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"Right now, we've been just getting to five million users," says Mr. Kavelman, whose company has some 2,000 employees and had sales in the last quarter of 2005 of $560.1-million (U.S.). "That's about double where we were last year, which is about double where we were the year before. There literally isn't a place you can go now where you can't get service."

Lurking in the weeds, however, was NTP, claiming patent precedence on BlackBerry technology, hampering RIM in the courts and creating uncertainty among customers. This past March, RIM paid $612.5-million to make the dispute go away.

"You learn a real lesson that the world's not always about right and wrong," Mr. Kavelman says. "There are so many good things happening in our company. I think people have put it in the rear-view mirror."

Having presided over such milestones as the company's $100-million (CDN) IPO and its listing on the NASDAQ and TSE, Mr. Kavelman figures to continue ensuring those good things occur.

Gold medal or not, however, did all this really come from excellence in . . . accounting?

"Everybody thinks it's about memorizing accounting rules and all this very bland stuff," he responds. "But once you get to that UFE, it's very much more like problem solving and case analysis, which Laurier was very strong at."

Robert Palter, 36 Principal, McKinsey and Co., Toronto


Robert Palter's roster of accomplishments almost invariably begins with the word "helped." As principal and co-leader of corporate finance, private equity and institutional investment practices for McKinsey and Co. in Toronto, Mr. Palter finds his greatest personal rewards in working with a team.

And he's certainly played a key role in an exceptional number of complex private-equity placements in amounts up to $2-billion in industries ranging from oil and chemicals to media, retailing and food processing. He has also developed new strategies for leading U.S. and Canadian buyout funds, hedge funds and pension plans. His most satisfying accomplishment has been building from scratch McKinsey's private equity practice in Canada. Six years ago, he notes, McKinsey Canada had almost no presence in that market. Mr. Palter sold his colleagues on the concept, put together a team and grew the business into a major portion of McKinsey's practice and a dominant player in the market.

Along the way, Mr. Palter saw a need in Toronto for a Jewish Chamber of Commerce for young entrepreneurs, and in 2003 he became a founding member of a group that now has 500 members.

When his infant son was born profoundly deaf, Mr. Palter began consulting with experts at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children. With them and his family onside, he approved the difficult decision to do experimental bilateral cochlear implants in both of his son's ears.

In the year since the procedure was completed, giving his son normal-range hearing, the operation has become a new standard for medical treatment. "It's amazing how far the technology for this has advanced in just a year," he says.

Mr. Palter now sits on the board of the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, based in Washington, D.C. Last year, he also created a private endowment fund for cochlear implant research at the Hospital for Sick Children.

Alain Raquepas, 39 Vice-president of finance and CFO, CAE Inc., Montreal


Equipped with a commerce degree from HEC and a law degree from the University of Montreal, Alain Raquepas didn't hesitate when a job came along at CAE for a tax manager specializing in research and development filings.

"I was really very, very thrilled," he recalls. "I knew they were doing a lot of R&D and there was a lot of potential, a Canadian company doing business around the world."

That was 13 years ago. Today he manages a multinational team of professionals, with 100 finance and IT people reporting to him in Montreal and an additional 200 people from 17 nations on five different continents.

"It requires a lot of co-ordination," he admits, "making sure that everyone is building in the same direction."

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