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Need to Know: Brian Boulanger

The Arc Financial, senior vice-president is a headhunter’s dream, but he has no interest in being the hunted

Apr 9, 2014

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Brian Boulanger
Photograph Heather Saitz

DOB: 1975
Hometown: Calgary
Higher ed: Bachelor of business administration, Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario CFA charterholder
FUN FACT: At 34, he was the youngest chairman of the board in the United Way of Calgary and area’s history

The Person
Brian Boulanger is something of a throwback. After all, the senior vice-president and director at ARC Financial has been with the Calgary private equity firm his entire career– even dating back to his first job as a summer student. Stranger still, he’s spent virtually all of that time working under one man: Lauchlan Currie, a former analyst who’s now the company president. “That helped – having a boss who’s successful,” Boulanger says.

The Past
“For as long as I can remember, I knew I wanted to be a businessman – whatever that meant.” After finding out that someone at ARC was a Western grad, he bugged him “relentlessly” until he got a summer job with the firm. Eventually, that job turned into a permanent one – and saved him from a potentially dreary life on Bay Street. “It’s probably the reason I ended up in Calgary,” Boulanger says. “Otherwise my wife, who’s from Ontario, would have dragged me to Toronto. But because I had the job we both came back here.”

The Present
It may not be the worst of times in the energy sector, but with infrastructure and market access problems, it’s hardly the best, either. Except, that is, for people like Boulanger. “From our point of view and private equity’s point of view, it’s a fantastic time to have capital.” And as a rising star at one of Calgary’s top private equity firms, Boulanger has gotten his share of offers from other companies. But while he used to entertain them, he says those days are over. “It feels good, but it can become a negative because you start to think the grass is greener on the other side. It isn’t.”

The Future
It’s a safe bet that one day Boulanger will be asked to interview for the top job at ARC – indeed, his whole career, from that first summer job to his volunteer work, has been building towards that moment. In the meantime, he’s happy to spend his days sourcing deals and raising capital. “My favourite part is trying to identify who the very best people are out there to start the new company – and then convincing them to work with ARC.”–Max Fawcett

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