Steam Whistle founder speaks to first years

He went from being kicked out of the Laurier business program to being the honoured speaker.

Founder and co-CEO of Steam Whistle Brewing Cam Heaps spoke to first-year business students on Sept. 13 for the Laurier School of Business and Economics’ (SBE) Orientation Day.

Heaps is a Laurier alumnus who, along with his two partners, started their brewing company in 1998 after they were all fired from the Upper Canada Brewing Company when Sleeman’s bought it.

At first, their company was going to be called “3 Fired Guys”.

Critics have praised their product across Ontario as they continue to fulfill their business model of becoming Canada’s number one pilsner.

Trying to instill some motivation in the first-years, Heaps told them about the fears you need to overcome to be successful in business.

He said students shouldn’t worry about things like money and job security because in the end, if you really want your dream to happen, it will.

“If you want to learn about business, Laurier is one of the best places to do that,” said Heaps.

He told students to work hard but have fun at the same time because you don’t want any regrets in your life.

The Waterloo Inn played host to the hundreds of first-years who were given the opportunity to hear from Laurier SBE faculty and industry professionals such as Lesley Reynolds, the marketing affairs co-ordinator at the Economical Insurance Group.

“When I was getting into [the industry] 20 or 30 years ago there wasn’t anybody to talk to,” she said.

The students seemed to appreciate the opportunities they have in modern day business programs like Laurier’s.

“It’s been an amazing experience,” said first-year business student Kelly Lawrence. “You get to ask them how they got to where they are.”

A lot of the students like first-year business major Kenneth Leung take their post-secondary training very seriously; orientation day attempts to get them prepared for the program.

“It’s a showcase of how being in school can help change you and make you better for whatever you do,” said Leung of the day’s events.