Grey Goose Notable: Peter Evans

Grey Goose Notable young professionals and entrepreneurs are influential tastemakers who have made it beyond their years and, though their careers are still evolving, are now able to enjoy the success and life they have created. These selected individuals share how they got to where they are today, how they are able to enjoy what they have earned, where they love to travel, how they entertain and how they celebrate all that life has to offer. Peter Evans is an example of an individual who lives life to its fullest. A successful entrepreneur, philanthropist and actor, the 39-year-old Toronto native has already accomplished more than many will in a lifetime. 

Peter Evans is one of the three co-founders and co-owners of ICON Digital Productions Inc., Canada’s leading large format printing company. He launched into the relatively new world of digital printing in the mid-90s while still in university. As a result of his interest, determination, enthusiasm and personality, his business has grown immensely to become a worldwide leader in this field. Since 1995, ICON has helped retailers, sports franchises, and almost all of the world’s most recognized brands communicate better visually in-store, outdoor, and in stadiums. In 2009, Peter and his partners acquired Gridcast Media, who specialize in digital signage development, deployment and content. With the two companies together, ICON’s offerings have evolved into the digital world, offering clients much more than ink on media, and include touch screen, projection, video walls and other technology. Evans is a regular volunteer and a leading fundraiser for Camp Oochigeas and adds the role of actor to his impressive list of credentials, appearing most recently in Sarah Polley’s critically acclaimed new film “Stories We Tell,” a special feature at TIFF this year and currently in theatres.

If there was one location everyone must see, what would it be?
Just one location?  What’s left of the ancient city of Rome – I find everything about the Roman Empire fascinating.  

What is your general perspective on life? Advice for fellow young professionals?
Advice from a business standpoint, in short, I would say that working hard is a lost art. People talk about “working smart” and that’s obviously important, but to get ahead you have to put in the time. It’s a competitive world; you have to outsmart, yes, but you also have to outwork others. I don’t know of many pro athletes that haven’t put a ton of time into their craft.  Business isn’t any different unless you want to play in the minors. 

General advice on life? Be concerned about today and the future, learn from your mistakes but never let yesterday use up today. 

Who do you admire most?
Doctors, comedians and musicians – I can’t live without health, laughter and music. 

Why were the early stages of your career worth what you are now able to enjoy?
The early stages were tough, mainly because of the hours, and back then I wasn’t very good at handling stress; it ate at me and was difficult to manage. Those years were worth it though because I had some specific goals that I wanted to achieve and I have been fortunate enough to achieve a lot of them. The key is to keep setting new goals as you go, so there is always something to celebrate.  

What makes the best host at a dinner party?
Someone who is funny and doesn’t take him or herself too seriously 

What’s your favourite restaurant?
Five Doors North (Toronto) because they make me feel like I’m at home and the food never disappoints (plus they sometimes let me play my own music). 

What’s your favourite drink?
Grey Goose & Red Bull with lots of ice and a lime…then any beer, they are all delicious. 

One thing always in your fridge?
Milk for my smoothie in the morning. 

Do you cook?
Sometimes, mostly in the summer when up north.  I like to barbeque and cook for a lot of people – I entertain mostly up there. For me, cooking is the most fun when there are lots of people to enjoy it. 

How do you stay fit and healthy?
I like sports, pretty much all of them. I play hockey and soccer in leagues and work out with a trainer for weights. I enjoy boxing classes and other group fitness programs at the gym. If I need to de-stress, there is nothing like a late afternoon or evening run with some great music on the iPod, its Zen-like for me. 

What is your ideal Sunday?
Wow, tough question. Depends on the time of year but it would always start with sleeping in a little and a great coffee. If it’s nice out, a walk in the neighbourhood with my dog (or if I am travelling in whatever city I’m in).  This would be followed by a bite of lunch at some place casual and fun, poking into a few stores and shopping a little, and then a drive up to a golf course and play a round that finishes at sunset.