WEEKEND INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS ECKLUND
Hamilton booster does his duty
The Hamilton Spectator
(May 24, 2008)
Chris Ecklund is an entrepreneur who has built his wealth on a Hamilton-based process-serving company, Canadian Process Serving Inc., that delivers summonses, subpoenas, warrants and court documents. He's 45 and grew up in Hamilton.
He's known for organizing charity events, fundraisers and parties for his own neighbourhood, Allison Park, and donating a tricked-out RV to the Tiger-Cats as a promotional vehicle. Now, he wants to take that bus on the road to promote Hamilton.
He estimates he has about 20 websites, including chrisecklund.com and sites dedicated to Auchmar, Hamilton's Santa Claus parade, NASCAR and his newest one, cityofwaterfalls.ca.
He is an unabashed Hamilton booster. His Mercedes sports the plate FLYYHM (the airport code for Hamilton International).
What is your vision for the Team Hamilton bus?
You would travel across Canada. At one end would be Vancouver, at the other end, St. John's, all connected by the TransCanada. Then, right in the middle would be Hamilton, the city of waterfalls. It would be an art form and tell a story. Why aren't we shouting from the rooftops that Hamilton is the waterfall capital of the world?
Team Hamilton could include a corporate lawyer, banker, chamber members, politicians, business ambassadors. We could go to chambers of commerce (in the United States) and present a one-stop shop for bringing business to Canada. We could go to Hollywood and talk directly to directors.
What is your message about the future of this city?
What everyone has to be aware of is the (Hamilton Economic Summit) was the absolute end of the way we do things.
The old world died that day. The new way of economic development and doing business was born that day. It was a war call.
What would you like to tell fellow Hamiltonians?
The first thing we need to accept in this city is that citizens need to realize that they are a part of this. It's not 16 people at City Hall who will decide how things will be and where the city is going.
We've got 500,000 people here. The future of this city is with each person.
What are you committed to doing?
I can make millions and millions more dollars, but it's a duty -- I believe this as an ex-military guy -- it's a duty I have and other entrepreneurs have.
Business people have to carry this city forward.
Is the bus going to hit the road?
I'm not looking for anyone's permission. (City staff have turned down getting involved with the idea, according to Ecklund). We are doing it.
You're either with me or you're against me. We've been putting an unfair burden on council and city hall.
We need this kick in the derriere.
What do you envision for Hamilton?
A new stadium for the Tiger-Cats on the waterfront, condos, shops, theatres, more restaurants. The waterfront would be a true destination. Trains would stop to drop people off. Downtown could be an overnight transformation if people would just walk their talk and renovate buildings. I see nothing but good things for this city.
Do you believe naysayers and pessimists have held this city back?
I know they have. It's happening as we speak. They are people who will go out of their way to destroy people and their ideas because they want to remain in control. We have to stop that in this city.
What's next for Chris Ecklund?
A new real estate venture is ready to go, Ecklund Estate Homes. We'll be recreating the 1800s look of old Ancaster with two homes on Mineral Springs and Sulphur Springs Road. It will be Gothic Revival style with limestone block. No one has done anything like it. It will be truly spectacular.