Regional Business News
regarding the 2010 Olympics
in British Columbia, Canada
OlyBLOG is for businesses across Canada,
especially in Vancouver / Whistler and throughout B.C. We also
hope companies in Alberta and United States (i.e. Washington, Oregon,
Idaho, Montana and California) will find OlyBLOG interesting and informative.
Keith Sashawa - VRCA
the next few years leading up to 2010, Keith Sashaw may have more riding
on his shoulders than VANOC
CEO John Furlong. Furlong is charged with creating a plan for 2010,
but Sashaw, President of the Vancouver
Region Construction Association (VRCA) organizes a big part of the
construction workforce who will have to implement it.
No small feat.
From an economic perspective, Keith reminded me a while ago at the Buildex
show that there are a number of other regional projects much larger than
all of the Olympic mandates put together. The Port Authority and RAV are
just two construction behemoths that will tap out not only the workforce,
but also the supply of raw materials like steel, copper and concrete.
The skilled trades shortage is just the tip of the iceberg for Sashaw,
but just look to Athens if you want to get a feel for how serious labour
problems can be for the Olympics. Labour problems in Greece have caused
countless bottlenecks including strikes and slow downs that crippled progress.
In early April the IOC announced that the roof over the swimming pool
will not be in place. They decided to scrap the plan and do the best they
could to reschedule swimming events so athletes won't have to compete
in searing summer temperatures. Unlike Vancouver, it can get very hot
under a Greek sun. The main concern is that water temperature will increase
substantially which will seriously affect athletic performance.
The swimming pool is only one challenge in Athens, 150 days before the
event, which is scheduled to kick off August 13, more than half the venues
still have to be finished. This is hard on not only construction company
reputations, but also for the athletes and all the businesses counting
on a smooth operation. In comparison, Sydney in 2000 had their facilities
in operation 2 years earlier in 1998 and made $17 million dollars renting
space to foreign athletes who wanted to train in Australia, plus another
$53 million that went to small and midsize businesses who supplied products
and services for the athletes and support teams while they were training.
Read more about Athens
here. If you're interested in how incredibly well SMBs (small and
mid size business) did in Sydney click
There is more to the Olympics than just sporting events. If businesses
in Olympic regions have to absorb increased costs of doing business as
a result of higher taxes, congested roads, complex municipal and security
regulations, etc., they have to be able to recoup their losses. The best
way to do it is through promotional trade strategies which only work when
the system works. We are all counting on construction executives like
Keith Sashaw to come through for us and get the Olympics off to a positive
Everyone has an opinion regarding how to best build facilities
for the Olympics, including the Independent Contractors and Business Association
of Canada (ICBA). The ICBA sent a strong message to the construction industry
warning them of the dangers of being held hostage by unions in regard
to Olympic projects. They also had a list of suggestions on their website
for open shops to adopt in order to ensure that Olympic projects go as
smoothly as possible. One of their suggestions though of importing skilled
workers from other Canadian jurisdictions might not be too realistic considering
that many regions across Canada are also experiencing busy construction
phases, but they do offer other advice that has a lot of merit, like the
"Early and well-sequenced tendering of contracts, setting realistic
schedules, limiting contract risk through precise plans and drawings and
establishing incentives for meeting project targets are just a few of
the approaches that should be adopted to encourage the greatest number
of qualified bidders to submit competitive bids for Olympic projects."
If you have Adobe Acrobat click this PDF file
more from the ICBA . . .
*Ed. Note: We invested ovre three years and a six-figure budget researching
Olympic organization relationships with sponsors, contractors, suppliers,
partners, etc. The results surprised us too -- mouseover below
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Learn more about the challenges small
businesses face. Leverage
Olympic organizations are
BIG BUSINESS MACHINES that attract corporations like Kodak,
CocaCola, McDonald's, Wal*Mart, etc. Consequently, VANOC (Vancouver
Organizing Committee) will be stretched thin trying to also develop ways
to assist small and midsize businesses leverage Olympic momentum. Surprisingly,
many people don't realize the event can also be lucrative for smaller
businesses including agriculture, manufacturers, entertainment, technology,
retail & obviously tourism, even when they don't have products
or services that appeal to Olympic fans or serve a direct Olympic need.
The information we share here is invaluable in helping
small and midsize businesses leverage Olympic momentum.
Interested in booking a speaking engagement? Advertise on OlyBLOG?
Global Olympic News
2010 News Updates
A view from Australia
Worker's Rights Sportswear
Impact on Community