Business Symposium seeks to strengthen Sturgeon region’s economic picture

By Morinville News Staff

Morinville – Four municipalities within the Sturgeon Region will soon be hosting business-minded people from throughout the area at the 2012 Regional Business Symposium. The event is set to take place at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre May 17, and organizers are anticipating approximately 400 participants at the annual economic development symposium.

“The Regional Business Symposium represents a collaborative effort on behalf of Sturgeon County, Bon Accord, Gibbons and Morinville to recognize the value of economic development within the region,” said Troy Grant, Sturgeon County’s General Manager Public Services and one of the symposium organizers. “This year the Symposium will both showcase successful business organizations in the region (large, medium and small) while at the same time discuss what it takes to establish, sustain and grow business in the region. The event is a great representation of what a true collaborative effort can do for the region.”

The Symposium has lined up a variety of speakers who will cover a range of topics, including establishing, sustaining and growing a business as well as highlighting current growth opportunities in the province in general and the Sturgeon Region in particular.

Grant said Bill Whitelaw, CEO of June Warren-Nickle’s Energy Group, will be Master of Ceremonies for this year’s symposium. “The speakers and emcee for the event are all very successful and well-established members of the business community,” he said. “They represent both the aspirations of new and upstart businesses as well as the opportunity that exists for any existing businesses who are struggling to find ways to be more competitive.”

The organizer said the speaker line up – both individually and collectively – represents the success possible and waiting for those strong enough of heart to tread into the business community to seek their success. He sees each speaker as a strong representative of a thriving community that already exists and welcomes and encourages economic growth in the region.

Among them is Ian McGregor, Chairman of the Board of the North West Redwater Partnership, who will talk about the regional impact of his project. Grant said McGregor represents a significant growth opportunity for many supporting corporations and businesses that will ultimately benefit from the construction, maintenance and operation of the upgrader.

Eric Newell, Chair of Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation, will focus on motivating, encouraging and educating the entrepreneurial spirit. Newell will provide encouragement for and insight into the challenges faced by entrepreneurs as well as the short and long range benefits of entrepreneurship.

Rounding out the roster of speakers for the May symposium is Todd Hirsch, Senior Economist with ATB Financial, who will talk about economic forecasts and developments for Alberta and North America, and Ross Hodgins, dealer principal of Frontier Honda and RV City, who will provide insight into maintaining and growing a successful business in the region.

Grant said through the presentations of all Symposium speakers, the audience will continue to hear the themes of regional collaboration and success through effort and realization of opportunities.

The symposium takes place May 17 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre. Registration for the Symposium is $75 per person and participants may register online at

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