Reignited and Reunited
“My father, when he was alive, would make wine every year. Back then, the quality of the grapes was not the best. We used great grapes imported from Italy, but by the time we received them, the fruit was just too old. More often, we’d import grapes from California.” Thomas laughs, “They made decent vinegar.”
Thomas Marcantonio loves wine, rewarding work, and good food. His wine cellar’s shelves are filled with Italian wines interspersed with a few bottles from France. He enjoys trading wines with friends who also have cellars and who share his passion for a good glass of wine.
As a younger man, Thomas loved the military, too. He started out as a cadet and spent 16 years serving in the militia as a part-time soldier. He left the military in 1983 as a rank major and is very grateful for the experience.
“I loved it because the military gives people integrity and honesty, the passion to work, and not to be lazy. It teaches you how to organize your time, yourself, and your staff. When I left, I was commanding officer of a company of 120 soldiers, plus staff. It was very good training and I learned a lot there.”
Thomas gave university a fair shot, but it wasn’t his path. He explains, “I was at the CEGEP level, which is the first year of university in Quebec. I tried and I tried, but my head was not there. Finally, I told myself, ‘Well, if you’re not good at school, you should find something you are good at.’ I decided then that just because I’m not very successful in school doesn’t mean I cannot be successful in life.”
And successful he’s been. Thomas has worked with Dale Klein and the original Canada ICI organization for over three decades. In the 90s, when Dale joined Morguard, the two colleagues Dale and Thomas, were in friendly competition with one another, pushing each other to achieve more and more. Things changed, as they always do, and companies reshaped and reformed, but Dale Klein and Thomas Marcantonio never lost touch, and they always maintained their shared values of integrity, hard work, and dedication−the same values that govern today’s Canada ICI.
In 1997, the same year Dale and Thomas joined up again under the auspices of Canada ICI, Thomas started to invest in some real estate of his own.
“On the side, some partners and I bought properties. We bought two buildings and went on from there and along the road, picked up several more buildings. So, now I’m a partner in several portfolios. This is where my journey in commercial real estate finance began.”
More than his own success, though, Thomas Marcantonio is motivated by the success of the clients he finances.
“To me, seeing the result is interesting. For example, when I finance a construction loan, I can go kick the tires, see the building go up, and see my clients become successful. I find that very rewarding.”
It’s motivating to make people happy and help them be successful. I find that very rewarding.
What’s kept Thomas in the commercial real estate industry for this long? Sure, he’s thought about retiring, but hiring and mentoring young people rejuvenates Thomas’s spirit and makes him feel optimistic.
“I’d built a business, things were going fine, and I was thinking maybe it’s time to retire. It was then that I began to hire younger people, and that changed my perspective. I discovered I liked helping them out and watching them succeed. Through mentorship, I found a second life, a second career. Working with young people is very refreshing and gives me energy like there’s no tomorrow.”
The addition of a Montréal office to the Canada ICI Capital Corporation adds a new flavour to the firm, a nuance that is appreciated and understood by Thomas Marcantonio. He sums up the cultural difference simply, saying, “There remains a lot of European influence in Quebec. It’s not worse or better than in the provinces west of us; it’s just different. In Toronto, it’s the power breakfast. Here, it’s a nice lunch. The same business is conducted but leisurely and pleasurably.”
Thomas looks forward to a return to the Canada ICI fold, and to joining a larger company that spans the country. He talks about why it will work.
“To partner up with someone you know, that’s the best way to do it. You have to know the people you’re getting married to, so to speak. I’ve always felt comfortable with Dale and we have the same way of doing business.” He continues, “The point is not to make more money, but to assure continuity for my operation. The platform Dale has created is great and we will fit in quite well.”
Yes, he’s been successful, and here’s how Thomas measures that success.
The meaning of success in life for me was hard work, passion, and competency.
“To me, those are the three major ingredients for success in life, whatever the vocation. I’ve worked to cultivate those traits.”
As for happiness, Thomas finds it in the success of his clients and in his young colleagues. He continues to savour and share his expertise like he savours and shares his wine: joyfully and with a generous heart. It’s this spirit that Thomas Marcantonio maintains in the Montréal office and brings into a new phase with the Canada ICI Capital Corporation.