A high-profile management consulting firm with international connections has set up shop in Red Deer.
Chinook Solutions Inc. opened its doors at 4711 51st Ave. last week, after nearly 14 years in Calgary. Founder Lawrence Hobbs said Red Deer appealed to him because it’s midway between Alberta’s two biggest cities, where most of his clients are located.
The fact that his son attends Red Deer College was also a factor, in that it gave Hobbs and his wife Angela an appreciation of the city’s abundant green space, relatively light traffic flows and friendly people.
“The lifestyle is a significant step up, we find.”
Chinook Solutions helps businesses and other organizations with strategic and business planning, implementation and governance, and performance improvement. Its clients include the likes of SaskPower Corp., TransCanada Corp., Farm Credit Canada, the City of Calgary and a number of provincial departments and agencies. The sectors it works in range from aviation to services and technologies.
“Our clients are all over,” said Hobbs, who is a certified management consultant and a project management professional. “Probably the furthest away were a couple in Colombia that we did five or six years ago.”
The firm works with affiliates in Texas and Mexico, and has associates in Calgary and Edmonton.
Hobbs said much of the work Chinook Solutions does relates to a methodology called “Strategic DNA.”
“Fundamentally, it’s an integration of Harvard Business School best practices,” he explained.
Hobbs codified Strategic DNA in a 2008 book by the same name, and has registered it as a trademark in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Formerly an air traffic engineer in the U.K., Hobbs was recruited by Canadian aviation giant Bombardier Inc. in 1987.
There, he recommended and helped implement changes to the way the company operated, and assisted with the integration of other companies acquired by Bombardier.
“That’s what led me on to change management and then business consulting.”
Hobbs launched Chinook Solutions in 1999 with the help of a business partner, who died a few years later. Today, he runs the firm with Angela.
In addition to Strategic DNA — of which 10,000 copies were printed — Hobbs has published three other management books. Angela has a half-dozen titles to her name, with these focusing on health issues.
After relying on publishing companies for each of their first books, the couple set up a publishing division within Chinook Solutions. It operates as Bold World Books.
“Now we’re starting to receive manuscripts and proposals from other people,” said Hobbs.
“We are in discussions with several authors at the moment.”
Despite relying on air transportation to reach many of his clients, Hobbs thinks Chinook Solutions’ new Red Deer base gives him a travel advantage.
“I’ve got two major airports to choose from,” he said, adding that a drive to the Calgary International Airport doesn’t take much longer now than it did when he lived in Calgary.
Hobbs also pointed out that he can reach two of his major clients, the City of Kelowna and Kelowna Airport, using scheduled passenger service from the Red Deer Airport.
Some clients will travel to Red Deer, he added. Chinook Solutions can accommodate 12 to 20 people in its boardroom, but in many cases he expects to book meeting space at local hotels and conference facilities.
Additional information about Chinook Solutions can be found online at www.chinooksolutions.com.