A Bad Omen Proven Wrong

Celebrating 50 Years: Big decisions and bad omens would turn many people away, not Don Turri

Don Turri
Don Turri Kelowna Partner

Some moments in life are more memorable than others. The day I first met Iain MacKay was one of those memorable moments.

It was in June of 1987. At the time my colleague John Bayer and I were working in the Kelowna office of a national accounting firm and had decided to leave and start our own practice. MacKay & Partners (as it was then known) had just acquired a small firm in Kelowna. A friend of mine from UBC was working with MacKay & Partners and called me asking if I had an interest in switching firms. I had no knowledge of MacKay & Partners but the timing was good so John and I arranged to go to Vancouver to visit with Iain MacKay.

We flew down and took a taxi to the Vancouver office, which was then on the corner of Hornby and Davie. We were about 30 minutes early and were standing outside the building on the sidewalk when a pigeon on a wire above unloaded on me. And not just a little bit; a whole lot! My suit was covered in pigeon poop as was my hair (yes, if you look at photos from the day I had hair).

I said to John that this was a bad omen, and maybe we should just go back to the airport. He persuaded me to clean up as best I could and so we went up to see Iain.

We had a great meeting with him, he told us about the firm and his vision for it. Their new Kelowna office needed a couple of younger leaders to move it forward and if we were interested in pursuing this opportunity they were interested in us. Iain’s forthright approach and obvious leadership abilities were inspiring.

We began a period of due diligence which was to culminate in a decision by the partners of the firm to bring John and I on. There was to be a partners meeting at a remote lodge in the Yukon (if I recall the location correctly) and Iain was to call us on a Thursday evening at 7 pm to tell us how it went. John and I sat at his place eating ice cream and waiting for a call that never came. We were a bit discouraged, but we heard from Iain a couple of days later. He apologized but the only communication out of the lodge back in 1987 was via radio phone (and we didn’t have one).

Everything had gone well at the meeting and we were to start September 14, 1987. For good measure, Iain threw us a large Kelowna based winery audit that had previously been done out of Vancouver office.

Ignoring the pigeon, meeting with Iain and joining up with MacKay & Partners was the defining moment in both of our careers.


Don Turri

Partner, Kelowna

Former Managing Director (Kelowna) and Firm Chairperson

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