Our Local Hero for the month of March will undoubtedly be familiar to many Guelphites. Born and raised in the Royal City, Dan Cremasco comes from a large family, currently bringing up its 4th and 5th generations in the community. Dan served as the manager of BDO Canada’s Guelph office, a post he held for several decades. He and his organization provide accounting and auditing services for a diverse range of local businesses.
Yet most will have heard of Dan through his ‘extracurricular’ involvements. Over the years, Dan has lead a number of local organizations. He chaired the board of the Guelph Chamber of Commerce, the board of the Guelph Community Foundation, and he currently serves as vice-chair of the board of St. Joseph’s Health Centre. In addition to these roles, Dan is a Life Member of the Kinsmen Club of Fergus and District.
As a result of these past commitments, Dan was awarded the FCPA designation by CPA Ontario in 2006. This honorary title is conferred upon CPAs who set themselves apart with their community leadership and distinction in the accounting profession. Dan’s history of service was no doubt a factor in the award — and it’s part of why he’s our Local Hero for the month of March as well!
Growing up, Dan’s father was a house painter and a parent of eight. Dan describes the situation bluntly; his family often struggled to stay afloat and, when it came to education, Dan’s father did not have the means to support Dan’s university career and desire to become an accountant.
As a result, Dan had to balance his academic studies with a series of co-op programs that funded his education. From the way Dan tells it, going into accounting was an easy decision — and one that he made early in life.
“My uncle was a CPA,” he told us. “He said it would be a good profession and I agreed with him. That’s what I’ve wanted to do ever since.”
He attended the University of Waterloo, and began working with BDO during his first summer co-op in 1972. He was hired full-time in 1975 after graduating. Looking back on these early co-op experiences, Dan stresses the value of mixing work and education at a young age.
“Academic training and practical experience don’t always intersect,” he explained. “Co-ops are a great way to combine both and see what the real world application is like.”
Career at BDO
When Dan joined BDO, it was called G.H. Ward & Partners — a small accounting firm at the time. It would evolve over time to become a founding member of today’s BDO, a global leader in accounting and assurance, based in Brussels, Belgium. BDO consistently ranks as one of the top accounting firms in the world, placing #5 for 2015, with over 100 offices located in Canada alone.
The team at BDO have always given back, both as a corporation and as individuals. They are a proud partner of Farm Credit Canada’s “Drive Away Hunger” campaign and their local office works closely with the United Way of Guelph Wellington. But most importantly (from Dan’s perspective) are the expectations they place on individual partners, managers, and other employees to simply give back — whenever they have the chance.
“Anywhere we have people in the community, we encourage them to participate,” Dan told us. “There are a whole host of organizations we support. Beyond healthcare, we get involved in minor sports, chambers of commerce, sponsor families for the Christmas drive — it is very grassroots at the local level.”
Commitment to Community
Dan’s commitment to his community is an integral part of what distinguishes him as a Local Hero. When we sat down to chat, we took the opportunity to dig a little deeper into this orientation and how it ties him to The Ostic Group.
“If you give of yourself to a community, you are the biggest beneficiary.” Dan told us, by way of summary.
His personal philosophy is that community involvement satisfies certain deeper needs — emotional, even spiritual ones — for an individual. When you help the community, you help yourself as well. This orientation was also the basis for Dan’s strong relationship with Ivan and Jamie Ostic (of The Ostic Group), which began with BDO over 40 years ago.
“When you start doing business, you look for certain role models,” Dan explains. “Key mentors that you can emulate when you approach running your own business. When I met Ivan and Jamie, I liked the integrity, the honesty, and the ability that I saw. They said what they did, and did what they said.”
Dan described how he took this approach and incorporated it into his own management style at BDO. He also followed their lead by providing key community support — not just with donations, but also with time — for valuable fundraising initiatives in Guelph.
“As an accountant, you get to see how businesses are run from the inside,” he told us, “and it was clear that they [Ivan and Jamie Ostic] treated people right. As a leader, you need to set a good example to promote ethical practices in your organization.”
Dan certainly aspires to be that kind of leader at BDO. From his history of service in the community, to ongoing efforts to operate BDO Guelph with an ethical framework, Dan’s leadership continues to guide like-minded individuals in Guelph and the surrounding area. And that’s why he’s our Local Hero for the month of March 🙂
To learn more about The Ostic Group, you can contact us here.