London Inc. Weekly 02 • 14 • 2020

TechAlliance expands board of directors

Photo (from left): David Brebner, Peter Dillon, Heather Macpherson, Anna Foat and Brennon D’Souza

ON MONDAY OF this week, TechAlliance announced it has adding five high-profile local businesspeople to its board of directors. Joining are:

• David Brebner, CFO and cofounder, Mobials
• Anna Foat, director, global digital transformation office, Sun Life Financial
• Peter Dillon partner, Siskinds
• Brennon D’Souza, founder, Dibz
• Heather Macpherson, president and founder, The Minery

“It’s vitally important for an organization’s board to reflect the community it serves,” said David Ciccarelli, CEO of Voices.com and chair of TechAlliance’s board of directors. “The dedicated leaders, disruptors and innovators that we are welcoming to TechAlliance’s board represent the amazing depth of leadership across our region and reflect the best values of our community: integrity, dedication and passion.

“They have all engaged with TechAlliance, as entrepreneurs and mentors, and in their new role I know we will see them all step forward and help us grow our region’s impact on a global scale.”

The new members join an existing board of eight directors, including Ciccarelli, David Strucke (Media Sonar), Chris Dowding (MNP), Dan Douglas (Fanshawe College), Shantal Feltham (Stiris Research), Gord Hart (Selectpath), Konrad Konnerth (Konnexio) and Keith Murray (Autodata Solutions).

“TechAlliance is a place for big dreamers, audacious innovators and people who want to change the world. The more incredible people we have boosting them up, the more likely they will be to succeed,” added Christina Fox, CEO of TechAlliance. “Anna, Brennon, David, Heather and Peter have been in the trenches, they’ve seen the highs and lows, they’ve fought for every connection, every sale and every great employee, and they know what it takes for an entrepreneur to start, scale and thrive. I am thrilled to engage with each of them in this capacity, particularly because of their collective wisdom and vibrant energy.”


Spriet Investments purchases St. Thomas Raceway Park

Photo: Spriet Investments has purchased the St. Thomas Raceway Park

THE FACILTY CURRENTLY known as St. Thomas Raceway Park will become part of the Motorsports division of Spriet Investments Inc. and be operated in conjunction with its sister operation, Grand Bend Motorplex.

The facility will be going back to its original name — St. Thomas Dragway — and to bring the historic facility up to date, it will undergo substantial improvements and upgrades beginning this coming spring.

“There are only three dedicated and operational drag racing facilities in the province, and with the way regulations are going, the chance of any new facilities being approved and built is extremely unlikely, so we need to invest in the ones we have “ said Paul Spriet, COO of the Spriet Motorsports division, in an interview with RPM Magazine.

Located in Sparta, the future of the track was in question when owner Jay Morse suddenly passed away last year. Spriet Investments stepped in and helped Morse’s wife and daughter complete last season and made the decision to take control of the operation this winter.

“The plan is for the racing surface to be repaved as soon as the asphalt plants open in early May, and the shutdown area will be ground flat and smooth at the same time,” Spriet added. “In addition, the PA system will be upgraded, washrooms improved, including an overall facility cleanup. We will install new concrete guardwalls in April, from just past the starting line to 100 feet past the quarter-mile.”


Junior Achievement seeks Business Hall of Fame nominations

Photo: Nominations for the 2020 Business Hall of Fame induction are open until March 13

JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT (JA) of South Western Ontario is asking the local business community to submit nominations for the 2020 JA London and District Business Hall of Fame induction.

Each year, two noteworthy business leaders are inducted to the Business Hall of Fame. Established by JA in 1990, the Hall of Fame honours the lifetime achievement of the area’s most distinguished businesspeople, past or present, who have helped shape the community.

The 2019 Laureates were Canada Life’s president and chief operating officer, Jeff Macoun, and Sifton Properties president and CEO, Richard Sifton.

“The London and District Business Hall of Fame has been created to honour those who have shown a vision unique amongst their peers, provided leadership to move others to achieve their goals, shown true integrity throughout their lives and have built a legacy in our community that will enrich all those who will follow,” said Bev Robinson, president and CEO, JA South Western Ontario. “We recognize the achievements and impact these leaders have made and use their legacy to inspire young leaders for generations to come, which includes all youth that participate in JA programs.”

Being sought are business leaders who have demonstrated outstanding vision as entrepreneurs, who have furthered the quality of life through philanthropy or community service, who have set an example for youth to follow and who are seen as leaders in their field or industry.  The laureates selected for induction into the Hall of Fame are as much recognized for their impact on the community support and concern as they are for their role and success in business.

Inductees are chosen by a selection committee, with selected laureates formally welcomed into the Business Hall of Fame on October 22, 2020 at the Induction Ceremony and Gala at RBC Place London. The permanent home of the Business Hall of Fame is located at London Central Library.

The nomination deadline is March 13, and the nomination form can be accessed here.


London population growth outpaces most Canadian centres

Photo: London now ranks second among Canada’s fastest-growing areas

A NEW REPORT from Statistics Canada has London — long criticized for its sluggish population growth — tied with Ottawa for the second fastest-growing census metropolitan area (CMA) in the country.

Figures released by Statistics Canada show the London CMA, which includes St. Thomas, Strathroy and other surrounding communities, grew at a rate of 2.3 per cent between 2018 and 2019, tied with Ottawa and second only to the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge region.

According to Statistics Canada, the population of the London CMA was 545,441 in July of 2019.

The growth rate for all CMAsa in Canada was 1.7 per cent, well below what London saw. Toronto experienced a growth rate of 2.0 per cent. Other Ontario cities, like Guelph, Windsor, Barrie, and Kingston all saw growth rates below 2.0 per cent.

“Permanent and temporary immigration continues to drive population growth in Canada’s CMAs, accounting for almost all of their growth in 2018/2019,” the Statistics Canada report said. “In contrast, international migration accounted for just over half of the population growth in non-CMAs of the country. This trend is linked to higher targets for permanent immigration, as defined by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, and to various government programs that draw many temporary workers and foreign students to the country.”

The report also showed that the average age of residents in CMAs is lower than that of areas outside cities. Statistics Canada said the average age in CMAs in July of 2019 was 40.5, compared to 43.2 in regions outside a CMA.


Featured Business Event

2020 Changing Faces of Agriculture | February 27, 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Western Fair District Carousel Room

Canada’s agri-food sector was highlighted by the federal government’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth Report as one of Canada’s high-potential sectors for growth with exports alone generating more than $55 billion per year. With roughly one in nine Canadian jobs depending on the agriculture system, and just over half of Canada’s best farmland in Ontario, the agriculture sector is a significant driver of the local economy.

2020 Changing Faces of Agriculture will feature a hot breakfast buffet and panel discussion at Western Fair District with some of the area’s leading agriculture experts, including Joe Dales of RH Accelerator and Keith Merker, former CEO of WeedMD.

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