Taped to a wall of Joe McFarlane’s office is a human-shaped target riddled with bullet holes. Asked why, he explains all of the company’s top brass have been encouraged to get their handgun licenses and take up target shooting. “It’s a good way to blow off steam,” he says. “We have some of our most productive meetings at the range.” McFarlane is no stranger to danger. He left a cushy gig as a controller with NAV Energy Trust in 2004 to co-found Sabretooth Energy Ltd., where he looks after the company’s financial health as its chief financial officer.
Under McFarlane’s fiscal eye, Sabretooth has grown from three staff to 20, as well as undergone a series of acquisitions and was listed on the TSX. “There is tremendous satisfaction seeing something you helped start grow,” he says. “I’m sure farmers have the same sort of feeling during harvest.”
McFarlane cut his financial teeth working for EnCana Corp. and Ernst and Young, handling the auditing services for a portfolio of international clients that had him romping around the world. On a trip to Kazakhastan, McFarlane met his wife. She spoke little English, but that didn’t stop him. “My Russian was good enough to get me a date,” he says.
A Calgary kid who grew up on ski hills, McFarlane trained with the likes of Canadian alpine legends Thomas Grandi and Ed Podovinski. When not skiing down a mountain, he is often pedalling through them. This past summer he did the TransRockies mountain-biking race from Panorama to Fernie. “I didn’t do it to win,” he says. “I did it to have a good time.”
Ann and Sandy