On October 9, the Investment Recovery Association held an IR Lunch & Learn at the home of Canadian member company Suncor Energy. During this event, representatives from the City of Calgary and Suncor Energy discussed how their organizations approach their unique investment recovery challenges. Do they do things differently “Up North?” Find out what these IR professionals have to say.
The City of Calgary employs approximately 12,000 people and has been a member of the Investment Recovery Association since 1997. The city’s Investment Recovery Group serves the 1 million plus citizens of Calgary, along with our fellow city employees. The IR team consists of three individuals: Allan Brausse (30 years’ experience, CMIR certified), Michael Harle (20 years’ experience), and Brian Angevine (4 years’ experience). We are responsible for the disposition of all assets that are deemed surplus to the city’s requirements, with the exception of land and permanent structures. Because of the diverse nature of city operations, we have sold a helicopter, kilts, and everything in between! The city’s surplus assets were originally handled on a part-time basis by the purchasing department and consisted of only the larger fixed assets. All the assets were sold through a semiannual on-site auction with total revenue recovered of approximately $700,000/year. In 1990, the Investment Recovery Group was formed, and the challenge to build a sustainable operation began. Today, we return more than $8 million/year to the bottom line…more than a 10X improvement over the previous approach! That said, it was a slow process over a number of years to build relationships with the city departments and upper management; most of them had no idea what Investment Recovery was all about. It remains an ongoing battle to maintain management support and help them understand how Investment Recovery contributes on a yearly basis. The City of Calgary recently approved a new set of policies and procedures that gives Investment Recovery the authority to dispose of assets in a more efficient and effective manner, while maximizing the return to the corporation. As the city is a public entity, the policies and procedures have to adhere not only to municipal rules and regulations, but also to provincial (state) and federal regulations. They also had to be transparent, show accountability, and maintain the code of ethics of our industry. Through the efforts of our staff, educational courses, and networking with industry professionals at the Investment Recovery Association’s yearly conferences, we have been able to build a very successful Investment Recovery department. As a member of the association, we have been able to meet some of the thought leaders who have helped shape our profession. The association provides a means for individuals within our unique industry to get together to network and share their experiences. We continue to promote and encourage people to join the Investment Recovery Association and attend the yearly IR conferences. As it has for Calgary, a professional approach to surplus asset management can help make a difference to your company. More than just the city’s surplus. Now that we have our own house in order, our goal is to assist smaller municipalities and private companies within Alberta to set up Investment Recovery programs for their operations and to participate in the IR experience. To initiate this, the City of Calgary, along with Suncor Energy, hosted an IR Lunch & Learn on October 9, 2012, in Calgary for all interested public and private companies. The Investment Recovery Association sponsored the event, and together we consider it a great success.