Q&A With Ryley Gartshore, Vice President, Infrastructure in Toronto, Ontario

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

“What’s interesting about working at Slate is the ability to observe different infrastructure elements as real estate owners, operators, and developers. Access to such knowledge – and the focus of our infrastructure business on sustainable infrastructure investing – has really deepened my interest and understanding in the subject.”

Tell us about your background before you joined Slate.

I grew up in Belmont, Ontario, and earned my business degree from Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario. During my time at Western, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in finance and investments. Specifically, I had an interest in investing in real assets – seeing investments represented in the physical world, from wind farms, to toll roads and office buildings. This turned out to be the genesis for my career in infrastructure investing. Prior to joining Slate, I spent three years working in greenfield infrastructure development and three years executing larger scale infrastructure mergers and acquisitions.

What is your role at Slate Asset Management?

I joined Slate in September of 2022 as a Vice President on the Infrastructure team in Toronto, where I support Slate’s investments in critical and sustainable infrastructure for cities and communities. My responsibilities span across the investment life cycle to include everything from investment origination to due diligence and execution, asset management, and capital raising support. On a day-to-day basis, my work entails evaluating and executing on new investment opportunities, working with management teams of portfolio companies, coordinating with investors and financing parties, and assisting with any reporting as needed.

How has your experience at Slate been different than past roles? 

I’ve spent most of my career working in North American infrastructure investing, including at large and established global firms. Prior to joining, I knew many of the individuals working at Slate and was aware of the entrepreneurial culture that the firm sought to retain even as it continued to grow. When the opportunity arose to help build out a new infrastructure strategy within an existing and established investment platform, it really felt like the best of all worlds.

Slate has simultaneously provided all of the resources and support necessary to build out a new investment strategy, while providing flexibility and latitude with respect to origination, portfolio construction, and active asset management.

What are the most important skills you utilize in your role?

The baseline for working in the investment industry is having a numeric aptitude and attention to detail with numbers and numerical applications. Beyond that, it’s important to be personable and approachable, ensuring that investment teammates and partners – ranging from junior analysts to portfolio companies – are comfortable sharing ideas and opinions and asking hard questions. It’s equally important to have humility – knowing when to ask questions yourself, and having the ability to change opinions when facts change.

What trends or technologies in the infrastructure space are you most excited about?

A dominating trend of the infrastructure industry right now is the energy transition, which represents a once-in-a-century paradigm shift in our approach to energy systems. This trend excites me because it provides an incredible opportunity for investment – everything from transitioning the grid to renewable energy, to electrifying industrial processes, and increasing efficiency of buildings. Because of this, infrastructure investments currently demand an understanding of many intersecting concepts: the technologies and economics involved, the political landscape, and the psychology behind people’s attitudes toward the energy transition.

What’s interesting about working at Slate during this transition is the ability to observe these elements in practice as real estate owners, operators, and developers. Access to such knowledge – and the focus of our infrastructure business on sustainable infrastructure investing – has really deepened my interest and understanding in the subject.

How do you define success on a personal and professional level?

Years ago, I learned an orientation for success that is represented in three “P’s”: purpose, people, and progress. Speaking to “purpose”, it’s important to ensure that work is rewarding and challenging, that it’s in an area I’m passionate about, and that it drives constant curiosity. The “people” pillar is oriented around cultivating meaningful relationships by working with people I truly enjoy being around and learning from. Lastly, “progress” means maintaining a positive continuation in all roles, and can be represented as a promotion, deepened understanding of a particular subject, or assuming leadership responsibilities within the team.

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