Is he dull? Rod Gonzales wants to know. After the magazine interview comes a followup call. “Did I say anything interesting?” he nervously inquires. “I think I came across as boring.” Rest assured, this man is far too busy to induce yawns. An accomplished classical pianist, Gonzales spends up to 30 hours a week satisfying his musical inklings. He takes voice lessons, sings in the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra chorus and even hits the ivories at his church.
Gonzales grew up in Hay River, a town of 3,000 in the Northwest Territories. At five, he took up the piano to stay sane during the long winters. Later, it helped him pay for university. While earning an engineering degree at the University of Alberta, he twinkled tunes for ballet classes. He earned a few bucks, even picked up a twirl or two. “I learned every move, dance step and exercise – from the beginner level up to the performing ballet.”
That passion for music is rivalled by Gonzales’ grit for problem solving. “Business is about being able to break down a situation in a manner that people can understand, then resolving any problems so everything can forge forward,” he says.
In 2006, Gonzales began working at Colt Engineering, after an eight-year stint in the petrochemical industry. Last year, he did the initial strategy work that led to the $1-billion acquisition of Colt by WorelyParsons. “I contributed to one of the biggest plays in the engineering consulting world,” he says A high-strung extrovert, Gonzale’s cluttered desk tells the tale of how he operates – in and out of the office. “It is an absolute mess, little sticky notes everywhere. But when it comes to getting things done, somehow it all works out.”
committee and board
of directors, Honens
Music and liturgy
director, St. Luke’s