‘I was raised to try to help other people and to give’
Dana Matheson and C&D Logistics are paying it forward — again, and again, and again.
The 37-year-old president and CEO of the shipping and freight company was recently named one of the 2016 40 under 40 entrepreneurs by Business in Vancouver magazine. This comes on the heels of Matheson receiving the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce’s U40 Business Person of the Year Award in 2015.
Business ventures aside, Matheson — who also owns Cedarbrook Bakery and Bistro, 360 Industrial Movers, Wrap Champs, and Visual Systems (a sign company) — strives to be part of the community.
“There are so many people in our community and in this world that need help, and I’m pretty fortunate, pretty blessed to have the kind of family that I’ve had, where I was raised to try to help other people and to give,” Matheson said. “And I saw my dad do that a lot — he’s a very giving person. He’s a give-the-shirt-off-his-back type of person.”
C&D Logistics supports a number of Langley charities.
• the Langley Christmas Bureau,
• Salvation Army Toy Drive (Toy Mountain),
• Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation,
• BC Lions ‘Huddle Up Against Bullying’ campaign,
• J Ban Racing/Team Bayview Towing that annually does ‘Ride for Hope’ in support of Canuck Place Children’s Hospice,
• BC Lions Courage for Kids Campaign,
• Life Ready Foundation, and
• Kim Angels, a local group, led by Kim Snow, that helps families and individuals in need.
Family Day Feb. 12
C&D Logistics is presenting the third annual Fraser Valley Family Day taking place Sunday, Feb. 12, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre Fieldhouse.
The day will feature BC Lion, Vancouver Stealth, Vancouver Giants, and Langley Rams players as well as retired CFLers. Also included are face painting, balloon animals, music, obstacle courses, live stunts, and door prizes.
Admission is by donation with all proceeds going to a handful of benefiting charities.
Matheson said, through charity work, he’s able to share his good fortune. “Hard work or not, in business, the stars have to line up. I’ve been given some tremendous opportunities, I was lucky enough to have parents that believed in me and gave me confidence. So I’ve been blessed, and now, I’ve got to help others. No matter how big these companies grow, when you’re long gone, you can’t take it with you.”
Being a role model to his eight-year-old son and five-year-old daughter is vital to Matheson, and is a big reason why he helps so many local groups.
“You can help people, leave a legacy behind, something you can pass onto your kids,” Matheson said. “(You can) show them the proper way to treat people.”
It started with two
Matheson spoke about the sacrifice, the “sweat equity,” needed to build C&D Logistics to where it is today.
In 2006, C&D Logistics started with two — Matheson and his dad Bruce — and has since grown to 23 employees.
“He was in transportation his whole life and he was with very large companies,” Matheson said, about his dad. “He walked away from the company he was with in 2001. He went to work for a small company doing what we do now, based out of Toronto, and he opened up a little sales office here.”
Back then, Matheson, a former offensive lineman, was attending university and playing football at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax from 2002 to ’05, where he was a member of the 2002 Vanier Cup winning Huskies team.
When he was home from school during the summers, Matheson would help his dad out, “banging on doors, helping to build relationships, that sort of thing.”
In his fourth year of university, Matheson made a life-changing choice — he walked away from football to fully concentrate on business.
“I could see he (Bruce) needed some help,” Matheson recalled. “It was just him by himself and he was kind of struggling. So I decided that I had to stop chasing the dream (of playing professional football). I made the decision to jump on board with him and try to turn this thing around.”
After a year, the Mathesons decided to go into business for themselves.
“I set this company up over the course of a weekend,” Matheson said. “Once I was working for myself, and I was doing my own thing, I was super motivated. I felt reborn.”
Even though he admittedly wasn’t making great money at the time, Matheson relished that sense of urgency, where the only person he can rely upon was himself.
“Once it (the company) was mine, it was like, ‘Oh boy, this is sink or swim,’” Matheson said. “Then you get a few customers, and then the pressure builds. Then those customers represent 30, 40, 50 per cent of my business. And if something goes wrong, you get stressed out.”
He and Bruce had to learn how to run a business on the fly.
“A lot of it was baptism under fire,” Matheson said. “We were building the foundation before I even launched C&D Logistics. I probably went seven years without a day off. I didn’t have a holiday for seven years… Thanksgiving, Easter, Remembrance Day, because we have U.S. customers. I used to get calls at midnight with drivers stuck at the border. I’d be up at 5 o’clock in the morning, turn my phone on, and I’d have 50 emails from people in Ontario.”
His wife Laurel would slide a grilled cheese sandwich under his door at three in the afternoon so he could eat lunch.
Hard work paid off. Every year, C&D Logistics has enjoyed double digit growth.
And Matheson has had a lot of help along the way.
“It was stressful times (in the early years),” Matheson said.
“But now it’s gotten to the point where it’s built up. I’ve got tremendous people who have bought in. Now that it (C&D Logistics) is profitable, and other people run it, I can look for investments — businesses that run themselves.”