Q1 – Corporate Recruiters Newsletter Spring 2017
By Ralph Turfus, BASc, MASc, MBA. Founder, CEO, Investor, and Mentor
The following is an unsolicited document, written by Ralph Turfus, that describes a recent search for a critical hire that may be helpful to others in the technology industry.
I am a 40+ year veteran of our BC technology industry and have been involved with many searches, especially at senior levels. Recently, a Vancouver company that I Chair was looking for a CEO with a very rare set of skills and experiences. It was clear from the start that we would most likely find this person outside of Vancouver and perhaps outside of Canada.
For those who, like me, find lengthy documents more than occasionally interesting, I would recommend a series of reports released in February by the federal Advisory Council on Economic Growth.
Typically, advisory groups earnestly deliver work that is earnestly ignored. Their reports serve as repositories for dust, shielding other documents from the ignominy. Politicians receive this work with the assurance they’re getting on the case right away, thanks to this great advice, and that’s usually the last we hear of it.
Last year, 2016, was another great year for M&A deals in Canada and 2017 is expected to continue that trend. The aggregate deal value of announced deals in 2016 was just under $400-billion representing over 3,000 transactions, which is second only to the peak reached in 2007. The clear leaders in cross-border M&A were deals between Canada and the U.S., both on the target and the acquisition side.
Of the Canadian targets, approximately 34 per cent were purchased by non-Canadians. This was similarly reflected in the B.C. tech sector, which also participated in an M&A uptick. The majority of B.C. tech deals are cross-border and deals ranging from cleantech/industrial (e.g., battery storage company Delta-Q and Italian/US based ZAPI Group) to the internet-of-things (e.g., BitStew and U.S. based GE) to mobile payment apps (e.g., PayByPhone and German based Volkswagen Financial).
It was a privilege to attend the #BCTECH Summit on March 14 – 15 this year. Excitement was in the air, driven by passion and innovation! The large presence of tertiary institutions showing off their new inventions, along with the students responsible for the demos, created an engaged crowd keen to learn more.
The overall take-away is that the province of BC is committed to innovation and we have the new talent to drive it … on the flipside however, talks about retaining that talent and ensuring affordability brought home the real-time challenges we’re having in the tech community.
On a blustery winters’ day in 2004 on Vancouver Island’s Mount Washington, “Greg,” a new import to the Victoria Tech scene, was just starting to take-in life on the island. Great snow, few people on the mountain and a great opportunity to consider what his next phase of life would bring when suddenly, a “Grizzly Adams” look-alike ski patrol boarded the lift with him.
Q1 of 2017 has been a busy one. As winter finally washes away in Lotus Land the hi-tech community continues to blossom. We noticed a slow down in the last quarter of 2016 as it pertains to customer facing roles but once January rolled around it was full steam ahead!
We saw a large number of management and executive searches in 2016 in the sales & marketing area. To date this year, the focus has been more on senior individual contributors.Subscribe to the Newsletter