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Dean Smalley

2011 Newmarket

Dean Smalley, part owner of A&B Courier, gets far more from his philanthropic endeavours than he gives. “It’s something I do for selfish reasons: the good feelings; the sense of community and the knowledge that, with the help of our team at A&B Courier, I’m helping others.”

Dean, a Newmarket native, still lives in his hometown with his wife, Lee-Ann and his son Cross. Back when Dean was attending Western University, he and his brother, Dewane, decided to purchase their father’s business, A&B Courier. At the time they had one vehicle and a tiny office. All the systems were old fashioned and time consuming. Today A&B Courier offers worldwide overnight courier and messenger service, LTL (less than truck load) and FTL (full truck load) services, and Load Brokering and International Cargo services throughout Metro GTA.

A few years ago Dean and his brother decided to try a revolutionary approach to business. Instead of working for their company – they decided to make their company work for them. They brought in state-of-the-art technology and built ‘company owner controls’, utilizing computerized systems to improve efficiency. In embracing new technology they had more time to devote to family life and supporting their community.

Steve Hinder, Manager of Community Relations at Magna International, helped to shape the framework for their community giving. Realizing that it is impossible to support every worthwhile charity in York Region, A&B Courier selected only those they felt “proactively eliminate and solve essential community issues.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters of York is a charity that meets this criterion. As a child who watched his mother, a nurse, struggle after his parents divorced, Dean recognized the need to provide solid mentoring to children in one parent families. A&B Courier has supported Big Brother Big Sister Bowl for Kids since 2007 and has committed to providing annual sponsorship for at least the next ten years. Dean has worked personally on this event and has been Ambassador from 2007 to 2011. When asked why A&B Courier chose to support Big Brothers Big Sisters for this long term, Dean was quick in replying “kids are our future.”

Other initiatives supported by Dean and A&B Courier include:

  • Newmarket Chamber of Commerce - Director (2006), Vice Chair (2007), Chairman of the Board (2008), Past Chair (2009)

  • Big Brother Big Sister Bowl for Kids - Ambassador - 2007 – 2011

  • Relay for Life – A&B Courier is a Survivor Sponsor and has supported these events in Aurora, Markham/Stouffville, Newmarket and Richmond Hill/Vaughan for five years – 1997 - 2011 (Dean has been has been ambassador, honourary chair and volunteer)

  • South Lake Hospital Gala - Volunteer - 1999 – 2011

  • Markham Stouffville Hospital Gala - Volunteer - 2008 - 2011

  • York Central Hospital Gala - Volunteer – 2008 – 2011

  • A & B Courier Run for South Lake Hospital - Committee Member 2010 – 2011

Personal involvement with these organizations has provided Dean with growth opportunities and the ability to make a difference. He has many fond memories of his community involvement, but there is one pivotal moment that shines above others. “My son was involved in the Aurora Relay for Life when he was 10 years old. He helped me to set up the luminaries, and then watched my speech. When I saw the expression on his face I knew that he understood the importance of what we were doing – the difference this event makes in the lives of the people involved, their friends and families.” It was a proud moment for Dean. He knew that he was setting an example that his son could carry on. He was teaching him that “it’s not all about me’; that it is important to give.”

What are Dean’s future plans? “Working to build the A&B Courier Run for Southlake (formerly the Bob Hartwell Run) into a signature event, similar to the Princess Margaret Run or Walk to Cure Cancer. “I want to increase participation to at least 2000 people in the next two years. The money that is raised goes to support Southlake Regional Health Centre. This hospital is proactive in cancer research and treatment. That’s something we can all benefit from.”

While Dean rolls up his sleeves and gets personally involved in community initiatives, he credits others for making it all possible. “Anything that A&B supports is a team effort. My brother, the staff, everyone working together provides the resources to do this. It’s not just me. I play one specific role, but clients play a huge part as well. Without their support A&B would not be able to do the things we do.”

* Bio written by Heather Anne Lambert,


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