Thank You!

Recognized by our peers, supported and driven by you

By Jeff Baker

Last evening (May 11, 2023), Prairie Manufacturer Magazine was named 2023 Manitoba Magazine of the Year at the Alberta Magazine Awards. This is our second time winning the award in three years, and it feels bloody amazing! But we truly couldn’t do it without you.

Thank you to the readers who keep turning to Prairie Manufacturer as a trusted source of information, insight, and analysis of the region’s manufacturing sector.

Thank you to the contributors and interviewees who offer their experiences, expertise, and good humour in sharing stories and intelligence with our community of readers.

Thank you to the advertisers who support the magazine by purchasing space within the pages and on the website.

Thank you to the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association for producing the Alberta Magazine Awards and extending the opportunity for out-of-province publications to participate in the program. This is why the business of magazine feels like a community, not just an industry – there’s really no such thing as an ‘outsider.’

And last but definitely not least, a massive ‘high five’ to my Prairie Manufacturer colleagues for your time, energy, and support as we continue this journey together. Each of us works to our strengths to deliver a great product with great content for each issue. We push each other to be better, and we do so with the aim of making a better magazine for a community who regularly focuses on continuous improvement!

We meet great folks, share their interesting stories, and put them into a fantastic product made by a great team who has some fun while doing so. It’s nothing fancy – it’s a variation on what your companies do everyday – but it just works.

The magazine industry continues to reinvent and renew itself, and it does so with a strengthened focus on service to the readers and the community. Prairie Manufacturer is living that renewal. We started out with more of a technical and process focus, looking primarily at what happens on the shop floor or in the executive office. In the ensuing years, we’ve shifted – based on the feedback from our readers – to focus more on the people and the personal stories behind the process and equipment. After all, there wouldn’t be a Prairie manufacturing industry without Prairie people!

In that vein, we want to hear from you – our readers – about the accomplishments of your companies and your colleagues that can be celebrated far and wide. We want to tell more great stories from the amazing companies who call the Prairies home, and we want to help you thank those who support your own journeys. After all, industry is just another form of community. 

Tech adoption (or the lack thereof)

In the Economic Roundup, Jay Myers uncovers some concerning statistics about why some manufacturers aren’t embracing advanced technology and big data. More than half of manufacturers surveyed across the region say that they don’t believe that advanced technology applies to their business activities; that it’s irrelevant!

In today’s world of the Internet of Things, where everything and everyone is interconnected and terabytes of information and data is being generated every second of every day, where you can use artificial intelligence to dive deeper than ever before into the workings of your business, not adopting these technologies could be seen like hanging a ‘going out of business’ sign on your front door.

Taking the bull(y) by the horns

On the human side, I had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Maggie Penfold to talk about a topic that is probably all too familiar for most of our readers: bullying. We chatted about what bullying is and isn’t, what it can look like in the workplace, what we can do as individuals and as teams, and how workplaces and employers can support the targets and mitigate the damage bullying can inflict. We learn that bullying doesn’t get left behind in childhood, why it happens, and if a bully can ever really be reformed. The answers might surprise you.

Keep your friends close, and the AI closer

In this issue’s feature article, we explore the reality created by the meeting of manufacturing and artificial intelligence (AI) and extended reality. You’ll meet a craft brewing company that left everything up to the AI brains-trust for their newest beer creation – including the recipe, the packaging, and the description on the cans!

Plus, you’ll meet an engineering professor who is working to open up the field for Black students in Alberta and across Canada, all the while finding new uses for artificial intelligence and technology-integrated smart coatings for machine parts.

Looking ahead

Over the summer, we’ll be working on content for the fall issue, and I’m looking for your help, dear reader!

We’re looking to meet manufacturers who are keeping it in the family and seeing the business transition between or within generations, and even those where everyone in the family is involved in the business in operations and/or leadership. If you know of a great manufacturing family story, please send it my way.

You’ll also meet some manufacturers who are getting down to business from over the northern horizon. After all, manufacturing isn’t just a southern story – the northern reaches of the Prairies and the territories are also home to some innovative and inspiring companies and folks. 

Prairie Manufacturer continues to be a magazine for and of this region’s manufacturers and their supporting partners, so it’s only right that your voices are heard and stories are shared in the pages you hold before you. If there’s a concern keeping you up at night, or if there’s a manufacturing story that you think we need to know about, please get in touch.

And if you’re on social media, be sure to follow and like our pages on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Those are also great ways to keep in touch with us!

So, until we chat again, I hope you enjoy the read.