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BH&A has maintained its successful track record of client service for nearly three decades, meeting the needs of a wide spectrum of clients involved in industry, government, health care, high technology, non-profit organizations and the development sector.
Throughout his time operating the company, Brian Hetherington has been involved in many controversial and high profile projects. These have included the permitting of what was, at the time, the world’s largest single-line pulp mill for Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries, located north of Athabasca; seeking approval to extend the height and life-span of the West Edmonton Landfill for WMI Waste Management of Edmonton; the financial collapse – and subsequent litigation – of Canadian Commercial Bank; the permitting of a new coal mine outside Jasper National Park for Luscar Ltd.; and on a more positive note, the official re-opening of Hotel Macdonald in Edmonton, for which the company was awarded a national award by the Canadian Public Relations Society.
One of the company’s newest clients has called on BH&A to provide a wide range of services including corporate counsel, media relations and advertising planning and promotion.
When the owner of a large, but aging, rental development in the central northwest quadrant of Edmonton decided to embark on a massive upgrading of the site, he appointed Steve Lamphier, to assemble a multi-talented team to meet all the needs. Lamphier, an investment counselor and former banker, invited BH&A to be part of the team, which includes architects and interior designers from Vancouver, marketing consultants from Calgary and a variety of planners and builders from Edmonton.
Bellwether Park is the name of the 750-unit condominium project that will replace the aging 208-unit Ascot Gardens rental property in a phased development spread over about five years.
Among the services provided to this time are a mail survey among all current residents to assess their views of the projected development; counsel on public and government communications; the development and implementation of a marketing communications plan, including a broad-based advertising program; and ongoing media relations.
The formal announcement of the commencement of development of the first phase of the conversion was made in the new Presentation Centre – a converted former Ascot Gardens duplex building – on September 20th. This event generated media coverage on all local television channels, in depth features on CBC radio and an extensive report in the Edmonton Journal.
The editorial coverage was complemented by an extensive advertising campaign featuring full page ads in the real estate sections of the Edmonton Journal and the Edmonton Sun; a two week campaign on three CORUS radio stations, including a remote broadcast from the Presentation Centre on the opening weekend; regular ads in the Chinese Times; and a targeted campaign in the two specialist publications, Condo Guide and Condo Living.
Despite launching at a time when real estate sales had reversed directions, the launch generated significant opening weekend sales.
When the leading national menswear chain, Harry Rosen, first decided to expand beyond Toronto, in 1981, it chose to locate in West Edmonton Mall. This year, the company expanded the West Edmonton Mall store, and again used Edmonton for corporate innovation, testing new environmental construction concepts.
BH&A was selected by the company’s national PR and Special Events manager, Shauna Cumming, to provide local planning and organizational expertise in the creation and development of a special event to mark the store’s doubling in size.
Brian Hetherington and Marcus Gurske led a seven-person team that coordinated the event, including providing the catering and entertainment services for the evening; supplementing the store’s client list for invitations; and planning and implementing a media relations program.
Larry Rosen, the son of the founder and the current President and CEO, attended the event and did a series of local media interviews, including the Edmonton Journal, Global Television, City-TV breakfast show and the evening news and Leslie Primeau on CHED radio. Graham Hicks did an advance promotion item on the special event in his column in the Edmonton Sun.
A sizeable portion of the media interviews dealt with the new, highly efficient lighting and the re-cycled wood floor used in the store as tests for future use across the country.
Shortly after the horrific derailment of the CN freight train on the north shore of Wabamun Lake in October, 2005, the communications services of BH&A were chosen by the people most affected by the spill – the Paul First Nation. The Paul Band has lived and used the south east corner of the lake for more than 200 years, and the devastation caused by the oil in the water dramatically affected their use of the lake – and their lifestyle.
We continued to provide communications services on the effects of the spill until the time that the Band launched legal action against CN and the Federal and Provincial governments. As these actions are still before the courts, public communications has ceased, but we have assisted the Chief and Council with a number of other communications needs during the past year.
The most recent project was the development of materials to assist band management to communicate effectively with band members in steps to reduce unemployment. Presentation materials were developed for the band leaders to meet with officials, elders and band members, outlining opportunities that were available.
Media interview training for executives and politicians has been one of the key services provided by Brian Hetherington from before the company’s establishment. As a director with the Government of Alberta’s Public Affairs Bureau, he provided interview training and, on leaving government to set up the company, he started making his expertise available to clients.
2007 was an active year for Brian and his associate, Marcus Gurske, in this field. They have provided half-day training sessions for a number of Cabinet Ministers and government appointed committee chairs and, recently, developed courses for senior executives with North American Construction Group.
All the sessions are developed to meet the specific needs of the individuals, with simulated media interview questions prepared based on the individual’s area of responsibilities, to prepare them as close as possible for interviews with reporters.
BH&A assisted the City of Grande Prairie set a new standard in public communications during 2007, when it established a web-site specifically to encourage two-way communications between regional residents and the City. The site was developed to build awareness of some of the key issues that have been at the heart of differences between the councils of the City and the neighbouring County of Grande Prairie.
Significant numbers of regional residents logged on to the site on a regular basis to vote on issues posted on a weekly basis and to register their comments on regional matters.
City Council agreed, at the end of a five-month program using newspaper and radio ads, fliers delivered to all homes in the regions and the web-site, www.gpregion.ca , that there was a heightened level of community awareness of the issues. This background should assist the two new Councils to work together more effectively in 2008.