Duperron Group of Companies, is a force in the business community. Dean Duperron finds great joy in experiencing all manner of challenges and opportunities and this can be seen in his varied interests and expertise.
Mr. Duperron’s story is one that some might call a ‘Cinderella Story’, in the rags to riches sense, however, Mr. Duperron is more of a ‘pull himself up by his bootstraps’ sort of man. Instead of waiting around for a Fairy Godmother to wave her magic wand, Mr. Duperron knew that the only way he was going to achieve his ambitions were through his own hard work. Mr. Duperron did not become who he is today by being handed anything, in fact, he started out on this journey as a homeless teenager, forced to live on urban streets, a challenge not of his own making. He worked hard and found jobs, even though he had no address to call his own. He worked janitorial jobs at McDonald’s, eventually finding a temporary home at the local YMCA. This led to him finding a position at an international retail chain. Once there, his hard work and determination led him to become a manager. He managed a multi-million dollar retail business, selling everything from plants and toys to sporting goods and domestic sundries.
Mr. Duperron eventually found his way to not only managing successful educational institutions, but in 1991, he purchased a small business college and through his drive, vision and direction, turned it into the largest and most respected private post secondary institution in British Columbia. Ultimately, the College became a $37 million worldwide organization with over 600 employees.
In 2007, Mr. Duperron earned Sprott-Shaw the right to grant degrees, a privileged no Community College had ever been granted prior.
How would you describe yourself?
I think of myself as being blessed and fortunate in my life. I had the opportunity to experience life both as an impoverished and successful person and have the privilege of influencing and helping people change their life. As the Chinese proverb says if you want to plan for one year plant rice, if you want to plan for ten years plant trees if you want to plan for a century educate people. Education has been a tool that I’ve used myself and have helped educate others. Education helps people to grow and develop.
How has Canadian education changed in the last 30 years?
You only get to know how good the Canadian education is until you expand your networks and find out how education is in other parts of the world. In other parts of the world where having pencil is a treat and books are even more of a luxury, Canada is rated in the world’s top 3 education places amongst the UK and USA. We have a variety of education levels from private to public education. Education is viewed as a responsibility and therefore the government induces and supports education.
Education alone is not the pivotal role of progress, what about the financial stability that is needed?
Entrepreneurship is one option and is critical to any economy. Unfortunately there are not enough entrepreneurial minded individuals.
Our educated new immigrants are not able to integrate into the workforce, what advise do you have for our readership and leadership regarding this?
We seem to import people that are well educated and subsequently become highly educated janitors as they often have to settle for less and work in a job that is way below their grade and skill level. When we bring in doctors from other countries the majority can’t practice here in the same profession as Canada does not recognise their credentials. In my opinion is the human body that is studied in another country so dramatically different from a Canadian human body that it is necessary for these experienced doctors to relearn all that they learned? We really need to ensure that we have jobs available for these professionals that we are importing.
We have a lot of foreign students that come here to further their studies, what do you see we must do to protect our own people rather than promote foreign education?
Foreign education is a Multi Million Dollar business. One of the things we did was to take Canadian education outside of the country to other countries and educated foreigners in their own land, charging them local currencies and using Canadian standards. These students then had the option of either staying in their own countries or apply to come to Canada thus already having a Canadian education.
What advice do you have for our youth?
The exciting thing of being young is as long as you look at the incredible energy you have and the remarkable opportunities and the blessings of time, magic can be yours. You can be highly educated or not so highly educated but if you’re driven you will apply yourself and believe that you are lucky and it is remarkable how you would be able to change the world.
How would you like to be remembered one day?
I have a mission statement and accept the fact that I will not be able to build a pyramid in my life but I like to think of myself as leaving foot prints in the sand that will positively affect the social fabric of our communities.
If there is a chance that you could start your life over today given that you already have gained success what would you do differently?
I would like to think that I would continue to do what I do by reaching out and endorsing philanthropy, education and housing.