Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Another Winnipeg Free Press Cash Grab

Today was the release of the Fall issue of Wave Magazine, "Winnipeg's Health & Wellness Magazine"; a product of the combined efforts of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and the advertising department of the Winnipeg Free Press.

What a shock that at a time when people are concerned over the potential harm that could erupt from H1N1 virus, the hungry Free Press ad reps come up with another winning model for revenue. This smells equally as rotten as the much anticipated, but highly disappointing insert they ran called "We Believe in Winnipeg." That piece was supposed to be a pullout insert that each week featured different success stories of Manitoba businesses across various industries. Instead it turned out to be nothing more than a double-page spread make work project for the editorial staff, feeding off the marketing dollars of the businesses highlighted in the articles.

The "We Believe in Winnipeg" advertorial was suspiciously timed with the rollout of the "Selling Winnipeg to the World" spearheaded by the team at the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce - a time when there was much buzz in the Winnipeg business community over the potential to increase the profile of Winnipeg to the world based on a handful of major projects which included CentrePort Canada. Only after a large number of Chamber members berated Chamber VP Chuck Davidson at a regular "coffee-break session" with the Chamber, did they finally admit that the "We Believe" weekly edition was born from the ad department at WFP rather than the editorial department or the Chamber themselves. My guess is that these same opportunists called the WRHA with the same sales pitch to capitalize on the fear of many Winnipeggers and Winnipeg business owners.

If the purpose of the magazine was simply to educate the public on the "health threat of the day", the Free Press and WHRA could have easily accomplished this through a series of monthly or quarterly articles, coupled with a dedicated information page on both websites. However, the ads just look better in a glossy, 8.5" x 11" bi-monthly mag.

Its your turn Winnipeg...shake your addiction to print!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Winnipeg Inland Port Announces CEO

After much political posturing within the inner circles of the Winnipeg business community, the announcement was made that Diane Gray - Manitoba's first female Deputy Finance Minister - has been named CEO of CentrePort Canada, Winnipeg's inland port.

Gray appears to have been the natural fit having been a major conduit in helping the inland port gain legs within all three levels of government and the private sector. The CEO position requires an individual capable of playing in both arenas, and Gray has much experience in handling this fine balance.

At this point, CentrePort Canada has been more a concept than an actual project. Much of the delays in moving the project forward to this point have been in finding the right person for the CEO position, and according to Kerry Hawkins, co-chairman of CentrePort Canada, they couldn't have found a more qualified person for the job.

"Without a CEO we are pretty much rudderless," says Hawkins. "We've been getting so many inquiries but we had to put them off because we weren't ready." We needed someone who could work with government and the private sector to get the port going, and find overseas markets. She's been there and has been doing all of those things already."

Winnipeg's inland port sits on 20,000 acres of land around the Richardson International Airport, and is being touted as a major hub for the manufacturing, distribution and warehousing of goods in North America.

For more information on the inland port go to http://www.winnipeginlandport.ca/

Friday, September 11, 2009

Winnipeg Goldeyes' Organization of the Year

Yet again the brass at the Winnipeg Goldeyes have been crowned the Organization of the Year in the Northern Baseball League. The team has been awarded the honor for the 4th time since the award was first handed out in 2003.

Winning the title has much to do with the impressive attendance numbers the Goldeyes continue to draw; leading all other Northern league baseball clubs for the last ten years for both total attendance and average attendance per game. In 45 home games this season, the Goldeyes drew 278,009 fans, with an average attendance of 6,180 per game.

“This is an award to be shared by everyone associated with the Goldeyes and I speak on behalf of the entire organization when I say we are honoured,” said president and CEO Sam Katz. “From top to bottom, this is a very solid organization. It is part of a very strong league, one that will become stronger next year with the addition of two more teams and will become even stronger in the years to come as more and more fans get to know this amazing product we call Northern League baseball.”

The team has proven year in and year out since building the new ballpark and re-joining the league, that baseball is a viable product in the Manitoba market.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Back to Work Winnipeg Business People

Though it seems more summer now than ever this last week, the harsh reality is it is ending. And with the passing of days at the cottage, rounds on the golf course and bevies on the patio comes the return of work Winnipeg business people.

Yes, decisions must once again be made, visions of your future growth must turn to paper and pen (or I suppose keyboard to monitor). I highly doubt I am the only Winnipeg business person filled with the mixed emotions of excitement for the rush of activity that September brings and the sadness knowing that soon it will be dark when I leave for work and dark when I drive home.

July and August are tough months to close business in Winnipeg. With decision makers scattered across our many lakes in Manitoba, I find most businesses coast along, committing to very little. Is this a negative or a positive in respect to the progress of Winnipeg's business community?

I think the answer lies with the individual. Many will view it as a time to re-energize, to reflect on goals accomplished or missed, to strategize the direction forward and to mingle with clients and partners to strengthen important business relationships. This restores their passion and drive for their business, resulting in new ideas and energy to move their company forward.

Others would blame the summer as the reason that Winnipeggers fail to enact change. The idea that we only work 10 months a year has a lot of business people pointing at the hot weather as the culprit in our failure to follow projects through as a city to the point of success.

As an example... Has anyone heard anything about CentrePort Canada recently? Or Selling Winnipeg to the World? I guess maybe if you have a cabin in Lake of the Woods you may have overheard one of the board members arguing over who gets to be the next CEO of Winnipeg's inland port and cash in the big salary that will likely accompany that position.

Oh well...regardless of what side you are on in the debate over our approach to summer, its now September, and that means its all business. Back to work people!