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Thursday, 08 May 2014 10:40

Medicine Hat consultant/businessman/entrepreneur up for national award

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Anytime one is recognized nationally, it’s an impressive achievement. When a person is nominated for an award which recognizes helping young or inexperienced people succeed, it’s even greater. This is where current Medicine Hat resident and former Swift Current resident Ryan Jackson finds himself.


Jackson is one of four regional finalists for the 2014 Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) Mentorship Award. The award “aims to raise awareness about the importance of mentorship and the role mentors play in the development of an individual’s professional skills and abilities.”
Jackson is proud of the nomination and the fact he’s being chosen from an area which includes urban representation and a wide range of backgrounds.
“I’d like to win this, but you never expect to win or be selected,” explains Jackson, the principal and managing director of RAMECO Consulting Group, as well as president of Southland Properties. “It’s nice to be recognized and nice to be regionally selected.”
The award will be handed out in Toronto at the Growing Young Enterprise Canadian Summit May 14.
Jackson is a certified management consultant and has been involved in numerous businesses having started his career working with his father with Jackson Dodge.
He was president and GM of Jackson Dodge from 1991-2003, before going to Canopy Canada as president.
He was chair of both the Medicine Hat Police Commission and the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams from January 2008 to the end of 2013.
He was also an Entrepreneur in Residence for the Medicine Hat College for nearly two years.
Jackson was one of the people who helped Jon Sookocheff, develop the current Entrepreneur Development Centre (EDC), a well thought-of branchof the college.
“My wife said to me I should contact the college and get involved there. I mean I liked to coach so I thought I can get into teaching,” says Jackson. “Jackie Penner, Dean at the time, says ‘funny, you should mention that, we’re getting this (EDC) going. We should talk.’”
The next thing you know, Jackson is working with Sookocheff, the college and the partnership progressed from there. Jackson was able to provide his advice and insight to the students as he and the others saw fit. Initially, it was a work in progress, which was just fine with college administrators.
“We knew what the goal was and they were great enough to not put us in a box in teaching methods,” explains Jackson. “It’s been a fantastic addition to the community and not just the college.
This isn’t the first recognition for Jackson. He earned the College’s Business Person of the Year in 2011 and was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. He doesn’t really place any award ahead of the others.
To him, awards are like one’s children as they have different and significant qualities, but are equally important. The regional BDC nomination is a national award, so in that way it’s quite special.
Jackson is comfortable with the management consulting end of business. He still has a lot of different business interests, so he is active in the business world, but he still likes helping people which is something he developed from his early days growing up in Swift Current.
“I learned about volunteering from my father. He was involved in so many things,” explains Jackson about his comfort level with people and the mentoring side of him.
As for actual his foray into the marketplace, he didn’t really have an “A-ha!” moment, but Jackson knew right away that he wanted to operate a business.
Growing up, he had the stereotypical lemonade stand. His father farmed and had the car dealership so Jackson grew up around enterprising people. However, his father didn’t want Ryan to be involved in business. The elder Jackson lived through the depression era and knew how difficult and capricious running a business could be.
“He told me to get a secure government job and a pension,” recalls Jackson who adds by the time he was 21, he and his father wound up buying out Jackson’s original partner and in earnest started his career.
“I had a lot of great mentors along the way, my father being the first one. With people in business they see me as someone who has acquired enough knowledge to be able to pass on. People see you as someone to ask, so I thought why not get into consulting?”
He pursued and earned his certified management consultant status and is a member of the Institute of Certified Management Consultants of Alberta.
Jackson says that by no means is he perfect in all of his business decisions. He has made errors along the way, but that’s how one grows as a person and as someone in business. He is still learning and notes business people who think they have it figured out and know everything are the ones who will fail.
“As the saying goes, as long as you’re still green, you’re still growing. If you’re ripe, you (go) rotten,” explains the 40-something consultant. “I’ve been out of the car business for 11 years. I learned more doing start up businesses and being a consultant in the last 10. Maturity has something to do with it. Knowing that there is a lot to learn. I’ve learned as much from people I’ve dealt with as I’ve taught them.”
As for advice to give to new people “every day, you learn something,” says Jackson who notes experience is key in regards to success. “I’ve learned more than someone just starting out. It’s not that I’m smarter than they are, but you benefit from having more experience.”
He is reading constantly and keeping up with current trends in areas such as government, oil and gas, construction, real estate, and health and wellness.
While it’s important to keep on top of trends, he says businesses should stay true to what they are good at.
“Focus on your core, don’t think branching out is going to make you more money,” explains Jackson. “Focus on your targets ... if you diverge too much it’s so hard to maintain your focus. Slow, steady growth — it’s OK.”
 For more information about Jackson, see the website at: www.ramecoconsulting.ca or check him out on Twitter @ryajackson.

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Ryan Dahlman

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