20 Years True: A Letter From the President

What does it mean to remain true? 

I’ve grown up immersed in entrepreneurship. My dad owned and operated a successful business, and I credit him as my earliest role model. His hard work, commitment to excellence, and relentless drive compelled me to start a business in my late teens. Despite my dad’s successful track record, entrepreneurship proved itself to be harder than I anticipated.

I attempted and failed three times trying to get an international trade business off the ground, then dusted myself off and enrolled in the marketing management program at BCIT in hopes of getting my career on track. After graduation, I found myself in the real estate leasing and financing world where I continued to stumble and fall.

For three years, I was surviving on my Visa and a line of credit. My budget was so tight that my weekly splurge consisted of a muffin and a cup of coffee on Friday mornings; My Muffin Fridays. The situation was looking bleak until my dear friend Jeremy Tiffin stepped in and recruited me to work with him at an international tech recruiting firm­–an opportunity I’m eternally grateful for.

My first taste of success was earning a spot in the top 10 recruiters list at the firm. And, for the first time, I felt inspired by this purposeful career path which centred around creating opportunity for others, and by association, for myself. Things were looking great until the 2001 recession hit, when my colleague (and soon-to-be business partner) and I found ourselves in the same situation as so many others. We were back at square one; forced to decide on our next career move and motivated to take a swing at starting something we believed in. With a renewed sense of confidence, lessons learned from previous failures, and my dad’s support, I took a leap of faith and started West Pacific Consulting Group, the beginnings of what is now IT/IQ Tech Recruiters.  

Me on day one of West Pacific Consulting Group in my parents’ Surrey basement.

Because of the support from a number of amazing people at that time–my family; my business partner­, Lloyd Kinney; the team I was so incredibly lucky to work with; and the clients and candidates who believed in us from the start–we were able to build a gazelle company which took off and started growing at 20% + per annum.

During the first 12 years we experienced incredible growth. Yet, in between the peaks of success were tough decisions, failures, setbacks, and many lessons. At each of these stages, I always knew there was something bigger and better to come. The desire to create more opportunity for our company, as well as our clients and candidates, kept me motivated. Inevitably, competing visions and priorities amongst our internal team made for tough decisions filled with reluctance and mixed emotions, which resulted in the parting of ways. 

The IT/IQ team has changed significantly over the years, and I have profound gratitude for each of the individuals who helped move this company forward at different stages of its growth.

In 2012, our current leaders joined our team, beginning with Joe Dias and Martin Perko, who have become a stabilizing influence over the last decade while growing our operations. Together, we re-committed to becoming a national recruitment firm and endured the growing pains as we adapted to meet the challenges along the way. Today, our 50+ person team spans across Canada and operates within three provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario. 

My proudest achievement in business, without a doubt, is our team. Every Wednesday (IT/IQ’s Culture Day) we all come together at the office to build and strengthen internal relationships over breakfast. Surrounded by the success and energy of our team, I’m reminded of humble beginnings; Muffin Fridays. 

I may have sparked this business 20 years ago, but it takes a team of incredible people to achieve enduring success for two decades. Thank you to everyone who has come along on this journey and remained true to our dream: past and present team members, leaders, clients, and candidates. I must give special thanks to my dad, who believed in me and had my back from day one; my business partner, Lloyd, who provided confidence and support during those early growth stages; my brother, Tony, who has always been my number one supporter; my business coach, Rosemary, for shaping and building me as a leader and making me a better, more accountable human; and Joe Dias and Martin Perko, for their unwavering support, commitment, and belief in IT/IQ.

Finally, and most importantly–my heartfelt thanks to my wife, ­­­Christyn, for her constant love and support. She has seen and stood by me through the absolute highs, lows, and everything in between. As complicated as I like to make things, she never fails to simplify the seemingly impossible challenges.

A look inside my Vancouver office today.

ITIQ 20 Years True is a fitting description of what we have achieved thus far as a team, and our commitment to our people, our purpose, and our dream. 

The outlook for IT/IQ’s future is incredibly bright. We are ambitiously pursuing our vision of connecting people through global opportunity, and I couldn’t imagine a stronger team heading into the next 20 years of successes, more learnings, and growth. 

Feras Elkhalil 

ITIQ Tech Recruiters 

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