A Humble Brand of Leadership

  • June 7th, 2017
  • By Genny Smith

At Cowbell Brewing Co., we are often asked, "Whose idea was Cowbell? Where did the idea come from? Why Blyth? Why now?"

The answer to all of these questions is the same: the Sparling family and more specifically, Steven Sparling.

Grant and Mildred Sparling raised their family of four in the village of Blyth and built a variety of successful businesses and spent a lifetime giving back to their community. Blyth is home.

In our everyday at Cowbell, Steven brings humility, work ethic, excitement and humour to Cowbell. He never talks about his achievements or accomplishments or his many successes. His leadership style supports, guides and helps us achieve the near impossible. As our team grows rapidly and we expand into markets as far as Ottawa and Sault Ste. Marie, the "keeper of the dream" and the leader of this craft brewery startup continues to inspire, motivate and he challenges us to aspire to greatness.

During Steven’s time as CEO of Sparling’s Propane, Sparling's enjoyed dramatic growth and became one of the largest propane retailers in Canada before it was sold to Parkland Fuel Corporation in 2013.

After he retired from the propane industry in 2016, Steven continued to support the Canadian Propane Association (CPA) and he acted as an advisor to Parkland CEO, Bob Espey.

On May 31, 2017, the CPA honoured Steven with the Canadian Propane Association Lifetime Industry Achievement Award. From humble beginnings, Steven's father, Grant, was the first person to receive this recognition. Steven is only the second.

In true Steven fashion, he was humble about receiving the award and we only found out about it from others. Steven will be even more humbled when he discovers that we have acknowledged it.

Without the strong leadership, clarity, tenacity and philanthropic foundation of the Sparling family, Cowbell would not be the company it is and what it will be in the future.

We are proud to be led by such a successful business leader, community advocate and all-around good guy.