I was born, raised and educated in Saltcoats, Saskatchewan. After moving to Alberta in 1971, I enrolled in the Columbia School of Broadcasting and began my media career in 1972. For eight years I was a radio and television news reporter in Edmonton and area.
In 1980, Premier Lougheed offered me the position of press secretary, which I accepted and served until 1985. As the Premier’s press secretary, I participated in a number of federal-provincial conferences, and was at the side of the Premier during the Constitutional Accord of 1982 and the energy negotiations of the early 1980s. After Premier Lougheed retired, I accepted the position of Trade Director of Western U.S. Operations in Los Angeles for Alberta Economic Development, from 1986 to 1991.
In 1991, I joined Telus and was involved on the teams which completed the purchase of ED TEL and the BC TEL merger. I was also part of the rebranding team from AGT to TELUS. From 2000 to 2004 I ran my own public relations/communications consulting business and operated a childcare centre in downtown Calgary for five years.
Returning to politics in 2004, I sought and won the provincial riding of Calgary-West. I served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta from 2004-2012.
In December 2006 I was sworn in as Minister of Education. During my term I was instrumental in negotiating a five year labour agreement with the Alberta Teachers Association and resolving the longstanding unfunded pension liability issue.
Following the general election in March 2008 I was appointed Minister of Health and Wellness. In January 2010 I was appointed Minister of Energy for the province. I led the competitiveness review of the oil and gas industry which addressed issues with Alberta’s royalty structure. I began the process of streamlining the regulatory process which resulted in the creation of the single regulator for oil and gas. During my term as Energy minister the province also negotiated the contract which will see the first heavy oil upgrader constructed under the province’s bitumen-in-kind program.
Following the provincial leadership I was appointed Minister of Finance in October 2011 by the new Premier. I served in that role until May of 2012 when I did not seek re-election and returned to the private sector.
I served as a director of the board of Calgary’s Pinebrook Golf Club and currently serve on the board of the Slopes community association. I am committed to community and have donated my time to many community endeavours including organizing a number of fundraisers and sports celebrity dinners.
I currently operate a consulting business and partner with Canadian Strategy Group.
My wife, Linda, and I have lived in Calgary Signal Hill for almost 15 years and have two adult children who have chosen to live in two other Calgary Signal Hill communities.