Business Retention and Expansion

Business Retention and Expansion

Group assignment discussing Economic Development for Urban Planners. Concept: To write a chapter in an instructional book (the tally of the class compiled in to a completed assignment)


Christopher Evan Jones

Natalie Lindsay

Personal Contribution

  • Section 5.3 A Case Study
  • Section 5.4 Developing Economic Communities
  • Section 5.5 Identifying Trends
  • Section 5.6 Predicting Trends and Pressures
  • Section 5.7 Conclusion


5.1 Introduction


Business retention and expansion (BR&E) Priority should be to work with businesses already in the area to ensure their needs are satisfied and help them expand; creating a supportive culture for businesses that will be attractive to other businesses.  Potential investors may interview local business owners during their site selection research process, and any demonstration of a community’s pro-business attitude existing programs such as local business support programs, are a strong incentive.

  • Statistics show that “around 60%-80% of all new jobs come from existing businesses in an area”, (Phillips, P. D., 1996).
  • Businesses are making relocation decisions every day.
  • One objective of having a BR&E program is to better understand the decision factors that influence intra-regional business relocations and to better understand the economic impact of the relocation on its current location’s community.
  • Recognizing areas of high turnover as indicative of issues that must be addressed through a strategic and comprehensive BR&E program.  Lengthy property vacancies hurt an area’s economic development and affect an outsider’s perception of an area.
  • High business retention projects the area in a positive light and motivates other businesses to also establish a base in the area.
  • A good strategy for expansion is both cost-effective and efficient.
  • Business expansion can mean anything from expanding the infrastructure to an increase in capitol, to the number of employees.
  • The benefits of a BR&E program include the evasion of potential lost jobs and the overall economic impact an area experiences when a major corporation or even a smaller established, local business shuts down or leaves.  Retained businesses have higher expansion potential and the employees from these businesses are already trained, providing an appealing human resource pool.
  • Every community should have a BR&E program because everyone benefits.  The factors that make a community attractive to outside investors – reasonable operating costs, available infrastructure and sites for expansion, a supportive and cooperative local government, and high quality living conditions – are the very same factors that ensure the continued operation, contentment and growth of existing businesses.  When local businesses thrive, so do their communities.  Supporting businesses development opportunities gives businesses contentment to remain where they are and they actively participate in a sustainable cycle of job creation and tax revenue.
  •  BR&E programs are in no way “mutually exclusive or antagonistic to business attraction programs”(Phillips, P. D., 1996).
  • When established companies move out of an area, or when corporate downsizing∕ restructuring occurs, the action has the potential to devastate a community.  When large numbers of people with similar job skills suddenly re-enter the job market within a smaller community, the competition makes it extremely difficult to get a new job.  Also, older workers that are close to retirement age have an even harder time finding new employment, because the cost for retraining may be too high and they are not viewed as a good investment by the company.  On the other hand, in dealing with corporate restructuring, retention and expansion have an upside as well. Generally, as a multi-location company closes some facilities, it moves the operations from the closed facility to remaining facilities, which in turn benefit from increased numbers of employees and investment.


Existing businesses are major contributors to a community’s economic development and tax revenues.  Collectively, they employ the highest numbers especially when they go through expansions and their role as ambassadors to the community provide valuable incentive to potential new business investors.

According to Phillips, the overall mission of a good BR&E program must be to support local businesses to become more competitive thus allowing for expansion.  To achieve this mission, a BR&E program must meet a variety of goals such as:

  • demonstrating commitment to existing industry
  • increasing productivity of the local work force
  • assisting local firms to find technical assistance
  • creating an early-warning system so as to be aware of facility reductions or closures
  • providing networking opportunities so that firms can work together to solve common problems
  • providing a unified voice for business in dealing with legislative issues
  • improving the local quality of life
  • working to correct general business climate liabilities and capitalize on assets
  • attracting local investment into the area
  • working with individual firms to address their specific problems


To accomplish these goals, a retention program would need a well thought out and comprehensive development strategy, along with passion and persistence to succeed.

5.2 BR&E Technical Models


The Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce BR&E program provides a model of the 4 keys to successful retention and expansion:

  1. Prioritize a business retention and expansion program within the company.
  2. Provide an unwavering commitment of funding and human resources to allow for up-to-date interactions and research that yield valuable information on a company’s position.
  3. Carefully plan and target efforts to allow for optimization of resources and higher success rates.
  4. Integrate retention efforts into all organizational activities so all relevant invested parties are informed and involved.

There are four key components of a good retention program:

  1. Compile Employer Information – Develop a detailed database of basic company information and statistics, such as number of employees, products, the company’s address, business contact person, phone number, e-mail address, who the company’s top executives are, etc.  This general knowledge portrays interest in the company and allows the CEO Interviews to be more focused on industry insights.
  2. Conduct CEO Interviews – Effective surveys should be purposive, strategic telephone or personal interviews that consist of open-ended questions regarding current market research, business climate options, business climate ratings, labour availability, corporate expansion or relocation plans, predictive information and customer satisfaction.  Changes in attitudes of customers are predictive of problem identification (if negative) and service improvements (if positive).
  3. Compile and Analyze the Data – Analysis of all the interviews and surveys, and preforming a risk-assessment through strategic questioning would enlighten the researchers to potential priority issues that need to be assessed.  The cumulative responses from the surveys help researchers identify competitive advantages, trends, opportunities and constraints.
  4. Compose a Strategic Marketing Plan – Give consideration to action indicators from survey assessments.  Decide how the survey results affects marketing strategy, consider any implications, risk factor, if more extensive research is necessary, attitudes, responses, opportunities for business attraction.  Focus responses to solving existing businesses’ immediate problems.  Pre-emptive actions work best in this scenario because action is taken before the situation is dire.


To show their support and foster working relationships and trust with the local businesses, community economic development offices could also consider offering the following services to existing manufacturing companies:

  • Compilation and publication of a directory of major corporations and employers.  It would serve as a human capital tool and a networking tool for the area that could also be utilized by other departments.
  • Formation of a liaison committee with the economic development department, community business managers, the mayor, city manager, or other city management officials whose purpose is to hold meetings (monthly or quarterly) to discuss any concerns or suggestions they have.  The goal being to foster and maintain working relationships that ensure companies remain.
  • Maintain a database of area statistics, including demographics, a current list of available expansion properties, utility information, and laws pertaining to zoning, environment and taxes.


5.2.1    BR&E Models


  1. The Ombudsman Approach – A proactive problem solving approach involving written communication between business leaders, the local government, relevant stakeholders and committees.  Review survey assessments and take action to solve issues. For example, if the issue is declining market, build a support team to research options, new or compatible markets for the company.  Operating within a specified time period, inform clientele of actions, and make periodic progress reports to company.
  2. The Cooperative Extension Model (An External Approach) – The Cooperative Extension Model is an early model for community based manufacturing outreach.  The program utilizes survey format to assess the needs of local manufacturing businesses and develops a task force of community leaders to make recommendations for any identified issues.
  3. NIST’s Manufacturing Outreach Model (An Internal Approach) – The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) created the model to help mid-sized manufacturing companies (less than 500 people employed) to upgrade their business practices allowing for improved business performance.  Some issues it addresses are poor quality, high inventory, long lead times, and shrinking margins.  NIST Centers work individually with manufacturers to make improvements to a specific aspect of their business operation.
  4. The Competitive Advantage Model – This model addresses both internal and external factors at the same time to effectively combine the best aspects of the other two manufacturing outreach models, the Cooperative Extension Model and the NIST’s Manufacturing Outreach Model, to give manufacturers a more competitive stance.  All manufacturing businesses must continually improve themselves to stay current and profitable.  This model suggests the company’s management team maximize their point of quality, price, and/or method of delivery.  Those companies employing the Competitive Advantage Model “can be super-innovative in their use of new process technologies, marketing, or service techniques to capture niches where others would find it difficult to compete” (Hines, B., & Clark, S., 1997).  External improvements pertain to taxes, labour force availability, fees and training, and are tied to conditions outside the influence of the company’s management such as the economic and political realms.  Public- Private Partnerships would be promoted for higher levels of community involvement with the company to maximize both internal and external improvements.Some retention programs consider soliciting other local businesses that stand to benefit from retaining these manufacturing companies, to raise funds to support them.
  5. MO-GRO: Missouri’s Growth and Retention Opportunities Program – Missouri’s Growth and Retention Opportunities Program utilizes best practices from other models to empower communities to establish effective BR&E programs.  The basic goals of the program are:
    • Identifying at-risk companies and providing necessary assistance to retain them.
    • Identifying growth- potential companies and providing assistance with their expansion efforts.
    • On-going involvement and support of community leaders for existing businesses, and educating them on economic development issues.
    • Create more opportunities for local governments to more efficiently direct financial assistance to existing businesses.

Various approaches to BR&E programs have different strengths and weaknesses. The reactive or responsive approach taken by most communities are usually more intensive, take on a ‘crisis management’ role, and provide immediate applicable technical assistance to the specific company.  Whereas, it is not anticipatory and may attempt to address problem after it is already too late. The anticipatory programs, usually found in university extension programs and communication companies extensively address all businesses within targeted community’s range, but due to the broad focus, may not always respond with the kind of intensive technical assistance as the former programs.


The primary reason for lack of success of a BR&E program is improper time management, “…activities with a critical time frame often push aside the vital but non-critical activities of business retention and expansion” (Phillips, P. D., 1996).


5.3     A Case Study


Case Study

Case Study

On February 3rd, 2012 the ElectroMotive Diesel manufacturing plant in London, Ontario shuttered their factory floor after 62-years of operation. This comes after a long strike by employees after first having their workforce cut down and them being asked by its new multinational parent company Caterpillar to halve the salaries of their remaining employees. The argument made was these measures were required to remain cost-competitive to other markets, regardless of their posting of a $5 billion dollar profit last fiscal year. The end result was the direct loss of over 700 people in the community and unforeseen losses from auxiliary jobs from the lost income and a $1 billion dollar hit to the regions GDP, or approximately 5% (Grant, 2012).

While London, Ontario has an active Economic Development department that helps with applications to government grants and export assistance, current models used in BR&E failed to keep this and other companies from moving out of other Ontario regions. London has a high number of educated people with sought-after skills; there was little incentive within the city to encourage Caterpillar from moving. Moreover this was not a loss to an overseas emerging economy, but a move of just 800-km over the border where union legislation is more lax with wages and employment was depressed after a hard economic recession (Grant, 2012).

There was no quick fix to this situation. Monetary incentives are not allowed under Canadian law and corporate tax rates are already lower in Canada than the United States. $5 million dollars of tax credits were dispatched by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2008. What could have been done would have been more long-term determination and actively seeking the advice of the parent company to discover their needs and potential reasons for leaving. As well, identifying the industry as a major contributor to the economy and leveraging their suppliers and customers with incentives for relocation closer to the city may have made it a more impossible situation for the company to consider leaving. Working with other levels of governments to promote the business on trade missions may have made them feel more inclusive to the Canadian market and entice loyalty.

Co-operation with the company would have also stopped the consumer backlash that occurred after the move. Mark’s Work Warehouse, the largest supplier of trade uniforms and the clothing arm of Canadian Tire, pulled all Caterpillar goods, including their high-selling construction boots, from their shelves after the announcement to close the plant until workers were fairly dealt with (Canadian Press, 2012). As we emerge from the recent economic downturn and return to levels seen before 2008, resource prices are distend to rise back up to record levels and the dollar will advance above and beyond parity. This will place pressure on industries such as manufacturing and exports, which still constitute the third largest job numbers in Canada. Creating an environment that will retain industry and allow them to flourish will ensure that the next decade is not a repeat of mistakes seen in the past (Bradford, 2003).

5.4     Developing Economic Communities


As with any structure, the survival of a viable and expansive business culture requires as sound and sure foundation. The communities that surround a business support their staff, production and ability to grow; and the quality of these communities provide reasons to remain, curtailing the lure of other economic areas and encourage growth if they are seen as attractive and stable over the long term.

A region must be open, creative, sound and, more relative today, green in order to retain and attract business. New or expanding industries need the support both of the community and its levels of administration in order to thrive – building new economic connections and leverage the surrounding physical and social capital to excel.

5.4.1 Open Communities

  • Transparent and Co-operative Policy Structure – A change in the recent administration at Toronto City Hall called in to question the expediency of the Waterfront redevelopment, a plan that called for systematic and thorough allocation of services and development over the next two decades. The existing internationally-awarded plan attracted the attention of multinational, Texas-based Hines development group and their proposal became their first foray in to the hot Canadian market. Differing views and closed-door maneuvering of the new administration threatened the project that would have brought over 650,000 sq. ft. of new office and retail space (Hume, 2012)Developing a transparent and transitional policy structure is required to effectively attract and retain business.
  • Multi-Tier Participation and Co-operation – Businesses require support from all levels of governance, specifically if they are geared toward inter-regional or international trade. Working with upper-tier economic development departments or combining policy to eliminate bureaucracy will simply business expansion and cut costs on transactions, freeing revenue for other activities. Smaller communities can benefit from regional or national program, such as capital funds, tax rebates or training programs. Tying local economic policy to other agencies can show strong support for businesses and communities (Bradford, 2003).
  • Web Portal Technology eGovernment refers to services and information about municipal policies available openly online as well as connecting the differing silos of services together. By eliminating the leg-work and time required to approach city services businesses feel better suited to conduct expansion in a specific area. See Chapter 8: Information Technologies as an Enabler to Economic Development

  • Open Data – Open Data facilities works off the concept of the Open Source movement in computer programming, where public information is freely and easily distributed by city departments for non-commercial uses.  This not only projects a vision of a transparent government but encourages research and development with social ingenuity. Currently, most major metropolitan areas in Canada have adopted – in varying degrees – open data technology with measureable success and provincial government beginning to follow suit (Open Knowledge Foundation, 2011)

5.4.2   Creative Communities

  • Post-Secondary Education – University and Colleges not only contribute to a growing creative class, but add research avenues to the community that businesses may leverage or collaborate with. Schools can provide valuable research at limited costs, new technologies or methodologies of manufacturing and stand to replenish the workforce with highly educated young adults – required to combat trends in demographics as baby boomers retire (Florida, 2002).
  • On-Going Training – Shifting economic conditions, new technologies and changing international social dynamics require employees to be up-to-date with new methodologies of conducting business and manufacturing. Providing the facilities and grants to continue to improve human capital will ensure industries that a rolling-stock of employees is readily available and able to work in complex or technical employment.

    Ontario Ministry for Agricultural, Food and Rural Affairs works with small communities and businesses through its RED (Rural Economic Development) program creating skill-based training for the food processing sector for jobs retention (M0AFRA, 2011).

  • International Accreditation Acceptance – Canada has been built by immigration since its inception, but recent arrivals are finding it harder to ply their profession. The immigration system requires, through a point-based system, to have specific levels of education for entry which local schools or businesses do not recognise. Developing training and programs to integrate new arrivals can provide higher levels of available human capital as well as connections to overseas markets (Schellenberg & Boyd, 2008).
  • Research & Development (R&D) Investment


    Business expansion comes from new opportunities and ideas. Providing loans for small business or creating culture centres for the open sharing of ideas can create new innovations or help industries find new business partners. Design exchanges and collaborative environments, seen with the health sciences and technology driven MaRS facility in Toronto not only provide services to the surrounding hospitals, they create new markets and inter-industry trade. Often, these facilities require only a small bit of seed money to begin and incentives through donated land, simplified application and development processes and incremental financing to ensure time for roots to take hold in the business community (Treurnicht, 2011).

  • Subject Matter Experts (SME) Availability – Industries, particularly small- or medium-sized or new technology up-starts do not necessarily have the resources to hire full-time employees for particular tasks, such as patent lawyers, computer developers or marketing executives. Attracting these professional services available within the community encourage smaller companies to remain and expand and attract new clusters as success builds. Larger businesses benefit from these outside consulting services for fresh ideas or third-party confirmation for policies.

5.4.3   Sound Communities

  • Fiscal Stability – Industries perform due diligence on every investment, including its potential hires. Establishing a new business or expanding an existing one follows the same process and it is ideal for a community to easily show its potential value in the present and in the long-term. Having a sound budgetary process and wide margins in tax levies allow more room for creative financing or capital support meet changing business needs.
  • Incentives and Opportunity – Even large businesses sometimes need assistance in capital investments, even at the best of times. Taxes incentives, such as incremental financing, simplified development charges, research and development grants and creative partner-pairing can build loyalty within the community.
  • Established Social Services – While universal access to health care and lower cost prescriptions have been a draw for companies from the United States – other services have to be ready and plentiful within the community and geared to current or potential employees. Understanding the needs of each industry and their workers can direct city services to encourage growth and attract similar businesses.
  • Happy & Healthy Employees – Leveraging the natural capital and providing recreational facilities create a healthy and productive work force, expanding business opportunities and providing incentive to keep businesses local. The City of Caledon uses its natural resources to develop recreational and outdoor programs not only to benefit tourism, but to keep one of its largest employers, Husky Injection Moulding – known for its program of maintaining healthy and fitness-oriented work environment – active in the community.

5.4.4   Green Communities

  • Carbon Footprint – LEED certified buildings, recycling programs, alternative energy sources and zero-impact landscaping are all bonuses used by companies to reflect a green initiative that attracts customers, meets ISO or FSC requirements and allows for trading in eco-funds, building interest, loyalty and capital with its customer base.
  • Environmental Credits – Developing credits for inventive eco-friendly ideas or offering community services matched to time shifts to ensure that a company’s employees are serviced with a public transportation alternative help alleviate or eliminate traffic, often an undue stress placed on workers that affects productivity. Attracting creative talent often needs an employer to show interest in making life easier and better for them and the community.
  • Government Support & FIT Programs – Not only do green technologies reduce the carbon-footprint and make energy consumption costs more predictable, often with government support and Feed-In Tariff programs can create profit for industries with large excess output. Combine the uses of waste and want between industries can create a network chain of disposal that will not only benefit each business but limit the expenditures for city departments that service these business areas. Development charges can also be lowered for green-roof technologies (MoEDI, 2012).

5.5     Identifying Trends

5.5.1    Enterprise Clustering

  • Broad and Deep – The ideal economic climate is one that has a multitude of differing industries with a number of supportive industries to create networks, limit costs and foster competition. The ideal marketplace for business is one that fosters creativity; a dynamic spectrum of services, markets and feed-ins; and hold regional and international connection (EIU, 2012).
  • Horizontal and Vertical – Economic clustering, horizontally with similar industries or vertically with feed-in or out-put sectors of existing companies can lead to expansion of existing business. This can be from competition or collaboration, building economies of scale and decreasing transportation costs and meeting Just-In-Time delivery (JIT). Horizontal expansion also allows for economic redundancy so that if a firm fails for whatever reason, others would be available to ensure that there is no stoppage in the supply chain (Casico, 2009).
  • Diversity – Depending on a single industry, however lucrative, is open to changes in the economic climate or changes in technology or consumer sentiment. Elliot Lake is a prime example how a city, once dedicated to Uranium production collapsed not because of lack of the resource, but changes in international policy, public opinion and commodity speculation. Capitalising on its former success, profits were used to create two alternative industries, one vertically from its original becoming the leader in decommissioning mines and the other leveraging the natural and physical capital left over from the industry – creating a tourist destination (Planscape, 2006).
  • Inventorying Existing Businesses – Understanding the current business climate and its direction aids in finding current deficiencies in the overall economic health of the region. Querying local business leaders and conducting annual surveys help expose trends, track successful policy and quickly indicate when certain policies may have outlived their usefulness – freeing up capital for other development. The Toronto Employment Survey, conducted annually by students, helps the economic development department find areas of new clustering and exposes warning signs that can grow in to unwieldy problems down the road.
  • Projecting Future Opportunities – Understanding the needs of current industries is only the first step in retaining employment. Working with companies in preparing a long-term vision and providing the resources to determine future needs can help executives build investment in capital and ensure that city resources are efficiently and effectively spread.


5.5.2   Competitive Indexes

  • Quality of Life and Human Capital – Professional services companies and international organisations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Economic Forum regularly develop indexes rating cities and countries on their performance and opportunity for business development. In recent years, metrics such as the quality of life and knowledge capacity have been ranking more heavily in the termination of successful regions (WEF, 2011).

    Ensuring that the people of a region are properly serviced and have access to quality healthcare and education creates capacity to attract new industries that are evolving out of the wake of globalisation and the shift of business overseas.

  • Repairing Physical Capital –
    Physical Capital

    Physical Capital

    Much of the utility and transportation infrastructure in Western nations was built just after World War II and has long past their expected life-span. It is estimated that the infrastructure deficit for municipalities alone in Canada is over $100 billion (Mirza & Sipos, 2009) dollars while austerity measures both federally and provincially is making it difficult to partner with these governments for matching money.

    A recent report by the Economist Intelligence Unit places Toronto at 12th in the world as a Competitive Hotspot (2012). While impressive, this value severely under represents specific parameters, such scoring extremely high on Institutional Effectiveness and Fiscal Maturity. This is because Toronto ranks only 36th when compared to other economic centres in Physical Capital. Toronto currently has one of the worst commute times of all major economic centres and at the root of this issue is the lackluster development of interregional transportation networks and decades of planning that encourages sprawl rather than transit-oriented development.

5.5.3    Think Locally and Act Globally

  • Online Interactive Presence – Reaching out to new business connections in the past required tradeshows and leg work. While this has not fundamentally changed, more often businesses search for new locations individually using the Internet. Having an online presence that is complete, concurrent and comprehensive will leverage new industries that may not have thought of a specific region for redevelopment and advertise the existing businesses to a global market.
  • Trade Missions – Trade missions to the locations where current local businesses conduct businesses can cement current contracts and foster new ones. Understanding their existing customers and inviting business leaders along will strengthen the ties that bind economic communities. The province of British Columbia has established strategic offices in the United States, Europe and China to assist companies to conduct business overseas and create and foster international relations easier (City of Vernon, 2010).
  • International Ambassadors – Once having a connection with another trading partner, keeping that connection alive and healthy requires constant care and consistent attention. Foreign companies require constant feedback on their investment and having a direct source for answer questions and providing new opportunities will ensure that local businesses have the capacity to expand (City of Vernon, 2010).
  • Emerging Markets and Leveraging Immigration – Western nations have been destinations for immigration for over a century, integrating people, language and cultures from around the world in a single location. As these former immigration source countries’ economies emerge, industrialise and modernise, creating valuable business networks between them is vital to maintaining local businesses and preparing them for full globalisation.

    By understanding the local community and encouraging businesses to hire recent immigrants will bring the nuances of cultural differences, break language barriers and provide contacts to conduct business in other parts of the world. These connections will also foster international interest in the local economy and may bring foreign investment.



5.6     Predicting Trends and Pressures

  • Emerging Economies – BRIC economies (Brazil, Russia, India and China) have dramatically changed the industrial manufacturing community in North America and Europe, but these emerging economies are also entering white-collar markets, developing computer software sectors, financial and customer service centres. Industries that once solely supported an entire town now outsource services to these nations who have been active in developing the technology and knowledge to effectively provide these services at the same quality but with more efficiency (Thomson Reuters, 2012).

    More effort in the future will be required to approach international and global enterprises to build bridges between Western and Emerging markets and encouraging innovation-heavy industries that develop new products rather than repeat existing designs (Pink, 2005).

  • Shifting Middle-Class – With the disappearance of manufacturing jobs leaves too the monies these middle-class jobs provided and that supported the small to medium size businesses associated with disposable income. Department stores, Restaurants and independent industries that provide services to local markets cannot survive without a strong and predictable customer-base with adequate level of income, contributing to a downward spiral and the race to the bottom (Hulchanski, 2006).

    Attracting new technology industries and encouraging growth of current industries will be required to build a new class of citizens to support secondary services. The City of Sudbury has lost a number of high paying jobs due to efficiencies in mining operations. Leveraging on being the high-education centre of Northern Ontario and with subsidies from both provincial and federal departments, Sudbury is now a leader in creative technologies and application development, creating a diverse economy that can feed in to the existing mining sector (Donald & Hall, 2009).

  • Environmental Challenge – Regardless of what side of the global warming debate you may exist on, it would be without merit not to agree that environmental and meteorological conditions are changing throughout the world. Dealing with record droughts, increasing severe weather events and inconstant seasons can affect industries that require temperate weather for delivery or construction, tourism industries both summer and winter and manufacturing that requires energy or water input. In the more extreme cases, ports or rivers could dry up or land connects cutting-off or washing away could cost an area and its industries billions in lost revenue and productivity (WMO, 2012).

    Climate change will affect a regions ability to retain business and mediating before mitigating the problems will better show a administrations goal of protecting the private industries assets, encouraging productivity and expansion.

  • Peak Everything – While there has been talk over Peak Oil for over half a century, there is in fact a peak to all resources we use in manufacturing including aluminum, coal, phosphorus and copper (Biello, 2006). More disconcerting is the availability of rare-earth metals, currently only located at-large in countries such as China – and the costs required to extract and distribute these resources effectively. These metals are much of the driving forces behind many new technologies in the green energy and home electronic sectors (Washington Post, 2012).
  • Resilient vs. Sustainable – A paradigm shift has occurred in planning direction is from the status quo of sustainable development – integrating the economic, social and environmental capacities of a city to arrive an equilibrium –to a resilient model that is both sustainable in the short-term but impervious to outside pressures in the long (Casico, 2009). Shifts in economic stability and the effects of ecological and environmental change require planners and business leaders to project 100 years down the road, rather than 5, 10 or 25 years as previously sought milestones.

5.7     Conclusion

Attracting a business to a region is only the first step in creating a dynamic economic community. Cataloguing industry, creating liaisons between the administration and business leaders, listening and understanding the needs of both the business and its employees and partnering with different levels of government, participating in trade missions and providing the incentives for expansion are all activities required to be conducted to ensure that new business thrive and propels expansion.

While there are many BR&E models to choose from, picking the best one for a single community or region can being committed with immediacy or incrementally depending on the resources available and conditions that exist or those desired. The use of new technologies, including web portals and social networking has made selling a community much easier, specifically for smaller towns – but this has also upped the ante in competing for new industries as more markets are made available for real estate research.

Whatever the collection of utilities and activities used, it must be geared toward developing a sustainable and resilient community that creates a productive workforce and a stable business environment that attracts new business while encouraging existing industries to remain and expand their services. While the global world economic is extremely lucrative, it is also fraught with new problems. The interconnectivity of regional markets can start a domino effect when one component falters – destroying the insular effect that once protected local businesses. New multinationals can create hostile environments for small and burgeoning businesses while attracting and keeping these large business can also mean a windfall for community revenue. Changing business methods and models must mean new planning regiments and the municipal Economic Development departments are not immune. Integration between silos and having a proactive staff is required to foster these economic communities and business connections – and move above and beyond the status quo.


5.A      References

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Task force to develop best practices model for business retention, expansion in charlotte region. (2006, Jan 12). PR Newswire, pp. 1-1.

[Vernon] (2010) Business Retention and Expansion Program; Vernon. Economic Development Office. City of Vernon. Retrieved from

Washington Post (2012, Mar. 15) Loosening China’s grip on rare-earth metals. Washington Post Editorial Board.

World Economic Forum (2011) The Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012. Geneva.

World Meteological Organisation [WMO] (2012) Natural Hazards. Switzerland.

Business Improvement Areas Toronto

Business Improvement Areas Toronto

Redefining Toronto’s Mainstreets


Redefining Toronto's Mainstreets

Redefining Toronto’s Mainstreets

Main street commercial retail is experiencing a decline. This decline can be partially attributed to ongoing pressures from other forms of retail. Such pressures are found in e-commerce, which allows the consumer to stay at home to shop. Large format centres such as malls and big box stores also pose a threat. Lower prices and the perceived convenience of ‘one stop’ stores such as Wal-Mart, can often erode the consumer base of traditional main street commercial areas. Despite this, some BIA’s in Toronto have managed to be more successful than the average retail strip within the city.

At the request of the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA), Planning Partners of Toronto (PPT) has been given the opportunity to develop a comprehensive report looking at the strengths of successful BIAs in the city. PPT will yield a template of the best practices, for the purpose of assessing and strengthen less successful BIAs in Toronto.


Kailey Lamont

Christopher Jones

David Bigwood

David Addington

Aidan Ferriss

Esther Imm

Brandon Langille

Brent O’Neill

Mark Tiburcio

Peter Giampa

Negar Javaherian

Andrew Randell

Personal Contribution


Retail Data

Walkability Studies

Metrics Calculation

Presentation Design & Delivery

Communication Director


Download the Final Report for Redefining Toronto’s Mainstreets

Download the Final Presentation to Ryerson and TABIA




Toronto Harbour Commission Building

Toronto Harbour Commission Building

The Building

Toronto Harbour Commission Building

Toronto Harbour Commission Building

Started in 1917 and completed a year after, this six-storey building was developed on reclaimed waterfront land called Harbour Square at the end of Bay Street south of Lake Street (Goad’s) – Now known as Lakeshore Blvd West – to house the newly formed Toronto Harbour Commission. It was designed in the Beaux-Arts style by the architectural firm Chapman and Oxley and clad in Indiana limestone. Given the date it was constructed – just after the war – it wasn’t prudent to construct ornate or monumental civic structures, but the predominance that this building had on the waterfront did request some special treatment; with window mouldings and mantles accompanied by a central sculpture helped dignify the simplified frontage and three-quarter decretive columns added depth and shadow (Gagnierm, 1919, 37).

Inside, the building hosted some marble and wood treatment; but most floors, aside from the Commissioner’s room lined with walnut panels, focused on simple dressings around the ceilings and crown moulding. Only the basement, first, sixth and part of the second floors were designated for the Toronto Harbour Commission with the rest to be leased out to like-mined industrial and commercial concerns – specifically those with an interest having office space close to the harbour and ports. Services included a switchboard reception, elevators and lavatories with a bulkhead to conceal plumbing – and given that this was mentioned, perhaps a luxury at the time (Gagnier, 1919, 35).

The Architect

Alfred Hirschfelder Chapman is regarded as a well-known architect of the early 20th Century and his buildings have become local cultural icons with many remaining standing to this day. Born in Toronto in 1878 he attended Harbord Collegiate before graduating from The National Fine Arts School in Paris, France (École Nationale et Spéciale des Beaux-Arts) in 1902 – where he studied his traditional style. After a brief stint in New York, he returned home to design several Carnegie libraries, including the Toronto Reference Library on College, now the University of Toronto Bookstore (Achieve of Ontario, 1976).

After the war, he combined forces with engineer J. Morrow Oxley and developed some the more predominate pieces of institutional and commercial architecture in the city, including many of the buildings on the Canadian National Exhibition ground and its grand entry, the Prince’s Gates. He slowly evolved his style to match the Art Deco movement as seen with the old Toronto Star Building – since demolished to make way for the TD Centre – and the Toronto Hydroelectric Building on College which remains today (Achieve of Ontario, 1976).

Toronto Central Library

Toronto Central Library

His final project was to be the 16-storey contemporary classical-designed Bank of Montreal building at Bay and King but was halted in 1940 during the war and Chapman, after suffering a stroke in 1943 only just saw its completion in 1948 a year before his death (Montreal Gazette, 1946). With his wife Doris, he raised six children, one of which, Howard D. Chapman, followed in his father’s footsteps and became known for his modern architecture style for a number of Toronto landmarks, such as the Riverdale Hospital – now demolished and under replacement by Bridgepoint Health (City of Toronto, 2011).

The Style

The Beaux-Arts style of architecture is often described as ornate but imposing, mixing a number of other styles and building members onto on façade, including classical, renaissance and baroque details and over-sizing elements over doors and windows (Kyles, 2002). Often criticised for its garishness and opulence, it was the style of choice for governmental buildings, city institutions and financial headquarters in North American from 1880-1920’s. The style is developed by the accumulation of talents over centuries both teaching and studying at the Fine Arts School in Paris, where Chapman trained (Cunliffe & Loussier, 2006, 178-179).

A number of examples, aside from those worked on by this architect, can be found in and around Toronto – from as early as the 1880’s with the Bank of Montreal branch at Front and Yonge to the most familiar of which is Union Station, on Front just north of the Commission building. The latest example of notice would be the Canada Life building, one of the only implementation of the master grand avenues plan developed by the city after the war to beautify the downtown and provide better traffic flow with the advent and growing popularity of the car only to be halted by the on-set of the depression (Osbaldeston, 2011, 45; Hayes, 2008, 138-139).

At openning

At openning

The Tenant

The Toronto Harbour Commission was established by Act of the Parliament of Canada in 1911 to manage the port facilities of Toronto – then a major international shipping facility – and to encourage the reclaiming of shallow and swampy land that has limited the capacity for growth in the city. At the time, no single authority had control over harbour traffic and infrastructure development along the waterfront thus a single agency was sought to allow for the local management of industries and private concerns surrounding the area (Transport Canada, 2006)

After construction of the building, the THC embarked on an ambitious plan to perform dredging of the inner harbour to accommodate for larger ships that were expected after the creation of the Welland canal, piling for the infill of land with garbage to provide piers at the end of city streets and by marking out promenades and recreational reserves with shoreline breakwaters to limit erosion. The plans also called for a link over the east and west channels to connect the Toronto Islands and its inhabitants to the mainland and provide for new beaches at both ends of the waterfront located at Sunnyside and Ashbridge’s Bay (Gagnier, 1919, 37-39).

At this time over 300 acres of newfound land was created with over half leased to factories, warehouses and shipwrights. The full completion of this plan would see the present shoreline extend another 300 feet in to the lake from its current position with wharfs protruding another 500 to 700 feet further (Gagnier, 1919, 39). Changes to the waterfront, including the Island Airport and new marine terminals to handle increased load from the St. Lawrence Seaway increased the importance of Toronto as an international port. But, the Depression and the shift from shipping by boat to rail and transport trucks along with industrial and manufacturing concerns moving to cheaper lands outside the city, eventually led the dissolution of the Toronto Harbour Commission; transferring some of its land to the city and the remainder ending in Federal hands under the Toronto Port Authority, which still uses this building as its headquarters since the 1990’s (Transport Canada, 2006).

The Area

Pressures to expand the waterfront started with the adoption of railways as the primary mode of resource and product transportation. Rail, at first, required little, but linear land that could easily be formed along waterfronts and thus close to downtown factories and populations, sharing resource storage needs with the waterways but as war efforts and industrial expansion continued, competing railway companies and the businesses that rely on them for the movement of goods required more land in and around the waterfront (Hayes, 2008, 120-121). After two consecutives fires in the downtown core, cleanup efforts along with waste from reconstruction and expansion required a place to be disposed of – along with the growing waste produced by an expanding city (Fair, 2011). The waterfront and its marshy shallow waters provided a dual solution, quick access to dumping and reclaimed land to develop more rail and port lands upon.

The area

The area

The industrialisation of southern Ontario and capacity issues dealing with war efforts placing pressure of valuable land close to the core of the city, the expansion program in to the lake offered a simple, inexpensive way to expand a city continuous steps outward from the original shoreline expanded usable land by 500-700 metres. The areas south of the core were primarily rail yards while merchant buildings, warehouses, factories lined the shoreline. As industry and families moved further out of the city and after World War II and the automobile took over as the primary mode (Osbaldeston, 2011, 50-58) for transportation the usefulness of these lands centralised around the rail and water faded as employment lands opened on the outskirts of the city and suburbia exploded (Hayes, 2008, 154-157). As a result, many of the buildings were left vacant and more cost-effective to tear them down and turn the land into parking lots for the booming financial district (Wickson, 2002).

The push of people out of the city by the car and pull of cheap housing created an age where roadways were becoming infrastructure giants. The Gardiner Expressway promised to ease congestion by elevating traffic pouring in from the outer-suburbs directly into the city, bypassing crossroads and flying over the old industry lands (Hayes, 2008, 170). This created what Kevin Lynch regards as a hard edge – a barrier that visually and intuitively blocks the flow within and understanding of a city. While development continued north of the expressway, the reclaimed land on the waterfront saw only a small amount of development limited to properties on the water’s edge. Reconnecting the city to the waterfront – a difficult task undertaken in many eastern North American cities with mixed results – has had a number of false starts in Toronto over the past forty years (WTC, 1968, 126). Plans that show mixed-use office and residential towers lining the area around the Toronto Harbour Commission exist both when the CN Tower was planned and when the Metro Convention Centre was built in the seventies and eighties respectively (Osbaldeston, 2011, 234-235).

The Building Today

The building was listed as a Toronto heritage landmark in 1973 during the push to retain some of Toronto’s history while many buildings were lost to large-scale redevelopment of the downtown core. After modernization of the office space in the 1980s the building was designated under Section IV of the Ontario Heritage Act in 1987 as well as covered under the Union Station Conservation District by council in 2006. These successive designations limit changes allowed to the structure and require that consideration must be taken to land-uses on surrounding lands and abide by the limitations afforded by the Act (Toronto Preservation Board). The history and location of the building attracts many to question its origin and is regularly apart of the DoorsOpen event that takes place annually in Toronto to showcase the ornate commissioners office and nautical history. The basement of the building which once stored the documents and archive rooms for the Commission now contains a high-end steak restaurant.

The Future

With a more stable economy backed by sound banking practices and coupled with a vivid downtown with an active day and night-time street life that attracts the upwardly mobile individual has made condominium development within and surrounding the core a burgeoning industry (Waterfront Toronto, 2010). Reclaimed railway and industrial lands connected by both public and private transit provide ample land for redevelopment and efforts to contain sprawl within the GTA with provincial protection acts for the Oak Ridges Moraine and the Green Belt have made dense residential development more attractive to developers and young professionals over the past decade (Place to Grow, 12-13, 30).

Future Plans

Future Plans

With this, pressure on companies to relocate offices from the outer suburbs to find and appease new sources of young and creative employees plus incentives on commercial development and networking connections with other industries have brought forth a massive office construction boom that sees approximately 8 million square feet of office space being added south of the historic core of the city – lands that were once parking lots for sporting and entertainment events held by the close by Air Canada and Rogers Centres (UrbanToronto).

While previous expansion of the core centred in CityPlace west of the CN Tower and the area just south of Union Station; the area surrounding the Toronto Harbour Commission Building remain the last few prime locations plans are before council to integrate the underground PATH network within a few years. As such, the past few months have saw exceptional interest by major corporations, including RBC and development companies, such as Tridel and Menkes to become new centres of retail, residencial and office construction. The announcements of new development in this area occur so rapidly that since the draft of this assignment was completed just over a month ago, plans for three new 70-75 storey condominiums and another office tower have been made public and are slated to enter feasibility and design studies while construction of a new 30-storey office tower has went from the planning stage directly into construction without the need for sales. The area directly around the Toronto Harbour Commission that was once slated for low-density warehousing and port facilities 80 years ago that never came to fruition due to yawing economic climates and wars will soon see a canyon of 50-70 storey buildings gracing its streets within the next decade – that is to say if a global recession doesn’t rear its ugly head again in the coming months (UrbanToronto).

Download the Toronto Harbour Commission Building report




Achieves of Ontario, Alfred H. Chapman Fonds (C 18) (Toronto: Queen’s Press, 1976)

City of Toronto. A Work in Progress: Commercial Architects, Howard D. Chapman (Toronto: City of Toronto Achieves , 2011)

Cunliffe, S & Loussier, J. [ed.] Architectural Styles: Spotter Guide (San Diego: Thunder Bay Press. 2006)

Fair, R. HST527 In-Class Lecture (Toronto, RyersonUniversity, 2011)

Gagnier, H. Publishers, Ltd. Construction: A Journal for the Architectural, Engineering and Contracting Interests of Canada, 12. (Toronto: Gagnier, H. Publishers Ltd, 1919). pp34-40

Goad’s Fire Insurance Plans (Retrieved from the City of Toronto)

Hayes, Derek. Historical Atlas of Toronto (Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, 2008)

Kyles, S. Ontario Architecture (Hamilton: 2002)

Mongo (sic). 60 Harbour Street (Toronto: UrbanToronto, 2011)

Montreal Gazette, The. Bank of Montreal Set to Resume Construction of Toronto Building (Montreal, Feb.22, 1946) Retrieved from,3657352

Osbaldeston, M. Unbuilt Toronto: A History of the City That Might Have Been (Toronto, Dundurn Press, 2008)

Osbaldeston, M. Unbuild Toronto 2: More of the City That Might Have Been (Toronto, Dundurn Press, 2011)

Places to Grow (2005) Growth Plan for the Greater Toronto Horseshoe (Toronto, Queen’s Press, 2005) 14-30.

Toronto Preservation Board [TPB]. Heritage Listings. (Toronto, City of Toronto, 2011)

Transport Canada. Review of the Toronto Port Authority Report (Ottawa: Government of Canada, October, 2006) Retrieved from

UrbanToronto [eds.] 120, 90 & 60 Harbour. (Toronto: Urban Toronto, 2011)

Wickson, Ted. Reflections of Toronto Harbour (Toronto: TorontoPort Authority, 2002)

Waterfront Toronto. Waterfront Toronto General Update (Toronto: Waterfront Toronto, 2010) [Slide Presentation]

Water Technical Committee [WTC]. Waterfront Plan for the Metropolitan Toronto Planning Area (Toronto: Metro Toronto, 1968)

Alexandra Park

Alexandra Park

Alexandra Park Secondary Plan - Sample

Alexandra Park Secondary Plan – Sample

Group project revolving around the redevelopment of Alexandra Park — a community housing project in Toronto owned and operated by the TCHC. Alexandra Park was developed in the era of large block-busting planning where roads were removed or realigned in order to create public space or walkable communities. Unfortunately, these design decisions isolated communities by removing flow between neighbourhoods and often created unsafe or unkempt spaces that deteriorated over time. Regent Park in the east-end of Toronto is currently undergoing a similar redevelopment with many success stories — but some irritation on how the process unfolded. The concept of the project was to continue with the success but address the failings from the first project.

Toronto community housing stock is currently under a massive infrastructure backlog. Most of the housing well beyond its build lifespan and little avenues for financing or years of neglect creating a crisis among it residents and neighbours.  Regent Park was the catalyst required to involve private sector developers with partnerships within the community and NGOs to leverage the condominium boom the City has experienced over the past decade to create an opportunity to address these issues.

Since this project was completed, the City of Toronto has embarked on a comprehensive rebuilding of the area, reconnecting the successful neighbourhoods surrounding the site and the appetite of citizens to live within walking or transit distance to a revitalized office and entertainment sectors nearby with providing more social housing that meets or exceeds the requirements of existing residents.


Anthony Di Santo
David Johnson
Paul Tobia
Stefano Guglietti
Austin Pernarella
Loralea Tulloch
Alexander Ruggieri
Cody Hashemi
Christopher Evan Jones

Personal Contributions

Land-Use Planning

Rezoning Requirements

Zero Displacement Staging

Massing Study

Cost Analysis

Maps and Schedules


Download the Alexandra Park Secondary Plan project



Read More

Torontoist article on the Toronto Plan

Toronto Star article on the social aspects of the plan

Link to the official TCHC plan





As a recent graduate of the Ryerson Urban and Regional Planning program and seasoned programmer and business analyst – with well-rounded exposure to a number of industries – I am currently seeking full-time or contract employment that can complement my existing skillset, better my education and training and leverage my career trajectory.

I also have experience with human resources, classroom instruction, project development, asset management and in a variety of construction positions. I would classify myself as hard working but easy-going and an independent and analytical thinker that thrives in complex problem or business situations while being quick and eager to learn.


Ryerson UniversityBachelors of Urban and Regional Planning (4 Year)

Recipient of the J. Michael Noonan 1st Year Award

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

2009 –2013


Seneca CollegeComputer Programming and Analysis Diploma (3 Year Co-op)

Graduated with High Honours

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

1996 – 1999


Employment History

Sheridan College / University of Toronto
Part-Time Professor
January 2010 – May 2013
Location: Oakville
Reporting To: Course Co-ordinator / Associate Dean

Professor of Web Culture and Design (CCT260) and Digital Innovations and Cultural Transformation (CCT205) – a joint program in the Communication, Culture and Information Technology (CCIT) program at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) – that focuses on the history of the Internet, societal impacts and design concepts for the future. The courses are the prerequisite for a Web studies stream leading to a Diploma and Degree of Bachelors of Arts.


InvestorView Inc.
Lead Developer (Full-Time/Contract)
October 2007 – Current
Location: Toronto
Reporting To: Project Director / President

An investment services corporation whose goal is to provide comprehensive financial data to become a leader in exchange, dividend and symbol analysis. A client management tool for financial analysts to report client market exposure, test and measure portfolio weightings and conform to OSC compliance criteria. The application combined a wealth of knowledge and data in an extensive historical data warehouse and reports overall performance, house revenue and potential commissions.


Designable Environments Inc.
Application Developer (Contract)
January 2012 –  May 2013
Location: Mississauga
Reporting To:Lead Architect

Development of mobile applications, relational database and reports for accessibility audits of public assets, such as the Toronto Community Housing Corporation major stock and Ontario Lottery Corporation casinos. The primary goal of these reports was to identify and classify the organisations’ ability to meet the level of access as required by the Accessibility for Ontarian with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) by 2014.


Sheridan College
Guest Lecturer
November 2007 – October 2009
Reporting To:
Course Co-ordinator

Hour-long lectures on how students can better prepare themselves for the “real” world. The first revolved around project management and the roles and responsibilities expected of new-hires by employers – and the second touched on code and conduct within the work environment and when to recognise warning signs and project showstoppers – The third, a revisit to both and how they interact.


Client-Side Developer
February 2003 – August 2003
Location: Toronto
Reporting To:VP Programming / President

Semaview’s goal was to compile the variety of information resource available on the Internet into a simple, customizable database that users could then transmit peer-to-peer using Resource Description Framework (RDF) and Web Ontology Language (OWL), both extensions of XML. I was responsible for most of the application’s front-end including graphics, framework and communications between servers and local databases and for demonstrating the software to management at intervals-end. I also created a simplistic graphical component for users to design and share their own ontology without the hassle of understanding the complexities required for RDF.


X-Stream / LibertySurf / Livedoor
Client-Side Internet Developer
September 1999 – October 2002
Location: Toronto – London – Tokyo
Reporting To:Director of Programming

A multinational Internet service provider (ISP) based in eight countries, LibertySurf provided free or low-cost service in exchange for direct advertising and customer surveys. Responsibilities included generating ideas for value-added services, and heading the team from development to production and developing the user questionnaire-driven advertising delivery system – The cornerstone of our business’s revenue model.


CIBC Insurance
Senior Systems Architect
April 1997 – September 1999
Location: Toronto
Reporting To:Director of Information

My roles and responsibilities in this previously skunk-works project turned live-production were almost limitless. The team initially comprised of the director, myself and a co-operative student to aid in development and individual department heads. The application replaced an antiquated purchasing system to provide greater flexibility for managers and other signing authorities from requisition to purchase delivery; integrated with the internal support desk to improve service calls and asset management; and dynamic enough to handle personnel, stationary, communications and real estate.



Development Languages ASP, .NET 4.5, C, C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3, MSSQL, AJAX, RDF, XML
Applications Office: Word, Access, PowerPoint, Excel ·  CS6: Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign ·  Visio, Rational Rose, MS Project  ·  3DS Max, ArcGIS

Other Experience

Depot Engineering
General Contractor
April 2005 – December 2006, May 2010 – August 2010
Renovation of homes from small cosmetic and design ideas to entire property rebuilds ·  Provided complete project plan and schematics including updates to customer on progress and milestones ·  Layout of plumbing, electrical and structural 
Bordello Restaurant
Floor Manager
October 2002 – February 2005
Responsible for opening and closing the restaurant ·   Directed staff in kitchen and on floor ·   Accepted and checked in-coming supply orders ·   Conducted full audit and book-keeping ·   General repairs and upkeep of property



Experience Abroad

Continuance of these positions were limited by visa conditions

West Plaza Hotel – New Zealand January 2004 – April 2004

Lead Bartender

Novotel Manchester City Centre August 2004 – October 2004

Day-time Bar Manager

Radisson Edwardian Manchester October 2004 – January 2005

Evening Bartender


Toronto City Councillor Adam Vaughan – Community Planning Committee
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

December 2012

Habitat for Humanity
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

July 2009

YMCA Green Roof
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

July – September 2009


Hobbies and Interests

As a hobby, I have designed computer games and an automated rental property manager, which allowed tenants to pay online with SMS notification and update time sheets and payments for my employees via the Web or mobile smart phone. I have always had a keen interest in architecture and urban planning and trained myself in a long list of construction techniques including framing, plumbing, electrical and drywall, which I have implemented personally and professionally. I am a qualified bartender and novice writer. In my spare time, I enjoy an evening in with friends, intriguing conversation and am currently learning Spanish.