Impact night out: pizza, bowling and beer!

At Impact we love a little healthy competition… so we decided to get our evening ROLLING at Commodore Lanes! After a little pizza party at the office (it’s very important to load up on carbs before exerting ourselves at the bowling alley, of course!) we strolled down Granville Street and had an awesome night full of laughs and beers. As it turns out, most of Team Impact is absolutely terrible at bowling, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying ourselves. One of the best things about working at Impact is that we are such a close-knit group; we really enjoy spending time together, whether it be at work or in our free time. Thanks to Katie and Brian (Operations Division) for organizing another successful evening of team bonding! Can’t wait to see what happens on our next night out…

Compass 2.0 project aims to expand services for transit users

TransLink wants to raise all-time-high transit ridership even higher in Metro Vancouver with new projects and modifications to its Compass card fare system.

Long-sought major projects, such as the Millennium Line extension underneath Broadway to Arbutus Street and light-rail transit in Surrey, are high on the agenda for Metro Vancouver’s transit authority.

TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond, however, told Business in Vancouver January 26 that other initiatives are afoot to try to get more Compass cards into the hands of Vancouverites and to make the transit system more accessible for tourists. He calls this project Compass 2.0.

“It’s possible, maybe by the end of this year or the following year, that we will have open payment on Compass, where you’re able to just tap a credit card and go though [fare gates],” Desmond said.

Other aspects of Compass 2.0 include possibly linking a Mobi by Shaw Go bike-share membership to the Compass cards or linking pre-paid BC Ferries fares onto the cards, Desmond said.

Desmond hailed the Compass card system as a success in part because TransLink counted 384.83 million separate boardings on SkyTrain, SeaBus, West Coast Express and Coast Mountain Bus Co., combined, in 2016.
He said that figure was 4.5% higher than in 2015 – though different counting methods were in place before Compass cards were introduced to the public in December 2015, and TransLink closed SkyTrain station gates starting in April.

Now, more than 95% of all TransLink transactions take place using the blue plastic cards.

More than one million Compass cards are in use, which means that more than 40% of people in the region have one, Desmond added.

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Value of B.C. food exports growing quickly

Just five years ago, the most valuable export commodities coming out of the ground in B.C. apart from trees were copper and metallurgical coal.

But in 2015, the value of B.C. food exports surpassed both copper and metallurgical coal. Met coal used to be B.C.’s second most valuable export, next to lumber.

Copper exports in 2015 were valued at $2.9 billion, according to BC Stats, and outbound metallurgical coal was worth $3 billion. Agri-food and seafood exports in 2015 hit a record $3.8 billion.paul_falcon_blueberries_credit_rob_kruyt.png__0x500_q95_autocrop_crop-smart_subsampling-2_upscale (1)

B.C. salmon farmers marked record exports in 2015, with China and South Korea providing important new markets. Farmed salmon exports increased 38% since 2013.

Overall, B.C.’s food sector employs 55,000 people directly and 20,000 farm families, according to the provincial government.

While the sector’s displacement of met coal or copper in terms of the value of its exports is partly attributable to sustained low resource prices, B.C. Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick is also taking some credit. He points to his government’s 2012 B.C. agri-foods strategy, which was updated in 2015 and now aims to raise agri-food and seafood revenue to $15 billion by 2020.

“Agriculture is a key part of our economy,” Letnick said. “It employs a lot of people, creates a lot of GDP.”

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Security sector booms but hiring remains an issue

The security industry is growing so rapidly that the sector faces huge hurdles in hiring and retaining enough employees, industry insiders say.

Dan Popowich, CEO of security firm Commissionaires BC, said multiple industries including airports, local governments, pipelines, universities, construction and non-core policing are all hiring more security – and have been for the past few years.

Popowich said finding good employees remains a challenge for outfits such as Commissionaires BC, which is run as a not-for-profit with 2,100 employees in B.C. and annual revenue of $50 million.

“It’s always a burden because the pay is not that great,” he said.

Popowich said the biggest hurdle is finding employees who have training in technology. He said a large part of the job now involves managing security camera footage, engaging in electronic reporting and using devices like iPads. Popowich said there are still basic security jobs, such as watching over construction sites, that do not require as much training, but those jobs are dwindling.1422-security-list-story-dan-popowich-web.jpg__0x500_q95_autocrop_crop-smart_subsampling-2_upscale

Popowich said a lot of companies are not willing to pay more when it comes to security contracts, which pushes the industry into a catch-22.

“If we can obviously pay more, then it would attract a different type of person,” he said. “The other thing is if we could charge more, then we could provide more training to our officers.”

Paul Stanley, who runs the security consultancy TSC Consulting and holds a master’s degree in risk management, was part of BC Hydro’s corporate security team for nine years. He said wages for security guards are on par with the fast-food industry, which doesn’t reflect the amount of responsibility taken on by security personnel, especially with increasing regulation and rising training standards.

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