Draper - Patrick Draper
City council's newest employee is a devotee of Bond - James Bond
By: Peter Boer
| Posted: Wednesday, Apr 18, 2012 06:00 am
For years Patrick Draper spent three hours a day simply driving to and from work in Toronto, before finally deciding enough was enough.
“I started going on the GO Train. It's not any faster. But you can just sit there on the train for an hour-and-a-half and you can read instead of getting frustrated with traffic,” Draper said.
Now St. Albert's new city manager will have a commute of mere minutes, something he is most looking forward to when he assumes the post of city council's only employee on April 23. And if the last name seems familiar to Detroit hockey fans, it's because of a familial relationship that left him on the outside of the talent gene pool. One of his cousin's is Kris Draper.
“I would say to my dad, ‘We played hockey. Why didn't I get some of that talent?'”
The Montreal-born-and-raised veteran of such large corporations as Pepsi and Chiquita who also served as a deputy minister with the Ontario government says he is looking forward to getting to work in his new job.
“I'm a builder, not a turn-around artist,” Draper said. “St. Albert had community building written all over it. It had the reality that the city was quite well managed, the finances are in decent shape, but there are opportunities going forward, clearly on the non-residential lands.”
His work as marketing director with Pepsi included a $60-million budget to market Diet Pepsi, which also landed him a first-class plane ticket to the Grammy awards, where he flew with pop music royalty.
“The first-class section was myself, an executive and the whole Jackson family. We socialized with these people,” Draper said, adding he talked briefly with Michael Jackson, the former King of Pop.
“He was not a big conversationalist but I did get a chance to speak to him. Germaine (Jackson) had a new album he was recording and he was asking me what I thought.”
Chiquita had Draper preparing Canada, Europe and parts of Asia for the launch of a line of juices, yogurt and other treats, until the family that owned Chiquita decided to pull the plug on the project, even after investing $75 million. Draper went on to work in the consumer products industry. During that time, Draper was headhunted as a deputy minister for the Ontario government, then led by Mike Harris. His position was under the minister of economic development, trade and tourism.
“It was a huge culture shock, going from the way a private company works to the way government works,” Draper said. “There were some things I learned I hadn't been exposed to.”
After a two-year stint there, Draper moved back into the business world, acquiring a corporate travel business and launching a webcasting network. He went on to enjoy some time off before landing his most recent position as the president and CEO of the Toronto Regional Research Alliance.
“It tries to foster innovation,” Draper said. “With the economy there, there is a really big push on investment by business.”
Outside the boardrooms of the world, Draper is an accomplished guitar player who prefers rocking out to the Eagles, Rolling Stones, Bryan Adams and The Who, but says, “I don't think I would ever get up on a stage.”
He's also a devotee of the world's most famous spy, James Bond. On nights when his wife is away, he and his son will order in dinner and watch one of the Bond movies.
When asked who the best Bond is, Draper replied, “Everyone's got their own opinion. Sean Connery was the classiest but Roger Moore was the most prototypical of what you might think of.”
Pat Draper, Q&A
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Helping my dad in the last few years of his life.
If you could go back and change one thing in your life, what would it be?
I'd ask for more of the hockey genes that went to my Draper cousins.
When you die, what would you like to see written on your headstone?
Forever Young from the Rod Stewart song.
When you were eight, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I thought creating cartoons would be cool.
What artist/song are you most embarrassed to have in your collection?
Angel by Sarah McLaughlin.
How would you describe your fashion style?
Classic blazers and button down shirts for work, jeans on the weekend.
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St. Albert and area is full of individuals with interesting lives and stories. Every second Wednesday we profile one of these people. If you know of an individual you feel should be recognized in this way, please email the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org