Editor's note: Abundant natural resources and hockey

Blake Davis

Above the 49th parallel is a nation unified by two powerful forces: abundant natural resources—oil and gas, timber, seafood from the coasts and agricultural products throughout—and hockey. Both are well accounted for in the summer edition of Canadian Business Executive.

There’s the profile of Brian Burke.

“I’d encourage everyone to get a law degree,” he says during a colorful and sometimes salty conversation from his Calgary office this spring, reflecting on his years as GM of five NHL teams, a league record. Though now president of hockey operations for the Calgary Flames—which qualified for the postseason for a second time but was quickly eliminated following that interview—his conversation with the writer strays from the national pastime, broaching as well his activism for LGBT acceptance.

“If you’re the general manager of a Canadian team, you have the platform and profile to be influential,” he says.

Which may seem miles away from the healthy cooking practices advocated by Epicure, whose reps supply recipes, home lessons and wares for those looking to cook without complications. But then, much good has come out of the movement to eat “real,” wholesome meals.

“We’re taking a stand against food that isn’t healthy,” says CEO of Epicure Amelia Warren in the profile of her company.

And those healthier meals… well the ingredients come from somewhere.

That’s more the territory of Mariner Seafoods, the family-run operations that has weathered the long-range ramifications of war in Ukraine and subsequent embargoes in Russia that complicated its selling of Pacific Hake and Arrowtooth Flounder—both popular food fish.  

But with those political and social storms calmed for now, the company is anticipating boosted catches, all to be processed through improved on-vessel facilities, at sea.

“In anything we’ve done over the years, we have conservative expectations on the outcomes of each investment but bold designs; go big but do it right,” says Shannon Mann, Mariner Seafood’s director of resource management.

That’s something the multiple construction-related companies also profiled in this edition can related to, companies like Atlantic Roofers.

Except what the New Brunswick-based firm is building isn’t just shelter, but a workforce. Recognizing the inevitable transition to a millennial-based workforce, the firm is making accommodations for those right out high school so they can find common ground—and mentorship—from those who have been with Atlantic Roofers for 25 years or more.

“The new generation is coming in and they want to learn,” says Yves Bradet, president and general manager.

As for that Canadian energy industry—it’s best represented this summer by Western Oil Services, the suburban Vancouver company that had long made its revenue in service station infrastructure but has transitioned to an unlikely alternative: data collection and storage.

All of which adds topical variety so typical of this publication. And country.