Steve's story

Steve is an innovations consultant, entrepreneur, climate advocate and an ordinary citizen.
Like most voters, he often wishes someone with fresh ideas would run for office to use the office to promote positive change. He is offering a nonpolitical option to voters who want to try something new. . . a fresh perspective.

He is taking a bold step in offering to run for office as he is not a politician and offers a fresh perspective to leading a city.

His 'accidental' nomination, ideas and background has resonated with people, enough that he remains on the ballot as an option, inspired by youth and other citizens who encouraged him to be the voice of reason and climate change.

Not 'trying' to win, he is not using lawn signs, flyers and traditional campaigning. He will promote ideas and let the people decide what they want their city to look like in the future.

"Speak the truth, stay on message, call out what is not working and engage community feedback." Steve plans to use his election platform and the debates as an opportunity to be the voice for the people and the issues that have been largely ignored or lost in the system.

BIOGRAPHY: 'Perspective is learned through experiences'

Steve was born in 1965 - ironically, the same year that Burlington City Hall first opened.

He has lived in Kitchener-Waterloo, Mississauga, London and Vancouver, before moving to Burlington 26 years ago to start and raise a family with his wife, a Joseph Brant Hospital employee.

He is a businessman and currently owner of a social venture start-up & 'open innovations' consultancy business he is starting, that wants to help develop businesses and technologies of the future by attracting and working with conscious-driven tech and social entrepreneurs.

Innovations & cleantech and inventions 'yet to be created', 'is' the opportunity. The climate economy will create jobs of the future and businesses we cannot imagine yet. We need market-driven solutions to solve climate, like what Elon did. We cannot wait for Government."

Steve believes we need to tap into what works abroad to learn and stop re-inventing the wheel. He is helping to start a private climate thinktank, to allow thought leaders, climate experts and climate psychology buffs, to collaborate and share ideas to support government and businesses with more strategic approaches.

"Climate is 99% psychology and only 1% action. Turning off an engine takes 2 seconds to do, but getting people, and even cities, to agree to do it, has taken 20 years. The time lag and 'motivation' to solve climate is the 'leadership gap'. We know what needs done, but are too comfortable in our ways to change. "

Early years:

His business and entrepreneurial passion began while attending the University of Waterloo, where he was president of the Entrepreneurs Club and organized student business conferences and events. He also ran a successful summer painting franchise, won awards and was quickly promoted, and was the youngest in a senior management role due to his ambition. He believes entrepreneurship can be a successful 'career' choice that some youth could consider. The long-term benefits to society, by developing leaders of the future, at an early age, is a key lesson his early experiences have taught him and it is why he wants to help youth find passion and purpose early in life.

Steve has had a variety of experiences, including in sales, marketing, consulting, social innovation and non-profit management; as well as investing in or joining start-up's. Some worked, some didn't and they all offered lessons along the way. After working in sales in the telecom industry (Motorola), as well as in the pharmaceutical and medical industry, he ventured into his business consulting career. Steven single-handedly led the acquisition and then managed the merger of four small internet companies for a pre IPO venture and began supporting other start-ups.

Steve also helped launch nonprofits and associations and single-handedly raised funding from many of the largest tech and telecom companies in Canada and Silicon Valley.

He is an early adopter of e-learning. He started up an e-learning company, offering software training over the internet , which included offering software training to hundreds of unemployed individuals to upgrade their computer skills, years before e-learning became mainstream. He understands how today's online learning efforts is failing, but believes hybrid learning is the future - with some innovative tweeks.

In his management consulting roles over the last 10 years, Steven has worked for a number of businesses, which included Cleantech (wind turbine start-up & IPO), carbon management and more. Seeking new clean energy innovations is one of his passions. "Energy matters."

As a community leader, he has held Board positions and taken on a number of initiatives. As Board member and VP of Burlington's BitNet Tech Association, he promoted and chaired the BitNet Job Fair to help companies recruit talent to drive their business plans.

Steve is a sustainable mobility advocate and electric vehicle advocate. He has been a consultant to help groups like PlugN'Drive help accelerate the adoption of electric vehicle purchases in Ontario. He is an EV owner and his second car is his bike!

Steve believes in giving back. As a micro-philanthropist, he has donated much of his time and funds to causes he believes in. One of his pet projects was starting a parent-led non-profit organization called Dad's Against Dirty Air (DADA), which focuses on children's health, climate and clean air initiatives, helping 100's of schools run "Be Idle-free for the kids" programs. Steve also advised and helped other community groups who wanted to reduce emissions while protecting the health and safety of children.

Other community leadership roles include supporting local environmental groups. Steve was involved in the formation of the BurlingtonGreen Environmental Association and the Burlington Green youth group, and one of the founding board members.

In his spare time, he also organized environmental events locally and across Ontario and assisted many school eco clubs, youth groups, non-profits and social innovation projects in the GTA. He sees the opportunity that the office of a supportive Mayor can have to leverage the platform to bring a voice and attract resources to assist such groups.

As a social innovator, he also started and was leader of the 'Halton Social Innovation Centre' project, which aimed to support local non-profit’s with shared office space and resources, modeling the Centre for Social Innovation, Toronto. He believes social innovators are the champions of positive societal change and many create viable non-profit entities that support cities and citizens. He urges citizens to support them and wants to use the Mayoral platform to help form collective conscious approaches to social issues.

Serving the community and helping people and the planet has been Steve’s mission and purpose.

Part of his initial motivation to put his name in as a nomination, was mainly to help have a platform to 'wake-up' those in the system to at least 'try' to listen to how things can be made better. He is one of 1000's of citizens, nonprofit leaders, climate advocates and youth, who all want Government to just "Do the Right Thing!" and put climate first in all decisions. "We are quickly reaching a 'tipping point' or 'terminal cancer of the planet' and moving way too slow."

We all say we want change and want someone who can bring fresh perspectives and ideas and is not another politician, budget or policy person. Steve is offering perspective as a non-profit leader, businessman, climate, mental and children's health advocate.

He sees most business problems as 'opportunities' and wants to apply this to the government. The joke is 'if problems are seen as opportunities, then we have a lot of opportunities'. ;)

He believes we are delaying action and that bureaucracy is one of the main reasons we are not solving climate issues fast enough. When the pacecar is moving slow, the group moves slow too. Climate entrepreneurs who move fast, tend to be the most frustrated at the pace of change and red tape.

Steve has delegated to City Hall over the past 20 years to get City Hall to stop idling and follow their own 1 minute idling bylaws. This is his personal example to prove his point. We need all levels of government to engage with a brand new climate commitment and Climate Emergency Declaration version 2.0 - tagline: 'We mean it this time!' with an aim to challenge all cities to do more.

He believes we need to focus more of our attention on the future we want while also managing the problems we face currently. Day-to-day management needs done but the 'future leaders now' program will drive vision-based projects as well. It involves recruiting young, ambitious and talented staff who can be mentored, trained and developed into leaders who will move our cities into the future. Steve wants to encourage young and middle-aged people to run for office, even in their 20's. They understand tech, have the energy and a vested interest in the future with staying power to continue to lead.

Climate, mental health, jobs, the economy, food security, healthy aging, air quality and 100's of other issues are real and need proactive and preventative measures to minimize the risk (or spread the risk) in a manageable manner. All levels of government, agencies, community groups, business and nonprofits and citizens need to pool strengths and resources when needed, for the common good.

After talking to community group leaders, business leaders, developers, staff and citizens, he hears that a lack of 'vision' or leadership is the #1 missing piece. We need less meetings, reports and reactive decisions. We instead need to focus on the 'big picture' vision of what kind of city we want to build.

He has been inspired by some city staff who really want to make a positive impact, and who just want to be given a chance to shine. Apathy or 'giving up' is not an option. We need to find and support all staff who want to make a difference and give them the tools and resources to make it happen We need to 'unshakle' them from slow paced and bureaucratic barriers and empower them to leverage the governmental resources to do good.

He has heard the voices of citizens, climate advocates and even youth who are just plain tired of COVID, climate inaction, politics and negative 'noise'. He, like most of us, just want to see a council that is proactive, efficient, willing to try new things and able to admit what is working and not working and work together to leverage both. Let's just help make things better.

After countless interactions with Cities, 100's of public servants and politicians over 10+ years, he, like many of us, feels the 'system', not their people, is the primary roadblock to solving many of today's and tomorrow's issues. Change is not easy, but Steve believes we can and must do better.

Win or lose, he pledges to support all climate-friendly councillors and Mayor's in the GTA and will challenge them to start with small climate actions/initiatives for 'easy wins' and bigger projects later. He is donating much of his time and effort to help other climate initiatives as he pledges to dedicate his career to this important cause.

His business experiences he can apply to city hall include:

- Innovations consultant
: Find efficiencies and improvements
Provide psychology-based approaches to programs
, as well as outcomes-based approaches. "What is end goal?"
Re-invent departments or programs to save money, allocate resources, improve efficiencies.
Put staff well-being as a priority and encourage ideas, brainstorming think
tanks, and more.
Create hiring and training templates to drive business plan and vision and less department vacancies.
Succession planning to mentor and coach young team members to test and prepare leaders.

- Business consultant: Turned around faltering companies - can help redesign departments
Mergers & Acquisitions
: Managed merger of several small businesses - can help amalgate overlapping depts.
Interim executive roles - offers insight from multiple roles.
Start-up advisor - can help Haltech and other venture support programs.
HR Attract-Train-Retain model to talent and knowledge management
CEO advisory to leaders, managers personally or departmentally.

- Non-profit: Founder of a Children's and Environmental charity - can engage
City to support children's health and clean air initiatives
Board member of various non-profits - tech and environmental NGO experience and insights.
Part of several local and Ontario social innovation projects - provide perspective to support social leaders of the future.
Social Innovations background provides perspective to various social issues.
A social and psychology insight into "Community Based Social Marketing" as a lens to improve
City programs.

  • Government experience: No experience as politician. Fresh perspective.
    Delegated to council over the years. Met council members on climate issues to gain support.

Met with dozens of cities and staff over the years and experienced the delays and barriers first hand - offering perspective.