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Travis Penna

Travis Penna

Travis Penna

Birth date: April 30, 1977
Family: Jen Penna, Nicholas (14), Gracie (3), Ruby (1)
Education: Riverview Collegiate - High school Diploma
Lethbridge Collage - General Business Diploma

Travis' father started Penna's Welding 20 years ago. As Travis' mentor, they've worked together for 18 years now. Throughout that period of time, Travis was taught that with good values and hard work he would be successful. With the increased demands and significant growth of the company, Travis deals with the challenge of balancing work and family and truly enjoys it!

What was it about welding that got you intrigued?

“We do a lot of dirt work as well, underground utilities. There's lots of challenges, your outside and dealing with different customers every day. The guys I work with are great too, it's been a lot of fun over the years. When it comes to the crew, we fluctuate in numbers seasonally. We get up to as high as 32 men in the summer and 15-20 in the winter, depending on the workload.”

When did you realize you could take your trade and turn it into a business?

“That was more my dad's role, he started out as just a rig welder. He saw this opportunity 20 years ago and got it all rolling then. Now I'm continuing the family business and loving it.”

What is it about Moose Jaw that keeps you here?

“Our family is here, I grew up in Moose Jaw, then moved away and had a much greater appreciation for it when I came back. I think that happens to a lot of people. It's a quiet, friendly place to raise a family and the majority of our employees are from here, all great people. We thought we'd invest in Moose Jaw and keep our business here.”

What range of services do you offer?

“95% would be underground utilities and welding work. We install and maintain natural gas systems and our contract covers Southern Saskatchewan so we travel. For example; if there's a new subdivision built in Swift Current we put the gas lines in and hook up the buildings”

Steve Erdahl

Steve Erdahl

Steve Erdahl

Birth date: June 13th 1972
Family: Married to Michelle Erdahl with three children, Kelvin (16), Samantha (17), and Brittany (21).
Education: Grade 12 Graduate of Vanier Collegiate

Family Pizza is well-known for donating food to various events and organizations in Moose Jaw, mainly the Humane Society as Michelle and Steve have a real love for animals. Growing up, both of Steve's parents worked extremely hard to provide for the family. As a result of witnessing good work ethic and values those traits have been instilled, even at a young age when he bought the business. Erdahl believes that in five years Moose Jaw will continue to be a vibrant city with a growing economy. In family pizza's first location they were at the bottom of Main St, many of the buildings were empty, and that is most certainly not the case today. He sees Moose Jaw as a growing city, and a great place to raise a family.

What Prompted you to buy the business?

“I was at the right place at the right time. I started when I was 16 and worked there for four years. I enjoy the business and it came up for sale when I was 20 so I thought I'd give it a try, and 20 years later, here I am.”

If you get one pizza - whats your topping of choice?

“All-dressed for sure. The old classic.”

Why has family pizza been so successful?

“We've worked hard at it and had lots of great staff over the years. With our 2 for 1, I think we have a good product and do the best we can.”

Your a hands on owner, why is that important?

“I think you have to be there to run your business that way thing run smoother and you know whats going on.”

Whats the secret to keeping your employees happy and productive?

“I think it's important to treat them well, and pay staff fairly.”

Scott Evans

Scott Evans

Scott Evans

Birth Date: January 3, 1973
Family: Three children, J.R, Carson and Ava.

Scott began his career at Moose Jaw Ford in 1995 selling cars. That lasted until 2002 when he became a pre-owned vehicle manager. It was 2005 when he became the general sales manager and in 2008 he bought the dealership. From his father’s previous ownership of Evan’s Florist to Moose Jaw Ford’s previous owner, Scott has had many influential people impact his business skills. Starting from nothing encouraged Scott to make his own breaks in order to stay in the game. Scott believes his nomination is due to Moose Jaw Ford’s success and employees. The employees involved truly make the company what it is. Scott, along with his team, has received the President’s Award from Ford Motor Company every year since he took over in 2008.

What does the future hold for Moose Jaw Ford?

“We're planning on building a new car dealership on the location we are currently at. We're actually just working to get things underway.”

What are the keys to running a successful business?

“I think the keys to running a successful business are being honest and fair with people, whether it be our customers or staff.”

Have you noticed a change in attitude in Moose-Jawvians over the past few years? If so, how?

“I think Moose Jaw, and the people of Moose Jaw as a whole are doing well. I think there's some money here. People realize every time that somebody spends money somebody makes money, and when they make money, they spend money and as that goes on it helps everyone.”

What type of changes have you seen since Mosaic Place opened up next door?

“I think it's definitely busier, there’s more happening downtown. Anytime you get a facility of that size, or a new business downtown it's going to draw people to it and do nothing but benefit everyone in the area.”

Duane Hrechka & Lana Lalonde

Duane Hrechka and Lana Lalonde

Duane Hrechka & Lana Lalonde

Birth dates: Lana - May 29th, 1975. Duane - December 29th, 1970
Family: Duane and Lana are married and have two children: Mikkel (9) Lana (6)
Education: Duane and Lana are both SIAST grads from Moose Jaw. Duane graduated from Business Administration and Lana Graduated from Computer Information Systems.

Since its inception, Emerald and Vibe has proven its popularity in the Friendly city. Duane Hrechka and Lana Lalonde have since taken over the family business which has been serving the community for over 25 years. Duane started working full time as a custom picture framer with his parents at Emerald Glass & Gallery. Lana spent over 13 years in the computer industry and after having their second child decided to make a career change to find the same passion she watched her husband live with every day. From childhood until now both Lana and Duane have learned from their parents the value of hard work, the importance of quality products, and great customer service. Duane and Lana love what they do and as a result every item provided to a customer is a creation and a reflection of their creativity.

What are the challenges of being married and running a business together?

Lana: “We don't usually have any issues working together. We find we work a lot of extra overtime in order to make sure we don't sacrifice the time we spend with our family.”

Duane: “I think the biggest challenge is trying to make enough time for family and work. Especially during our busy season, it's hard to create enough time to make it an equal balance.”

What are the benefits?

Lana: “I love working with him, it's great! I think it's nice that we're two very different personalities. Together what we bring to the table is very unique and our skill set almost balances each other out. We're kind of like the 'yin' and 'yang'.

Duane: “It seems that we're together all the time, but some days we're both flying in different directions and we feel as though we barely see each other even though we're together all day. The days just seem to fly by so quick.”

What services are available at Emerald & Vibe that people might not be aware of?

Lana: “We focus on products and services that are truly unique to our end customer. As a business we always strive to do something just a little bit different. When you see our pieces it truly becomes a work of art. As for the services we provide, we're very diverse. We do everything from custom picture framing, which is something Duane has done for over 25 years now, to being able to create custom creations for corporations, individuals, or sports teams. We do custom embroidery, custom engraved and lazered products. At the end of the day it is an expression of us that goes out our door. We focus on not providing the ordinary, we focus on providing the extraordinary.”

What does it mean to you to be able to operate a successful business in Moose Jaw?

Lana: “I think for us, it's actually continuing the legacy. This is a family business so we've been in business for over 25 years now. For us as a company and as a team, we love Moose Jaw. We will be in Moose Jaw probably until we retire, or even after that. We enjoy being apart of a community that is extremely progressive. As a business we're proud to represent Moose Jaw.”

What's the most unique item you have ever put graphics on?

Lana: “I think the most unique item that Duane has framed was an aircraft wing.”

Duane: “Possibly! I just actually framed a letter that came off the Titanic. That was really cool, because it was appraised at over $60 000, just this little piece of paper. I did that this past Christmas.”

Ben Capili

Ben Capili

Ben Capili

Birth date: August 9th, 1973
Family: Jana Capili, Morgan (8) & Marcus (4)
Education: Bachelor of Science, University of Manitoba

Ben’s expertise with technology has proven to generate a very interesting career. He managed a satellite operations center in Regina before delving into his new business. One of the components was managing a cable broadcast station, which led to his extensive experience in the audio-video realm. The highly specialized knowledge he gained provided him with the experience to develop his own niche in Moose Jaw. His eye for business led him to discover a need for his services in town. Connect It has been in operation for three years, providing services to both residential and commercial clients.

Ben's mentors are his parents, They’ve instilled the value of a strong work ethic. As first generation immigrants, he gives them all the credit in the world for leaving their homeland and moving their family of six kids to a new country just to allow more opportunities and a better quality of life. Capili Believes that in 5 years Moose Jaw will see economic growth never before seen by the city.

What services to you offer?

“We have a couple of lines of businesses, on the I.T side, we provide support typically for businesses. We do the hardware support, and software support, we do the networking by running the data lines and set up the whole network. On the audio-video side, the commercial side of things, we'll provide you all the audio and video equipment, you can provide it as well. We'll install it, set it up and help you operate it in a simple manner. There's also the surveillance systems, we'll install those. Essentially, what we do is anything related to technology in any field. Basically, your limitations with us are budget and imagination.”

What technological advances have you seen come up in the past ten years?

“Well certainly the in the mobile realm, everybody wants to be able to control things with their iphones and ipads. The adamant of the ipad is huge in terms of the audio-video business. A lot of the systems that we install and set up, have that capability for a lot of our clients. They can control their lighting, thermostats and even view their camera surveillance systems, that's a popular one, especially on the commercial side. Our clients are able to view their place of business from the comfort of their ipad or iphone, wherever they are around the world. That's the big thing, everyone wants that access and that's what we're helping you do. In the industry we're known as custom integrators so what we do is we talk to the plumbers and the electricians and find out how we can control it and integrate it into our system. It's all simplicity, making it all simple for the client and easy for them to operate on a daily basis.”

How long does the average job take?

“It really depends. In new construction they're in phases. We come in to pre-wire before the drywall is set and then we come back after the walls are painted and we'll put in the equipment that we need. Typically, once the homeowner has moved in, that's when we install all the equipment. It's a long phase, especially in new construction because its all dependent on the other trades, you cant do things until someone else is done. Each of these phases is typically about 2 weeks. We'll be there for a few days for pre-wiring, than we're there for another few days putting in the plates, then a good week or two installing the equipment. For what we call a 'retro fit', which is an existing home, it really depends on the job. It can be anywhere from a day to 4 weeks. It all depends on the scope of the work.”

Why did you decide to open Connect It in Moose Jaw?

“One of the exciting things about Moose Jaw is that its a younger generation of entrepreneurs. I think that will be good, not only for the economy but for the future of Moose Jaw. We have a younger generation here to stay, make a home and grow together.”