Port of call: CreComm grad promotes Winnipeg as transportation hub to the world

Carly Edmundson, Centreport Canada

Whether it be by plane, train or truck, Carly Edmundson is doing her part to establish Winnipeg as a central transportation hub.

Edmundson is the executive director of marketing and communications at CentrePort Canada Inc., the corporation responsible for developing the 20,000-acre tri-modal (air, rail and trucking) inland port anchored by Winnipeg’s James Armstrong Richardson International Airport.

“There are three types of marketing and communications that we do at CentrePort,” says Edmundson, a graduate of Red River College’s Creative Communications program.

“The first is awareness raising. Canada, or indeed Manitoba, is not always top of mind for global investors. So our first job is to educate potential investors on all of the advantages of locating in our province.”

“A second focus of our marketing programs is targeted to businesses that we’re looking to attract, usually from outside of Manitoba and often from outside of Canada. There are six key sectors — agriculture, manufacturing, energy and mines, biomedical, transportation and logistics, and e-commerce — that are well-suited to set up new operations at CentrePort. We’re very precise about who we’re targeting and delivering the type of information that business leaders are interested in to make a decision of that magnitude.”

“The flip side of that would be our local marketing. Obviously developing a 20,000-acre inland port in Manitoba is going to affect those of us who live, work, play, and learn here. We focus on raising awareness on how the inland port’s development is positively impacting Manitoba’s economy and creating jobs.”

Edmundson graduated from CreComm in 2006, with a major in the program’s advertising stream. She says her time at RRC readied her for the monumental task of marketing North America’s largest inland port.

“The nice thing about CreComm is that it really prepares you to handle multiple competing priorities at the same time,” Edmundson says. “If my colleagues are pitching CentrePort to international businesses in Mexico or Germany at the same time we’re involved with a local manufacturing or exporting event here in town, it’s important to be able to manage both activities at once. And having spent time in university and other post-secondary experiences, no one really challenged that skill set quite like Red River College did.”

Edmundson started at CentrePort four years ago. One of her first tasks was to develop the Marketing Partnerships Program, a CentrePort initiative designed to connect local businesses to the companies located at the inland port.

“Many local businesses recognized there was tremendous growth and development happening at CenterPort and were looking for a way to engage in that activity,” Edmundson says. “It (the Marketing Partnerships Program) is a program that mixes business development and referrals with marketing methods to get all the great companies we have here in Winnipeg in front of the new businesses that are locating to the inland port.”

“It’s helped us in more ways than I intended. It’s great that we have these companies that are connecting with our new businesses, but they’ve also unintentionally become brand ambassadors. I think the reason people are starting to hear more about CentrePort is because of our partners. They’re having a good experience with us, they’re excited and telling others.”

Edmundson is also excited about CentrePort and what it means to Winnipeg, as well as its impact past the Perimeter.

“CentrePort is a monumental project for not only our city but all of Canada,” she says. “Because of our central geographic location and critical mass clustering of air, rail and truck, there is endless opportunity for future jobs, business development, and new industries we can develop and become experts in.”

“CentrePort is a once in a lifetime, transformational economic investment and growth strategy. Since our inception, we have attracted 50 companies to the CentrePort footprint that has brought over $300 million dollars of capital investment. This is an opportunity to reinvigorate Manitoba and the capital region’s role in global trade and it’s very exciting to be a part of this legacy investment.”

 — Profile by Jared Story (Creative Communications, 2006)