Midweek Interview

Midweek Interview with Steve Sammut, President, Rocky Mountaineer

Steve takes some time out of his visit Down Under to talk his love of sports, the growing scarcity of unique trips and staying out of trouble.

The challenge for the industry is… Globalisation and the resulting standardization of tourism offererings.   It seems like it’s becoming  tougher to find trips that are unique and authentic, and which provide travellers with the opportunity to immerse themselves in genuine experiences that truly reflect an area’s culture and identity.

The things I like about my job… It keeps me out of trouble! Seriously, we are so fortunate to live and do business in Canada, operating one of the world’s most beloved rail companies and traveling through some of the world’s most magnificent terrain.

And the frustrations are … Numerous, but there is always a way to solve for them. My role is to help my team imagine those solutions and support them in implementing them. The frustrations make the wins that much more meaningful.

If I didn’t work in travel I would be…A general manager for a sports team. I’ve always been a big sports fan, and thoroughly enjoyed the book (and subsequent movie) Moneyball – the story that it’s based on is fascinating. I’d relish the challenge of developing strategies that could be winners both on the field and for the business.

Favourite airline? Any airline that brings more visitors to Western Canada and the Rocky Mountaineer.

My proudest moment was…Can I have two? My wife Sheri and I are blessed to have two incredible sons. Each of their births was a game changer for me and I’m incredibly proud of both of them.

The naughtiest thing I ever did was… How much time do you have? Next question.

I try to relax by… Spending time with my family, playing ice hockey and also coaching my sons’ hockey teams. Ice hockey is Canada’s game, and one that you can’t be successful in without having certain attributes that I strongly believe in – hard work, persistence and teamwork.

The last time I feared for my life was…  A near miss of my wedding anniversary a couple of years ago.

If I can, I always try to avoid… Checking luggage. I want to get out of the airport as fast as I can – and preferably with my belongings! I’m all about getting things done while minimizing the risks.

I really wish I had… The one thing I can’t earn, borrow or buy – more time.  There never seems to be enough.

The best advice I’ve ever received was… From one of my first bosses. He taught me that a good team can accomplish much more than any individual. That belief has shaped me as a leader and I’ve enjoyed sharing success with amazing teams many times.

I don’t understand why people… It’s one of my pet peeves. We live on this incredible planet and are so fortunate to do so.

My greatest weakness is…Trying to do too much. I thrive on being busy and take great pride in accomplishing a lot of things in a year. It’s a fine line between aspiring to participate and really having the time to fully engage. I’m a work in progress.

And my greatest strength is… I’m usually calm under pressure. I’ve dealt with a lot of high pressure situations throughout my career, and that has taught me the value of not getting flustered and thinking things through, even in tense situations. Although I have to say that my boys often do a good job of testing my calmness as they grow up and become teenagers!

If I won a $1 million lottery (aside from travelling), I would…Put a down payment on a condo in Manly.

If I was prime minister I would…Take better care of our Veterans. The sacrifices those brave men and women made and continue to make for us and our country are immense, and they deserve to be properly taken care of – we owe them so much.

If I could be someone else for one day I would be … Easy one. Angus Young from AC/DC! I play the guitar, and to spend a night as a rocker who has influenced generations of people and electrified millions with his performances would be awesome. I’m not sure that I could pull off the shorts, though.

I’ve always wanted to travel to…Patagonia – one of those unique, pristine and stunningly beautiful areas of the world. It’s high on my list.

My favourite holiday was…When our boys were younger, we took them to Malta, where my parents were born. That was a wonderful trip because I got to introduce my wife and boys to many of my relatives who still live there, and to teach them a bit about our culture and history.  I have many great memories from that trip.

 

 

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