Busi­ness isn’t bor­ing

A closer look at Ot­tawa’s top com­pa­nies and ex­ec­u­tives turns up fas­ci­nat­ing sto­ries

Ottawa Business Journal - Book of Lists - - News - Peter Kovessy Editor Ot­tawa Busi­ness Jour­nal's Book of Lists

I bris­tled ear­lier this year while read­ing a farewell col­umn penned by an out­go­ing

Mon­treal Gazette jour­nal­ist.

Re­flect­ing on a ca­reer that spanned nearly 30 years, Sue Mont­gomery said she steered clear of cov­er­ing the city’s cor­po­rate com­mu­nity be­cause she was un­in­ter­ested in re­port­ing on “bor­ing busi­ness­men.”

With the great­est re­spect to Ms. Mont­gomery’s ex­cel­lent cov­er­age of jus­tice and so­cial is­sues, she ev­i­dently hasn’t had the op­por­tu­nity to meet many of the dy­namic and cre­ative peo­ple lead­ing com­pa­nies across the coun­try. Par­tic­u­larly those in the Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion.

The of­fice build­ings in and around Ot­tawa are chock-full of sto­ries about per­se­ver­ance, risk-tak­ing, in­no­va­tion and fas­ci­nat­ing achieve­ments. This year’s OBJ Book of Lists con­tains sev­eral of them.

Roger Woeller, the CEO of clean-tech firm Blu­Met­ric, has trav­elled from the trop­ics to the high Arc­tic, help­ing to de­com­mis­sion mil­i­tary bases and clean up the wa­ter and ground con­tam­i­nated by un­ex­ploded ar­tillery shells and bombs.

Bar­bara Veder, a vice-pres­i­dent at con­sult­ing firm Morneau She­p­ell, is find­ing new ways of de­liv­er­ing her HR ser­vices online, which has helped en­cour­age peo­ple who nor­mally wouldn’t seek out help to get it. And Pat McGowan – who heads TV, video and film pro­duc­tion stu­dio in­Mo­tion – has co-pro­duced a tele­vi­sion se­ries on abo­rig­i­nal fire­fight­ers in north­ern On­tario.

These are just a hand­ful of the peo­ple pro­filed in the Book of Lists, which aims to give read­ers a deeper un­der­stand­ing of the in­di­vid­u­als and com­pa­nies that make up Ot­tawa’s econ­omy.

Di­vided into five of the city’s pri­mary in­dus­tries, each sec­tion opens with a sta­tis­ti­cal snap­shot that gives an over­view of the sec­tor’s eco­nomic per­for­mance. That’s fol­lowed by the Who’s Who pro­files,

which in­tro­duce some of the re­gion’s top ex­ec­u­tives.

As al­ways, the rank­ings of the largest firms – bro­ken down into more than three dozen in­dus­try cat­e­gories – form the heart of the

Book of Lists.

They’re fol­lowed by a new fea­ture aimed at high­light­ing the more colour­ful side of Ot­tawa’s busi­ness com­mu­nity. Nine mini-lists take a closer look at the sto­ries be­hind some of the city’s old­est fam­ily-owned busi­nesses, celebri­ties born and raised in Ot­tawa as well as the lum­ber barons who helped put the re­gion on the map in the 1800s.

A full in­dex can be found on the fol­low­ing page.

This pub­li­ca­tion is a con­stant work in progress, with the data con­tained in the lists be­ing up­dated through­out the year. That’s only pos­si­ble thanks to the co-op­er­a­tion of all the com­pa­nies and or­ga­ni­za­tions that re­sponded to our re­quests for in­for­ma­tion.

With­out their will­ing­ness to pro­vide ac­cu­rate and up-to-date data, the Book

of Lists would not be pos­si­ble. This pub­li­ca­tion is also avail­able for pur­chase in a dig­i­tal for­mat, with our data­bases or­ga­nized in Ex­cel files, at OBJ.ca.

Ear­lier this year, the Con­fer­ence Board of Canada pre­dicted that Ot­tawa-Gatineau would have the low­est GDP growth in 2015 among the coun­try’s ma­jor metropoli­tan ar­eas out­side Al­berta, where the econ­omy has been hit hard by low energy prices.

But start­ing in 2016, Ot­tawa-Gatineau is forecast to join the up­per half of the top­per­form­ing cities on the strength of its re­silient tech sec­tor, a healthy con­struc­tion in­dus­try and sta­bil­ity in the public sec­tor.

With the hun­dreds of ex­ec­u­tives and com­pa­nies who are pro­filed on the fol­low­ing pages poised to take ad­van­tage of these op­por­tu­ni­ties, there’s lit­tle chance of “bor­ing busi­ness­peo­ple” bog­ging down OBJ’s sto­ries in the years ahead.

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