Frederick (Rick) W. Firlotte, Principal and past-Global President and CEO of Golder Associates Corporation, died peacefully in his sleep on April 18, 2010.
Born in Campbellton, New Brunswick, Rick joined Golder’s London, Ontario office in 1978, shortly after obtaining a Master’s Degree in Geotechnical Engineering from McGill University (Montréal). In addition to working as a geotechnical engineer, Rick’s career included a number of leadership roles. In 1989, he established the Montréal office. He oversaw Golder’s Canadian operations from 1996 until 1999, when he was appointed President of the global company.
Rick served as President of Golder’s global operations from 1999 to mid-2009, a time of tremendous growth and change for the company. In early 2000, Golder Associates was a 2,000-person operation with offices in 16 countries and gross annual revenues of $US 202 million. By the end of 2009, Golder had grown to become a 7,000-person operation with $US 882 million in gross annual revenues and a presence in 40 countries.
Rick’s legacy extends well beyond Golder’s financial performance. In his role as President of Golder’s Canadian operations, Rick responded to an issue identified in the company at the time: the need to invest in employees. Under his leadership, an internal training program was introduced that has since been adopted by operating companies across the Golder world.
In 2003, Rick co-founded The Golder Trust for Orphans, to provide support to children and families orphaned or displaced by the AIDS pandemic in Africa. Funded primarily from donations from employees and Golder’s operating companies, the Trust has raised over $US 1 million, which supports more than 1,000 children through funding provided to 11 projects in Africa.
Rick was well-liked and respected by employees and clients alike. He had a tremendous respect for the consulting profession, and had a great instinct for what would work (and what wouldn’t work) for Golder. He possessed the ability to connect with people at all levels and knew how to get people pulling in the same direction. He was a leader in the truest sense of the word and will be greatly missed by all those who knew him.
A dedicated family man, Rick is survived by his wife, France, and his two children, Nic and Elyse. In honour of Rick’s memory, a donation will be made to The Golder Trust for Orphans, a cause to which he was passionately committed.
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