Mat is a 32-year-old entrepreneur from Hamilton, Ontario. Mat has been fortunate enough to create 7 great businesses over the past 11 years. Mat enjoys the day to day trials and tribulations of owning his businesses. Mat also enjoys brainstorming a business idea, checking its viability in the market, getting feedback from family/friends, and creating the idea from scratch. To date, all of Mat's businesses have become successful through hard work, great people, and reworking each idea until it clicks.
Mat and the Fighting Koalas,
Mat admits that many of his greatest lessons have come from errors and poor decision making within the business, but knows that each error has made him a better entrepreneur for future decision making. Mat is also a grad at Mohawk College for both business and architecture.
Mat started his first business in 1999 at the age of 19 called the Hamilton Hammerheads Triathlon Team. The team was and still is a great place for young 8-16 year olds to learn the sport of triathlons. Mat grew the team to 65 athletes by 2002 and had a coaching staff of 5. During the period of 2001-2006 the Hammerheads won countless Provincial Championships not to mention many local triathlons. Mat, with the help of parents turned the sole proprietorship into a not-for-profit organization in 2003 to take advantage of government grants. Mat stepped down as head coach in October 2006 to open Runner's Den which opened Oct 10th 2006.
Mat's 2nd business was a running retail store called Runner's Den located in Waterdown. Mat bought a franchise from Gord and Esther Pauls who founded the store concept in 1996 with their first store in Westdale (Hamilton). Mat's store is now 5.5 years old and doing very well. Mat has gained great friends over the past 5+ years that will last a lifetime.
In 2007, Triathlon Canada hired Mat to be the countries age group coach at each year's World Championships. 2012 will mark Mat's 5th year coaching age group athletes at World Championships. Mat has coached in Poland, Germany, Vancouver, Australia, Hungary and New Zealand (2012).
Sharing the role is good friend Jason Britton from Edmonton. It is up to Jason and Mat to ensure that each Team Canada age grouper has a training plan, can have training questions asked during the year, and coach 3 workouts per day leading up to the race for Team Canada members. Mat really enjoys working with Triathlon Canada and is dedicated to helping the organization whenever he can.
In 2008 Mat founded a triathlon team named The Fighting Koalas. The Fighting Koalas focuses on age group racers with full-time jobs or member who are in school. Mat's team averages just over 60 members and ranges in age from 9-67 years old. Members have up to 5 team workouts per day to choose from. Each person gets a personalized training plan around goals, family and job/school. Members also have full use of Mat's equipment in his fitness centre, and communication often on a daily basis with Mat. www.fightingkoalas.com
Since the foundation of the Fighting Koalas in Waterdown, Mat has also sold franchises of the team to great coaches in Kitchener-Waterloo (Rob Harriman), Edmonton (Jason Britton), Niagara (Drew and Laura Greenaway), Burlington (Mari and Joanne) and Milton (Colin Jenkins). Each Koala team is different from each other, as the teams are coach-driven.
In 2009 Mat and Lauren started a healthy weight loss program called "Great Weight Loss Challenge". This program is designed to coach the clients healthy eating habits, healthy yet manageable workout plans, and being accountable to themselves, Mat and the other members of the program. Mat typically has 20 members in the Challenge at any time, and memberships are between $25 - $100 per month. www.greatweightlosschallenge.com.
Mat also has a very strong walk and run club. The Fighting Koalas Walk and Run Club currently has 100+ members, which range from walkers to marathon runners. Memberships are $30 per month and the coaches lead daily workouts. The coaching staff includes Jen and Claude Lambert, Kari Tomlinson, Pauline Iversen, Liz Pereira and Lauren Reid. The group is very social and has get-togethers about once every 2 months. www.koalaswalkandrun.com.
2011 was an exciting year for Mat. He opened 2 more businesses. First, was Swim4Fitness Retail store which opened in June 2011. Swim4Fitness carries a full store of swim suits, and all swim accessories. In addition to Swim4Fitness, Mat opened up Down Under Cycling which features computrainer classes as well as personal services such as bike fitting and a winter racing series. Mat shares this business with Eric Greig. Membership grew quickly in the first year, and athletes from beginner to advanced are enjoying the thrills of racing indoors.
When Mat has downtime he enjoys time with his wife (Lauren) and daughter (Alyssa). Mat and Lauren often plan bike trips during the warm weather months. Mat also competes in triathlons and has traveled the world to race in this sport. To date Mat has competed in 11 World Championships representing Canada from 2000-2010, has won a medal at 4 World Championship competitions ('04, '05, '09, '10), raced elite for 4 years ('01-'04), won 3 National Age Group ('05, '06, '07) and 5 Provincial Age Group ('03, '05, '06, '07, '09) Championships. Mat has also won the last 5 consecutive Ontario Triathlon Series championships in his age group ('06 - '10). Mat was named by Inside Triathlon Magazine "One of the 10 best triathletes in North America in 2003", and named by Triathlon Canada "2007 Canadian Triathlete of the Year" for age group athletes. Mat's current PB for a ½ ironman is 4:01 (2008), and PB for Olympic is 1:55 (2002).