Nash wins one of 50 Over 50 Awards
By Sue Tiffin
After a lifetime of being a serial entrepreneur, Brian Nash is enjoying a year of being a serial winner.
Nash, owner of Haliburton Solar and Wind, recently learned he has been named a recipient of a Wise 50 Over 50 Award, celebrating Canadian entrepreneurs who have launched an innovative business at a time when many people are focused on retirement planning.
Haliburton Solar and Wind is a locally owned service company, enabling homeowners to go off-grid and use hybrid grid tied systems, harnessing solar, wind and water power.
At the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce Business and Community Achievement Awards held in March this year, Nash through Haliburton Solar and Wind was named the winner in four categories: Skilled Trades and Industry, Customer First - Business Award, Innovation and Creativity and Business Achievement. The Wise 50 Over 50 Award marks his fifth award win of the year.
“I wasn’t expecting it but of course I was hopeful,” he said. “I thought at the time we had a pretty cool entry, particularly because Haliburton Solar and Wind is a very unique business in that we provide high-quality, reliable power systems for luxury remote properties, we deal in the high end of the market. We’re very unique that way. I thought, you know what, we’re interesting enough, and so maybe. And lo and behold.”
Other winners include entrepreneurs, who all over the age of 50, have been successful in launching a wide variety of businesses, from consulting agencies, to publishing operations, to health and wellness initiatives to bakeries.
Nash, a self-professed “serial entrepreneur,” first had a landscape business called Shoots Interior Landscaping after graduating from Guelph University in horticulture in the 1980s, and then developed a national signage management company called Signs of Change in the 1990s. Get Signage Components was established in 2002. He started Haliburton Solar and Wind in 2013, at the age of 52, opening the Haliburton Solar and Wind headquarters on the Abbey Gardens property in 2017.
As a child, Nash said he cut grass, shovelled driveways and cleaned cars.
“I can remember helping a friend with his paper route and figuring out that the money I could make in a Saturday morning washing and detailing two cars was more than making a whole week delivering newspapers,” he said. “That’s probably the point in time where I learned to focus on those opportunities with the greatest likelihood of success using limited resources.”
“It is my passion that drives my entrepreneurial spirit,” he said in his Wise 50 Over 50 profile. “It is about creating something that is strong, self-sufficient and enduring.”
Nash said he thinks he’ll always have an interest in owning and operating a business.
“It’s something that I get really, such a great sense of reward and accomplishment from that I want to do it,” he said. “Developing a new business on a hunch, that there’s a gap in the market and therefore that could create opportunity, and sort of as you move forward into that adventure, that journey, your discovery of that hunch, when it starts to show itself as being a good hunch ... that gives you great sense of reward and you just keep on going.”
“And then you get copycats and that means you’ve been really successful,” he laughed.
“Brian is a winner due to being innovative, the impact he is having on the environment, the growth potential of the company and giving back to the community,” said Wendy Mayhew, who created the 50 over 50 Awards in 2017 to recognize and celebrate Canadian entrepreneurs who started a business after the age of 50.
“I did it because older entrepreneurs, who are the newest and fastest growing group of new entrepreneurs, weren’t getting any attention,” she said. “As well, I had been told one too many times that we wouldn’t amount to anything and wouldn’t add anything to the economy. I knew that was wrong, and decided to do something about it.”
In 2017, she had 80 organizations sharing information on the awards, 100 organizations in 2018, and in 2019, 120 organizations were involved.
Nash, who was also inducted as 2019 – 2020 president of the Rotary Club of Haliburton this past June, clearly has no intentions of slowing down. He said that being an entrepreneur over 50 has been unique compared to his past ventures.
“The differences were that I found myself to be much more easily focused, and more selective and less obsessive,” he said. “The journey’s more an adventure out of wanting it, as opposed to a more obsessive journey out of need.”
For more information about the Wise 50 Over 50 Awards, visit 50over50awards.ca. For more information about Haliburton Solar and Wind visit haliburtonsolarandwind.com.