Fall Back Up with Gerry Pond

Gerry Pond is the Chairman and Co-Founder of Mariner Partners Inc. and the Co-Founder of East Valley Ventures. He was CEO of NBTel and president of its successor, Aliant Telecom before he moved into the tech startup field.

Gerry is perhaps best known for his successes in the tech world with two New Brunswick startups Q1 Labs and Radian6. Collectively, they sold for a billion dollars in 2011.

Following these successes, he co-created the industry group Propel ICT, which runs the Launch36 tech startup accelerator, and established the University of New Brunswick’s Pond-Deshpande Centre in 2011 with the help of “Desh” Deshpande, an American billionaire tech entrepreneur.

He has also co-founded a number of other successful ICT start-ups in Atlantic Canada, including iMagicTV, Brovada Technologies, Shift Energy and Cirrus9. He is a Director of Upside Foundation, the New Brunswick Business Council, and the National Angel Capital Organization.
Gerry Pond has received many honours, including the 2003 Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, Atlantic Business Magazine’s Top 50 CEO Award in Atlantic Canada in 2003 and 2005, an Honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of New Brunswick, an Honorary Doctor of Commerce from Saint Mary’s University, and he was inducted into the New Brunswick Business Hall of Fame in October 2007.

He has been recognized with the 2017 EY Atlantic Lifetime Achievement Award, the prestigious Wolf Blass Lifetime Achievement Award and he was awarded the first-ever Business Development Bank of Canada Entrepreneurship Champion.

Most recently, Gerry was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. I met with Gerry at my office in downtown Halifax…

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Fall Back Up with Jeremy White

Jeremy White and his wife Melanie were looking for a summer retreat in Cape Breton after honeymooning in 2008. What they found were a new way of life and a successful small business.

Big Spruce Brewing sprung from a passion for craft beer and a serendipitous real estate buy in Nyanza.

Jeremy’s background was in international engineering and while living in Nicaragua, they stumbled upon an opportunity to relocate to Nova Scotia.

He had been a home brewer for years, and have wanted to scale his production up to a commercial level for a long time.

With favourable condition for growing hops and an industry that has been taking off in the region, they opened up Nova Scotia’s first certified organic on-farm brewery. Big Spruce quickly established itself as a local favourite.

Jeremy has made his views known broadly about the public policy challenges facing the craft beer industry publishing this open letter to the people of Nova Scotia.

In our wide-ranging conversation, we talk about the challenges of starting the brewery, his ongoing frustration with regulatory issues and his views on the future of craft brewing and the Atlantic Canadian economy.

I spoke with him in the brewery in the beautiful setting overlooking the Bras d’Or Lakes.

Click here to listen

Fall Back Up with Saeed El-Darahali

Saeed-El-Darahali-headshot

Saeed El-Darahali is the driving force behind the SimplyCast team, who built the company from the ground up to what is now an industry-leading marketing platform that serves clients in over 175 countries.

He has over 10 years of management experience in the IT industry, with an interest in strategic partnering, corporate financing, strategic growth, operations, and sales and marketing management.

Saeed, as you will hear, is passionate about technology and about helping people reach their goals.

He enjoys sharing his experiences with start-up companies, offering insights into growing a business and becoming successful.

Saeed holds a Masters of Business Administration, a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, a Certificate of Human Resource Management and Minor in Economics, all from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Saeed is featured in the Sobey School of Business’s Success on My Own Terms campaign.

I met Saeed in his office in what he has dubbed.. Silicon Dartmouth

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Fall Back Up with Colin MacDonald

 

Colin MacDonald Clearwater

In the mid 70’s Colin MacDonald and John Risley opened up a small retail lobster shop on what was then, the outskirts of Bedford Nova Scotia. 40 years later Clearwater has grown into one of the world’s leading seafood companies. With a combination of enthusiasm and grit and a little help from their friends, the duo changed the face of seafood exporting in Atlantic Canada.

MacDonald grew up in Fairview, just down the road, in a family familiar with hard work and the rough and tumble of suburban Halifax. In this conversation, he explores his early days, dealing with adversity, the politics of the fishery and how he views both success and failure.

 

 

https://fallbackup.podbean.com/e/fall-back-up-with-jordi-morgan-clearwater-chairman-colin-macdonald/

Fall Back Up with Tim Moore

Tim Moore is the founder of several highly successful Canadian businesses. Starting in 1971, Tim borrowed $2000 to purchase a small moving truck.

That launched a career of serial entrepreneurship resulting in the founding of AMJ Campbell Van Lines, Premiere Executive Suites, Premiere Van LinesPremiere Self-Storage, Premiere Mortgage Center, Oceanstone ResortsMoore Executive Suites and Atlantic Signature Mortgage and Loan.

He is the author of two inspirational books, On the Move and You Don’t Need a MBA to Make Millions where he shares his journey and provides practical advice for entrepreneurs.

MovingVan1.jpg

Tim has received The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, The Distinguished Service Award from the Canadian Mover’s Association, and the Certificate of Merit, Entrepreneur Category, in the Canada Awards for Business Excellence.

He’s been honoured multiple times as one of the Top 50 CEO’s for Atlantic Canada and awarded a tribute as Master Entrepreneur of the Year, Atlantic Region.

An active philanthropist, Tim has given back through mentoring and charitable activities, including Junior Achievement of Canada, Best Buddies of Canada, the Canadian Olympic Association, the Alzheimer Association of Nova Scotia, the Mental Health Association of Nova Scotia and the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

I met with Tim at his ocean-side home in Chester Nova Scotia, where we sat down to talk about his life and his philosophy of doing business…

Click here to go to my podbean site to listen

Federal Tax Changes Show a Profound Misunderstanding of Independent Business. 

Recent musings about the federal tax changes by Finance Minister Bill Morneau are causing significant anxiety for small business owners. In talking with business owners from all levels, there is worry, frustration, and in some cases anger.
In Atlantic Canada, we feel it more than most other areas of the country. The cumulative tax burden is one of our biggest challenges. With new changes proposed by the federal government, it’s going to get worse.
The lower small business tax rate on the first $500,000 in corporate income remains vital to the success of many small firms. Now, big business groups, academics, and government officials are lobbying the government to limit access to it or eliminate it.
When running for office, the Liberals pledged to cut the rate from 10.5% to 9%. That hasn’t happened. These proposed changes will make things more difficult, especially for owners of smaller firms.
The idea is to make sure the wealthiest pay their fair share of taxes. Fair ball, but let’s not throw smaller businesses under the bus in the process. Unfortunately, the government appears to forget that the vast majority of independent business owners aren’t the 1%; they’re the middle class. Two-thirds of small business owners earn less than $73,000, half of whom earn under $33,000.
The Feds plan is to eliminate or restrict how some business owners save on taxes, including:
  • Sharing income with family members;
  • Saving passive investment income in a corporation; and
  • Converting a corporation’s income into capital gains.
These measures are currently legal and are often used by independent businesses to reinvest, ensure the stability or save for the retirement.
Most worrisome is the proposal to make it difficult for small business owners to share income with family members working for them. The support of family members in formal and informal roles is often key to the success of a firm and any limitations could have significant unintended consequences.
On passive income, we know it is much more difficult to borrow money as a small business owner. A business’ passive income acts as insurance against emergencies and unforeseen costs. Business owners need to be able to rely on their investments – in their own business – to protect them against the risks of owning a business.
Also, as business owners don’t have the generous pensions available to public servants or giant salaries creating RRSP room. They need to depend on the value of their business, including any of its investments, for their retirement years.
These changes would come into effect in 2018.
If you are concerned, you can share your views at fin.consultation.fin@canada.ca.

Fall Back Up with Murray Carter

Show Notes:

Carter knifeToday, I’m talking with a native Nova Scotian who has earned a reputation as one of the best bladesmiths in the world…Murray Carter.

At 18, Murray Carter set out from Nova Scotia to see the world. A major first stop on the tour was a nine-month stay in Japan where he had arranged to be hosted by a karate dojo.

The stopover turned into an inspiration for Murray who would go on to apprentice with a 16th generation Yoshimoto bladesmith for six years.

forgeSuch was his dedication to the craft, Murray was asked to take the position of number seventeen in the Sakemoto family tradition of Yoshimoto bladesmithing.

He moved to the United States and continued hand forging one of a kind blades in Oregon. He continues growing his Carter Cutlery business on a reputation of creating some of the finest blades in the world.

I caught up with Murray at his family’s summer home in the beautiful setting of Petite Riviere, on the South Shore of Nova Scotia. We sat in the kitchen of his comfortable guest house, where we talked about his fascinating journey…

Click here, on the pics of the forge or the knife to listen to the podcast

Socials

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How to Videos 

Profile of Murray Carter, Bladesmith

Carter Cutlery and the History of the Yoshimoto Bladesmiths

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An Alien of Extraordinary Ability Murray Carter with Tim Ferriss

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Bladesmithing with Murray Carter

 

Province’s tire policy flip-flop is a slap at small business

Tires have historically been environmentally problematic sources of waste. Recently, however, technological advancements have led to much more efficient recycling by manufacturing construction materials, developing tire-derived fuels (TDF) and repurposing.

When the province decided the direction for tire recycling, they chose the manufacture of Tire Derived Aggregate or TDA. It has a number of uses, such as foundation material for highway and railway beds, backfill, and other civil engineering applications. At the time, a tender was issued and a local small business, Halifax C&D Recycling, was given the contract.

They invested in the neighbourhood of $5 million in equipment to properly process used tires and for the last eight years have run a successful program. According to the folks at Halifax C&D, there have been no fires, no stockpiles of tires or TDA and no environmental issues.

To pay for all of this, as a consumer, you pony up a fee of $4.50 per tire at the point of sale. This goes to Divert Nova Scotia who in turn pay $2.00 per tire to Halifax C&D Recycling Ltd. to deal with it at end of life. Ostensibly, the other $2.50 is used for transportation, administration and other costs associated with its disposal or funneled off to pay for recycling of other products.

Ten years ago Rodney MacDonald’s PC government proposed using tire derived fuel. In response, Liberal opposition MLA Keith Colwell brought forward a bill to ban the use of tires as fuel. He was adamant in pointing out potential health risks and outlining what he saw as a sweetheart deal for multi-national concrete manufacturer Lafarge because they would be paid to burn the tires. The idea was shelved.

This month, in a stunning reversal, Nova Scotia’s newly minted Environment Minister Iain Rankin gave a green light to a one-year pilot for Lafarge to start burning TDF in its plant in Brookfield. So what changed in nine years? Not much. Lafarge will get $1.05 from Divert Nova Scotia for every tire it burns. It’s a great deal for Lafarge, which is getting a fuel subsidy, and for Divert NS, which gets a lower disposal cost. For Halifax C&D, not so much.

Remember, for eight years, Halifax C&D believed the Nova Scotia government would never permit burning and would focus exclusively on recycling tires. They built their business developing markets based on what they saw as a consistent policy direction of government and a reasonably predictable stream of used tires.

The science of burning TDF, some of which was developed at Dalhousie University, indicates health and environmental risks are almost non-existent. We could argue the relative merits of using TDF versus natural gas in the cement kiln, but it would miss the point. What is more troubling, with this reversal, the government of Nova Scotia has put at risk the future of a local family firm, which has grown and developed in alignment with environmental goals, in favour of mandating citizens to directly subsidize a large multinational’s fuel costs.

Meanwhile, the experience Halifax C&D developed as a tire recycler has allowed them to bid on and win a pilot project in Newfoundland and Labrador. While this is a good new business opportunity to export Nova Scotian knowledge, experience and business to another province, and to create more jobs, it will not replace what C&D are losing here at home.

The government, by reversing direction on tire recycling in favour of burning, has thrown a small business into chaos in favour of subsidizing the fuel costs of a large multi-national. For a government that purports to support small business in Nova Scotia, this is not the way to show it.

Jordi Morgan is Vice President Atlantic of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

This commentary originally appear in the Halifax Chronicle Herald, July 26, 2017

Fall Back Up with Rob Steele

Show Notes:

Rob Steele built his entrepreneurial career in auto-related industries throughout the 1990s. The Steele Auto Group, is now the largest and most diversified auto group in Atlantic Canada with 900 employees, and 17 dealerships in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador, representing 22 brands.

The Steele Auto Group is recognized as one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies.

Rob’s other hat is President and CEO of Newfoundland Capital Corporation or Newcap. Since taking the job in the early 2000’s Rob has focused on the radio business, and now controls 95 radio licenses across Canada with 1000 employees.

Rob also sits on the boards of Stingray Digital, Montreal, and Atlantic Signature Mortgage, Halifax.

rsteele bio picRob has a strong passion for music. He’s been a Past Co-Chair of the East Coast Music Awards Event Committee and continues to be involved with the ECMA’s in an advisory capacity. He also serves on the Advisory Committee for Junior Achievement of Nova Scotia, and is also a Director of the Halifax Mooseheads Hockey Club.

Rob is a strong supporter of giving back to the communities and both Newcap Radio and the Steele Auto Group are very actively involved in many charitable causes and Rob is personally active with the Alzheimer’s Society, the Mental Health Foundation, Family SOS, Daffodil House, Feed NS and the Arthritis Society. He was named Outstanding Individual Philanthropist of the Year in 2014 by the NS Association of Fundraising Professional.s I met Rob at his home near the Kearney Lake Road and we sat down on a beautiful afternoon on his patio to chat…

To listen Click here

*In our conversation, Rob mentions a unattributed poem called the Creativity of Living. The quote is as follows;

The man who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been before.

Creativity in living is not without its attendant difficulties, for peculiarity breeds contempt. And the unfortunate thing about being ahead of your time is that when people finally realize you were right, they’ll say it was obvious all along. You have two choices in your life; you can dissolve into the mainstream, or you can be distinct. To be distinct, you must be different. To be different, you must strive to be what no one else but you can be . . .

There is some investigation of this quote, attributed to several figures, available at http://quoteinvestigator.com/2012/10/18/follows-crowd/

The New Phone Book is Here!

For people of my vintage, Steve Martin turned comedy on its ear. I was reminded this week of one of Martin’s best film moments from The Jerk when the new phone book arrives.

Earlier this week the new Halifax Index was released from the Halifax Partnership. Yay. For most, it might seem a little dry, but for people in the public policy world, it’s darn near exciting. Even for those not wonky enough to be enraptured with economic and demographic data, it tells a compelling story.

While there’s much to be pleased about living here in Nova Scotia (especially during warm, sunny weeks like this one past), there are also some sobering numbers provided in this year’s Index. The document is basically a diagnosis of our social and economic health. HP’s Chief Economist, Ian Munro does his best to avoid painting too gloomy a picture, but when you dig into the numbers, neither real growth nor public perceptions are anything to pop champagne corks about. Essentially, he says, we’ve got some good news and we’ve got some…well, work to do.

MQO2On the good news front, the population is increasing and apparently business optimism is up in spite of the fact underlying decision making around investment and innovation would suggest otherwise. The number of jobs inched up and the commercial property tax base has grown, City Hall’s fiscal picture shows very modest spending increases and the municipal debt is being slowly, but steadily chipped away.

There are, however, many challenges. While the population is growing, a considerable portion of that is the result of rural Nova Scotia shrinking and an increase in international students. While this growth is a good sign, longer term trends are not yet established and historically our retention rates are dreadful. It should be noted there is some cause for optimism with the establishment of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Project, which sets aggressive goals for attracting and retaining new Canadian to the region, but it has only just started and we need to be careful not to prematurely declare victory and set unrealistic forecasts based on very short term results.

MQO’s City Matters survey, released as part of the Halifax Index, did not paint a very pretty picture either. The survey asked people to rate Halifax as a desirable place to live. While it was characterized as mostly flat-lining, the numbers were either unchanged or showed declining opinions on a variety of metrics including; being a good place to raise a family, indoor and outdoor recreation, housing affordability, arts and culture, ease of getting around, and other quality of life indicators.

Construction activity and other major projects including Irving’s ship building and the re-decking of the Macdonald Bridge bumped to GDP growth to 2.2 percent which may explain the sense of optimism, but Halifax continues to dwell in the bottom tier of benchmark Canadian cities, and GDP only hit 0.3 percent per capita.

There’s a great deal more useful analysis in the Index and Ian Munro and his team at the Partnership deserve credit for providing a very useful document to spur discussion around the challenges facing economic growth and social satisfaction measures. While the partnership also sets targets for improvement, it’s up to the business community to put forward clear policy recommendations to assist decision makers.

The Halifax Index 2017 is a very useful tool as it serves as a warning that we cannot be complacent about advancing ideas around economic growth. We have a huge job ahead of us to make Nova Scotia a more business-friendly, competitive environment. Our tax and regulatory burden remain foundation problems and with the demographic trends outlined by this index and many other studies, policymakers need to get serious about establishing long-term forecasting mechanisms to get a clearer picture of the heap of trouble awaiting us 20 years down the road. While I was excited to see its release, given the results in the Halifax Index, I think I may have been a little happier getting the phone book.