In the wake of the economic slowdown, YOU might think it's getting harder for young innovators to make their mark. But this year's seventh annual selection of Canada's Top 40 Under 40 shows that talent and effort stand out, whatever the circumstances.
Once again, the honorees were selected by a panel of 23 business and community leaders (see page 84) assembled by The Caldwell Partners International, the Toronto-based executive- search firm. Caldwell compiled a preliminary list of candidates from more than 1,200 nominations--a record number. The panel then rated the finalists on the criteria of vision and leadership, innovation and achievement, community involvement, impact, and strategy for growth.
The honorees come from a variety of fields, and from across the country. They include Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk, Edmonton physicians who now head BioWare Inc., one of the leading North American developers of electronic games; Saskatoon-based Keith Martell, chairman of the First Nations Bank of Canada, which hopes to assist in nation-building by providing comprehensive financial services; Dr. Mickie Bhatia of the University of Western Ontario, who was the first Canadian scientist to import human embryonic stem cells from the United States; and Belinda Stronach, who recently took over as president of Magna International Inc., the auto-parts business (founded by her father, Frank) that has 64,000 employees worldwide.
Brief updates on previous honorees, on page 82, show that you'll likely hear from many of this year's Top 40 again. In the meantime, their youth and energy can sometimes be a distraction, as well as an asset. "A lot of times I go to conferences and people say, 'Oh, I guess Dr. Bhatia couldn't come, so he sent one of his postdocs to speak on his behalf,'" says Bhatia, who is 32. "You've got to prove to them that you've got just as much input as the old, bearded professor."
To nominate someone for next year's Top 40, you can telephone 1-800-688-5540, or visit
Keith Martell, 39
Chairman, First Nations Bank of Canada SASKATOON
The First Nations Bank of Canada, with share ownership spread among 74 Saskatchewan First Nation bands, the TD Bank and several other native organizations, opened its doors in 1997 with Martell, a former KPMG senior manager, at the helm. There are 633 First Nations across the country, says Martell, and many don't have full access to financial services. "By putting First Nations Bank together, we're able to group investments together from a number of different territories, a number of different nations," he says. "We've got people thinking again about being a combined entity and levering their resources." The goal: a unified economic body strong enough to support aboriginal nation-building.
On The road less travelled: "Our clients and investors are a pretty far-flung group. They're not concentrated at the corner of King and Bay. We're talking northern Quebec, northern Yukon, the northern territories. I spend a lot of time on the road."
AND Underwater, too: "I try to get away and scuba-dive every once in a while. Not as often as I'd like, though, living in Saskatchewan." - Matthew McKinnon
Karen Oldfield, 39
President and CEO, Halifax Port Authority hALIFAX
The Canada Marine Act of 1999 requires ports to become financially self-sufficient, so Oldfield's job is to keep Halifax in the black as it undertakes a five-year, $59-million renovation. She moved into the job in January, leaving a high-profile post as chief of staff for Nova Scotia's Conservative Premier, John Hamm. In that job, Oldfield developed a tracking system for the 243 commitments made by the PCs during the election campaign of 1999. "We were over two-thirds done [the commitments]when I left," she says. "That was in two-and-a-half years."
As seen on TV: Oldfield is a fan of NBC's The West Wing. "It's an American program, so the politics don't translate precisely into the Canadian system, but let's just say that everybody in my old office was glued to that show. Lots of times we saw things that we did reflected on TV." - Matthew McKinnon
Dr. Aled Edwards, 39
Associate Professor, Banting and Best Department of Medical Research, and Senior Scientist, Ontario Cancer Institute, University of Toronto TORONTO
Biologists have traditionally studied single entities-a gene, a protein, a disease-but Edwards has made a career out of finding ways to study what he calls "the holistic picture." In the process, he has become a rainmaker at U of T-helping to raise more than $90 million for university research and infrastructure and more than $30 million in research funding for the company he co-founded, Affinium Pharmaceuticals Inc. Getting the holistic picture means crossing once-sacrosanct boundaries between medical and research specialties: "There are not just two solitudes, there are five," he says.
The still-cloudy big picture: Even after the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2001, scientists only know the function of about 20% of our genes and proteins. "My bet is there will be more value in what we haven't discovered yet than in what we've already looked at."
GEtting everyone onside: Filling in the big picture requires scientists of many disciplines to work together. "The whole point is to attack the unknown quickly." - Michael Smith
Peter Penashue, 38
President, Innu Nation
SHESHATSHIU, NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
In 1993, newscasts of a home video showed the despair and hopelessness of young people who lived in Davis Inlet, in Labrador. Penashue, president of the Innu Nation since 1990, was thrust into the national and international media spotlight. Since then, there have been steps towards a better future. The Innu of Labrador have been given status equivalent to Indians by Ottawa. "It's a real accomplishment to get out of the regime of the province," says Penashue. "It's not perfect but it's better, because the feds have a history of dealing with aboriginal groups."
Managing expectations: "You can't look at the whole mountain, otherwise you'd just give up and say it's impossible to succeed in my lifetime, so why bother? Instead you take it one plateau at a time and enjoy each success as it comes."
It's about survival: "Failure is not an option. It just isn't. We are a population of 2,200, and more than half of that is under 25. We have to deal with the issues because there is no other choice." - Judith Pereira
Dr. Mickie Bhatia, 32
Scientist, Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, and Research Scientist, The John P. Robarts Research Institute, and Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Western Ontario LONDON, ONT.
Recipient of many awards and grants, Bhatia is the first Canadian scientist to import human embryonic stem cells from the United States. His lab has three of the reported eight "clean" stem-cell lines available in the world. Bhatia heads the Stem-cell Transplantation And Regenerative Therapeutics (START) initiative, a proj-ect meant to establish whether stem cells can actually repair defective tissue.
Early bloomer: "A lot of times I go to conferences and people say, 'Oh, I guess Dr. Bhatia couldn't come, so he sent one of his postdocs to speak on his behalf.' You've got to prove to them that you've got just as much input as the old, bearded professor with the small, round glasses."
The root of stem-cell research: "There's far more hype in the field of stem cells than there is actual data, and that really concerns me." Bhatia hopes the START initiative will produce credible results. "It's the first time anyone's taken a real approach besides saying stem cells could be important, and may lead to a therapy. The mays and the coulds are something I want to remove in the next three or four years." - Andre Mayer
Dr. Michael Sherar, 38
Senior Scientist and Research Coordinator, Ontario Cancer Institute/Princess Margaret Hospital, and Associate Professor, Dept. of Radiation Oncology,
Dept. of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto TORONTO
Born in England, Sherar received his undergraduate degree in physics from Oxford University. He moved to Toronto in 1985 on a scholarship. "It was the reverse of the Rhodes," he says. "I applied to a program that was set up by old Canadian Rhodes scholars to bring people from Oxford to North America." After earning a PhD, Sherar went to work for Ontario Hydro, investigating the impact of electromagnetic fields on biological systems. He left Hydro in 1990 and landed a job at Princess Margaret.
Too many physicists: "I guess Canada has a lot of physicists because I had to leave [Hydro]so they could hire a Canadian. Luckily, there's a shortage of medical physicists and three weeks away from being kicked out of the country by Immigration Canada, I got the Princess Margaret job."
I Love My Job Because: "I'm really helping people-we're developing new thermal therapies for prostate cancer that will be less invasive."
Fun: "My specialty is the 800 metres. I've competed in track and field at the national level." - Judith Pereira
Dr. Molly Shoichet, 37
Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, Dept. of Chemistry, and Associate Professor, Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto TORONTO
For an accomplished scientist studying the regeneration of nerve and bone tissue, Shoichet is surprisingly self-effacing. She has developed small tubes that are inserted into the spinal cord and serve as a bridge to help stimulate nerve growth, a process that could help treat spinal cord injuries. Still, she says her findings "represent only baby steps." Nor does she dwell on being one of a handful of women in U of T's chemical engineering department: "I don't think too much about it." Schoichet's lab has a staff of 15, and it received $5.3 million in research grants last year alone. She has spoken at 64 international conferences; has founded two companies, matRegen and BoneTec Corp., to develop technologies; and she was appointed to a five-year term as Canada Research Chair in Tissue Engineering in 2001.
Just Go with your strengths: "I have just always done what I am good at, and I saw that there was an opportunity to make a difference." - Rebecca Caldwell
Renato J. Discenza, 39
Senior Vice-President, Supply Chain & Capital Management, Bell Ontario TORONTO
As one of the leaders of Bell Ontario's operations (before his recent promotion), Discenza had 10,000 employees working under him. One major goal was to break down barriers that had built up during the days Bell was a monopoly; barriers that still keep a lot of people from doing their best work. "There are a lot of good people, but the rules have changed a lot in the last 10 years," he says. "We compete with a lot of little, entrepreneurial companies flanking us right and left." The solution, he says, was to free up workers' natural creativity. Case in point: The Bell Canada Mobile Computing Centre was transformed from "a bunch of guys playing with technology" into a development group that oversaw the largest deployment of wearable computers in the telecom industry. The Walkman-sized computers with heads-up display "make you look like a little cyborg," Discenza chuckles.
If AT First Employees Don't Succeed, Failure is the Best Teacher: "If they fail, we're not going to shoot everybody." - Michael Smith
Kenneth M. Hartwick, 39
Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice-President, Finance, Hydro One Inc. TORONTO
The memory of California-style rolling blackouts is still fresh, but Kenneth Hartwick isn't worried as Ontario's Hydro One-one of the largest electricity transmission systems on the continent-prepares for deregulation of the electricity market this month and an IPO. "Ontario is magnitudes better off than California," he says, if only because there's excess generating power readily available in the heavily industrialized northeast. As a vice-president in the consulting firm of Cap Gemini Ernst & Young Canada Inc., Hartwick was one of the people who helped split the old Ontario Hydro into a generating arm, Ontario Power Generation, and Hydro One, which owns and operates the power lines. Now he's helping to take the company public.
Meet the new bosses: "The challenge will be the day after the IPO is done, and we have hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions of shareholders. That's brand new for this company."
advice to consumers worried about an open electricity market: "All change takes time to sink in." - Michael Smith
Jody Steinhauer, 35
President and Chief Visionary Officer, The Bargains Group Ltd. TORONTO
Steinhauer says she can walk into a room of 12 people and sell something to every one of them. Her method couldn't be simpler: "Price is an incredible thing." She founded The Bargains Group in 1989, and has used low pricing to profit her company and help social-service agencies. The company supplies discount clothing to national and local retail stores-"From mom-and-pop stores to Winners," she says. It also provides social-service agencies with clothing and other supplies, and helps the corporate philanthropists "maximize their donation dollars."
Not a fashion victim: "I'm not in the fashion industry. I'm in the apparel and clothing industry. My criteria are to find good-quality products at high perceived value, at an extremely low cost. I like to joke that if I lose an item in my warehouse for three years, would I still be able to sell it when I find it? If so, then I buy it."
Hard Times: "They haven't hurt my business. The Canadian consumer is a lot more sophisticated. With business being tough, everybody is watching their purse." - Kamal Al-Solaylee
Dr. Christopher W. Hogue, 36
Senior Scientist, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, and Assistant Professor, Dept. of Biochemistry, University of Toronto Toronto
Hogue is used to blank stares when he talks about his work in bioinformatics-biological research that involves computers. So, he uses a homely analogy: the furniture company IKEA. A chair from IKEA, he says, "comes with two sheets of paper, a parts list and a set of instructions on how to put the parts together." Scientists have made great strides compiling the parts list for a human being-our genes and proteins-but so far, we're still missing the instruction sheet. Hogue is building a computer database, dubbed the Biomolecular Interaction Network Database, or BIND, that will fill the gap. "BIND is the other sheet of paper that tells you how the parts go together," he says.
It's alive, sort of: Hogue's goal is to help create a "silicon cell" that will mimic a human cell, allowing researchers to use computers, instead of people, to do things such as test new drugs. - Michael Smith
Leonard Asper, 37
President and CEO, CanWest Global Communications Corp. Winnipeg
Asper is used to controversy, from his company's practice of running national editorials in all of its papers to recent suggestions that the CBC should butt out of local news. And he has no intention of backing off: "We don't let small parts of public opinion run our company," he says. Since he joined the company in 1991, Asper has been a key player in consolidating both the editorial and advertising departments of its now-sprawling empire. CanWest Global is essentially a family business, but being his father Israel's son, Asper says, only "opens the door a crack...you still have to earn your stripes and I think I've done that." His goal now is to make CanWest Global into one of the Top 5 media companies in the world within the next 10 years. "I want to be up there with the Viacoms and the AOL-Time Warners," he says.
Going for the end zone: "It's an infinite challenge-you have to want to score a touchdown, not just gain three yards." - Michael Smith
Michael E. Detlefsen, 38
Executive Vice-President, Vertical Coordination, Maple Leaf Foods Inc. TORONTO
Through so-called vertical coordination, Detlefsen has fostered greater cooperation between independent operating companies at various stages of meat production. This has streamlined the pork and poultry "value chains"-including the genetics, feed, farming and processing of animals-to respond to consumers' desire for more natural and better-tasting products. It has also introduced greater accountability within the processing industry.
Born peacemaker: "I was always the guy who would arbitrate in the schoolyard. So there'd be competing groups or teams who couldn't come to an agreement and they'd always turn to me to figure it out, because I always had a reputation as being objective and neutral and with no axe to grind."
A private man thinks publicly: While satisfied with his current job, Detlefsen wants to do more some day. "I guess I've always harboured this ambition to do a public service, like running the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees or something. I wouldn't aspire to necessarily take [UN Secretary-General]Kofi Annan's job-which is a no-win job-but something more manageable." - Andre Mayer
Satish Rai, 39
Vice-Chair, Fixed Income Portfolio Management and Research, TD Asset Management Inc., and Senior Vice-President, TD Bank Financial Group TORONTO
When Rai joined TD as a management trainee in 1986 with a B Math degree from the University of Waterloo, mathematics and computer modelling were not a big part of the investment process. It was the decade of wheeling and dealing. Starting in fixed income, Rai boosted profits by developing models that pinpointed hundreds of simple price anomalies. The concept is very basic: "If one shirt is $10 and one is $20, you buy the one that costs $10." He now heads a group that manages approximately $50-billion worth of investments around the world, including the bank's own pension plan.
Portrait of An Investment Manager as a Young Man: "When I was 12, I would take my paper route money and I'd go buy bars of silver...I lost all my money."
Biggest Turn-on: "Most of the money that we look after is for people with $2,000, $3,000 or $4,000, who invest it with us through our mutual funds. I get an unbelievable thrill helping those people out through our mutual-fund performance numbers." - John Daly
Alexander Pourbaix, 36
Executive Vice-President, Power Development, TransCanada PipeLines Ltd., President, TransCanada Power LP CALGARY
Pourbaix joined TransCanada in 1994 as an associate general counsel. Appointed executive vice-president of TransCanada Power in 1997, he persuaded management to develop the TransCanada Power LP. The limited partnership distributes cash flow from seven North American electrical power plants and other initiatives to investors under very favourable tax rules. The LP has a market capitalization of about $1.3 billion.
No time to breathe: "If I have a failing, it's that I don't actually sit down and spend time savouring the moment. When we're doing a big deal, the moment the deal's over, I'm off looking for the next one. I don't spend a lot of time patting myself on the back for it."
Fostering SitCom dialogue: "I encourage a great deal of irreverence in my people. I encourage open thinking and I encourage people to challenge me. With the people that work for me, I'm actually disappointed if they don't call me a dummy at least once a day." - Andre Mayer
Debbie LeValliant, 39
President and CEO, Amirix Systems HALIFAX
"My parents decided when I was very young that they were going to groom me for business," says LeValliant. "My father taught me how to read stock quotes in the newspaper when I was 8 or 9." The plan worked: LeValliant was a stockbroker until 1990, when she joined Amirix Systems, a company that develops and sells specialized telecommunications hardware and software. "Amirix is one of the highest-tech companies in Atlantic Canada," says LeValliant, "so it was easy to gravitate here." In 1996, she converted the company mandate from not-for-profit to moneymaker. Amirix posted a net profit of $5.9 million on revenues of $13.4 million in 2001.
Heartache in Barbados: "A few years ago, I met Douglas, this little boy in the Caribbean who is one of a handful of children in the world to be born with their hearts reversed. He has the wrong side pumping the wrong stuff." Touched by Douglas's rare condition and his love of music-LeValliant sings and plays piano, guitar, euphonium and flute-she raised $7,000 (U.S.) and placed it in trust for the medical care and transplant he awaits. - Matthew McKinnon
David G. Cynamon, 38
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, KIK Corp.
Since the age of 17, when Cynamon operated a convoy of pedicabs in Toronto, he has demonstrated entrepreneurial élan. He has run a stock-quote paging service (NHC Communications), is the co-founder of Playdium Entertainment Corp. and currently oversees KIK Corp., one of North America's largest manufacturers of private-label household bleach.
Arithmetic wisdom: Cynamon's father-in-law was the late Gerry Pencer, founder of soft-drink manufacturer Cott Corp. In his dining room, Cynamon has preserved Pencer's boardroom table; engraved on it is a formula, H = R/E, which was Pencer's axiom for success in business and in life. "H equals happiness, R equals reality and E equals expectations," Cynamon explains. "If you can balance that formula, and make sure that your expectations aren't greater than reality, then you'll always be happy."
I'm not here for the Glamour: For Cynamon, it's not about the products; it's about prospects. "I don't necessarily look for the glamour or the high profile or the trends, I look for the opportunity. So if I'm selling software or creating programs for private-label household cleaning products, if it's a great opportunity, the entrepreneurial spirit in me comes out. Bleach can be software and software can be bleach-it really doesn't matter." - Andre Mayer
Dr. Ray Muzyka, 33, and Dr. Greg Zeschuk, 32
Joint CEOs, BioWare Corp. EDMONTON
In 1995, Muzyka and Zeschuk, recently minted MDs from the University of Alberta, rolled profits from their medical practices into seed money for BioWare, now one of North America's largest independent electronic-games developers. Their breakthrough hit, Baldur's Gate, sold more than 3.5 million copies. Two of their latest projects: a Star Wars game for Microsoft Xbox, and Codebaby, an on-line entertainment spinoff that just finished its first round of external financing. "We're working as hard as we ever did as doctors," says Zeschuk. "We enjoyed our practices, but BioWare is thrilling."
The numbers game: No. 1, Alberta's Fastest-Growing Companies 2002, Alberta Venture; No. 11, Canada's Fastest-Growing Companies, Profit 100, 2001 Edition; 37 industry awards for game development.
Postop: Zeschuk and Muzyka continued practising medicine part-time through BioWare's early stages. Zeschuk gave it up two years ago; Muzyka followed six months later. "I miss it," says Muzyka. "I enjoyed rural family medicine. It's fun to be the only doctor in a 100-mile radius. You get to see all kinds of interesting stuff." - Matthew McKinnon
William (Bill) Butt, 39
Executive Managing Director and Co-head, Investment & Corporate Banking-Canada, BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. TORONTO
Butt was a mergers-and-acquisitions adviser on the 1996 deal that formed real estate giant TrizecHahn Corp. He also ran the business unit that led the sale of Ontario's Highway 407, north of Toronto, in 1999. It was the largest completed privatization in Canada's history. Last year, Butt oversaw mergers and acquisitions totalling $21 billion and financings worth $34 billion.
Oh, what a feeling: "There's a great rush of excitement when you get called or find out that you are going to be the adviser. The world we play in is crazy competitive, so when you get the nod, there's a great sense of accomplishment.In all these deals, there's a massive emotional roller coaster that you run through."
What money can't buy: "You can motivate people with money for a while, and you can extract things from them for a while, but it won't keep them going. The fire is either there or it's not." - Andre Mayer
Heather Conway, 39
Executive Vice-President, Corporate and Public Affairs, Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. TORONTO
Conway began her career in 1984 as a parliamentary intern in Ottawa. In 1989, she became special assistant to then-finance minister Michael Wilson. Since leaving Parliament Hill, she's worked in corporate affairs for Hill & Knowlton, TD Bank Financial Group and, now, Alliance Atlantis, always striving for clarity of communication and greater accountability to the public.
Public vs. private: "In the public sector, you get up every day, and your job is to try and do the greatest good for the largest number of people. In the private sector, you're primarily trying to do the best for your shareholders. That's why the public sector is such good training: You're always having to consider, 'How can I do the best for the most?'"
Lights! Camera! Action!: Conway admits that working in broadcasting has some inimitable perks. "The TV business is certainly more glamorous. I didn't get to go to Cannes in my last job." - Andre Mayer
Wayne J. Crawley, 39
President, Emera Fuels and Vice-President, Corporate Strategy and Development, Emera Energy Inc. HALIFAX
In 1992, Crawley was involved in the drive to privatize Nova Scotia Power Holdings Corp. With a large portfolio of electric and fuel-oil manufacturers, Emera now serves 570,000 customers in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Maine. It reported a net profit of $114 million on sales of $1.27 billion in 2001.
Playing hardball: "If you don't swing, you'll never hit the ball. For me, it was always, 'I know I'm going to have some strikes against me, but the bottom line is we're going to advance the base runners, we're going to hit some home runs, we're going to strike out a few times, but we're going to win the game.' I'm very, very comfortable seeking forgiveness rather than permission."
Georgia on my mind: One of Crawley's most rewarding experiences came last year, when he joined Prime Minister Jean Chrétien on Team Canada's Atlantic Trade Mission in Atlanta in 2001. "Here you are in the southern part of the U.S., on this beautiful estate on a summer evening, in a part of Atlanta that is not shabby, with the leader of our country, and he's talking with such passion about our country.It was one of those evenings that you'll always cherish and remember." -- Andre Mayer
Aleksander Krstajic, 38
Senior Vice-President, Sales, Marketing, Programming and Product Development, Rogers Cable Inc. TORONTO
Krstajic says his early career in the Canadian military and his hobby of racing sailboats gave him the leadership skills to overcome one of the toughest crises of his career: the sudden bankruptcy last year of Corp., the U.S. company that had provided the backbone of Rogers's high-speed internet service, . "We had to scramble," he says. "It was the Battle of Britain over here...people were literally working 24 hours a day." In the end, except for having to change their e-mail addresses, most subscribers barely noticed the changeover. Krstajic had made the service a household name by persuading retailers to put it on the shelves anywhere computers were sold. Subscriptions shot up from 1,000 a month to 1,000 a day within six months.
The broadband pitch: "We made people realize that accessing the internet through phone lines was like watching black-and-white television. Essentially...we had built a better mousetrap." -- Michael Smith
Melanie Kau, 39
President, Mobilia Interiors POINTE-CLAIRE, QUE.
When Kau took over her family's Quebec-based furniture business in 1995, it had nine stores and $13.9 million in annual sales. Now, Mobilia has 13 stores and had revenues of $31.3 million in 2000-at a time when growth in retail furniture sales has averaged about 2% a year. Mobilia makes designer furniture, which might seem a chancy business in stolid Canada, but, says Kau, "it's not difficult to convince people to like a beautiful thing." This is especially true in an age where megastores the world over carry the same products. She's currently negotiating with a well-known designer-she wouldn't say who-to create a collection of furniture especially for Mobilia.
I know what I don't like: "Designing something is a really arduous process. You go to that extent only when you can't find what you want in the marketplace." - Michael Smith
Tom Hickey, 31
President, Frontline Safety Ltd. HALIFAX
Hickey's big challenge, he says, is managing the rapid growth of the company he helped found seven years ago. Frontline Safety, which offers safety training, equipment rentals and consulting, has grown by an average of 86% a year for the last six years, and revenue has tripled from 2000 to 2001. "We never say no to a job," Hickey says, "but we may sometimes ask to delay it a bit." Hickey says his entrepreneurial spirit makes him odd man out in the conservative field of safety: "I'm a bit of a risk-taker myself and it's an industry whose goal is to minimize risks," he says. Although the company has taken on projects as far away as Brazil and Russia, Frontline Safety's main focus is the Atlantic oil and gas industry.
Why shop anywhere else?: "People like that we're one-stop shopping...equipment, training and consultation. We come with the full package." - Michael Smith
Johanne Picard-Thompson, 39
Senior Vice-President, Canadian Operations, Celestica Inc. TORONTO
Picard-Thompson received her degree in engineering science at the University of Toronto in 1984. She joined IBM Canada, doing a variety of jobs including process engineering and business unit management. In 1996, her department was spun off as part of electronics manufacturer Celestica. She now leads the Canadian operations, one of the company's largest revenue generators.
And sitting down: Last year, Picard-Thompson and six fellow Celestica execs gave U of T $1 million to establish a research chair in the school's Faculty of Engineering. "I want to make sure that we have a strong education system at the graduate and postgraduate levels. I have two boys [aged 9 and 12] and I hope to interest them in the engineering science arena. They're very science-engineering oriented, very build-it, break-it."
Only to jump again: "We have a computer network at home. There's a computer per person. The fun with the boys is playing interactive games over the network. StarCraft is one of them. Age of Empires-that's the important one." -- Matthew McKinnon
Bill Morneau, 39
President and CEO, Morneau Sobeco TORONTO
Morneau has had a striking impact on Morneau Sobeco's bottom line since taking the reins from his father nine years ago. His father, Frank, founded W.F. Morneau & Associates in 1966; a 1997 merger with Sobeco formed the present company. The human resources and actuarial consulting firm's projected 2001 revenues are four times greater than its 1993 results, and there are four times as many employees-700 spread over 12 North American offices. One reason? Technology: "We've driven as rapidly as we can to make our systems available over the internet," Morneau says. "Probably within two years, someone working for Bell Canada will be able to make all of the decisions needed to design their pension and benefits on-line. They will be able to model everything."
Redesign. Redeliver. Repeat: "We've stayed relentlessly focused on what we do, which is designing and delivering benefit plans. Obviously it's not a huge range of things that we do, but we invest and reinvest in doing them better and better." -- Matthew McKinnon
Joe Natale, 37
Senior Vice-President, Country Leader, Canada, Global Leader, Automotive and Transportation Industries, KPMG Consulting Inc. TORONTO
Natale co-founded his own consulting firm, Piller Natale & Oh, at age 26, and it grew to 70 employees in seven years. While there, he developed the Re-Build program, a business transformation model for businesses undertaking major changes. It is now the global standard for 10,000 KPMG consultants worldwide. "It's not really a blueprint," says Natale. "People think of these things as being like a cake recipe-do these 12 things and you've got cake. We believe it's more like a road map. There are lots of ways to get from point A to point B."
The view from the kitchen table: "We're a very entrepreneurial family. My parents came to Canada from Europe in the '60s. My mother and father had a number of businesses along the way, and as a child I was always actively involved in their kitchen-table summits-what's happening in the business world, and what are the challenges and opportunities? The exposure served me well." -- Matthew McKinnon
Sylvain Toutant, 38
President and CEO, Réno-Dépôt Inc./The Building Box Inc. Montreal
Before assuming the top job at Réno-Dépôt last October, Toutant held several senior posts. But none proved as vital as his stint as a store manager in Quebec's largest renovation, decoration and garden products chain. "It was key to my career," he reflects. "I got a much better understanding of what retail is all about. We say retail is detail and the detail is in the aisle." Lessons learned on the shop floor helped Toutant with expansion into Ontario under the banner The Building Box. The company's mascot-and Toutant's creation-Hammer Head helped establish a strong brand identity in the competitive Toronto market. Réno-Dépôt now has more than 6,000 employees, and its 14 branches command over 30% of the market in Quebec.
Talk about dedication: "I can spend hours looking at different types of tiles. You have to love the business you're in. I love home improvements, I love houses."
Battle of the sexes: "We have many more female customers than 10 years ago. But mainly our customers are couples. The man is more involved in picking the store [location] The woman picks up the product." -- Kamal Al-Solaylee
Derek J. Burney, 39
President and CEO, Corel Corp. OTTAWA
Burney was thrust into the spotlight when he was picked at age 38 to head Corel, a software maker with a credibility problem. Under flamboyant founder Michael Cowpland, the company failed to deliver on its always-lofty promises. Burney has provided steady leadership, if not always profits. Investors know where they stand.
How did becoming CEO at such a young age change you?: "I hit the ground running and haven't looked back. I doubt it changed me much at all though, because I like to be myself no matter what I'm doing. I would be horrified to think that I was acting in any way that suggested I had 'CEO' stamped on my forehead."
Were you prepared for the challenge?: "I was certainly as prepared as I wanted to be. Nothing bores me more than a sure thing. Even in university I tended not to prepare too much for exams because it kept me on my toes and I was able to think through the answers as opposed to work from memory. I graduated with highest honours so it must have worked!" -- Konrad Yakabuski
Cody Slater, 39
President and CEO, BW Technologies Ltd. Calgary
Slater dropped out of university in 1985 after developing the Rig Rat, the world's first solar-powered, wireless gas-detection system. "I had a landscaping company. But I became allergic to grass and all things related to landscaping and knew I had to do something else. I talked with friends in the oil industry and realized there was a need for a gas detector that was portable." The company is now a leader in the gas-monitoring industry. "Any company that has people exposed to dangerous gases-oil and gas, telecommunications, pulp and paper, fire departments-usually uses our products."
Stay in school: "As a university dropout, I think that the government should really put an emphasis on quality education being easily accessible. As Canada looks to the future, it's education that's going to ensure that this country is able to maintain its status."
Do As I say: "Do what you enjoy, because everything comes from that. If you have passion for what you do, then everything else will pretty much fall into place." -- Judith Pereira
Lorne H. Paperny, 35
President, Canada Diagnostic Centres CALGARY
Two-tiered health care is a lightning rod in Canadian politics, but that didn't stop Paperny, a former big-ticket organizer for Jean Chrétien's Liberals, from opening the country's first private CT screening clinic in Vancouver this February. The facility joins company-operated MRI clinics in Calgary (the first, it opened in 1993), Vancouver, Toronto, Mississauga, Ont., and Hull, Que. "There's a real void when it comes to access for high-technology equipment in this country," says Paperny. "I think there's a place for us in every province."
The Fine Line between Public and Private: CDS patients in Vancouver usually undergo their CT screens within 48 hours of booking an appointment. The cost is about $1,000. "We see this as an entirely different spectrum from the current public health-care system. It's an adjunct more than it is a tier," says Paperny. "The country has realized that there is a place for private services; the question now is how they fit into the public system." -- Matthew McKinnon<< Mike Cordoba, 38
President and Chief Operating Officer, Boston Pizza International Inc. VANCOUVER
Although Cordoba oversees pizza chains, that doesn't mean he considers himself to be in the food business. "We're a management consultant company on how to run a restaurant," he says of the franchiser for Boston Pizza Restaurants and Boston Pizza Quick Express. The latter will do nicely as a title for a Cordoba biography. After graduating from Simon Fraser University in 1988 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, he joined the B.C.-based company as a comptroller and rose through the ranks. He is now focused on new markets. Boston Pizza opened 18 restaurants in 2001; 14 in Canada and four in the United States. Sales increased by 19.9% last year, double the industry growth rate.
How often do you eat in your own restaurants?: "Three to four times a week," but Cordoba doesn't always order pizza. "We have pastas and salads. I always like to eat very healthy."
pepperonI Is KEy: After switching to a pepperoni popular in the United States, "for the first time this year, the pepperoni pizza outsold the Hawaiian" in Boston's Canadian restaurants. -- Kamal Al-Solaylee
Éric Richer La Flèche, 39
President, Loeb Canada Inc., and Sr. Vice-President and General Manager, Super C Division Metro Inc. MONTREAL
In his youth, the closest La Flèche came to working in a grocery store was a part-time job unloading beer for Labatt. He eventually became a lawyer and earned an MBA at Harvard University. In 1991, he found himself in the grocery business-as a senior director, real estate, for Metro Inc., a leading Quebec supermarket retailer. In 1999, La Flèche helped negotiate Metro's $125-million purchase (from Loblaw) of 40 Loeb stores and two distribution centres in Eastern Ontario. It was the company's first acquisition outside Quebec. Metro's market capitalization has increased from $100 million in 1990 to $2 billion today. La Flèche is now in charge of the company's profitable discount Super C division.
My Business Philosophy: "I know it's a cliché: We want to provide customers with the right product, at the right time, in the right place, at the right price."
After hours: "It's my job to buy the groceries for home," the father of three says with a laugh. "I'm in the store every day, and I can't say I don't have the time." -- Rebecca Caldwell
Belinda Stronach, 35
Vice-Chairman, President and CEO, Magna International Inc. Aurora, Ont.
Glamour is not something you normally associate with car parts. But then there's Belinda Stronach: an auto-parts heir with an Olympic speed skater-Johann Olav Koss-for a husband, a socialite lifestyle and the fashion sensibility to have invested in Toronto designer Joeffer Caoc's clothing line, Misura. Belinda's father, Frank, founded Magna in 1957. She joined the company in 1985 at age 19, and rapidly climbed the ranks, becoming a vice-president in 1995, and CEO in February, 2001. The 35-year-old mother of two oversees 64,000 employees at 168 manufacturing divisions, and 32 product devlopment and engineering centres in 18 countries. So far, she has restructured Magna's human resources policies along global lines. In her first year at the helm, Magna posted record sales of $11 billion (U.S.).
What I learned from Dad: "I've learned about fairness, decision-making, entrepreneurship, understanding of the market, how to challenge and motivate people, believing in an idea and pushing through what some may consider to be the impossible." - Rebecca Caldwell
Louis Vachon, 39
Senior Vice-President, Treasury and Financial Markets, National Bank of Canada MONTREAL
Forwards, swaps and options on equities, foreign exchange and even pulp and paper products-Vachon oversees treasury and capital market activities in some very exotic financial instruments. His appetite was whetted at university by Paul Erdman's novel, The Billion-Dollar Sure Thing. From 1990 to 1996, Vachon worked for the Canadian subsidiary of Bankers Trust. He joined National Bank in 1997, and has built an "alternative investment program"-basically hedge funds and derivatives-that manages more than $850 million for institutions and individuals. He's also just hired eight pulp and paper specialists from Enron Corp. Of course, he says, the "control function"-systematic risk management-is critical in everything.
HOW MUCH OF THIS STUFF IS RISKY?: "All of it is."
DO YOU SLEEP WELL AT NIGHT?: "Absolutely."
WHY HE AND HIS WIFE WANT TO RAISE THEIR TWO CHILDREN IN QUEBEC: "You end up with bilingual francophones rather than bilingual anglophones." -- John Daly David Booth, 39
President and Managing Director, Compaq Canada Corp. RICHMOND HILL, ONT.
Formerly known as a personal computer provider, Booth has shifted the company's focus to larger computer systems and systems management for corporate customers. He has also made Compaq Canada a friendlier place, both inside and out. Since he took over last May, the annual employee turnover rate has been cut to 3.5% from 10%, and the company has improved its customer satisfaction ratings.
Dogged determination: While conducting a conference call for 1,500 employees from his cottage in Shediac, N.B., last summer, Booth had to excuse himself to give his barking West Highland terrier a biscuit. "People keep saying, 'Oh that was the conference call when the dog was on,' and I'm, like, 'Is that the only thing you remember from that? You don't remember the excellent presentation I gave? You don't remember the brilliance of the business strategy that we outlined?'"
A happy worker is a productive worker: "You have to make sure you don't lose the edge that a driven organization has, by being aggressive and having the discipline to drive the business plan. But by the same token, you've got to always listen. Take the time, sit down, look people in the whites of the eyes and say, 'What's going on? What can I do to help?'" -- Andre Mayer
Rob Vanderhooft, 36
President and Chief Investment Officer, Greystone Managed Investments Inc. REGINA
Vanderhooft has been beating the pants off Bay Street money managers for years. Born in Winnipeg, he graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1987 and joined Great West Life Assurance Co. as an equity analyst. He shifted to Greystone, a small independent pension and institutional money manager, in 1991, and became head of the Canadian equity team four years later. The firm begins working with a client by settling on an asset allocation between equities, bonds and cash. On the equity side, it favours growth stocks chosen using a bottom-up approach. Assets under management: $13 billion, up from $9 billion in 1999. Average annual return on Canadian equities over the last five years: 16.3%. That puts Greystone, with just 62 employees, in the top 4% of Canadian money managers.
DO I Really need to Have an Office near King and Bay?: "You can manage money from anywhere these days. I guess Warren Buffett has proved that."
quality of life: "I'm annoyed if it takes me seven minutes to get to work instead of five." -- John Daly
Paul-André Savoie, 29
President, Datacom Wireless Corp. LAVAL, QUE.
In 1995, Savoie co-founded Boomerang Tracking Inc., which makes cellular devices for cars and boats that track them if they're stolen. He launched Datacom in 1999, with the idea of extending the technology. Datacom offers several wireless services and devices, including Meterman, which monitors levels of liquefied gases in storage facilities, and Celsius, which tracks trucks and monitors the temperature of shipments, thereby cutting down on spoilage. Mobilus, a new anti-theft car device, allows you to immobilize your car over the web.
Exploit THIS: "The wireless networks have an enormous amount of untapped capacity. They sell cellphones with minutes. We exploit their network in markets that they are not able to capture themselves."
Humble re-beginnings: When Savoie launched Datacom, his shares in Boomerang were still locked up in escrow, a provision meant to retain management. "I started with one employee who I paid with my 4% vacation pay from Boomerang. Me and my employee shared a desk." -- John Daly
V. Réal Bergevin, 38
President, NuComm International ST. CATHARINES, ONT.
Does phoning for customer service frustrate you? Bergevin runs call centres employing more than 2,000 people in the Niagara Peninsula, Sault Ste. Marie and Owen Sound. His goal is the same as yours: getting you off the phone as quickly as possible-with your problem solved. As a university student and then a consultant, Bergevin worked for Rogers Cable TV, Wardair and Canadian Tire Acceptance. He opened an eight-seat centre of his own in 1995. "I hooked up the computers. I was the trainer and the cook and everything else." Since then, he's developed CIMWEB, a program that measures employee performance, and written a book, 23 Steps To An Effective Call Centre. Last year, NuComm opened a 200-employee office in India that does data and order entry, as well as some customer service.
The world is a call centre: "Geography is becoming less and less important. As things get tougher here in Canada, we won't be limited by the market."
Love in a call centre: "I met my wife at a call centre conference where I was speaking," Bergevin says somewhat sheepishly. "She hired me as a consultant." -- John Daly
Kenneth Tanenbaum, 34
Vice-President, Business Development, Lafarge Canada Inc. CONCORD, ONT.
Lafarge is one of the world's largest suppliers of building materials, particularly cement, stone aggregates and concrete. In Canada, one of Lafarge's largest recent projects was the paving of the extension of Highway 407, just north of Toronto. Tanenbaum earned his undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania's respected Wharton School for business. At Lafarge, he deals with the big picture-acquisitions, divestitures and strategic planning.
If At First you don't Succeed: "We did not win the paving on Highway 407 right away. We actually lost it twice but we kept going back, and when the time came to build an extension we approached the owner/constructor with a value-based proposition that helped to accelerate the schedule and reduce costs, and we won the bid."
Next on the agenda: "I'd like to become a reasonable guitar player. I never had the patience for it before but I do now. I'm also training for my second Ironman [triathlon-swimming, biking and running] I made a commitment to try to do one every five years."
Best piece of advice: "Listen three times as much as you talk." -- Judith Pereira Where are they now? A review of some past honorees
Then President and CEO, St. Joseph Printing
Now Executive Chairman and CEO, St. Joseph Corp.
Family-run business bought Key Media Inc., publisher of Wedding Bells and Toronto Life, in February.
Then President and CEO,
Magna International Inc.
Now President and CEO,
Intier Automotive Inc.
Heads the interior-parts manufacturer spun off from Magna last year.
His former wife, Belinda Stronach, succeeded him in his old job.
Then President and CEO,
Newcourt Credit Group
Now Co-head, Borealis Capital Corp.
Left Newcourt under a cloud in
1999. Resurfaced last year by
merging his Dorset Partners with Borealis, which specializes in
investments in public infrastructure.
G. Scott Paterson
Then President, Yorkton Securities
Now Preparing for reincarnation
Fired by Yorkton last December
and paid a $1-million fine to the
OSC. Issued a letter to friends
in January saying he was looking
forward to his "next incarnation."
Then Executive Vice-President
and COO, Air Canada
Now President and CEO
Introduced two new carriers, Tango and Jazz. Parent still under fire over fares and service. Recently asked
staff to smile more. Still needs
to work on his people skills.
Then and Now President,
TD Capital Group
Launched the largest Canadian private-equity fund ever last year, with $635 million. Last June, it bought Harrowston Inc. for $210 million.
Then Associate Professor and
Scientist, Amgen Institute,
University of Toronto, and Scientist, Princess Margaret Hospital
Now Designated Head of the
Institute of Molecular and Cellular Bioinformatics (IMBA),
Austrian Academy of Sciences
Accepted an offer last year from his home country to head his own lab with a $30-million annual budget.
CANADA'S TOP 40 UNDER 40tm
National Board of Directors
Ms. Barbara Bruce
President, Winds of Change
Dr. Agnes Bruneau
Chairman, Fortis Inc.
St. John's, Nfld.
Dr. J.-Pierre Brunet
Chairman, PEAK Investments Inc.
Mr. Pierre Brunet
National Bank of Canada
Mr. Brendan Calder
Entrepreneur in Residence,
Professor of Strategic Management,
Joseph L. Rotman School of Management,
University of Toronto
Dr. Elizabeth Cannon
Professor & NSERC Chair,
Geomatics, University of Calgary
Mr. Pierre Choquette
President and Chief Executive Officer,
Mr. Rob Dexter
Chief Executive Officer,
Maritime Travel Inc.
Ms. Wanda Dorosz
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer,
Quorum Funding Corporation
Mr. Paul Godfrey
President and Chief Executive Officer,
Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club
Mr. Stanley Hartt
Salomon Smith Barney Canada
Mr. Dale Lastman
Co-Chair, Goodmans LLP
Mr. Jeffrey Lozon
President and Chief Executive Officer
St. Michael's Hospital
Ms. Marg McGregor
Chief Executive Officer,
Canadian Interuniversity Sport,
Ms. Wendy Paquette
President, Consumer Services,
Ms. Barbara Rae
Mr. Kenneth A. Shields
President and Chief Executive Officer,
Raymond James Ltd.
Mr. Doug Stewart
Ms. Stella Thompson
Principal, Governance West Inc.
Mr. Arni Thorsteinson
President, Shelter Canadian
Mr. Mike Tims
President and Chief Executive Officer,
Peters & Company Limited
Mr. Kip Woodward
President, Woodcorp Investment Ltd.
Mr. Victor Young
St. John's, Nfld.