John Thomson  

Here and there

I was surprised when I read that Sotheby’s had the Sagebrush Golf & Sporting Club in Merritt on their listing sheet with a $32 million price tag. But within days of my request for information I received a call telling me that it was not true and that the property was unlisted.

I have written about this before because this is a very unique golf experience. When I first met with Dick Zokol, the longtime PGA regular, we talked about this golf club he was creating on the ranch lands out of Merritt.

It is a private boutique golf and fly fishing destination in the Nicola Valley. Dick had this dream about such a club and raised $10 million to make it work. He now has 40 plus equity members who have $200,000 for the right to join the club. Each of these members will buy a lot to build a home on the property.

Zokol, to get started, had to find a golf club contractor to work with who understood what he intended the place to be. He chose Rod Whitman, the Albertan who designed Wolf Creek in Ponoka and Blackhawk in Edmonton. While Whitman isn’t well-known to most Canadian golfers, for the last two decades he has worked in the course construction business with some of the game’s most famous architects, and built his own courses in Europe. For a while, he toiled under legendary architect Pete Dye.

Members have access to the some of the best fly–fishing lakes in B.C.

I understand that members can bring guests but it is not open to the public, so some days you could see six people on the course. I have got to get a tour of the club and I am working on it.


WaveTeq has provided a complete wireless broadband network for the main factory and adjoining yard at FormaShape, 3D Architectural Design Solutions. They operate an 80,000 square foot, ISO 9001, factory in Kelowna, supplying clients around the world. Currently, FormaShape, together with its sister company Whitewater West Industries, is the world leader in the design and manufacture of water slides for the Global amusement park market.

FormaShape products are typically large, and can have a multitude of parts and colours in the one order. Ensuring that all these parts are shipped on the correct truck, on the right day and in the right order is matching critical. Monitoring and managing the orders from factory floor to inventory storage crating and shipping to the customers’ premises has presented a significant challenge to the Management team at FormaShape. Parts have gone missing, colours needed to be confirmed and matched and, as a result, the lack, of an auditable supply chain has proven to be expensive. A full slide system might have shipped but there was no way of definitely confirming that the complete order had shipped as opposed to parts having been misplaced at some very large construction sites. The cost to rectify this problem always fell back to the FormaShape organization.

The implementation of the WaveTeq wireless network facilitated near to perfect inventory control. Bar code readers are extremely accurate. Part numbers are now recorded correctly and components are inventoried correctly and can be traced to a specific crate and truck. This has resulted in significant savings for FormaShape to both costs and reputation. The impact was immediate.

Peter Jeffrey, President at FormaShape, said, “The WaveTeq system is working very well and it enables us to run our own high capacity wireless network within our plant. We are a lean enterprise and continually working to eliminate waste from our processes and lower the price of our products to our customers. Not only do we now have a close to perfect tracking system that reduces timely follow up on customer order issues in the field, but we have reduced our inventory count times from 24 hours per month to two. In addition, we are now able to deal with any discrepancies immediately and resolve these within two days or less from the previous average of 14 days”.

Five WaveTeq ShadowMaster radios and one WaveTeq ShadowAP radio were installed and commissioned by FormaShape staff with help from the Waveteq team in less than two days. The system was then set to work almost immediately, providing a direct internet feed into the company office computer from the factory floor and the yard outside, from portable hand held bar-code readers, laptops and from any machinery fitted with wireless capability.

WaveTeq Communications Inc, a privately held British Columbia Corporation, builds and designs multifunctional WiFi radios for rural and underserved markets worldwide.

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About the Author

John Thomson is the Okanagan's pre-eminent business columnist writing his column, Rumours and Things, for over 24 years. Plugged in to the valley's who's who, John keeps his readers coming back for more with his straight talk and optimistic perspective on where we are headed next.

When John is not writing his column, he runs a sixteen year old think tank called the Executive Roundtable and holds his popular "Thomson Presents" quarterly business speaker seminars.

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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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