Meet Eastern Ontario's 49 power people

A guide to those who are propelling economic growth in the region
EOBJ
Editor's Note

As witnessed in this pandemic, there are powerful forces at work in our regional economy.

COVID-19 played havoc with supply and demand, making life unpredictable for manufacturers and exposing weaknesses in supply chains.

Also, billions in federal government cash handouts to people and businesses over the past 20 months — arguably the biggest monetary experiment in modern history — have raised the threat of sustained inflation that will seriously erode spending power.

While these macro-economic forces grab all the headlines, what’s easily forgotten is the role of risk-taking entrepreneurs who, through sheer will and innovation, create companies, create jobs and create real wealth in our communities.

This second issue of Eastern Ontario Business Journal is dedicated to them. In a first-of-its-kind undertaking, the editorial team at EOBJ spent weeks canvassing economic development officials and business leaders to create a “people power list” across key sectors of the regional economy — food processing, manufacturing, retail, technology, tourism and transportation — as well as public-sector and non-profit leaders.

The result is a fascinating overview of people who drive economic growth in Eastern Ontario. These short profiles provide us with a glimpse of the diversity in these sectors and also the growth potential.

Why tackle this project featuring the region’s power brokers? Let me borrow (and paraphrase) the words of list-member David Robinson, the founder of Fractional Workspace in Kingston. “The biggest impact is connecting like-minded people who can often change each others’ lives.”

While it’s likely that business people in communities such as Kingston and Cornwall know the companies in their own backyards, I suspect there are many surprises when they zoom out and look across Eastern Ontario.

That’s the purpose of the power list. In fact, it’s the purpose of Eastern Ontario Business Journal — to keep our readers informed about remarkable companies, business trends and, hopefully, encourage connections.

One final comment on this list: Any project of this type is imperfect from the outset. No list will ever be perfect or complete. Nevertheless, I think readers will agree that even an attempted list is better than no list. It’s likely that EOBJ will revisit this project down the road and we invite you to submit your nominations for a second roster of power brokers.

Have some feedback on the power list? Email terry@obj.ca.

And be sure to read the latest issue of EOBJ below: