I was born at the tail end of the baby boom at St. Joseph’s Hospital. At first my parents and I lived with my Grandparents on Augusta Street, next to what is now the Pheasant Plucker. We then moved to our own brand new house on the East Mountain where I lived until University, attending Linden Park, Burkholder and Hill Park. (It was with considerable sadness that I saw Hill Park closed this June, a topic for another discussion).
I attended McMaster University and graduated in Business after 3 years. I financed my education entirely on my own, working summers in the blast furnaces of Dofasco and part-time during the school year at Jackson Square.
During my last year at University I met Cathy Covert who would become my wife of over 27 years. Sadly Cathy succumbed to cancer 7 years ago but will always be remembered fondly by the many students she impacted as a teacher for the Hamilton Board of Education.
Cathy and I had two wonderful children, Lindsey and Ian. Lindsey is a graduate of Parkside High School in Dundas, McMaster University and Mohawk College. She lives in Dundas and is the Program Manager of Woodview Learning Centre, a Private School for children who have autism. She is planning her wedding for next April. Ian graduated from Dundas Highland and Dalhousie in Halifax. He is a reverse commuter, travelling from Toronto to his job as a Recording Engineer at Grant Avenue Studios.
My children are my proudest accomplishments and are a fine testament to their loving, supportive mother.
My work life has been an eclectic mix. After graduation I worked in banking for 18 years at 5 different financial institutions starting at the CIBC, King and James Hamilton. I completed this phase of my career as a Senior Vice President and Head of Corporate Banking for an International Bank in Toronto. I commuted to Toronto from Dundas on the Go Train for over 10 years.
Several senior positions at private firms followed until I settled in the mid-90s in a small technology firm in Mississauga. Soon after joining we became experts at a burgeoning new technology – the internet. Our firm prospered and became (and remains) a technology utility for the transportation industry. As CEO I negotiated the sale of the company to a NY Stock Exchange listed company. I left in 2003 after transitioning the company to the new owners.
With the successful sale of the company I was free to get involved with a number of interesting projects. Over the past 10 years I have been partner in an Investment Banking Firm, the President of a Logistics Company, CEO and CFO of a group of technology companies and the Dean of Business and International Education at Mohawk College. The latter position was particularly rewarding as I am a big supporter of continuing education, earning both my MBA (McMaster) and Masters Certificate in Supply Chain and Logistics Management (York) during my working career. I also enjoyed working with students and having the opportunity to influence their lives. The international component of the job had me travelling the world to recruit students and work with the College’s academic partners. I was fortunate to be able to go to many wonderful places like China, South America, Russia and India – invaluable experience that few have had the opportunity to duplicate.
I have also been an active volunteer and sponsor over the years. I was on the Board of Directors of the Art Gallery of Hamilton for eight years, including two as Chair. I am particularly proud of my contribution to this Hamilton institution, especially in the area of financial stability. I also sat on the Financial Committee of Hamilton Health Sciences, helped fund-raise for Hamilton Food Share and participated on the Board of the Innovation Factory. I am a sponsor of Theatre Aquarius and a season ticket holder for over 30 years. On the personal side I am an avid golfer, cyclist and have been playing basketball with a great group of guys most Monday nights for the past 34 years.
So, why am I running for City Council and why am I the correct choice for your vote? Let’s back up a bit.
I have always believed that work is what you do so you can afford to live. I have had a terrific career with great experiences but the most important part of my life has been the part at home. For almost all of my working career I have been fortunate to live in the wonderful town of Dundas, in my opinion the best place to raise a family, make lifelong friends and eventually retire. My children had a wonderful education and participated in many activities in a safe, clean environment. I was able, in spite of my commuting schedule to coach baseball, hockey, soccer and basketball and I even look back fondly on the early morning practices. Occasionally, a young man will still say a friendly, “hi coach” when I’m walking downtown. I spent many Sunday mornings in Dundas Driving Park when my kids were growing up (and this was before the skating rink!). We spent many hours hiking and biking the trails in Dundas Valley and still think the view from Dundas peak is one of the best in the world, especially in fall.
At this point in my life I have the time and the ability to represent the citizens of Dundas on Hamilton City Council. More importantly, I have the obligation to give back to the Town that has been such an important part of my and my family’s lives. I want to ensure Dundas continues to thrive in a world of change – aging population, transition to technology based economy, more efficient rapid transit. Dundas should be the first choice for retirees, commuters, innovators and families. We must preserve this gem, not just for us but for future generations (hopefully including my own grandchildren one day)!
- Everyone pays Municipal taxes. The citizens of Dundas deserve representation from someone with the experience and ability to ensure their tax dollars are spent in a fiscally responsible manner. A recent example is the discussion on waste collection. Are we getting value for our money?
- There are major issues under discussion at the City of Hamilton – LRT, Development of Harbour Lands, etc. I can help ensure that Dundas’ needs and wants are represented in these discussions and have the experience to assist with the roll out of these and other projects if approved.
- School closure is an emotional issue, not just about dollars and cents. As I said my own high school closed in June and I hope my memories of that period of my life don’t die with it. If all alternatives have been exhausted and closure is necessary for sound economic reasons, it is our duty to ensure the lands and buildings are put to new use in a way that benefits the community. I will be active in the discussions about the emergence of a new Parkside.
- More and more people are selecting Dundas as a place to retire. This is an invaluable talent pool, many with time on their hands. How can we involve these active seniors to harness their experience and enthusiasm for the good of the community?
- I strongly believe the effectiveness of most people in any type of senior position wanes over time. As such I support term limits for politicians and would lobby to restrict time served on council to a maximum of two terms. We do not need career politicians – we need new talent, fresh ideas and enthusiasm on Council.
- After a long and successful career I have earned a comfortable retirement. I am not running for a paycheck – I am running as an expression of my gratitude to the Town that I have been proud to call home. I feel it is my duty to put my education and experience to work to help wherever I can.
- I while back I had an idea for a new product while driving home. I turned the idea over to a bright young MBA graduate and within a week we had a product launched that became and remains an industry leader. That’s how things work in the private sector.
I have since had some experience in the public sector and know how long it takes to get anything done – endless committees, obsolete regulations, “expert” opinions. Red Tape and I am not a fan. After all effected parties have been consulted it is time to make a decision and implement. This doesn’t always make you friends but this should be how effective leaders operate. As a member of City Council I pledge to be an enemy of bureaucracy and fight to tear down barriers to progress.