Colin Smith: Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur

Formerly trained as a Red Seal Journeyman Electrician, 26-year-old Colin Smith started his own electrical business called Powersmith Electric, which provided him with many valuable learning opportunities working as his own boss. Since opening his own business, Colin has also found time to work as the Sustainability Coordinator for the Sled Island Music and Arts Festival and the Community Coordinator for Village Brewery. In all of his endeavours, he’s always seeking out valuable lessons in what he likes to call the ‘School of life’.   

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
My most recent endeavour, while maintaining some of the others, is a business called Green Event Services. We provide event organizers with the knowledge and tools to reduce the negative impacts of events and increase the positive impacts by engaging with audiences and raising awareness in simple, yet effective ways. Our services include waste and recycling management, waste reduction strategies, water management, temporary renewable energy generators and alternative transportation solutions.

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I started Green Event Services because I saw an opportunity to make a difference. Through my travels to music festivals across North America, I witnessed many events that strived to operate their event in sustainable ways that greatly reduced the impact on the surrounding communities and planet, inspiring many through their actions. I also attended many events, concerts and festivals that were not taking these actions, many of them in my home province and city. Through my work with Sled Island and Village Brewery, I saw there was a desire from event organizers but the necessary infrastructure and resources were lacking. This is the gap that Green Event Services fills.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part of what I do is making people happy. Many people are aware of the dire challenges our planet is facing and they want to play a role in doing their part. Our services enable people to play their role in change for the better and people are excited about that. The most challenging part of my day-to-day is bridging the gap between the people who want to do the right thing with the people who are ignorant or indifferent.

What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
There are so many ways to get involved in my community and creating change for a brighter future. I tend to get involved in many of these initiatives when I get excited. This can lead me to stretching myself too thin, and unable to be involved as much as I would like. I strive to take on the roles where I can give my 100%.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself continuing to work on solutions to the large challenges of our generation. I would like to be involved in projects and endeavours that are community-based solutions to food, energy, and waste challenges.

What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
One challenge that is recurring in my journey is one of transition. I have been lucky to have many opportunities recently and the challenge is knowing when to stay put and when to leap. I have left behind some promising and comfortable situations in order to pursue passions that were closer to my heart. They were hard choices but I am thankful for making them.

What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
Success to me is happiness. If you are happy with the things you are doing, the people you are surrounded by, and the direction you are going, then I think you have achieved success. Money is involved in this definition of success but it is only a part of a larger picture.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
There have been many memorable moments in my career leading to this point. One that sticks out the most is quitting my job as an electrical foreman in the oil and gas industry so that I could fill beer bottles and coordinate bike parking for my favourite music festival. This leap of faith has opened so many doors and has proved to be one of the most valuable choices I have ever made.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Follow your heart, trust your intuition, and shoot for the stars. Make the moves to do the thing you know you want to do.

Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
In kitchens and living rooms. This is where the magic happens.

When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
I like to spend time outdoors, adventuring, exploring and expanding my horizons.

Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
Anywhere with friendly faces and an open road. I particularly like mountains and snow because the combination allows me to be free and fly.

If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
Fast Car by Tracy Chapman.

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
I strongly think that everything happens for a reason, and the place I am in is exactly where I should be. What would I be doing if it wasn’t Green Event Services? It’s an interesting question to answer, and whatever the answer may be, I only hope I would have as much satisfaction and drive as I do right now.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
Green Event Services supports The Calgary Interfaith Food Bank and Easter Seals Camp Horizon. We believe it is important to support organizations making positive contributions to our community. We also believe in giving every person the chance to experience the joys of life.

What to you is notable?
The passionate work that so many people and communities are doing to address and shine light on progressive solutions and alternatives for a brighter future.

BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
I’m hoping for a Phoneblok soon…

#LYNL | Live Your Notable Life

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