Tell us about yourself.
While I was born in Toronto, I grew up in the United Kingdom, and always knew that I wanted to make a life for myself in Canada as an adult. This was underlined when I did a year’s undergraduate exchange to the University of British Columbia, where I developed a passion for the outdoors, resulting in me living in Whistler, B.C., for a ski season when I graduated. That sealed the deal for me and I moved to Canada on my own at the age of 21 and haven’t looked back since.
My three primary passions are travel, sports and my family. Travel was something that I was lucky to be exposed to early on in life and will never leave me. I love the opportunity to go off the beaten path and truly experience a new culture. As far as sports, I am naturally very competitive and I think the nature of trading also allows me to keep score to some extent. I still play competitive soccer in a team I helped start in Kincardine, Ont., five years ago. Finally, my family is now my biggest adventure. I met my wife in Kincardine and we now have two young kids, aged 4 and 5 months. We are both excited to see them grow up in a town which is so fantastic to raise a family in.
Tell us about your career and what brought you to Bruce Power?
When I first moved to Toronto, I found it hard to get a break at first. For my first few years there, I was in the IT industry, initially in sales and marketing and subsequently in small-scale consulting. I came to the conclusion that this wasn’t what I wanted to do long term and decided to go back to school, taking an MBA at the Ivey Business School in London, Ont. I learned of the trading group at Bruce Power because I was already familiar with Bruce County at that time. I accepted an offer to join the trading group in the Credit, Settlement and Compliance Department prior to completing my MBA, with a view to ultimately get into the trading side of the business.
I started in the Credit group one week before the credit market crash in 2008. Within days, I was writing credit assessments on our trading counterparties for the CEO & CFO, as well as calculating and executing margin calls, all while helping to manage a multi-million dollar credit portfolio. It was a baptism of fire but was a once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity and a great way to start learning about the northeastern power markets.
Since then, I had a role working on our 24/7 trading desk which helps manage the output of 6,400 MW of nuclear generation onto the grid. This is where I got my first real taste of trading physical power. Trading financial futures was a natural transition from that and so I have been in my current role for four years now, taking on ever increasing levels of responsibility and risk exposure.
What do you love about living in the area?
There are a number of things really. Firstly, the diversity. Given the nature of Bruce Power as the primary employer in the area, it has attracted people from all over the world, from all walks of life. You can be picking your kids up from daycare and the other parents are nuclear physicists, chemical engineers, computer engineers, project managers and bio-chemists etc. My soccer team alone has player representation from nine different countries across four different continents.
Secondly, the activities available. Sport is very healthy in the area, with options to play soccer, golf, rugby, lacrosse, hockey, tennis, triathalon/run clubs, volleyball, crossfit, cross-country skiing trails, ultimate Frisbee, you can even surf in Kincardine! Blue Mountain isn’t too far away in the winter (and these are just off the top of my head).
Finally, the sense of community. This one is not easy to explain. There is something about this area and the way in which people look out for one another and band together when people need help. There is a giving culture here as I think many people: 1) know how fortunate they are to be here; and 2) are often transplants to the area themselves and understand the initial challenges of moving somewhere new and meeting people. When you combine all of this with the amount of time that people volunteer to various community endeavours, not to mention how safe this area is, it really makes for something special.
What keeps you at Bruce Power?
There is lots of opportunity within the company. We are such a large organization, with such a diverse range of projects and work streams that it is easy to get exposure to lots of different experiences. If you are engaged and motivated, there is no limit to the range of different opportunities to move across or up the company.
Bruce Power is always prepared to invest in its people. In the past 12 months, I have had the opportunity to complete a Canadian Securities Institute course on Options and Derivatives and I just got back from Calgary having undertaken a course on Technical Analysis, both of which will help me be more successful in my current role. I am also participating in an emerging leader program which is part of my broader career development plan that was laid out working with my manager.
Finally, working here, I believe, offers you an improved work life balance than if you were in the GTA. That’s not to say that the company doesn’t have challenging goals, targets and deadlines but the pace of life is definitely different here. Just look at the traffic! The fact that I can put in a full day at the office and still get out to play 18-holes of golf after work says a lot I think.
What do you enjoy most about your job and what are your future career goals?
Trading is very entrepreneurial, you know the goal you are heading towards but you can shape your own path on how you get there. The interplay between supply and demand factors and the unpredictability of the weather also ensures that every day is different and it really gives you an edge if you have an analytical mind. There is also something to be said for leaving the office every day knowing, to the cent, exactly what your contribution to the bottom line was.
As far as future career goals, I just want to have as material an impact on the bottom line as possible. Right now, I am just focused on being the best trader I can be and remaining accountable for continuous improvement and growth. The thought of setting strategic direction, leading and motivating a team someday also excites me and so there are never a shortage of great options here.