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Team Alberta approach for headquarters attraction

A team of investment attraction experts will champion Alberta as the best place in North America to set up international headquarters.

HQ2 Leadership team

Premier Rachel Notley introduces the HQ2 leadership team, from L to R: Dwayne Dreger, Laura Kilcrease, Elizabeth Cannon, Deron Bilous, Rachel Notley, William (Bill) Sembo, Mary Moran, Glen Vanstone

The Amazon HQ2 Leadership Team will be helping Alberta cities bidding on Amazon’s HQ2, including identifying opportunities for the provincial government to support the bids.

“There’s a reason Alberta is home to the highest concentration of international headquarters in Canada. We have the youngest, best-educated and most productive workforce in the country. We also have the most competitive costs to do business – including our universal health-care access. We’ve brought this team together to focus on creating maximum benefit for Albertans, because we know that showcasing our cities to the world means new economic opportunities here at home.”

Rachel Notley, Premier

The Amazon HQ2 Leadership Team has extensive networks it will use to build a national and international profile for Alberta bids and show the world why Edmonton and Calgary are great places to do business. The team will focus on showcasing Alberta’s high quality of life, low taxes, diverse and well-educated workforce, extensive public infrastructure and world-class health care. Having the presidents of Alberta’s two largest universities on the team will help position Alberta as an innovative – and nimble – workforce, capable of responding to the talent requirements of Amazon, or any company looking to build a headquarters.

“We've seen Cavendish, Google, RocketSpace and Champion make important expansions in our province this year as we work to grow and diversify our economy. I've met with Amazon executives directly, and they've been clear that a Team Alberta approach is important to demonstrate our government is serious about helping them expand here too.”

Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade

William (Bill) Sembo, a retired investment banker who oversaw the creation of Cenovus Energy and Nexen, is heading up the new team. He chaired the first meeting Monday morning.

“We can compete with many other jurisdictions when it comes to attracting leading businesses to Alberta. In Alberta, one discovers everybody is building, everything is new; nothing is beyond improvement and our horizons are limitless. Albertans get things done! The team and I will use our collective networks, experiences and determination to support our cities' bids – we're united in a view that Alberta is the best place to invest and do business.”

William (Bill) Sembo, Investment Attraction Team Lead

Other members include:

  • Mary Moran: Calgary Economic Development, president and CEO
  • Glen Vanstone: Edmonton Economic Development Corporation, vice-president, Trade and Investment
  • Elizabeth Cannon: University of Calgary, president & vice-chancellor
  • David Turpin: University of Alberta, president & vice-chancellor
  • Dwayne Dreger: Invest Alberta, executive director
  • Laura J. Kilcrease: Alberta Innovates, CEO
  • Deron Bilous: Minister of Economic Development and Trade

The team’s work builds on meetings Minister Bilous and ministry staff have had with Amazon executives over the last year, including meetings in Seattle in August.

Alberta’s headquarters attraction advantages at a glance

Cost savings:

  • Alberta cities have at least 13 per cent lower business operating costs than U.S. cities (KPMG 2016 Competitive Alternatives study)
  • 12 per cent lower corporate tax than the average U.S. state
  • Universal health care, which translates to reduced overhead costs for employers and a healthier workforce overall
  • Lowest total tax in Canada

Extensive trade infrastructure:

  • Three international airports
  • Cargo delivery to more than 50 million customers within 24 hours
  • Most extensive public infrastructure (per capita) in Canada
  • Access to Europe through extensive rail and highway networks to east coast ports

Well qualified workforce:

  • Highest per capita concentration of engineers in Canada
  • Strong labour pool of multilingual professional and technical talent

Post-secondary support:

  • Home to internationally recognized research facilities and 26 post-secondary institutions
  • Highest post-secondary completion in Canada
  • Canada’s highest per capita investment in research and innovation


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