EDI Environmental Dynamics had a choice to make.
They had run out of room and were gaining new business, so they had to leave their home at Sixth Avenue and George Street, upstairs and tucked away in increasingly cramped conditions with offsite storage and equipment.
But where to go?
The city had a range of locations at reasonable prices, so they could pick from a number of properties.
Co-founder Bob Redden led the internal campaign to march a few blocks down the street to reside in the heart of downtown, at street level, in one of the highest-profile corners in the city, Third and George, kitty-corner from the Courthouse. They are only the second permanent tenant in decades of what was famously Morrison's Menswear (formerly the indoor Farmers' Market).
Their newly renovated space officially opens today.
"When the property came available, I think the best part for us was we knew we could make a professional difference on George Street," said Redden. "I look at Prince George's downtown as very important to our city and our region. We all care a ton about where we live, and the staff was keen on this. We have 20-plus professional people, plus all our clients and the people who help us do business, all coming and going in the downtown, and that has an impact."
EDI first moved to the downtown in 2009, coming from an urban industrial area. They have been in eight locations in their 18 years, sometimes splitting locations due to lacking space. Now everything is consolidated, and even expanded. They were able to install a lab for some of the analysis work they do, investing in technology so they could utilize the winter better, when field work is less possible.
The company employs a team of biologists, geologists, agrologists, geomorphologists, and support staff. They do the detailed scientific inspections and analysis needed by land developers and industrial companies to inform their business activities and conform to environmental regulations.
Their move and their expansion is based on an already active client base and the knowledge that more work is waiting for the environmental sciences profession in this region.
"There are just a lot of projects on the books and we see the diversity of the projects," said Redden. "The way our company operates, we do a lot of the baseline work these projects need, but we can also play a role right through a project's completion. We use a lot of local staff in our offices, people who know the region very, very well, as well as the science. It's a good position for us to be in."
The company has five regional offices - Prince George was the original plus Whitehorse, Grande Prairie, Nanaimo and Vancouver - employing a total of about 70 people. They are the winner for the past two years of the Employer of the Year Award for the national environmental sciences industry, according to ECO Canada (the country's leading professional labour strategy agency). One of their principle staffers, Cathy MacKay, was recently named one of Prince George's Top 40 Under 40 in the business sector; she was also a panelist for the StartUp Canada event in Prince George. Redden said the company is starting to emerge into the general public after years of being known only within the industrial sector.
"[Due to commercial land values] you just couldn't get this kind of profile in downtown Vancouver, so we are excited to have this opportunity for profile," said Redden of the busy P.G. intersection. "We have a reasonable rental rate, we have a desirable place in a city we love, so it's a happy move for us."
EDI Environmental Dynamics is hosting an open house today from noon till 1:30 p.m.