Carlos Yam

CFO, WesternOne, Age 39

Carlos Yam has helped WesternOne Inc. close approximately $180 million worth of acquisitions in the past six years – transactions that catapulted the company into being an international venture with operations in B.C., Alberta, Texas and across Australia.

WesternOne generated about $6 million in revenue from equipment sales and rentals when Yam joined in 2007. Sales had grown to more than $217 million in 2012, when Investor Relations Magazine named Yam its CFO of the year in the Canadian small-cap company category.

Unlike many of his peers, Yam takes the lead on all potential acquisitions, starting with extensive due diligence and then working on efficient integration of operations.

The largest of the WesternOne acquisitions where Yam played a lead role was its $93 million purchase of Britco Structures LLP in 2011.

“I play the investor relations function in the company as well as being its CFO,” Yam said.

“I am the primary contact for our various sources of financing, including our senior lenders as well as our equity investors.”

Before joining WesternOne, Yam worked at Intrawest Corp. and was part of the finance team that steered that company’s US$2.8 billion privatization.

When Yam moved to Vancouver as a 15-year-old in 1989 from Hong Kong, he barely spoke English. He learned quickly and completed a business degree at Simon Fraser University in 1997.

He then achieved both a chartered accountant designation in Canada and a certified public accountant designation in the U.S.

After a short stint at accounting firm Ellis Foster, he landed a job at PricewaterhouseCoopers and spent five years at the global consulting company. One of those years was spent in Singapore.

Outside work, Yam plays tennis, snowboards and spends time with wife Linda and their two daughters, Chloe and Claire.

He volunteers both for his local church and at his daughters’ school.

“I want to be a good example for new immigrants and to show that in Canada there are plentiful opportunities for a person who wasn’t born here to prosper,” he said.