W. Brett Wilson invests in people, not projects. With charisma and small-town charm, he shows a national audience that empowering a community helps advance business.
W. Brett Wilson was born in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. He went on to study engineering at the University of Saskatchewan. With his creativity and flair for innovation, he oversaw events and fundraisers that made the Engineering Students' Society money for the first time in its history. The surplus funded a scholarship and W. Brett Wilson saw an opportunity to blend business with philanthropy that would shape his career.
After a brief stint as an oilfield engineer, W. Brett Wilson returned to school, this time to the University of Calgary. He was the first person to graduate from the MBA program with a specialization in entrepreneurship. With business savvy and technical skills, W. Brett Wilson made a 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. He is the owner and chairman 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. In 1993, he co-founded FirstEnergy Capital Corp - now ranked as one of the country's best companies to work for.
In 2007, W. Brett Wilson donated more than $1 million to the W. Brett Wilson Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence, which is mandated to inspire entrepreneurship and innovation among all college disciplines, and to connect business leaders, researchers and potential financiers with investment opportunities focused on Western Canada.
He was 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 the Canadian Youth Business Federation.
His integrity is rooted in family, from parents who actively volunteered their time and taught him the value of giving back. With his own take on "prairie ethics" he invests in promising start-up businesses and mentors emerging entrepreneurs. He is a lifelong learner, dedicated to inspiring others to be as well.
For his admirable commitment to blending entrepreneurship with philanthropy, Royal Roads University is pleased to present W. Brett Wilson with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws.