Once upon a time, June, July and August were my most frustrating work months. Our offices were on a main downtown thoroughfare and my window opposed a sidewalk café. Whenever I’d glance up from my desk or look away from the monitor, I’d be faced with lolling touristy-types draped over bistro chairs, their mochaccino steam mocking my attempted industriousness.
That doesn’t bother me anymore. For one thing, we’ve moved. My current, exquisite view (of Signal Hill and The Narrows) is safely framed by rooftops instead of lively streetscapes. Still, I’d think I’d be safe even if we were back in the centre of the action. Because, honestly, I don’t have time for distractions.
Between this issue and last, there was a week-long excursion to Toronto for the MagNet national conference. My session with a national ad exec was particularly illuminating. I’m still trying to get over the fact that he admitted online ads are the least effective form of advertising, but he promotes them anyway because they’re cheap and make him look like he’s getting better value for his clients. (Don’t believe me? Send me an email – I’ll tell you who he is and where he works.)
After that eye-opening encounter, it was back to base for our own annual three-day internal strategy session. It was a stimulating exercise that saw us putting everything – and I mean everything – we do under a microscope. Often painful, the surgical dissection was necessary in order to make us bigger, stronger and better than ever in 2015. There’s also been the small issue of content for the issue you now have in front of you. We only have six covers a year, so a story has to be truly exceptional to land that positioning. Contributing editor Alec Bruce convinced me that Ben Champoux had the “write” stuff, and he didn’t disappoint… our cover story on this young, brilliant, cosmopolitan economic developer reads like a 2014 version of Frank McKenna. And much like that storied political predecessor, Champoux’s contagious passion for the Greater Moncton area comes with a credible, realistic plan to help the region achieve its full potential.
Ironically, selecting the cover story wasn’t our most difficult decision this issue. One of the ways we’ve been celebrating our 25th anniversary year is by publishing in-depth interviews with some of the region’s foremost business icons. Our first four Voice of Experience profiles featured John Risley, Jim Spatz, Danny Williams and Gerry Pond… who could possibly, legitimately, follow that lineup and take it to another level?
Stephen Kimber immediately suggested Fred Fountain, but it was weeks before I agreed. I’m ashamed to admit this now, but I’d never heard of him before. And Google searches didn’t do him justice. Eventually, however, Stephen won me over and the result is frankly mind-blowing. It’s a powerful must-read about a man born to great wealth, a man whose life is dedicated to learning as much as he can, in order to gain as much as he can, so he can give that much more back to his community.
But even that’s not all we have on offer this issue. There’s a compelling story about Joyce Carter and how she pulled her way up through the ranks to lead Atlantic Canada’s largest airport. And we take you on a whimsical, imaginary road trip through the region’s myriad offerings for small, medium and large-scale meetings and conventions. Plus there’s a four-part supplement focused entirely on small business issues. Not to mention a Special Report on Newfoundland and Labrador, featuring lively political commentary, a salute to traditional (and traditionally strong) industries and an article about the surprising side effects of Labrador’s industrial boom.
We have all this, plus Alan Doyle dishing on his new book, plus the most award-winning columnists in the region, plus wickedly good graphic commentary by Michael de Adder. Yes, it’s quite the issue. The largest, in fact, that we’ve ever produced during the summer.
They say a job well done is its own reward, but I think a mochaccino now and again doesn’t hurt either. And I know just the place to get one. Cheers to you all!