For nearly 50 years, Economic Developers Alberta has striven to advance the economic development profession across the province. During its 2021 leader’s summit and conference May 19 to 20, the EDA honoured individuals working in Alberta municipalities who contribute to the profession and demonstrate development excellence in their communities.
Pincher Creek’s Marie Everts received this year’s EDA Outstanding Young Professional award, recognizing her work as the town’s marketing, events and economic development officer.
“I’m super passionate about what’s happening in our community and how great things are moving along,” says Marie.
“One of the most important things is it’s never about one person. I feel grateful that I’m supported by so many different people both in my professional life and in my personal life.”
Bev Thornton, executive director of Alberta SouthWest Regional Economic Development Alliance, says the region benefits economically when individual community members like Marie step up and co-operate to implement projects and meet shared challenges and opportunities.
“Marie’s ideas contribute to the ongoing strength of the region,” says Bev. “She exemplifies the profession at its best, demonstrating energy, creativity and commitment to her work and to the community.”
Marie was nominated by her co-workers in the community and peers in the region. Nominations from across Alberta were considered based on years of experience, professional training, demonstrated innovation and creativity, and professional accomplishments.
What separated Marie from other nominees was her inspired and energetic response to the economic challenges associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in helping the business support program get off the ground. The program itself was an EDA people’s choice finalist.
Additionally, Marie’s excellent communication skills, balanced perspective and commitment to empower other community leaders were noted as characteristics that brought strength to the community as a whole.
In particular, Marie acknowledges the Pincher Creek and District Chamber of Commerce board of directors, town council, contractors, and individuals in the business support program as the main drivers in helping create success through a turbulent year.
Marie plans to build on the momentum of the business support program and initiatives like the #LoveLocalPC campaign through a formal economic development strategy, which was put on hold last year in order to address immediate needs created by the pandemic.
“We’ve been talking about community economic development for quite some time, and now hopefully we’re going to be in a place where we can move some of these projects forward,” she says.
Central to future economic success, she adds, will be the formation of committees made up of community members and business owners who can contribute local knowledge to economic plans.
The economic strategy focuses future development on four pillars: retaining and expanding business, attracting new investment and businesses, developing a regional workforce initiative, and leveraging assets to diversify the economy.
Identifying action items for each pillar will help contribute to the town’s economic development in a holistic way rather than just focusing solely on economics. For example, shortages in housing or child care can create barriers to future economic growth.
Overall, Marie says community involvement contributes most to the town’s economic success and she welcomes the chance to have conversations with residents.
“I’m happy to chat with people about what’s happening with business,” she says.
Community members can reach Marie at the town office by calling 403-627-3156.
Congratulations on your award, Marie!
Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze