JC Fraser

Forty Under 40 Winner 2016: General manager, Vancouver Canadians, Age 33

JC Fraser was a sports fan growing up in Vancouver, but not specifically a baseball fan – not too surprising in a city without its own major-league team.

“If you were from Vancouver and you knew who the Canadians were in 2005, you were very much in the minority,” said the general manager of the Vancouver Canadians baseball club. “This team was completely obscure. The place was falling apart. Minor-league baseball had given up on us.”

Today, it’s a whole other ball game.

The Canadians were recognized in 2013 as the best-operated team in minor league baseball out of around 160 teams – the rest of which are based in the U.S. – and the players now entertain mostly sold-out crowds in a revitalized Nat Bailey Stadium.

From that multimillion-dollar stadium renovation to achieving the highest per-game attendance rate of any team in the league after Triple-A franchises, Fraser has left a mark on the club since signing on as an intern nine years ago.

“I kind of made the decision. … Instead of working extremely hard, doing very laborious, bad jobs for bad money, I would take on a really good job for bad money,” said Fraser.

Within a year, Fraser had taken over the organization’s fan services area, managing ushers, security staff and medical personnel at less than half the age of most of them.

“From there we were able to develop, I think, a customer service standard that is consistently rated above any other teams in Vancouver,” said Fraser, who’s very proud of the fan experience that’s re-energized the Canadians’ brand.

With the Northwest League of Professional Baseball’s Executive of the Year award under his belt, Fraser will continue to challenge himself at work – and in the classroom as he tackles an executive MBA from Simon Fraser University.

“I was told by numerous people that I was insane for trying to do it when I had two kids under two years old at home, but whether I do it now with two young children or do it four years from now when they’re six and four, and I have to be at their baseball games, it just seemed to me that this is as good a time as any to accomplish it.”

Join us to celebrate the 2016 Forty under under 40 Awards January 25, 2017 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. For tickets and event info visit www.biv.com/events/40under40