Jamil Murji, president and CEO of Inter-Urban Delivery Service Ltd., appeared destined to be a numbers man. Even as a young boy he showed an uncanny proclivity for crunching data.
“When I was in elementary school I did one of those surveys about what career I wanted,” he said. “Out popped ‘analyst.’ I didn’t even know what that meant.”
He soon learned. After obtaining an undergraduate degree from Simon Fraser University in computer science he got an MBA from the Richard Ivy School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. After graduating he was faced with choosing which area of business he wanted to pursue.
Never one to make decisions without careful research, Murji set to work investigating which career would best suit his abilities. He took 50 meetings with career professionals across a spectrum of jobs, grilling them on the details of their work and taking note of those elements that he felt would best suit his skills.
He distilled the information and decided on a job conducting equity research for a big bank. He worked in the equity research industry for nine years, analyzing financial strategies and stock trends for a handful of companies, including BMO.
But the dream of owning and running his own business never left him. With personal investment capital in hand he set out to find and purchase a business.
Any area of business, he reasoned, would satisfy him. But he was very particular about the specific qualities of the business he would purchase. First, he wanted a business with a motivated seller, not an opportunistic owner, or one just testing the waters. Nor did he want a business with a significant problem.
Secondly, he wanted a business that was scalable and that had a strong customer base in a niche market. “Over 10 months, I looked at 61 companies,” Murji said. With relentless drive, he read their books, analyzed their customer base and checked out their market segments.
In the end, he decided on Inter-Urban. With more than $6.5 million in revenue, an 11,000-square-foot warehouse and same-day service to the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Washington state, the company has become a fast-growing industry leader.
Birthplace: Calgary, Alberta
Where you live now: Vancouver
Highest level of education: MBA
Currently reading: Transportation Systems: A Canadian Perspective, published by CITT; Scaling Up by Verne Harnish; The Number by Lee Eisenberg
Currently listening to: Kings of Leon; music podcast Private Sessions by Nuno Carvalho
When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up: A business owner
Profession you would most like to try: University professor
Toughest business or professional decision: Quit a lucrative job in finance to buy a business
Advice you would give the younger you: Persevere. If it were easy, everyone would do it
Join us to celebrate the 2015 Forty under under 40 Awards January 27, 2016 at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel. For tickets and event info visit www.biv.com/events/40under40.