Birth of a Boom: Lives & Legacies of Saskatchewan Entrepreneurs

24 December 2010

Birth of a Boom: Lives & Legacies of Saskatchewan Entrepreneurs
by Suzanne Paschall
Published by Prairie Policy Centre
Review by Andréa Ledding
$25 ISBN 978-0-9730456-3-5

In this book Suzanne Paschall examines the success of over a dozen Saskatchewan entrepreneurs and their small and mid-sized prairie businesses that helped fuel the “Saskaboom”, an economic upswing which helped our Province outperform most of Canada during a difficult economic time.

Paschall’s conversational tone in revealing the people and their success stories creates a readable and even captivating exploration of the business world. Readers can follow people such as Norm Wallace, who as a 19 year-old Irishman immigrated to Canada in 1957 and promptly faked his way into a bank teller position by “translating” and passing off a Gaelic swimming pool certificate as his high school credentials. Wallace later went on to open his own innovative construction company, and is still listing sales of over $20 million annually. Wallace is more than simply a good businessman, though, as he’s given back to a community that’s done so much for him by volunteering and working with felons, families, and the Sasknative Economic Development Corporation. What’s more, Wallace even funded an economic trade mission for four Saskatchewan aboriginal chiefs to South Africa, not only furthering economic opportunity but also helping to raise awareness of the plight of Canada’s Aboriginal people internationally.

Other featured entrepreneurs include Herb Pinder, founder of Pinder’s Drug Store chain (21 locations with 500 employees and over 75 years of operation); Spencer Early and Joe Bloski of Early’s Farm and Garden; Gavin Semple of Brandt Industries; George & Wendy Morris of Morris Industries; Jerry & Kevin Tell of Cindercrete; Wade Mitchell of ASL Paving; Ernie Poole of PCL Saskatchewan; Ron Carson and his oil industry energy company; inventor Wayne Lorch who founded Performance Marine; George Reddekopp of Grandwest Enterprises; Cas & Gord Broda of Broda Construction; and Bill & Irma Smith, cooks, caterers, and hotel entrepreneurs.

The book, published in both hard and soft-cover, contains beautiful photos throughout including full-sized images to start each chapter as well as smaller inset photos on nearly every page, making this book not only informative and well-written but also aesthetically pleasing.

If you’ve ever dreamed of starting your own business then this is the book for you. In every enjoyable chapter stories come alive of ordinary people who managed extraordinary success in business, leaving an inspirational legacy for others to follow in the process – a perfect gift for any resident or visitor to the prairies. The pictures make it a lovely coffee table book but it is the content that will make you feel as if you’ve just had a cup and a conversation with some of the best business mentors Saskatchewan has to offer.


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