Brad’s Columns from “Business in Calgary” Magazine

My Run For Mayor

“I am asked almost daily now, “So why are you running?” Much of the answer lies in my business success and the joy of leading people toward a sense of shared purpose and important work to be done. Over the course of my career, I have created hundreds of jobs, and been responsible for thousands of pay cheques. I have felt the weight of being responsible for keeping food on the table for my employees. I know what it’s like to not take a pay cheque so that those I have hired can keep their jobs. It hasn’t always been easy, it hasn’t always been fun, but it has always been worth it.”

Time for change in Calgary

“We need to take better advantage of our best natural resource. No, not the oil and gas reserves, but the majestic Rocky Mountains and the beauty of our city’s setting. Calgary is desperately in need of an integrated strategy to build the active, youthful city of the future: one that attracts creative and diverse talent from around the world to live, work, play, and compete. It is no secret that top talent is drawn to cities that offer not only economic opportunity, but exciting sport, recreation and cultural experiences as well.”

Acknowledge the Sacrifice

“We see increases in homeless issues in Canada’s cities. The recent data on the opioid crisis shows that COVID-19 has had a worsening effect on our already-bad problems related to addictions. These issues affect the population as a whole, but studies have shown that veterans have a higher rate of homelessness and addictions than those of us who haven’t served. … Taking care of others is a form of self-care and there are ways to do it within the health restrictions this pandemic has created.”

Three Years Down; One to Go (a Council Report Card)

“On taxation, the grade is a clear F. Before COVID, Calgarians had seen no meaningful steps taken to even maintain tax levels. Amid shuttered business and high unemployment rates, taxes and fees are being rebooted, increases are planned, and Council has discussed 32 new ways to place the burden on Calgarians. Council has failed to take stock of the economy and COVID-19 and reprioritize its objectives accordingly. Naysayers may call this a misunderstanding of civic realities. I call it failing to lead and adapt.”

Keeping Parents in the Workforce

“There is no pandemic playbook. We have no manual that tells us the steps to follow, not unlike parenting. … Childcare must be a top priority. A lack of safe, affordable, appropriately staffed childcare and schooling options serves the one-two punch of being incredibly stressful on families and also adversely affecting our economy. An extra blow to our economy could be the knock-out punch. It is therefore up to us to support our people differently, possibly even better, than we have before.”Read More →Sep 1, 2020No Need to Reinvent the Wheel

“Denver was described as hollow and stagnant in the 1980s. The city was heavily dependent on oil and gas, and the OPEC crisis of the 1970s shrunk their economy significantly. By 1986, with oil at $10 per barrel, things looked bleak. Buildings downtown were empty, and growing crime rates and “skid rows” did little to attract new investment. Thirty years later, in 2016, Denver was named “America’s No. 1 place to live” … “purposeful diversification of Denver’s economy saved the city”. Denver put strategic investment into a variety of sectors, which fueled economic strength and grew employment opportunities. Business leaders are also believed to have played a critical role in the revival of Calgary’s sister city, through investment and urban redevelopment. It was risky to put more skin in the game, but without it, Denver’s history may have been much different.”

Calgary Stampede… More Than Just a Feeling

“As we recover and reopen, we need to help those who have lost so much. The world looks different; Stampede looks different; we have an opportunity to innovate because our summer vacations likely look different too. Treat your kids to a hotel staycation, your spouse to a night away, and order in from your favourite local restaurant. Ask your Stampede volunteer friends to tell you why they volunteer and what keeps them going back. Pay the neighbour kid $20 to cut your lawn, and chat with them about resiliency and innovation. Embody the Stampede spirit, with your boots and your hats on, or just your regular 355 day-a-year clothes.”

How Are You Doing?

“Let’s not think about how we can get Calgary “back to normal.” Let’s think about how we can make it better. I’ve spoken before about the worry of losing a generation from our city. The reality of this is closer than ever before. We need to look to our young people for guidance on how to operate our businesses in ways that support and appeal to them. This will be critical not only to keeping Generation Z in Calgary, but also to keeping our businesses viable.”

COVID-19 and Calgary’s Future

“From a business perspective, the latest crushing collapse in oil prices is another sign – if we needed one – that economic diversification and resiliency has to be Calgary’s top priority as we emerge from the COVID-19 lockdown. High-potential industries in Calgary include distribution and logistics, food and agriculture, high tech, recreation and tourism, and arts, culture and film production. Small and medium businesses are not only the engine of the economy, they are also usually the fastest movers. Once the economy starts to recover, we need to ensure that we keep Calgary a great place to start, build and grow a business.”

An Issue of Trust

“Unfortunately, the recent mini-scandal about the expense claims of a certain city councillor isn’t just a dollars-and-cents issue. The cost to Calgarians is the further erosion of trust in our municipal government. It is very difficult, if not impossible, for a government to move forward when they’ve lost the trust of those they govern – and even harder when our elected leaders don’t trust each other. We have a trust issue, and therefore a progress issue.”Read More →Mar 31, 2020Shifting From Desk Dictator to Municipal Champion

“Rigid bureaucracy is how we’ve arrived at today. We’ve stifled creativity, quashed engagement and created forests worth of paper trails. In my years working with smart and capable city employees, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard “I want to, but my hands are tied” when suggesting a process efficiency or pointing out areas for streamlining. While they typically want to do the best job possible, they absolutely cannot move outside their lane. It’s not the people who are broken; it’s the system.”

Collective Altruism

“Altruism in a business context also means corporate giving. In the past, some corporate philanthropy was about cherry-picking the CEO’s favourite cause. Today’s shift to well-rounded support is crucial for the Calgary community. This evolution gives heightened merit to rallying a team around causes and making meaningful impact. While money matters to our not-for-profit organizations, corporate giving is no longer limited to dollars and cents. Giving now balances money and time, forging long-term relationships between companies and community organizations and helping them plan for long-term success. How appropriate that Benevity, a world leader in software for corporate giving, was born right here in Calgary.”