Early years: From the Farm to Fort McMurray
Born in Eastern Ontario, Laurie lived on farms north of Kingston and in Prince Edward County. “I still have the farm in Prince Edward County and use it as a getaway place.
He studied at the University of Western Ontario and stayed in London, working for KPMG to obtain his CA designation. Tugman came to Toronto as his wife, also a CA, was working in Toronto. She is from Bracebridge and Gravenhurst in the Muskoka area. The couple spent many years there, but Laurie left the CA firm fairly quickly. “I earned the CA designation for the same reason some people get their MBA. It was a way to learn business. In 1980 he got his first job in industry, working for the Suncor corporate office in Toronto in a financial capacity. He then transferred to Fort McMurray, Alberta for five years.
The couple traveled west with an infant and welcomed a second son there. “It was a great place to be in the early 80s. We both worked and were very active in the community. I belonged to Rotary and United Way. I was probably one of the youngest managers on a site with more than 2000 employees. It was a case of having the technical qualifications, while gaining lots of business experience that you wouldn’t get in almost any organization at that time.” Suncor was supportive of community involvement and training. He feels that it was a great experience; not only from a practical, day-to-day basis, but that they were also very good on access to professional development.
At 31, he left Fort McMurray. He did not want to spend the rest of his career there and even then, the oil sands business influenced Suncor to the exclusion of other businesses. “As much as I was on a great career track, I think my CA designation and my experience in Fort McMurray allowed me return to Ontario in a senior finance role, where I was hired by a waste management company called Tricil.”