“We see a lot of companies thinking how much I can save on my rent if I can buy my own building in North Bay.”
Jobs of the Future is a series focused on career paths, local employment opportunities, programs and success stories that highlight North Bay’s diverse job market.
The settlement of companies is an essential part of the economic success of any city. Economic Development Officer Marcus Tignanelli is one of the newest members of this department in North Bay and shares that his job is to find new investments.
“There are people in business retention and expansion, there are some who are focused on immigration and migration or people development, but my role is to look outside of North Bay and see how we can attract new businesses to the area and which ones would they support, and what would make North Bay a compatible city for potential businesses?”
The North Bay native says the goals for the Gateway City are to work within their budget and know their limitations given the city’s size.
“Not all companies will work in North Bay, we’re not a huge computer information and communications technology center,” he says.
“Right now some of the sectors we are focused on are our aerospace, advanced manufacturing and probably the most exciting thing we’ve seen recently is Hut 8 announcing the blockchain mining facility here in North Bay on the North Highway Has.”
Tignanelli says this could be the next area North Bay wants to be niche in.
“What these companies want is an open and accessible city to work with to test their programs. I try to attract startups and entry level companies that are just starting to grow and the key I’ve found so far is that we need to find them before they grow because it’s a lot easier to get a company to take root to beat in your city than 200 employees to pick up and move when you’re already established.”
Tignanelli says they also want to find companies that can create jobs for the community and says another recent success story is GreenFirst Forest Products locating downtown.
“They are hiring for professional service jobs, such as Legal advice, accounts payable, all that, and they rent space in our city center,” he says.
“That’s at least 35 other people that will be working downtown on a daily basis and we need to look at the impact that is having on local businesses downtown? The restaurants and shopping or the hair salons; it has a bigger impact and I think these are the types of investments that we are pursuing and that we like to see in our city.”
Tignanelli says North Bay’s long-term goal is to continue bringing these companies on board to nurture an ecosystem for people to invest in with confidence.
“I think that keeps it simple and I think it doesn’t make you just invest in aerospace or just in defense and I think we’re there.”
He adds: “We have great post-secondary facilities and we have great funding partners and now it’s really about bringing North Bay to market. Canadore College’s iCamp is a great way for us to leverage a company that wants to come here, whether it’s specializing in battery manufacturing or whatever. We have the Canadore College team to be able to work with these companies, so it’s all about the networking and how can we support the company in what they are trying to achieve.”
He points to a couple of recent lists calling North Bay a smart place to invest.
“For two years in a row, we’ve been named the fastest growing city by U-Haul. The location selection that has named us one of the top 20 investment cities in Canada has been tremendous,” says Tignanelli.
“Big company CEOs and relocation teams look through these lists and ask, ‘Where should we invest?’ And when they see North Bay here and there, they naturally start turning to us. I find these are often the best leads when they have already shown an interest in North Bay and then we provide a concierge service and after care program to ensure we land those leads.”
Tignanelli says the most important aspect of the job is building relationships.
“Getting out face to face and joking back and forth to really understand people and connect with them personally and they feel like North Bay is a place they want to invest in. Also, I think one of the biggest aspects of the job is getting people here to see North Bay and get acquainted with the city.”
He says while the COVID-19 pandemic put that on hold for a while, it also gave them another opportunity.
The only thing about Covid is that it shows the affordability of northern communities compared to southern Ontario,” he says.
“We see a lot of companies thinking how much I can save on my rent if I can buy my own building in North Bay, build my own building, my employees have a lower cost of living and it’s an overall benefit to the company and its employees . I find that a lot of our leads come about organically in that sense.”
Tignanelli says they’re looking at different ways the city can use technology.
“I think it’s very rare in today’s world that there is no technology or it’s an idea that nobody came up with. It is the one who is smart enough to bring the product to market and raise enough capital and use that capital effectively to market their product as the best and most innovative of its technology.”
The St Joseph Scollard Hall graduate had previously served his community in a councilor role before taking the job, and says he has always had a passion for seeing the city grow.
“I’m just so proud of North Bay and the biggest thing for me is that North Bay has managed to be a place where people can invest with confidence,” he says.
“We know that our natural mortality rate exceeds the natural birth rate in North Bay. So if we don’t get through immigration and migration our real estate values will go down, our businesses will lose money and for me that is a great place to raise your family and as a community we compete with every other community for that but I think as long as we as a city have a precise goal, we will achieve it.”
He adds: “I think it’s been super good for building a network of people in Canada and outside of Canada who want to relocate. The world is changing and many companies are looking for safe places to put their money and Canada, believe it or not, is one of the safest places to put your money right now.”
Tignanelli says for people with prospects to work for their city, it comes down to having a passion to serve your community.
“If you serve in some capacity in a church but don’t stay up late thinking about how you can do it better, then this probably isn’t the job for you,” he says.
“I think you have to be super competitive and look at it as a team sport. Along with my colleagues, we compete with all other communities to secure investment and ultimately help our city thrive above the rest. I come everyday with a competitive attitude and I think that’s the most important thing you need for this job, plus people skills. You have to be able to talk to people and be friendly and you also have to have a management style where you can follow a project from the small idea to the actual infrastructure in the ground.”