major part of Natasha Vandenhurk, Owner/CEO of Three Farmers Foods, known for their local, healthy Degelman’s sales and marketing strategy. snack products, has found her company’s strength through the pandemic in its local But the industry and Degelman had to supply chain. “All of our roasting is done here. All of our raw products are purchased from change. With tools like demo videos and here," says Vandenhurk. “We were very lucky to have such strong local partners such as online events, Flavel sees some aspects of AGT Food and Ingredients, where we source our chickpeas, our lentils and our peas, right remote sales sticking around. Degelman here at home. So, we didn’t see any disruption to our supply chain.” is building a social distancing trade show area across from their production facility They felt some significant disruption in their distribution channels and revenue streams. in Regina so that customers can safely While grocery chains were booming with shoppers ensuring they had enough food in their view and test Degelman equipment— pantries, other snack food channels like drug stores, airports, and convenience stores something their sales team is looking saw major declines. For Three Farmers Foods, opportunity presented itself as consumers forward to. As an international company, moved their business online. “We saw a surge on our eCommerce platform. We had Flavel credits “innovation in product design invested quite a bit of time building our Amazon platform in 2019 and were lucky to be and relentless commitment to quality, as up and running when this all hit. We saw revenues over double on those platforms, which keys to success.” “Innovation is how we was significant for us,” says Vandenhurk. The company also started to explore discount have survived 58 years, listening to the store options, such as dollar stores—which are now more than ever a major player in retail. Farmers, the end user. Wilf always said “Hard discount is going to thrive in the long-term here. We look at different product lines that if a farmer is going to spend his hardthat we could innovate and put into those stores that won’t directly compete with the rest earned money he does not want to be of our business,” she says. “We are looking to innovate into healthy snacks and the natural fixing,” says Flavel. “We continue to follow and organic food channel is certainly growing.” Vandenhurk sees that the snack food this principle today—we build stuff that we category as a whole has been growing, but certainly healthy products within the snack stand behind.” foods space is also growing as demographics change, and consumers prioritize healthy eating. “People, now more than ever, are really focused on staying healthy and building G a r t h M a c D o n a l d l e a d s G - M a c ’s their immunity to fight these types of situations. I think that’s going to certainly be one of AgTeam, serving Saskatchewan farmers our strengths in the long-term,” says Vandenhurk. for two decades as one of the largest Keeping Farmers Growing The pandemic changed business for large manufacturers as well. Blair Flavel is the President of Degelman Industries, a cornerstone of Saskatchewan’s agricultural and industrial equipment sector, that has been innovating through the design and manufacturing of premium equipment for almost six decades. The company was born out of necessity when local farmer Wilf Degelman designed and built a rock picker in his barn—that piece of equipment would become the foundation for the company that carries his name today. 22

independently owned crop input retailers in Canada based out of Kindersley with 14 locations across the province. Like Kook, he notes the change that has happened in the province in the last 30 years, especially how farmers have shifted. “They’re excellent businesspeople … ready to excel in the future and ready to adapt,” says

MacDonald. “Our farms have grown. The people running the farms are managers now. It’s more about growing, marketing, and adapting to innovation and technology.” That has impacted his business over the years and now, G-Mac’s AgTeam is a provider of technology innovation. Although COVID-19 did not slow down demand, as the company is key in helping farmers continue to feed the world, it did force the company to shift its operation quickly. MacDonald says it showed G-Mac’s AgTeam how adaptable it could be. “We all learned a lot about ourselves and our capabilities. Our productivity increased, we had one of the busiest and most efficient springs. "Our people had to figure it out," he says. “Health and safety is a priority. They also found new ways to adapt with new electronic technology for load tickets. “Our customers are used to coming in, having a discussion and maybe a cup of coffee,” he says. “Now, they stay in the truck.” The company changed the process to incorporate technology and to reduce contact, customers like it, and the process is here to stay. “We had so many positive comments on being able to adapt,” says MacDonald. “I think there are going to be a lot of efficiencies and benefits created from COVID.”

GRANT KOOK (PRESIDENT, CEO AND FOUNDER, WESTCAP) land development, rail services and emergency responses to environmental spills. The company is heavily involved in infrastructure construction, building roads, rails and terminals and ag infrastructure has been one of its key focuses over the past few months. Diversity kept the company strong when COVID hit. “I don’t think anybody could ever be positioned to deal with a pandemic,” he says. “But, we’ve always had many irons in the fire,” Harasymchuk says. “Ag infrastructure has always been really key to us. We’ve never been busier building grain terminals and rail lines." Harasymchuk also knows how to drive impact in our local communities. “We work across Saskatchewan and when we come into a community, we ensure we give back. We stay in local hotels, we buy our parts there, we make sure our fuel is bought there. We keep our money in these communities.” Rob comments. "There is optimism…no one knew what we could do until we did it.” What Comes Next As Saskatchewan adapts to its “new normal,” what is on the horizon for entrepreneurs and their local companies? Kook reinforces the diversification that our province has in place with its four pillars and the opportunity for activity in these sectors. “If we get movement in these pillars Saskatchewan is going to have significant economic growth and stimulus,” Kook says. With the infrastructure stimulus spending recently announced, Kook sees further confidence ahead. “We’re optimists in Saskatchewan. That’s how we were born and raised.” He adds that with transformational irrigation, another fifth pillar may emerge – the agri-food processing sector. “It’s great to export our commodities overseas. It’s even better to create value added ag products – which in turn creates more wealth and jobs locally.”

Infrastructure at the Core Many have compared the economic impact “Westcap’s last three transactions are all right here in this room,” Kook notes motioning of the pandemic to wartime economies to the leaders of G-Mac’s AgTeam, Maxie’s Excavating and Degelman Industries. “They and some of the most successful are all agriculture focused, but there’s another commonality that they have—succession recoveries from those times were driven planning.” says Kook, “Succession planning is a critical opportunity for growth as founders by investment in infrastructure —which the pass to the next generation of leaders to grow the business. When this time comes, province of Saskatchewan has committed Westcap is there as a partner to continue to help these companies grow while they remain to. Rob Harasymchuk, is the Director of local. “We will continue to be involved as a partner to ensure that these companies stay Operations for Maxie’s Excavating, one Saskatchewan-owned and create another cycle of innovation and an ecosystem for of the largest excavating companies in growth,” says Kook. “We won’t let outside investors come in and buy our Saskatchewan Saskatchewan with a companies, take their head offices somewhere strong reputation for “The common thread with everyone here has else…and when things get tough the first thing “making it happen.” they do is kill the most important thing we have— been the strongest Saskatchewan traits— Over the past four the community and culture that these companies adaptability and optimism. Through hardship decades the company comes great innovation. – Rob Harasymchuk were built on,” says Kook. Westcap looks forward has established their to continuing to work with these local companies, reputation across support succession planning and ensure that long-standing, generational companies with a broad spectrum of services including strong brands stay locally owned and continue to impact jobs and communities here commercial, industrial, and heavy civil at home. earthwork construction, demolition and 23


COVER

COVER

“This has definitely opened are from remote regions, and they felt a sense of responsibility and Flavel notes that during our eyes to the possibilities gratification by making sure that they took care of their hometowns.” and where we can go in the more than 40 years To make the changes needed to meet the demand, Prairie Meats next decade.” – Casey Collins with the company, shifted resources—in a hurry. “We had to adjust our model to meet he has never seen demand as we started to experience what typically would have been an entire week of anything like the pandemic. “We’ve certainly sales start to come all in one day,” says Collins. “We focused more on our retail channels, seen peaks and valleys in the ag industry. being creative and working with businesses in our wholesale network to help people We were anticipating a fairly strong spring survive through this.” Collins witnessed his customers and partners changing everything 2020, our order books were good—and that they did overnight. “We knew that in the current climate, if we had an employee get they remained good,” says Flavel. “We had sick or a family member get sick, we could lose our whole production facility, we saw it to make sure we could safely fill those happen in other facilities across the country,” says Collins. “We had to change everyone’s orders and deliver the product on time schedule. We changed everything that we do in production and still tried to manage to because our farmers were relying on that.” produce the levels that our customers expect.” While it was a major adjustment, the The company pulled their team together, company recognizes that they were able to accomplish much more than they ever sending home anyone who could work thought possible. “This pushed us and changed how we look at our business going remotely and ensuring that the production forward and what we are capable of,” says Collins. “This has definitely opened our eyes to team was safe. “In manufacturing, its the possibilities and where we can go in the next decade.” impossible to work from home,” says Flavel. It is also hard to sell from home. Strength in Local Supply Chains In-person trade shows are a major part of Natasha Vandenhurk, Owner/CEO of Three Farmers Foods, known for their local, healthy Degelman’s sales and marketing strategy. snack products, has found her company’s strength through the pandemic in its local But the industry and Degelman had to supply chain. “All of our roasting is done here. All of our raw products are purchased from change. With tools like demo videos and here," says Vandenhurk. “We were very lucky to have such strong local partners such as online events, Flavel sees some aspects of AGT Food and Ingredients, where we source our chickpeas, our lentils and our peas, right remote sales sticking around. Degelman here at home. So, we didn’t see any disruption to our supply chain.” is building a social distancing trade show area across from their production facility They felt some significant disruption in their distribution channels and revenue streams. in Regina so that customers can safely While grocery chains were booming with shoppers ensuring they had enough food in their view and test Degelman equipment— pantries, other snack food channels like drug stores, airports, and convenience stores something their sales team is looking saw major declines. For Three Farmers Foods, opportunity presented itself as consumers forward to. As an international company, moved their business online. “We saw a surge on our eCommerce platform. We had Flavel credits “innovation in product design invested quite a bit of time building our Amazon platform in 2019 and were lucky to be and relentless commitment to quality, as up and running when this all hit. We saw revenues over double on those platforms, which keys to success.” “Innovation is how we was significant for us,” says Vandenhurk. The company also started to explore discount have survived 58 years, listening to the store options, such as dollar stores—which are now more than ever a major player in retail. Farmers, the end user. Wilf always said “Hard discount is going to thrive in the long-term here. We look at different product lines that if a farmer is going to spend his hardthat we could innovate and put into those stores that won’t directly compete with the rest earned money he does not want to be of our business,” she says. “We are looking to innovate into healthy snacks and the natural fixing,” says Flavel. “We continue to follow and organic food channel is certainly growing.” Vandenhurk sees that the snack food this principle today—we build stuff that we category as a whole has been growing, but certainly healthy products within the snack stand behind.” foods space is also growing as demographics change, and consumers prioritize healthy eating. “People, now more than ever, are really focused on staying healthy and building G a r t h M a c D o n a l d l e a d s G - M a c ’s their immunity to fight these types of situations. I think that’s going to certainly be one of AgTeam, serving Saskatchewan farmers our strengths in the long-term,” says Vandenhurk. for two decades as one of the largest Keeping Farmers Growing The pandemic changed business for large manufacturers as well. Blair Flavel is the President of Degelman Industries, a cornerstone of Saskatchewan’s agricultural and industrial equipment sector, that has been innovating through the design and manufacturing of premium equipment for almost six decades. The company was born out of necessity when local farmer Wilf Degelman designed and built a rock picker in his barn—that piece of equipment would become the foundation for the company that carries his name today. 22

independently owned crop input retailers in Canada based out of Kindersley with 14 locations across the province. Like Kook, he notes the change that has happened in the province in the last 30 years, especially how farmers have shifted. “They’re excellent businesspeople … ready to excel in the future and ready to adapt,” says

MacDonald. “Our farms have grown. The people running the farms are managers now. It’s more about growing, marketing, and adapting to innovation and technology.” That has impacted his business over the years and now, G-Mac’s AgTeam is a provider of technology innovation. Although COVID-19 did not slow down demand, as the company is key in helping farmers continue to feed the world, it did force the company to shift its operation quickly. MacDonald says it showed G-Mac’s AgTeam how adaptable it could be. “We all learned a lot about ourselves and our capabilities. Our productivity increased, we had one of the busiest and most efficient springs. "Our people had to figure it out," he says. “Health and safety is a priority. They also found new ways to adapt with new electronic technology for load tickets. “Our customers are used to coming in, having a discussion and maybe a cup of coffee,” he says. “Now, they stay in the truck.” The company changed the process to incorporate technology and to reduce contact, customers like it, and the process is here to stay. “We had so many positive comments on being able to adapt,” says MacDonald. “I think there are going to be a lot of efficiencies and benefits created from COVID.”

GRANT KOOK (PRESIDENT, CEO AND FOUNDER, WESTCAP) land development, rail services and emergency responses to environmental spills. The company is heavily involved in infrastructure construction, building roads, rails and terminals and ag infrastructure has been one of its key focuses over the past few months. Diversity kept the company strong when COVID hit. “I don’t think anybody could ever be positioned to deal with a pandemic,” he says. “But, we’ve always had many irons in the fire,” Harasymchuk says. “Ag infrastructure has always been really key to us. We’ve never been busier building grain terminals and rail lines." Harasymchuk also knows how to drive impact in our local communities. “We work across Saskatchewan and when we come into a community, we ensure we give back. We stay in local hotels, we buy our parts there, we make sure our fuel is bought there. We keep our money in these communities.” Rob comments. "There is optimism…no one knew what we could do until we did it.” What Comes Next As Saskatchewan adapts to its “new normal,” what is on the horizon for entrepreneurs and their local companies? Kook reinforces the diversification that our province has in place with its four pillars and the opportunity for activity in these sectors. “If we get movement in these pillars Saskatchewan is going to have significant economic growth and stimulus,” Kook says. With the infrastructure stimulus spending recently announced, Kook sees further confidence ahead. “We’re optimists in Saskatchewan. That’s how we were born and raised.” He adds that with transformational irrigation, another fifth pillar may emerge – the agri-food processing sector. “It’s great to export our commodities overseas. It’s even better to create value added ag products – which in turn creates more wealth and jobs locally.”

Infrastructure at the Core Many have compared the economic impact “Westcap’s last three transactions are all right here in this room,” Kook notes motioning of the pandemic to wartime economies to the leaders of G-Mac’s AgTeam, Maxie’s Excavating and Degelman Industries. “They and some of the most successful are all agriculture focused, but there’s another commonality that they have—succession recoveries from those times were driven planning.” says Kook, “Succession planning is a critical opportunity for growth as founders by investment in infrastructure —which the pass to the next generation of leaders to grow the business. When this time comes, province of Saskatchewan has committed Westcap is there as a partner to continue to help these companies grow while they remain to. Rob Harasymchuk, is the Director of local. “We will continue to be involved as a partner to ensure that these companies stay Operations for Maxie’s Excavating, one Saskatchewan-owned and create another cycle of innovation and an ecosystem for of the largest excavating companies in growth,” says Kook. “We won’t let outside investors come in and buy our Saskatchewan Saskatchewan with a companies, take their head offices somewhere strong reputation for “The common thread with everyone here has else…and when things get tough the first thing “making it happen.” they do is kill the most important thing we have— been the strongest Saskatchewan traits— Over the past four the community and culture that these companies adaptability and optimism. Through hardship decades the company comes great innovation. – Rob Harasymchuk were built on,” says Kook. Westcap looks forward has established their to continuing to work with these local companies, reputation across support succession planning and ensure that long-standing, generational companies with a broad spectrum of services including strong brands stay locally owned and continue to impact jobs and communities here commercial, industrial, and heavy civil at home. earthwork construction, demolition and 23


ROB HARASYMCHUK (DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, MAXIE’S EXCAVATING)

GARTH MACDONALD (CEO, G-MAC’S AGTEAM)

WANDA HUNCHAK (EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, WESTCAP)

WESTCAP’S EXECUTIVE/SENIOR LEADERSHIP TEAM [FROM LEFT TO RIGHT] JAMIE SCHWITZER, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, WANDA HUNCHAK, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, GRANT KOOK, FOUNDER, PRESIDENT AND CEO, ROB CONNOLY, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, TYLER BRADLEY, VICE PRESIDENT, LEE JEBB, VICE PRESIDENT - PORTFOLIO OPERATIONS

Dispatch from the Frontlines A CONVERSATION WITH HEATHER HAUPSTEIN, CEO, GOLDEN HEALTH CARE Due to the work that Golden Health Care does as one of the largest private providers of long-term care in Saskatchewan, and a key part of the portfolio of Westcap’s Golden Opportunities Fund, Wanda Hunchak caught up with Heather Haupstein by phone.

and it has been hard for the families.” Golden Health Care’s staff, as caregivers for people that are most vulnerable, also had to modify their lives off the clock. The company knew they were asking so much of their staff that they did what they could to ease the burden. “We set up grocery delivery for our staff to come to the home,” says Haupstein. Staff members could skip their grocery shopping and collect their orders at work. Plus, the company set up daily communications that not only shared important information and protocols, but also recognized the effort the team was making every day to keep our residents safe. The outpouring of appreciation from the communities and families of residents was significant for staff—the homes were filled with thank you signs posted outside the front doors.

Golden Health Care residents are the most vulnerable in this pandemic, and Hunchak noted that Golden Health Care was well-prepared to respond and explored the impact to staff and residents. Their unique building design, and philosophy of care, made a major difference. “We break our large environment down into houses,” says Haupstein. “That gives us the ability to provide our residents with personal space in their suites. The design of our homes allows us to better protect our residents in these types of situations.” The design of their care homes meant that when COVID-19 hit, Golden Health Care’s homes were already organized Haupstein says that her business will not be the same going into small clusters, so residents had their forward. “We have an invisible enemy. “There is a silver lining, because it It’s like fighting a war. What do we need own kitchen and their own living room. has been a catalyst for change.” Having residents and their care teams to do to keep everybody safe? And yet, in small groups meant that there was no what do we need to do to keep everybody - Heather Haupstein spread throughout their homes. Golden healthy and happy mentally as well as Health Care has been successful thus far in keeping COVID-19 physically? She does see it as a catalyst for change. “The focus is away from its homes, protecting both their vulnerable residents on the very thing that Golden Health Care always believed in, and and their staff members. “We have not had the virus come into that is how you build your homes has a huge effect on quality of our front door yet,” says Haupstein. “We have a wonderful care life,” says Haupstein. “Business as usual is not business as usual team that understands the importance of containing the virus anymore.” and keeping it out of our home with proper hygiene and good protocols.” Golden Health Care has been proactive in its measures Haupstein also sees what the future may hold in seniors’ care. to protect residents and closed its homes to visitors prior to public “Long-term care is really under the microscope right now. They are looking at ways to have a much healthier environment,” she health orders to do so. says. She hopes that the Golden Health Care model, and their Haupstein notes there is a cost to the lockdown. “It does come at philosophy of care, can help change how seniors are cared for in a price. It is not human nature to be isolated. It changed the life their golden years. And for Saskatchewan’s aspiring entrepreneurs, of our staff and affects our residents. One element of keeping life she advises that passion is necessary. “You need to have a service secure in the home means keeping life outside the home from or product that you just truly believe in, right to your inner core,” coming in. That by far has been the hardest thing for both sides. It says Haupstein.” has been hard for the care staff. It has been hard for the residents 24

For MacDonald, G-Mac’s AgTeam is with a fresh set of eyes and evaluate what’s happened over the years and not necessarily focused on growth. The company has be tied to what we’ve always done,” says Collins. three parts to its strategy. “Strategy number one is to look after our existing customers Sitting in a room full of iconic Saskatchewan brands, Vandenhurk notes the value of a and grow their business, in turn further strong brand as Three Farmers Foods grows through strong local partnerships. “Our growing our business. Number two is to partners grow the products and raw goods,” says Vandenhurk. “We have the brand and expand to new customers, focusing on proprietary production process to get them to shelf.” the neighbours of our existing customers Advice for the Next Generation that see how successful we can be. “I’m not calling any of us old, but we have quite a few years behind us and a lot of Number three is to expand to new areas,” experience in this group” Hunchak jokingly turned the conversation to advice for the next says MacDonald. Remaining local and generation. “If you have the right people and you share your vision with them, you’re all connected to their customers is important. pulling in the same direction, that’s the key for success. And I think we have a leg up G-Mac’s AgTeam continues to explore in Saskatchewan because we have a strong group of people that opportunities to grow believe in the same thing,” says Flavel. “The key to success is passion. “We will continue to be here in Saskatchewan If you’re passionate about what you’re doing it will rub off on people,” involved as a partner to and work with says MacDonald. Like MacDonald, Harasymchuk is about drive and ensure that these companies farmers to add passion and encourages the next generation, “Don’t stop till they’re stay Saskatchewan-owned value to operations nailing shut your coffin. Don’t stall. You throw yourself into it. Give and create another cycle of through their unique all you can give and it will pay off”. Collins sees Saskatchewan as innovation and an ecosystem agronomy services. a place to grow and have a family. “That opportunity exists here. for growth.” – Grant Kook You don’t need to move to a large center to find that fulfillment and Prairie Meats is also balance. This is the place where you can achieve it. You can succeed growing. The company recently acquired in your career and have a family. It’s unlike any other place”. Vandenhurk notes the value D&L Meats in Prince Albert, a company that has been in business for almost 30 in learning and getting good advice. “First and foremost is cultivating continual learning years. Being a second generation in the within the organization. As an entrepreneur and now as a CEO of a growing company, you meat industry, Collins is no stranger to the have to love to learn,” she says. “Secondly, we’ve really surrounded ourselves with strong business, but with Prairie Meats’ founder advisors, we have a formal board that asks hard questions.” In closing, Kook advises officially retiring from daily operations young entrepreneurs to never fear making a mistake or failure. “I think the fear of making in March 2020. Collins has experienced a mistake and having to pivot holds people back and that shouldn’t define failure.” a busy first few months on his own at the helm of the company. “It was not necessarily a wake up in the industry, but this really forced me to look at the business

Hunchak wrapped up with a simple question “when we look back at 2020 and all that the year has brought, will you remember the challenges or the opportunities more?”. Every person in the room said “opportunity,” and Saskatchewan is the place that has it. 

25


ROB HARASYMCHUK (DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, MAXIE’S EXCAVATING)

GARTH MACDONALD (CEO, G-MAC’S AGTEAM)

WANDA HUNCHAK (EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, WESTCAP)

WESTCAP’S EXECUTIVE/SENIOR LEADERSHIP TEAM [FROM LEFT TO RIGHT] JAMIE SCHWITZER, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, WANDA HUNCHAK, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, GRANT KOOK, FOUNDER, PRESIDENT AND CEO, ROB CONNOLY, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, TYLER BRADLEY, VICE PRESIDENT, LEE JEBB, VICE PRESIDENT - PORTFOLIO OPERATIONS

Dispatch from the Frontlines A CONVERSATION WITH HEATHER HAUPSTEIN, CEO, GOLDEN HEALTH CARE Due to the work that Golden Health Care does as one of the largest private providers of long-term care in Saskatchewan, and a key part of the portfolio of Westcap’s Golden Opportunities Fund, Wanda Hunchak caught up with Heather Haupstein by phone.

and it has been hard for the families.” Golden Health Care’s staff, as caregivers for people that are most vulnerable, also had to modify their lives off the clock. The company knew they were asking so much of their staff that they did what they could to ease the burden. “We set up grocery delivery for our staff to come to the home,” says Haupstein. Staff members could skip their grocery shopping and collect their orders at work. Plus, the company set up daily communications that not only shared important information and protocols, but also recognized the effort the team was making every day to keep our residents safe. The outpouring of appreciation from the communities and families of residents was significant for staff—the homes were filled with thank you signs posted outside the front doors.

Golden Health Care residents are the most vulnerable in this pandemic, and Hunchak noted that Golden Health Care was well-prepared to respond and explored the impact to staff and residents. Their unique building design, and philosophy of care, made a major difference. “We break our large environment down into houses,” says Haupstein. “That gives us the ability to provide our residents with personal space in their suites. The design of our homes allows us to better protect our residents in these types of situations.” The design of their care homes meant that when COVID-19 hit, Golden Health Care’s homes were already organized Haupstein says that her business will not be the same going into small clusters, so residents had their forward. “We have an invisible enemy. “There is a silver lining, because it It’s like fighting a war. What do we need own kitchen and their own living room. has been a catalyst for change.” Having residents and their care teams to do to keep everybody safe? And yet, in small groups meant that there was no what do we need to do to keep everybody - Heather Haupstein spread throughout their homes. Golden healthy and happy mentally as well as Health Care has been successful thus far in keeping COVID-19 physically? She does see it as a catalyst for change. “The focus is away from its homes, protecting both their vulnerable residents on the very thing that Golden Health Care always believed in, and and their staff members. “We have not had the virus come into that is how you build your homes has a huge effect on quality of our front door yet,” says Haupstein. “We have a wonderful care life,” says Haupstein. “Business as usual is not business as usual team that understands the importance of containing the virus anymore.” and keeping it out of our home with proper hygiene and good protocols.” Golden Health Care has been proactive in its measures Haupstein also sees what the future may hold in seniors’ care. to protect residents and closed its homes to visitors prior to public “Long-term care is really under the microscope right now. They are looking at ways to have a much healthier environment,” she health orders to do so. says. She hopes that the Golden Health Care model, and their Haupstein notes there is a cost to the lockdown. “It does come at philosophy of care, can help change how seniors are cared for in a price. It is not human nature to be isolated. It changed the life their golden years. And for Saskatchewan’s aspiring entrepreneurs, of our staff and affects our residents. One element of keeping life she advises that passion is necessary. “You need to have a service secure in the home means keeping life outside the home from or product that you just truly believe in, right to your inner core,” coming in. That by far has been the hardest thing for both sides. It says Haupstein.” has been hard for the care staff. It has been hard for the residents 24

For MacDonald, G-Mac’s AgTeam is with a fresh set of eyes and evaluate what’s happened over the years and not necessarily focused on growth. The company has be tied to what we’ve always done,” says Collins. three parts to its strategy. “Strategy number one is to look after our existing customers Sitting in a room full of iconic Saskatchewan brands, Vandenhurk notes the value of a and grow their business, in turn further strong brand as Three Farmers Foods grows through strong local partnerships. “Our growing our business. Number two is to partners grow the products and raw goods,” says Vandenhurk. “We have the brand and expand to new customers, focusing on proprietary production process to get them to shelf.” the neighbours of our existing customers Advice for the Next Generation that see how successful we can be. “I’m not calling any of us old, but we have quite a few years behind us and a lot of Number three is to expand to new areas,” experience in this group” Hunchak jokingly turned the conversation to advice for the next says MacDonald. Remaining local and generation. “If you have the right people and you share your vision with them, you’re all connected to their customers is important. pulling in the same direction, that’s the key for success. And I think we have a leg up G-Mac’s AgTeam continues to explore in Saskatchewan because we have a strong group of people that opportunities to grow believe in the same thing,” says Flavel. “The key to success is passion. “We will continue to be here in Saskatchewan If you’re passionate about what you’re doing it will rub off on people,” involved as a partner to and work with says MacDonald. Like MacDonald, Harasymchuk is about drive and ensure that these companies farmers to add passion and encourages the next generation, “Don’t stop till they’re stay Saskatchewan-owned value to operations nailing shut your coffin. Don’t stall. You throw yourself into it. Give and create another cycle of through their unique all you can give and it will pay off”. Collins sees Saskatchewan as innovation and an ecosystem agronomy services. a place to grow and have a family. “That opportunity exists here. for growth.” – Grant Kook You don’t need to move to a large center to find that fulfillment and Prairie Meats is also balance. This is the place where you can achieve it. You can succeed growing. The company recently acquired in your career and have a family. It’s unlike any other place”. Vandenhurk notes the value D&L Meats in Prince Albert, a company that has been in business for almost 30 in learning and getting good advice. “First and foremost is cultivating continual learning years. Being a second generation in the within the organization. As an entrepreneur and now as a CEO of a growing company, you meat industry, Collins is no stranger to the have to love to learn,” she says. “Secondly, we’ve really surrounded ourselves with strong business, but with Prairie Meats’ founder advisors, we have a formal board that asks hard questions.” In closing, Kook advises officially retiring from daily operations young entrepreneurs to never fear making a mistake or failure. “I think the fear of making in March 2020. Collins has experienced a mistake and having to pivot holds people back and that shouldn’t define failure.” a busy first few months on his own at the helm of the company. “It was not necessarily a wake up in the industry, but this really forced me to look at the business

Hunchak wrapped up with a simple question “when we look back at 2020 and all that the year has brought, will you remember the challenges or the opportunities more?”. Every person in the room said “opportunity,” and Saskatchewan is the place that has it. 

25

Profile for Westcap

Business in the Time of COVID-19 and Beyond - Industry West  

Business in the Time of COVID-19 and Beyond - Industry West