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Category: Hicks on Biz columns from The Edmonton Sun

Hicks on Biz columns from The Edmonton Sun

Hicks on Biz: CEOs simply paid too much BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, AUGUST 14, 2015

FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, AUGUST 14, 2015 09:32 AM MDT | UPDATED: FRIDAY, AUGUST 14, 2015 10:04 AM MDT www.clker.com Article Change text size for the story Print this story Report an error Related Stories Realtors Association of Edmonton appoints new president and CEO CEO Bob Nicholson and rest of Oilers administration out in force to watch orientation camp OEG CEO Nicholson says team has to find best person to coach Oilers Eskimos president and CEO Len Rhodes gets contract extension to 2019 20 Questions with Ronald McDonald House Charities CEO Martin Dugas Hicks on Biz: Don’t re-invent the wheel Hicks on Biz: You can’t blame Edmonton City Council for everything It’s a topic Canadians are immensely uncomfortable talking about. And it’s a topic that can be argued equally well from either side. On the one hand, I am aghast at the amount of money upper-end lawyers, accountan ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Alberta recession will strike early 2016 BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, AUGUST 07, 2015

FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, AUGUST 07, 2015 10:18 AM MDT | UPDATED: FRIDAY, AUGUST 07, 2015 01:21 PM MDT Alberta Premier Rachel Notley speaks during a press conference in Edmonton on Thursday, August 6, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dean Bennett Article Change text size for the story Print this story Report an error Related Stories Wildrose Leader Brian Jean touring Alberta, focusing on economy Gunter: Lower-paid workers won't benefit from minimum wage hike Alberta NDP prove they are oblivious to economic reality Hicks on Biz: Edmonton's economy not too hot, not too cool Hicks on Biz: Don’t re-invent the wheel Hicks on Biz: You can’t blame Edmonton City Council for everything In June, this column reported on Metropolitan’s Edmonton’s “Goldilocks” economy, which, despite the calamitous drop in oil prices, continues to chug along. A Goldilocks economy is not too hot, not to ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: This spill is a disaster BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: SATURDAY, JULY 25, 2015

FIRST POSTED: SATURDAY, JULY 25, 2015 09:55 AM MDT | UPDATED: SATURDAY, JULY 25, 2015 10:00 AM MDT Crews work to clean an oil spill near Nexen's Long Lake facility by Fort McMurray. The spill was discovered by a contractor after the safety system designed to detect ruptures failed. Garrett Barry/Fort McMurray Today/Postmedia Network Article Change text size for the story Print this story Report an error More Coverage Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) suspends 95 Nexen Energy pipelines at its Long Lake oilsands operations Related Stories Hicks Weekly Dish: Taste of Edmonton simply 'awful' Gunter: Thomas Mulcair is no friend of the west Hicks' Weekly Dish: Padmanadi a vegetarian's delight Energy minister hails Nexen announcement Hicks on Biz: Edmonton business quickly moving out of North America Paradis tight-lipped on Nexen deal Nexen pipeline failure spells big trouble Hicks' Weekly Di ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: The Macdonald Hotel mirrors Edmonton's economic history by GRAHAM HICKS, first posted Edmonton Sun, Friday, July 10, 2015

Last week’s 100th Anniversary Gala of the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald with 136 invited guests was an elegant, but subdued affair. Which was appropriate. The 198-room heritage hotel, the most prominent and enduring historic building in Edmonton has been a mirror of the turbulent economic history of this region since it opened for business on July 5, 1915. The original owner and builder was the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, which pushed the second trans-Canada railroad across the railway bridge now north of the Beverly Bridge into downtown Edmonton in 1909. The optimism! The excitement! The land boom! Most of Edmonton’s still-standing heritage buildings were built between 1911 and 1914. The city’s population near tripled, from 25,000 in 1911 to a peak of 72,500 in early 1914. No sooner had Grand Trunk run the rails into the city, when it announced the finest hotel in the west would be built in the heart of the booming city, with a magnificent view of the North Saskatchewan. The rail ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Reason VS passion in business BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, JULY 03, 2015

In the business world, reason always trumps passion. Doesn’t matter how much you love your new business idea or invention, so many factors must be carefully  assessed before any financial plunge:  The market, the competition, availability of capital and investor interest,  strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. But isn’t the final key to a successful startup also about passion? How can the entrepreneur work 24/7, against seemingly insurmountable odds, with no paycheque for months on end … without passion? How could successful entrepreneur Bob Holm have created the Strawman All-Natural Bison Farm and Mother’s Market (Edmonton’s first two-day-a-week indoor farmer’s market) without passion? Holm may look like a pint-sized biker, but he’s a bright, self-educated, experienced businessman. Having foreseen the global crash of 2008, he converted his considerable St. Albert real estate holdings into cash during the halcyon business day ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: TELUS fibre-optic Internet in Edmonton really is the second coming BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, JUNE 26, 2015

It was the TELUS publicity machine at its finest. Every heavy hitter in the city, from Mayor Don Iveson to Premier Rachel Notley, had been summoned. Huge video screens stretched across the Westin Ballroom. When TELUS executive chairman Darren Entwistle, with his movie star looks and sonorous voice, made his entrance, the music reached rock band decibels. All that was missing was a cloud of dry ice. Make no mistake. TELUS wanted to make last week’s announcement of its first big-city fibre-optic roll-out in Edmonton as big a deal as humanly possible.  Indeed, it is a big, big deal. TELUS will be the first telecommunications company in North America to make fibre-optic available to every household in a major city, the first to wire an entire city to Internet speeds and connectivity. “It’s not a question whether TELUS can afford the billion dollar investment to fully wire your city and then others,” says Canadian telecommunications analyst Mark Goldberg from Toronto. ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Edmonton's economy not too hot, not too cool BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, JUNE 19, 2015

This is extraordinary. A year ago, the global price of oil plummeted – from $100 (US) a barrel to $50 to $60, where it seems to have come to rest. Ours is an energy-based economy. Every other time oil and/or natural gas prices fell, in 1983, 1998 and 2009, Metropolitan Edmonton suffered. Unemployment rates jumped, jobs dried up, housing prices fell, folks left town. But it’s been a year now, and we’ve scarce felt this oil price meltdown! Unemployment is up a bit, but just as many folks – 745,000 of us – are working as was the case during the last boom. New houses are being built and purchased at a near record clip. Companies may not be hiring in droves, there’s not much in the way of lay-offs. We’ve dodged some serious bullets. But how much longer? Don’t kid yourselves. Edmonton remains a government and public sector town. Combined, education (42,000 jobs), health care/social services (82,500 jobs) and public administration (39,000 jobs) mak ... Read the rest of entry »

HICKS ON BIZ Gilead Sciences' success in Edmonton underscored by city predecessors BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, JUNE 05, 2015

Just last week, Edmonton discovered a knowledge-based mega-industry in its own backyard, totally unrelated to the oil patch. Gilead Sciences came out of hiding to stage a grand opening of a new free-standing laboratory beside its original quarters east of the Beverly Bridge and north of the Yellowhead. Who knew that 300 highly-trained, well-paid scientists were out there, creating hundreds of millions of dollars of new wealth flowing back into Metro Edmonton's economy? Gilead is a global pharmaceutical (drug) company based in California.  Its HIV, Hepatitis C and some cancer treatment drugs have been “first to market” in the global drug market – so much so that its stock has jumped from $17.35 per share  five years ago to $113.98 today. Gilead’s market cap value (share price times the number of shares) is a staggering $167.45 billion dollars. Edmonton is riding Gilead’s success. The division here houses much of Gilead’s scientific expertise, not in dru ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Be terrified ... and thrilled about Alberta's NDP government BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, MAY 29, 2015

Should Alberta business be terrified of this new all-orange New Democrat government? Or thrilled? Probably half and half. One thing is for sure. The day after the New Democrats pulled off Canada’s biggest political upset in the last decade – taking 54 of Alberta’s 87 provincial ridings - the business community was absolutely and utterly stunned. At every corporate executive and board meeting, at every Chamber of Commerce get-together, the same question was asked. “Does anybody know any of these people?” And the answer was 100% “nope, no idea who they are.” It’s terrifying that the reins of power and control of a $42 billion budget is being passed over to a bunch of school teachers and social workers who have never run anything besides community leagues, a few school boards and ND constituency organizations. It’s exhilarating that a huge breath of fresh air – a hurricane of fresh air – has blown out the accumulated cobweb ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Ted Morton is wrong about North West Sturgeon Upgrader BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, MAY 01, 2015

Sorry Mr. Morton, but your story is full of holes. Weeks before the May 5 provincial election, former minister of finance (under Ed Stelmach) and energy (under Alison Redford) Ted Morton released a report under the guise of the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy, where Morton works as an executive-in-residence. In “The North West Sturgeon: Good Money After Bad?” the conservative academic contends that the $8 billion North West Sturgeon Upgrader now under construction north of Fort Saskatchewan could – “could” – become a white elephant, that future governments could end up losing “up to” $26 billion over the upgrader’s life. The huge problem with Morton’s analysis is the other half of the “could”. Because the upgrader, despite a run-up in its costs, could just as well end up making a $26 billion profit for the province depending on North American oil prices over the next 30 years. Originally the government ... Read the rest of entry »