Business isn’t boring
A closer look at Ottawa’s top companies and executives turns up fascinating stories
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.