My name is Bernie Colterman and I’m Managing Partner of CEPSM. For most of my professional career, I’ve been helping government, non-profit organizations and associations generate better results through marketing. I didn’t plan this story, but in retrospect, it all makes sense.
Prior to starting my first company, I worked in municipal recreation in Ottawa for 12 years where I managed outdoor recreation programs and services for the City. The career move that changed my life dramatically was when I took on a senior management job at Lansdowne Park, one of Canada’s busiest multi-purpose complexes. It was in this environment where I got exposed to the good and bad of professional sports, entertainment and event management business, as well as a heavy dose of politics and a taste for all things marketing related.
In 1992, I left the City to take on the challenge of running one of Canada’s largest annual events – the Central Canada Exhibition, where I reported to a Board of 39 Directors (not a typo!) and over the next 4 years, brought many innovations to the Canadian fair industry using the Ottawa Ex as the guinea pig. It was also during this time that I pieced together the curriculum for the Event Management Program at Algonquin College and developed a love for teaching.
In 1996 I launched the Colterman Marketing Group (CMG) Canada to capitalize on the market demand for event management and sponsorship expertise. Over the next 8 years, we ran one of Canada’s largest technology events, spearheaded an Industry Canada initiative to raise $5 million to support technology in the classroom, managed the ground-breaking Government of Canada Exhibitions Program and expanded our marketing and sponsorship consulting services to a wide range of government and not-for-profit organizations.
In 2005, I launched the Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing (CEPSM) in conjunction with former government marketing executive Jim Mintz and digital strategist Mike Kujawski (who initially worked as a consultant and later joined Jim and I as a Managing Partner). Since then, we have expanded our consulting and training services including transforming our annual forum MARCOM, into a truly national event which brings together marketing and communications professionals from the public, non-profit and association sectors to share ideas and best practices in marketing.
In 2010, we amalgamated the two companies under the CEPSM umbrella to provide a wider range of services to our clients. These days, my focus is on helping our association, non-profit and government take a more strategic approach towards revenue generation, with the greatest focus on corporate partnerships and sponsorship development. In particular, I’m really pleased with the industry-leading work we’re doing in the area of municipal sponsorship and naming rights.
I’m not sure exactly where this next chapter in my story is headed, but I’ve always believed that “your customers will write your business plan for you if you ask them”, so stay tuned…