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SUCCESS AND THE CITY: Meet the latest movers & shakers making Summerside home

Shawn McCarvill President, Slemon Park Corporation
Shawna Johnston, Insurance Sales Pro
Steve Barrett Controller, StandardAero
Sean Aylward Owner, Humble Barber and President,
Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce
Read their stories right here…

Shawn McCarvill
President, Slemon Park Corporation
A Possibility Realized!
When the Canadian Forces Base Summerside closure was announced in 1989, it meant the loss of over 1000 jobs and millions in wages for the local economy. But the community rallied — and turned a major loss into a major gain.

The people of Summerside determined the former air force base should be developed on the pillars of Aerospace and Training — and that is what happened. The property has been known as Slemon Park since 1992 and it is the home of the Atlantic Police Academy, the Summerside Airport and the Aerospace industry on PEI. The 1000 government jobs lost with the closure of CFB Summerside have been replaced with over 1000 jobs in Aerospace and other industries. As Slemon Park Corporation president, Shawn McCarvill puts it: “The aerospace industry didn’t exist 26 years ago and now it’s the 4th largest industry on Prince Edward Island.”

Shawn is a very proud Islander and proud of the success story that Summerside has become since that 1989 announcement. Originally from Kinkora, he graduated from UPEI in 1980, worked in Africa, Newfoundland and Ottawa, becoming a Chartered Accountant along the way, and then had the opportunity to return to PEI in 1985 to work as CFO for the Murphy Group of companies in Charlottetown. Shawn was the CFO for Slemon Park Corporation between 1991 and 1995 and returned in 2008 to become president of the corporation.

Shawn says his greatest accomplishment is raising his family here. “Living on PEI allows your family to flourish. We have a culture that values education and community. The quality of life, the strength of the education system, and the lifestyle we have enjoyed have enabled all 5 of our children to find success.”

Regarding Summerside in general, Shawn says “We have a beautiful ocean-side city, people with a can-do attitude and unlimited possibilities. When talking about possibilities, Slemon Park is a possibility realized.”

Shawna Johnston
Insurance Sales Pro
Embrace your dream!
Shawna is originally from Bedeque and has spent a significant amount of her life in Summerside. At an early age, she found herself at a career crossroads and decided to take the bull by the horns and obtain certification as a Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP), a designation offered by the Insurance Institute of Canada. She didn’t stop there, however. Following her CIP challenge, she decided to push further by pursuing Life License Qualification Program (LLQP) certification.

Today, Shawna services customers in Central and Western PEI, including the residents of Summerside. When it comes to this area, Shawna recognized its merits long ago. “Other cities are packed with competitors, so the opportunity to learn and grow here is outstanding. The individual is in control of whether they want to ascend the ranks in their industry.”

It appears the best thing about Shawna’s job might be the people. “Starting out took a lot of trust in my own abilities and trust in the community that they would want to do business with me.” Forming real bonds with her clients, it turns out Shawna’s trust was well-founded on both counts. “When you build relationships, you have a vested interest in helping them, and they truly embrace you. The value added is more important than the money.”

When asked what advice she would give to others starting out, she replied: “Either embrace your dream or let your fears consume you.”


Sean Aylward
Owner, Humble Barber
President, Great Summerside Chamber of Commerce

Becoming more diverse all the time!
Sean is from Summerside and graduated from UPEI with a BA in Political Studies. If you’d asked him a decade ago, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?”, he likely wouldn’t have said “An entrepreneur in Summerside”. He spent several years surveying the country: Fort MacMurray, Calgary, Moose Jaw, London, St. John’s, and Saint John. Working jobs in construction, carpentry and sales, he’d also eyed a career as a lawyer and even wrote the LSAT.

Caley, Sean’s wife, said “Why don’t you start your own barbershop?” Seems there was great wisdom in these words. To Sean, the idea combined several things he’d become passionate about: working with his hands, constant interaction with other people and running a business. He quickly identified Summerside, his hometown, as a place with a barbershop gap and wasted no time rectifying the situation, immediately enrolling in Barber School.

Asked why he chose Summerside in particular, Sean replies “I wanted to be in control of my life. My family has two entrepreneurs and a two-and-a-half-year-old. That doesn’t always work in bigger centres, but it works here.” Caley, Sean’s wife, is a photographer and the owner of Caley Joy Photography.

After living in so many places, Sean was quickly reminded of Summerside’s advantages when he came back. “We love the traffic, the pace of life, and knowing everyone at the grocery store and on the street. We can fill our work schedules and still have time for family.” Sean chose Downtown Summerside for his business because he knew he’d stand out and be warmly embraced. “You can create a nice spot, be instantly recognized, push things further and have an impact on the community. I see Summerside as a place I will never leave.”

To anyone considering Summerside as a place to live and do business, Sean has this to say: “We’re becoming more diverse all the time. It makes us stronger and more tightly-knit. People see the possibilities here and want to be part of it. That’s why I’m here!”


Steve Barrett
Controller, StandardAero
You really have everything!
Originally from Summerside, Steve obtained his accounting education from St. Mary’s University in Halifax. Following graduation, he remained living and working in Halifax, likely thinking his PEI days were behind him. After all, there’s little chance he would find an opportunity in his home province, much less his hometown, right? Wrong!

Not long after graduating, Steve got a drift of a position in the Department of Finance at Vector Aerospace, now known as StandardAero. Nailing it, Steve made his way back to Summerside in 2011, much to his parents’ delight, and worked in accounting, his area of training. He then sped up the corporate ladder. A rough timeline of Steve’s progress reads:

2012: Accountant in the company office in Australia
2013: Promoted to Senior Financial Analyst
2014: Promoted to Controller in Summerside

When asked if the brisk climb surprised him, Steve chuckled: “I just didn’t think it was possible to ascend this fast.”

Now Steve can’t imagine living anywhere else but Summerside. “I don’t need to use all my vacation to come to PEI anymore. Living here, I see my family and friends every day.” He also enjoys the low commute times that get him to the adventure sports and beaches he loves in no time. As Steve says: “There are lots of opportunities here and they’re often better. I looked at my hobbies, places I’d be happy raising a family and career choices. For me, they all lined up in Summerside, the place I was born and raised.”

Opportunities at StandardAero are definitely worth keeping an eye on and they have an academic partner that helps immensely. “Holland College training programs are aligned with the aerospace industry so that students can begin careers right after graduating.”

Steve’s final comment sums it all up very nicely: “If you can work here, you really have everything!”


City of Summerside, PEI – The City of Summerside Economic Development has officially launched a new Business Retention & Expansion (BR + E) survey. The Department wants to better understand the future plans and needs of local businesses and how business owners/managers view the community as a place to do business. The information from the survey will be used to plan future economic development activities focused on the top priorities of local businesses.

The City of Summerside Economic Development Department has retained MDB Insight, an economic development consulting firm to assist with the project. MDB Insight will be working with Department Staff to review the completed surveys for challenges and opportunities that the local business community is facing. Businesses are encouraged to participate in the telephone survey and since selection is random, they may be contacted between November 12th and December 15th. The survey should take no longer than 15 minutes to complete.
Business Retention and Expansion is the cornerstone of the City’s Department of Economic Development, quotes Mike Thususka, Director of Economic Development. Ensuring that our local business community is effectively served by the City’s lead economic development agency is the primary purpose of our mandate and through this survey we hope to gather and learn what opportunities and challenges our businesses are facing, to ensure we connect businesses needing help with resources available through our networks and services that are aligned with our program delivery, concludes Thususka.
The project launched in November 2018 and is scheduled to last until December when all the results of the survey are gathered and analyzed. To learn more about the project and to participate contact the Department of Economic Development for further information.
MDB Insight is a management consulting firm that helps people and places prosper in the 21st-century economy. The firm specializes in providing economic development, workforce development, and cultural development solutions that create real-world impact for its clients. It works with communities, businesses, and organizations across North America and around the world. Find out more at
Michael Thususka

Director of Economic Development
Mobile: 902.432.0103

Look Who’s Hiring – Worklinks PEI

Position: .NET Developer/Programmer
WorkLinks Inc. is looking for an experienced PEI/Atlantic Provinces-based software developer with .NET and Angular experience to join our growing team in taking our cloud HR/Payroll application to the next level. Duties include contributing to the design, development and QA/testing of the software.
Position: Payroll/Business Analyst
WorkLinks Inc. is looking for an experienced PEI/Atlantic Provinces-based business analyst with expert Payroll knowledge, some systems implementation experience, and strong technical skills to join our growing team. Duties include supporting our clients, developing specs for the design of enhancements for developers, and testing the software. Must work well both independently and in a team and ideally hold Canadian Payroll Association certification.
If interested in learning more about investment opportunities, economic development support or opportunities for growth, please call our Economic Development Professionals.
We would love to chat.

Alternatively, you can email us at
It could be 
the most profitable email you have ever sent.

Michael Thususka
Director of Economic Development City of Summerside
275 Fitzroy Street, Summerside PE C1N 1H9
M: 902.432.0103, E:

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