My Brother’s Firsts

Stephen_0_0My brother Stephen is a pretty amazing guy.
He has a lot of firsts attached to his name.
Let me explain…
When I was a teenager I tried my hand at competitive swimming. When I saw my efforts tank (pun intended) I took up water polo as a sport. Now water polo is not a real main stream sport in Canada.
In fact, we had a hard time getting enough players to have a scrimmage. So each player was tasked with trying to bring a friend to play. Seeing that I didn’t have many friends the next best thing was my skinny kid brother Stephen. Little did we know that Stephen would go on to become one of the best players in the world!
Stephen ended up playing in the Munich Summer Olympics and in two World Championships. In the last one he was named to the All World Team meaning he was one of the top seven players in the world. Up until then, no other Canadian had ever been named to the All World Team.
A few years ago Stephen was named the player of the century in Canada.
I often accompany him to water polo events when they occur here in Montreal.  The young kids may not know what Stephen looks like but they all know his reputation and what he accomplished.  I get a big kick out of how the kids regard Stephen when they are introduced too him by their coaches, many of whom played during my brothers time.
Stephen also has some business firsts to his name.
In 1982 he was the first person to successfully produce the Order of Canada, our countries highest recognition award. For those readers who are not familiar with this award it would be the equivalent of the Congressional Medal of Honor in the USA or the Legion of Honor in France.
Up until 1982 the Order of Canada along with other major government awards were made in Great Britain by the Crown Jewelers because they couldn’t find a Canadian company to make them.
Stephen put his considerable talents to learning the intricacies of how to make enameled awards, something the British have been doing for centuries. I don’t think there was a book on enameling that Stephen didn’t read. At the end of the day he produced an award that the experts considered to be on a par or better with the British. In fact, his contribution to the Canadian Honors System has been documented in a number of articles and books.
His outstanding worked actually resulted in our company being renamed Rideau… the official residence of the Governor General.
It also resulted in an invitation for Cam Ferguson (our now retired partner), Stephen and myself being invited to meet the Governor General at Rideau Hall.
Today, Stephen serves as Rideau’s Chief Operating Officer. The excellence he once displayed as a water polo player and that he created as a craftsman is now carried over into all of Rideau’s client programs.
Yes, my brother is a pretty amazing man. I’m so proud of him.
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