Biting Questions with Steve Ruddy, COO & S.V.P. Finance, TPI Travel

Open Jaw

Steve Ruddy

Where were you born? In Renfrew, outside Ottawa.

How long have you been in the business? This is my 1st full-time travel gig – I've been here since February 1st this year. But I have been acting as an executive advisor to TPI President & CEO Morris Chia for the past 6 years.

How many people work for you? At the head office here in Winnipeg we are about 40 plus there are 10 to 15 staff across the country.

What's the best part of the job? As an outsider, coming from banking and insurance, I see the energy and buzz of people associated with the travel industry. It's distinct and at all levels. It's very positive. And yes it's early days for me, but I've met some wonderful people on the ground here - lots of talent and dedication.

What did you want to be as a kid? A Beatle.

What was your 1st ever job? Paper boy for the Ottawa Journal. On a relative basis it paid quite well!

What's the scariest thing you've ever done? Rapelling down a 35 story building as part of a fundraiser for Easter Seals was pretty heart-stopping. Would I do it again? Sure!

Any guilty pleasures? Who doesn't have guilty pleasures? (Laughs)

What's your favourite airline? I like both Air Canada and WestJet.

Favourite hotel? Fairmont is wonderful.

What do people not know about you? In my high school and university days I performed in rock bands and cut records, playing keyboard and rhythm guitar. I loved making people dance! I still do a half-dozen gigs a year.

When were you happiest? The first time I held my babies – girls now 26 and 27, they are the centre of my life.

What skill or talent do you admire in someone? Perseverance.

Is there anything you won't eat? Anything eely, snakey, reptiley.

What's at the top of your bucket list? The Greek Islands.

How do you spend your frequent flyer points? I treat myself and other people to special trips, like New Orleans and Holland.

What is your greatest extravagance? Clothes.

If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be? I would try to better connect the value chain from supply to the consumer.

If you could sit next to anyone on a long-haul flight, who would it be? The Dalai Lama.

What kind of car do you drive? A loaded Ford Focus. It's 3 years old and has 12,000 kms on it. I drive very, very little. If I didn't have to have a car, I wouldn't.

Do you have a favourite charity? For years I've served on the board of 1835 House, a men's addiction recovery centre in Calgary.

What will be the biggest challenge for the industry in the next 12 months? Outbound travel is going to be deeply affected by our economy and the exchange rate.

What do you hope to be doing in 10 years? I plan to continue my executive advisory work, at least a couple of days a week, but doing it from a warm place with a pair of shorts and a t-shirt on!

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