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New TED officer getting ready to Power Up North

Entrepreneurial conference slated for September in Athabasca
20220616_Naomi Hofer_TED_file_02_WEB
Naomi Hofer is the new Tourism and Economic Development (TED) officer for the region. TED is housed at the Athabasca County administration building but works on economic development for the entire region and is funded by the Town of Athabasca, the Village of Boyle, and Athabasca County.

ATHABASCA — There’s nothing like starting a new job and immediately being thrown right into it — that's exactly what happened when the new tourism and economic development (TED) officer accepted the role, and now she is planning a huge entrepreneurial conference for September that TED is hoping will be a boon for the area.

Naomi Hofer was recently hired as the TED officer replacing Rachael Dragun who resigned from the position but stayed on for a few weeks to mentor Hofer in the role, and one of the things Hofer is tasked with is helping to plan the Sept. 20-22 Power Up North conference, planned for the Athabasca Regional Multiplex. 

“Tourism was really what drew me to this position,” Hofer said in a June 15 interview. "But in terms of economic development, I do have a Bachelor of Management so, a business background, and even though I don't have a ton of experience in that, I'm excited to learn that side of the role and see how we can grow the community and support our local businesses.” 

Which is exactly what Power Up North is all about. 

“It's for our entrepreneurs, all kinds of business owners,” she said. “It's geared toward them — there's speakers, presenters, breakout sessions and a whole range of networking opportunities.” 

The first day is registration and a mixer called Brews ‘n’ Chews showcasing local food and drink like Fat Unicorn Brewing from Plamondon. 

“Neighbour’s Pub will cater some appetizers for that and then we're trying to get some different kind of nibbles as well as the food trucks,” said Hofer. 

The theme of the event is 'Adversity, Tourism and the New Normal’ and showcases several local businesses including Hawkey Studios, a unique business located in a small town. 

"(Hawkey’s are) going to speak to the rural advantage,” she said. “As well, we have some outside speakers like Futurpreneur who help young entrepreneurs.” 

There will also be a speaker from Travel Alberta and Quinn Magnason, a former CFL player turned entrepreneur who works for the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Kelly Martin-Harris with Tawatinaw Community Futures and many more. 

“There's the speakers and then our breakout sessions and instead of just having a free period, we're going to have some more interactive items to do,” said Hofer. “So, we have local Karen Harps who owns Deep in the Trees soaps … and we'll have Gil Williams from Amber Valley talking about Amber Valley history.” 

Registration will be open soon and you can register through the Power Up North website, but in the meantime you can check out the agenda, speakers, and topics at

[email protected] 

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