CEO, ABC Recycling Ltd.
What began as a scrap-peddling business in 1912 has since passed through the hands of four generations of the Yochlowitz family. David Yochlowitz took over as CEO in 2000, having already spent 12 years with ABC. He overcame the challenges that were dogging the company when he joined by returning to the values that his grandparents had instilled in their children and business. “Everything we do has a long-term outlook,” says Yochlowitz, “and everything we do is relationship-based.”
CEO, Quails’ Gate Estate Winery Ltd
When his brother said they needed cash to buy barrels, Anthony Stewart devised the Barrel Club. Money from memberships went to buy the needed oak, and each year the members received wine in lieu of interest. Stewart describes himself as a strategist. “I know what moves are needed to get us to the next stage.” But, he adds, “if we didn’t have the family aspect, Quails’ Gate would not be as successful as it is today.”
Technology and Media
Steve Comber, Ho Kim + Dennis Law
Director and national sales manager,
CEO, president, Camacc Systems Inc.
Ho Kim and Dennis Law put together a business plan based on their experience dabbling in video surveillance. They partnered with Steve Comber and Jim Immler, and “within two weeks,” says Kim, “we found office space, created a logo, and were off and running.” Six months later, the team landed a Gateway Casinos Corp. contract in Burnaby. True success came when the active partners created Vigil, the software that along with its own brand of hardware set Camacc apart from competition in an otherwise homogenous industry.
Alan Juristovski + Milun Tesovic
CEO, chief technology officer, Metroleap Media Inc.
The greatest challenge for Alan Juristovski and Milun Tesovic was to create a licensed product out of lyrics. It wasn’t exactly the path of least resistance, but “it was the right thing to do,” says Tesovic. “Copyright holders should be compensated.” Integrity led to opportunity, and the two effectively developed a market for the music industry where none had existed. Today metrolyrics.com is the third-largest music website worldwide, and it sees upwards of 30 million visitors monthly.[pagebreak]
Mining and Metals
President and CEO, Silver Standard Resources Inc.
At the suggestion of shareholders, Robert Quartermain developed a strategy that turned Silver Standard into a bank that would find and hold silver resources. In the early ’90s, Silver Standard “picked up silver projects at a low price when no one else wanted them,” says Quartermain. Shareholders felt that over time the price of silver would increase, as it ultimately did. Now, as Silver Standard makes the transition into production, Quartermain explains that it is in the unique position “of having the largest silver resource of any publicly traded silver company.”
Chair and CEO, Silvercorp Metals Inc.
Rui Feng came to Canada to pursue a PhD in geological studies. “I wanted to be a professor,” he recalls. After completing his doctorate, Feng began working on a federal program studying mineral utilization in Alberta. There, he got his first glimpse of the business side of mining. Through his research, a junior exploration company was able to draw attention to its work, and “within five months the value of their stock jumped from 30 cents to $4 or $5 per share,” he says. “Never mind research,” Feng recalls thinking. “It’s time to move into business.”
Real Estate and Construction
Chair and CEO, Dowco Consultants Ltd.
Hugh Dobbie recalls reading an article in 1963 that said that in 10 years, “draftsmen will no longer be required because of a marvelous tool called CAD.” A draftsman himself, Dobbie was intrigued by the mysterious technology. “It was always in the back of my mind,” he says. The appropriate steel-detailing software finally surfaced in 1995. On the lookout for 22 years, Dobbie was well-prepared. He spent a year customizing a program for North America and is now the Canadian agent for the application.
CEO, Eagle West Cranes LLC
Corporate culture is the soul of an organization, and no one knows this better than Jim Barkman. “Our competitive advantage has always been our people,” he proclaims. His team has been central to his entrepreneurial success. Because of almost uninterrupted growth, Eagle West had always found itself in territory that it hadn’t been in before. “I was continuously having to shed responsibilities because the bigger tasks were being taken on,” he explains. He was never alone and credits team spirit with allowing him to delegate duties effectively. [pagebreak]
B2C Products and Services
President, Donnelly Hospitality Management
It was a trip to London that opened Jeff Donnelly’s eyes to the potential for a new style of pub in Vancouver: “There were so many young entrepreneurs taking over hundred-year-old pubs and turning them into something cool.” Donnelly’s take on the modern pub launched with Bimini’s in 1999; today he counts four pubs, four nightclubs and one lounge in his stable. “It wasn’t so much my vision,” he says. “But I could see the direction the city was going, and I was really interested in going there with it.”
Daniel Sitnam President and CEO,
Helijet International Inc.
Daniel Sitnam took his first helicopter ride at age 18. “I’ve never looked back,” he says. In 1986, armed with a single helicopter, Helijet began its commuter service between Vancouver and Victoria. Today Helijet operates 11 aircraft, and, alongside the scheduled routes, the company flies charters, cargo and air medical services. “We continue to develop what we’re best at and known for as far as our knowledge base and the equipment we operate,” says Sitnam. For both Sitnam and Helijet, this means flying where others can’t.[pagebreak]
President and CEO,
Nexterra Systems Corp.
Jonathan Rhone spent most of his career working in the energy field. A graduate of environmental studies at UBC, he’s long had an interest in cleantech. In 2003 Rhone and his partners established Nexterra to develop a technology that allows clients to generate their own clean, low-cost energy using biomass. Rhone plans to build on the successful introduction of Nexterra’s technology at the University of South Carolina and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.
President and CEO, Lignol Energy Corp.
Ross MacLachlan’s first task as executive chair of Lignol was to recruit an advisory group of industry experts and put together a team of senior executives. “I began to build the business from there,” says MacLachlan, who was a member of Canada’s national rowing team. He adds that people are crucial to building a company and planning for its success: “The one thing in rowing that you get is that there isn’t a hierarchy in the boat. Everybody is pulling together in unison.” [pagebreak]
B2B Products and Services
President and CEO,
Contac Services Inc.
Riaz Pisani took over as Contac’s CEO in 2005 and began moving the company toward web marketing and consulting. “Technology has been our biggest asset,” says Pisani. “It has helped us to reposition ourselves and helped our clients find new markets and revenue streams.” Contac’s eConcierge, for example, now offers a way for travel suppliers to interact with customers. Pisani says the platform “looked at all the things that Contac does and found a new niche for them.”
CEO and Chair,
LMI Technologies Inc.
Len Metcalfe’s passion has always been research and development – designing things and using technology to solve problems. His education is electronics control technology, but his interest started when he was taking radios apart as a child. “Our staff share the same passion toward solving problems,” he says. “They know that they push the edge of technology, but that challenge is what keeps them going. As a company, we are always trying to push that edge and lead the industry.” [pagebreak]
President and CEO,
ICO Therapeutics Inc.
Have you ever asked yourself, “What have I done lately?” The question led Andrew Rae away from a career as a biotechnology equities analyst and into the realm of biotech startups. His answer was, “I want to build.” He says he had acquired an eye for knowing “what ‘the street’ looked for in terms of investments.” Given the talent and human capital in the ophthalmic arena in B.C., the only remaining question in Rae’s mind was, “Why aren’t companies forming around these talents and competencies?”
President and CEO,
Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Xenon’s methodology has the potential to limit drug-related side effects and reduce drug-development failures. “I saw a great opportunity,” says Simon Pimstone, who left internal medicine and cardiology to spearhead Xenon in 2003. “It was a bold move, leaving a comfortable career to take on something much less certain.” But business minds base decisions on confidence, “and if you are going to do something, you’re going to have to give it your all. I don’t like to do things in half measures.”