FCA: Leadership + outstanding performance

FCA: Leadership + outstanding performance

Folka, Deborah

Meet the New FCAs

Read on to see how these 11 members fit the bill.

Eric S. Z. Andrew, FCA

“When my secretary told me the president of the Institute was on the line, I thought ‘What have I done now?'” recounts Eric Andrew. “Then he told me why he was calling, and I was genuinely surprised.”

A partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Vancouver since 1989, Eric first joined PwC in 1979 after completing a graduate degree in economics and accounting at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. In his time at PwC, Eric has held a variety of positions, including Human Resource partner in BC; managing partner of Assurance and Business Advisory Services in BC; and a member and later chair of the Canadian Partnership Board. Since the mid-1980s, he has specialized in advising private companies, which comprise over 60% of the firm’s clients. He is currently the national leader of the Private Company Services practice in Canada, and a member of the Canadian Leadership Group.

“That’s the neat trick about being in public practice,” Eric points out. “You can have about six or seven careers at the same firm. I think many CAs leave public practice too soon now. Our designation allows us a very privileged insight into a large number and variety of companies. Of course, CAs can have multiple careers in industry, but I think the same is true of public practice in a slightly different way.”

At the ICABC, Eric has served on the National Firms Forum and the board of governors for the CA Education Foundation. He has also served as a director of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, BC Division, and is a current member of the Business Council of BC.

His extensive community service includes helping to build Temple Sholom, serving as president of the congregation from 1994 to 1997, and serving on various committees. A member of the governing board since 1985, he is also the Temple’s current treasurer.

Eric has also volunteered with the Jewish Family Services Agency, the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, King David High School in Vancouver, and the Richmond Jewish Day School. He is a former member of the University of EC’s Chancellor’s Advisory Council in 2001-2002, and is now helping the Choose Again Society fund and establish the “Center for Attitudinal Healing” in Costa Rica.

He and his wife Anne have two children: Daniel (20), and Michelle (17). In his time outside the office, Eric enjoys kayaking and cycling, and is a serious gardener with a special interest in developing perennial gardens.

Bev Briscoe, FCA

Bev Briscoe, owner and principal of Briscoe Management Ltd., has spent her career avoiding what she calls “those awards.”

“But getting my FCA is very different,” Bev says, “and after I recovered-I was absolutely speechless when I got the president’s call-I was so honoured to be recognized by my peers.”

Bev graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1977 and earned her CA designation in 1979. Her career shifted to industry in 1983, when she joined the Jim Pattison Group as CFO of various operating divisions, working in both Vancouver and Geneva, Switzerland. She moved on to become vice-president of finance with the Rivtow Group of Companies, then VP of Wajax Industries Ltd., before purchasing and running her own company, Hiway Refrigeration, from 1997 to 2004. Today, her consultancy firm focuses on strategic planning and corporate governance for both public and private clients.

“Being a CA is not the same thing as being an accountant,” Bev says. “My designation gave me great insight into various businesses; it made the financial side of my world easier. New members of our profession should recognize that they have the tools to succeed in a broad spectrum of industries and endeavours.”

Bev has served on a variety of Institute committees, including Members in Industry and Strategic Planning, and on the board of governors of the School of Chartered Accountancy. She is currently a member of the Accounting Policy Advisory Committee for the Province of BC and the Committee to select Canada’s CFO of the Year, and a director of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Corporation, Duke Energy Income Fund, and the Westminster Savings Credit Union. She also currently chairs the Industry Training Authority in BC, a crown agency responsible for training and apprenticeship programs.

In the community, Bev is the president of the Boys and Girls Club of Vancouver.

Bev and her husband Art Vertlieb, Q.C., divide their time between homes in both Vancouver and Arizona, where Art’s sons Dave and Dan are attending university. A third son, Mike Vertlieb, lives in Vancouver.

Bill Davidson, FCA

“I never thought I’d be in this position,” says Bill Davidson, a founding partner of Davidson & Company, Chartered Accountants. “Being elected to Fellowship makes you think back on how it all adds up-all those things your parents taught you: work hard; be honest; do the right thing; all you have is your reputation. Turns out it’s all true!”

Bill says these same childhood lessons were reinforced at St. Thomas More Collegiate (STMC) in Burnaby. He attended Simon Fraser University after graduating from STMC, and in 1978 became the first in his family to complete an undergraduate degree. He recalls: “As the oldest of four boys in a Catholic family, there were expectations of me.”

After articling with Thorne Riddell (now KPMG LLP), Bill spent three years at McCartney Lake before striking out on his own in a small, two-partner firm. Today he’s one of six partners at one of EC’s largest mid-sized, independent firms, with 76 staff members.

“I’ve learned something from every partner I’ve worked with, whether as a CA student or within our own firm,” Bill says. “Even the people you don’t necessarily relate to have something to teach you. I look around our firm today, and I see a great group of people-all building something we’re very proud of. I have learned so much from them.”

Over the years, Bill has been very active in service to the CA profession, serving on ICABC committees such as Public Relations, Members in Public Practice, and the Mid-Sized Firms Forum. He is also the former chair of the Public Company Technical Forum.

In the community, Bill currently serves as treasurer of Scouts Canada, First Anmore; as finance chair for St. Thomas More Collegiate’s board of directors; and as a coach with the Port Moody Soccer Association. He’s also a member of Rotary International, and formerly served as treasurer of the Anmore Elementary School Parent Advisory Council; as a financial agent for MLA Christy Clark’s election campaigns; as treasurer of the Cedrus Group Support Society; as chair of the Alumni Appeal for SFU; and as a member of the 2002-03 Legal Settlement Committee for STMC.

Bill is married to Candice (whom he says is “the real reason I’ve been able to accomplish anything”), and they have three children: Stephen (16), Alexandra (13), and Jonathan (10).

Norm Francis, FCA

Fusing his degree in computer science with his CA designation, Norm Francis created a unique career for himself in technology, co-founding two companies: Basic Software Group, which created ACCPAC, one of the world’s premier accounting software packages; and, later, Pivotal Corporation, which produces customer relationship management and e-business software.

Norm earned his CA designation in 1973 after articling with Peat Marwick Mitchell (now KPMG LLP). A computer science grad from the University of British Columbia, Norm was keenly aware of what it would mean to simplify accounting through the application of personal computers. With this idea in mind, he left the firm to establish a small public accounting firm, which subsequently led to the creation of Basic Software Group. With partner Keith Wales, he created ACCPAC, a software package that has been described as “the embodiment of Norm’s vision for efficiency and accuracy in accounting.”

Several years after ACCPAC was sold to Computer Associates, an industry giant, Norm and Keith teamed up again, this time to launch Pivotal. In 1995, they brought to market one of the industry’s first customer relationship management solutions. Norm subsequently forged a relationship with Microsoft, grew the company to revenues of more than $100 million, and expanded worldwide.

“You have to be persistent and know there will always be something new to learn,” he points out. “Young CAs must be prepared to take risks in their careers, to try different jobs, and different routes. Don’t always take the safe path, and don’t be afraid to fail.”

Norm retired as CEO of Pivotal in 2001. In addition to golfing, cycling, skiing, and travelling, he is currently focusing on BC Technology Social Venture Partners, a philanthropic venture he co-founded in 2001. Until recently, he also served on the Premier’s Technology Council for BC and on the board of directors of Creo Inc.

Norm and his wife Pat have three children: twin daughters Kim and Sarah (26), and son Luc (20).

Peter Gustavson, FCA

As president and CEO of Custom House Global Foreign Exchange, Peter B. Gustavson has built a company that handles more than $10 billion (US) in transactions annually for 45,000 clients in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Custom House recently opened its 83rd international branch in Singapore.

In 1999, Profit 100 Magazine identified Custom House as the eighth fastest-growing company in Canada; it has been named one of Canada s 50 Best Managed Companies every year since 2000; and Peter himself received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2002.

He got word of his election to the ICABC Fellowship while visiting fellow FCA and Custom House colleague Brian Dyer in Palm Springs, California.

“Brian answered the phone and said it was for me,” Peter recalls. “All I could think was ‘something bad has happened,’ so when the president told me Fd been elected an FCA, I was very surprised. Brian, one of my nominators, broke out the champagne and, along with his wife Thelma and my wife Anne, we celebrated this great honour.”

A born entrepreneur who started door-to-door sales projects as a child in Winnipeg, Peter graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1979 and earned his CA in 1982. From 1983 to 1990, he worked in public practice with his own firm Gustavson Rappaport CAs (earlier: Gustavson, Shaffer CAs).

In 1990, Peter sold his practice to Doane Raymond and moved to Victoria, BC, with the intention of retiring early. Instead, he founded Custom House-testing the market first in Victoria and then in his hometown of Winnipeg. It took off, experiencing growth of up to 400% in nine months in the US alone.

In addition to his work with Custom House, Peter has served as president and a founding member of the Canadian Foreign Exchange Dealers’ Association; a member of Team Canada’s trade missions to Moscow, Berlin, Munich, and Beijing; and a consultant to the federal government on the creation of anti-money laundering and proceeds of crime legislation.

In the community, he is an active member of the boards of the Friends of the Royal British Columbia Museum, the Glenlyon Norfolk School Society, and the University of Victoria’s faculty of business, and chairs the Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year Award Committee, presented by UVIC.

He and his wife Anne live in Victoria with their two teenaged sons.

Editor: We profiled Peter in the January 2003 issue of Beyond Numbers magazine.

Barry Macdonald, FCA

Barry Macdonald, a

partner with the firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Vancouver, was in Hong Kong leading a delegation of 150 Canadian business people when ICABC President Amed Naqvi, FCA, tracked the new FCA down.

“I went from mystified to being shocked and then thrilled with the news,” Barry says.

A specialist in transfer pricing and international tax planning, Barry had travelled to Hong Kong before, working there throughout most of the 1990s. It was there that he qualified as a certified public accountant and was admitted to his firm’s partnership, making him the overseas office’s only partner born and raised in North America.

Today, he continues to use his in-depth knowledge to assist clients doing business in Hong Kong and China. This knowledge also informs his work as national chair of the Hong Kong-Canada Business Association, an organization with 1,500 members across Canada.

Having spent his entire career in public practice with the same firm, Barry says he loves “solving clients’ problems and having the opportunity to teach, mentor, research, market, sell, and manage a team-all within one organization.”

A teacher in other arenas as well, Barry is a frequent presenter at the Canadian Tax Foundation; a CICA In-depth and Advanced Tax instructor; and an author and speaker for the ICABC and the Hong Kong Institute of CPAs. In addition, he has presented at seminars in nine countries throughout North America, Asia, and Europe.

He has also made significant contributions to his alma mater as a member of Simon Fraser University’s board of governors. Currently, he is a director of SFU’s real estate development corporation and a member of SFU’s Audit and Governance committees, and serves on the Dean’s External Advisory Board for the faculty of business. His community service also includes co-chairing Arts Umbrella’s annual fund-raising campaign.

“I have received great enjoyment and satisfaction from my philanthropic work and community service,” Barry says. “Learning to lead and motivate volunteers has given me great insight into how to nurture and encourage young CAs. It’s the same principles at work: Tell them how much they are appreciated, and guide them towards the next level of achievement.

“Most importantly,” he adds, “being involved in your community is lots of fun. It introduces you to people from all walks of life.”

Barry lives in West Vancouver with his wife Anne, a CA and a senior lecturer in accounting at SFU. Together they share a passion for travel.

George C. Melville, FCA

From a small Penticton pizzeria in 1973, Chairman and Owner George Melville and his partners built Boston Pizza International, a half billion-dollar organization with 246 restaurants throughout Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

George began his career at the age of 18, articling with the Okanagan firm of DesBrisay Hack and Co. He earned his CA designation in 1968, and by age 26 was manager of the Penticton office of Peat Marwick (now KPMG LLP). In 1973, he entered into partnership with Jim Treliving; by 1983, George, Jim, and their partners had acquired the franchise rights for 15 Boston Pizza restaurants in BC. Three years later, they struck a pivotal deal: Boston Pizza won the chance to be the exclusive pizza provider for EXPO ’86, taking its place on the world stage with IBM, CocaCola, and General Motors.

In 2002, the partners launched the Boston Pizza Royalties Income Fund, which issued 7,690,000 units at $10 each, with a yield of 10%. Today, units trade at about $15.75, and the Fund’s market value is estimated at over $150 million. Much of this success has been attributed to George’s business and accounting expertise.

He has applied this expertise to other business ventures as well. In 1994, he helped found the Western Professional Hockey League, a semi-pro hockey league in the Southern US. Now known as the Central Hockey League, it has 15 teams and serves as a developmental tier for the American and National Hockey Leagues.

In 2000, George helped establish Global Entertainment Corporation, a multi-faceted organization in real estate development, facility management, venue ticketing, and brand licensing that has grown to sales of over $13 million. In 2006, he founded Naramata Benchland Properties, which will develop 445 residences over 400 acres in the Southern Okanagan, providing $350 million in capital investment in the area over the next 20 years.

Despite these achievements, George says he never expected to be elected an FCA.

“I was honestly floored when I got the news,” he says. “I do credit my CA designation with a lot of my success. When I do presentations to students at Kwantlen University College [where he serves on the board of governors and chairs the Audit Committee], I tell them it’s the best profession in the world.”

George and his wife Sylvia have been married since 1968. Their daughter Lia and son-in-law Jeff own three Boston Pizza franchises in the Lower Mainland, and son Jordan is the company’s VP for International Development in Toronto.

Art Reitmayer, FCA

Art Reitmayer, president and CEO of channel m, can keep a secret. In fact, he didn’t tell anyone about his election to Fellowship for days.

“I didn’t know the process for announcement,” Art laughs. “I got the call early in the morning in my office, and I thought it was odd when I saw from the caller ID that it was the Institute. My fees were paid, my PD requirements up-to-date… So I was very surprised. I never thought I would receive this honour.”

A 1981 business graduate of Simon Fraser University, Art earned his CA designation in 1984, leaving public practice soon after to join CKVU-TV in Vancouver.

Art has headed up channel m, a newly licensed multi-cultural television station targeting Vancouver’s diverse communities, since 2002. Prior to joining channel m, which hit the airwaves in June of 2003, he was VP of Special Projects for Canwest Global Communications, which had acquired Western International Communications (WIC) in 2000. He held a variety of positions with WIC after joining the company in 1990-including president of the WIC Television Group, with responsibility for ten television stations across Canada; president and CEO of BCTV and CHEKTV in Victoria; president of ITV and Studio Post in Edmonton; and VP of Finance for CKNW and CFMI in Vancouver.

Art has been active in the business community with both the Canadian and BC Associations of Broadcasters. He has also volunteered as a board member with the Children’s Arts Umbrella Foundation; the Seaton Woodward Foundation; the BC Special Olympics; the Coast Mental Health Foundation; Volunteer Vancouver; the United Way of the Lower Mainland and of Central Alberta; the Orphans Fund; and the Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter Society.

“I was fortunate to have great mentors as a CA student with Price Waterhouse,” Art. “People like Phil Barter [FCA] and Chris White [CA] always encouraged me to get involved in the community, and they were absolutely right. You get to meet amazing people, and you can accomplish so much.

“If I were mentoring a new CA today, I would say the same thing: Get involved in community service; don’t just focus on business,” he says. “Find your passion and your personal interests-something that touches you or your family-and pursue it.”

Art and his wife Marj have two children, ages 22 and 21. In his time away from the office, he enjoys running, reading, and travelling.

Peter W. Roberts, FCA

Peter Roberts may be officially “retired,” but his career is anything but over. The former CFO of Sierra Wireless Inc. currently chairs the audit committees of Cardiome Pharma Corp. and Spectrum Signal Processing Inc; is a member of the BC Securities Commission’s committee of non-management directors (formed to review, comment, and advise on the challenges faced in the investment and regulatory markets); is a director of the CICA’s Risk Management and Governance Board; and is the first vicepresident of the ICABC.

Even so, he thought he was “unworthy” of being elected a Fellow.

“Honestly, I was so surprised,” he says. “I never thought I would earn an FCA.”

Peter joined the BC Institute in 1979. He’d emigrated from England five years earlier, after being transferred to the Vancouver office of Touche Ross (now Deloitte). He earned his ACCA designation from the UK Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in 1974, and passed the UFE five years later, earning his Canadian CA.

“My timing was lousy,” he remembers. “I fell between periods of reciprocity and times of international educational integration, and I had to write the UFE. But I was determined, and I even got my CPA from Illinois in 1997.”

Peter’s career has been a mix of public practice and industry experience at the most senior and challenging levels: He worked for the Jim Pattison Group as executive VP of finance of Overwaitea/Save-On-Foods, joining the company “shortly after Expo and before the roof caved in at our Metrotown store”; he was W and controller for The Loewen Group; he served as finance director of Service Corporation UK; and he worked as CFO of Sierra Wireless Inc. for five years, retiring in 2004.

In the community, Peter has served as the treasurer of his church, as a soccer coach, and as a counsellor for Junior Achievement.

Through it all, he has been committed to the CA profession.

“The market really needs CAs now,” he points out. “The focus has returned to integrity, leadership, and compliance, and that’s what CAs have always been about. We’ve made a good contribution to improving confidence in the capital markets, but there’s still much to be done, and that is our responsibility and opportunity.”

Peter and his wife Jenny have two children: Fiona, who works for CIBC Wood Gundy in Vancouver, and Louise, who’s preparing to take her masters in criminal psychology in the United States.

Jan Sampson, FCA

“Unbelievable.” That’s how Jan Sampson, senior director of Member Services at the ICABC, sums up her election to Fellowship.

“I was totally speechless when they told me,” she recalls. “It is such an honour, and I am truly overwhelmed.”

Jan became a CA in 1976 in Alberta, articling with Touche Ross (now Deloitte) after earning an undergraduate degree in commerce from the University of Calgary. In 1984, she transferred to the firm’s Lower Mainland offices, working in Vancouver and New Westminster before joining the BC Institute as director of Practice Review & Licensing in 1995.

From 1995 to 2000, Jan directed the review of all public practices in BC. When the ICABC realigned its management structure in 2000, she assumed the role of director of Internal Operations. In 2005, she was appointed to her current position.

Throughout her career, Jan has developed and taught technical courses, and her in-depth knowledge of computer systems contributed greatly to improvements she implemented at the Institute for its practice review programs. In her current role, she is spearheading initiatives to improve accountability to members through the Institute’s governance and operational policies and procedures.

Prior to joining the Institute staff, she served on a variety of ICABC committees, including the Task Force to Review the Multi-Disciplinary Activities of Members in Public Practice and the Exposure Draft Committee.

In the community, Jan served for many years as treasurer at Royal Heights United Church, where she also taught Sunday school.

“I learned long ago that you will always get way more back than you put in when you volunteer,” Jan points out. “When I’m involved in any committee or organization, I come to the first meeting keen to personally contribute, and then I get even more excited by what the collective energy and wisdom can create. It is amazing to watch the synergies that occur, and something great always seems to result.

“As CAs, we have lots of opportunity, so if you’re feeling stale, move on and try something else,” she says. “Look in a different corner, and see how you can help. I have always believed in change and in making things better.”

Sultan S. Thiara, FCA

“In the midst of all the excitement of being elected a Fellow, there is definitely a humbling side as well,” says Sultan Thiara, senior executive vice-president and chief financial officer of Shato Holdings Ltd. “I know I wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I have without the support of my wife, my family, and my colleagues.”

Sultan has been with Shato Holdings since 1988. A privately held company owned by the Toigo family, Shato Holdings owns and operates White Spot restaurants, J.D. Sweid (a meat-processing company), and a substantial real estate portfolio. Prior to joining Shato Holdings, Sultan worked in public practice with Laventhol & Horwath, Chartered Accountants. A graduate of the University of BC’s Commerce Faculty, he earned his CA designation in 1985 after articling with Wolrige Mahon, Chartered Accountants.

Sultan is the co-owner of the Vancouver Giants, a very successful hockey franchise in the Western Hockey League. This interest led to his involvement in hosting the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championships in Vancouver this past January, and he will also be helping to host the Canadian Hockey League’s Memorial Cup in 2007 (also in Vancouver).

His contributions to the community also include serving on the board of trustees of the BC Sports Hall of Fame and on the Council of Strategy and Development for the Conference Board of Canada. In addition, he has chaired the “Duffer’s Golf Tournament” for over 20 years, with proceeds going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“There is no doubt in my mind that my CA designation has given me immense opportunities and opened a lot of doors,” Sultan says. “But it’s worth noting that you can’t do it alone. You need mentors-for me it was my grandfather-and you need to remain focused and motivated. You also have to have passion for what you want to achieve.”

Sultan and his wife Kumel have three children: Darcelle (18), Devon (21), and Angela (25).

Congratulations to all of the new FCAs!

By Deborah Folka, MA, APR

Deborah Folka, MA, APR, is an independent, Vancouver-based communications consultant providing services to the professions.

Copyright Institute of Chartered Accountants of British Columbia Feb/Mar 2006

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