Working Hard on and off the Ice
Compared to some ICI employees, Luke Cain took a bit of a different path to his current role as director of mortgage origination for Canada ICI Winnipeg. “At least for the first year or two, when we were a smaller company than we are now, everyone joked that they all got hired because they had some prior connection to someone within Canada ICI,” Luke recalls. “I was the odd man out. I had no prior relationship with anyone at the firm, and nobody knew who I was.”
Today, the opposite is certainly true — everyone at ICI has heard Luke’s name. Since he joined the company in 2013, Luke has taken part in over $1.5 billion in transactions, and surpassed the $600-million mark in 2017 alone. And as Luke tells the story, he may never have joined ICI if not for serendipitous circumstances back in 2013.
While pursuing his MBA at the University of Manitoba — and playing CIS-level hockey for the Bisons hockey team — Luke decided to take full advantage of his 2013 summer break. “When I was younger, I would’ve worked for hockey schools making $15 an hour,” he says. “I figured now that I’ve done that for ten years, let’s go do something else — something that would give me a head start after graduation.” The problem was his already-busy schedule. As a collegiate athlete and a full-time MBA student, Luke was only available for full-time work from June through August. As Luke recalls, “most people just said, ‘Thanks, give us a call back when you’re done with hockey and school. We need someone at the desk from nine to five.’”
However, when Luke interviewed at ICI, he got the response he could only have hoped for. “They were just opening up the office here in Winnipeg,” Luke recalls. “In my interview, Dale [Klein]’s comment essentially was, ‘We’re not going to be running at full capacity from day one anyway, so we can probably work with someone who’s not here full-time Monday through Friday.’ That’s how it came to be. They were the one company willing to compromise and work with my schedule.”
Luke’s first year with Canada ICI was a stressful and busy time, as he juggled his job and being a full-time student-athlete. Along the way, he developed a deep knowledge base that eventually helped him transition into brokerage, but it certainly wasn’t an easy process. “I did underwriting for about two years,” Luke says. “The learning curve from day one of underwriting through the first 6 to 12 months was quite steep.” As he moved into a broker role in 2015, “there’s now a bunch of new things you have to learn, and that curve becomes steeper again. As that curve steepens, you’re trying to learn a lot while trying not to make too many mistakes.”
Today, Luke and Chase Allen, the Managing Director of the Winnipeg Office, are an extremely effective team for ICI’s Winnipeg branch, pairing Chase’s exemplary relationship skills with Luke’s analytical mind.
“That’s how we’ve been able to be as successful as we’ve been out of the Winnipeg office, is leaning on one another to use each other’s strengths, rather than trying to do everything ourselves.”
“I still go out and drive some business. Chase still underwrites some deals. But we do lean on each other, so Chase can use the vast majority of his time to do what he’s best at, and I use a lot of my time to do what I’m best at. It’s allowed us to be quite successful and drive a lot of business here.”