Meet Bruce McAlpine: A leader always passionately behind a cause

Bruce McAlpine at a Glance

  • Married to Nancy with 2 children and 2 grandkids
  • Born:Montreal
  • Best career advice: Choose carefully, commit fully, and never leave a job until you have mastered it.
  • Favourite Inspirational Quote: (so many choices!)
    "Don't try to be a man of success but a man of value." Albert Einstein
  • First Job: factory floor sweeper in Germany at the age of 14
  • Awards:
    • ACSESS Leadership Award
    • ACSESS Special Recognition Award
    • ACSESS Award of Excellence
  • Roles at ACSESS: 
    • Past President of APPAC (the Association of Professional Placement Agencies & Consultants) when we merged with the temporary staffing association to create ACSESS
    • Chair of the Ethics Committee
    • Chair of the Awards Committee

If you call Bruce McAlpine on his mobile, you never know where he’ll pick up.

He might be on a Russian research vessel headed to his latest marathon in Antarctica, where he’ll run off the grid and dodge packs of curious penguins.  He’ll insist this trip is not as exotic as his marathon in Kathmandu (above) where he landed after the King of Nepal declared martial law and scattered the runways with anti-aircraft guns. Bruce set a personal goal to participate in a marathon on every continent, a goal most of us would view as super human. He completed it at the age of 61.

You might also find him at the Children’s Aid Society delivering life skills coaching to former wards of the crown, on Bay Street leading his monthly session on business ethics or sandbagging at his Brighton cottage to help protect his neighbours’ homes threatened by recent floods.

This excitement is just an average day in the life of Bruce McAlpine, ACSESS’s new national president for 2017-18 and president of Fulcrum Search Science. People who know Bruce just expect him to be pushing himself in some extraordinary way and committing his energy ‘to the cause’ -- an expression near and dear to him.

During his formative years, he hopscotched around the world as a ‘military brat’ examining life through the lens of public service and watching his family revel in helping others. His values are not something he writes on a piece of paper, places in a drawer and scans periodically.

“My personal purpose statement is bringing hope with joy and integrity. It defines where I’m investing my time, energy and capacity,” he explains.  “This has formed the foundation that has guided me in everything I do in life.  Life is so fleeting and a whole decade can go by while you’re figuring out what you’re about. You need purpose.  I’ve always wanted my legacy to be about giving back.”

Bruce followed his father into the military studying at the Royal Military Colleges in Saint Jean, Quebec and in Kingston, Ontario.  After graduating, he embarked on a four-year adventure with the French-Canadian Infantry Unit, The Royal 22nd Regiment or the ‘Van Doos’.  He served with the UN forces in Cyprus and engaged in training exercises like “Jungle Warfare” and “Escape and Evasion”.  

“In the military, the focus is not on self.  It’s on team. You don’t succeed unless your team succeeds. Your team has your back,” says Bruce. “Operating at the highest principles is so important when so much is on the line.”

ACSESS has been his team for more than 20 years.  Bruce (pictured top row second from right with his wife Nancy wearing the Canada cap beside the whale) been proud to invest his time and talents on the board of directors to support an industry that changes lives.  

“At ACSESS, we all work in the service industry. The recruitment and staffing services industry is a calling, not a job. We are building Canada, one placement at a time. We are not successful unless our clients and their candidates reach their goals. Part of that goal is a rewarding job. What could be more important to a family than a job?

“Just before the past festive season, I secured jobs for two unemployed people, who were both breadwinners for their families.  They were placed at different companies yet they both reached out to me at the same time to say, ‘Bruce, you have no idea, you’ve made my family’s Christmas.’”

It’s impossible for Bruce to commit to anything if he can’t make this kind of difference. It’s what drew him to the Bagg Group 30 years ago, recruited by founder Keith Bagg, who was a long-time client of Bruce’s in a consulting firm. Bruce clicked with Keith right away. They shared similar business values and philosophies. When Keith asked him to join his senior search practice, it was an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Not long after Bruce joined the Bagg Group, he was leading its search practice division, which he rebranded as Fulcrum Search Science. "My style comes from the military model where it's critical to push decision making down to the lowest level. Everyone must contribute their talents for us all to succeed. We hire good people who share our values of commitment to mission, commitment to cause, with strong integrity, discipline, and work ethic. I act as the facilitator to clear the obstacles so they can get on with their job."

A style like this that engages each team's varied talents is exactly what the staffing and recruitment industry requires as we navigate the unique challenges our economy faces today. These challenges include the:

  • Universal fight for skilled workers at all levels 
  • Demographic shift as Boomers get older and exit jobs at all levels
  • Need to engage and retain the Millennial cohort seeking to blur the lines between work and life

"As employment experts, ACSESS members provide value to our clients and candidates, continually looking out for their long-term interests. We stay a step ahead of our client's hiring strategy to understand their talent and retention requirements today and in the future. We find the right talent who have the qualities that their organization needs and will grow with the organization. We work in a $13 billion industry in Canada and I'm proud that we serve this industry with the highest standards of excellence."

Bruce can't think of a better industry to invest his time to give back. He enthusiastically looks forward to this coming year on the board and the opportunity to further strengthen the success of this industry's 'calling.'