Thursday, August 18, 2016

#NahanniTeam2016: Mark Burton

The arrival of float planes in the mid 20th century greatly increased access to the river, and allowed it to be visited without extended backcountry journeys. This, and the publishing of R.M. Patterson’s Dangerous River, made the South Nahanni an outdoor destination.

In 1972, during his last expedition, Jean Poirel guided then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who came in person to evaluate this mysterious and fascinating region. Following his visit Pierre Trudeau declared the Nahanni a National Park for Canada.

Our next #NahanniTeam2016 paddler is Mark Burton. Mark is no stranger to taking on adventures with Outward Bound Canada, having taken on Everest Base Camp earlier this year. Here's what Mark has to say about his next challenge, the Nahanni:

My name is Mark Burton. I am incredibly lucky to have one wife, three teenage kids, and three dogs. We split our time between our house in Unionville, Ontario, and our cottage in Muskoka.

Professionally, my background is a bit eclectic. I have a science degree from Queen's University and a law degree from the University of Western Ontario. I was a partner at a big Toronto law firm, prior to which I was a lawyer on "Wall Street" in New York City. I specialized in corporate law, with an emphasis on initial public offerings, VC financings and mergers and acquisitions. I have been a partner at a "Big Four" accounting firm, working on the consulting side in restructuring and turnaround situations. I've been the CEO of 5 small to mid sized technology companies, 2 of which were TSX listed public companies and 3 of which were venture capital (VC) backed. All of these companies were ultimately sold to large public technology companies. I have been a member of quite a few private, public and not-for-profit boards of directors and advisory boards, and recently joined the Outward Bound board. Currently, I am "temporarily semi-retired", and doing strategy, operations and transactions consulting work for a small number of private clients.

Personally, I love sports, fitness and outdoor adventure. I am a climber, a golfer, a pilot, a scuba diver, a sailor, a skier, a backpacker, a paddler and an avid beer-league hockey player. At one time I worked for the Canadian Coast Guard in search and rescue.  A long time ago I did Ironman triathlons in Canada and Hawaii.

In March 2016, I was lucky enough to be part of the Outward Bound Reach Beyond Expedition to Nepal and Everest Base Camp.  It was such an incredible experience that when the opportunity came along to join the Outward Bound expedition to the Nahanni River, I jumped at the chance. Two bucket list trips in 6 months – all thanks to Outward Bound!

During the many outdoor expeditions I have been part of, I have seen first hand how impactful and inspiring outdoor adventures can be. The funds raised by Outward Bound, through expeditions like this one and through the generous contributions of sponsors, provide those that might not be able to afford it with the chance to experience the power that the outdoors has to inspire, empower and, in some cases, heal. I am honoured to be able to play a small part in the great work that Outward Bound does for so many.

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