Jim August relishes the opportunity to promote Winnipeg whenever and wherever he can. In fact, the CEO of The Forks North Portage Partnership has been talking up his organization’s mandate to “contribute to making Winnipeg’s downtown a better place to live, work and play,” and people around the world are taking notice.
“I’m a member of The Waterfront Center (an international, non-profit urban planning organization focused on enhancing communities’ waterfront resources), and recently did a presentation to the group on our winter river trail, with its skating and its warming huts. It blew them away, mainly because most had never seen ice on a river before,” August says with a laugh. “But they were very impressed by what Winnipeg is capable of doing despite our climate.”
Every employee is a spoke in the wheel at Bison Transport
This spring, Bison Transport became a five-time grand prize winner of the National Fleet Safety Award (an unparalleled industry achievement) and was recognized as one of the Best Fleets to Drive For by the Truckload Carriers Association. Yet, as impressive as the accolades that Bison continues to amass, the company simply views it as business as usual.
Floform continues to grow by knowing its product and its people
Unlike some businesses tempted to diversify as part of their growth strategy, Ted Sherritt’s company has expanded simply by staying true to the one and only product it has made since 1961 — countertops.
“Making post-form, laminate countertops is where Floform started more than 50 years ago. It was an innovative product that the founders truly pioneered and championed and it helped them dominate the industry,” says Sherritt, who took over as company president and CEO in 2000.
Introducing centralized system presents people challenges
Every year, more than 15 million diagnostic tests are ordered from Manitoba’s public sector — and that’s not including an additional eight to 10 million tests conducted in private facilities.
“Eighty-five per cent of all medical decisions are based on some kind of lab or medical imaging result,” says Jim Slater, CEO of Diagnostic Services of Manitoba (DSM), the non-profit corporation responsible for delivering public laboratory and rural diagnostic imaging services supported by over 1,500 professionals at 79 sites.
Across the province, there appears to be a renewed focus on creating healthier, safer workplaces. With this increased awareness, it is fitting that Safety Services Manitoba (SSM), the foremost safety services provider specializing in full-service programming in occupational safety, road safety and community safety, has put a renewed focus on strong leadership.
“Safety and related issues are everywhere, but at the same time, we also have a long way to go in terms of ensuring awareness and compliance,” says SSM president and CEO Judy Murphy, who joined the organization in May.
One of the largest employers in the province, Manitoba Hydro employs 6,300 people from Churchill to Emerson, a fact that president and CEO Bob Brennan never takes for granted.
“It’s a sobering thought to know that you’re accountable for the welfare and safety of 6,300 people, especially when they’re working in an environment like a generating station or on a hydro pole,” says Brennan, now entering his 22nd year as head of Manitoba’s electrical power and natural gas utility, where he has spent his entire career.
And that’s a good thing, because as president and CEO of Polywest Ltd., the largest Canadian distributor of durable liquid-handling products for agriculture and industrial use, he needs a lot of energy to oversee the rapid growth his company is experiencing in its 16th year.
Polywest is highly regarded in agriculture circles for its above-ground polyethylene tanks, fiberglass fertilizer storage tanks, septic tanks, pumps and hoses, but as Northam points out, his 30-employee strong company is growing beyond the farm because of other current issues.
Lloyd Axworthy, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Winnipeg. (WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS )
The University of Winnipeg is the largest cohort of human activity in the downtown, with 15,000 students, faculty, staff and members of the community engaged on campus.
“There’s a critical mass of people here doing everything from studying to become scientists to putting on performances and attending basketball games. As a centre-of-the-city university, we are an activity hub with an economic impact in the hundreds of millions of dollars,” says Lloyd Axworthy, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Winnipeg.
The Exchange District is shaping up as Madison Avenue North, with many creative firms setting up shop in the historic neighbourhood. Among the local “Mad Men” located downtown is Peter George, CEO of McKim Cringan George, the largest full-service advertising agency in Winnipeg.
“I’d classify what we do as anything involved in the business of persuasion,” he says, citing the creative work done for a broad range of international, national and regional clients by MCG’s 35 employees at its Winnipeg headquarters as well as its Regina branch office.
The Winnipeg Foundation started in 1921 with a $100,000 donation from a man who said he owed his good fortune to living in the city and wanted it to benefit from the gains he had made. Three years later, the foundation received its second donation. It was for $15.
“That second gift was much different from the first, but it was the one that really set the base for our values as an accessible community foundation in which everyone can participate in building a better future,” says Richard Frost, CEO of The Winnipeg Foundation.