2019, Volume 4, Issue 2 - Fall 2019

In order to make an omelette, you’ve got to break a few eggs

Disrupting and diversifying the status quo

By Jeff Baker

Whether it’s ideas, materials, or culture, in order to create something new, you often need to break something down before building or rebuilding. Buildings need footings and foundations; mines break rock to get ore which is then broken down again to get the minerals; metal needs cutting and bending to create machinery and goods.

Disruption creates ‘white space’ which is the room needed to create something different, something out of the ordinary; something truly unique. It’s in those spaces, too, where we see a diversity of ideas and possibilities blossom into something outstanding.

The people and companies you’ll meet in this issue are working to not only disrupt their businesses and sectors, but the entire world around them for the better.

Since the last issue, we’ve heard from a good number of you about the contributors featured and the manufacturing stories we shared from across the region. The positive feedback is great, and it makes all of us at the magazine want to keep doing more of this rewarding work.

In the months since our summer issue, we’ve been busy working to uncover some amazing contributors and stories for the fall issue, featuring the great province of Saskatchewan.

A question, a mystery, an enigma

For me, growing up in western Manitoba (Brandon, to be exact), Saskatchewan was something of an enigma. It was a huge province we had to drive across to get to Alberta and the west coast. It always seemed to take forever, and the towns sort of ‘blurred together’ after a while.

Sure, there was always the highlight of a milkshake at the Red Barn in Moosomin (at its original location in town!), stopping for ice cream at Twisted Sisters in Chamberlain, marvelling at the salt flats of Chaplin Lake, or wading out a goodly distance from the beach at Good Spirit Lake, but Saskatchewan always remained something mysterious to me.

That changed in the summer of 2000.

I took a summer position at the Canada-Saskatchewan Business Service Centre in Saskatoon, providing information and research assistance to entrepreneurs across the province who were looking to start or expand a business.

The ideas and plans they brought were amazing, and the energy and drive they demonstrated was inspiring. The innovative nature of the province had begun to emerge before my eyes, and I haven’t seen Saskatchewan in the same way since.

In the Land of Living Skies, it’s the energy of the people and the land that make those skies come alive. No doubt about it!

The breakdown

Companies across Saskatchewan are changing what it means to be food processors, and they’re changing how we’ll feed the world’s ever-growing population. Joanne Paulson, in her feature article starting on page 30, introduces us to local companies making positive differences across the globe, from right here on the Prairies.

In this issue’s HERstory, we meet Madeline Conn of Saskatoon’s High Key Brewing, who tells us how she ended up in the craft beer business. She also shares how owning a brewery is challenging people’s perceptions of the industry and of a female’s role in a male-dominated sector.

On page 6, you’ll meet a couple of Italian expats with entomology and environmental science backgrounds, who are disrupting Canadians’ snacking and cooking habits. They’re combining their foodie nature and heritage with an innovative source of protein to change the snacking habits of Canadians.

It’s not just food innovation we’re covering in this issue; the innovations abound at the intersection of biotechnology and manufacturing.

Over on page 18, you’ll learn just what a powerhouse the Prairies are when it comes to biotech and manufacturing. You’ll meet one company who has the potential to turn crops and crop residue into a multi-million-dollar industry serving the agriculture, building products, and automotive parts industries.

In addition to these stories of innovators and disruptors, the Prairie Manufacturer team is introducing you to some innovations of our own.

Our favourite economist, Jayson Myers, is back with a new column, Prairie Economic Roundup. He’ll provide you both the high-level Canada-wide analysis you’ve come to expect, plus a special focus on our region’s individual provinces and their performance in a particular sector.

We also welcome back Derek Lothian. In Pulse on Policy, he gives you the lowdown on policy insights and analysis that is sure to get you thinking and spur you into action. If you read only one pre-election commentary, make this the one.

The build-up

As we continue the journey that is Prairie Manufacturer, I hope we continue to respectfully challenge your assumptions about the industry and its people. We want to highlight the diversity of this amazing industry, in this amazing region, driven by the amazing people we call neighbours.

The creativity of our industry is undeniable, but it takes work to ensure we never lose this advantage. It takes concerted effort to ensure that every person and every idea is accepted, encouraged, and celebrated for simply being.

We’re working on some very exciting things for our winter issue, and the year ahead. Our next issue will put the spotlight on Alberta, including what’s changed in the province’s manufacturing sector, and where the sector is headed in the years ahead. Alberta’s a province of energy and dynamism, so we’ll find out if it’s a case of same old, same old or if it’s a brand-new engine beneath the hood.

Stay tuned!

In the meantime, please continue
to reach out to me with your feedback and story ideas by sending an email to jeff@prairiemanufacturer.ca. I love hearing from you!

Until the next time we chat, I hope you enjoy the read.