2014 Conference Presentations

Here are the presentations from the 2014 Growing the North Conference which were made available to us by their respective speakers.

Dick Brown, President and CEO, Ferus Natural Gas Fuels

Brenda Frank, Director of Alliances, Farm Credit Canada

Peter Howard, President and CEO, Canadian Energy Research Institute

Dr. Michael Tretheway, Chief Economist and Chief Strategy Officer, InterVISTAS Consulting

Conference keeps growing

By Elizabeth McSheffrey, Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune

Thursday, February 20, 2014 6:06:06 MST PM


In all of its five years, never has the Growing the North conference ended with such a bang.

The two-day series wrapped up on Thursday with a gripping address from retired Canadian astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield.

Audience members were over the moon with the national icon’s speech and closed the conference with a standing ovation.

“We’re really pleased with the speakers,” said Walter Paszkowski, economic development manager for the County of Grande Prairie.

“(Hadfield) is so human and yet so above and beyond in so many ways.”

Paszkowski, who has organized the conference for the last five years, said this year’s edition turned out a record attendance of more than 500 people.

Never before has Growing the North had such a diverse audience of participants and a star-studded lineup of speakers and guests.

Highlights from the event included not only Hadfield, but other big names such as Premier Alison Redford, technology guru Marc Saltzman and National Research Council of Canada president John McDougall.

The conference included a wide variety of 20 industry, business and motivational speakers, each with a unique message to take home about innovation and growth in the North.

“It’s a tremendous learning opportunity that comes to our area,” Paszkowski explained. “They all delivered in a wonderful way and so this conference is probably one of the best in the province.”

The economic development manager recently announced his retirement from both the county and the conference organizing committee, but said he couldn’t have asked for a better send-off.

It may be tough to top this year’s all-star cast, but Paszkowski is confident the conference legacy has been left in more than capable hands.

“I’ve been here for five years and of course it’s grown quite nicely and it’s been a great experience,” he explained. “There are a lot of good people here… It’s something that this area deserves.”

Grande Prairie and District Chamber of Commerce CEO Dan Pearcy has worked with Paszkowski on Growing the North since it started and said plans for the next conference will proceed with full steam ahead.

The conference has developed so much already, he explained, there is no reason it will not continue to grow and expand.

“It’s been great, we’re now seeing pretty much every sector involved here both sitting in the seats and presenting on the stage,” he said.

“(Paszkowski) has a lot of contacts, but he’s not far away when the phone rings. We’ll be able to bring him back to give us a hand with any issues that we might have, but I think it’s in pretty competent hands.”

Still, the CEO said Growing the North is Paszkowski’s “brainchild,” and his touch will be sorely missed by organizers and audience members alike.

The former politician not only had a lot of connections, but a fabulous manner and overall work ethic.

“It’s been a great pleasure working with him,” said Pearcy. “He’s the one who has brought this to light.”


Watch for registration and speaker information for 2015 coming soon!


Thank you to our 2014 Sponsors!



 2015 Sponsorship Opportunities coming soon!

Location: ENTREC Centre, Evergreen Park,
Grande Prairie, AB

For more information including directions, please visit www.evergreenpark.ca


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