The Houston file Featured

4:36am EDT March 1, 2006
Born: Toronto, 1949

Education: I have no formal education, but ... I’ve taken 15 different courses through Cornell University and I’ve also attended Cornell University in an executive development course.

First job: A grocery clerk in a supermarket

What is the greatest business challenge you’ve faced?
I think that Alderwoods is a good business challenge, from where it was to where it is today. I’ve overcome the challenges by creating the environment we’ve been talking about and also focusing on the financial objectives and working hard every day at trying to achieve what we’ve been able to achieve.

It’s all about creating the proper environment for your work force, it’s all about having the right financial objectives and it’s about having a good strategy for making the company successful.

What is the greatest business lesson you’ve learned?
How important an organization is and the people on the team in the organization are in order to accomplish any kind of financial success.

Whom do you admire most in business and why?
That’s a tough one. Nowadays, that’s a dangerous one, too. Not a specific mentor — I guess it’s my business experience in the School of Hard Knocks.

If you said to me, ‘Would you rather have a formal education than have gotten where you are how you did?’ Absolutely not. Because it puts me in the position as a person to listen to people, understand them and empathize with them, and it helps to translate the objectives into something they can understand.