Researched and written by Moira Daly, Shona McKay and Vivian Smith
Donald Archibald, Howard Crone, Alison Jones
AGES: 39, 37, 38; President and CEO, Vice-President, Operations and COO, Vice-President, Exploration
Cypress Energy Inc.
Donald Archibald, Howard Crone and Alison Jones first met in 1982 at the University of Alberta while studying commerce, chemical engineering and geology, respectively. By the time they launched Cypress Energy Inc. in 1996, they had collectively gained 34 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. In four short years, Cypress has blossomed into a $300-million company with production of more than 10,000 barrels per day. In 1999, revenues soared to $78 million, an increase of 128% over 1998.
Archibald says a felicitous balance of talents, and a consistent growth strategy that combines exploration and acquisitions, are the keys to the trio's success. "Some companies grow this rapidly but have trouble handling the pace," he says. "We've always had three people with complementary skills." A couple of particularly well-timed acquisitions in 1999 didn't hurt either, Jones says: "We bought a small property that had no reserves or production, but turned out to be one of our biggest areas of exploration." And Crone says growing up on a farm gave him "a good amount of common sense" that's useful in controlling the cost side of the business.
What's good for Cypress is also good for the trio's home province. They donate 1% of their net income to various recipients, including the communities where they have their operations. "We want to make them feel like they are working with us," Jones says.
AGE: 35; President
Having grown up in modest circumstances on Montreal's South Shore, Serge Beauchemin knows something about small beginnings. So he found himself in a familiar position when, at the age of 22, he and two friends decided to found 3-SOFT, now Eastern Canada's largest software reseller. Equipped with only their personal credit cards, a suburban basement office and a hefty dose of entrepreneurial panache, the trio started calling major Quebec institutions to inquire about their software needs. They hit the jackpot, counting Hydro-Québec, Concordia University and Bombardier Inc. among their first clients.
For 13 years, they've never looked back. Sales have grown by more than 40% annually over the past five years, nearly triple the IT industry average. In the year ending February, 2000, earnings hit $50 million, up from $26.5 million two years ago. Professional services to help their customers install, deploy and use their new software represented 40% of 3-SOFT's business last year. Beauchemin expects that will grow to 60% within the next two years. And he has expansion into Ontario and the United States in his sights.
Beauchemin, who describes himself as a big dreamer, takes a special interest in young people. He speaks regularly at schools and universities, and 3-SOFT has provided both funds
and technology to youth organizations and young adventurers. "There are a lot of little Serge Beauchemins out there who need someone to believe in them," he says.
AGE: 38; President and CEO
Donna Cona Inc.
Even the sky doesn't limit John Bernard. His company, Donna Cona Inc., developed and implemented the first totally satellite-based computer infrastructure in Canada. The network serves the government of Nunavut, linking 26 communities to the information highway. But there's more than computer terminals and wires connecting Bernard to Nunavut: Like the vast majority of its inhabitants, Bernard is a native Canadian. So are many of his staff.
Providing opportunities for aboriginals was part of Bernard's vision when he founded Donna Cona in 1996. He fervently believes that technology is a solution for aboriginals, a way for kids in remote areas to connect with the economy and discover self-worth.
The first step, of course, is education. Bernard travels the country urging young aboriginals to finish high school and enter the IT field. "They need somebody to care," he says. "It won't work if the community is indifferent." He has also established a $30,000 computer science scholarship for aboriginals at Trent University, and hopes to create other scholarships in the future.
Meanwhile, Donna Cona has grown rapidly, with a workforce more than 50 strong, and revenues approaching $3 million. It has the greatest number of aboriginal Microsoft-certified systems engineers in the whole country, he believes. In 1999, Sierra Systems Group purchased a 49% interest in Donna Cona. The added clout and capital are part of Bernard's plan to make Donna Cona the authoritative aboriginal IT firm in the country.
AGE: 34; Partner
Caribou Capital Corp.
Bruce Chernoff admits it's all "a bit bittersweet." In June, 1999, Pacalta Resources Ltd., the oil and gas company he had founded with his father 11 years earlier, was taken over by Alberta Energy Co. Ltd. (AEC). The price was $700 million--a heady sum for a company whose market capitalization was only
$25 million in 1995. But that was before Pacalta gambled everything to finance its participation in an oil project in Ecuador.
It was a risk that paid huge dividends, transforming Pacalta from a junior Alberta gas company with a sideline in oil, to an intermediate international player pumping out 45,000 barrels of oil per day.
Now Chernoff expects Caribou Capital Corp. to pick up where Pacalta left off. The capital from Pacalta's sale will be used to pursue oil and gas opportunities, mostly internationally. Caribou will also try to emulate Pacalta's community involvement, which included the creation of a charitable foundation in Ecuador that taught locals shrimp fishing and coffee farming.
Chernoff is quick to give credit to others for Pacalta's success, especially his father, who was a semi-retired geologist when they started the company and now holds a seat on AEC's board. "He taught me integrity and he passed on his wisdom," he says. "I'm happy he had the opportunity to become part of a world-class discovery."
AGE: 37; President and CEO
ReQuest Seismic Surveys Ltd.
When Todd Chuckry founded ReQuest Seismic Surveys Ltd. in 1989, the typical seismic company was a mom-and-pop operation that earned commissions transferring data from those who collected it to those who used it. Chuckry decided it would be more profitable to own the information, and set about building Canada's first seismic data bank. It took him a few years to persuade oil and gas companies to part with their intellectual property--but Chuckry is nothing if not determined. "When things don't go right one day," he says,
"I wake up the next morning and go at it harder."
As a result, ReQuest has grown from a private, two-person operation with $40,000 in capital, to a public company with more than 60 employees and a market capitalization of $78 million. In 1999, ReQuest's first full year on the Toronto Stock Exchange, gross revenues increased by 91%, to $61.9 million. Net earnings shot up by 141%, to $6.6 million.
To reduce the significant expense of acquiring new data, ReQuest offers multiclient participation surveys, in which several clients share the cost of examining a large region in exchange for an exclusive survey licence for six months. ReQuest also offers data-retrieval and archiving services, as well as fibre-optic access to data over the Internet.
Andrew H. Dalglish
AGE: 39; Executive Vice-President and COO
Mackenzie Financial Services Inc.
After receiving his BComm from Queen's University in 1983, Andrew Dalglish flirted briefly with the idea of doing a master's degree in English. Instead, he says, his Scottish-Presbyterian background pushed him toward financial services: "It seemed so practical." Dalglish went on to get his CA designation, and after a decade of moving up the ladder at Deloitte & Touche, he joined Mackenzie Financial Services Inc., Canada's largest independent mutual fund company, as assistant vice-president. He quickly rose to executive vice-president and COO.
Under Dalglish's leadership, Mackenzie demolished its outmoded "silo" management structure in favour of a team-oriented approach. Dalglish also formed a business process management group to handle broad-based projects involving multiple departments and the deployment of new technology. As a result, all operating volumes are growing in excess of 30% annually.
A practical career path hasn't meant a life free of unexpected turns. While at Queen's, Dalglish was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. He lost 50 pounds, and it took him a couple of years to get his life back on track. Although his illness is now in remission, Dalglish devotes a portion of his volunteer time to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada, of which he is currently national president. "Like any sort of vicissitude, it made me think harder and take less for granted," he says.
AGE: 39; Chairman and CEO
Vector Aerospace Corp.
Mark Dobbin grew up surrounded by flying machines. His father founded Newfoundland-based Canadian Helicopters, the largest helicopter company in the world. After earning a BComm and an MBA, Dobbin spent 17 years working in the family business before deciding, in 1998, to strike out on his own. He led the IPO for Vector Aerospace Corp., a spinoff of CH's engine repair business, then signed on as chairman and CEO.
Operating from five principal and several satellite locations around the world, Vector repairs and overhauls engines, components and accessories for commercial and military clients. In 1999, Vector's first full year of operation, it expanded its product line with several acquisitions, negotiated additional licences and increased earnings dramatically -- by 49% in the fourth quarter alone. The market loved it, boosting Vector's share price by 68%.
On the home front, Vector's IT group grew to 34 members, who design software that clients can use to manage their businesses and track maintenance. Vector also plowed some of its profits back into the community, supporting a local food bank and school lunch program, and pledging a $250,000 opportunity fund to Memorial University, one of Dobbin's alma maters.
Vector plans to continue its aggressive expansion in the coming years. For Dobbin, that means logging lots of air miles. After spending more than 150 days on the road last year, the father of three young children yearns to become less familiar with this aspect of the aviation business. "I'd enjoy it more
if I did it less," he says.
Christopher E. Erickson and André Boysen
AGES: 34, 35; President,
Chief Technology Officer
724 Solutions Inc.
724 Solutions Inc. is more than just the company name. It's the company sales pitch. In 1997, the co-founders of 724 decided to develop software that gives customers wireless access to banking, brokerage and e-commerce services "anytime, anywhere, anyway." It's for anyone who ever wanted to buy movie tickets from the 14th green, or trade stock from the back of a cab.
Co-founder Greg Wolfond dreamed up the product because he wanted to do his banking on a Nintendo machine.
Quirky as that idea was, Wolfond was able to forge partnerships with Christopher Erickson, a lawyer with a background in computer engineering, and André Boysen, an electrical engineer who taught himself software skills. Erickson, president of 724, wrote the company blueprint, while Boysen, the chief technology officer, assembled a team to help him build the product.
Erickson sold the first product licence to the Bank of Montreal in January, 1998. The deal gave the bank a piece of 724's equity. In 1999, similar deals were struck with the Bank of America and Citigroup. In January, 2000, 724 went public on the Toronto and Nasdaq stock exchanges in a highly anticipated $240-million, 6.9-million-share IPO.
Although the demand for such services is still unclear, Erickson believes it's a matter of wireless devices catching up with 724's technology. Boysen is even more bullish: "This really is a global play, where every consumer in the world is potentially a user of our product."
AGE: 34; Executive Director
Portland Hotel Society
Liz Evans first encountered the homeless on the way to her nursing classes at the University of Ottawa in the mid-1980s. She recalls women trudging along the street with their bags, "moving between two churches where they were sheltered." Soon she was volunteering at both churches. During her psychiatric nursing rotation, Evans met some of the women she knew from the street. Her volunteer experience made her view them differently: "I was looking at a whole person instead of just a diagnosis."
That outlook has stayed with her. In 1991, she was hired by a Vancouver-
based non-profit housing society to co-ordinate a 10-bed mental health program for a 70-room hotel being used to house the homeless. By 1993, the work of that society had grown into the Portland Hotel Society, and Evans was named executive director.
The hotel's blend of housing and services for problems such as addiction, HIV and poor nutrition has brought dignity and stability to the lives of its tenants, many of whom face multiple obstacles. Along the way, Evans has assembled a dedicated staff of 70 and worked tirelessly to alter negative perceptions of the homeless. She also raised more than $7 million to finance a new 86-unit facility with vastly improved amenities, which will replace the original Portland Hotel this month. "The ideas of acceptance and tolerance
are primary," Evans says.
"I'm trying to be creative with what's real."
AGE: 38; Senior Vice-President and CFO
NS Power Holdings Inc.
Jay Forbes started working in his father's Canadian Tire store when he was ll, just about the time he started reading Forbes and Fortune. "I've always had a voracious appetite for business knowledge," he says. "It continues to be insatiable."
That hunger led Forbes to discover the Balanced Scorecard performance measurement and management system, a Harvard-developed tool that connects employees to the company vision. According to Forbes, 80% of strategic business plans fail because of an inability to communicate them. There has been no such failure at NS Power, which supplies nearly all of Nova Scotia's electricity: 81% of employees know the company vision and 94% know company strategy.
In recent years, that strategy has been focused on transforming an electrical utility into a regional power company. In 1998, NS Power acquired a 12.5% interest in Maritimes Northeast Pipeline, its first foray outside its core business. With that acquisition, NS Power began supplying natural gas to other Atlantic provinces and the northeastern United States. The company is also evaluating a gas-fired co-generation plant, and is a major supplier of home heating oil.
AGE: 38; President and CE0
Delano Technology Corp.
John Foresi says his company is responsible for "a kind of reverse brain drain." Migrants from Silicon Valley were instrumental in the development of
the company's flagship e-business products: a software platform and application builder known collectively as the "Delano Solution." It's a new messaging technology that permits users to automate, personalize and manage their interactions with employees, customers and suppliers.
Foresi joined Delano as president and CEO in January, 1999. His track record at InterTrans, where he increased revenues from $3 million to $75 million in four years, impressed Delano's founders. He has been even quicker off the mark at Delano. Although the product didn't go on sale until May, 1999, staff has grown from 15 to 300, and revenues hit $4.5 million in the last quarter of 1999. The company went public on the Nasdaq exchange in February of this year, selling 15 times the number of shares anticipated.
Clearly driven, both Foresi and the company do have their softer sides. Delano recently donated its technology to the United Way's annual fundraising campaign. The result was a response rate much higher than the norm, at a far lower cost. Foresi, a Harvard Business School graduate who played Junior A hockey as a teenager, gives Delano staff the chance to rough him up a bit in weekly pickup games. "A core value is humility," he says. "In this business, arrogance can kill you."
AGE: 31; President
Pamela Grof was always an overachiever. At age 12, the Regina-born youngster set up her own small cleaning company. In high school, she turned a profit designing and selling jewellery. And, while a student at the University
of Calgary, she opened her own art gallery and, later, a factory outlet store.
According to Grof, both nature and nurture are responsible for her entrepreneurial bent. "I like a challenge," says Grof, who trained as a national-level speed swimmer and water polo player in her younger years. "I also come from an entrepreneurial family. My dad and two brothers are all in business for themselves."
Given her leanings, it's not surprising that Grof became one of the first Canadian entrepreneurs to recognize the potential of electronic commerce. "I understood the power of the Internet the first time I looked at a Web site," she recalls.
With the help of Jonathan Campbell, an information systems manager whom Grof persuaded to quit his job and become her partner, Grof founded InterVisual in 1995. A company that specializes in building Web sites, intranets, extranets and e-business applications, InterVisual has attracted a host of blue-chip clients across North America, including Xerox Canada Inc. and Bell Mobility. Since 1996, revenues have grown 2,500%. Expect more to come. This year, Grof's company, which has already expanded to Toronto, will open offices in London and Barbados.
Anton Rabie, Ben Varadi
AGES: 29, 28, 30; CEO, President, COO and Chief Creative Officer
Spin Master Toys
"Ben watched four to five hours of television a day and owned every toy you could imagine," says Ronnen Harary, CEO of Toronto-based Spin Master Toys. He's referring to Ben Varadi, Spin Master's chief creative officer. On the other hand, Harary himself, along with Anton Rabie, a childhood friend and the third member of Spin Master's executive team, grew up in families that emphasized sports and outdoor activities over action figures and video games. "The joke is that we are making up for our deprived childhood," Harary observes.
And then some. Since founding their own company shortly after graduating from the University of Western Ontario in 1994 with $10,000 in savings, the three young entrepreneurs have won international acclaim for developing high-quality, creative adventure toys that kids snap up. Spin Master's current product line includes airplanes and other toys that travel hundreds of metres on air alone (Air Hogs), and die-cast finger bikes that come complete with working brakes (Flick Trix).
According to Harary, there are a number of reasons why Spin Master, which today boasts revenues of $54 million and manufacturing facilities in Canada and Hong Kong, has been able to compete successfully against established toy giants like Mattel and Hasbro. "We've been able to recognize great products when they come along," he says. "We also pay a lot of attention to the details. We're all very hands on."
Dr. Richard Heinzl
AGE: 37; Founder
Doctors Without Borders Canada
Richard Heinzl has been interested in faraway places and humanitarianism for as long as he can remember. But it wasn't until the Hamilton, Ont. ,native spent a semester studying the health-care system in Africa while a medical student at McMaster University, in 1985, that he saw a way to combine both his interests. Arriving in Uganda just after the civil war, Heinzl found a country in ruins and tens of thousands of people living with poverty and famine. He also encountered a group of Belgian doctors who belonged to Doctors Without Borders, an international medical-emergency relief organization dedicated to relieving suffering in war zones and other trouble spots around the world.
So impressed was Heinzl that in 1988, while a resident at the University of Toronto, he founded the Canadian chapter of DWB. Since 1991, DWB Canada has raised more than $20 million and dispatched more than 600 volunteers.
While still supporting DWB Canada locally, Heinzl is today focusing his energy on the launch later this year of Medispecialist.com. An electronic health business, Medispecialist will use the Internet to provide inexpensive, rapid and high-quality information to doctors and patients across North America. The intent is to improve patient care by making specialists' opinions more widely available.
Although initially Medispecialist will serve the North American market, Heinzl, who lives with his wife and young son in Oakville, Ont., envisions a time when his company will make optimum health care available worldwide.
Dr. William L. Hunter
AGE: 37; Chairman and CEO
Angiotech Pharmaceuticals Inc.
"Well, I didn't just wake up as a boy and announce, 'I want to be a biotech CEO.'" William Hunter is musing
on the quirks of fate. Specifically, he's recalling how the child who always wanted to be a doctor grew up to found Angiotech Pharmaceuticals Inc. Currently, the Vancouver biotechnology company is developing radically new and potentially much more effective treatments for multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and coronary artery disease.
Hunter, who is from Mississauga, Ont., says it was lacklustre marks as an undergraduate student at McGill that led him to put medical school temporarily on hold and make a lateral pass into medical research. It was while doing his master's in science at the University of British Columbia that he discovered a love for pure research. The young scientist was particularly intrigued
by how a drug called Paclitaxel--one of the world's leading anti-cancer medications--might be used to treat chronic inflammatory diseases and to coat devices such as stents, used in the treatment of heart disease.
To further explore the drug's potential, Hunter founded Angiotech in 1992, the same year he earned his MD degree.
Hunter expects that the Paclitaxel-coated stent, Angiotech's first commercial product, will be available worldwide by 2002. He's also confident that his company will launch new treatments for MS and rheumatoid arthritis by 2005. Not bad for a boy who never dreamed of being a biotech boss.
R. Glenn Hynes
AGE: 37; Senior Vice-President, Strategic Planning and Development
After Glenn Hynes's mother died, when he was only a year old, he was raised by relatives in Charlottetown. It was an event Hynes considers seminal to his life. "I had a very happy childhood," says the father of three. "But in retrospect, I think the circumstances of my upbringing left me with a sense of vulnerability that drove me to succeed."
A top student who was president of his class at the University of PEI, Hynes, after earning a degree in business administration and becoming a CA, spent eight years as a financial executive for real estate development companies.
In 1994, he became Nova Scotia's tax commissioner, and later, its comptroller. During the two years he spent with the province, he was instrumental in helping the government to achieve a balanced budget for the first time in 25 years.
At Sobeys, Hynes has continued to add to his long list of accomplishments. Hired by the food company in 1996, and now based at its head office in Stellarton, N.S., he has been a central player in taking Sobeys public and in the acquisition and integration of the Oshawa Group Ltd., the
$7-billion food conglomerate that Sobeys purchased in 1998. The coupling will realize $70 million in annual integration savings.
Dr. Shaf Keshavjee
AGE: 39; Director
Toronto Lung Transplant Program, Toronto General Hospital
Associate Professor of Surgery
University Health Network,
University of Toronto
Shafique Keshavjee recalls the day, in 1983, when he heard over his car radio that a team of Toronto General Hospital surgeons, led by Dr. Joel Cooper, had performed the world's first lung transplant. Little did the young medical student realize how this amazing news would shape his own life.
After graduating from the University of Toronto with an MD and MSc, Keshavjee trained with Cooper. After further training in heart-lung surgery at Harvard and in England, he returned to Toronto in 1997 to head up the Toronto Lung Transplant Program.
Honoured to be asked at such a young age (34) to lead the program founded by his mentor, Keshavjee was also disturbed. "I was concerned that this pioneering program was falling apart," he says. "The majority of the surgeons who had been performing the groundbreaking work had left to head up transplant programs in the United States. We could not meet the demand for transplants."
Keshavjee took a multivalent approach to rectifying the problem. First, he presented the University Health Network with a vision for a renewed program. "To its credit, the institution responded with additional staff and research money," Keshavjee says.
He also established a number of new initiatives, including a pediatric transplant program and a living-relative donor lung program.
Keshavjee continues to drive the program forward. "We did 39 transplants last year," he says. "I'd like to see that grow to 50."
AGE: 39; President and Founder
Larochelle Gratton Inc.
When Eric Larochelle was
a youngster living in the small village of Sorel, Que., his parents predicted that he was going to be a civil engineer. They were wrong. "It's true I loved building things," says Larochelle. "But I also loved science fiction.
I loved the speed at which things happened in the virtual world of the future."
It was an interest that led him to study software engineering at the University of Laval and, after a stint as an employee, to found his own IT consulting business, Larochelle Gratton Inc., with headquarters in Montreal, in 1988.
After nearly a decade of steady growth, Larochelle made a decision--fortuitous, as it happened--to focus his business on the emerging world of e-commerce. "At the time, many medium-sized technology companies were opting to put their energies into Y2K fixes," he says. "We believed it would be wiser to grab on to the next wave--e-commerce."
Since 1996, Larochelle Gratton's revenues have increased from $6 million to $20 million. Over the past 12 months, the company has opened offices in New York, New Jersey and Toronto, and has its sights set on Ottawa and possibly Boston.
Larochelle, who manages to find the time between long workdays and four children to support community endeavours such as Centraide, says, "The challenge now is to get the message out that, in this increasingly crowded field of e-business, we have a proven track record.
Not many companies can make that boast."
AGE: 35; Chairman and CEO
Hopewell Group of Cos.
When Hong Kong native Sanders Lee emigrated to Calgary in 1991 to assume stewardship of Hopewell Enterprises Ltd., the real estate company founded by his parents in 1984, he knew he was taking on a tough assignment. "The challenge was to develop a strategy that would allow a new
kid on the block to
succeed against established players in the Calgary marketplace," Lee says.
His solution was to buy up parcels of land in select areas and develop them for residential use. "It was a good way to establish our reputation and get our flag flying," he says.
Lee subsequently employed an unusual development strategy. Instead of buying land and portioning it out to niche developers, he created an integrated company that had the expertise to develop land for a variety of uses.
"To date, we have undertaken residential and industrial projects," he says. "This year, we will start development on our first shopping mall."
Hopewell, which has grown from a $2.5-million to a $100-million-plus enterprise in less than a decade, has also embarked on an ambitious Internet business that is designed to be a one-stop shopping experience for home buyers across North America.
Opting for the road less travelled is Lee's preferred modus operandi. "It's been my experience," he says, "that if you embrace change, you'll thrive."
AGE: 39; COO
Air Nova Inc.
At the time Lynn Loewen joined Air Canada subsidiary Air Nova in 1988, the two-year-old airline was a small regional carrier serving Atlantic Canada. Twelve years later, Air Nova is about to become part of a consolidated network of regional carriers, with 5,000 employees and about $1.5 billion in revenues.
Loewen, who was appointed COO at Air Nova in Halifax last year, was part of the integration team that oversaw the recent melding of Air Nova and Air Alliance, the Air Canada subsidiary serving Quebec's skies. Already, the consolidation has resulted in reduced costs and improved schedules.
The native of Grand Falls, Nfld., likes the feel of the bigger stage--which seems fitting given that she once contemplated a career as a concert pianist. "I began as a music student at university, but along the way discovered that I also loved mathematics, particularly calculus," Loewen recalls. The interest in numbers led her to pursue a bachelor of commerce degree at Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B., as well as a CA designation.
Loewen's world is about to become even larger. This year, Air Nova will merge its operations with Air Canada's other domestic subsidiaries -- Air BC and Air Ontario -- as well as Canadian Airlines' Canadian Regional Airline. Says Loewen, who admits to a fondness for life at double-quick time, "I'm very excited about the changes and the challenges ahead."
KIM D. McINNES
AGE: 38; Executive Vice-President
Cambridge Shopping Centres Ltd.
Kim McInnes has had a passion for architecture and urban development for about as long as he can remember. That, and a taste for challenge, have taken him from Vernon, B.C., where he was born, to Toronto, Boston and the United Kingdom. Along the way he acquired a degree in urban studies from the University of British Columbia and a master's in urban development from Oxford. After his return to Canada in 1986, he spent 11 years gaining key experience in development and acquisitions at Marathon Realty Co. Ltd. and Markborough Properties Inc. In 1997, he joined Cambridge, which owns or manages 40 regional shopping centres across Canada.
Since becoming executive vice-president in 1998, McInnes has spearheaded the opening of Canada's first fully integrated entertainment complexes in the company's shopping centres, including the Metropolis at the Eaton Centre Metrotown in Burnaby, B.C. "We constantly have to reinvent shopping centres to meet changing consumer demands," says McInnes, whose duties include managing more than 150 employees. Reinventing means, among other things, developing new retail concepts and integrating them into existing shopping centres. He is currently implementing a company-wide customer-service strategy that will also give employees new opportunities in dealing with the retailers.
Somehow, the father of four-year-old twins finds time to raise money for Junior Achievement, through sporting events such as an annual squash tournament, and for the Hospital for Sick Children.
Derrick D. Milne
Age: 39; President and CEO
Trimark Sportswear Group Inc.
Derrick Milne is a man of many incarnations. After graduating from high school in Markham, Ont., in 1978, he served as a volunteer helping to construct a drug rehabilitation centre in southern Spain. Less than a decade later, after earning a degree in business administration from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., and an MBA from Harvard University, he joined Morgan Stanley and lived a "Wall Street--the movie" life in New York and London.
"I only had one pair of suspenders and they were blue, not red, he says, recalling the heady times of the late '80s. "But I flew the Concorde regularly, and the car the company supplied me with was a Lotus Turbo Esprit, James Bond's car."
In 1991, Milne again changed direction, this time striking out on his own. Along with a Harvard classmate, he founded an international merchant bank that went on to earn multimillion-dollar profits. Four years later, deciding that Canada was where he wanted to raise his family, he returned home and bought Markham-based Trimark Sportswear Group Inc.
Since assuming control, Milne has turned Trimark from a company with stagnating sales and a lack of focus into one of the top five companies in the $8-billion North American market for corporate promotional apparel. Revenue over the past five years has grown more than 1,000%. The game plan is to expand Trimark, through acquisitions and internal growth, into the industry leader.
At this point, Milne, who devotes his after-hours life to family and charitable causes in Canada and abroad, reports that he has no desire to reinvent himself once again. "After an intense period of building the company, I believe I can look forward to a more balanced life," he says.
AGE: 39; Vice-President,
Broadcom Canada Ltd.
"Money has ceased to be a motivator," says Ross Mitchell. That's understandable. Last year, the University of Waterloo engineering grad sold HotHaus Technologies Inc., the company he founded in 1994, to Broadcom Corp., a leading U.S. chipmaker, for a cool $414 million.
While acknowledging that it's better to be rich, Mitchell, who is from London, Ont., says that what has always driven him is not money but "the rush"--the rush to develop the high-tech new.
A self-confessed "classic geek" in high school, he became intrigued by Digital Signal Processing--a then-esoteric technology that was used primarily by the military for sonar and radar applications--while at university. It was an interest that led him, after graduating in 1984, to accept a job with the Canadian arm of American technology giant Raytheon Co., and subsequently MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. in British Columbia.
Convinced that DSP had huge potential in the consumer marketplace, Mitchell cashed in his stock options and founded HotHaus in 1994. "The plan was to develop communications software that would allow voice telephone traffic to be sent over the Internet--technology that will lead to advances such as interactive television," Mitchell says.
Now in charge of Broadcom's Canadian business (HotHaus, by another name), Mitchell envisions an eventual career move into venture capitalism. But don't expect the man who likes the rush to simply dole out money from the wings. "I want to be something more than an angel," he says. "I'd like to continue to be involved.
I see myself as a mentor."
AGE: 38; President
Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation of Toronto
Nicholas Offord learned young how to make sense of a vast unknown: When he was 14, he and his family left their home in Folkestone, England, to settle in Leduc, Alta. "It was a real cultural shift," says Offord, who quickly embraced his adopted country and its politics, thus laying the foundation for his current interest in the public sector. Offord wants to help Canadians understand and appreciate the vast unknown that is Canada's growing non-profit sector (which includes hospitals, social service agencies, colleges and universities, and the arts), and to persuade potential donors that the Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation of Toronto, in particular, deserves their support.
So far, so good. As the foundation's president, Offord organized a campaign last year to help underwrite hospital infrastructure and research that has already netted an astonishing $125 million. This money is crucial to Mount Sinai: 10 years ago, the foundation contributed less than 5% of the hospital's global budget. Now it's nearly 20%.
By pitching the hospital as one of a handful of institutions that provide health care and research on a global level, especially in the areas of women's health and certain cancers, Offord is scratching the philanthropic itch among
an emerging class of businesswomen in Toronto. (The hospital's Heather M. Reisman Chair in Perinatal Nursing Research, worth $2 million, is one notable example.) An award-winning executive in the non-profit field, Offord is keen to bring high-calibre people to a sector in which thrills come from serving the public, not from stock options. It's not easy. But as a wealthy nation, Offord says, Canada really can afford "to become more preoccupied with how money is used to make society better."
AGE: 39; Vice-President, Operations
Bombardier Aerospace de Havilland
Thinking about spending
$42 million (U.S.) on a new corporate jet? Well, stand in line, because there's a heavy backlog of orders on the private business jets for which Bombardier Aerospace de Havilland Inc. is globally famous. For Marc Parent, newly appointed operations vice-president at the company's Downsview, Ont., site, the explosive demand for the business jet, and steady demand for the Dash 8 Series, means his biggest job will be simply to manage growth. At Bombardier, that seems to be constant: The Downsview operation has doubled its capacity over last year, with about 5,500 employees working to deliver nearly 90 aircraft.
Parent became a pilot at 17, and flew a Cessna with a pal to the Bahamas "just for fun" even before he had a licence to drive a car. He graduated in mechanical engineering from Montreal's École Polytechnique and joined Bombardier, eventually becoming project director for the Dash 8 Series 400, creating a new design approach now used with international partners on all development programs.
A Grade 10 physics teacher once told Parent's parents that their son would
never amount to anything: That's part of the reason Parent is active in the charitable arm of the Society of Automotive Engineers, supplying kits to schools to help stimulate interest in mathematics and science. "It's important to talk to kids," says Parent, a father of two, "to tell them you have to believe in yourself."
AGE: 36; Astronaut
Canadian Space Agency
Julie Payette -- astronaut, pianist, award-winning engineer, speech-processing specialist, soprano, pilot, Canadian Space Agency promoter and all-around smart, passionate person--has her international audience over the moon. She is in Victoria at an educational conference to describe something she, but few others, have seen firsthand: Earth, from a perch on the space shuttle Discovery. It is a world seemingly without borders, but one in which the effects of war and pollution are clearly visible.
Payette, clad in her blue, workaday NASA flight suit because she knows it pleases people to see her in it, presents dramatic shots of oil spills in the Persian Gulf, white clouds from bombs over Kosovo, the Amazon forests burning. She acknowledges not knowing the answer, but she keeps repeating the question: "Can we do better?"
Trying to do better is the mantra of Payette's life. Her new job, in which she divides her time between Moscow and Houston, is to help develop astronaut-friendly software for a planned international space station. She talks feelingly of leadership, whether in business, research or flying in space, as being ultimately all about teamwork.
In fact, she says, her only fear in space was not the physical danger, but that she might somehow fall short in her duties and fail the team. Such is the mindset of those for whom the pursuit of excellence is relentless. By the way, Houston, she's ready to go back up any time.
P. Ward Perchuk
AGE: 37; President
Spruce Products Ltd.
He has a forestry degree from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont., and years as a forest industry manager, but Ward Perchuk first learned the value of trees when he was a boy bumping along in a truck beside his dad, a provincial forest ranger, through the spruce, pine and balsam fir of western Manitoba. "The forest is an organic thing," says Perchuk, president of Spruce Products Ltd. in Swan River, Man.,
one of Manitoba's largest independent forest products companies. In other words, if you cut down trees carefully, the forest will renew itself and wood can be extracted again generations later.
As leader of a $7-million sawmill upgrade, Perchuk introduced new technology to wring the most from each tree: Computers assess every log so that the greatest number of the most valuable-sized boards can be cut, a process that also allows 25% more of each log to be used than previously. Sawdust and bark aren't wasted either: They go into a new thermal plant to create steam to heat buildings and run a kiln for drying lumber.
While most of this change is driven by skyrocketing costs, Perchuk, whose 18-month-old son already visits him at the mill, says he is always mindful of the interdependence of forest and community. He has helped set up interpretive centres so that children's groups can see firsthand how the industry works in the forest. "There is more than just logging value," he says.
AGE: 38; Vice-President, Operations
Ballard Power Systems Inc.
At 25, Dublin-born Eamonn Percy was a newly installed electrical engineer at Ford Electronics in Markham, Ont., with up to 80 people to supervise in manufacturing electronic equipment for cars. Intimidating? Yes, but it struck him that if he could learn everyone's name, they could develop a relationship that might inspire greater job satisfaction and productivity. So he did. "If you can identify with each person, you can motivate them," says Percy, who helped create a manufacturing model at Ford that was adopted in many other parts of the company. "I still draw upon that first lesson from the shop floor."
Following a five-year stint at Pirelli Cables Inc. in Surrey, B.C., in which he oversaw a plant technology upgrade, Percy took his hands-on management expertise and love of innovation to Ballard Power Systems Inc., in Burnaby, B.C. Ballard's save-the-world business--developing fuel cells for zero-emission vehicles--means market capitalization is not a problem: It has gone from $3 billion to more than $10 billion since its strategic alliances with DaimlerChrysler and Ford Motor Co. took place.
Percy's new challenge as vice-president of operations (he was promoted last year) is to lead about 200 employees through the technical and commercial development of the fuel cell, while harmonizing postmerger cultures. Like other dads on our Top 40 list, Percy finds that time with family is limited and precious. But he says he's grateful for the "humbling experience" of being able to look the next generation in the eye and account for his role in helping to produce a zero-emission vehicle. "Kids are wiser today," says the father of two girls, 7 and 4. "My older daughter already knows all about pollution."
AGE: 35; Chief of Staff
Office of the Mayor, City of Toronto
It's a plot line they'd kill for on television's Spin City: Rod Phillips, young chief of staff for Toronto megamayor Mel Lastman, hurries to catch a plane for Paris one day last month. Meanwhile, His Worship, who took seven governments and made them into one city with 2.4 million residents and a budget of nearly $6 billion, orders an immediate crackdown on "dirty dining" in the centre of town. (Apparently, some restaurant owners had been overestimating the appeal of rat droppings in their establishments.) Will our hero make the plane and get married as planned? Or will he stay and save the Centre of the Universe from rampant rodents? Wisely, Phillips flies to France, knowing his city hall team can deal with the potential health problem.
Two years after the megamerger, the mayor enjoys a huge approval rating, which tickles Phillips, a former principal with management consultants KPMG specializing in private- and public-sector restructuring. That experience of merging institutional cultures had been built onto a BA in political science, an MBA and years of backroom politics at three levels of government. When Mayor Mel asked him to join city hall, Phillips found he couldn't resist fashioning the mother of all amalgamations. He is particularly proud of helping to negotiate contracts with many of the city's unions while honouring a commitment to a tax freeze. Next on his agenda is to help steer the development of almost 50 kilometres of Toronto waterfront, a project spurred by the city's bid for the 2008 Olympics. As for the flamboyant mayor, Phillips says he is "more insightful and thoughtful than people give him credit for." Roll credits.
Aaron W. Regent
AGE: 34; President and CEO
Trilon Securities Corp.
You need a strong sense of the long term (as well as forbearance regarding
stock prices) when you are in a bricks-and-mortar business while the rest of the world is infatuated with the dot-coms. So it's not surprising that Aaron Regent, who leads the investment-banking operations of natural resources and real estate giant EdperBrascan, loves distance running. (He recently ran his personal-best time in a marathon, a very respectable three hours, 20 minutes.)
Success in running, as in corporate financing, "is all about pacing and perspective," says the Irish-born, Calgary-raised Regent. With memberships on the board of the National Ballet of Canada and Toronto's 2008 Olympic bid committee, Regent is becoming known around town as a fast-rising member of the new cultural power elite. At Trilon, where he became president at just 29, he's known for stickhandling more than 200 domestic and international underwriting deals that have helped raise more than $65 billion for clients.
Having developed a series of high-quality income funds--the most recent being the Great Lakes Hydro Income Fund--and raised more than $3 billion (U.S.) of term debt through U.S. corporate bond financing, Regent says he'd like to spend more time on the merchant banking side of things, as well as incubate a growing number of those hot little high-tech companies. EdperBrascan may be the epitome of a smokestack company, but "there are all kinds of ways we're participating in the New Economy," says Regent.
AGE: 31; President
"I'm always lying when I tell people my age," jokes Emad Rizkalla. What the neo-Newfoundlander really means is that every official document states that he was born two days after he actually was--on July 28, 1968, in his grandmother's house three hours south of Cairo. It must have been a long way to the registry office.
From Egypt to Kitchener-Waterloo to Toronto to St. John's may seem like a long way, too, but Rizkalla got that far by age 12, as son of a meteorologist for oil companies. An award-winning engineering student at Memorial University, in St. John's--trust an engineer to receive top marks for a study that tracked potential hearing loss in pubs--Rizkalla caught the IT bug early and created ZeddComm eight years ago. The private company, which has grown 1,300% over the past five years and employs 40 in Newfoundland, Ottawa and California, provides clients with e-business solutions. Its highest-profile job was developing experiment-management software that truly went global on a NASA space shuttle flight.
"In Newfoundland, no one expects to become a millionaire," says Rizkalla--so how does he keep staff turnover so low (less than 5% in an otherwise loyalty-challenged sector), with talent even returning from "away" to work for him? According to Rizkalla, staffers love the freedom to work at their own pace, and to have their cultural attachment to the island treated as seriously as any asset on the books. They can also see Rizkalla's example of community involvement--he sits on many local industry boards, as well as boards of charities and clubs. This bodes well for the near-term plan to go public, and the five-year plan of more than $25 million a year in revenues and 200 employees.
Bruce M. Rothney
AGE: 36; Managing Director
RBC Dominion Securities Inc.
Can a shy kid who once sold sporting goods at Eaton's in Winnipeg find bliss as a New York banker, complete with the commute from Westchester County? Apparently so: Less than a year into it, Bruce Rothney is not only pumped about his senior position as head of RBC Dominion Securities corporate and investment banking in the United States, but he has already donned a second hat as member of a new, elite team building RBC's corporate banking and investment divisions into a global concern.
Having helped lead the development of Canadian financing markets in the knowledge-based sector, Rothney says his expanding group was "given the courage to step outside Canada." In fact, RBC has rethought its whole growth strategy to operate along industry lines, with special emphasis in North America on the high-tech communications and energy sectors.
Rothney's entrepreneurial instincts were evident at a young age -- well before a commerce degree from the University of Manitoba, an MBA from the University
of Western Ontario or his training in chartered accountancy. After all, this
is a guy who helped develop and sell cold-weather survival kits to prairie drivers while he was still a Junior Achiever in high school. That instinct explains why he's excited by the breathless pace of the high-tech sector, in which
he has helped lead RBC to an early leadership position in financing Internet and communications companies. (Examples of his work: advising on the Nortel Networks Corp.'s spinoff from BCE Inc., and more than $1 billion in high-yield financings with Clearnet Communications Inc.)
This is Rothney's second bite of the Big Apple -- he worked previously at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in the late '80s--but this time, he's with his wife and their three young daughters.
AGE: 36; Associate Director
The Centre for Applied Genomics,
The Hospital for Sick Children
As a kid growing up in Windsor, Ont., Steve Scherer honed his love of competition as a championship player in baseball and junior hockey. "Now I have hot competition in the lab," says Scherer, one of Canada's leading genetic researchers and teachers.
While teams of scientists around the globe jockey for the financing, facilities and expertise needed to unlock the secrets of human genetic coding, Scherer has co-founded the Centre for Applied Genomics in Toronto, one of the largest and busiest such facilities in the world. Here, Scherer and his staff provide services for the genetic experiments of hundreds
of scientists in Canada and abroad, bringing in more than $7 million in research funding over the past three years. Meanwhile, in his laboratory, Scherer trains scores of researchers to keep up the groundbreaking work.
Scherer, who has a master's degree and a PhD in science from the University of Toronto, is best known within the scientific community for his work in identifying diseases associated with human chromosome No. 7, as well as identifying a gene responsible for a severe form of epilepsy. Mindful of the frightening and ethically challenging scenarios that genetic research can bring, Scherer does constant public outreach--from consulting on documentaries, to making speeches, to bringing laypeople to study in the lab--in order to demystify genetics. He also acts as consultant to a Web-based group that helps families whose members have genetic disorders.
AGE: 33; President
Brandt Tractor Ltd.
As a kid fresh out of high school in Regina, Shaun Semple knew what he wanted to do: work at a small equipment company called Brandt Industries, where his father was majority owner. Semple wasn't handed a soft job. "Dad said, 'Go knock on doors,'" Semple recalls--so he did, selling machining services.
Sixteen years, many positions and a couple of mergers and acquisitions later, Semple--the only construction equipment dealer covering all of the Prairie provinces--has created a mammoth enterprise, and now sits atop Brandt Tractor Ltd. as president. The only tractors he might hop on, however, are at his family farm north of Regina.
Now the third-largest dealer of John Deere construction equipment in the world, Brandt sells strictly equipment such as backhoes, excavators, graders and crawlers--products so immense that the customer can't easily pop in for vehicle maintenance and repairs, so Semple has 60 field-service trucks stationed throughout the region. He also helped create an Internet system to sell used equipment as far away as Cairo.
Semple is readying the company to service new customers in the forestry industry and at the tar sands development in Fort McMurray, Alta., as well as providing repair and aftermarket services. "There's a ton of areas to grow in our market," says Semple, who credits the building of strong relationships with employees, customers and suppliers for his--and the company's--success.
AGE: 35; President and CEO
Eftia OSS Solutions Inc.
Born and raised in Tanzania, Al-Karim Somji, whose father died when Somji was 16, helped run his family's retail business, operate a restaurant, and then a bookstore and stationery shop--all by the time he was 18. At 19, he was at the University of Ottawa, looking at computers for the first time. "I was amazed and excited by what computers could do," says Somji, who graduated summa cum laude in computer engineering in 1991 and began his career at Bell Canada, where he worked in business development, sales and corporate engineering.
In 1997, Somji founded Eftia, which provides operational support systems (OSS) for telecommunications companies. It has grown from 16 to more than 400 people, and has formed alliances with powerhouses such as Nortel Networks. Furthermore, Eftia has already moved into bigger quarters, complete with a workout centre for employees. The securing of two rounds of venture capital financing is "a key accomplishment both personally and professionally," says Somji.
A squash player and mountaineer, Somji is also a big supporter of local charities and of the Wired Woman Society, a non-profit group dedicated to women's advancement in the high-tech sector. "The industry will benefit from
a larger pool of skilled candidates, and women will have access to jobs that are better paying, offer more flexibility and opportunities for advancement," he says.
NATALIE K. TOWNSEND
AGE: 39; President
TD Capital Group Ltd.
Natalie Townsend's idea, as a young woman interested in science, was to head out on the high seas as a marine biologist. "But I began thinking forward to having a family, and being on ships for long periods didn't seem to fit," says Townsend, who was born in Chatham, N.B., and raised in cities across Canada and in Connecticut. So after receiving a bachelor of science with a concentration in finance from Boston College, she did stints at GTE Corp., the Bank of Nova Scotia and Ontario Hydro. She joined the Toronto Dominion Bank in 1988, learning currency trading and then switching to investment banking.
By 1994, she was part of a team that re-energized TD Capital, the bank's private-capital arm, helping to grow it to more than $1 billion in assets. What really makes private-equity investing exciting, says Townsend, is "helping entrepreneurs to achieve their vision." What helps focus her attention, and that of the other 20 partners in the group, is a system of compensation in which they all share in the success--and failure--of companies in the TD capital portfolio.
She also has that family life she wanted, as well as helping to make it easier for others to do the same. Married to businessman (and former Toronto Argonaut) Geoff Townsend, and the mother of two, Townsend is part of an executive task force that implemented programs for telecommuting and job-sharing.
AGE: 39; Executive Vice-President
BCE Emergis Inc.
"I was always fascinated by gadgets and electronics," says Christian Trudeau, who grew up in Sainte-Catherine, on Montreal's South Shore. So he was a natural to study computer sciences at Laval University and eventually, in 1986, become manager
in charge of electronic gizmos--a.k.a. senior vice-president of information technology--at the Montreal Stock Exchange. There, he spearheaded a project that, among other things, took the MSE from a paper-based exchange to one that allowed fully automated trading.
He's no mere Inspector Gadget, however. Managing such large projects paved the way for Trudeau to move to Bell Canada to create an electronic commerce infrastructure for Quebec's Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail. He also helped create a business unit for e-commerce that was later merged with MPACT Immedia Inc. to create BCE Emergis Inc., in 1998.
BCE Emergis, which offers secure e-commerce services for companies in the finance, transportation, health and telecommunications sectors, already boasts more than 1,800 employees and had $187 million in revenues in 1999. When he isn't spending time with his wife and three children, digging in the garden at home or wishing he had time for golf, Trudeau is working on ways to take BCE Emergis deeper into the U.S. market.
JONATHAN m. WELLUM
AGE: 38; CEO and Director
Georgian Capital Partners Inc.
"Theology is the queen of the sciences," says Jonathan Wellum, who, as holder of bachelor's degrees in commerce and science (biology) and master's degrees in business administration and theology, is in a position to make comparisons. Raised in Burlington, Ont., Wellum
is also a financial manager who recently bucked the consolidation tide by leaving a senior job at Burlington-based fund managers AIC Ltd. to co-found Georgian Capital, an asset management company in Mississauga, Ont., with Mark Maxwell.
The spiritual and professional sides of Wellum's life are intimately connected. A deacon and Sunday school teacher at his Baptist church, he talks about the importance of a well-thought-out world-view and a solid grounding of values when researching and analyzing companies and market trends. "We're not speculative or momentum players," says Wellum, whose clients are high-net-worth individuals, mutual funds and institutional investors. He brings to Georgian a background of solid success at AIC, where he helped bring the firm from managing $9 million in two funds to managing more than $12 billion in 10 funds.
The parting was not hostile by a long shot. Wellum's mentor and former boss at AIC, Michael Lee-Chin, is on Georgian's board, and the new company has taken over sub-advising two of AIC's well-established funds.
AGE: 38; Vice-President, Operations
BC Hot House Foods Inc.
Since Cindy Wilker lists them among her greatest supporters, Pat and Gary Crawford must have long since got over the fact that their math-whiz daughter didn't follow in their footsteps as teachers. And apparently, she has left no sighing mentors in the world of real estate, where she spent two years working as a self-employed broker. ("I found out I was not my best staff member," jokes Wilker.)
It was in the ultracompetitive world of food production and distribution that Wilker found her bliss and challenge, amid the hydroponically grown beefsteak tomatoes, sweet bell peppers and English cucumbers of BC Hot House Foods. As overseer of an operation that has grown (dare we say, like a weed?) from a co-op with $30 million in sales in 1995, to a private company with sales this year projected at $270 million, Wilker has plenty of scope to exercise her love of logistical problem-solving.
Wilker arrived at the company with a bachelor of commerce degree from the University of British Columbia and experience in freight sales and distribution management. In less than four years, she has improved handling procedures for huge volumes of fruit, and has focused the operation on quality in order to face international competitors--for some of whom, she says, anything grown in "a shade tent," is hothouse produce. "Our products sell at a premium, and our quality differentiates us from competitors," says Wilker, who has sought out the latest in advanced technology to grade and package fruit to preserve quality.
BRAD E. ZUMWALT
AGE: 34; Chairman
Social Venture Partners Calgary
President and CEO
The most important lesson Brad Zumwalt says he learned from his days knocking on doors as a Junior Achiever is perseverance. We might also add sheer optimism. "I decided that since I was making about one sale in 20 calls, being rejected meant I was always one step closer to the next sale," says Zumwalt, the founder, former president and CEO of Eyewire Inc., a leading e-commerce site for the design and advertising industries (among others) of on-line photos, illustrations, video footage and typefaces.
After a decade with the company, during which time he led a management team
of a dozen through explosive growth, Zumwalt left Eyewire. In the way of former Junior Achievers and consummate Calgarians, he has started not one, but two, new businesses. One is Social Venture Partners Calgary, which will provide venture capital to non-profit organizations. The other,
a private investment organization called Zinc Ventures, will fund new high-tech start-ups. Social Venture Partners Calgary will take
a "venture capital approach to giving," says Zumwalt, explaining that it will be patterned after a model in Seattle. Along with Tanya Zumwalt, his wife and co-founder, he hopes to entice 100 partners to underwrite a fund that will support causes in Calgary that need the "time, money and experience of businesspeople."
The big change, Zumwalt says, will give him much-needed time with his family--the couple have four children under seven--as well as reconnect him with the local community in a way that fits with his New Economy expertise. l
Researched and written by Moira Daly, Shona McKay and Vivian Smithist church, e him much-needed time with his family--the couple have four children under seven--as well as reconnect him with the local community in a way that fits with his New Economy expertise.