Business outreach welcomes new leader
By Meaghan Whelan
For Brian Hurley, becoming the new director of the Gardiner Centre was a bit of a homecoming. Mr. Hurley is a graduate of the first commerce co-op class (’77), a former sessional instructor in the Faculty of Business and longtime employer of co-op students.
Even when working on his MBA at Dalhousie, his connection with Memorial stayed strong. Dr. Jim Barnes, professor in Memorial’s Faculty of Business, acted as his supervisor and mentor on a research project for his MBA degree.
After 30 years in the private sector, most recently as the director of marketing for xwave, Mr. Hurley felt the time was right for a change. “I feel I have a lot to share and there is a great opportunity to do so in the Gardiner Centre. It is an exciting and challenging time and there is a tremendous opportunity for the Gardiner Centre to offer support and expertise to the business community in Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Mr. Hurley said he has noticed a number of changes at the university since his time as a student. “The university itself is much bigger. When I was a student, business outreach was the co-op department and profs doing their own consulting work. It wasn’t until after I graduated that the P.J. Gardiner Institute for Small Business Studies was established as a more formal business outreach program,” he said.
For 30 years, business outreach was the P.J. Gardiner Institute and the Centre for Management Development. These units provided the link between the Faculty of Business and the business community. In 2008, the two units were amalgamated to create the Gardiner Centre. Mr. Hurley is the first director of this new entity.
Mr. Hurley said that in his first few weeks he was very impressed by the staff of the Gardiner Centre and their commitment to client service and care. “The work of the P.J. Gardiner Centre and the Centre for Management Development had a very strong, positive impact on the community,” he said. “I want to build on that success and it is very important to me that we don’t lose the good things that have brought us to where we are today.”
Mr. Hurley is looking forward to helping the Gardiner Centre connect with the business community. “There is a great deal of satisfaction that comes from connecting the Faculty of Business and its skills and knowledge to the needs in the business community. I’m looking forward to getting out there and sharing the things we can do together.”