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Driving B.C. Forward Presented by Dueck GM: Bruce Allen

Focused, determined and passionate, it’s no surprise Bruce Allen is a Canadian success story
Adam Blasberg

(L-R) Michael Bublé, Bruce Allen, Bryan Adams

Through this 12-part series Dueck GM salutes B.C.’s entrepreneurs who are driving growth and innovation in the local business community. This month’s driving force is Canadian entertainment industry icon and philanthropist Bruce Allen.

For more than 39 years, Bruce Allen has been a cornerstone in the Canadian entertainment industry, not only guiding the careers of musicians, producers and sports figures, but also as radio host of Reality Check on CKNW since November 2013. Due to Allen’s shrewd judgment of talent, he has become one of the most powerful managers in North America, with an impressive client list that includes Michael Bublé, Jann Arden and Bryan Adams. Well-known in his home city of Vancouver for his civic engagement, Allen has raised money for a variety of causes. His impact on the entertainment industry and community at large has been on both a national and international level, earning him a long list of awards including the 2012 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

What was your first job?
I was a paperboy and I pumped has and parked cars in a lot next to the old Alcazar Hotel. My first real job was building truck cabs at Canadian Kenworth.

What was the turning point in your career?
In the early 70s I had most of the club booking business in the Lower Mainland. And then Randy Bachman walked through the door. We put together Bachman-Turner Overdrive and the rest if history. When Bryan Adams showed up we kicked into overdrive.

What motivates you?
Winning. I see a lot of artists that are happy on a small scale. I have no time for them.

What’s your favourite car?
My all-time favourite car is the Corvette. It’s a vehicle that offers great pedigree, is reliable and has great performance. Dueck’s owner, Moray Keith, and I are each looking at purchasing new Corvettes from the factory in Bowling Green, KY.

Why did you choose Dueck GM?
I’ve been with them since they were on Broadway. Their service is above and beyond, and they treat me so well.

What are your three must-have items for any road trip?
The first is a well-worn sweatshirt that I can throw on and relax in while I drive. The second is a towel so I can drive and eat, and the last item is my VPD sunglasses.

What’s do you listen to while driving?
I listen to Sirius channels 5 and 19, and lately Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats and Leon Bridges.

What excites you the most about the future of your industry?
Nothing. I was in the heyday of the business. Now it’s all corporate. Financially, the record companies have not treated us fairly regarding the new ways people consume music, and there are no signs of that being corrected. I worry about young artists. Where will they be when they are 50? There is not a lot of artist loyalty these days.

How did you find Michael Bublé?
David Foster was making a record with him and said he needed a manager. I heard the music and I was in. How could you not be?

What has been the keys to your company’s success?
We eat and breath this business. I have the best in the business working with me in the office and on the road. Without them, I’d be done long ago.

What the most underrated quality of a leader?

What charity is closest to your heart and why did you get involved?
Kids Up Front. I believe getting young people interested in sports or the arts can change their lives. It’s great to see their eyes light up when they are at a game, a concert or a play—pure wonderment.

What can the community do to join you in supporting the cause?
Can’t attend a game, concert or a theatrical event? Don’t let the tickets go to waste!  I guarantee you that Kids Up Front will put them in the hands of young people that would be thrilled to use them.

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