In 2004, Graham Carter and his wife decided to do what many professionals from New Zealand do – take a gap year to live and work in another country.
They came to Vancouver and never went back. They now have two children, both born here.
Carter ended up doing in B.C. what he said would have been difficult to do in New Zealand – build three companies back to back, one of which made the Ready to Rocket list while another was on last year’s Maclean’s Startup 50 list.
His latest business is Maven Consulting Ltd., a consulting firm that works with developers and utilities on power generation and transmission projects. In five years, the company has grown from a two-person operation to a 40-person company with revenues of $9 million last year.
Born and raised in New Zealand, Carter earned an engineering degree from the Auckland University of Technology. He worked for the New Zealand government for two years pursuing research before he decided to hang out his shingle there as a forestry consultant.
After his move to Vancouver, Carter met his business partner, Trevor St Germain, an engineer who worked at a local power company. When St Germain ran into a problem that needed a software fix, Carter agreed to help.
The two young entrepreneurs decided to form a consulting company, Acclaro Management Corp. Their ultimate goal was to set up a software business specializing in the power sector. But because both men were still in their early 20s and had no money to get things off the ground, they founded Acclaro to help bankroll what would become Axia Software Corp.
Maven has done some work on larger projects, like the Site C dam, but typically the company focuses on smaller energy projects, like small run-of-river projects, building substations and smaller transmission lines. The Northwest Territories is a big market for the company.
“We go for the unsexy stuff because there’s just a lot of them,” Carter said. “We’ve gone through some pretty impressive growth. We’ve delivered some pretty large projects, like tens of millions, to power companies over the five years that we’ve been in business.”
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand
Where you live now: North Vancouver
Highest level of education: Bachelor of engineering majoring in electronics and computer systems
Currently reading: Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
Currently listening to: Where the River Goes by Ambrose Akinmusire
When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up: Software developer
Profession you would most like to try: Travel agent
Toughest business or professional decision: Knowing when to pull out of things that you are emotionally invested into
Advice you would give the younger you: Enjoy each moment and milestone – it’s about the journey, not the destination
What’s left to do: Change the world
Join us to celebrate the 2018 Forty under under 40 Awards January 24, 2019, at the Vancouver Convention Centre. For tickets and event info visit https://www.biv.com/forty-under-40