Panel of Dragons for the 7th Annual Dragons’ Den Meaford
Congratulations to the good work of the Meaford Chamber of Commerce, A Premiere Event in it’s 7th Year! Bravo.
- John Malloy – GEORGIANBAYNEWS.COM
Introducing Corporate Dragon:
From delivering newspapers to homes in Owen Sound to ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, Bill Brick has had a fascinating and successful business career which spans 40 years of commerce in both Canada and the United States. A highly motivated and skilled professional with a strong track record of building companies and delivering financial results in a wide scope of corporations, Bill loves to initiate new ideas with energy and enthusiasm. He works well under pressure as he offers solid business acumen complimented by a proven ability to build loyalty in an environment where personal and professional development is encouraged.
Bill’s career began in the grocery industry as a Manager of retail stores for the Oshawa Group in Toronto. For 7 years he was part of the Toronto Sun Publishing Company that eventually moved him out west as the General Manager of the Edmonton Sun Newspaper and culminated as the General Manager of the Calgary Sun Newspaper.
Bill moved into the Dairy Industry as VP of Sales and Marketing for Palm Dairies in Calgary, Alberta. Five years in the dairy industry prepared Bill to assume the responsibility of VP of Sales for Morningstar Foods in Dallas, Texas. This is where he began to ‘cut his teeth’ in publicly traded companies which led him to play a major role in consolidating the Dairy Processing Industry with a company called Suiza Foods, known today as Dean’s Foods. Over a 39-month period of time Bill, as Chief Operating Officer, along with the rest of the management team, grew Suiza Foods from a 400 million dollar company to a 6 billion dollar organization.
Bill’s final career assignment was as CEO and Chairman of the Board for Reddy Ice, the largest manufacturer of packaged ice in North America. During his tenure, the company acquired over 50 smaller ice companies, which ‘rolled up’ the ice industry in the southern United States.
Mr. Brick retired in 2008, but has rarely been idle since, as he continues to advise and assist on a diverse range of Consulting Projects; and still maintains some Board positions. Family and friends who, lovingly refer to him as “the Coach”, often seek Bill’s business advice. Most predominately, in the Grey/Bruce area, Bill and his 3 brothers are known for their ownership and management of the Owen Sound Volkswagen Dealership.
Landlords and other legal professionals have affectionately nicknamed paralegal April Stewart “The Terminator”because she has successfully terminated so many problem tenancies. Her goal is to save landlords from the nightmare particular tenants can cause, and get them out of their property fast!
April Stewart’s career evolved from a series of personal experiences that resulted in the founding of her current business, Landlord Legal. She has since emerged as one of Ontario’s most ardent landlord advocates. Personal experiences as both a landlord and a tenant, combined with the operation of her own residential property management company bore the respected, successful firm that exists today. Landlord Legal has burgeoned to such a level that it has set the standard for landlord representation, and April was among the very first group of paralegals licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada.
April has enjoyed many acknowledgements of her proficiency, most recently featured in Toronto Life Magazine, the Toronto Star, and appeared nationally on Global TV’s 16 x9 Series and on CTV Canada AM. Landlord Legal now serves clients covering a colossal part of Ontario ranging from Oshawa to Toronto to Barrie and over to Grey and Bruce counties. She regularly provides educational seminars to landlords, realtors and investment groups around Ontario.
How does this charismatic legal eagle relax? Peaceful country living right here in Grey County – with the peace occasionally interrupted by the rumble of her motorcycle or snowmobile! But really – that rumble pales in comparison to the sparks flying at the Landlord and Tenant Board when April is in action.
Stay tuned, it’s an ever-evolving quest of April’s to continue to advocate for her clients, the residential housing providers of Ontario.
Dragons’ Den Meaford is proud to have returning Dragon Carmenie Stemmler, who at the age of 33, is the youngest business-person to join the panel so far. What started as a project of 4 hives on her family farm in Markdale at the age of 18, has blossomed into a thriving beekeeping operation. Currently, Carmenie manages approximately 1000 hives in Grey County; providing bees, pollination services and honey to Grey-Bruce and beyond. Grey-Bruce Bee Products, Services & Supplies is the exclusive honey provider for Meaford’s own Meredith’s Ginger Syrup; winner of the 2009 Meaford Dragons’ Den Competition.
“Carmenie Stemmler epitomizes success in business. She is pursuing her passion and doing what she loves every day. She works hard and works smart, keeping up with growth and development in her field. She is always smiling when she talks about beekeeping and that excitement about her business is contagious.” –Meredith Cowan from Meredith’s Ginger Syrup
With her love of life and business in Grey County, she brings a fresh and unique perspective to this year’s Dragons’ Den. It is her hope that she can inspire other young entrepreneurs to pursue their own business opportunities in fields they are passionate about.
Cindy is President of E & H Property Management, a management company which specializes in the property management of condominium corporations. E & H is the largest management company in the Georgian Bay Region, managing some 3000 units. Two offices, one in Thornbury and one in Collingwood, have 17 full time employees to manage projects from Collingwood to Owen Sound, and handling everything from maintenance, Act enforcement, legal and accounting issues for the Corporations.
Cindys parents – Horst and Elizabeth Reinheimer, started the company in 1986 and Cindy assumed the Presidency in 2005 and has now doubled the portfolios being managed. Cindy’s daughter and daughter in law are now being trained to take over and become the third generation to run the company.
Cindy’s business rules – a good base are the building blocks for any business and their success. Develop procedures and protocols that can handle any and all situations, and more clients/orders than you can ever expect. By doing this, as your business grows, the systems can handle the influx, with little change. Keep your business and personal finances completely separate and watching the money is just as important as the service or the items being supplied.
Cindy lives in Meaford, close to her parents, children and grandchildren.
Bill Van Wyck – W. R. Van Wyck Group Limited
Family dinners were the trigger for Bill’s lifelong interest in all aspects of business. With one grandfather an entrepreneur, the other a chartered accountant, an uncle in radio/television and lawyers in the family, if the discussion wasn’t about politics, it was about business. A fourth-generation Grey County boy, Bill Van Wyck started his career on weekends backing up computer data on servo tape drives at RBW.
After four years at the University of Toronto, where he acquired a highly useful degree in Philosophy and Religious Studies, the Canada Manpower Centre hired him. He worked as a councillor there until, over the dinner table, he heard that Fleming Folding Cartons Limited was for sale. Through the kindness of the Fleming family and with the support of his father, he acquired the printing company and, over the next 12 years with the help of a dedicated staff, he took the operation from a failing plant to a highly profitable, multi-million dollar business. As the newly named Van Wyck Packaging got rolling, he acquired a fledgling “lobster yacht” manufacturer in Vanastra, Ontario – Blue Seas Boat Company Limited. The rapid growth of both these companies was assisted by the in-house development of ingenious computer software. In the 80s you had to get inventive with the hardware, so a VHS recorder was rigged as the tape backup for the system!
By the early 90s, Bill had sold both businesses and “retired” but couldn’t handle the pace, so he engaged an internationally recognized R&D firm in Milan, Italy to formulate an innovative line of canine grooming products. Over the next 16 years the business grew from four to eight products and at its peak they were distributed in 17 countries. Trademarked internationally, Duurstede® was the “must have” product for show dog fanciers around the world.
As that was winding up, Bill was appointed to the Board of Governors of Georgian College and finished his six-year term in 2014 as their Chair. With 2,600 staff and a budget of $186 million, Georgian operates seven campuses attended by over 11,000 full-time students, including 1,100 international students from 60 countries; 28,000 part-time registrations and over 900 apprenticeship students.
Not yet retired, he continues to operate The W. R. Van Wyck Group Limited that operates in the area of management consulting/mentoring on IT and best practices to a number of Canadian corporations.
Zach is the creator and owner of Zaagi Soap Co. This very young company has already made a splash in our community with its local ingredients. Zach hopes to build an online presence and take his soaps furth a field, sharing his knowledge of soap and the importance of its ingredients with others.
Candice and Michael are looking to expand production of their beautifully handcrafted sterling silver jewellery pieces, all designed and created with a story by Candice, an accomplished silversmith. These unique pieces are inspired by the past and designed for contempoary fashion. Candice and Michael would like to display her work in a downtown Meaford storefront.
Brewmaster Mark has big plans to establish a Craft Brewery in the heart of Meaford. Local ingredients will be the key to Mark’s flavourful brew, but before the brewery, tasting room, and dining space can be set-up in the old Meaford Fire Hall there are several capital costs to cover.
Scott crafts custom wood furniture and cabinets, often including unique carvings and design elements. If you can dream it, Scott can build it. His pieces are fashioned from local lumber in his shop at home. The addition of an enclosed trailer for delivery and a few other wood working tools would help enhance his business
Tanya and her team created whatsuphut.com, a smart phone savvy site in 2013 and have since amassed over 4 million users looking for businesses, events, community resources, parks – everything about a community in the South Georgian Bay Region. She aims to expand the contemporary tool to include the Municipality of Meaford, connecting it to the 8 other communities that are a part of this powerful promotional machine.