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Mayor’s Annual Business Address focuses on post-pandemic resiliency

October 21, 2021   ·   0 Comments

The Mayor’s Annual Business Address, a top event in the New Tecumseth business community, took place via Zoom on Thursday, October 14.

The two-hour event, attended by 80 pre-registered members of the local business community, provided an opportunity to hear an official update from Mayor Rick Milne on the priorities and initiatives of the Town under the theme “Resilient, Together.”

With a focus on small businesses and entrepreneurs, the event highlighted the strengths of the town amidst a global pandemic.

During the introduction, a film highlighting New Tecumseth as “a destination of choice and a prosperous place to call home”, was shown, with key points including: since 2014 New Tecumseth has issued more than $1 billion in building permits; since 2018 over 1,500 permits have been issued with a construction value of more than $305 million; Almost $1.5 million has been received in ICP funding for local infrastructure projects; a strong record of environmental stewardship through conservation and sustainable practices and projects; New Tecumseth ranked one of the 100 Best Communities in Canada by Macleans Magazine; named is the highest ranking municipalities in Simcoe County; has over 2000 businesses employing more than 21,000 people; is an economic leader in Simcoe County; employment has grown by 5% over the last 5-years; population growth to 56,000 with upwards of 27,000 people within the next 10-years; and almost $300,000 of construction growth invested in New Tecumseth every day.

“I’d like to take a moment to thank each of you for joining us this afternoon to discuss how here in New Tecumseth we are resilient, together,” said Mayor Milne. “For more than a year, COVID–19 has forced us all to adapt and innovate to meet this ‘new normal’. Our team has redesigned this event from the ground up to ensure we could safely bring the 2021 Mayor’s Annual Business Address directly to you.”

“I know many of us are eager to continue moving ahead with the Reopening Ontario plan. However, this isn’t just a time to return to normal,” continued Mayor Milne. “This is a time to aspire to something even better; as much as the pandemic has put our lives on pause, it has also given us a chance to learn from our experiences. Here in New Tecumseth, we know where the challenges and opportunities lie, and we are ready to take on this next chapter with resiliency, together.

“Resiliency is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy. Empowering us to grow and even improve along the way. It is a triumphant act to be resilient in the midst of a health pandemic, with economic and financial uncertainty.”

Mayor Milne also shared that in many ways the pandemic has taught us that we can respond quickly and effectively to significant challenges while illustrating how important it is for our community, businesses and government to work together to accomplish our goals as a town. 

“For many of us, New Tecumseth is already a fantastic place to live and work with a thriving business community,” said Mayor Milne. “I think that so much of what we are doing these days is serving to create a safer, more vibrant, and enjoyable town. We are building a New Tecumseth where we all feel a deep sense of connection to our local businesses, and communities.

“As your Mayor, I have visited your plants, and I have visited your stores, I’ve seen the pride you feel when you showcase your products. When your employees excel, or when you provide services that are appreciated and valued by your clients. I have been at many official openings, and every single opening for me is a celebration of our Town’s entrepreneurial spirit. In every instance, jobs were created, and dreams were realized.

The New Tecumseth business community is an enlightened community that understands the critical role it plays in the economic, social and cultural development of our Town. I am confident that the Town of New Tecumseth has a bright future with endless opportunities to evolve and reach new heights, ensuring that we create an even better place to raise our families, for our businesses to thrive and for our residents to enjoy.

“New Tecumseth is home to over 2,500 businesses. These businesses provide over 23,000 local jobs. Did you know that as much as ninety per cent of new jobs come from existing businesses! And this is why job growth, business expansion, and continued improvement in the business climate are important initiatives that we need to focus on in the post-COVID-19 world to remain competitive. COVID-19 has challenged us all to work in different ways, employing new technology in a virtual environment, just like this very event this afternoon.”

Mayor Milne also spoke on the future of economic growth in New Tecumseth, something he hopes will make the local economy even more robust.

“Our future includes a population of 56,000 people with employment growth exceeding 27,000 jobs locally,” said Milne. “We are a serious Town that will make the investments required to achieve those goals. But we can’t do it on our own. The business community is the driving force behind the creation of wealth in this Town. The only reason why I can get up here, as the Mayor of this Town and give such a great review on our activities is because the business community is actually here every step of the way generating the jobs, spurring on economic growth and providing the very best standard of living and quality of life that the residents of New Tecumseth deserve. As we look towards the future, we can envision a future where we will continue to use technology to our advantage, to connect, learn, educate and engage.”

Milne shared how it is important that members of the community continue to look after one another – both at home and in business.

“We recognize that the success of our business community is key to the Town’s ability to deliver services that our residents rely on each day,” said Milne. “We have many, many reasons to be hopeful and optimistic but make no mistake about it, we cannot become complacent. We need to capitalize on our competitive advantages and continue to thrive. We need to work together to fulfill the promise of our Town; we need to focus our energies on our ultimate goal, which is to build the best Town we possibly can…

“I want to thank everyone in the community for stepping up and doing their part over the last year and a half; you looked out for each other and kept each other safe, and you stepped up when it mattered. Everyone played a part in getting us to where we are today; I look forward to working with you, the business community, the Chambers and BIAs, and the community at large to build an even more successful and equitable Town.”

Emceed by Darcy Brooke-Bisschop, Economic Development Officer for the Town of New Tecumseth, the Mayor’s address featured keynote speaker Fahd Alhattab, a “former at-risk immigrant child turned leader and entrepreneur, and reputable figure in the field of leadership development, motivational speaking, and social innovation”, who spoke on high performance business solutions and resiliency.

“Highly resilient small businesses begin with high-performing teams who are able to adapt, change, and grow with the circumstances at hand,” said Fahd, who also shared what makes these “Unicorn Teams”, and how to begin building a culture of resiliency today — despite the many difficulties from COVID-19.

Alhattab, who believes that leadership is a verb and not a noun, knows that high performing teams require great leadership in a safe environment, and believes “why” we work determines how well we’ll work. He began his presentation with a quote from Alvin Toffler, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

He spoke on organizational resiliency and how high performing teams are determined solely by the manager.

“What is the major issue/issues your company is facing right now?” asked Alhattab.

Through the chat function, answers from business owners began pouring in: volunteer help, capacity limits, online presence, constant change, supply chains, pricing increases, and fear of shutdowns were mentioned, but nearly every business owner said the same thing: staffing challenges.

Alhattab then told a story about his first job at a children’s camp and how one action created a sense of belonging for a camper, and, in turn, changed his own life.

“Shifting perspective is what it means to lead,” he said. “And money is no longer the sole factor in why people work.”

Alhattab spoke on why companies are having a hard time attracting and keeping talent. With peoples’ ability to work from home and “still earn good money” priorities in the workforce are changing. He cited play, purpose, potential, emotional pressure, economic pressure, and inertia – principles originally founded by Lindsay McGregor and Neel Doshi – on why people choose to work today.

Alhattab also outlined how COVID has “pressed the fast forward button” on how we need to run our businesses.

“Everyone is literally facing their own mortality,” said Alhattab. “And failing to develop human potential is the leading cause to declining economic productivity.”

For more information on Alhattab, or to acquire a downloadable hiring onboarding checklist, email or follow him on social media @fahdalhattab.

Although guests attended remotely, everyone was treated to a charcuterie box by Iron Oak of Beeton to enhance the experience. Following the keynote presentation, attendees were delivered to breakout rooms, to discuss issues facing the business community in the post-pandemic world, by pre-selection.

At the conclusion of the event Darcey Brooke-Bisschop allowed time for a Q&A, and reminded participants that October is Small Business Month in New Tecumseth.

A highlight of Small Business Month will be a free webinar by Nottawasaga Futures taking place on October 27. The virtual event, “Cybersecurity – Protecting Yourself and Your Business Online” will allow participants to learn about risks that threaten Canadian companies online, while sharing knowledge and tools to ensure organizations stay protected.

The session will be led by Sandy Boucher, Principal – Forensics Advisory of the Grant Thornton Cybersecurity Practice, and Thomas Turnbull, Assurance Services Principal in Grant Thornton’s public sector and not-for-profit practice in Southern Ontario. To register visit

For more information on assistance for small business owners in New Tecumseth visit

By Wendy Gabrek


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