Joel Plaskett is one of Atlantic Canada’s best-known performers. Joel saw early success during the rapid growth of Halifax’s indie scene in the 1990’s. His band Thrush Hermit along with bands like SloanEric’s TripJaleHardship Post and the Super Friendz set the tone for a fresh Atlantic Canadian sound.

Joel’s career grew with his band the Emergency and as a solo artist through the 2000’s. Using his own unique take on 1990’s Halifax indie rock…a stripped down, acoustically oriented feel with pop hooks, strong melodies and lots of harmonies.

Through this period the awards and award nominations were rolling in and a relentless touring schedule built a strong fan base across the country.

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Now 43, Joel continues his musical journey and has become an entrepreneur with the New Scotland Yard emporium, a cooperative venture with Taz Records, Elk’s Haircutting and Joel’s recording studio at 45 Portland Street in downtown Dartmouth… As Joel says, “Come buy a record, get a coffee, get a little off the top or book some time at the studio and cut your next record. Music is at the heart of it and all are welcome.”

I hope you enjoy my wide-ranging conversation with the thoughtful, charming, and very talented Joel Plaskett…

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If you were to conjure up an image of a custom dress shirt maker from Fredericton, New Brunswick, you could be excused if your imagination didn’t veer far off the rack of button-down Oxford cloth. Nothing could be further from the reality of Jeff Alpaugh.

Jeff graduated from business school and promptly joined the Canadian Armed Forces. The war in Afghanistan was a clarion for Jeff however, it wouldn’t be a lifelong career. Following an emotionally devastating turn of event, Jeff rejoined civilian life and headed back to a business that had given him his start.

An appearance on the television show Dragon’s Den provided Jeff’s burgeoning company a promotional shot in the arm, but the story is not exactly as it seems.

Jeff Alpaugh Custom produces what Jeff has branded the World’s Most Dangerous Shirt. They are vivid, creative, custom designs aimed at empowering the wearer with a creative edge. Jeff and his business and life partner Emilee Boychuk are building their business on a philosophy of fit, fashion, and fun.

I met Jeff in his shop in downtown Fredericton. I hope you enjoy my wide-ranging conversation with the energetic, creative and dangerous…Jeff Alpaugh.

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Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray became Saint Mary's University's 34th President on July 1st, 2015.

Born in Christchurch, New Zealand, Robert came to Canada in the 1980s receiving his Ph.D.n Geography from the University of Toronto.

 He has served in a number of senior academic roles, including the Dean of Social Sciences at Mount Allison University and as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Dalhousie University.

He is a respected educator, having received the Tucker Teaching Award, the AAU Distinguished Teacher Award and a 3M Fellowship. His research areas include historical geography, environmental history, industrial heritage, archives and narratives, GIS and cartography, the work of New Brunswick literary figure Charles G. D. Roberts, student mobility and internationalization.

I met Dr. Summerby-Murray through our mutual work on Nova Scotia's Business Education Council, a group organized to advance entrepreneurship in the education system. He continues to be very active in promoting business growth and innovation in Atlantic Canada

I met with Robert at his office at Saint Mary's to talk about his life, his thoughts on education, innovation, immigration and the future of Atlantic Canada.

I hope you enjoy my wide-ranging conversation with Robert Summerby-Murray

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Lisa Coates is a driver. She was born in Los Angeles in 1964. Her mother was a white Scottish Cape Bretoner and her father a black musician and teacher.

Lisa moved back to Cape Breton with her mother and then on to Boston as a teenager to complete her education and begin work.

Being a mixed-race child in Nova Scotia in the 70s came exposed Lisa to racism from both sides of the cultural divide. The experience hardened her resolve.

She explored real estate in Massachusetts following 9/11 but eventually packed it in to return to Nova Scotia. Her experience with real estate provided a foundation for the creation of a contracting company.

She has built her business, Level Ten Landworks into a well-respected construction firm, doubling her revenues from year one to year two. It is truly an entrepreneur's story.

I hope you enjoy my wide-ranging candid conversation with the energetic and opinionated, Lisa Coates.

 

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Steve Poltz is taking the world by donkey. Originally from Nova Scotia, Steve left with his family as a child to move to California.

He attended the University of San Diego, earning a degree in political science, where he met guitarist Robert Driscoll and formed the indie band The Rugburns.

He holds dual citizenship and regularly tours Canada playing folk festivals, music venues, and house concerts.

Steve is best known for a song he co-wrote with Alaskan born artist Jewel, You Were Meant for Me which achieved huge recognition ranking number 20 on Billboard’s All Time Top 100.

His one-man shows are a combination of storytelling and music, laying open his philosophy and satirical social commentary using simple yet innovative songs.

I met Steve 20 years ago when he first played the Economy Shoe Shop in Halifax while touring to support his album One Left Shoe.

He regularly appears at the Carleton Music Bar and Grill in Halifax, and has developed a strong local following along with a worldwide network of loyal fans. 

I hope you enjoy my wide-ranging candid conversation with the brilliantly creative and delightfully weird Steve Poltz.

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This is Fall Back Up, conversations with business leaders, innovators and high performers from Atlantic Canada. 

Fall Back Up is supported by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. CFIB provides political advocacy, business support and savings to 110,000 small- and medium-size independent businesses across Canada. To find out how CFIB can improve the odds of your business success, visit www.CFIB.ca. CFIB, In business for your business…

George Armoyan is one of Atlantic Canada’s most successful developers and investors. George’s family arrived in Boston from Syria in the early 1970’s. George came to Halifax to attend Dalhousie University and decided to make Nova Scotia his home.

Since he was a kid, George has been making deals. His philosophy in business has been to find undervalued firms and turn them around to create value for shareholders and generate wealth.

He uses the simple principle of buying low and selling high in creating a highly successful, highly diversified business empire.

He is the embodiment of a straight shooter. He’s not shy with his opinions and doesn’t mind ruffling a few feathers to get to where he wants to go.

George agreed to sit down with me at his historic residence on Young Avenue in Halifax to talk about his life, his family, his successes and his failures on the road to building his fortune.

I hope you enjoy my wide-ranging conversation with the ambitious and enigmatic, George Armoyan.

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Brookes Diamond has managed the careers of Rita MacNeil, The Rankin Family, singer-songwriter Bruce Guthro, Aselin Debison, comedian Bette MacDonald, Ryan's Fancy and children's entertainers Sharon Lois and Bram.

With his wife and business partner Fiona, Brookes Diamond Productions has produced countless successful entertainment events including the G-7 Summit Ceilidh, the Tall Ships 2000 main stage shows, the Symphony Explosion with Symphony Nova Scotia, Remembering Stan Rogers, live shows, and television and radio specials.

Brookes and Fiona also founded the Halifax Comedy Festival.

They've produced shows all over the world including the Sydney Opera House in Australia, Royal Albert Hall in London and the Palace Theater in Times Square New York.

Brookes Diamond Production also created Drum! a show synthesizing the musical culture of Atlantic Canada's indigenous and European cultures, your hearing music from this production now.

More recently Brookes collaborated with filmmaker Saltwind Productions to create a film honouring Nova Scotia’s sailing Ambassador. Bluenose, the Legend Lives is screening in a seasonal production SeaDome on the Halifax waterfront using cutting-edge VR technology in a 360-degree projection dome.
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Today in part 2 of this 2 part series, I talk to Brookes about his experience managing one of Canada’s most well-known artists and Nova Scotia icon, Rita McNeil and the ground-breaking production Drum! I sat down to talk with Brookes about some of these experiences in his home in west end Halifax...

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Brookes Diamond has managed the careers of Rita MacNeil, The Rankin Family, singer-songwriter Bruce Guthro, Aselin Debison, comedian Bette MacDonald, Ryan's Fancy and children's entertainers Sharon Lois and Bram.

With his wife and business partner Fiona, Brookes Diamond Productions has produced countless successful entertainment events including the G-7 Summit Ceilidh, the Tall Ships 2000 main stage shows, the Symphony Explosion with Symphony Nova Scotia, Remembering Stan Rogers, live shows, and television and radio specials.

Brookes and Fiona also founded the Halifax Comedy Festival.

They've produced shows all over the world including the Sydney Opera House in Australia, Royal Albert Hall in London and the Palace Theater in Times Square New York.

Brookes Diamond Production also created Drum! a show synthesizing the musical culture of Atlantic Canada's indigenous and European cultures, your hearing music from this production now.

More recently Brookes collaborated with filmmaker Saltwind Productions to create a film honouring Nova Scotia’s sailing Ambassador. Bluenose, The Legend Lives is screening in a seasonal production, SeaDome, on the Halifax waterfront using cutting-edge VR technology in a 360-degree projection dome.

Perhaps most famously, Brookes Diamond Productions was responsible for the creation of the 1970's Atlantic Folk Festival. The Folk Festival ran for seven years on Moxom's Farm in the Hardwood Lands of Nova Scotia. In many ways, it served as the birth of an organized music industry in Atlantic Canada.

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Today in part 1 of this 2 part podcast, I talk to Brookes about growing up in Atlantic Canada and walk through a few amazing stories about the Atlantic Folk Festival. I sat down to talk with Brookes about some of these experiences in his home in west end Halifax...

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January 26, 2018

Fall Back Up with Ray Ivany

 

Ray Ivany professional career has been distinguished by his interest in two things: post-secondary education and public policy. Ray graduated from University College of Cape Breton and East Tennessee State University, followed by a research fellowship at Harvard.

He worked in Nova Scotia's college and university system for more than 35 years.

At the University College of Cape Breton, Ray led the development of the university's first strategic plan. As President and CEO, Ray reinvented the Nova Scotia Community College (NSSC) spearheading a $123-million campus modernization.

As President of Acadia University, he reconnected the university with the values and culture that has made it one of Canada's best for nearly 180 years.

Ray's extensive experience with private and public sector boards and organizations led to an appointment by the premier of Nova Scotia to chair a landmark economic commission.

The resulting report issued in 2014, Now or Never: An Urgent Call to Action for Nova Scotians, has become the economic development blueprint for the province.

Ray has received numerous awards and distinctions, including:

Maclean's Honour Roll of Ten Canadians Who Made a Difference in 2004
Atlantic Business Magazine's Top 50 CEO Hall of Fame in 2011
Halifax Chamber of Commerce Person of the Year in 2015 and 2016
Canada's Public Policy Forum Leadership Award
Canada's Most Admired Corporate Cultures CEO of Broader Public Sector

I met Ray in the Library of the beautiful K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre at Acadia University...

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Today...a conversation with internationally-renowned expert in the area of adolescent mental health…Dr. Stan Kutcher

A national and international leader in mental health research, advocacy, training, policy, and services innovation, Dr. Stan Kutcher holds the Sun Life Financial Chair in Adolescent Mental Health.He works to advance adolescent mental health, education, research and training locally, nationally and internationally. H

e currently directs the World Health Organization Collaborating Center in Mental Health at Dalhousie and has served as Department Head of Psychiatry and Associate Dean for International Health at Dalhousie University.

Dr. Kutcher's work has received numerous awards and honours locally, nationally and internationally including: Best Doctor in Canada; Doctors Nova Scotia Health Promotion Award; Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacolgy Gold Medal; Lifetime Achievement Award of the Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation.

He is the author of more than 200 scientific papers and the author/co-author of numerous medical textbooks.

One of his current projects is leading the development of a national child and youth mental health framework for Canada.

I spoke with Stan Kutcher at his office in downtown Halifax...

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