Bruce describes himself as a hands-on kind of guy. Whether it’s a restructuring assignment at work, a job around the house or one of his many hobbies, Bruce likes nothing more than rolling up his sleeves and digging in.
“Probably the most constant thing in my life has been automobiles,” he reflects. “I put myself through university and bought my first house by buying and fixing up cars and then selling them at a profit.” Bruce still has two red convertibles—a 25-year-old Porsche 911 and a factory supercharged Mazda Miata—that he likes to tinker with when he’s not driving them around town.
How does your garden grow?
And to make sure he gets his hands dirty—literally—Bruce has found the perfect hobby with gardening. “We cleared off an area on our property four years ago and got right to it,” he explains. His current focus is on his tomato crop, but his gardening ventures have meant a fair bit of ancillary handiwork to put in raised beds for the garden, install fence posts and build a deer fence to protect all that treasured produce from cunning wildlife.
In addition to renovating his house in Calgary, Bruce and his family have built a cottage on an island off the coast of Vancouver Island. For Bruce, that’s meant spending a lot of time in bathrooms. With a bit of calculation, he figures he’s installed every toilet, sink, tub and shower in eight bathrooms by now. He’s also done his share of ceramic tile work around showers and such. “People might think it’s mindless work, but there’s a knack to laying out a pattern and getting it right, not to mention a certain calmness of mind while you’re doing it.”
Being at home, at home
“I had thought of retiring,” Bruce muses, “but I still have three of my four children at home, so it’s not like I’m going off to live in Palm Springs anytime soon.” In addition, he considers it important to be an example to his kids by doing work that’s worthwhile and productive. That thinking applies not just to his work at Farber, but to his charitable work as well, including a Calgary-based organization that serves the homeless in the community.
While Bruce and his wife have enjoyed travelling, they’ve put those plans on hold for the time being, as so many of us have. “We were all set to take a trip to Europe right about now,” he laments, “for some touring and biking, but that’s all been cancelled.”
In the meantime, he’s doing his best to enjoy a bit of European cuisine through another hands-on hobby—Italian cooking. “I’ve done risotto with porcini mushrooms and chicken marsala,” he beams, “and I recently got a pizza stone that I’ve been putting to use, making the dough from scratch.” Sounds delicious, Bruce. And who knows—maybe some of those homegrown tomatoes will find their way onto a nice pizza marinara!
Bruce has been in the restructuring business almost all his career. He’s held senior roles in large and small organizations, but always ones with an entrepreneurial drive. Like many in the field, he started as an accountant, but veered towards the insolvency business for the creativity and problem-solving opportunities it offered. He feels B. Riley Farber embodies the entrepreneurial energy and culture needed in order to succeed in the fast-moving industry, free of all the structure that some firms build into their practices.
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