NEWS RELEASE: Rob Wildeboer, Martinrea, Receives “Entrepreneurial Leaders Award” from ELO

NEWS RELEASE – TORONTO, CANADA – November 30, 2018 – ELO presented Rob Wildeboer with the “Entrepreneurial Leaders Award” on November 22nd, 2018 at the ELO Forum in Toronto.  As Dr. Richard (Rick) J. Goossen, Chairman, ELO, noted, “Rob is a well-deserving recipient of the Award and his nomination was enthusiastically endorsed by individuals in the business and non-profit sector.”  

Rob is the Executive Chairman and co-founder of Martinrea International Inc., a global auto parts supplier, specializing in automotive fluid systems and metal forming products.  Martinrea has over 15,000 employees at 38 divisions in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Europe and China and generates almost $4 billion in revenue.  Previously, Rob was a partner of Wildeboer Dellelce LLP, a law firm that practises corporate, securities and tax law that he co-founded in 1993, and he remains Counsel to the firm.  Prior to that, he was a lawyer with Stikeman, Elliott; an associate professor of law at Osgoode Hall Law School, where he taught corporate law and corporate finance; and a regulator with the Ontario Securities Commission.   

Rob is Vice-Chairman of the Auto Parts Manufacturers Association (APMA); a director of the Canadian Automotive Partnership Counsel (CAPC); a member of the Ontario Manufacturing Council; a member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Minister of Finance of Canada; and Chair of the CEO Manufacturing Advisory Council.   

He has been a director or adviser of numerous charitable organizations. He is actively involved in his church and denomination and a wide range of worthy causes.  He is Chair of Cardus, a faith-based think tank.  He was Chair of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute for eight years and is now on their Advisory Board.  He has been on the Ontario Advisory Board for Entrepreneurial Leaders Organization for five years.  

In 2012, he received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his contributions to Canada. Rob holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Guelph, a law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School, an MBA from York University, and an LLM from Harvard University.  

The purpose of the ELO Entrepreneurial Leaders Award to recognize the track record of a person(s) who can serve as an inspiration to others to pursue Christian entrepreneurial leadership.  Rob meets all the criteria for Identifying a suitable nominee.

  • Exemplifies the qualities of entrepreneurial leadership that are embedded in a Christian worldview
  • International stature with significant influence
  • Long-term influence in their chosen profession, whether directly or indirectly related to Christian ministry
  • Success in business based on a thorough assessment of financial performance, strategic direction and product or service innovation
  • Community involvement, whether church, para-church or philanthropic activities
  • Outstanding reputation for integrity in terms of living out faith

The person must be a role model to inspire other entrepreneurs to others to greater heights of significance. 

Rob was also interviewed by Dr. Richard (Rick) J. Goossen during the course of the ELO Forum.  Rob highlighted that one of the ten principles of doing business at Martinrea is “the Golden Rule.” Rob explained that, “People have said to me, “that principle sounds pretty religious”. It is. The Golden Rule is a straight lift from the Bible in a number of places. They are the words of Jesus Christ, the Christ of Christmas. Love God, and Love your neighbour as yourself. Love does no harm to its neighbour, and so love is the fulfillment of the law. 

But notwithstanding the fact that this is a Christian principle, it is universal. I understand some form of this rule is found in at least 8 religions. But still, it is the most associated with Christianity. Is it not a wonderful principle for business? Is it not a wonderful way to succeed in business? Why would you not treat your employee the way you would want to be treated? Or your customer? Or the people who lend you money, or invest in your company? Or the person who supplies you with goods? Or the local mayor or the local government who is trying to help you or, in turn, tax you or regulate you? 

So, for me, this is the key principle of my approach to work, and to public service.

And so, for me, the Golden Rule is not just a good rule for business - - it is something to live out fully on a daily basis. It gives me peace with God and with my neighbor and it makes me happy in my work.”