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.
Kerry Jothen - HR GURU
Meet Kerry Jothen. He is a well spoken labour advocate and possibly one
of the most important harbingers in the first push to 2010.
During his presentation at a recent breakfast meeting of Vancouver's construction
elite, Kerry was the most vocal regarding the Olympics' human resource
skilled trades shortage. A question small and mid size businesses in the
GVRD should be asking is whether the construction industry considers the
skilled trades shortage as serious a problem as Kerry Jothen does.
Jothen, President & CEO of Human
Capital Strategies and one of the panelists at the April 2004 Board
of Trade breakfast meeting, warned construction industry leaders gathered
in the Coast Plaza Hotel's packed-to-the-rafters conference room, that
one of the greatest obstacles to the success of the Games could be a lack
of skilled tradespeople. (Someone has to physically build all those Olympic
roads and facilities.) No one on the panel disagreed, in fact almost all
had something to say about it in their presentations. Jothen just said
Jothen is a qualified, experienced and respected training, education and
human resources advisor, and when he speaks, people listen. His colleagues
on the Board of Trade Panel were construction industry luminaries David
Podmore, Keith Sashaw and Dave Park, all influential Vancouver businessmen.
If the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC) wants to make the
Olympics a success that includes small and medium size businesses, they
have to create a plan and execute it in a way that gives everyone an opportunity
to get involved. The Olympics obviously holds great opportunity for big
business, but if the ramp up over the next year or so is not managed properly
smaller businesses may not have enough time to get on board to leverage
the momentum. Small businesses have small budgets. If they are given enough
time, through smart planning they can compensate for lack of funds by
implementing strategies that weave their presence at both a community
and global level into the fabric of the Olympic momentum. If they don't
have time to plan they miss opportunities and find it impossible to play
There is no doubt the skilled trades shortage is real, and that it will
be extremely difficult to attract workers from other provinces. One solution
put forth by panelists was to train more workers. However, extensive training
is futile because there isn't enough time to build a large enough workforce
in time to build Olympic facilities, at least from a small business perspective.
It's important to know that VANOC CEO John Furlong is making it clear
to the construction industry that he wants the facilities in operation
a couple of years before the Games. (More on that later.) In regards to
the skills shortage, we can certainly train some types of tradespeople,
but for the most part, Vancouver will have no choice but to import skilled
workers from other countries. If you want to know why we don't have enough
people in Canada to fill the skilled trade ranks, Kerry Jothen's website,
Capital Strategies may be able to shed more light on it for you.
Why is the skilled trade shortage even a
concern to small and mid size business?
It's simple. Small and midsize businesses need more time to get up to
speed. We need to know how we fit into the system. If the target keeps
changing we can't react fast enough to hit it. Big business may not be
able to move fast, but they can throw huge amounts of money at a variety
of options, and pick the strategy du'jour, a strategy through which no
fault of our own would effectively knock small business out of the running.
Big business can afford to zig zag to the finish line. Small business
needs to know before they start the race where the finish line is. We
need to know from VANOC that they have a long term plan in place and that
they will stay the course and deliver as promised. Salt Lake City fumbled
in this respect and made it incredibly difficult for small and midsize
businesses to compete. Sydney 2000 on the other hand did an incredible
job supporting regional business.
Vancouver is a region with a solid history of independent business. We
still aggressively resist BIG BOX companies like Walmart and Home Depot,
but keep in mind that in many respects the Olympics is also a BIG BOX
machine. Let's preserve our unique heritage and not have it fall away
in the shadow of the Olympics.
*Ed. Note: We invested two 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?
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