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Backing the Gaels

Queen's Athletics announces Greg Percy (MBA’82), Chief Operating Officer of Metrolinx, as the honourary chair of the 2019 Gael Force Football Dinner​.

Each year the Gael Force Football Dinner helps provide vital support for the Queen’s football program. Proceeds from the dinner will help the football club provide student-athletes with athletic financial support, academic support services, performance coaching, health and wellness support, and elite training opportunities.

[Greg Percy]
Greg Percy (MBA’82), Chief Operating Officer of Metrolinx, is the honourary chair of the 2019 Gael Force Football Dinner. (Supplied Photo)​

Recently, Queen’s Athletics announced Greg Percy (MBA’82), Chief Operating Officer of Metrolinx, as the honourary chair of the 2019 dinner.

Since completing his MBA at Queen’s Percy has held senior executive positions in the Canadian transportation industry in both the private and public sectors. As COO of Metrolinx, he is responsible for the oversight of GO Transit and UP Express, which together accounts for more than 70 million passenger trips each year and approximately $4 billion in capital expenditures.

Percy also sits on the board for multiple organizations across the U.S. and Canada including the Canadian Urban Transit Association, the American Public Transportation Association Executive, and the Railway Association of Canada.

As honourary chair of the Gael Force Dinner, Percy will focus on attracting corporate sponsors to the event. This year's dinner will take place on Saturday, March 23 at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto. 

Percy recently spoke with the Gazette about his role and his lasting connections with Queen’s and the Gaels football program. Please register here.

What makes the annual Gael Force Football Dinner such a great event to support?

I received a call from the Queen’s football and they were looking for some help generating funding for the team. For me the team is about youth and the alumni link. At this point in my career I’d like to give back a bit to the university and this was one way that I could do that. I have three sons, they all made it through university and they are all in the workforce today. One of them went to Queen’s, as did my wife and my brother, so we have a bit of a family link to Queen’s. The event itself is the singular largest fundraising opportunity for the Queen’s Gaels football program. The organizers also agreed with one of my priorities, which is not simple when you are fundraising for a football team. I wanted to move toward better gender balance.  So they agreed and supported the idea that we provide the Queen’s Bands with a higher profile in terms of visibility at the dinner. I think that is a good thing and hopefully in subsequent years people build on that.

How did your time at Queen's help you to succeed outside of school?

Well, the business school entrenches a structured way to think and problem solve and it obviously gives you the ‘Business 101’ principles that you need to build into your skill set. I came from a, undergrad science background – so no link to business – and it really helped me align my thinking from science into business. I use both, not every day, but it becomes part of your DNA and I think it’s a good thing. It hasn’t hurt me, that’s for sure.

As a Queen’s alumnus, what is your fondest memory of Queen’s and Queen’s football games?

I think the fondest memory of Queen’s broadly is the enthusiasm of the student population. It wasn’t restricted to any one faculty or school, but broadly. I think that’s iconic to Queen’s, too. It’s got this vibe about it - people are proud to go there. It’s a great campus for sure.  Even on a wintry day the Kingston limestone still looks great and it’s a nice place to go to school. I also think there is good leadership at the faculty level. Queen’s then, and still, is growing very quickly and the Smith School of Business particularly.

The Queen’s football games, I think that just sort of galvanized the enthusiasm and the spirit of the school and probably in a different meaning of the spirit of the school. It was a good place. It was a rallying point. Historically, the Queen’s Gaels program has been consistently strong and competitive and just gets people out and provides them an outlet to show their school spirit.

What message do you have for students and alumni who are looking to get involved with the football program?

We have this great Gael Force Dinner coming up on March 23 at the Royal York that is a fundraiser and I would encourage people, as leaders of corporations, to sponsor a table, to get involved. As I mentioned, you can reach a point in your career where you want to give something back. So don’t sit on the sidelines and just admire. Get involved and do some volunteering because we’re short of volunteers everywhere and Queen’s is no exception. So get involved and give something back to the university. You were lucky enough to come out of Queen’s with a good education, it’s time to give a little back.

In your opinion, what makes football at Queen's unique compared to other schools?

I did my undergrad at the University of Ottawa and it was a little more hit-and-miss in terms of football success compared to Queen’s. Queen’s has a consistently strong football program and other sports as well. If an athlete comes from Queen’s you know they are competitive and they will be a strong participant regardless. Football is one of the high profile sports but I would say all the sports at Queen’s has this really positive label, that if you are a Queen’s athlete it’s a strong statement that you are going to be in there competing really hard. It doesn’t mean you always have to win but it’s about having that opportunity to win. I think people understand that of student-athletes coming from Queen’s. To their credit, they are balancing school and being athletes. They don’t just become part-time athletes. You have to be a full-time athlete in terms of conditioning and, at the same time, you must perform in school. These kids are good time managers as well. Frankly from a business point of view that is a very good prerequisite to step into the business world.

For more information about the 2019 Gael Force Football Dinner or becoming a sponsor, visit the event web page or contact Danielle Gattinger.