“When I graduated from Augustana,” says Scott Grattide, “I thought I had the world by the tail.” A strong student and the students’ union president, he imagined he’d have no trouble finding a job. But in 1995, the Alberta job market was weak, and Scott found it hard to sell himself with a BA in economics and no work experience. The job he did find was cutting sheet metal, work he describes as “character-building.”
Finally, he got a break. Bank of Montreal (BMO) offered him a teller position in Forestburg, Alberta, and over the next few years, he worked in several other rural communities. By age 25, Scott was branch manager and found himself able to call the shots in his career. As a result, he took a year’s leave of absence and spent much of it traveling across New Zealand with his wife, Lorelee.
Meanwhile, the couple hunted for the perfect piece of land in Alberta’s foothills. They searched from Pincher Creek to Rocky Mountain House before finding 81 acres with a mountain view northwest of Cochrane. Scott and his brother-in-law built a 12- x 24-foot shed, where Scott and Lorelee lived for two years. He jokes, “Lots of friends came to visit, but they wouldn’t stay long enough for two cups of coffee for fear they’d have to use the outhouse.” Eventually the Grattidges built a beautiful post-and-beam home, and they acquired a cat, a dog, two horses, and 26 alpacas.
Scott’s career success continued. BMO asked him to open a branch in Cochrane and then to do commercial lending in Calgary branches. But when his son Dawson was born, Scott re-evaluated. He left BMO to become a full-time stay-at-home dad and a part-time financial consultant working from home. Two years later, a second son, Clay, was born, and Scott is now a RBC Royal Bank mortgage specialist, working primarily from his home office.
It’s a perfect set-up for Scott. He’s able to accompany his kids to swimming lessons and school assemblies. And he makes time to volunteer—as past president of the Cochrane Rotary Club, on the local campground board, and on a Town of Cochrane committee. He also coaches minor soccer and is involved in the local church.
Scott believes it’s important for his children to experience different cultures and ways of life. In 2008, the family travelled to Paraguay to visit missionary friends working with an orphanage. The Grattidges took with them $8000 they had raised to purchase a water pump, washing machine, lawn mower, and other supplies for the orphanage. They also built a playground for the children. Scott says, “I want my kids to understand that not everyone in the world has the privileges they do.” He admits, “Now they have the travel bug and can’t wait for our next trip.”
Scott’s plans for the future include more travel and an ongoing focus on family and community. A decade after graduation, Scott really does have the world by the tail.