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Patrick Weatherald and a friend recently took a 3,000-kilmometre road trip, but it wasn’t to the usual sports or concert event. The pair drove from Regina to Omaha, NE, to attend the annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. BRK-B-N, which is the holding company controlled by uber-investor Warren Buffett. At age 93, Mr. Buffett remains one of the investing world’s most sensible, well-informed and influential voices. Mr. Weatherald got in touch recently to suggest I write about Canadians attending the Berkshire AGM. I liked the idea and invited him to do an e-mail Q&A. Here’s our exchange:

Q: Patrick, can you tell us a bit about yourself – age, occupation, where you live and how you came to travel down to Omaha for the annual Berkshire Hathaway meeting?

Open this photo in gallery:

Patrick Weatherald recently took a 3,000-km road trip from Regina to Omaha, NE, to attend the annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.Patrick Weatherald/Patrick Weatherald

A: I just turned 50 and am married with three children that are 18, 16 and 14. This was my third time in attendance, and I went with a friend who sells investment products. The 3,000-kilometre round trip by car meant leaving on Wednesday and arriving back on Monday. I am the manager of sales and logistics at the Co-op Ethanol Complex (Federated Co-operative Limited) and attended out of personal interest.

Q: Can you tell us the story of how you first came to invest in Berkshire Hathaway?

A: My dad followed the stock market very closely and before I was even a teenager he had me participating in the market with Canadian bank shares on a dividend reinvestment plan. Approximately 10 years ago I decided it was important to participate in the U.S. market. I had done well with Canadian banks, pipelines and telecoms, but realized the U.S. had more to offer in large caps, technology and pharmaceuticals. The celebrity status of Warren Buffett drew me in first, followed by learning the stock had a long-term proven track record with limited risk.

Q: How much of your personal investments are in this stock, and what else is in your portfolio?

A: I own the “Baby Berk” – BKR.B – and it is a fairly small portion of my portfolio. In general, I am a growth investor focused on the Canadian market and attracted to stocks with dividends higher than 3.5 per cent that increase regularly. I plan to increase my ownership in BRK.B as I get older, given its diversification and low risk. One reason I don’t own more is because I am an Apple shareholder and a large portion of Berkshire valuation is built around the shares it owns in Apple.

Q: Can you set the scene for us at this year’s annual meeting?

A: The best way to describe the event is a festival. The 30,000 to 40,000 people that attend are invited to four major events – a trade show on Friday with representation of the many companies Warren owns, the Berkshire Hathaway AGM with a Q&A where Warren answers questions, a picnic at the Nebraska Furniture Mart and the “Invest in Yourself” run on Sunday. Akin to a rock concert, when you put tens of thousands of like-minded and passionate people in one space, there is a terrific energy.

For some perspective, we arrived at 5:45 a.m. to get in line for rush seating and there were several thousand people back in line for the 7 a.m. door opening. Celebrities at the meeting included Bill Gates, Tim Cook, Bill Murray and Kathy Ireland, along with famous investors like Mohnish Pabrai and Chuck Akre.

I found it interesting that almost everyone I met either owned shares in a Canadian company, or were researching that opportunity. It caught my attention, and lit up social media when Warren said in the Q&A that, ”We do not feel uncomfortable in any shape or form putting our money into Canada and in fact, we’re actually looking at one thing now.”

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