When asked what made her start her business, Kim Hoffman, owner of Kim’s Got You Covered, Insurance Brokerage, declared without hesitation:
“I love helping families. Being able to help families and help people get money when they get hurt or sick, just makes me feel good. I love to say to my customers, you got a cheque coming in the mail.”
A determined mother of two with a powerhouse entrepreneurial spirit, Kim established her small insurance brokerage in Sylvan Lake, Alberta, in the Winter of 2018 after receiving her insurance license from the Alberta Insurance Council.
When both her boys started attending grade school full-time, Kim felt it was time for her to get back out there, communicate with adults again, and earn a second income for her family. After several years of being a stay at home mom, it was just something that she needed to do.
Looking back, would she have done anything differently now than when she started?
“Probably talk to everyone”, Kim responds.
In the beginning, she was shy and nervous. Her biggest hill to climb was being able to say to people, “I'm an insurance agent, but I can help you and not in the way that you think insurance helps people... I actually want to help you.”
Today, she can proudly say that she has successfully surmounted that hill.
What sets Kim apart from the competition?
It’s simple: Her top-notch customer service.
Kim expresses this fact best by saying:
“I love my customers. They're my family. I send out birthday cards all year round to all my customers. I have them as friends on Facebook. I keep them up to date. It's funny how many people would actually post on Facebook that they're in the hospital before they tell their insurance agent. So, a lot of times I would message my customers after I see their posts and go, ‘Okay, what's going on? What do you need from me?"
Kim’s approach is customer service first and luckily, she works with companies that support this idea. Helping people is something near and dear to her heart.
Kim’s Got You Covered, Insurance Brokerage, spans a wide range of coverages to suit every need and every unique situation. From newborn babies and children as young as six months (when they start crawling around the house, insurance can come in handy!), to those in high-risk occupations such as rodeo, boxing, MMA, and any kind of sport or recreational lifestyle, many people can benefit from Kim’s Got You Covered.
When it comes to the current economic condition, Kim’s sage advice to fellow Alberta small businesses is this:
“Don’t give up. We're all in this together. We're going to get through this by supporting each other.”
Author: Imad-Dean Kaddoura
Managing Editor, Alberta Business Review
Isn’t it amazing how many ways we show who we are and what we stand for as a business?
Take Chameleon Wrapping & Lamination for example. Their logo literally stands for environmental adaptation.
Skilled craftsmen are required to operate some of their machines. And although their business model was built locally in the Metro Edmonton area from the ground up, they have enveloped technology that’s existed for decades around the globe.
Amber Gunderson, President and CEO, and her husband Vince, took the time to carefully construct a business based on industry needs, so Alberta now has a locally-made and eco-conscious product alternative for transforming architectural design and building practices that require durability, low maintenance and easy cleaning.
Their recycled polyvinyl chloride (PVC) wall and ceiling panels have films on them with UV protection; heat protection; and resistance to graffiti, salt spray, acid rain and scratches. These panels are impervious to water absorption and bacterial growth making them an economic solution for both health care, hotels and food processing facilities and food retailers.
Want easier installations? Well, they’ve thought of that as well. Listening to others in the industry, Chameleon Wrapping & Lamination developed their patent-pending design that allows for both V-groove and U-channel installation.
“We are a unique business in that our ChamClad products can be used globally in pretty much any environment, but being a local manufacturer gives us the largest edge to make quick decisions and adapt as needed to advance our product lines and services. We can keep our costs lower, manage our own quality and still offer short lead times,” says Amber.
Getting things right has certainly taken time. There have been some bumps along the way, just like every business encounters, but Amber and Vince have persevered because of their approach to whatever economic or other challenges they have faced together with their team.
“We try to be positive at all times in our business, even with the hurdles. We learned that we can get through whatever comes our way by addressing challenges as a team and with a focus on finding solutions. For example, when one industry in Alberta is having a downturn then we get a little creative at times or simply reach out to a new industry. Just as listening to your clients is truly an invaluable skill for a business, so is social networking and staying connected.”
This team approach is what keeps the wheels turning on their machines and for their business. Chameleon Wrapping & Lamination may be an Alberta-based business, but Amber and Vince run it like a family business driven to keep their highly-skilled staff employed and engaged as they continue to reach out to new industries and global markets.
In a world of choice, our local innovators have also made their innovative and LEED-compliant siding, soffit and interior wall products available through their Canadian national distributor, Gentek.
Chameleon Wrapping & Lamination and their iconic ChamClad siding products is a business that would make any builder proud to partner with. We certainly are privileged to feature this wonderful Alberta business and its custom-made products that you too can have and enjoy in your life, in your home or in your business.
Author: C. Tracy Williams
Editor in Chief, Alberta Business Review
If you’ve ever wondered how to bring the elegance and craftsmanship of the Renaissance period into the modern world, then just ask Vince Gunderson, President and CEO of Chameleon TopCoatings Ltd. in Edmonton.
He is a gifted and experienced tradesman who knows how to open doors and embrace windows of opportunity.
Here in Alberta, architectural and aesthetic demands present commercial and residential customers and developers with a myriad of colour, longevity and durability challenges. Enter Chameleon TopCoatings who has offered them custom-coloured door, window and garage door solutions since 2008.
“We work hard to fulfill the architectural visions of our partners who often battle complex jobs and tight timelines. Their feedback is awesome and it inspires us to explore new horizons, looking for entirely new solutions,” says Vince.
But how did this exploratory artists’ palette get its start? Well, when Vince, an autobody mechanic and painter by trade, and his wife Amber, were doing some home renovations they decided to use his expertise with detailed autobody painting on their new doors and windows. The contractor was intrigued himself, and after further discussions with other contractors and developers to find out more of what was needed in the industry, their part-time work slowly framed itself into a full-time business - Chameleon TopCoatings.
An idea on its own is a great first step, but how did they actually build the business itself? With a protean approach of course. They actively listened to others, did their homework in identifying the industry needs, developed a realistic plan, set goals and openly addressed challenges as they arose with their team.
Like their iconic brand, they are highly versatile, provide a range of services and focus forward. Quality, adaptation, integrity, diversity, solution-seeking and long-term relationships are the hallmarks for the success of their business and their team. Whatever the challenges that they’ve been presented with, like addressing how to stay relevant when the local economy takes a hit, their team pursues opportunities and solutions together.
“We don’t wait for the economy to affect us. Our team here, our family, depends on us to keep the wheels turning, so we continually seek out ways to scale up and expand our market. Our seasoned services are now offered to residential and commercial customers, developers, architects, government agencies, oilfield / gas plants and others.”
This expanded client list took time to build and hinged on active listening to others’ needs to be able to provide their clients with exactly what they needed. The team also adapted to changing needs by staying informed on trends, products and leading-edge technology to produce superior durability for their own products and services. Vince nails it on the head when he refers to his team, “We’re go-getters, that’s for sure!”
What picture are they painting for their future? Well, Vince is clear. “We want to expand our client base further and to see more colour out there, especially with commercial projects where durability counts that’s backed by a warranty.”
Wouldn’t you like to partner with Chameleon TopCoatings to bring a splash of colour into your life that you come home to every day or into your business to show your brand to the world?
Author: C. Tracy Williams
Editor in Chief, Alberta Business Review
When I arrived at the offices of Fedora Pharmaceuticals Inc. for the scheduled face-to-face interview with Christopher Micetich, President & CEO of Fedora Pharmaceuticals Inc. I was greeted by Kelly Alexandra Micetich, Vice President, Operations at Brass Dome Ventures Ltd. Chris’s lovely wife, whom he describes as one of the two most important and influential ladies in his life and who stood by his side through thick and thin; in his published book “One Day You’ll Understand.”
The office building is spacious, modern, and beautifully designed. Accentuating the highly innovative and cutting edge nature of this fantastic Albertan business outfit with its highly professional team of people, who are acknowledged by Chris in his book, coining this fact in a potent expression: “When you surround yourself with great people, great things happen.” And great people they truly are who are achieving great things indeed.
A world leader in antibiotic drug discovery and development Fedora Pharmaceuticals Inc. is one of the few and most unique worldwide combatants in the last frontier of the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and diagnostics industry; combating Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). The last frontier Jedi in the real sense of the word.
An award-winning trend-setter, Fedora Pharmaceuticals was incorporated in December 2011 and is headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta. The company received the Alberta Life Sciences’ "Company of the Year" award and the Alberta Science and Technology Leadership (ASTech) Foundation’s award for Outstanding Commercial Achievement. In 2015 this super Jedi team closed the largest licensing deal in Canadian biotech history. Henceforth, winning them numerous awards. One of which was a special national citation for entrepreneurial perseverance from Ernst & Young (EY), which was awarded to Chris himself in the same year.
Being an early stage anti-infective drug discovery company, the primary markets for Fedora Pharmaceuticals are the large pharmaceutical companies that would take a new drug all the way to commercialization and market. What sets them apart from the pack is the team’s collective expertise spanning a century of knowledge, their long-standing track record of success and hands-on experience in the pharmaceutical industry. This powerful team with their diverse and extensive experiences have worked across many therapeutic areas in the field, and are well versed in the complex processes of moving a compound from its early stage right through to the clinic. Many of their competitors simply don't have that rich knowledge and experience.
Their wealth of personal contacts and networks, which they built over decades upon decades, intimately connected them with every large pharmaceutical company in the world, forming strong relations with the people of those large pharmaceuticals. from senior management to business development teams to research scientists to everyone else in between. In addition to their on-going proactive and highly energetic business development efforts, it’s their paragon of excellence and stellar reputation that generate a consistent pipeline of business for them.
The global repercussions of AMR, if not controlled and beaten, will be devastating to the entire human race. “By 2050, 10 million deaths worldwide would result annually, overtaking diabetes and cancer combined, the global economy could fall between $2 and $6 trillion USD” (Source: Public Health Agency of Canada).
Therefore, to say that the whole world desperately needs the super-skilled Jedi team of Fedora, to save us from super bugs, would be, I feel, the understatement of the century. We all need the efforts, patience, and unabated dedication of this highly professional team of Fedora Pharmaceuticals, to persevere and win the war against AMR. Chris summarizes perseverance best in his book: “Perseverance isn’t so much about proving something to others. It’s about proving something to yourself - a vastly different and more difficult endeavor.”
Author: Imad-Dean Kaddoura
Managing Editor at Alberta Business Review
Listening to Christopher Micetich, President & CEO of Brass Dome Ventures, and hearing their fascinating story conjured up the name in my mind. Because that’s exactly what they are. They help budding entrepreneurs realize their dreams.
As an innovative management and business consultancy firm, another befitting description of this fantastic Alberta business is “Innovation Fomenters”, being experts in the innovation space, they empower visionary leaders to advance their innovative ideas into viable investable businesses.
Brass Dome Ventures has a portfolio extending to several industries including life sciences, construction, oil & gas, and cannabis, among others. This young and vibrant Alberta firm, which started in the summer of 2016, has seasoned wisdom in the sum of its professional team’s collective knowledge and skillsets - possessing a combined base of experience and expertise that spans a century of entrepreneurship, life sciences, and business acumen.
The original plan was to invest in start-ups however, they quickly realized there were many gaps to fill prior to arriving at the investment readiness stage. With their track record successes and extensive expertise, they were able to fill the gaps which made the company evolve into a business consulting firm in addition to their investment side.
Over the years Brass Dome Ventures has grown into what it is today with 10 staff members, a full-fledged office in downtown Edmonton and with many business opportunities on their plates. Their target market is entrepreneurial-minded members of our community with an existing business or with viable ideas that can be turned into a commercialized business. In particular, Brass Dome Ventures’ is drawn to helping businesses challenged with getting to the next level, businesses that have been around for a while and doing well but just can't take it to the step up.
It’s their actual direct hands-on expertise that comes from real, practical and applicable experience that they transfer to their clientele that makes Brass Dome Ventures unique.
Chris expresses this fact best: “If you aren’t or haven’t been an entrepreneur, then you have not lost sleepless nights thinking about a vision or taken a risk that puts your whole life and your family’s at risk trying to create an opportunity. You don't understand what it takes. And I think without that experience, you really can't provide the advice and assistance to somebody else who is an entrepreneur that needs to take that plunge.”
For Chris, the one key thing for Brass Dome Ventures, and actually for any business, is the fact that whatever business model or whatever strategy you have, it doesn't last forever. You can't ever be complacent and react to market developments after the fact. What they instill within entrepreneurs they help is that businesses should not react to what's happening today - rather they should anticipate what's going to happen tomorrow and make the necessary changes before it happens. That’s the key to success in business.
Author: Imad-Dean Kaddoura
Managing Editor at Alberta Business Review