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Tim Conrad’s Unexpected Life

By Erika Sherk

Local business owner’s story includes twists, turns, and Dan Akyroyd.

Tim Conrad has always loved the people aspect of his work – building community, making friends. It comes easy to the friendly Nova Scotia native, but still, he was surprised to get a call from Dan Aykroyd last month.

“He said, ‘Hey! It’s Dan Aykroyd calling! Are you around; can I come for a visit?’” says Conrad, laughing at the memory. “He came over and hung out with my family.” Conrad had met Aykroyd while volunteering for fundraisers benefiting the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, a facility championed by Aykroyd’s wife.

It was another unexpected moment in a life full of unanticipated twists and turns.

Conrad grew up in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, biking, camping, and being a kid. However, he was a kid with a career. He started announcing basketball games as a 14-year-old. This expanded into other sports and functions and soon he was a teenage MC for an endless schedule of events. It didn’t come easy for him. “The crowds scared me to death then,” he says. “For me, it was facing a fear and not letting it get the best of me.” It was worth it, he felt, because it was so interesting: a first glimpse of life in public relations.

An experienced public speaker, Conrad planned to study broadcasting at Ryerson University but then switched to a diploma program in electronics engineering at the RCC Institute of Technology. It seemed like a good idea with the media industry in flux.

However, as he continued his engineering education at Nova Scotia Community College, Conrad had an epiphany. “One day, I was working in a lab on a circuit board, sucking back solder fumes and I just thought, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore.’”

He switched to business administration and public relations, starting two businesses after graduating: a PR agency, and a restaurant/gift shop in Bras D’or, Cape Breton. The restaurant went out of business in three months. “My partner took the money and ran,” Conrad says. It was a tough time for the new grad, but after putting his life back together he launched a new company, Ripple Connection Promotions. After six years, it had grown so much that he needed additional employees. He shut it down instead, starting a communications job with the Nova Scotia Construction Safety Association. “We were starting a family and it was too big of a risk,” he says, of expanding his company.

In 2010 he, his wife Ardella, and their two children relocated to Grande Prairie. Conrad had been offered a job at Aquatera, where he remained for five years. Early this year, he left the company and launched his own – Butterfly Effect Communications, a communications and marketing business that also sells sponsorships to non-profits.

“The goal of my business is to make the community stronger,” he says. “It’s to connect businesses and non-profits to their community.” He’s happy to be back running his own ship, he says. “I’ve always loved that.”

It’s a new chapter in his life – another twist in the journey. This one with visits from movie stars included!

imageDESIGN has been happy to assist Tim with many of his marketing projects with Butterfly Effect Communications.

Contributor: Erika Sherk

A lifelong writer and creative spirit, Erika has a degree in journalism from Carleton University with a minor in political science. The Beaverlodge native has worked as a full-time journalist in both the Canadian Arctic and the Middle East and freelanced from Nunavut, Spain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates as well as, of course, the Peace Country.