Banging our drum

Denis Mahoney
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You know that feeling of the first really sunny day in the spring when you can feel summer tingling on your skin?

Or when you first hear a song with a driving beat that just resonates in you? The feeling I’m talking about is almost like a tickling on the back of your neck and a little surge of optimism in your chest.

Do you know that feeling?

It’s hit me at the funniest times in the last year. When I hear about professional wins for my colleagues, or when my friends talk about how they can do things they never thought possible just 10 years ago.

I have this sort of buzz in my ears every time I spot another’s successes.

I can feel the reverberations in my chest and the beat of the boom in my feet as I walk through this amazing, transforming city.

It feels so good, it’s hard to contain.

I find myself talking about the boom, telling people to keep booming — it’s just the exact, perfect word for what we’re experiencing.

When I first started to feel this way, the excitement was mixed with a little anxiety. I think many people here have a natural inclination to enjoy the good times, all the while waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Perhaps the other shoe has dropped; perhaps it was the announcement of another 600 million barrels of oil, or a new airline operating in the province.

What if both the shoes are shiny, brand-new patent leather with a penny in each toe?

Wouldn’t it be amazing to know that none of this is going away? Because I believe we have the chance now to work hard and keep the good times rolling.

I’m confident we have that potential; which is why I’m celebrating, along with my friends and colleagues at the Board of Trade.

This week we launched a campaign that’s built on pride.

We are talking publicly and enthusiastically about our successes, because we shouldn’t be hiding them. We shouldn’t be ashamed of our ambition and we should be shouting our successes from the rooftops.

This feeling, when you look around our city and our province, it should be embraced and we should strive to continue it.

The boom is here. There’s no doubt about it. And it is not a point in time. It isn’t a destination. It’s a beginning — and there’s so much more we can do. There’s a sense of change and opportunity, a sense of excitement.

There is much to be said about the boom and what it means to each of us.

For me, the boom is the private sector. Because businesses’ successes are everyone’s successes.

We are really seeing the positive impact that a strong private sector can have in the community through the products and services available to us as consumers, the contributions made to community and not-for-profit groups, the investments in new development, training and career opportunities, and the increasing tax revenues collected by our provincial and municipal governments.

To me, the boom means when business is doing well, more of us can enjoy living in this wonderful place.

This year, when polled, more than 94 per cent of our membership described the economy as good or excellent. More than 86 per cent said their own businesses’ financial performance was better than or about the same as last year.    

This is backed up by professional economists, including those at the Conference Board of Canada, the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council and economists at the leading banks, who have all projected Newfoundland and Labrador to be the runaway leader in GDP growth in the country this year.

So let’s talk about it, let’s celebrate it. Heck, let’s throw a great big boom party.  

It’s our time to shine, yours and mine. So be proud, be optimistic, be the boom.

Denis Mahoney is chairman of the St. John’s Board of Trade.

Organizations: Board of Trade.This, Conference Board of Canada, Atlantic Provinces Economic Council

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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