Message from our CEO

Make hay when the sun shines, but remember it doesn’t always shine.

Our society can be myopic; maintain your own independence of thought and carefully choose who you let into your close circle of advisors. Leaders need to be able to block out the noise, focus on what matters, and see the world today in its proper historical context. Prepare appropriately both to shore up defenses and capitalize on opportunities. Rising interest rates, inflation, a stock market correction, energy & other market disruptions after trading with the enemy in critical goods, the resurfacing of conflict and the decimation of crypto values were all inevitable and obvious. With respect to our environment, which will impact all of us, leaders need to understand the road we are on and take action. With respect to our businesses, the primary focus needs to be on building a well-oiled machine: having the best people focused on the business’ critical value drivers and vulnerabilities. Minimize the energy going to tertiary items.

We are lucky to be in North America, despite its shortcomings. Let us be appropriately grateful.

Ken Rotman, CEO and Managing Director, Clairvest Group Inc.

It is easier to do and say the right thing in good times when most aspects of the business are going well. The true test of partnership, and of one’s action within a partnership emerges in difficult situations when decision making comes with personal and financial sacrifices. Many choices made in business, and even in life, are not necessarily choices between right or wrong, but rather the lesser of tough decisions. These are the times when the true character of a partner comes to light.

Michael Wagman
President and Managing Director, Clairvest Group Inc.

Many companies and people are regretting they did not fix interest rates on their debt when it seemed unnecessary. The lesson is to do preventative things when it seems unnecessary. It can save you from rude awakenings.

G. John Krediet
Chairman, Clairvest Group Inc.

The economic turmoil that started in 2022 and will certainly last through 2023 is a reminder of the lessons learned and actions taken ahead of any challenging environment we have faced in the past; ensure your customer value proposition is important to them and stay close, secure debt facilities and lock in rates when appropriate, to minimize financial risk and ensure your company has liquidity to take advantage of the opportunities that will arise as a result of others not being prepared. In short, liquidity and wealth creation have always been inextricably connected and the axiom shines during economic uncertainty.

Jeff Parr
Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Clairvest Group Inc.

The old saying, “constant change is here to stay” has never been more true. The path to success going forward is to try to anticipate the changes that we can, and view unexpected changes as opportunities to overcome obstacles that will scare away competitors. At Clairvest, we continue to provide resources to our entrepreneurs so they can view challenges as opportunities to excel.

Joe Fluet
Clairvest Director and Founder of MAG Aerospace

Alignment on a shared vision, purpose, core values and effective execution on the company’s strategy has clearly separated top performers over mediocrity and Clairvest’s unwavering commitment to this playbook rendered extraordinary results.

Rick Watkin
Clairvest Director and CEO of KUBRA

Rapid growth demands ongoing enhancement of leadership. Build your team with leaders who have experience operating at the size and scale of company you are striving to achieve and provide them the autonomy to drive change.

David Henley
CEO & Founder, Meriplex Communications

There will always be significant demands on your time as a leader – it is critical to fill your own bucket so you can role model high performance for the organization. Filling my bucket comes in the form of making personal investments in people and partnerships.

Troy Lauterbach
CEO, NovaSource Power Services

In a world that has recently minimized human connectivity I believe that we are all missing this even if we are sometimes thinking we are not. We recently merged our company and bringing together 1,000 employees (500 from each side) and 350 employee owners requires a lot of communication BUT more importantly it requires leadership to ensure that our teams and peers are heard.

Lee Rogers
CEO, Acera Insurance

Here are my learnings from 2022:

  • Plan Forward. Make regular time to focus your own and your organization’s time on the future. It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day. Days turn into weeks, weeks into months and, before you know it, the future is here and you might not be prepared for it. Depending on the maturity of your organization the time horizon you look out to will be different. The main thing is to build the habit of focusing on the future and to push your thinking further and further out over time.
  • Think like an architect. Because of how we are educated and often hard wired, when confronted with a task to perform or problem to solve, many immediately go to “how” they will perform the task (material, labor, financing, schedule) without first asking themselves “what” they are trying to accomplish and, more importantly, “why” they are doing it. Architects think about the “why” and “what” before they figure out the “how”. Leaders should too – think like an architect!
Paul Bouchard
President and CEO, Top Aces

The top learning in 2022 was that there is no shortage of projects that need attention, but when the timer is about to stop you are only as good as the team around you. We have used 2022 to strengthen the business and build for future growth. We managed to navigate the changes while maintaining our budget goals and will end the year stronger than when we started.

I am also very thankful for the support that the Clairvest team has provided to the business. We have a wonderful investment partnership and I look forward to where we will grow together. I have had the chance to work for three PE firms in my career and the Clairvest experience is very different. We can run and manage the day-to-day of the business, but when the need arises (and it does!) we have a team with tremendous experience than can consult and support the business.

Kenneth Cockrill
President, Durante Rentals

Trust your instincts, they are there for a reason. I spent too long on a decision that I instinctively knew needed to happen but could not put my finger on exactly why so I paused.

Alex Webb
CEO & Founder, F12

Culture over Business: Momentum’s culture is one of empowering our folks, rewarding and recognizing them and in doing so, we’ve created a great team of dedicated individuals who understand that the business can change, but our core values do not. This allows the business to be nimble, change as global dynamics change (which happen often in our industry), and allows us to capitalize off uncertainty and unpredictability, which has been critical for us during Covid as logistics and transport changed completely and we found ourselves having to shift our business.

Stephen Arbib
CEO, Momentum Solutions

Unfortunately, I learned something that I already knew. Interest rates on real estate are not going to be 3.5% forever. I was just hoping I was wrong.

Jeffrey Gural
CEO, Meadowlands Racetrack

In the Bible one learns that God occasionally closes doors in everyone’s life. However, he also opens other even better doors, and each individual needs to find those new doors.

Inflation is a potential threat to every business. However, the chaos caused by inflation creates opportunities. In our business we can and have adjusted by raising prices. But, more importantly, we have created programs for our employees (financial along with broader non-cash benefits) that demonstrate our holistic support of them and their families; strengthening loyalty to the company.

Bill Gay
CEO and Co-Founder, Arrowhead Environmental Partners

It is near impossible to time the market and it seems the same is true for the economy. The seemingly constant “impending recession” could easily paralyze you and make investments and acquisitions scary. While it is important to be prudent and aware of macro trends, do not try to predict the economic conditions or let these feelings stop you from making investments you are confident will work in the long term.

Michael Skolnick
CEO & Co-Founder, Abra Health

In today’s hiring climate, finding the right people is more challenging than ever. Get creative when looking for top tier talent and do not be afraid to expand your boundaries beyond our national borders. There is great talent in other countries and that talent is eager to work and live in Canada.

Sean Fleming
CEO & Founder, Brunswick Bierworks