OUR GREAT MINDS

Dave Maher

David Maher

Management Consultant, White Rock Consulting

Dave hails from St. John’s, NL but has spent much of the past six years working and studying overseas. This has resulted in him taking over 50 international flights, visiting 20 different countries, and being employed on four continents since 2010. During his time abroad, he has worked as a scuba diving instructor in Thailand and Kenya, an economic development consultant in Tanzania, and as a financial accountant in London, United Kingdom.

Since returning to Newfoundland, Dave has worked as a management consultant, helping start-ups and established companies leverage public and private funding, collect competitive intelligence, take advantage of SR&ED, Digital Media and Film tax incentives, and to develop innovative, winning strategies. He has experience advising clients in a variety of industries ranging from bio-technology, manufacturing, marine management, ship building, technology, and software design. Dave is a graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland where he holds degrees in Political Science and International Business.

The OGM Questions

What does sustainability mean to you?

Dave: To me sustainability is the capacity of a business to endure through the ups and downs of the economic cycle. My advice to clients is, in order to ensure sustainability, make sure you hire and invest in good people, use data to make informed decisions that increase operational efficiency, and diversify your revenue streams so that all of your eggs are not in one basket.

Have you had a mentor?

Dave: As far as my career goes, I would have to say that my mentor is Wanda Cuff Young, President of White Rock Consulting and Communications. I learned more about business from Wanda in 6 months than I learned during my five-year business degree. Most importantly, she taught me how to create value for clients and the importance of growing my network.

What does success mean to you?

Dave: To me being successful is waking up every day and genuinely enjoying what you do. Getting to help clients on a personal basis, and seeing them grow their business’ and achieve their goals has given me a new perspective on what it truly means to love what you do. That’s a big feat considering that I used to teach diving on a beach in Thailand for a living.

If you were to describe your career in three words what would they be?

Dave: Global, Value Added, Relationships.

What advice would you give to someone looking for a career in the Energy Industry?

Dave: My advice would be the same as the advice I would give someone looking for a career in any industry: get your foot in the door and make yourself in disposable.

Describe a milestone in your career?

Dave: A milestone in my career would have to be my recent attendance at the Northern Lights 2016 conference in Ottawa this past January. This conference brought together governments, business leaders, and key stakeholders from Canada’s north in order to discuss emerging opportunities and the possibility for forging strategic partnerships for a variety of industries, including energy. It made me realize that the north is one of this country’s most valuable resources, and that Newfoundland and Labrador is well positioned to take advantage of these northern opportunities and establish itself as a center of excellence for northern technology and business.

Describe a challenge you faced in your career?

Dave: One of the biggest challenges (but also one of the most rewarding experiences) that I have faced so far in my career had to be doing business in rural Tanzania. The business culture there is so vastly different from what we are used to here in North America, that adapting to how commerce is conducted can be a major shock.

What impact does Technology have on your career?

Dave: Technology has a huge impact on my career as many of my clients are small tech companies located right here in Newfoundland. These companies are engaged in creating innovative technologies in a diverse range of sectors from bio-waste processing, vertical farming, marine navigation software, and medical technology.

What do the next 5 years look like in your career?

Dave: I have no idea, but I am hoping they look something like this past year which was filled with new opportunities, growth, and learning experiences.

Were you always interested in a career in Energy?

Dave: I became interested in a career in energy while I was writing my political science honours thesis, Petro Politics: The Political Economy of Oil in Sub-Saharan Africa’s Petro States, which focused on how the presence of oil in Africa’s major oil-exporting states has contributed to political and economic risk in the region. Interestingly enough, many of the economic problems facing Newfoundland and Labrador right now mirror the fiscal problems we see in other petroleum exporters such as Nigeria, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia.

What interests you to sustain a career in the Energy industry?

Dave: The endless opportunity and potential for the energy industry in the north, from exploration, production, and the delivery of energy to remote communities and sites. It is a very exciting field due to the technical and logistical challenges of providing services in what I truly believe is the next frontier.

Do you have a role model you look up to?

Dave: My role model is my Dad. Whenever I am faced with a challenge that seems impossibly difficult to overcome, I remember that he completed two universities degrees and had a 30 + year career as a lawyer with the Department of Justice all while being legally blind. Suddenly my challenges don’t seem so hard.

What does Energy mean to you?

Dave: To me, energy means a cup of my favourite Anchor Coffee to kick start the day and make me productive. There’s nothing better.

What is your favorite APP on your phone?

Dave: My favourite apps on my phone are Bloomberg Business and the Economist. Both keep my updated on what’s going on in the world.

What impact will the Millennial Generation have on the Energy industry?

Dave: I think many people, regardless of their generation, are realizing that we need to make changes to how we use energy. It’s up to Millennials to ensure that the next generation has a clear path on how to create a sustainable future.

What’s your take on Social Media and our ever changing digital world?

Dave: Social media is a great tool, it allows us to stay informed, make snap decisions and reach our target audience. That said, in this ever changing digital world, making a human connection with someone is often the differentiating factor that will determine whether or not they do business with us, or move to a competitor.

What Social Medium do you use on a daily basis?

Dave: I use LinkedIn daily in order to follow up and connect with people who I meet professionally.

What do you think of Social Recruiting?

Dave: Social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, allow you to connect with and reach out to many more people that would be possible through traditional recruitment channels. These means that as a small business you can now tap in to a much greater talent pool than you otherwise could and can get the best people working for your business, which is one of the keys to success.

Why do you love what you do?

Dave: I love what I do because every day I get to help Newfoundland small and medium sized enterprises (SME’s) access financing, tap into new markets, and develop strategies for success. Due to NL’s current fiscal situation, we now need local SME’s more than ever in order to create jobs and foster economic development in the province.

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