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1,200 customers in the region,” says Allegro CEO Bruce Comer, adding, “In order for bio-diesel use to grow in the United States, it needs to be widely available alongside conventional petroleum based products, using the same infrastructure and distribution network. Simply put, bio-diesel should be as easy to fi nd as petroleum diesel, and acquiring Talen’s does exactly that in southern Louisiana for marine vessels.” Talen has bittersweet feelings about the acquisition. “This represents the next major step in the growth of a business I started nearly 38 years ago. I continue to be involved with the business, with the Talen name on the boats and equipment. My expert executive team also remains in place. I’m also excited about the prospects of recapitalizing this business, introducing biodiesel into new markets, and expanding Talen’s market even further.” January 08 103 Jet-A and aviation gas. Custom built fuel tanks are available for onsite refueling at airports, and lube trucks are equipped with a complete line of Aero Shell lubricants. Talen’s is also a member of the Agricultural Aviation Association. All drivers are hired as independent contractors— owner operators who must be familiar with all tanker and fl atbed rig procedures, trained and certifi ed in hazardous material regulations, and Coast Guard certifi ed to bunker fuel directly to ships from Talen’s barges. Additional safety training is mandatory for new drivers. At the beginning of this past summer, Talen’s was acquired by Los Angeles, CA-based Allegro Biodiesel Corp. and will remain a wholly owned subsidiary of the parent company. Allegro and Talen’s become “a major fuel distributor in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, delivering both biodiesel and petroleum based diesel to more than Talen’sMarineandFuel

104 January 08 With entrepreneurial flair, CEO Charlie Spiring tells Gary Toushek why and how he started his own investment dealer, Wellington West Capital “Charlie here.” Mr. Spiring answers his own phone with a cheery voice, and sets the tone for an engaging, candid chat about how he started and grew his own investment dealer, Wellington West, beginning 14 years ago in the geographic center of Canada. “We did a trial for what we called the one-stop wonder of Winnipeg, and it worked, and at the turn of the millennium we dreamt we could do something nationally, so we began branching out, first in Saskatoon (SK), then added another city and another, and went from there.” Spiring began his financial career at the Toronto-Dominion bank (second-largest in Canada) with a degree in Finance/Marketing from the University of Manitoba, then moved to Midland Doherty (now part of CIBC World Markets, part of the third largest bank in Canada) until 1993. “I spent twelve wonderful years there and got to be the top broker nationally, not bad for a turkey from Winnipeg.” He is disarmingly self-deprecating. “I loved being a retail broker; in fact I still am, as well as running the shop here.” He thought he had potential in the financial world, and the idea of ownership appealed to him. After convincing a couple of top guns to join with him as initial partners, he opened a ‘micro shop’ in Winnipeg, small in size, but doing high quality business. He replicated the model across the country to 31 locations in nine of its ten provinces; “five hundred other people bought the dream, and I think all of them and our clients are better off for having done so.” Indeed, more than 30,000 clients have entrusted almost $10 billion in assets managed today by Wellington West. This past year the company was named the number one employer in Canada, one of the 50 Best Privately Managed Companies in Canada, was one of Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies with revenue growth of 823 per cent since 2001 and was ranked #1 for a record fourth consecutive year in the 2007 Brokerage Report Card survey conducted by the leading industry publication, Investment Executive. “Now we’re starting to be taken seriously,” he says, “because the things that matter to brokers, like ethics, transparency, payouts, we’re still number one at.” He refers to his business model as “the secret sauce,” the reason his firm is so good. The first part is sharing ownership. “We’ve created direct The secret sauce