Businesses, or more specifically the people who own businesses, want to succeed. They want a return for shareholders. They also want to see a business thrive for its employees. Regardless of the reason, some geographic locations are just more conducive to driving successful businesses.
Adams Green provides part-time or temporary accounting and management services to companies wishing to supplement their existing team with high value accounting and management expertise.
Today we hear from Owen Green, Co-Founder of Adams Green. Owen shares insights on why and how he established his small business where he felt it could thrive; New Brunswick.
ONB: You were born in New Brunswick, and lived in a few places over the years, and your wife is from New Brunswick. What lead you both to leave?
Green: I was working for McCain Foods in Florenceville and was given the opportunity to transfer to Montreal to help integrate a company they’d purchased. That was late in 2002, just after Haley and I were married. It seemed like an exciting adventure to start our married life. I’m not sure if we thought about whether we would be back.
ONB: What brought you back?
Green: Our son Adam was born in 2005. It soon became apparent that New Brunswick was where we wanted to be. You start to notice how much time you sit in traffic when there is a family waiting at home for you. Also, we really wanted to be close to the support network we had at home. I was able to get a transfer back to NB, this time working for Day & Ross, and for a time we were able to live close to my parents and Haley’s. It was great.
ONB: You started a business when you moved back, tell us about that?
Green: It was a long process. We moved back at the end of 2005 and went into business for ourselves January 2013. It was when I was looking for opportunities in Saint John in 2009 that I first realized there was an opportunity to start a business. I took a position with an Irving Oil company called Cobalt, but prior to that I had conversations with or about companies who needed someone like me but not full-time. During all of this Haley had primarily been a full-time Mom—another great thing that wouldn’t have been possible for us in Montreal—and was looking for a way to get back to work on her terms. We started to actively plan for a launch during the last few months of 2012, and made the decision to go for it that Christmas break.
ONB: How has your lifestyle changed with your move back to New Brunswick? How has everyone adjusted?
Green: We see a lot more of each other than would be possible elsewhere. That has to do with the easier commute that I mentioned, but it’s also because there isn’t the clear distinction between when work starts and family life begins. Things are very fluid and the whole family is flexible. We have a Lego table in the middle of our new office for when the kids (or clients) are here hanging out. When we lived in Montreal there was a pretty clear divide – work life & home life.
ONB: You work in a sector that attracts a lot of interest and attention — finance. It’s a sector that often sees centres like New York or Toronto as the places to be. What do we have to offer here that makes us one of the best kept secrets in Canada?
Green: It’s a great environment to train and work as an accountant or finance professional. We have great universities turning out recruits; and we have access to the best certification programs for professional accreditation. But what I’ve always thought was an overlooked asset, from a training perspective, is the range of clients to which you are likely to be exposed. While I was training to be a CA, I worked on a lot of small client files where I was responsible for the whole file, but I also got to work with large clients like McCain and Irving as part of a team. When I had the chance to meet peers in larger cities like Toronto, I found that they weren’t likely to have experienced the same range of work. So I think it’s a fantastic place to start your career. The challenge (and opportunity) is to make sure that there are roles that provide people the chance to continue to expand on their skills.
ONB: Tell us about what is really exciting you in your current role as business owner?
Green: We get to work with really cool companies and feel like we are playing a small part in helping them succeed. More so than in any other roles that we’ve had we 1) have control over the type of work that we do and 2) focus on doing things that provide value.
ONB: What has been the biggest learning for you moving back to and living in New Brunswick?
Green: I have a greater appreciation for how lucky we are here in New Brunswick. We have this excellent quality of life and we don’t have to miss out on a great career. But like anywhere, you do have to look for it. It took me many years to wake up to the opportunities, but once you start digging they are definitely there.
ONB: We often hear about people moving out west for their careers, but both you and your wife wanted to come back to New Brunswick. As professionals, was this a hard move?
Green: Not at first. I knew what I was coming back to, and Haley was pressing pause on her career to stay home with Adam. It was a few years down the road, when we both wanted something a little different that we realized that you have to look a little harder and take risks, but that is not unusual when you want to start your own business.
ONB: How do the companies that you have worked for here in New Brunswick compare with the companies that you worked for while away?
Green: In Montreal we had our work lives and our home lives. In New Brunswick there is not that same clear distinction and I like that. I think that it’s a competitive advantage for our province. People are much more apt to feel engaged with their employer.
ONB: How has moving back to New Brunswick changed your quality of life? Would you do it over again?
Green: We’ve reached a really good point now with our business. I don’t think we would have done this or could have done this elsewhere; people here are so helpful. We’ve had countless people offer advice and support and help us make connections to new clients. As a result we’ve been able to create a great business without sacrificing our family life.
ONB: Anything else you would like to add about the benefits of living and working in New Brunswick and why people should follow in your footsteps?
Green: I’d like to elaborate on the support we’ve received. One of the biggest challenges for me is being an introvert and the hardest part of getting started was picking up the phone to talk to someone. But the reception we’ve had from people has really built my confidence. There is a great network of entrepreneurs in this province that want New Brunswick to thrive, and they will bend over backwards to help someone else.
Want to learn more about New Brunswick, and how Opportunities NB can help grow your business? Click the button below to connect with one of our Business Development Executives.
Cover Image via AdamsGreen.ca