Impact hits the links – without leaving the office!

And just like that, it’s June. Between meetings, interviews and welcoming a bunch of new faces to our team, it’s been a crazy couple of months here at Impact! This time our sister company, Impactemps, was tasked with organizing the bi-monthly team building event. They jumped right into planning a fun outdoor activity, but after noticing the weather forecast was calling for rain on the day of the party they scrapped their original idea and came up with something even better! Led by the Impact jack-of-all-trades, Jarrett, they went about designing an elaborate indoor mini-golf course around the office.

It’s been said that the US Open boasts conditions more difficult than any other golf tournament. We think whoever made this claim has very clearly never played 9 holes at Impact Recruitment. Impactemps crafted their course chock full of obstacles and hazards, twists and turns, and attempted to distract the players with “adult beverages” like Jello shots, beergaritas and Caesars.

In typical Impact fashion (no pun intended), the teams of golfers jumped at the opportunity to dress up in costume. From safety vests and helmets to Blue Jays socks and basketball jerseys, no one will ever claim that we aren’t an enthusiastic bunch.

When all the teams had completed the course (and had more than enough Jello shots), the sun was out and we were able to enjoy a delicious dinner of BBQ, salads and sundaes on the patio. It was another wonderful evening with everybody at Impact, we’re thrilled to be growing and adding many new faces to our team. Thanks to Impactemps for putting on an incredible party – that will definitely be a difficult act to follow!

  • Master plans

  • Jello shot while you play, miss?

  • Handsome gents.

  • Baseball socks during a golf game?

  • Typical Building Division.

  • It was a bit hectic.

  • Halfway through!

  • We have almost mastered the art of the group selfie...

  • Stella manned the BBQ while we golfed! What a champ.

  • The winners!

  • And the losers.

A botched scavenger hunt, a broken elevator and a patio party

We take our parties pretty seriously here at Impact Recruitment: in October the Building Division got us to dress up in costumes and sing our hearts out at karaoke; in December our management team arranged an amazing Christmas party at Lift; mid-February the Operations Division put our bowling skills to the test at Commodore Lanes, and come April Professional Services was determined to throw a company party that would be just as memorable.

The plan was to break into teams and complete an elaborate scavenger hunt around the city, then race back to the office for a BBQ, beers, and the first official patio party of the year. Needless to say, things didn’t quite go to plan. Being a fairly competitive bunch, the clock struck 4pm and the entire office raced for the doors at lightning speed. Three teams crammed their way into one elevator, and almost immediately, three teams found themselves stuck in that same elevator for the next hour and a half.

Only one team was spared this claustrophobic fate and, unaware that their colleagues were currently imprisoned somewhere between the first and second floor of the building, they wasted no time getting started. Sprinting around the city completing a serious of hilarious (read: embarrassing) challenges, the girls posed with Gassy Jack, practiced yoga in lululemon, and even did the macarena in a crowded Gastown bar. It’s rumoured that at one point Katie O’Brien exclaimed gleefully to her team, “I think we’re going to win!”. Yes, Katie, we think so too. If only by default.

After a brief appearance by the fire brigade, the anticlimactic rescue of 75% of the Impact Recruitment staff, and breaking the news to Katie’s team that they were in fact the only team actually participating, everyone was more than ready to hit the patio with a beer in hand and some burgers on the grill.

Though it didn’t exactly go to plan, it was a great evening of delicious food and lots of laughs. Many thanks to Professional Services for hosting a company party that will certainly go down in history as one of the true “Legends of Impact”. Cheers to botched plans making the best stories and to team building activities being a delight when you work with such a wonderful bunch of people.

‘Til next time, we’ll see you around. But not in the elevator, because we’ll be taking the stairs.

GVBOT enters partnership with BC government to boost exporting

The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (GVBOT) has entered into a partnership worth $2.5 million with the provincial government intended to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) increase their export capacity, with a specific focus on Asia.

“Our role is to seize the opportunity afforded to us as Canada’s only Pacific province, to fulfill our exporting potentiahong_kong_container_terminal_credit_pelikh_alexey__shutterstock_inc.jpg__0x500_q95_autocrop_crop-smart_subsampling-2_upscalel by looking to Asia and the other markets accessible to us through Canada’s Asia Pacific gateway and by counting on our vibrant SME community.”

The plan includes initiatives to partner industry with government and business experts to help build their international trade capacity. As well, it specifically looks at the export potential of First Nations-owned businesses.

“One in five British Columbian jobs is tied to exporting, and there exists a direct linkage between exporting, job creation and increased productivity, said GVBOT CEO Iain Black.

“By investing in these programs, businesses in Greater Vancouver and across the province will benefit.”

Read full article on BIV.com.

Coast Guard hiring for 150 positions in BC, 500 across Canada

The Canadian Coast Guard has announced it is looking to fill 150 positions in B.C. to staff new lifeboat stations, ships and infrastructure projects.

The federal agency is looking to add 500 positions across Canada. While that will not reverse the cuts made under the previous Harper government, it will allow a quicker response to environmental emergencies and search-and-rescue missions, said David Heap, regional director for the coast guard’s integrated business management services.

Some of the new positions on the West Coast will be tied to four new lifeboat stations and several new vessels, part of the $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan announced in November.

The locations of the stations have not been announced, but they will help fill in “some of the blanks that we’ve currently got up and down the coast,” Heap said.

Port Hardy will also get more resources to beef up the coast guard’s environmental-response capacity along northern Vancouver Island and the central coast.

The federal agency is hosting job fairs and looking to hire mariners, navigators, marine engineers and environmental response personnel, as well as technicians and engineers to work on infrastructure such as radar sites.coast

“Everything from electronic engineers who know about microwaves and radar and how they work to labourers that are going out on the work crews to help set up some of the shore-side facilities,” Heap said.

Heap said none of the 500 positions will replace retiring workers. Upward of 20 per cent of the coast guard’s 4,500 employees could soon be retiring, he said.

“We have the same [aging] demographics as other industries, meaning there’s a lot of people looking to retire in the next five to 10 years,” Heap said.

Read full article on BIV.com.

 

B.C.-backed plant creates jobs in West African community

Goldcorp Inc. (TSX:G) chairman Ian Telfer was in Senegal recently for the grand opening of one of his latest investments.

It wasn’t a new gold mine, however, but a waste-to-energy plant that takes tires and plastics and turns them into fuel in the township of Nguekokh.

The project was the brainchild of Vancouver businessman Stephen Jenkins and was built and financed entirely by B.C. business people. The $1.8 million plant was designed and built by Vancouver engineering design firm Balanced Power Engineering Inc., which is also an investor in the project.

Balanced Power used to work mostly with pulp and paper mills, and still has clients in that industry, but over the last decade it has changed its focus.

“In the last 10 years we’ve pushed hard on the renewable energy,” said Balanced Power president Todd Walter.energies_du_futur.jpg__0x500_q95_autocrop_crop-smart_subsampling-2_upscale

Jenkins is the founder of a social enterprise called Energies Du Futur, which is working to develop renewable energy projects in West Africa. The new waste-to-energy plant in Senegal, which was officially opened on January 31, is the first of six projects Jenkins is trying to build. A second phase will be a wind and solar energy project.

The plant uses plastics and tires as feedstock to produce a variety of diesel fuels through pyrolysis, a process that breaks up polymers at high temperatures. It can process up to 1,500 tires per day and produce up to 15,000 litres of fuel oil – which raises the question: does Senegal really have that many old tires lying around? Sadly, the answer is yes, Walter said.

“There are that many waste tires,” he said. “By our estimates, we’ve got a 15-year supply. They’re stacked up on the sides of roads everywhere you go. If you go outside of town a little ways, you’ll find gullies. These will be completely full of tires.”

There is a lot of waste plastic around too. Local villagers are paid $15 per tonne to bring plastics and tires to the plant, which employs 40 people.

To finance the project, Jenkins called on Telfer and other friends in B.C. to become investors to raise the $1.8 million needed to build the plant. The township of Nguekokh donated the land for a 5% equity stake in the project.

Read full article on BIV.com.

 

Uber and other ride-sharing services look set to get the green light in B.C. this year

Five years after its initial attempt to launch in Vancouver, Uber and other ride-sharing services look set to get the green light for B.C. roads this year.

The province announced Tuesday it will be ready to roll out ride-sharing services by the holiday season of 2017, meaning the introduction of Uber or Lyft would have to come after May’s provincial election.

“There’s a lot of pressure on the government, particularly from millennials, to get something that is beyond what the taxis are offering,” said lawyer Bill McLachlan, who represents the BC Taxi Association.

He added the timing of the rollout is not surprising.uber

“If the Liberals get elected, they want to dangle these incentives. And if they don’t [get elected], who knows where these things will go?”

Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Peter Fassbender, who handles the ride-sharing portfolio in cabinet, and Transportation Minister Todd Stone said the government would help the taxi industry to stay competitive.

Among the initiatives announced was an investment of up to $1 million to develop a new app for the taxi industry with shared dispatch, as well as hailing and payment options similar to what other ride-sharing services offer.

The province also said it would work with municipalities to allow ride-sharing drivers and taxi drivers to pick up and drop off in different cities.

Currently, a Vancouver taxi driver can pick up in Vancouver and drop off in Coquitlam. But the Vancouver driver would not be able to pick up a passenger in Coquitlam while driving back to his home base.

“It’s very progressive thinking,” said Nitesh Mistry, director of business operations at Vancouver-based Ripe Rides.

Read full article on BIV.com.

 

Telus investment promises to expand horizons for businesses in rural B.C.

Increased investment in wireless phone and high-speed Internet infrastructure in northern British Columbia is a welcomed change for local businesses.

“I wouldn’t say it affects my business so much as it enables my business,” said Steve Tory, founder and CEO of Dino High Tech Solutions, an IT and marketing company based out of Tumbler Ridge.

Telus has committed to investing $4.5 billion through 2019 across the province. Some of the investment will be used to extend fibre optic infrastructure directly to homes and businesses. The new infrastructure will help increase Internet access and connectivity in the more rural areas of British Columbia’s north.

As part of a strategic partnership with the province, Telus has also invested $1 million to develop wireless access along Highway 29 between Hudson’s Hope and the Highway 97 junction. The investment brought wireless service to the Moberly Lake community located near Chetwynd, which is 100 kilometres north of Tumbler Ridge.1426-telecomsnorth-226031854.jpg__0x500_q95_autocrop_crop-smart_subsampling-2_upscale

Naomi Larsen, executive director of the Chetwynd Chamber of Commerce, said the area’s First Nations communities and businesses have greatly benefited from the wireless connection along Highway 29, which has given them access to wireless services for the first time. That access can create opportunities that small and local business never had before, as it did for Tory.

Tumbler Ridge is a small town of just over 2,500 people located near the northern Alberta border. It was recently the beneficiary of a similar infrastructure investment that helped connect the region to the 21st century. Before the upgrade, Tumbler Ridge citizens and businesses relied on outdated technology to connect them to the rest of the world. For Tory, access to a high-speed Internet connection meant that he could leave his job in the oil and gas sector and explore entrepreneurial opportunities. He said that without high-speed Internet he wouldn’t have dreamed of opening a tech business in northern B.C.

Broader Internet access not only helps Tory find customers locally but also allows him to compete internationally. While he would like to see more money invested in tech infrastructure in the north, Tory said the region is ahead of the curve, particularly when compared with rural areas in the U.S.

“It really did make a dramatic difference to the community,” said Donna Merry, former secretary for the Tumbler Ridge Chamber of Commerce. “Small businesses now have access to the technology that they need to do their business. This was not always the case.”

Read full article on BIV.com.

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.
compass_gates_-_credit_korstrom

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.

Read full article on BIV.com.

 

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.”

Read full article on BIV.com.