Economic Development Manager Shane Olson has tendered his resignation with the Town of Okotoks. His last day will be August 5, 2016. He will be pursuing a new career opportunity with Strathcona County as their Manager of Commercial Development within Economic Development & Tourism starting in September.
Shane exchanged a few final thoughts with us, as he reflected back on his 10 years at the Town of Okotoks:
What are you most proud of?
Shane: The increase in the business base by more than 40% since my arrival at the Town. Okotoks has become a great place to do business and it was amazing to be a part of the progress. The doubling of home-based businesses (from 300 to 650) over the last few years is also something I’m extremely proud of.
How do you see Okotoks developing as a community in the next 10 to 15 years?
Shane: I believe Okotoks will reach a population of around 40,000 to 45,000 people; and that population increase will be possible via the exciting new United Communities Development around the D’Arcy Ranch Golf Course area. I also believe the Okotoks Downtown core will be altered to welcome more businesses, mostly in the form of new buildings and the expansion of existing ones.
What are the main challenges Okotoks faces from an economic development perspective?
Shane: As many people are aware, the current capacity for water and waste water in the Town of Okotoks is limited, which can impede economic growth until a definite solution is found.
What is the most exciting thing coming up for Okotoks from an economic development perspective?
Shane: The upcoming potential development of a fiber optic network in the Town of Okotoks definitely comes to mind. This network will allow the Town to attract new types of businesses, which require high-speed Internet to be operational. Furthermore, the advent of fiber optics will allow for the Town to develop economically and futureproof the local economy.
What is your fondest memory from your time with Okotoks Economic Development?
Shane: Expanding the current Economic Development team to three staff. When I first arrived at the Town, Economic Development was a one person show. Over the years, Okotoks’s economic growth and success allowed us to increase the size of our team, which made a big impact. Another fond memory is the successful attraction of the Okotoks Costco store in 2010. This opening created a domino effect, with many new businesses being attracted to open their doors in the Southbank Business Park today.
Finally, please share with us a funny, weird, or random story from your time at the Town of Okotoks.
Shane: I’m sure everyone will have heard of this, but I would have to say the “Number of Things to Do” viral tourism campaign we launched last year. A single picture from a Calgary Transit advertisement started everything, as it went viral and everyone around the country heard about it. The success of this campaign brought us an estimated $1,000,000 in free media placement (mostly via interviews and articles), tons of investment interest from outside groups, along with awards and recognition from Travel Alberta and Economic Developers Alberta. It also led to the creation of several Internet memes, and made the front page of the Internet, reddit.com. It was unbelievable and kind of surreal, we had fun with it and ran slogan contests with prizes!
Shane also had a few parting thoughts, and some advice to businesses in Okotoks:
Please continue to use Okotoks Economic Development for all the services it offers. Continue to find and mine your business’s unique value proposition, and always conduct research on business plans and viability. The Okotoks Economic Development team is here to help by calling 403-938-8052 or email email@example.com.
It’s been an honour to serve and work with the Okotoks business community. I will always cherish my time with the Town and wish every business much success. I will be back to visit, as there will always be “a number of things” to do in Okotoks.