Lonnie Croal – Introduction

Home Forums 1. Participant Introductions (Oct 3 to Oct 9) Lonnie Croal – Introduction

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    Lonnie Croal


    My name is Lonnie Croal and home is Calgary, AB. While I have lived and worked in several locations Calgary is where I grew up, am raising my family and went to school. I am a past member of the King’s Own Calgary Regt here in Calgary. I was in the throws of transitioning to the navy as a navy diver I was recruited to Edmonton Police Service in 1982. I completed my career with the EPS retiring in 2007. I went back to school after a reality check in what I wanted to do with the rest of my life and got a teaching degree and Masters degree with an education focus. I retired and took my family to Qatar where I ran a security, police, and military training academy at a Canada/State of Qatar joint project. It was during this time that I realized that a private college focused on young people interested in a career in law enforcement, military service, or emergency services had turned into my passion and direction. This was my vision for my return back to Canada and to Calgary.

    In 2021 my business partner and I got our first diploma in Criminal Justice curriculum approved by the province. With covid still lurking, opening was put on hold. The decision to open the fitness testing for law enforcement agencies was a natural first step, our equipment arrived and we have started this soft opening of the Canadian Criminal Justice Academy (CCJA). In essence, this is a new venture with lots of plans flying all over the place.

    With this Diploma approved but still yet to open, we decided to seek approval for a paralegal certification. That process is with the Government of Alberta, and we are awaiting their recommendations (for amendment) and eventual approval. Our focus for the college is to attract, teach, and graduate learners that are interested in the legal and emergency services careers.

    In order to pay the bills and stay current in operations, I run security for an oilsands project a couple hours north of Fort McMurray. It is challenging but not living my best life. I am a credentialed professional coach but am struggling with eating my own coaching and life advice (to myself). Short term sacrifices as it appears.

    I struggle with the while notion to “build it and they will come” model for business. This is clearly not the case from where I am standing. My assumption is that with a solid reputation, educational background, and a vision, that people needing these services will automatically come knocking the door down. This has not been the reality for me. It takes “more than fancy flying” (Top Gun) to opening these opportunities for my college.

    To add to this reality is that my business partner, also a retired police officer, who is reaching his mid-70’s is not getting the needs to social media, networking at a different (I didn’t say better) level in getting our college out there on the lips of those seeking education, training, and certification.

    I love learning, staying young at heart, and being that great guy for my gal and great dad for my two adult sons. My youngest is in the navy transitioning to the army reserve and my oldest is a jazz musician.

    Thats me and I am looking forward to learning and contributing to the learning circles.

    Thank you for listening,

    Leslie Blair

    Nice to meet you! I just finished my Master of Arts in Leadership Degree… Thinking now that an MBA might have helped me more with the business stuff, but happy to bring my passion for leadership to the members I serve with. Welcome to the program, I look forward to learning with and from you!


    Erin Melnychuk

    Hi Lonnie,

    Whoever applied the “build it and they will come” metaphor to business is full of it! Nothing could be further from the truth. There is simply way too much noise out there. You need to design something which cuts through and then tell your story to anyone who will listen.

    Thank you for sharing,

    Judy Evans

    I totally agree with your points about ‘build it and they will come’. The saying is ‘people do business with people, people don’t do business with businesses’. As entrepreneurs, you need to build trusting relationships with your customers.

    That being said – how do you build trusting relationships with your potential and existing customers?


    Lonnie Croal

    Thanks Judy,

    The is a good question and one that I consider important in everything. Relationships are everything. Years ago, I was facilitating an appreciative inquiry process where a quotable quote came from one of the attendees that I will never forget. “Without all of us together, we are us-less”, has never left me. This is a complex and interesting “dance” that we get engaged in. Like my career in policing and college classroom teaching and learning, building trusting relationships is likely the same. Showing vulnerability and holding space for others to feel seen, heard, and understood. I may be making my answer a little too simplified, but trust is the magic that can take years of work and be destroyed in one quick gesture or action. Building trusting relationships with customers has to be the reason why I am in the education world and in small business.

    Thank you,

    Judy Evans


    What a perfect statement!

    For those of you that may not know about appreciative inquiry, here is a short video that explains the concept – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqHeujLHPkw

    How can we incorporate this concept into our businesses?


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