Preserving a Timbit of history

After extensive renovations, the first Tim Hortons store that opened in 1964 in downtown Hamilton, Ont. is back to serving double doubles.

After extensive renovations, the first Tim Hortons store that opened in 1964 in downtown Hamilton, Ont. is back to serving double doubles.

A University of Saskatchewan alumnus is part of a team that redeveloped the world’s first Tim Hortons location.

Element Project Services (EPS), a Saskatoon-based engineering firm co-founded by mechanical engineering graduate Mark Oleniuk (BE ’06), recently wrapped up extensive renovations to “Store One,” the original location of the ubiquitous coffee chain and Canadian institution.

Mark Oleniuk (BE'06), co-founder of EPS

Mark Oleniuk (BE’06), co-founder of EPS

The location had a soft opening this past week and its grand opening is planned for Jan. 7. In addition to serving all the Tim Hortons favourites, the store has a second-floor museum where retro uniforms and other pieces of company nostalgia are on display.

Local Hamilton media was on hand to mark the first day of operation for the renovated store.

U of S alumnus to lead Roughriders

Craig Reynolds, the next president and CEO of the Saskatchewan Roughriders

Craig Reynolds, the next president and CEO of the Saskatchewan Roughriders

Craig Reynolds (BComm,98, MPAcc’99) was recently announced as the next president and CEO of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, replacing Jim Hopson on March 1, 2015.

Originally from Foam Lake, Sask., the Edwards School of Business grad worked overseas for several years for KPMG and Thomson Scientific. In 2005, he returned to Canada and held a variety of managerial positions with Suncor Energy in Calgary and Fort McMurray, Alta.

Reynolds joined the Riders in 2009 as their chief financial officer (CFO), and was promoted to senior vice-president and CFO three years later.

He has been actively involved with the development of the new stadium—particularly developing the club’s capital campaign—and also chaired the 2013 Grey Cup committee.

Focus on quality care and balance breeds success

Dr. Wendy McClelland, one of Canada's Top female Entrepreneurs

Dr. Wendy McClelland, one of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs

“Since I was eight years old, surrounded by barn cats, being a vet was all I wanted to be.”

Making the 2014 W100 ranking of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs—a list put together by the editors of PROFIT and Chatelaine magazines— illustrates that Dr. Wendy McClelland, founder and co-owner of Vets To Go, made a wise career choice.

To make that childhood dream become a reality, McClelland (DVM’02) attended various Alberta and BC universities before starting veterinary school at Ross University in St. Kitts.

After one year studying at the tropical West Indies isle, McClelland was able to transfer to the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the U of S. “The program at the U of S was great. I enjoyed my classmates, who were very welcoming. I enjoyed the fun part about vet school too, with the water fights when we were still allowed to have them back then.”

McClelland got the mixed-clinic (working on both large and small animals) training and experience she needed before moving back to her hometown of Pincher Creek, Alta. to work at a local clinic.

“The U of S really prepared me. You are thrown out, as new grad on call at night during calving season, and I surprised some farmers when I showed up at night, not my boss, and put two hands in to pull out twins. I felt well prepared to do mixed animal [care].”

A move to Airdrie, just outside of Calgary, and two children later, McClelland was feeling the pressure of being a parent and full-time vet. Instead of choosing one over the other, she started Vets To Go, a mobile veterinary service that provides in-home animal care.

“Our business model is based on quality of life—for our vets, for our clients and for the animals,” explained McClelland.

Most services—such as physical examinations, vaccinations, preventative care and end of life care—can be done in the client’s home. A local vet clinic is rented on Sundays to perform surgeries.

With a business coach—who later became a partner—to help with the business side of things, the company started to grow. “I thought about other vets who are moms. What about their work-life balance? So we thought of expanding.”

A central booking system and back-end support are competitive edges over other mobile vets that opened the door to growth. Vets To Go now has associates in several Alberta locations and is looking to expand throughout Western Canada and potentially nation-wide.

McClelland admits the concept of making house calls is foreign to some of her colleagues. But she said, “A lot of the more progressive vets are happy to work together.” She can refer clients to a clinic for emergency care, food or other pet products. “And they can refer the cats they don’t want to see because they are crazy in the clinic,” she joked.

Even though she is among Canada’s top female entrepreneurs, McClelland didn’t always see herself as an entrepreneur at all. “I’m primarily a vet; I love what I’m doing. I didn’t want to own my own clinic with a building and staff and all the headaches. But I have always been willing to take a risk and make quick decisions. And once you have a university degree, there are so many things you can do.”

See the list of U of S alumnae who made the W100
See the complete W100 list

Surveying the landscape for success

Corrin Harper, one of Canada's Top Female Entrepreneurs

Corrin Harper, one of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs

UPDATE: May 27, 2015 – Corrin Harper made the 2015 W100 list.
See the list of U of S alumnae on the 2015 W100.
See the complete 2015 W100 list.

Owning and running her own business wasn’t part of the game plan for Corrin Harper as a young business student at the University of Saskatchewan, let alone becoming one of Canada’s top female entrepreneurs.

Yet, that is just what she has done, being named to the 2014 W100 ranking of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs, a list put together by the editors of PROFIT and Chatelaine magazines.

Harper (BComm’95, MBA’00) doesn’t recall an option to take classes geared toward owning your own business when she was a College of Commerce (now Edwards School of Business) student. “The emphasis was on getting a job with a big company. Bringing in recruiters from big companies seemed to be the focus [of the college],” said Harper.

She had somewhat typical, albeit not totally accurate, perceptions of business school at the time: a major in marketing would lead to a career in sales and accounting meant a life of counting beans. That narrowed her options. “I liked human resources, and healthcare administration seemed interesting. I thought having a double major would help my employment prospects,” said Harper.

The passage of time brings wisdom, and upon further reflection on her time at the U of S, Harper noted, “All the courses you take are relevant to running a company. I didn’t necessarily see the connections until later.”

After working in the healthcare field for a few years, analyzing data and trends, Harper decided to return to the U of S to pursue her MBA. That’s when she met Larry Goodfellow (BComm’72, MBA76).

“Larry was my marketing professor, and he owned a consulting company that I worked for. They outsourced their data and surveys, so we decided to look at starting a business focusing on primary research.”

So began Insightrix Research Inc. With a third partner who had some technical expertise, they developed their own online research software that allowed both interviewers and online respondents to use the same system to collect and analyze responses—a unique feature at the time.

“Larry is very entrepreneurial. For me, it was a bit of an adjustment. But I thought, ‘If I’m going to work this hard, why not do it for myself?’ There’s more control; that’s what I like.” But being your own boss comes with risks too. “Everything I do impacts whether I get paid or not.”

As the company grew—including opening an office in Australia—Harper recognized Saskatchewan was being underserved with province-specific data to help make political, social and business decisions. She explained that national survey panels would only have a few Saskatchewan residents in their sample because our population is small relative to the rest of the country. But her Saskatchewan clients needed provincial information. So, they created SaskWatch Research, an online research panel made strictly of Saskatchewan residents. SaskWatch now has over 15,000 registered participants, and they are creating a similar panel in Manitoba.

Some large national research companies have started to notice opportunity in Saskatchewan’s growth. But Harper is confident that SaskWatch, client-focused service and expansion into other areas of online research—like SMS-based polls and surveys, online communities, gamification of research, and providing measurement dashboards and infographics—have given Insightrix a solid foundation and competitive edge.

This fall, Harper had the opportunity to meet other members of the elite W100—past and present. She shared their collective advice for budding entrepreneurs: “Do what you want to do. You have to have a passion for it.” She added her own advice, “[You need to] take risks, have courage and work hard … and if you have a passion for it, it won’t seem like pressure and sacrifice at all.”

See the list of U of S alumnae who made the 2014 W100
See the complete 2014 W100 list

U of S alumnae among Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs


UPDATED Dec. 11, 2014

Two University of Saskatchewan alumnae were named to the W100 ranking of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs, put together by the editors of PROFIT and Chatelaine magazines.

Corrin Harper (BComm, 95, MBA’00)
Corrin Harper is co-founder and president of Insightrix Research Inc., a market research company with offices in Saskatoon, Sask. and Horsham, Australia, serving clients around the globe. The company conducts traditional market research and innovative techniques to get quality information for their clients. The development of their research software led to the creation of Wagtale Communications, a wholly owned subsidiary that allows clients to develop self-service marketing and market research solutions.

Read more about Corrin Harper and Insightrix.

Wendy McClelland (DVM’02)
Dr. Wendy McClelland is the founder of Vets To Go, a veterinary service that makes house calls, providing vet care in the animal’s own environment. Services include comprehensive physical exams; vaccinations and shots; microchipping; blood, allergy and other tests; preventative care; and compassionate end of life care. Vets to Go started in southern Alberta and is quickly expanding across Canada.

Read more about Dr. McClelland and Vets To Go.

The W100 ranking of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs ranks female business leaders according to a proprietary formula that combines the sales, three-year revenue growth rate and profitability of their businesses. All data is verified through financial statements supplied by candidates. To qualify, candidates must be owners or significant stakeholders who at least share chief decision-making capabilities.
See the full W100 list.