Turning the big 5-0

This week I turned 50.

Reading those condescending  LinkedIn posts about the young HR managers taking a ‘chance’ on the 50+ workers now takes on special meaning.  One I read today talked about his great success hiring 50+ workers because they “bring their own lunch” and won’t switch firms for a “two dollar/hour raise”.

IMO people should be just hitting their career stride by 50.  I have had an interesting journey that involved a job where I was part of a team that attracting 30+ multinational firms to New Brunswick; I helped a young startup company increase its sales by 8x and its staff by 4x over a six year period; I started a successful consulting firm with clients in six Canadian provinces and two U.S. states; and I completed a 2+ year stint as Chief Economist with GNB.   On the side I have been writing a column with the Telegraph-Journal for over a decade (excluding the GNB stint); was a research fellow at the Donald J. Savoie Institute and got to collaborate with the Conference Board of Canada on multiple occasions.  I also have written articles/commentary for seven magazines and was a contributing author for three books.

I was born in December 1967 – the year of Canada’s Centennial which I suspect was a little less tense than the 150 seems to have been.  Lester Pearson asked all Canadians to have a centennial project – plant a tree, etc. My parents had me.   I was a gift to Canada.  To all my Twitter trolls out there – there are no refunds.

And just to confirm David Dingwall’s “I’m entitled to my entitlements” ethos was alive and well in Canada 50 years ago, my mother’s doctor suggested he would induce birth (I was due in early January) if she wanted so they could get whatever child tax credit that was available back then.

Almost 15 years ago a trusted friend told me if I wanted to ‘make it big’ I would have to speak to a national audience.  New Brunswick was too small.  I started writing briefly for the Globe & Mail’s Economy Lab (online) but after a year or so I gave it up.  I had several good job offers in Ontario.  I have resisted because I like it here and I like my little niche fighting the battle for hearts and minds here.

While I now generate more consulting revenue outside New Brunswick, my goal is still to try and positively influence change right here in the little old picture province (or drive thru province?).

Have I had any influence on New Brunswick’s economy and economic development policy?   It’s hard to say. I fought and lost the fracking battle.  I was on the wrong side of a number of big policy battles over the past 20 years.  I have played a small role, I think, in a greater focus on accountability and measurement in government economic development activities.  Although I worry now that some – particularly municipal – governments are putting too much focus on metrics – particularly those metrics that are out of the control of economic development organizations.

I plan on spending the next 25-30 years continuing to fight for a New Brunswick that is more globally connected, attracting more international investment, entrepreneurs and people and for a New Brunswick that is more self-confident.  And for a New Brunswick that is safely and sustainably developing its natural resources.

I believe we are at a fundamental crossroads in this province.   We have never in our history been in this place before and it will take a lot of effort to emerge as a growing and dynamic economy.  We have to treat people attraction the way we used to treat company attraction.   We need to be one of the best places in North America to migrate to.  If we can get there that will be a huge benefit as we move forward as a province.

So you can expect a continued stream of content on these pages.   I have written 3,500+ blogs over a 14+ year span.   That is a staggering amount of content.  Combine that with over 500 columns, articles and book chapters – not to mention hundreds of reports for clients – and that is a heck of a lot of content.

As a means of generating household income, it helped my wife and I raise three pretty interesting and well-rounded kids.  That in itself makes me grateful.

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3 Responses to Turning the big 5-0

  1. Ron Gaudet says:

    David -first – Happy Birthdsy – I believe strongly that you have made s difference in NB. I am pleased to call you a colleague and a friend! And – I look forward to working with you and to your further contributions! Thank you !! Happy 50 David

  2. Gerald Ingersoll says:

    A thoughtful and interesting blog,David. You were a great encouragement to me during my stint at ABH. Thanks.

    You are heading into a great time of life, A time to be enjoyed.

    I just finished a Canada 150 celebration. My seven grandchildren and I aimed at sharing 150 cones of ice cream, we succeeded. A goal for 2018 will be to shed the accumulated growth of 2017.

    I wanted to let you know that I have gone into business with my youngest daughter, her company is Xenia Housing Inc. And we do development together. She is President and I am VP Development and Operations. She gets age discrimination as a young 30+ business women from all spectrums. It is fun to do business together.

    My brother-in-law in Edmonton, late fifties and looking for work was told that he did not get an interview because, “all his experience was in the past!”

    Congrats on making 50 and your career to date.

    Gerald Ingersoll

  3. Tom Rivington says:

    Welcome to the club, I’m 51 this year. I enjoy your writings and think that we need more discussion of the options and choices for NB, more economic roundtables, more open and frank discussion on the problems and challenges facing our province, and maybe some solutions.

    Keep up the good work and Happy Birthday.

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