London Inc. Weekly 03 • 09 • 2018

Heather Pilot named one of Canada’s top 20 women in the defence sector

Heather Pilot, president of Pilot Hill Ltd.

HEATHER PILOT, PRESIDENT of London-based Pilot Hill Ltd., has been named one of Canada’s top 20 women in the defence sector by Esprit de Corps, a Canadian military magazine covering defence and security issues related to the Canadian Armed Forces.

Pilot is a former director of business development at the London Economic Development Corp. (LEDC), and also served as Canadian director for both the State of North Carolina and the State of New York departments of economic development, working closely with Canadian CEOs on their international expansion plans into those states.

During her time at the LEDC, Pilot became immersed in the defence sector when Kongsberg Gruppen of Norway approached the office to make a business case for London. Through working with Kongsberg to establish a London facility, she became aware of the significant cluster of defence-related companies in London and was soon well versed in the sector.

Seeing an opportunity to align business clients with the multi-billion-dollar defence procurement portfolio, Pilot launched Pilot Hill Ltd. in 2016, a business consulting company for Canadian and international firms with a focus on strategic partnerships and business opportunities in the defence and advanced manufacturing sectors.

Pilot Hill Ltd. provides a range of consulting services aimed at assisting companies in taking advantage of strategic openings in the defence industry. Hill also produces and organizes the Best Defence Conference in November each year, a two-day showcase of Southern Ontario’s high-tech defence-related industries. In 2017, she was elected president of the Southern Ontario Defence Association.

The Esprit de Corps Women in Defence Award is presented to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution in the Canadian defence sector. In addition to Pilot, included among this year’s 20 recipients is Governor General Julie Payette and Jody Thomas, Deputy Minister of National Defence.  


Area home sales continue to cool as inventory remains low

February home sales were down 32.8 per cent over the same period last year

AFTER TWO YEARS of high-flying, record-breaking numbers, home sales in the London region continued to their 2018 cooling trend last month, thanks in large part to a limited inventory of homes on the market.

According to the London and St. Thomas Association of Realtors (LSTAR), 536 homes were sold in February, down 32.8 per cent over the same period last year, which holds the record for best February results since LSTAR began tracking sales data in 1978.

LSTAR president, Jeff Nethercott, says February and January 2018 sales are in line with long-term monthly averages, and the real bottleneck is not buyers, but a lack of homes on the market.

“Inventory, or active listings, continues to experience a dramatic decrease compared to 2017, which is having a huge impact on sales,” says Nethercott. “There were 1,103 active listings, down 26.4% from this time last year. This is the lowest level of inventory we’ve had in the region over the last 10 years.”

Although inventory remains low, average home sales price in London and St. Thomas continues to rise. The average February sales price in the region was $349,848 up 10.8 per cent over February 2017.

By geographic area, London South was $375,329, up 15.3 per cent from last February. In London North, average home sales price was $424,959, up 14.5 per cent compared to the previous year, while in London East, it was $286,770, an increase of 10.5 per cent from February 2017. In St. Thomas, it was $307,383, up 27.4% over last February.

“One of the other factors we look at is the sales-to-new listings ratio,” Nethercott says. “According to the Canadian Real Estate Association [CREA], a ratio between 40 per cent and 60 per cent is generally consistent with a balanced housing market. In February, London and St. Thomas had a sales-to-new listings ratio of 69.5 per cent, which CREA says represents conditions in the marketplace that favour sellers. It illustrates the high demand and low supply trend currently happening in the region.”


Dundas Place contract approved, flex street construction to begin next month

Construction to turn a five-block stretch of Dundas Street into a flex street will begin next month

CITY COUNCIL THIS week approved the $26.7-million construction contract for Dundas Place, the flex street project planned for Dundas Street between Ridout and Wellington streets.

The project, which aims to create a destination zone for culture, arts and entertainment, will turn a five-block stretch of Dundas Street, from Wellington Street to near the Thames River, into a pedestrian-first flex street. Curbs and sidewalks will disappear from the street, and it will become an open community space with more trees and seating. It will change back and forth between a pedestrian-only area and a street with regular vehicle traffic. Poles, called bollards, that can be raised or lowered, will mark the space for vehicles, but for events, the space will be traffic-free.

Amico Infrastructures Inc., one of five companies to bid on the project, was awarded the contract. The city’s portion of the bill is just under $15 million, with the other $12 million coming from utility companies doing work at the same time.

Based in Oldcastle, just outside of Windsor, Amico is a family owned land development and construction company with broad expertise in infrastructure design and development. The company has been involved in several major projects in London, including serving as general contractor for the Hyde Park Road reconstruction project, one of the city’s most substantial roadwork projects in recent years. 

Work on Dundas Place is set to begin next month, starting at the Talbot to Richmond block, and will take two years to complete. To minimize disruption, the work will be done in block-by-block sections, and stores will remain accessible during the construction. While the street and sidewalks are being rebuilt, utilities such as London Hydro, Bell Canada, Telus, Union Gas and Start Communications will upgrade their services. 


Trends point to a voice over future dominated by female talent

Stephanie Ciccarelli, Voices.com chief brand officer

LONDON-BASED VOICES.COM, the largest voice over marketplace in the world, recently released its annual trends report. Titled Voice Over Trends in Marketing and Advertising, 2018, one of the most notable emerging trends from the 2018 report was that “the future is female,” based on a current high demand for female voice over in what has long been considered a traditionally male-dominated industry.

This reported trend is supported by the statistics of over a quarter of a million transactions on the Voices.com marketplace. Using this information, the company has calculated that by 2025, the demand for female voice over talent will exceed that for male, in what could be an unprecedented event.

The number of job postings on Voices.com that have specifically requested a female voice over actor for jobs that may have, in the past, preferred a male has been on the rise for a number of years. For example, over the past five years, the average growth rate of job postings that requested a female voice increased by 24 per cent, outpacing the growth for job postings that requested a male voice by eight per cent for that same period. That growth, coupled with a nearly 60 per cent increase of female users of the Voices.com platform since 2015, is a sign of female voice over professionals finding a foothold in an industry that was once male dominated.

“With increased influence and improved representation, the future of voice over is certainly one that is female,” says Stephanie Ciccarelli, Voices.com chief brand officer. “New devices on the market feature a woman’s voice, such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home, and the conscious selection of female voices has created a more balanced representation in an industry that directly impacts culture and buying patterns. This speaks to who has influence in the marketplace, a combination of the buyers and sellers.”

Click here to read the complete 2018 report.


Tricar purchases OEV eyesore to pave way for affordable residential development

The Tricar Group has purchased 728-744 Dundas Street, former site of the Embassy Hotel

THERE APPEARS TO be a solution on tap for a Dundas Street eyesore and impediment to the continued sprucing of Old East Village.

The empty lot at 728-744 Dundas Street, once the site of the landmark Embassy Hotel, has been purchased by The Tricar Group for $918,000. The developer is holding the property for Indwell, a Hamilton-based Christian charity that creates affordable housing.

Indwell, founded in 1970, has a history of providing supported and independent affordable housing in Hamilton, Simcoe and Woodstock, and has plans to turn the 0.4-hectare site into new residential apartments with ground-floor commercial space.

According to Tricar vice-president, Adam Carapella, the firm purchased the site in order to provide Indwell the necessary lead time to develop plans for the project.

“We saw the site overgrown for all those years. So, when we were introduced to Indwell, we knew they were the right team to take on this type of opportunity,” says Carapella. “We purchased the site so Indwell has the time to work with the community on making this property the best it can be.”

Indwell has extensive experience in creating affordable housing projects, including a residential conversion of the historic Harvey Woods knitting mill in Woodstock and developing the Rudy Hulst Commons, a modern apartment and commercial co-working space in Hamilton.

“Indwell’s projects are a catalyst for new economic and social renewal,” says Graham Cubitt, Indwell’s director of projects & developments. “We’ll be working closely with the BIA and other community stakeholders to make sure this project meets the high expectations everyone has for this dynamic neighbourhood.”

Back in 2009, the Embassy Hotel was shuttered to make way for a 150-unit condominium project on the site. A short time after, the hotel was heavily damaged by a fire that investigators deemed suspicious, and was subsequently demolished. Two years later, the condo project crumpled when the developer defaulted on the mortgage. The site has stood vacant since.


Business Events Calendar

Featured Event:

Talkin’ Tech with Sarah Prevette

Kick-off London Tech Week 2018 with Sarah Prevette, founder of Sprouter and BetaKit and co-star of Quit Your Day Job. Join Sarah and special guests at Toboggan Brewing Company for an entertaining and frank discussion about all things entrepreneurship and what it takes to succeed and thrive in today’s business world.

 

Upcoming Events:

Careers & Volunteers That Give Back: March 12, 2018

Stone Soup – Entrepreneurial Networking Event: March 31, 2018

WesternU Startup Summit: March 13, 2018

TechAlliance March Breakfast Club – Shifting Data Landscape: March 14, 2018

Starting a Small Business Seminar: March 14, 2018

GST/HST Information for Small Business: March 14, 2018

Excel Basics: March 15, 2018

Immigrant Women and Entrepreneurship: March 15, 2018

Open4Business: March 15, 2018

Reactr Connect Event Winter 2018: March 15, 2018

Energize Your Non-Profit with the Salesforce Success Pack: March 20, 2018

Grain Farmers of Ontario March Classic: March 20, 2018

Insightful Leadership: How to Go from Aha to Ta-dah: March 20, 2018

2018 Business Achievement Awards: March 21, 2018

Nspire Western: Mind Over Matter Health Tech Competition: March 23, 2018

London I Heart Beer & Bacon Festival: March 24, 2018

Kickstarter Master Class – From Idea to Execution: March 25, 2018

Digital Marketing #2 – Now Let’s Get Customers: March 27, 2018

eCommerce 101: Establishing and Building Your Online Presence: March 28, 2018

2018 March Mega BAF: March 29, 2018

Founders Panel 2018: April 3, 2018

Feast With Friends – Bethany’s Hope Foundation: April 5, 2018

Global Student Leadership Summit: April 9-11

London & Area Works Job Fair: April 10, 2018

Canadian Medical Hall of Fame 2018 Induction Ceremony: April 12, 2018

Talkin’ Tech with Sarah Prevette: April 17, 2018

Munchies with Mentors: April 18, 2018