An alumnus of the University of Toronto, Mr. Macdonald grew up in Scarborough and graduated from U of T’s Electrical and Computer Engineering program in 1979. The highlight of his career is his role in launching, as CEO or board member, four successful start-up companies in the telecommunications and consumer energy markets.
Mr. Macdonald began his career designing one of the first computer controlled vending machines before changing industries and moving to telecommunications at Nortel and AT&T Canada. Most recently, he was the first employee and CEO of Enercare, which has grown to be North America’s largest heating, ventilation, and air conditioning company with over 5,000 employees serving 91 communities. Under his leadership, Enercare acquired and integrated seventeen companies with a total investment over $1 billion. The company also entered the energy conservation market with the launch of an energy metering business, and is now the largest and most profitable provider of these services in Canada.
Mr. Macdonald is particularly proud of building a gender balanced management team that has been recognized with a number of awards, including Mid-market deal maker of the year; Best Human Resources Team for companies over 500 employees in Canada; and one of the top 100 employers in Toronto.
In 2018, he left Enercare when it was acquired by Brookfield for $4.3 billion—a milestone he refers to as his ‘graduation’ rather than his retirement. He has since developed several new business relationships and has worked with early stage companies as a board member. As well, he is pursuing new business challenges outside of Canada.
Mr. Macdonald is a past member of the Business Council of Canada (formerly Canadian Council of Chief Executives) which works to positively lobby and support the Federal Government in significant matters of industry.
John Macdonald and his wife Catherine live in the Thousand Islands and are active in promoting the arts and entrepreneurship. They are on several local boards, including that of the Antique Boat Museum, Brockville General Hospital and the Thousand Islands Playhouse. Their three children and extended family live in Ottawa, which makes the 1000 Islands a perfect gathering spot.
In the last few years, Mr. Macdonald has become reengaged with the University of Toronto through The Entrepreneurship Hatchery and other mentorship opportunities that he finds to be very fulfilling.