Adam Sweet

Top 40 Under 40 2014

Photography Curtis Comeau

Age: 29

Job Title: Director, Strategic Relations, Edmonton Economic Development Corporation

Why He’s Top 40: For understanding Edmonton’s place in the global picture, and helping to gain recognition for the city.

Guilty Pleasure: “My private guilty pleasure is Scotch, and my public one is charcuterie, like just really good local cheeses and meats and bread. You know, all those things, which are unhealthy for you.”

Adam Sweet was stationed in Afghanistan a few years ago to oversee ways of helping Kandahari government officials work together more effectively. One day, he began chatting with a Canadian soldier from the Maritimes about their lives back home.

“I told him I was originally from Wetaskiwin, and he started singing the ‘Cars Cost Less in Wetaskiwin’ song!” exclaimed Sweet, who was the youngest civilian stationed with Canuck troops in Afghanistan. “I was going, ‘What the heck?’ It turns out that Global Edmonton, which used to be called ITV, broadcasted in the Maritimes a long time ago. Everybody from that part of the country knows that song!”

If only selling Edmonton to the world were that easy, a task Sweet is more than willing to take on after landing the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation’s director of national positioning post in February, followed by the director of strategic relations post in July. His biggest objective is to get the city recognized as a first-tier metropolis along with Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary.

“We’re never mentioned in the same breath,” laments Sweet over coffee at Credo downtown. “But we at the EEDC believe the world needs more Canada and that Canada needs more Edmonton.”

A previous post as the EEDC’s manager of northern initiatives in 2013 saw him lead a number of teams to Ottawa to showcase Edmonton’s economic opportunities, but his credentials don’t end there. He’s also worked as an intern for the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C. after graduating from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Arts and serving at least three MPs in Ottawa, including a stint as Peter Kent’s press secretary during his environment minister days. Having visited or worked in 28 countries has not only sharpened Sweet’s political savvy, it’s also provided him a big-picture assessment of where Edmonton fits in the global picture.

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