October 9, 2018
Category: DT Advantage Fall 2018
Introducing Derek Hudson
After an extensive search process, the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) decided to stay with the in-house talent to replace out-going President and CEO Brad Ferguson. Derek Hudson has 30 - plus years experience in strategy, management, finance, and consulting. He joined EEDC in 2013 as COO and took the top job this August. Writer Scott Lingley spoke to Derek Hudson about his new role.
“You should always do good work, because you never know when you’re going to have to go back and live in the house you built,” says Derek Hudson, the new CEO of the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation.
This wisdom takes on the heft of lived experience coming from Hudson who, as a young accountant working for PricewaterhouseCoopers, wrote a report for the City of Edmonton suggesting that its various economic development agencies should be united under one banner.
“That report planted the seed that created the organization that, 27 years later, I’m now running,” he muses.
Indeed, much of the lifelong Edmontonian’s varied resume sounds like hands-on preparation for supporting local business innovation and promoting Edmonton as a global destination to live, work, invest and play.
Hudson says that 1991 report touting the potential of Edmonton’s research infrastructure gave him an idea about where to take his career next. He eventually became CFO at a not-for-profit research institute based at the University of Alberta looking to become a for-profit microelectronics manufacturer. Redubbed Micralyne, the company gave Hudson an insider’s knowledge of tech entrepreneurship in his 13 years there.
In 2013, Hudson joined EEDC as Chief Operating Officer of Corporate Services. From there he became involved in running the Shaw Conference Centre and, more recently, worked with the City of Edmonton to bring the Edmonton Expo Centre under the EEDC umbrella.
When Brad Ferguson announced last fall that he was leaving the CEO position, Hudson offered his services in the interim. It didn’t take long for the EEDC board to recognize they had the right person for the job, says board chair Angela Fong.
“Derek demonstrated an exceptional level of leadership as interim CEO. Not only did he draw on the experience he gained as CFO and Shaw Conference Centre general manager, he also exhibited the entrepreneurial spirit that spurred his success prior to joining EEDC,” Fong says.
Hudson started in a permanent capacity in August—the first CEO to be hired from within EEDC ranks in its 25-year history.
“What that means to me is that from the board’s point of view that the work done over the past few years has been in the right direction,” Hudson says. “So my focus is really on ramping up our performance, our velocity, our impact.”
Developing relationships with Downtown business owners is key to understanding the current climate and the future potential of revitalization efforts in the core, Hudson adds. “I want to get more connected with the Downtown business community,” he says. “They’re interested in our perspective on where the economy is going, and I’m interested in their perspective on how the things are changing for them. There’s a real spirit of creativity and collaboration there.”
In this and other efforts, Hudson enjoys a significant vote of confidence from City Hall.
“Derek is a respected leader who is known to be thoughtful, collaborative and strategic,” says Mayor Don Iveson. “I have no doubt that he will help take EEDC to new levels of success and add to the economic vibrancy in our city.”
Hudson says he hopes to repay the support he’s enjoyed by building on the strengths of the past five years.“I just want to get better and better at how we deliver results in all areas.”