By Jim Stirling
It quickly became apparent to Mark Cusack during a business visit to Prince George, B.C. late in 2018 that there was a strong, pent-up demand in the region for forest harvesting equipment. The trend and interest level extended further to include a range of other heavy construction related equipment and services.
Cusack is national show manager for Master Promotions Ltd which with a local committee helps organize the Canada North Resources Expo (CNRE). The next biennial edition of the CNRE is scheduled for Prince George May 24-25, 2019.
“This time around we’re well ahead with space booking and commitments than we were for the 2017 event at the same time, and for the show before that,” reported Cusack. “It’s very encouraging.”
All the more so when interest in the 2019 show is being driven by the “majors”—the largest dealers and suppliers of logging and heavy construction related equipment. The larger companies are the ones anxious to secure the prime spots and space at the 2019 CNRE. “They can see the value of participating in an event in front of the loggers and contractors from all across the region,” added Cusack.
The venue for the CNRE is Exhibition Park in Prince George which, apart from the extensive inside booth space, offers about four acres for outside equipment display and demonstrations. Cusack is confident given the early booking commitments that the 2019 edition of the CNRE will go a long way toward filling the outside display area. If that turns out to be the case, the achievement will harken back to the days when the forestry show every second spring in Prince George was the largest and most business-friendly event of its kind in Canada.
The CNRE is not the typical tire-kicker sort of trade show. The more than 300 exhibitors expected will have two full days of access to more than 800 attendees, many of whom are the decision makers—the cheque signers—for their logging and construction-related businesses.
Part of the bullish business sentiment Cusack encountered in the Prince George area might also be attributable to the massive LNG Canada project. The five joint venture participants have confirmed their intention to build a $40 billion liquefied natural gas export facility at tidewater in Kitimat, B.C. The announcement made by the five international companies—Shell; Petronas; PetroChina; Mitsubishi and KOGAS—represents the largest private sector investment in Canadian history. Cusack noted that although the project is only beginning the ramp-up process, the LNG initiative creates an upbeat business backdrop throughout B.C.
The CNRE’s status on Prince George’s events calendar is reflected by the other related groups and organizations that schedule their events to coincide with the CNRE to the benefit of all parties. A returning example in 2019 will be the Interior Safety Conference. During the last CNRE in 2017, the safety conference was doubled to a two-day format and attracted more than 150 delegates. It tackled a diverse range of issues from workplace fatigue management programs to safety issues surrounding the emerging steep slope harvesting technologies.
Having associated events interwoven into the CNRE fabric is part of a wider philosophy embraced by the event’s organizers to more fully involve the Prince George community.
”We want to give something back to the communities in which we organize events,” explained Cusack.
The process takes different forms but includes the support of non-profit organizations in the region and contributing to natural resource training in local colleges and universities. The Northwest Community College, for example, benefitted by a $10,000 donation from the Resources Expo Society and Master Promotions after the 2017 edition of the CNRE.
Cusack noted Saturday May 25 has been designated Family Day with special events at the CNRE with the invitation to attend extended to everyone. It’s an ideal opportunity, too, to see the forest and other natural resource industries in a new light: as a viable career choice. “The resource industries are crying out for equipment operators and mechanics, so bring your resumes,” urged Cusack.
And these days the resource industries are much more than heavy equipment. The sector has become technologically sophisticated to maintain its competitive edge around the world and that is why the resource industries offer a surprising spectrum of employment opportunities.
The latest registration information, features and events at the 2019 CNRE May 24 and 25 is available at www.cnre.ca
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