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Capital Gains

Why Alberta’s human resources are its most valuable asset

For years – decades, it seems sometimes – we’ve been hearing about the existence of, and the costs associated with, this province’s chronic labour shortage.

Fair enough. But while Alberta may be perennially short of working-age people, the ones we do have are doing a spectacular job. Combined with our financial and natural capital, the talents and ingenuity of those people power this province’s economy. And that’s why, in this year’s Venture 250, we wanted to change the channel, if only for a moment, in order to focus on Alberta’s enviable store of human capital.

Take the recent Scorecard on Prosperity, which was produced on behalf of the Toronto Board of Trade and charts that city’s attractiveness as a place to do business relative to other major centres in the world. While they conveniently buried it in the report, it turns out that Calgary finished in second spot, well ahead of Toronto and behind only Paris. Even more interesting is the fact that, in the human capital lens that the report singled out for examination, Calgary finished in first place. That’s good news for two reasons: first, it recognizes the fact that Calgary is a great place to live, work and play, and second, it’ll make it easier for businesses to continue to attract people to the city.  Alberta is more than just Calgary, of course, but its place on the scorecard is just the latest sign that, when it comes to North America,  Alberta is the place to be. This is a story that hasn’t been told as well or as widely as it should. And so, with that in mind, this year’s Venture 250 tries to fix that. We profile three companies with powerful – and, in one case, enigmatic – leaders who exert an outsized influence on their fates and their future. We take a look at two of Alberta’s leading families and chart the ties that bind them together, and the things that they’ve achieved as a result. And throughout our hotly anticipated Venture 250 rankings, we zero in on the key personnel moves that will change the shape of those companies – and their places on the list – in the years to come.

Sure, we’re blessed with an abundance of natural resources in Alberta. But it takes talented people to know what to do with them, and how to turn them into the kind of prosperity that makes this province the envy of the world. Dig in, meet a few of those individuals and find out how they got the job done.