Doug has had a long and distinguished career in the accounting profession and has been a tireless community volunteer, especially for the University of Regina Rams football club. He began public accounting practice in 1979 and became a partner with the Virtus Group LLP in 1982. He recently transitioned to the role of a Senior Consultant with the company.
In 2008, Doug was admitted as a fellow to CPA Saskatchewan in recognition of his leadership within his profession. He served on numerous provincial taxation committees including the Saskatchewan Business Tax Review Committee. In 2003, he was appointed the Saskatchewan representative on the national Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (now Canada Revenue Agency) Tax Professional Advisory Committee. He also served as a member of the provincial Professional Development Committee, including serving three years as Chair.
In 2005, he was awarded a Distinguished Community Service Award by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Saskatchewan for his exceptional service to the community. Doug completed the ICD.D Director’s Education Program at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management in 2017.
Doug has strong ties to the University of Regina having served as a sessional lecturer in the Faculty of Business Administration in the 1980s. He is also a member of the Leaders Council of the Hill and Levene Schools of Business, a group of community business leaders who help advance the mission of the schools.
Doug also has deep links to the University of Regina Rams football club. He is one of only 13 individuals who has been named a Life Member of the team and has served in virtually every role on the Board of Directors. He has also served as Vice-President of the Western Canada Summer Games and Sask Sport and served as a Board member for Football Saskatchewan. A graduate of Campion College, in 2017 he received an Alumni of Distinction Award.
Questions and Answers
What prompted you to get involved with the Rams in the first place?
The Rams were looking for a Board Member to serve as Treasurer. One of their assistant coaches at the time was Frank McCrystal, a good friend of mine. He thought there might be a fit and reached out to see if I was interested.
How have you stayed with it so long?
There are a lot of different reasons. Most important to me is the difference the Rams make in the lives of the individuals that are part of the organization. The players speak all the time about the Rams experience and how much richer their lives have become because of that experience. Providing the players the opportunity to stay at home and play football is such an advantage for players and their families. It also increases the likelihood that they will remain residents of Regina in their adult lives. Enriching lives holds true for all the other people involved in the organization – coaches, trainers, equipment managers, directors, including me. For me to have an opportunity to be influenced by and learn from people like Gord Currie, Frank McCrystal, Marco Ricci and so many others has been very important and valuable.
Secondly, the relationships that I have made throughout my involvement have been very important to me. Many of the players, coaches and Board members have become very good friends of mine. Our relationships have developed to be far more than just our shared interest in the Rams.
The Rams impact on the community is another reason for my lengthy involvement. The Rams accomplishments on and off the field have become a real source of pride for our community. Over the years, we have been a part of many exciting events that would not have come to our City without the Rams. Hosting National Championships on many occasions and hosting an exhibition game against the European champion are two of the highlights for me. Pioneering the 50/50 at Rider games has enriched the game day experience for Rider fans. And there have been many other impacts that the Rams have made, including coaching minor and high school football, being part of blood drives and many other volunteer efforts that the players coaches and other members of the Rams have been involved in over the years.
What is the biggest satisfaction you get from volunteering?
The biggest satisfaction is to see the positive impact that the organizations have on the community. The Rams impact is noted above. Every time I go out and use the incredible Rams facility at the University of Regina reminds me that would likely not have been possible had Regina not hosted the 2005 Canada Games. And there have been so many other events that I have been involved with over the years starting way back with the 1987 Western Canada Summer Games that have resulted in tremendous improvements to our City that are available to our residents after the event is over. And of course the biggest legacy that every event has is the learning experience that each of the volunteers goes through to make them more valuable contributors to our community.
What satisfaction did you get from teaching?
The satisfaction of seeing young people grow and mature and develop as adults. Watching them move forward much more equipped to contribute to their community, their families, their workplace than they were prior to the learnings that they achieved. This includes seeing the young men involved in the Rams over their University football career and often a much longer association with those I work with at Virtus Group, watching people come in as students and eventually grow from student to partner.
What drew you to the accounting field?
When I was relatively young, it became apparent to me how important accurate, up to date, well understood information about the finances of an organization is to making good decisions that lead to the future health of the organization. I thought that being a part of creating and interpreting that information for businesspeople would help them become more successful.
How would you describe the transition from full-time employment to consulting in your field?
That transition has been very important for me. It has allowed me to reduce my time commitment to Virtus Group so that I can pursue other things in my life that have become very important to me, while at the same time allowing me to continue my involvement doing the things that I love to do at Virtus Group.
Why is it important for you, and for all of us, to give back to the community?
I feel very grateful that I was born in Saskatchewan and have lived almost all my life in Regina. The reason that Regina is such a great place to live, work and invest is the work of those that came before us who built it to what it is today. We all are benefitting from the work of those people. It is our responsibility to take what they have built and improve upon it to allow us to continue enjoying the life that we have here and so that our children will enjoy an even better life as they grow up and stay in our community.
What are your fondest memories from your time at the University of Regina?
The University of Regina was a very fun place to be in the 1970’s. When I started here, it was the University of Saskatchewan, Regina Campus, and became the University of Regina before I graduated. It was a young university with lots of professors who were interested in doing their own thing, so it was a fun place to be.
But the fondest memories for me involve the people that I was able to interact with at the University, students, professors, and administrators. Many of those relationships predated my time at University and many continue to this day, for which I am very grateful.
What was the most important thing you came away with from your U of R experience?
I always had a love for learning. My University experience took that love for learning and expanded it, added on to it, broadened it. That love for learning may be the most valuable asset in my life after University.
What does receiving this award mean to you?
I’m honoured. It provides recognition for the work that I have done in the Community - work that is very important to me, for a Community that is very important to me. It comes from the University of Regina, an institution that is very important to me and one that I am very impressed with and proud of, as I have watched it grow from “Regina Campus” to a powerful independent entity.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Work continues to be a very important part of my life. I feel very fortunate that I love what I do. I also feel fortunate that I have many other activities in my life that I love as well. I have three wonderful children and six equally wonderful grandchildren and that takes up a bigger chunk of my life than I would have predicted many years ago, and is time that I treasure. I am lucky that I can continue my volunteer activities as I really enjoy them as well. I have always been very interested in participating in and watching all kinds of sporting activities and feel very fortunate that I am able to continue that as well.
How would you characterize your fellow ACAA recipients?
They are a very impressive and eclectic group. Three of us are of the same vintage having graduated in the 1970’s, but the three of us have taken very different paths in our post University lives. The two younger recipients are very talented as well. I am very pleased that all five have remained in Canada, and three of us have remained in Saskatchewan. The five of us are receiving recognition this year, which is great. There are so many other talented graduates of our University that I hope we get a chance to recognize and celebrate in future years.
Where do you live and who are your immediate family members
I live in Regina. I have three adult children. Two married daughters and six grandchildren in Calgary: Jocelyn Beswick and Curtis Beswick, children Addison, Liam, Wyatt, and Everett. Shannon Kane and Chad Lemke, children Wesley and Henry and one married son in Toronto, David McKillop and Gabriel Hernandez.