My recent conversation with Len Coad, Director of Energy, Environment and Technology Policy with The Conference Board of Canada was illuminating – but not in ways I expected. I often find conversation with interesting people interest me most when we talk about things that are outside the mainstream of what they do for a living every day – fascinated by that of course – but I really enjoy what it is they do for a life, which often gives me a deeper insight to even the most conservative, private and straight-laced folks – which is a label that aptly fits Len.
He manages a team, does research, convenes meetings and events with industry partners. And he reads a ton – all on his Toshiba tablet which he recommends (I’m shopping for one) over e-readers like Kobo, Kindle etc. because of the substantial amount of free material out there (ie: http://www.gutenberg.ca ) and his desire to access material without being a captive of someone’s proprietary product.
I like that thinking …
And we argued about P3s (Public Private Partnerships). We’ll have to continue that argument. I think he’s been talking to too many government folks and maybe I’ve been talking too much to industry players . . . so, we’ll talk (and maybe argue some more) again soon to swap war-stories and pratfalls. I’d like that.
Len writes reports, lots, and travels lots, at least 1 week each month.
I was entertained last week at his beltline office – where I learned that, like me, he is substantially a Highway 2 guy. Born in Taber, raised in Calgary (graduated high school at Beaverbrook just like I did), B.A. in Economics at U of A, M.A. at U of C.
Meanwhile, I’ll share some highlights from that conversation . . .
I asked Len how he sees the market, over the next 90 days, an over the next 5 years?
… I don’t know. I’m not an economist, I’m a policy wonk! In the next 90 days I expect the U.S. will sort out what it wants its fiscal future to be, and in 5 years I believe they will sort out their fiscal mess.
Work/life balance – what is at the core of it for you?
. . . The ONLY thing that really matters is family. Wife of 36 years, 3 kids … 33, 31 and 24 – and five grandchildren which means vacations are spent in Calgary or Victoria. Winter camping. Hiking. Music. I play some piano, some guitar – eclectic tastes, listen to classical and blues. No hip hop. No Opera.
What keeps you up at night, what do you worry about?
. . . the wide gulf between policies and politics. Sustainability. Policies for GHG (greenhouse gases) public clamour around oilsands. I worry that our response to pressures on the environment are inadequate. I worry about how much longer it will take for Canada’s resource extraction industries to get ahead of their environmental responsibilities.
Any significant sea-change moments that changed your life?
. . . speed-reading course many years ago – best thing I’ve ever learned
What are you reading?
. . . lots, non-fiction, work related, energy, environment – everything on my tablet. When I read fiction, on vacations, I read classic literature – Dickens, Dostoevsky, 19th century American writers
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