The Stampede AGM in March was the halfway point of my two year term as President & Chairman of the Board. It doesn’t seem possible to me that a year has gone by already but it has been a busy and very rewarding year.
I started my role the same time as Warren did in his new role as CEO and it has been a great pleasure to work with him. Mainly because we were both new to our jobs we decided to try some new things and I am pleased about many of our changes and in particular our goal to operate openly and transparently and share more information with not only the Board but with the entire organization and I feel we have had some real success in that area.
Speaking of the AGM I note that we had both record personal attendance and a record number of votes cast in the Board elections. Great to see such strong attendance from our shareholders and congratulations to all those who were re-elected to the Board that evening.
A few days after the AGM we had the GMC Rangeland Derby Canvas Auction thanks to all of the hard work put forth by our Chuckwagon committee, Paul Rosenberg, Robert Wise and all of our Agriculture employees, the auction came in at $2.2 mm, a far larger total than many had been forecasting. I think that total clearly shows both the resiliency of the people of Calgary and southern Alberta and the general support out there for the sport of chuckwagon racing.
In early April we held Aggie Days and for the first time in the Agrium Western Event Centre. This always popular event was a great success with both the school classes who attended during the first two day as well as the huge public crowds that attended on the weekend. Great thanks to Grant Northcott, chair, Agriculture Education and the entire committee for their efforts during this terrific event which engages the community in such an important way.
Just a few weeks following Aggie Days the Calgary Stampede hosted the National Holstein Conference and the Dairy Classic again in the Agrium Building. This was also a very well attended event and show and visitors from across Canada and the US appeared to be having a great time and the Agrium Centre never looked better. Kudos for our Agriculture and Sales & Event Management teams for all their hard work and of course to chair Debbie Lee and all the other hard working Dairy Classic committee members for their efforts in making this event a great success.
All of the CS employees and volunteers are now gearing up and readying for Stampede in July and based on what I have seen to date, the product and entertainment offerings on Stampede Park will again provide something for all interests and it is going to be a great show. Like all of you I am totally enjoying this great weather we are having this spring and hoping we are not using up all our warm sunny days too early. Although whether you’re a rancher or a farmer or a gardener or a golfer, we could all use some rain soon.
Even with Stampede on the horizon there are lots of other things going on, particularly on the development side where we have the new TransAlta Performing Arts Studios under construction on the Youth Campus project. The Calgary Arts Academy will be starting construction within the next month. ENMAX Park is in full use as part of public pathway system and the new Sweetgrass Lodge building is very close to completion. BMO expansion is a hot topic and rather than trying to talk about it now, I will do a pre-Stampede blog in June on it and other development projects so stay tuned for that.
I wish all of our employees and volunteers well in the weeks and days running up to Stampede and I am sure I will see a number of you prior to Stampede at Saddle Up! on Tuesday, June 14.
At the time of writing this we are learning more details about the tragic situation in Fort Mac. The Stampede has been in contact with the Red Cross and other emergency service providers to offer our support and whatever assistance we might be able to provide. At this point it is too early to know exactly what is needed but in the same manner as we received province-wide support and help during the devastating flooding in 2013, we will do whatever we can to help our fellow Albertans in their time of need.