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Andrew Reid, Founder and president, Vision Critical, Vancouver (Vision Critical)
Andrew Reid, Founder and president, Vision Critical, Vancouver (Vision Critical)

Top 40 Under 40

Andrew Reid, 34: invented a new way to test packaging Add to ...

Each year, Caldwell Partners International chooses 40 Canadians who were under 40 in the past year to honour for their outstanding achievements. Click here to learn more about the program, and find more winners in the list below.

Andrew Reid is proof the apple doesn't fall far from the tree - no matter how hard it tries.

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"My father ran Canada's largest market research company. He is Angus Reid, the poll guy," Mr. Reid says. "He's got a pretty big shadow, so I did what any sensible kid would do ... I got as far away as possible from academia and sociology and economics. Well, I tried to get away."

He got as far as the Vancouver Film School and "took a bunch of multi-media studies," including sound and video editing and 3-D animation programming. He graduated in 1996 and started working in interactive advertising.

"The Internet was exploding and it was the right place at the right time," he says. "By 1999, I realized I really like the business side of this industry and I really love advertising and visual communications and new technology. The second I got exposed to new media technology, my brain lit up."

That year, Angus called, and asked his son to come and re-engineer his website.

"While working at his company I realized there was an opportunity to infuse technology into research: everything from designing questionnaires to make the experience of talking to a respondent an exciting one, to how we collect data."

He started Vision Critical in 2000 after "stumbling" upon an opportunity to use his film-school skills to develop 3-D simulations for testing new packages. "If someone like Proctor and Gamble wants to test out new packaging or pricing for laundry detergent, we will simulate going into a store, going up to that category and the purchase experience of buying laundry detergent. As a consumer, we can put you into this very realistic scenario and you can shop. That's a great way to get feedback and data."

He is the founder and president, his father is chairman and CEO, and his sister, Jennifer, is an executive vice-president.

Vision Critical employs 500 people in 10 offices around the world, and spends more than $10-million a year on research and development into interactive technology, such as private online communities to collect market research from clients.

Mr. Reid admits that's an "insane" leap for someone who couldn't even read a balance sheet when he started out, but says, "What matters is having ambition and confidence and continuing to wake up every day and push towards the goal."

More winners:

  • Karen Bakker, 39
  • Keith Bilous, 39
  • Leonard Brody, 39
  • Naman Budhdeo, 38
  • Michael Burns, 39
  • Craig Campbell, 34
  • Norie Campbell, 39
  • Jody Campeau, 39
  • Cody Church, 39
  • Brian Coombes, 36
  • Matthew Corrin, 29
  • Frederick Dryden, 39
  • Dominic Giroux, 35
  • Deirdre Horgan, 38
  • Kyle Jeworski, 36
  • Nicholas Johnson, 38
  • Dr. Kirsten Johnson, 39
  • Kevin Li, 39
  • Stewart Lyons, 37
  • Muhammad Mamdani, 39
  • Andy McCreath, 35, and Christian Darbyshire, 35
  • Calvin McDonald, 39
  • Duke McKenzie, 35
  • Glori Meldrum, 37
  • Michele Mosca, 39
  • Suresh Narine, 39
  • Sean O'Reilly, 36
  • John Poulos, 36
  • Andrew Reid, 34
  • Gregory Roberts, 38
  • Angela Santiago, 39
  • Bradley Schwartz, 39
  • Leerom Segal, 31
  • Som Seif, 34
  • Natasha Sharpe, 39
  • Andrew Smith, 38
  • Steve Sousa, 39
  • Marie-Pier St-Hilaire, 33
  • David Vocadlo, 37
  • Nolan Watson, 31

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