How Communities Bring Innovation to Town

Written by Lisa Hrabluk

Best-selling author. Award-winning journalist. Purpose-led entrepreneur. Find me hanging out where culture, people and ideas collide.

July 27, 2020

As summer settles in, we’re thinking about the things we like about living in New Brunswick. We’re bringing together a quartet of people who love where they live and are working hard to make things better for others.

Over the past few months we’ve talked to over two dozen New Brunswickers about topics as diverse as food security, education, tourism and seniors care, this Friday we bring the topic home to the place where all those changes can and are happening. And to do that, we’re leaving New Brunswick’s famed coast behind and heading upriver for what promises to be a really interesting conversation about Fort Folly First Nation, Peticodiac, Nackawic and the communities along the Lower Wolostoq/St. John River.

Bill Jarratt is the Recreation and Tourism Director for the Town of Oromocto. He’s also part of the leadership team behind The Lower River Passage, a river-related sustainable tourism initiative involving communities from Saint John to Fredericton with The St. John River Society as the managing partner. The initiative is working to develop tourism infrastructure in participating communities and a united regional marketing effort to showcase the diverse cultural and natural heritage experiences of the Lower River Passage and its adjacent region, while simultaneously fostering new tourism services, products and amenities.

David Knockwood is a member of Fort Folly First Nation and has lived there since 2005. Growing up in Fort Folly, David spent a lot of time on the land learning about the different plants, animals and medicines from Elders like Gilbert Sewell. David graduated high school in 2013 and attended the University of New Brunswick 2013-2019. David previously worked at Fort Folly Habitat Recovery seasonally between 2013-2018 as a field technician working to restore the endangered Inner Bay of Fundy salmon population on the Petitcodiac River Watershed.

Teri McMakin is a municipal elected official with a passion for building her community and empowering the people around her to get to work doing the same. Though her educational background is in Biology, her volunteer work with a number of NGOs ended up guiding her into community-based initiatives. Teri was the initiating force for the Petitcodiac Inspired arts festival which is seeing it’s 4 mural installed as we speak. She also initiated the Village of Petitcodiac’s participation in the National Communities in Bloom competition. This lead to the Village’s first-ever Community Awards Night where local people are recognized for the fantastic things they do in the community. She is one of the founding members of the newly established Petitcodiac and Area Historical and Cultural Society and currently sits on the boards for the Petitcodiac Public Library and the Petitcodiac Boys and Girls Club. Self-described career volunteer, Teri spends her “spare” time in her garden and with her family, two young boys (4.5 and 2.5), her amazingly supportive husband, two cats, and a highly energetic dog.

Brent Sansom is the president and CEO of Destination Nackawic Economic Development Corp. He’s a multi-sector experienced, highly self-motivated, business growth strategist who has been a catalyst for significant revenue growth, organizational transformation, and expansion initiatives across North American markets. Brent has both held senior operational management positions and delivered extensive professional consulting services, responsible to create, implement and scale customer service, business development, sales, marketing, and financial management operations, while building exceptional customer and partner relationships. He is experienced working with both the complexity of larger corporations and leveraging the “Esprit de Corps” of start-up ventures, often in ‘bleeding edge’ innovative businesses. He’s collaborated with Harvard Business Review and receive notable mention for his consultative work in a benchmark “digital / social media” case study published in Dec. 2009. This case study highlighted the international rise to business fame of Halifax-based musician and social media superstar, the creative talent behind “United Breaks Guitars”, Dave Carroll.

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