Biting Questions with Richard Smart President & CEO/Registrar of TICO
Where were you born? In Toronto
How long have you been in the business? I was CFO at Air Canada Vacations from 2003 to 2006 and since then worked for the Ontario government at TSFA (Technical Standards & Safety Authority).
How many people work for you? 23
1st impressions? I knew TICO before, and now that I’m ‘inside” I must say I’m impressed with the people and the growth and innovation since I left ACV. The industry has become a lot more complicated.
What did you want to be as a kid? A doctor. But I got the business bug in university.
What was your 1st ever job? I was a part-time bus boy at a hotel – now the Delta – in Scarborough.
What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done? Going inside the hull of a sunken wreck on a scuba dive. Scarier than a shark dive!
Any guilty pleasures? I have a sweet tooth – I blame it on my Scottish background.
What’s your favourite airline? We have a lot of great airlines in Canada…overseas, I’m going to say British Airways.
Favourite hotel? Royal Hideaway in the Riviera Maya.
What’s on your iPad? Lots of business apps such as Bloomberg plus photography apps.
What do people not know about you? I’m a bit of a political junkie and I love watching both U.S. and Canadian politics.
Any hobbies or interests? Photography and cooking.
When were you happiest? Seeing my 2 kids graduate from university. There’s a 3rd still in university.
What skill or talent do you admire in someone? I very much enjoy listening to an advanced communicator who can really engage an audience.
Is there anything you won’t eat? I like all food, all cultures. I’ve eaten ostrich, alligator…but I must admit I couldn’t deal with locusts in China.
What’s at the top of your bucket list? An African safari or the South of France because of my interest in food and wine.
Ever had a brush with fame? I ran into baseball hall of famer Cal Ripkin Jr. at a hotel in Texas. Genuinely nice guy.
What is your greatest extravagance? I probably spend more than I should on my camera equipment.
If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be? I’d encourage all our registrants to embrace change such as e-commerce and technical innovation.
If you could sit next to anyone on a long-haul flight, who would it be? Jack Nicklaus, the most successful golfer in history.
Do you have a favourite charity? Sick Kids Foundation
What will be the biggest challenge for the industry in the next 12 months? The rate of technological changes and being able to adopt them and integrate them.
What do you hope to be doing in 10 years? More travelling!