business voice - Halifax Chamber of Commerce




A look at transportation infrastructure Pg 16

Fitness entrepreneur expanding Pg 20

Social media and small business Pg 26







Branding goes viral

Dave Carroll explains how social media changes the marketing equation Page 12


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You can’t own the conversation anymore, but you can lead the conversation.” – Dave Carroll, musician and social media consultant 12


05 Events 06 President’s message 07 New & noted 09 Members in the news 12 Branding goes viral Dave Carroll explains how social media changes the marketing equation

12 Branding

goes viral Dave Carroll explains how social media changes the marketing equation

16 Board of Directors

Volume 23 Issue 9

Francis Fares, Fares Real Estate Inc., Chair Rob Batherson, Colour, Vice-Chair Andrew Boswell, Nova Communications, Past Chair

Business Voice is published 10 times a year for members of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce and Metro Halifax’s business community. Views expressed in Business Voice are those of the contributors and individual members, and are not necessarily endorsed by, or are a policy of, the Halifax Chamber of Commerce

Chamber Staff Valerie A Payn, President and CEO Nancy M. Conrad, Senior Vice President Colin J. Bustard, Director of Finance and Administration Becky Davison, Marketing and Communications Specialist


20 Profile

Roger King – Supplement King

22 Working for you 26 Trends 29 Greater Halifax Partnership 30 Where are they now?


New trade deal with Europe puts focus on transportation infrastructure


New trade deal with Europe puts focus on transportation infrastructure

38 Message from the Chair & Vice-Chair

Trade & transportation

Lori Barton, Beaumont Advisors Ltd. Don Bureaux, NSCC Level Chan, Stewart McKelvey Margaret Chapman, Corporate Research Associates Cynthia Dorrington, Vale & Associates Mark Fraser, T4G Carol MacMillan, The Shaw Group Darren Nantes, The Nantes Group Jamie O’Neill, Bluteau DeVenney Valerie Payn, Halifax Chamber of Commerce Ruth Rappini Mark Sidebottom, Nova Scotia Power Inc. Capt (N) Angus Topshee, Maritime Forces Atlantic Michele Williams, Grant & Thorton LLP

16 Trade & transportation

No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent of the publisher. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, the publisher cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions that may occur. Please address editorial enquiries and changes to information to: Halifax Chamber of Commerce 656 Windmill Road, Suite 200 Dartmouth, NS B3B 1B8 Tel: (902) 468-7111 Fax: (902) 468-7333 [email protected]

32 Office & workplace solutions 35 Information & communication technology Business Voice is published by The Chronicle Herald, Custom and Community Publishing Department Publisher: Sarah Dennis Director, Custom and Community Publishing: Jeff Nearing Editor:@e[oơb_\ơn8ki_d[ii7mơhZiǃ_dơb_ijiơdZm_dd[hi$:eoek^ơl[ a small business success story? Contact [email protected] to share your experience.


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Office ergonomics

Photo: luminis/123RF

Healthy employees are happier and more productive By Carol Dobson Office furniture used to be pretty much one-size-fits-all. Desks were the same height and chairs could be adjusted up and down, depending on whether the user had short legs or long. But, as people realized that having the right fit led to happier, healthier and more productive workers, the landscape changed. Terry Hickey, of e3 office furniture, describes it as fitting the tools to do the task. Often, doing a few simple things makes a world of difference. When he goes into an office, he’ll check out where a person’s keyboard is located — on the desk, resting on a pulled out drawer, or on its own adjustable shelf. “One of the first things I do is to adjust the keyboard platform to fit the person,” he says. A relatively new addition to the marketplace is an affordable adjustable desk. Hickey says the federal government has been a leader in providing ergonomic furniture to its employees, but these new adjustable desks are priced so that small and medium sized businesses can justify their purchase. While Mom always said to sit up straight, spending years sitting at a desk can lead to shoulders drooping forward, with your neck following, and lower back problems as well.

“We try to make sure that employees are comfortable with their appliances,” Terry Wilson, of interSPACE Resource Group, says. “That includes ensuring they have the proper vertical support, that their arms are directly by their side and the angle of their arms is 90 degrees. We also look at the angle and the vertical height of the monitor so people aren’t straining their necks looking up or down.” As it is often reported, Nova Scotian workers are getting older, so that often means working with individuals to correct habits developed through years of work, in order to be more comfortable during the work day. They’re often commonsense approaches, such as changing where you actually sit on a chair, i.e, not sitting on the edge of the seat, but sitting towards the rear of the chair, and taking short breaks throughout the day to get your eyes away from the computer. Ergonomically designed desks, monitor stands, and chairs are only one part of the equation. They have to be adjusted to fit the individual who is using them. “It’s amazing how making even a minor adjustment in an appliance can change a worker,” Hickey says. “Adjusting a keyboard tray so you’re not hurting your arms and neck while you type or changing the height of your chair can turn an unhappy employee into a happy one.”

Office Furniture & Interiors Inc. At e3 Office Furniture, you get more for less. You get lower prices, outstanding service and more choices to fit your budget. (902) 434-8566 • 32


Custom Content Feature

Interior Designers of Nova Scotia

CELEBRATING THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE INTERIOR DESIGN ACT Why do I need an Interior Designer? By Heather Laura Clarke As an interior designer, Fran Underwood is regularly changing public perceptions of interior design. Instead of simply choosing throw pillows and paint colours, these professionals are designing commercial spaces, hospitality spaces, education spaces, and healthcare spaces − everything from shops and restaurants to museums, hospitals, schools and prisons. “We do a lot of space analysis, and determine the purpose for each area within the space − like private offices, meeting space, break rooms, and reception areas, in the case of an office,” says Underwood. “We figure out the square footage that each activity requires, think about how the people in that space will function, how people will circulate, and plot it all out.” When a client hires an interior designer, initial sets of plans are presented using digital software programs, and then the interior designer creates a more detailed set of drawings to determine the placement and construction of every detail. They consult with engineers who design the building systems for

heating, ventilation and electrical work. Designers specify furniture, fixtures, and all of the construction materials that will be required. Once all of that is mapped out, the interior designer produces a complete set of specifications and construction drawings that detail all of the finishes, construction details, fixturing and furniture required for pricing, permit and construction. But Underwood understands that the public may have a mixed understanding of the role of an interior designer, with magazines and TV shows constantly referring to decorators as “designers.” She believes that if there were an accredited school of interior design here in Nova Scotia, the public would be more aware of the education and experience of an interior designer. “If we had an accredited school here, people would hear about it, and they would tell their friends, and it would just do so much for the awareness of the profession,” says Underwood. “I’m always hearing someone describe a friend who is an

interior designer, and I have to say ‘No, they’re not an interior designer, because I know they are not part of the Association of Interior Designers of Nova Scotia.” Heather Robertson Corrigan, chairperson of the Council For Interior Design Accreditation and chair of the Nova Scotia Building Advisory Committee (NSBAC), says the misconceptions about interior designers tend to only pop up with residential clients. Commercial clients are usually well aware of the importance of hiring a registered interior designer. “They understand the value of interior design, and the value you bring by having an understanding for the people occupying the physical space,” says Corrigan. “Whether they’re downsizing or increasing space or moving into a new space, the cost of an interior designer’s services are usually recoupable within the decisions they’ll help the client make − and the time and hassle the client will be spared.” For a complete list of members see




The evolving office Many changes in the typical workplace By Ann O’Connell A few decades ago the typical office looked and functioned very differently from those of today. Many will remember typewriters, desks with side runners, steno chairs with no arms and little back support, carbon paper, erasers shaped like pencils for correcting typing mistakes, steno books, rotary dial phones and dictation machines? These are just a few of the things that have gone by the wayside, and with them a lot of the tedious repetitive tasks that were once so common in the workplace. Imagine typing a letter with three carbon copies and then making one little typo near the end of the letter. Technology has certainly influenced how we do things, with computers, scanners, networks, and of course cell phones that have all advanced rapidly. But it isn’t just technology that has changed the workplace.


When Ian Morrison was 10 years old his father, Doug Morrison, started a small office supply and equipment repair business in Kentville. Today, over 50 years later, that business has evolved into Workplace Essentials which is now owned by Doug Morrison’s sons, Ian and Leigh. The business sells hundreds of office supply items, furnishings and equipment throughout Nova Scotia. Just as the products they sell and service have changed, the business has had to adapt to keep up with the needs of their customers. For example, Workplace Essentials now owns a warehouse where the inventory for filling customers’ online and phone in orders is stored. If a customer places an order every effort is made to ship it the next day. Morrison explained that customers do not have the luxury of waiting for supplies and Workplace Essentials makes every effort to deliver

orders in a timely manner. Today’s workplace can be configured for collaborative work groups with break rooms and meeting rooms decorated in the same style and colour scheme. Desks can be raised and lowered at the touch of a button to accommodate the height of the user or to accommodate someone working from a standing position. The office supply and equipment business is constantly changing. Morrison encourages anyone looking for anything from new furnishings to the day to day basics of the office, to keep in mind the many choices that are available in today’s marketplace, and to discuss their needs in detail with potential suppliers.

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Where Nova Scotia Goes To Work 34





On the move Customized mobile business apps gaining popularity By Pat d’Entremont

Photo: Nito500/123RF

When we think of mobile apps, applications that work on a smartphone or tablet, we think primarily of games or downloadable versions of social media programs. The few mobile business applications we see are generic programs for such things as tracking the stock market or sales force automation.

But that has started to change, and there is a huge shift in building customized mobile applications that connect to your specific business data. When you think about it, it is the natural evolution for business IT systems. Over the years, we’ve moved from monolithic mainframe programs to networked computer applications to web-based systems, and with each move came a wellspring of new capabilities and functionality. In each of these cases, it took a while for “simple” apps to prove the concept, and then more complex enterprise applications took advantage of the new technology. That is what is happening with mobile. If you can get the weather on your mobile device, why not your corporate data? Well you can, and you can do so in a secure, real-time environment. Moreover, if done correctly, these applications will run on any mobile device via its web browser, meaning only one version of the application needs to be maintained that will work on any mobile device. It also means that you don’t need to use the “app store”, you don’t need to download anything, and you don’t need to worry about having to reinstall updates whenever changes are made to the application.

CUSTOM MEDIA CONTENT What we are finding is that only parts of an overall application need to be mobile-enabled, typically those used by the workforce in the field. Examples of ones we’ve written at Nicom include an automated sales tool for sales consultants, electronic forms used by marine pilots when they are on assignment, and applications used by seaport representatives when they are travelling the world. That latter one is a good example to demonstrate, as it is publicly usable. To see it, simply use your mobile browser to go to Think about all the ways you could use your corporate data when you are out of the office, and wouldn’t it be nice if you could do so without even having to use a laptop or having to find a WIFI network. Well you can. It is here, now. I’d be happy to discuss this with anyone who is interested.

Pat d’Entremont is a certified management consultant, and a Partner with Nicom IT Solutions Inc. He can be found at and followed on Twitter @nicomitpat. He can also be reached at [email protected], or 902-454-5656.

Going Mobile? We specialize in mobile websites and custom mobile apps for business. To find out more call 902-454-5656 and ask for Pat.





Into the cloud Cloud computing the ideal solution for keeping up with technology By Tom Mason The much-anticipated Irving shipbuilding project may be one of the biggest opportunities for local small businesses to come along in quite some time. But tapping into the giant project may be fraught with challenges as well. For small companies without dedicated IT departments, linking up with Irving’s state-of-the art technology will be one of those challenges. Enter cloud computing. This revolutionary new form of computer networking offers the perfect solution for business operators who have reached beyond the limits of their technical acumen, according to Dennis Young, President of ABM Integrated Solutions. “A lot of small local businesses will need a certain level of technical sophistication to hook into Irving’s system,” he says. “With cloud computing, all of a sudden you’re a world class player, no matter how big you are.”

That level of sophistication can be achieved because cloud computing gives companies access to the latest IT applications and storage solutions for a fraction of the cost of buying the hardware, software and IT support. It also means that companies with limited budgets don’t have to constantly scramble to keep their aging systems up to date. It’s hard to imagine anyone who hasn’t heard about cloud computing in recent months. From slick television ads for the Apple iCloud to cautionary tales about celebrity hackings, the concept has quickly entered the common lexicon. At its most basic level, “The Cloud” as it’s often labelled is a technology that delivers a full range of IT services including computer infrastructure, digital storage, applications, business processes and digital media to any device that can access the Internet. Companies can use a cloud





service to store data safely in a remote location, host websites or operate software that once resided on office hard drives. Young says the technology is a great equalizer, giving small businesses with a few employees the technological acumen to stand alongside giant corporations with dedicated IT departments. “It gives you access to the latest technology when you need it, without constantly worrying about upgrades.” Tim Brown is ABM’s Chief Technology Officer. He says that while large, technologically savvy companies often use a cloud service mainly as a remote backup system in the event of a disaster, a smaller company may have a completely different reason for choosing a cloud server. “We offer them a huge amount of technological support. That’s where a lot of small businesses have a hard time. By letting a company like ours worry about the technology they can spend their time on what’s really important to grow their business.” Len Shuttleworth is Network Services Manager at Internetworking Atlantic Inc. (IAI), a Halifax-based company that provides fibre optic and cloud services to a range of companies in Atlantic Canada. He says that for most companies hosting a data storage facility in-house represents a huge cash outlay. “Not only do you need the latest hardware, you also need security systems, fire protection, an expensive cooling system and someone who knows how to operate and maintain everything.” Both ABM and IAI operate their own data centers in HRM. “We’re starting to see more of these types of regional clouds,” says Dennis Young. “Businesses want to know what their cloud service provides. They want that personal relationship.” Young says that cloud computing offers a quick and easy solution to the millions of dollars worth of outdated IT equipment tucked away in closets at businesses across Atlantic Canada. “It’s like a choice between buying a new BMW or simply renting one for a week when you need it. If you want the top of the line, a lot of the time it just makes more sense to rent.”


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Rolling out the welcome mat We all have a part to play in increasing immigration




n Ray Ivany’s Now or Never report, the word economy is used 157 times, while the word population appears 106 times. There’s a reason why the word population appears so many times in the report — Nova Scotia’s future depends in large part on its ability to increase its population. The report says that if current trends continue, by 2036, there will be 100,000 fewer working-age people than there were in 2010. This would represent a nearly 20 percent decline in the labour pool. Nova Scotia’s best hope for increasing its population is through immigration. That’s why as part of our strategic plan, the Halifax Chamber of Commerce sees increasing immigration as a key priority for reaching the plan’s goal of Halifax becoming one of Canada’s top three growth cities by 2018. But we need to do a better job of convincing Nova Scotians why immigration is a good thing. Consider that as part of Ivany’s report, Corporate Research Associates conducted a survey to examine Nova Scotians’ attitudes and perceptions on economic development issues. The report found “Nova Scotians appear to be very positive about newcomers from other parts of Canada, but somewhat less welcoming to immigrants. There is a segment of the population that believes that immigrants take away jobs from other Nova Scotians. Rural residents appear to be more concerned than their urban counterparts on this issue.” This is disappointing. The reality is immigration is a great thing for society. Immigrants are exactly the kind of people we want to be part of Nova Scotia’s future. They are risk takers, willing to leave their old lives behind in 38

order to have a better future. Motivated by this desire, failure is not an option for them. While the discussion about our aging population gets oversimplified as being simply about needing more bodies in the workforce, it’s more complex than that. Immigrants are a crucial ingredient in successful economies, and that’s been true for Nova Scotia’s history. “The periods in Nova Scotia’s history when the economy grew most significantly correspond to waves of new immigrants — most notably in the early to mid-19th century and the post-WWII period,” says the Ivany Report. Every Nova Scotian has a role to play in helping immigrants feel welcome here. While Nova Scotians are certainly friendly, it’s worth asking whether we are truly welcoming. Do we help newcomers integrate into the community? Immigrant communities certainly do that, but we need every Nova Scotian to also do the same. Chamber members have a role to play here. Earlier this year, we supported Nova Scotia Immigration Minister Lena Diab negotiating a change to the provincial nominee program with Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander that will help international university or community college graduates qualify for permanent residency in Nova Scotia. These graduates only qualify, however, if they have a job offer from a Nova Scotian employer. Chamber businesses can make this program a success in growing our population by providing job offers to these new graduates. In addition to jobs, there are other ways we can do our part to make Halifax more welcoming to those who may be NOVEMBER 2014

interested in becoming Canadians. In mid-September, Halifax Mayor Mike Savage hosted a reception to welcome first-year international students to Halifax. These are the things that help integrate newcomers into our community. Fittingly, the event was held at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, a place with a long history of welcoming newcomers to Canada. Tapping into international students is a great idea because Halifax is an education hub, home to six universities and a community college system. According to a September 13 article in Metro, “The number of international students at post-secondary institutions in Halifax has more than doubled over the past decade, with foreign students now representing 16 per cent of the entire student population.” This represents a huge opportunity for the city and our province. Another way the Chamber is trying to make our city more welcoming to new Canadians is by supporting efforts by Mayor Savage and Council to extend the municipal vote to permanent residents in our community. Increasing immigration is the key ingredient needed for Nova Scotia to have a prosperous future and we can all play a role in making that happen. Let’s ask ourselves: what are we going to do to make sure that more immigrants choose to call Nova Scotia home?


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