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James Suttie, BEng '69

Chemical Engineering | The Business of Golf in Retirement

Five decades after graduating from McMaster’s chemical engineering program, James Suttie is in his third CEO position.

He is currently chair and CEO of GolfTEC Canada, a company that owns 19 GolfTEC instructional centres across Canada, with the ambition to expand to 36 in the coming years.

“This was a hobby that turned into a fairly big business,” he says. “I’m not very good at retiring.”

In 1969, after graduating from McMaster, Suttie joined IBM. Thanks to a senior year project creating a computer simulation of the Alumina Plant at Alcan in Quebec, he discovered an interest in working with computers.

He spent 10 years with IBM learning about sales and marketing and the business impact of computer systems.

That led him to senior IT positions at Noranda and Gulf Canada before he co-founded a consulting business that eventually morphed into Selkirk Financial Technology, a successful software company.  After selling that company to Thomson Financial in 2004, Suttie became CEO of Infowave Software, before starting GolfTEC Canada in 2009.

A veteran business executive, Suttie is now responsible for strategy and raising capital to continue to build the GolfTEC business.

His advice to young people:  “Get a great well-rounded education, including liberal arts and especially English, work your butt off and never stop learning, ever.  Growth is the only evidence of life.”