W. Brett Wilson
W. Brett Wilson
W. Brett Wilson is co-founder - with partners Murray Edwards, Rick Grafton and Jim Davidson - of FirstEnergy Capital Corp, an investment dealer focused on Canada's energy sector. Established in 1993, FirstEnergy now has more than 100 employees and has been ranked not only as a best place to work but also as one of Canada's 50 best managed companies. W. Brett Wilson is also sole owner and chair of Prairie Merchant Corporation, a private investment bank focused on identifying and financing business opportunities in Canada's energy, agriculture, real estate, sport, and entertainment industries.
Born in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, W. Brett Wilson attended the College of Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan where he assumed a leadership role in student politics - quickly leaving his unique mark on the university. He revived the infamous "Godiva" ride and - as president of the Engineering Students' Society - organized highly popular and profitable events that for the first time put the Society in the black. With its operating surplus, the Society was able to fund a scholarship for students engaged in student politics - and for the first time W. Brett Wilson says he understood that successful entrepreneurship could be a vehicle for philanthropy.
After graduating, W. Brett Wilson began working as an oilfield engineer but became increasingly attracted to the business side of the sector. Despite being told by his employer at the time that he wasn't "management material", he returned to school, earning an MBA with a major in entrepreneurship from the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary. He combined his passion for entrepreneurship and numbers with his technical skill as an engineer and began his career in investment banking. He specialized in oil and gas transactions, first with McLeod Young Weir Limited and, later, with Wilson Mackie & Co., his energy-focused investment banking advisory firm.
W. Brett Wilson has been named Calgary's 2007 Person of the Year by Avenue Magazine, singled out as Alberta's 2008 Business Person of the Year by Alberta Venture Magazine and was recognized in 2009 as a Nation Builder by theCanadian Youth Business Federation.
He has been equally celebrated for using his considerable business success as a vehicle for giving back. With an innovative approach to philanthropy, W. Brett Wilson has generated a tremendous ripple effect right across the country, having given - and engaged others to give - tens of millions to non-profit initiatives including a million-dollar plus gift to the University of Saskatchewan to fund the W. Brett Wilson Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence.