A Q&A with Initiatives Prince George CEO Heather Oland about her organization’s vision and success in B.C.’s northern capital

March 5, 2014

Prince George is the largest city in one of the fastest growing regions in Canada. Typically known as B.C.’s northern capital, the city has a population of nearly 80,000 people and serves a region of about 326,000 people. The Prince George economy has experienced an average of 4.7% growth annually since 2010, which is nearly double the growth of the British Columbia economy during the same period (2.4%). Initiatives Prince George (IPG) is the municipally owned economic development corporation for the City of Prince George. IPG’s vision is for Prince George to be a growing vibrant city supported by a diverse and sustainable regional resource economy. We recently connected with IPG CEO Heather Oland to learn more about how her organization is working to build a stronger economy in Prince George.

Q: Initiatives Prince George (IPG) has a clear vision that states that Prince George is a growing vibrant city supported by a diverse and sustainable regional resource economy. In what way does IPG continually strive to make this vision a reality?

A: We strive to make this vision a reality by being knowledgeable about the Prince George economy, adding value to economic drivers of public and private sectors, focusing on Prince George’s competitive advantages and understanding the challenges and opportunities faced by Prince George businesses.

Q: IPG continues to contribute to growth and economic development in Prince George. What do you think has been your corporation’s most valuable achievement to date?

A: We are very proud of our 2014 strategic direction, which focuses on facilitating the expansion and diversification of Prince George businesses, while putting Prince George on the map as a choice city for living and investing. We are in the process of designing a robust business retention and expansion program as well as a city-wide recruitment plan – both of which we are very excited about.

Q: British Columbia’s north is on the precipice of massive industrial development. What are IPG’s strategic plans and goals for the coming years to take advantage of this opportunity for the betterment of the city you serve?

A:IPG’s four focus areas are:

Q: In your own words – why do you love Prince George and northern B.C.?
A: I love the pace, I love the space and I love that I can go shopping, go to dinner and the theatre, and also easily escape to the wilderness. Prince George has given me more opportunities to grow professionally than I would have experienced in a larger city. It has also given me the opportunity to raise a beautiful family, save for our future and, if I choose to, semi-retire before 55!!