THE MAN OF MANY FIRSTS
Brian Jean was one of the first students to attend and graduate from Bond University. He was the first ever Bond Student Council President, the first Canadian to graduate with a Bond degree, and now he has become the first Bond Alumnus to be appointed Parliamentary Secretary.
Whilst travelling in Australia in 1989, Brian was impressed with the location, design and quality of the soon to open Bond University and the strong qualifications of the Professors. He applied for, and was accepted into the MBA program. Upon graduating with his MBA he stayed on at Bond to complete a Bachelor of Laws.
During his time at Bond, Brian was heavily involved in student life. He lived on campus for two semesters and was elected as the inaugural Bond University Student Council President. Brian was also involved in creating the university’s Student Constitution and was a member of the JESSUP Moot team. He says, “Bond University changed my life. I took the hard work ethic I learnt from my family and learnt how to focus that work ethic while attending Bond.”
After completing his studies, Brian returned to Canada and articled with a Fort McMurray law firm, becoming a partner and practising for 11 years. During that time, he also bought his family’s printing and sign shop, (his family launched the first town newspaper in Fort McMurray). On top of that, he purchased land, built one of Alberta’s most successful carwash businesses and opened a Quizno’s Sub shop, which continues to post Canada’s top ten sales figures.
"Our net worth as a family has gone up ten times in the last ten years - from $2 million to $20 million,” Brian said.
Running for government for the first time in 2004 as a member of The Conservative Party of Canada, Brian was successfully elected with a 60 percent majority. In his new role as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Brian may be facing his biggest challenge yet.
“My Constituance has serious transportation and infrastructure issues and I am glad that I will now be in a position to work constructively on these challenges,” he said.
Fort McMurray/Athabasca has 98% of Canada’s oil reserves, with $36 billion invested in the oil sands from 1996 to 2004, with perhaps another $56 billion to come by 2015.
However, the area is facing serious inflation issues. Brian has felt the effects himself through his Quizno's Subs business.
“Quizno’s, for instance, is forced to close during standard business hours at least once a week because of shortages of staff. Staff aren't giving any notice, they just don’t show up because they have received a better-paying job down the street. And I’m paying my staff well above the national average at $14 - $15 an hour (the national average in the food service industry ranges between $6 - $9 per hour),” he said.
Another major issue Brian will be tackling in his new role is the traffic problems of the major highway into Fort McMurray. Due to the high living costs, many people working in the area choose to live in outer suburbs, some driving up to five hours to get to work. The result is tens of thousands of commuters travelling on a single road, which cannot cope with the heavy traffic flow. Recognising the seriousness of the issue, Brian chooses to lead by example by not travelling on Thursday, Friday or Saturday nights - the worst nights for traffic.
“I will not let my kids on the highway during those days and I’ve made a position that my campaign workers are not allowed to travel then as well. And nobody fights that, let me tell you. Nobody complains,” he said.
Brian added the role of Parliamentary Secretary is an important one in the legislative process.
“A Minister’s time is at premium and it will fall to me to be his eyes and ears in the House and in the Committee. I will help shepherd legislation through the process when the Minister cannot. It is an honour to be chosen and I am up to the challenge,” Brian said.
A proud Bondy, Brian is pleased to see the university is still thriving and prospering.
“My time at Bond was a very special time in my life and one that I remember fondly. I still keep in contact with most of my close friends and look forward to one day revisiting the beautiful campus,” he said.
Brian can be contacted via email@example.com or visit his website for further contact details: www.brianjean.ca