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It's Not What You're Born With

"Harry Tamarin"

A good friend of mine in St. Catherines, Bill Watson, told me about a local St. Catherine's Achiever whose story deserved to be told on my program. Bill said this person was an inspiration and example to every Canadian. The more Bill told me about him the more I agreed. If anyone is a "Canadian Achiever" Harry Tamarin is.

Harry was ten years old when he arrived in Canada with his parents from Russia, March 22, 1926. As a teenager he worked with his father collecting and selling scrap metal. When he was old enough Harry started driving a truck which he did until 1949 when he started his own small scrap and new steel company, "Niagara Structural Steel". Over the years his company helped build Toronto skyscrapers, Hamilton City Hall, and in a genuine case of local boy makes good, the "Garden City Skyway Bridge" in his hometown. Then, about seven years ago came Harry's great leap forward to worldwide recognition.

Together with his son Seymour, who had patented a new sport surfacing system, Harry started producing "Omni" artificial playing surfaces for the sports industry. With its proven ability to reduce injuries by 76%, Omni Turf is specified by most U.S. colleges and pro-playing fields. Court #12 at Wimbledon boasts Harry's turf.

The company was expanding so rapidly that three years ago Harry sold off "Niagara Structural Steel". He formed a new company "Tecsyn International Inc.", a holding company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

"Tecysn" includes four Canadian and six U.S. companies employing 1000 people. Harry expects 1991 sales of, "Somewhere around 130 million dollars. With this economy, it's hard to say."

Harry, now 75, has not only developed an outstanding reputation as a successful businessman, he's also established himself as a caring community citizen. Serving on the Boards of Brock University and the Shaw Festival, he's very proud of the fact that the Shaw Festival people made him an Honourary Life Member. He won't admit it, but I suspect a lot of the steel in the beautiful Shaw Festival Theatre came compliments of his generosity.

The last time I spoke with Harry was January 25, 1991. He was recovering from a surprise 75th Birthday party organized by his sons Larry and Seymour at Buffalo's famous Como's Restaurant. I asked Harry when he was planning to retire? He replied:

"No way, never. What do you want to retire for? I go to Florida and get bored stiff after ten days."

I'm indebted to Bill Watson for telling me about Harry Tamarin. His story does indeed offer inspiration to everyone. It reminds us that Canada is in

deed the land of opportunity. And further reminds us that it's not what you're born with that matters, it's what you do with what you're born with.

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