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Who is behind Alberta’s fastest growing companies?

We find out their secret to success

Jan 9, 2017


Illustration Jenn Madole

Robert Campbell
CEO, Free and Easy Traveller
#39 on the FG50
12 Employees
7% Revenue Growth

How did you get started with Free and Easy Traveller?
“It’s a family business, which is really cool because family businesses usually get pushed out by big box stores. My two cousins are co-founders.”

What is the boldest business decision you’ve made?
“Adding more countries to our roster. We started out with Thailand, then we added the Philippines and now we offer 18 countries.”

What is your favourite place to travel?
“Thailand. The people, the culture, the weather the beaches; it’s amazing, so different than what we have here.”

If you were stranded on an island in Thailand, what are three things you would bring?
“My iPhone for music and checking emails, pictures of my kids, and water.”

Michael Scott
Vice-president, Care to Share Senior Services
#44 on the FG50
24 Employees
19% Revenue Growth

What’s your secret?
“Hard work! There’s no replacement for working hard.”

How do you market your business?
“We have two main targets: the seniors themselves and the children and grandchildren of the seniors. The senior market relies on traditional media – newspapers and radio – while the children and grandchildren are heavily influenced by digital media.”

What do you enjoy most about working with seniors?
“The experience, knowledge, life lessons and wisdom they share is invaluable.”

What is the boldest business decision you’ve made?
“Leaving a management position at a major oil and gas company to come work with my wife Deanne at Care to Share and taking it from a small, home-based senior care business to a major player in Alberta.”

Kevin Kent
President, Knifewear
#18 on the FG50
36 Employees
16% Revenue Growth

What’s the secret?
“We have an undeniably better product, educated and engaging staff, and people learn stuff when they come. We build communities at our shop.”

What is the boldest business decision you’ve made?
“The first big step we took was starting the business. That was when we were the most uncertain.”

What is your favourite meal and what knife would you use?
“Meat or wild meat on fire; Meat cooked over wood or charcoal tastes better. This morning, I used a knife from a blacksmith, Mr. Fujiwara, a 210mm Gyuto – it means chef’s knife.”

What did you use it for?
“Breakfast this morning was fried eggs, spinach and too much goat cheese.”

Rishi Patel
Co-founder, Keeran Networks
#36 on the FG50
9 Employees
40% Revenue Growth

What’s your secret?
“A lot of Keeran Networks’ success came when we decided to focus on purely being a managed services provider. We defined our client profile and referred away any business that didn’t fall into our wheelhouse.”

What is the boldest business decision you’ve made?
“Building a private cloud offering, years before the term even existed. We had to invest in building it before we could sell it.”

What motivated you to start your own business?
“My father motivated me at the age of 15 to build Keeran Networks and always believed in me, even when I didn’t.”

What book are you currently reading?
Get a Grip
by Gino Wickman

Shawn Michael Alain
President, Viral in Nature
#15 on the FG50
4 Employees
36% Revenue Growth

What is your favourite social media campaign?
“We have a client who is an aircraft engine manufacturer. They have been around for over 100 years and last July in Wisconsin there was the largest air show in the world. We actually went and livestreamed one of the events.”

If you could have lunch with any CEO, who would it be?
“Brett Wilson, Kevin O’Leary, or Steve Jobs.”

To understand social media, who should people follow on Twitter?
Mari Smith. She is number one”
@MariSmith

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