Geek looking at data

Geek Of The Week: Casey Price

Published May 22, 2015, 03:51 PM by Jemicah Marasigan
casey-price“A Consultant in the Driver’s Seat”

Ask Casey Price about his proudest moments, and he’ll tell you about beating famed race car drivers Paul Tracy and Scott Goodyear at go-karting. As a teenager, Casey owned a purple TOMCAT kart, with a 200cc engine, which he raced at a track in Goodwood, Ont.

“These guys had pit crews, and I was a teenager running this beat-up kart, but I would always beat them on the time trials,” he says. Then he laughs, biting his lip a little as he adds, “But, I couldn’t afford to compete in the official race.”

Growing up, Casey always had a need for speed, climbing into his first go-kart when he was 13, flying ultralight planes at 17 and hurtling atop a sports bike as a 19-year-old. Maybe these adrenaline-pumping activities can be attributed to his being born in Hawaii—the home of big wave surfing—or to his English teacher mother who loved to fly small Cessna, Mooney and Piper planes. But, whatever the case, Casey has always been on the move.

Casey - BikeCasey posing with his Honda CBR600-F2 in 2003.

And that drive translates into his work. As the Director of Consulting Services at Environics Analytics (EA), Casey describes himself as always “on” with an innate need to be busy. Whether he’s working with clients on strategic planning, defining marketing goals or facilitating an implementation workshop to ensure clients get value from EA data products, Casey rolls up his sleeves, excited by the prospect of new possibilities. For him, the variety in the job—one day he’s at the office behind his desk, the next he’s at a client site—is what makes working at EA fun and exciting. His natural good humour also makes his job enjoyable, especially when collaborating with colleagues.

“If you were to break work styles into leading, learning, loving and doing, I would be a good blend of all.” says Casey. “I like learning and am very passionate about everything I approach. Clients feel this and get excited, too.”

It was a passion that launched Casey into the analytics industry even before he realized it. During a part-time job at Pizza Pizza when he was 16, he found out just how good he was with maps. While he knew he was embarrassingly slow when it came to making pizzas, he made up for that weakness in his ability to map out the fastest delivery routes, directing 14 drivers responsible for delivering the 600 pizzas they made every day. It’s no wonder Casey would eventually graduate with an applied geography degree from Ryerson University in 1991. “At the time, nobody did mapping, so if you made a map on a computer, it was really kind of cool,” he says. “Site selection was one of the things Ryerson put down as something you could get into. And I thought it was cool how you could look at a site and say ‘that’s going to fail’—before it opens—and here are the numbers to prove or disprove that.

“I guess you fall into what you fall into and your true north is what you’re comfortable with,” Casey continues. “I like being in front of clients—you can help people survive, grow and flourish—but I also like the technological aspect.”

Casey - HairA fan of 80s rock music, Casey admits he used to be a big hair rock guy.

Casey landed a job right out of Ryerson at Compusearch thanks to one of his professors—and EA’s current senior vice president and chief methodologist—Tony Lea. Years later, after experiencing a couple transitions at Compusearch, Casey joined the EA team in 2013.

As fond as Casey is of his job, he recognizes the need for balance between work and fun. During his down time, he enjoys renovating—then flipping— houses. So far, he’s refurbished five bathrooms, a few kitchens and a basement. He picked up his home improvement smarts while working occasional construction jobs in his younger years, though he admits YouTube also taught him a few tricks.

“I see renovation work as a release where you’re being physical. At the end of the day, you’ve got this thing that is built, so you see the results of your work,” he says. “The benefits obviously are that you get into better shape, and you have a better understanding of how things work. You also make some money and save some money.”

Casey - HouseOnce in a while, Casey will completely renovate a home, then sell it himself.

And save money he does. One of Casey’s most recent projects involved renovating his girlfriend’s father’s bathroom. After suffering a stroke, the man needed a barrier-free bathroom, which meant wider doors, a special drain and grab bars in the shower. Quotes from some contractors were as high as $20,000. Casey redid the entire bathroom for just $6,000.

“I leave all the finishing to the pros,” he explains, “but I’ll do the plumbing, the drywall and some of the carpentry.”

Not surprisingly, his interest in renovation is one reason Casey bought a 50-year-old house in Etobicoke, in the Bloor and Kingsway area. A divorced father of two sons, now 12 and 14 years old, he’s lived at the house for 13 years, and each year Casey finds more projects to do around the house. However, he will take time out to pursue another hobby: donning goalie garb and taking his place in front of a hockey net on the street when his sons want to play hockey. He calls himself the “neighbourhood goalie.” He also admits that with a name only one letter different from being identical to that of the Montreal Canadiens’ goaltender (Carey Price), even Casey’s Montreal clients have taken to calling him “Carey.” As a Habs fan, Casey only hopes he can live up to the more famous Price’s goalie skills.

Casey - SonsCasey and his sons at the Colosseum during a 2008 trip to Italy.

Casey’s fondness for hockey is appropriate as a member of his PRIZM5 segment. According to the PRIZM5 segmentation system, his neighbourhood is classified as Boomerang City (upscale, multi-generational urban households). “Sure enough, I type in my postal code and see the typical car for the segment, and I’m like, ‘Yes!’” he says. “Then I check the neighbours, and the demographics are bang on. The people living right beside us have a son and daughter that are in their early 20s. The son is now working in the U.S. successfully. The daughter works part-time in Ottawa, but comes back and stays with them all the time.” And while Casey’s sons are relatively young, his behavioural portrait is still a close match for his segment: His numerous passport stamps to Italy, his early tech-adopter status, his participation in 30- and 40-kilometre marathons and his optimism—all are prototypical Boomerang City characteristics.

“Generally I’m a happy guy. I try not to let things bug me,” Casey observes. “I’m not the guy that if somebody drives in front of me… I don’t swear or freak out.”

Then Casey adds with a laugh: “Of course, usually I’m faster than them.”

—Jemicah Marasigan

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