Last Saturday I was honored (and somewhat shocked) to be named on of Vancouver Island’s Top 20 Under 40. The ranks of this prestigious and quite impressive list include the likes of Levi Sampson, chairman of Chek TV and Harmac Pacific; and Amelia Warren, CEO of Epicure Selections. I honestly don’t know that I really compare to those two…

At the gala event, each of the top 20 were given a chance for a thank-you speech. Of course, having nothing prepared, I stumbled along and hit most of the high points of the people and organizations that have helped me achieve what I have. I did, however, miss a couple.

Let’s start with the two people who have been there from day 1, my parents. They raised me with a good balance of free range parenting, and strict, military like discipline matched with high expectations. As they are both active in politics, and were from as early as I can remember, I grew up with political discourse as a part of my everyday life. I learned the value of work, trust, respect and integrity from my parents. I also learned independence and responsibility as they were always more than willing to let me make my own decisions.

My sisters have also been there from the get go. I am going to have to say that they helped me learn patience, humility and not a small amount of self defence skills!

My former father in law Oli taught me that there is more than one kind of intelligence, and that book smarts definitely aren’t everything. He helped me to understand something about myself: that I will listen and possibly appear to agree with how someone says something should be done, and then go and do it myself anyways.

My first boss in the army, Al Mulawyshyn, taught me that I should always believe in myself and that I should never assume everything will be unfair.  That one is a long story for another day.

My second boss in the army, Dwight Brown, showed me that I had wayyyy more potential than I considered myself to have.

My current boss, Paul, taught me that its no big deal to admit when you have done something embarrassing and stupid.  The fact is everyone does embarrassing stupid things – so whey be embarrassed?!

My first wife taught me that I need to stand up for myself and be my own advocate.

Camille, my love, has taught me that I am strong enough to stand up for myself. She has also shown me that you always have room in your heart for love, no matter how hurt you may have been in the past.

One of my current mentors, Bill Anglin, has reinforced a lesson I thought I had learned, but had maybe forgotten a little. Sometimes it is better just to listen, and wait for an opening when you can show someone that what you want to accomplish is actually an idea they just had (LOL).

Another one of my current mentors, Dave Norona, has taught me that sometimes, if you want something, you just have to ask for it.

I have still probably missed some people. Just goes to show you that you can’t really accomplish anything alone. It takes a team.

So, to my team. Thanks – for everything.

Andrew