Alex McAulay could very well be Chilliwack’s version of Steve Jobs.
While he’s not in the technology business, and doesn’t have a closet full of mock turtlenecks, and his name is nowhere near as widespread as the man who repeatedly changed the face of the computer and technology industries, his drive, charisma, and sometimes frustratingly impassioned attention to detail and perfection is eerily similar to that of Jobs’.
McAulay is 27 years old, and has already served a three-year term on Chilliwack school board, has obtained a chartered accountant degree, helped push for the University of the Fraser Valley’s university status, sat on the presidential search committee for UFV, is president of Chilliwack Community Services, and is the chief financial officer and vice president of an up-and-coming underwear line he says will conquer Calvin Klein.
Jobs used similar words when comparing Apple to IBM, Apple to Microsoft, Apple to Google, Pixar to Disney.
“We have one of the finest made products in Canada,” he said of his Naked men’s underwear line.
“People are tired of Joe Boxer, and Calvin Kleins have been in their drawers for 15 to 20 years. They’ve had a lot of success, and they make good products, but we make better products.
“I’m going to help turn Naked into a mega operation, a multi-million dollar company,” he said.
McAulay has always been a go-getter, naturally gravitating towards leadership positions.
In Grade 12, when sitting on the school district’s policy committee, he was enlightened to the failings of education. It blew his mind that some in his age group couldn’t read, and he wanted to make a difference.
After graduation in 2002, McAulay entered the election race for school trustee. He ran a vigorous campaign, spending the second most amount of money of all candidates running.
“I took my student loans and invested them into the campaign – I wasn’t going to lose,” he said. “I had to get elected.”
At 18, McAulay was the youngest school trustee to ever be seated at Chilliwack’s board table.
“At that point in time, I didn’t know the difference between what right and left meant when we talk about a political spectrum,” he said. “All I cared about was trying to make every kid be able to read and comprehend reading.”
McAulay knew that being a school trustee was not a career. And after three years, he opted not to seek re-election.
He completed his schooling at UFV and became a chartered accountant in 2011. The year prior, he got on board with Naked.
However, despite McAulay’s professional responsibilities, he didn’t stop sitting on advisory committees and community boards, didn’t stop boosting Chilliwack’s profile, didn’t stop trying to better the community.
“Sitting on boards is not a normal thing for young guys to do,” he admitted. “But boards can make a serious difference, they really can.”