Steve Dyck was our guest speaker this week with his Classification Talk which is now known in our club as an Up Close & Personal presentation. Our club loves these opportunities to get to know more about newer members!

Steve joined Rotary in October 2019 with the classification “Solar Energy.”  He is the owner of Guelph Solar, a rapidly growing company headquartered in Guelph.  Steve was the Green Party candidate in the last Federal Election.

Steve's life story is fascinating, especially as he marvels at the changes that have occurred. What hasn't ever changed is his constant love of people, starting with his family, and living up to his lifelong value for decision-making: Will it be beneficial to all?
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Some highlights from Steve's talk today:
  • Growing up on a farm in Northern Alberta, with his mum and dad, an older brother and a younger sister - recalling that money was tight but his family was hardworking and resourceful. 
  • As a young boy, helping to clear the family land for farming by cutting down forest trees and burning them - the exact opposite of what he advocates today as an environmentalist - an irony that struck him when he was helping plant trees at Guelph's Rotary Forest. 
  • Becoming something of a "motorhead" growing up, as many farm boys do, by helping to fix engines and equipment. He still loves engines.
  • Studying math at university, with a leaning towards engineering.
  • Meeting his lovely wife Vera at college, and being happily married now for almost 30 years.
  • Being so proud of their two children who are in their twenties now:
    • Nathan, working towards his PhD in Philosophy at York University (and also a talented musician)
    • Amber, who has recently defended her Masters in Biology at University of Ottawa (a force of nature and activist)
  • While Steve and Vera and their family call Guelph home, his original family remained in Alberta. The farm was sold in 2001 and most of his relatives now work in the oil and gas industry there. This is a paradox and tension for Steve, given his work in the solar industry and with the Green Party ... but love runs through and connects all!
  • Being stunned to lose his very good job in the 2008 financial crisis, and having to take stock of his life and future.
  • Starting Guelph Solar, having what he now thinks is the best job in the world, working with a phenomenal team.
  • The solar business is not easy, though. He reckons that some 2,000 solar businesses set up in Ontario since 2009 but only 10, maybe 20, have survived.
  • Constantly having to keep up with technology developments and steer his business accordingly. For example, becoming a certified installer for solar-charged Tesla batteries. Steve himself drives an electric car. 
  • Ensuring that Guelph Solar is Socially Responsible, a strong reputation that they have built and constantly maintain.
  • His family being involved with supporting refugees ("Come From Aways") arriving and settling in Guelph.
The changing arc of Steve's life is fascinating, and still in the making! Our club members are so glad that Steve chose to join our club and become such a valued Rotarian. By his values, he always was one, but now he has the official badge!