Conference kick-off set

By Braeden Jones, Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune Staff

Tuesday, February 17, 2015 8:40:34 MST AM

The sixth annual Growing the North economic development conference is bringing private and public sector leaders to Grande Prairie this week.

The conference, held at the ENTREC Centre in Evergreen Park, will run Feb. 18-19 and feature more networking time than previous iterations of the event.

Organizing partner and Chamber of Commerce CEO Dan Pearcy said feedback from past attendees highlighted face-to-face discussions as a valuable component of the conference.

“We do a survey at the end of every conference and that’s something people asked for - more networking time,” he said. “We started incorporating it last year and now we are building on it.”

He explained that many attendees travel for the event, and gaining more face-time and forging more relationships helps them make the most of it.

Chamber marketing manager Tom Pura said the conference itself is about sparking discussion, and by increasing the networking time the Growing the North planners have provided more opportunity for that spark to ignite.

“It allows you to be in the same room with someone you might otherwise only get to talk to by phone,” he said. “Hopefully it’s a good opportunity for municipal and business leaders to meet and share thoughts, concerns, and maybe ideas as well.”

Tasting the Peace tonight

Kicking off the conference is the first large networking opportunity, the annual Taste of the Peace event—taking place this year at the Pomeroy Hotel and Conference Centre on Feb. 17.

About 20 booths will fill the Pomeroy with local produce, and give residents a chance to explore the vitality of the region while learning about what food is produced locally.

Growing the North conference goers will have a chance to mingle with each other, connect with producers and the general public, while top chefs Alex Hebert of the Office and Shaun Paton of the Stonebridge Hotel cook using the local produce all around them.

More networking time is built into the Growing the North schedule on Wednesday, and more still is slotted in for a networking lunch on Thursday.

The Growing the North Conference is rounded out by speakers with designs on unveiling local, national and international economic trends to the movers and shakers in attendance.

The speaker list includes J.P Gervais of Farm Credit Canada, former MLA Doug Griffiths, ATCO’s Chief Operating Officer Siegfried Kiefer, Peace River MLA Frank Oberle, Wade Peters, VP Business Development of Ferus, management consultant Brock Dickinson, Seven Generations CEO Pat Carlson, Alberta Forest Products Association President Paul Whittaker, Dr. Deborah Eastlick, place making consultant Dr. Katherine Loflin, and author and results coach Shawn Shewchuk.

Keynote speakers Jay Ingram of the Discovery Channel and Terry O’Reilly of CBC Radio One will be on stage on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

And, in case networking wasn’t a prominent enough feature, organizers have gone out of their way to encourage it with a networking challenge draw in which delegates can enter their business card to win an Apple iPad.



 GRAND PRIZE DRAW: All attendees will be eligible to enter a draw for a trip to Amsterdam on KLM-Royal Dutch Airlines courtesy of Edmonton International Airport! You must be at least 18 years old to enter and you must be in attendance to win (draw to take place following the final presentation on Thursday, February 19).

Registration forms, which can be emailed, mailed, faxed, or dropped off at the Grande Prairie & District Chamber of Commerce, are available by clicking the image below. For more information, please call 780-532-5340 or email

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Thank you to our 2015 Sponsors!



 Location: ENTREC Centre Evergreen Park
Grande Prairie, AB

For more information including directions, please visit


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