In this ongoing series, Economic Development Winnipeg talks to local business leaders about the importance of being an ambassador for the city. Check out mywinnipeg.ca for more information on investments, events and news about Winnipeg.
For those who don’t know, tell us about New Flyer Industries and Motor Coach Industries.
New Flyer Industries and Motor Coach Industries are the largest transit bus manufacturers, the largest motor coach manufacturers and the largest parts distributors for buses and coaches in North America. We currently have about 5000 employees and team members and about 2500 of them are here in Winnipeg. We export a good percentage of our work to the United States.
Why is Winnipeg a great place for business?
There’s this magnificent community of business leaders that work together not only on their businesses and their industries but work together to make us a successful province and a successful city. So collaboration, creation of ideas about how to make the city a better place, input to the curriculums of the universities and so forth. It’s that neat balance of making our business more successful but also making sure our community is more successful. We’re in a central time zone. We’ve got tremendous access to universities and educational institutions, politicians and government officials and that wonderful network of businesses.
Inside the new product development division at New Flyer Industries.
When you’re travelling around the world and someone asks you about Winnipeg, what do you tell them?
It’s a very special story when we talk about Winnipeg and we talk about Manitoba. We have this wonderful melting pot of many difference nationalities and ethnicities that work together. There’s a spirit of cooperation, but really a spirit of can-do. And you’ll find really successful people, successful businesses, successful institutions that punch way above their weight from Winnipeg. When we go around the world and in the United States, we’ve got a brand, and every business and every person lives up to it. It’s very special.
Why is it important to be a Winnipeg ambassador?
I think every single one of us, whether you’re leading a business, working in a business, hosting people in our city, travelling -- this concept of being an ambassador is really, really important. At the end of the day we've got this really neat location of our city, truly the centre of North America. We've got this fabulous airport to get in and out of and this wonderful transportation system for our businesses and individuals. We've got cottage country as little as a half hour away that’s accessible and affordable. We embrace our four seasons and get out and enjoy them. And that’s a really special thing when we’re trying to attract people and businesses. We’ve got something to sell for sure. We’re telling a story to make ourselves successful, to make people welcome us into their communities but also to improve our competitiveness. So we want people to come, see, enjoy Winnipeg and ultimately invest and grow in our city.
This interview has been edited for length.