THE LADDER – Connor Gottfried: ‘Hard work is fun. That might sound nerdy, but that’s what I love’ (Special to the Globe and Mail)

Connor Gottfried, 40, earned a mechanical-engineering degree from the University of Calgary and gained 13 years of experience in the field before launching the eLearning development company, Leara, in 2012. Since then, Leara has amassed a clientele that includes NASA, ATCO and Marriott Hotels. Mr. Gottfried is chief executive officer.

When I was 19, my high-school vice-principal (Cam Mateika, in Swan River, Manitoba) got funding from the government to bring Internet to small towns and hired students. I was super lucky to get that job. I was working at Dairy Queen.

We built the Swan Valley Community Network. I also worked on a regional video-conferencing network to allow an economic development group to give financial and business advice. It’s not like the city where someone can come into your office. I started doing eLearning in a rudimentary sense.

I was studying mechanical engineering (at the University of Calgary) and trying to decide if I should continue. When I saw what was happening with the Internet, I thought ‘Wow, this is where I want to be for the rest of my life.’……