People and Culture

A Year of Giving Back

By Edon's Picks, Office, People and Culture

Tuesday, November 28th will be the tenth anniversary of Giving Tuesday, a global movement of giving and generosity. In the spirit of Giving Tuesday, we thought we would look back at our moments of giving over the last year.

In December 2022, we launched our Notes of Thanks program as a way for our Team Members to recognize and thank one another. For every note awarded, $1 is donated to a local charity at the end of the month.

  • The first organization to receive such a donation was The Calgary Food Bank, who we are also lucky enough to count as one of our tenants.
  • Staff from the Calgary Head Office volunteered at the warehouse that month, sorting and bagging fresh produce.
  • Also in December, our Asset Management Department gathered over 350 pounds of non-perishable donations through the generosity of our tenants.

For the first part of 2023, we turned our focus to Indigenous organizations in keeping with our Indigenous Relations Policy. Through our Notes of Thanks program, donations were made to the following:

  • January – Spirit North, an organization that uses sport and play to promote health and wellness and to help develop essential life skills for Indigenous youth.
    • Also in January, we arranged for 2 scholarships of $1,000 each at NorQuest College for Indigenous students.
  • February – Indspire, a registered charity that invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people for the benefit of themselves, their families, and their communities.
  • March – Native Counseling Services of Alberta. With services for Indigenous people by Indigenous people, NCSA has evolved to meet the needs of Indigenous people who often feel alienated by legal/court procedures.

We next wanted to focus on our tenants listed as registered charities. Again, through Notes of Thanks, we made donations to:

  • April – Momentum, a change-making organization focused on strategies that reduce poverty, such as financial literacy, skills training, and financial empowerment.
    • Also in April, we donated to the Fort McMurray Fire Department Charities Association in conjunction with their annual rooftop campout. Six firefighters climbed a fire truck ladder to the roof of Tim Hortons, (a tenant of ours at our Eagle Ridge development), where they spent 100 hours exposed to the elements, camping out to raise money for local charities.
  • May – Inclusion Alberta, a family-based non-profit advocating on behalf of those with developmental disabilities
  • July – Awo Taan Healing Lodge Society, providing protection and support against family violence and all forms of abuse.

The balance of our donations this year were made to organizations addressing current social or urgent causes:

  • June – Egale Canada, Canada’s leading organization for 2SLGBTQI issues. This donation was made in keeping with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion principles and in conjunction with the start of Pride month.
    • Also in June, we arranged for 2 scholarships of $1,000 each at NAIT. These scholarship were open to Indigenous students in the Power Engineering and Skilled Trades programs.
  • August – We couldn’t ignore the wildfires that ravaged Alberta this year. These fires touched almost all of the 85+ communities in which we operate, so we made August’s donation to the Disaster Aid Canada Alberta Wildfire Emergency Support fund.
  • September – With kids heading back to school, Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids was our organization of choice for September. BB4CK works to ensure no student goes hungry.
  • October – October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In recognition of this, we donated to Wings of Hope, and organization that provides funding for essentials such as rent, groceries, utilities, medications and transportation for anyone receiving treatment from the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary.
    • Also in October, we made an additional donation to Indspire in conjunction with Orange Shirt Day / National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. We ran a two-part campaign where 1) we donated $5 for every orange shirt our Team Members purchased through 49 Dzine, and 2) we donated $1 for every like, share, comment, or repost our Orange Shirt Day post received on Social Media.
  • November – We’ve been focusing our efforts in fundraising for Movember this month. Movember is a global campaign  focused on men’s health, specifically prostate and testicular cancers as well as mental health and suicide prevention. Edon put together a Movember team and we are well on our way to achieving our fundraising goal. We will also be making a donation to this worthy cause at the end of the month.
    • Also in November, staff from our Calgary Head Office once again volunteered at the Calgary Food Bank.

Upcoming for December 2023:

  • We will again be making a donation to the Calgary Food Bank through our Notes of Thanks program.
  • As well, our Asset Management Department will also be making a donation to the Calgary Food Bank on behalf of their tenants this holiday season.

We sincerely thank everyone who has participated in our Notes of Thanks program this year, as well as our Food Bank volunteers, those who participated in our Orange Shirt campaign, our Movember Team and supporters, and everyone who contributed to such a wonderful year. We look forward to another great year of giving in 2024.

All Hail the Queens

By Edon's Picks, Office, People and Culture

Our Alvéole beekeeper, Preston, recently shared some photos of our beautiful queen bees. We’ve pointed them out in the photos; look for the long ladies near the centre of each.

Preston returned to the hives last week for one final inspection before the honey harvest begins. The bees will be left with as much honey as they need for the winter, while the surplus will be jarred, branded, and shared with Tenants in the Asset Management portfolio.

You can check in on our hives at any time using the links below. Much of the information is similar – they are located in the same area after all – but the photos are all charmingly different, as are the size and statistics of each colony. 

Giddy Up and Yahoo!

By Edon's Picks, People and Culture

Our Stampede Breakfasts were bigger and better than ever this year, with an estimated 1,700 guests attending over the three days.

There was some drizzle, some sun, and even some smoke, but regardless of the weather everyone had a great time.

We welcomed back Glen Brown & Headin’ West as our musical entertainment this year, and were also excited to bring in three-time World Hoop Dance Champion Dallas Arcand, who wowed everyone with his dancing and storytellig.

We want to thank everyone who attended, and those who volunteered to help make this year’s events so successful. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Providing Opportunities for Indigenous Students

By Edon's Picks, People and Culture

As part of the path to reconciliation, we’ve taken steps to put our Indigenous Relations Policy into practice. We’ve partnered with two post-secondary institutions in Alberta, arranging for grants and scholarships available to Indigenous students to help their reach their education and career goals.

Earlier this year, we announced our partnership with NorQuest College, where we arranged for two scholarships of $1,000.00 each to any NorQuest credit program. Successful applicants will be those with Indigenous Heritage (First Nation status or non-status, Metis, or Inuit), with an academic standing of 75% or higher, and who have supplied a personal letter describing their education and career goals. These scholarships are now open for application

We’re also partnering with NAIT, and will be offering an additional two $1,000 grants for the 2023/2024 disbursement year. The first grant will be made available to Indigenous students enrolled in the Power Engineering Program, while the second will be available to those in the skilled trades, enrolled in the Electrician, Plumber or Carpentry programs. These grants will be open for application soon, so those who are eligible and interested should keep an eye out for them HERE. Again, the successful applicants will be Canadian citizens with First Nations status or non-status, Metis, or Inuit heritage.

We are very excited to be able to announce these grants in conjunction with National Indigenous Peoples Day, a day for highlighting and celebrating the history and heritage of Canada’s First Nations Peoples.

We wish all applicants the best of luck and hope our contributions help you reach your goals.

Unleashing Innovation with In-House App Development

By Edon's Picks, People and Culture

Technological solutions have become essential for companies looking to stay competitive in today’s digital landscape, and Edon is no exception. We now have an in-house team dedicated to adapting the latest technologies for practical applications within our services; Property Management, Asset Management, Facilities Management, and Project Management have all benefitted from their efforts and from the latest in technological advancements.

Through of series of apps and other tools developed by our team, we’ve succeeded in creating capacity for all departments, allowing more time for tenant/client focused activities and value-added work. Artificial intelligence can now read and process invoices, speeding up vendor payments. Staff in the field can easily schedule work, report incidents, and even submit purchase order requests on their phones through our app launcher, cutting down the time it takes to complete projects. Log entries can be updated digitally, reducing the need for paper records and providing better access to those who use them.

By developing these tools in-house, we’re able to design them to suit our business and our staff. We recognize that the communities in which we operate have diverse cultures, which may lead to language barriers if left unaddressed. One way we’re overcoming language barriers is to build in translation options; our Team Members can feel more confident when entering mileage, expense reports, or timesheets, for example, using their native languages. Our apps can be translated into Spanish, French, Filipino, Italian, Polish, and Portuguese, just to name a few.

Providing our Team with the digital tools they need to excel will continue to be a focus as technologies expand. Leveraging the power of apps and advanced technology will allow us to continue to deliver exceptional tenant and client experiences.

Home is Where the Hive is

By Edon's Picks, Office, People and Culture

Alberta is home to over 200 bee species, and our office rooftops are home to one of them. 

A few years ago, we partnered with Alvéole, an urban beekeeping company which aims to promote the importance of bees in the urban environment. Hives were first installed on the roof of two of our Calgary office buildings, Airstate Centre and Atrium I, and a third hive was later installed at Atrium II. These hives are registered with the Ministry of Agriculture and tended by a dedicated Alvéole beekeeper to ensure the ongoing health of the colony.

Rooftop hive at Atrium I

The bees are singularly focused on maintaining hive development by bringing nectar, pollen resin and water to the colony, and only sting when they feel their colony is threatened. As their colonies are located well away from our tenants and clients, there is little chance of the bees encountering the type of aggression that would see them resort to stinging. As well, Alvéole works with a special breed of Italian bees known for their mild temperament and docility – keepers wear little to no protection. 

Over the past couple of years, the tenants have been given opportunities to learn more during online seminars, as well as being invited up onto the roofs (following all safety protocols) to interact with the beehives through clinics run by our Alvéole beekeeper. The honey produced from these hives is given back to our tenants as holiday gifts, new tenant welcome gifts, and as swag at events, further enhancing their apian experience. These types of interactions are allow us to offer something unique and meaningful to our tenants while encouraging bees to flourish in an urban environment.

Honeybees from the colony at Atrium I

The hives have been wrapped up tight for the winter, but the bees are starting to emerge. You can check in on them by visiting the blogs for each hive: 

Airstate Centre

Atrium I

Atrium II

Pandemic Interview Tips

By Edon's Picks, People and Culture

Despite challenges of the on-going pandemic, recruitment at Edon is still going strong.  Like many workplaces, Edon is taking necessary precautions to protect team members throughout this time, including utilizing virtual interviews to assist in the recruitment process. Check out our tips for conducting virtual interviews, including key tasks to do before, during, and post interview.

Be prepared to ace your next virtual interview with these helpful tips.

  1. Device Check

We’ve all run into technology issues during the past year as teams adapted to new applications. Prior to the interview, ensure your device is up and running properly. We recommend downloading the software being used for the interview beforehand, such as Microsoft Teams. If possible, conduct a test meeting with family or friends to verify your microphone, audio, and video settings. A strong internet connection is also key for a successful interview.

  1. Location, Location, Location

We know it is impossible to eliminate every possible distraction at home or work during an interview; however, try to find a space that will allow for as few interruptions as possible. A quiet space away from others who may be living with you, whether family members, roommates, or pets, will help eliminate outside noise. It’s also a good idea to find a space with a neutral background to prevent visual distractions during the interview (this could be your home office or simply a blank wall in one of your rooms). Refrain from using virtual background options as these can be distorted by your movements. 

  1. Camera Ready

As with in-person interviews, you want to put your best foot forward, even virtually.  Dress in business casual attire from top to bottom… as you may need to deal with an unexpected interruption during the call. Don’t give the interviewers a reason to focus on anything other than what you’re saying. Dressing like you would for an in-person interview is also a way to set you in a business frame of mind.

  1. Eyes Up Here

Connecting with interviewers virtually may be difficult; however, in order to maintain eye contact be sure to look directly at the camera when asking or responding to questions. If you’re looking at the screen or off to the side, it can appear that you aren’t interested in the discussion. Also try to remember the camera can pick up everything, so sit with your feet firmly planted on the ground and avoid continual movements like adjusting in your chair.

  1. Ready for Anything

As with any technology, things can go wrong no matter how much you try to prevent it.  At the start of the interview request a phone number from the interviewers just in case you get disconnected. Also be ready to handle unexpected interruptions such as noise or the possibility of something or someone dropping into camera view.  If required, briefly apologize for the interruption and request a moment to deal with the situation.  Remember to mute your microphone or turn off your camera before leaving!

  1. Follow up

While it may be customary to thank your interviewers at the end of the meeting, a follow up email further expressing your thanks and interest in the position is a great idea.  Not only will this reinforce your interest in the role, it also leaves a great impression on the interview team.

Property Management: Ready for Anything at Anytime

By Edon's Picks, People and Culture

Property management has been rightly compared to the role of a circus ringmaster. Juggling a multitude of balls in the air, property management can involve putting out little and big fires – figuratively only – meeting with clients about an urgent request or checking that plumbers, electricians and caretakers are getting a project done on time and on budget.

And, that’s just what a property manager’s typical morning can look like.

Effective property management ensures facilities continue to operate efficiently and safely for tenants.

In the world of real estate, property management is not a flashy or glamorous job, but it is a critical part of ensuring the long-term health and maintenance of buildings and people’s safety. Unforeseen events and breakdowns are all part of what they handle. But mitigating surprises involves being hyper-proactive with preventive maintenance, constantly checking on the current state of HVAC systems, a water treatment system or a roof that leaks after every heavy snowfall. Another day on the job can mean responding to a tenant’s request to string up or take down the Christmas lights or orchestrating an efficient cleanup of bags and bags of confetti following a concert at an auditorium.

Just one property management portfolio alone at Edon can involve overseeing more than 350,000 square metres and cover an assortment of buildings and facilities: airplane hangars, museums, institutional buildings, a conservation area, or an entertainment venue.

Let’s take a look at five obvious and not-so-obvious areas of responsibility in the job of property management:

How old is that HVAC system or roof?

A strong operations and maintenance program can transform a poorly designed or outdated building to outperform a well-designed building that is neglected. This is something any good property manager and their team knows. The day-to-day job of checking and evaluating a building’s critical assets – whether it be mechanical or electrical – is vital to a building’s longevity and optimal functioning. So is having a solid preventative maintenance program in place, something Edon’s property managers are responsible for implementing or improving when overseeing a portfolio.

Keeping tenants happy and safe

Edon’s Property Manager Martin Cote and his team in Edmonton were tasked with the job of replacing or refurbishing all critical assets of a 70,000m2, 10-storey, 36-year old building. It required a solid coordination effort with 2,000 tenants in the building, which also sees an average of 600 visitors a day. That role included setting the budget, reviewing and awarding tenders for contractors, and scheduling team members to avoid business disruptions as much as possible. That’s just one example of Total Property Management (TPM) offerings.

The show must always go on, says Property Manager Jason Kulak who has overseen entertainment venues in Alberta. He has fielded daily tenant and performer requests for everything from lighting, to room temperature and placement of furniture as well as making contingency plans for mechanical failures, all ensuring nothing got in the way of the enjoyment of a performance.

Ready for a snowstorm… or a pandemic

As sure as winter arrives early in Alberta, a Property Manager’s job can seem a bit like a weather prognosticator. Part of Edon’s worry-free customer solutions includes snow removal from parking lots and sidewalks so they are cleared and safe for people coming to or leaving work. It’s part of a property manager’s role to get in front of unforeseen or fast-moving events, like weather, and to pull a team together that is ready to efficiently remove ice and snow so Edon’s clients trust the job can be done in a timely manner. Edon’s property managers have also been at the forefront of helping clients in their efforts to manage COVID-19 through enhanced technology, cleaning measures and screening protocols.

On time, on budget and with the right team

Property managers know time is money and are involved in setting and overseeing large budgets, well into the millions of dollars. “Getting the right people to do the job is key,” says Senior Property Manager Rick Nielsen. When a client needs an important initiative implemented, Nielsen relies on the strength of his team, like all property managers must, to ensure it’s done right the first time.

Continual certification and learning

Working in property management, like many professions, requires one to become a life-time learner. Most property managers are equipped with facility management and real property administrator certifications, but their education does not end there. Because property management involves so many areas, people in the field need experience and knowledge in health and safety, handling of hazardous materials, mechanical and electrical, as well as environmental and regulatory knowledge.

But at the core, property management is all about keeping clients and tenants happy and safe – juggling all those balls with professionalism and skill. It’s all in a day’s work in the fast-paced world of property management.

How to implement a Certified Quality Program in under a year

By Edon's Picks, People and Culture

It was January 2016 when Edon first embarked on a tremendous journey. The goal was simple: implement a quality program certified to the ISO 9001:2015 standard in less than a year. Easy? Perhaps not.

Fast forward to four years later and we’ve successfully built a quality-focused culture within the organization, with an award to boot. The American Society for Quality, Calgary Chapter, awarded Edon the Calgary Quality and Business Excellence Award for its successful program implementation in such a short time frame. How did we do it? These six factors were key to pushing forwards towards the goal.

Create a Game Plan

Results are driven by clear objectives, timelines, and responsibilities. Edon made it a company goal to achieve this certification, which aligned all team members on a common path. It didn’t matter where you worked or what your job description was, each member contributed in a defined manner to the overall goal.

Motivate the Team

Ambitious goals require innovative motivation. That’s where football came in. Edon tracked its program’s status visually on a football field. Progress advanced players towards the end goal, while setbacks caused the opposing team to gain an advantage.

Ask for Help

Hire a consultant who is familiar with the standard to assist in performing a gap analysis. It is important to thoroughly vet consultants, especially for cultural fit. If it doesn’t work out move on and cut your losses. A consultant who is interested in understanding your business and molding the standard to work for you is far more valuable that a consultant who forces you to change to meet the standard. At the end of the day it must make sense for your business.

Test, Test, Test

One of the biggest complaints we received early on was that the people creating policies and procedures didn’t understand how it impacted operations. Asking for feedback and testing procedures first before rolling them out is key. Edon developed a committee with representatives from across Alberta to test initiatives in their regions and provide feedback on an ongoing basis.

Control the Narrative

Change does not come easily for most people. Certifying Edon’s quality program created additional workload and frustration among many in the organization. To combat this, Edon ensured its senior management team was on board from the beginning, which trickled down into middle management and employees. Benefits of the new program and why the change was important helped employees understand its necessity. Continual communication on the program’s status and admitting areas that needed improvement were key to keeping employees engaged. At the end of the day, those who were strongly against the change had to question whether they were with us or not.

Extensive Training

The last piece of the puzzle, but also the most important, is a strong training program. As a result of the fast pace set from the beginning, processes were rolled out quickly and in large quantities. At times it was difficult to keep straight. Edon developed a series of modules and short training videos to review each process and train new employees. Additionally, in-person training was provided to each region across Alberta, allowing employees to ask questions and air any grievances. Since then, continual training has become an important part of the program’s success.

Never a ‘bad day’ at work for property manager Troy Mckellar

By Edon's Picks, People and Culture

Property Manager Troy Mckellar has been working with Edon Management for almost seven years.

When Troy Mckellar heads to work, he never knows what the day will hold. Among the many things he likes about his job is the element of surprise that keeps him engaged in his role as Property Manager for one of Edon’s largest commercial clients.

It may sound daunting to oversee about 1 million square feet over several buildings, but Mckellar enjoys the unforeseen moments, which recently included supervising the repair of five leaks in the roofs of two large facilities after accumulated snowfall melted quickly.

At times like these, Mckellar is especially grateful to his staff.

“Honestly, I like the people. I like the atmosphere. There is never really a bad day,” he says.

Mckellar has been with Edon Management for nearly seven years, where he says he’s had nothing but positive experiences that have allowed him to grow in his career. He began in building operations, which involved duties such as responding to client requests, performing preventive maintenance and mechanical inspections. Eventually, he was approached by senior management for a larger role.

Mckellar eagerly took on the Operations Supervisor job learning the ins and outs of the client’s needs and specifications. This eventually led to becoming Property Manager, a job he’s had for around 2.5 years and one that added many new responsibilities.

Along the way, he has acquired facility management and real property administrator certifications, both of which helped him gain the skills for the maintenance and operation of buildings in a cost-effective manner. The Property Manager role has him overseeing a six-storey office tower, a couple of large buildings for storing massive machinery, as well as off-site distribution centres.

Mckellar’s team consists of 36 people, mostly in operations and caretaking. And much of the job entails responding to weather-related issues, such as snow removal – or the fallout of a heavy snowfall that caused a leaky roof.

“We are all hands on here,” he says of his team.

Mckellar says his advice for anyone thinking of a property management role is to seek out strong mentors.

“I’ve had a number of them, and I found it to be quite positive. Learning from a couple of different people it gives you a broader perspective,” he says. One person at Edon may approach a project one way and someone else another way. Weighing the various viewpoints allows you to figure out the best way to approach a task or project.

Mckellar describes his job as a bit of a hybrid – he digs into issues the client has brought to his team’s attention, and also spends a lot of time writing reports and programs, and drafting budgets for the client. There are also executive-level meetings to attend where there might be discussions about future opportunities for privately owned real estate or current build and renovation plans.  He’s also responsible for scheduling and working with contractors on various projects and tasks throughout the sites he oversees.

Through it all, Mckellar says, he needs to use his leadership skills while also being prepared to be hands-on.

“My leadership philosophy is based around a number of objectives: primarily leading by example, encouraging and motivating my peers through building a positive environment, setting goals and committing to them, and providing my team with the support they need as well as healthy communications.”

Success at managing client issues on a large scale always depends on keeping the lines of communication open, Mckellar says, with ongoing dialogue through email, phone calls and meetings. Because much of his job includes teamwork, Mckellar stands by this belief:  “Ultimately, being a strong leader comes down to the passion, dedication and commitment that inspires others to harness and propel similar values.”