Derek is a Westerner at heart. “Of all the places I’ve lived, I’m most comfortable in Alberta,” he exclaims. The real selling point to Derek is the sheer beauty of places like Calgary. “I live right by the Rocky Mountains—people travel from all over the world to see this scenery and I just have to walk out onto my back deck.” He finds the culture of the West is also a plus. “People are down-to-earth, loyal to tradition and their ‘cowboy’ roots—they work hard, and they really care about their families.”
The great outdoors
It’s no coincidence that the West meets Derek’s penchant for outdoor activities, including fishing, hunting and hiking. “I just love being out in the wilderness,” he says. Growing up in Calgary, he enjoyed heading out into the mountains whenever he could. And he’s taken some pretty extended trips in the wild—eight to 12 days at a time. Of course, as an outdoors guy, Derek is normally prepared with food, clothing and supplies. But he recalls getting his vehicle stuck on one memorable excursion. “I wasn’t driving the right vehicle and hadn’t really thought about what could happen. I had no winch or tow cables and we wound up spending an extra night out that wasn’t in the plan.” Fortunately, a couple of hunters happened by in their F350 and were able to yank them out.
Shaped by the forces
Before joining the accounting profession, Derek’s original career aspiration was the military. “I was drawn to the Armed Forces by the challenge,” he explains. “I really liked the idea of serving my country and defending people who couldn’t necessarily defend themselves.” It didn’t hurt that some of the work involved being outdoors. “I could take or leave the garrison stuff like polishing my boots, but the wilderness experiences were great.”
He credits the Forces with much of his education around leadership as well. In fact, he’s often wondered why some of the same training isn’t used in the business sector. “The Armed Forces will spend months or years training people on leading, planning and strategy, but it sometimes seems like triage applies to the corporate world—if you last long enough as a good accountant, you might make partner.”
Dig the beat
As a self-proclaimed country boy, you would assume Derek to be a country music fan. And while some blue grass tunes have grown on him as an Albertan, he much prefers listening to EDM (Electronic Dance Music). “I like the beat and I can appreciate the music composition,” he explains. Derek isn’t a big TV or movie fan, finding that he needs to be learning something for it to be interesting. That’s steered him more towards reading, particularly non-fiction.
First Days at Farber and counting
Derek shared his thoughts based on his first few weeks at Farber. “So far, I’d have to say that I’m impressed with how entrepreneurial everyone is here. People all want to develop themselves, add value and build the firm. It’s very cool that people are willing to take risks and get out there.” He sees that as emanating from the top, with 40 years of entrepreneurship residing in the firm’s leaders.
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