Individual EDO Category Finalists
Darrell Balkwill, CEO Whitecap Development CorporationDarrell Balkwill is currently the CEO of Whitecap Development Corporation for the Whitecap Dakota First Nation, located 26 kilometers south of the City of Saskatoon. He grew up in Saskatoon, receiving his Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Saskatchewan. Darrell has owned a number of successful businesses over the last 20 years and currently owns businesses in the health, transportation and real estate sectors. In 1986, Darrell began employment with the Saskatoon Tribal Council as their Economic Development Officer. He worked with the seven member First Nations for 17 years assisting in the establishment of community economic development programming, planning and project development. In September 2003 Darrell joined Whitecap Dakota First Nation as the Director of Economic Development and has since been involved in additional economic development initiatives and investments to improve the economic sustainability of Whitecap and its members. Darrell plays a critical role in establishing new partnerships and creating new business ventures to enhance the Whitecap Dakota First Nation economy.
Darrell has been involved and assisted in various economic development related strategic and investment plans. In his current capacity as CEO of the Whitecap Development Corporation, Darrel led the company through the successful implementation of numerous development initiatives, including; Dakota Dunes Hotel development; Dakota Dunes Golf Links expansion for a Club House; Saskatoon Tribal Council Casino Holdings, and; Whitecap Commercial Real Estate development. Most recently, Darrell played a key role in the creation of the Lake Diefenbaker Tourism Destination Area Plan. This resulted in the growth of both local and provincial tourism economies as well as millions of dollars in private and public investment in tourism focused infrastructure.
Darrell believes in preserving a strong sustainable community and works with the Whitecap Dakota First Nation Chief and Council to make Whitecap Dakota First Nation a lead and best practice to achieving economic success. Today, Whitecap Dakota First Nation boats the lowest unemployment rate within all Saskatchewan First Nations communities. With his extensive experience and the success of the numerous development initiatives he has been a part of, there is no question that Darrell has played a key role in the economic success of the Whitecap Dakota First Nation and the surrounding region.
Justin Ferbey, CEO Carcross Tagish Management CorporationJustin is the current Chief Executive Officer of Carcross Tagish Management Corporation, a Yukon based economic development corporation. As the CEO of Carcross Tagish Management Corporation, Justin has made unprecedented progress in articulating and implementing the community vision to develop a private sector economy in Carcross that will create sustainable jobs and business opportunities for the community, First Nation and the region by developing Carcross into a world class tourist destination. This vision is comprised of 4 strategic pillars: to create a new market, service the market, accommodate the market, and then establish a year-a-round market in the rural Yukon community. Justin has successfully captured this four pillar approach through the development initiatives of the Carcross Tagish Management Corporation.
Creating a new market – The "Single Track to Success” project is an initiative to build an extensive network of mountain biking trails on Montana Mountain. Today the Carcross trails are considered by Outside magazine as one of the world’s best destinations for mountain biking. The trails were all built by local First Nation youth.
Servicing a market – Carcross Commons is a hub of economic activity, a brand new commercial core that boasts close to 5,000 sq feet of new business offerings including coffee, pizza, First Nation art, restaurants, fresh fish, public museum, and an open area pavilion. Those who reside in the region know Carcross has a high level of visitors but did not have the business offerings to attract people to stay beyond the time to transit on to another stop in the tour.
Accommodate the Market – The proposed high-end resort currently in negotiations, represents a leap forward for Carcross, and indeed all of Yukon, as one of the largest potential private sector tourism investments ever made in the territory. It has the potential to fundamentally alter the economy of the entire region by attracting an entirely new type of high-end visitor to the North.
Establish a year-around Market – CTMC is now implementing a waterfront development that will provide to the market 70 to 80 beach front properties. In doing so will grow Carcross’ population base to potentially support the entrepreneurs in the shoulder and winter season. The project will also employ most if not all local builders thereby significantly increasing the community’s circle flow of a local dollar.
Justin Ferbey is firmly committed, and highly capable of playing a major role in creating a viable economy for the Carcross region of the Yukon. In fact, he already has.