Home Featured Parkland Feature Parkland County Part IV – Open for Business

Parkland County Part IV – Open for Business


Business in Edmonton closes it’s four part series on the exciting developments happening in Parkland County that show a progressive, connected County that is setting a new global standard for business development and attraction.

This conclusion introduces Robert Fernandez, Parkland County’s new director of economic diversification, who speaks about how the County is open for business and growth.

Fernandez joined Parkland County in summer of 2019 and brings with him extensive experience in both the public and private sectors, in addition to being involved at the governance and executive level with organizations such as Junior Achievement and the Citadel Theatre.

Now, Fernandez is pleased to bring his experience and his expertise to the fast-growing, progressive, Parkland County.

“The County has a great reputation of being open for business, and it shows,” he says of his first impressions in this new role. “The teams in planning and engineering are aligned and motivated, and understand the importance of growing our economic base for the benefit of all citizens in the region. Because of this exemplary service and open-for-business attitude that is shared across all of administration, Parkland County is known to attract investors and entrepreneurs from all of North America.

“Regarding assets, Parkland County has a wealth of options to offer prospective investors. We have fantastic industrial areas in our Acheson Park, which is uniquely positioned on a major transportation corridor. We have ready rail access with spurs into industrial zones that attract a variety of users from heavy industrial, agriculture and logistics. Parkland County also has several provincial parks and nature areas, which makes our region attractive to locate a new and dynamic workforce in a family friendly environment,” he notes.

Fernandez looks forward to building on the success of his predecessors in the County office, saying, “Parkland County has done fantastic work and achieved results everyone is proud of in the past decade, developing the County’s assets and economic prospects. With the downturn in the economy, it has become much more competitive to attract investment and new business to our region. I have spent over 20 years working in major corporate business attraction and business development roles and have also spent considerable time developing provincial economic policy. I hope to bring some of that expertise to the team we are putting in place as we aim to become intentional, proactive and strategic in our outreach.”

Plans are in place to launch a business attraction initiative in 2020. This initiative will support Parkland County’s key sectors of food and agriculture, AgTech, manufacturing, energy and technology.

“It will help us to clearly define our competitive and comparative value proposition to investors,” Fernandez explains. “The strategy will create a higher profile for Parkland County nationally and internationally, positioning our region as an attractive, competitive and business-oriented place for economic investment, ultimately creating more jobs and opportunity.”

He adds, “Another key element of our go-forward strategy is BRE – Business Retention and Expansion. BRE will help existing businesses grow, which is critical to the County’s priorities. We have many established and long-standing businesses in Parkland County. They have operated successfully for many years through the booming and strong Alberta economy. Now, some of them are looking to expand, diversify, partner or sell. The County is often in an ideal position to broker and network among industry, investors, associations (like the Chamber of Commerce and the Acheson Business Association) and other levels of governments. We are here to help existing companies to take full advantage of the supports and information that exist in the ecosystem to compete beyond Alberta, Canada and even globally.”

Fernandez is excited about the challenges and successes ahead.

“After I joined the County, the first priority was market outreach and the completion of a team that would support the needs of our business and investor community. Early in the New Year, we are finalizing our strategy and completing our marketing plan. From there we will begin to execute on our tactics. The year 2020 will be a busy and focused year for our team. We want to ensure that Parkland County continues to be known as a great place to do business and to invest. The opportunities are truly exciting and we welcome anyone that is curious or wanting to learn more to contact me directly at Robert.fernandez@parkland.com or follow developments @RobRegion.”

Learn more about this dynamic region by visiting www.parklandcounty.com.