David Saunders Portrait

David Saunders to Receive Outstanding Alumnus Award

David Saunders likes to joke that he was the only Canadian student-athlete ever recruited by Lake Superior State at the time who couldn’t skate. It’s probably true, since most Canadian athletes were recruited for hockey, not wrestling. But David’s engagement with LSSU go far beyond his days as a wrestler. David has served on the LSSU Foundation Board since 2009; he received the Lukenda School of Business distinguished alumnus award in 2010; and he has been a generous donor to the university for more than 20 years.

“I would like to thank Dr. Madan Saluja for encouraging me to become involved with LSSU after achieving a level of professional success, and encouraging me to become a member of the LSSU Foundation,” said David.  “I would also like to thank Tom Coates and Virginia Zinser of the Foundation for their ongoing support and encouragement in my involvement with the School and the Foundation.”

David completed his bachelor of science in accounting at LSSC in 1980. Along with earning a varsity letter for wrestling, David was also a member of the Lambda Sigma Beta professional business fraternity. His education subsequent to LSSU includes a CICA International Tax Course in 1992, and a CICA In-Depth Tax Course in 1988.

David is a tax partner with BDO’s International Tax Practice. He practices extensively in the area of Canada-U.S. income taxation at the corporate, personal and partnership levels. He specializes in working with clients in a range of industries including nursing homes, retirement residences, manufacturing, construction, power generation, transportation, hotels, professional practitioners, tourism, recreation and property ownership.

David is a frequent speaker regarding Canada – U.S. tax planning, structuring U.S. inbound business investment into Canada and Canadian outbound business investment into the United States. David has spoken at the CICA National Conference on Taxation and has been quoted on cross-border tax planning issues in Canada’s national newspaper, Toronto Globe and Mail.

He has a number of professional designations, including Chartered Accountant in Ontario; Canadian Tax Foundation.

David’s professional affiliations include the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario; Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants; Canadian Tax Foundation; and the International Fiscal Association.

His involvement with BDO includes being named regional tax practice leader for international taxes in the Central Canada region; past member of the BDO international tax working group; past regional tax practice leader for Ontario Lakeland Region; and a past member of the BDO National Tax Committee.

David said, “I was fortunate to have received the Lukenda School of Business Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2010.  The award means very much to me as Dr. Lukenda and the Lukenda Family have been long time clients of BDO.  When talking to students I often refer to myself as having gone to the “real” Lukenda School of Business.  Dr. Lukenda and the Lukenda Family contributed greatly to my professional success as a result of my involvement in the cross-border structuring and planning of the business activities for the Lukenda Family.  It gives me great pride to have been involved in the fund raising efforts to secure the Lukenda School of Business naming opportunity. “

David is very involved in the Sault, Ontario community. He is a member of the gift planning and advisory committee of the Sault Area Hospital Foundation; past president and treasurer of the Rotary Club; past treasurer of the Sault Ste. Marie Children’s Foundation; past board member, president and treasurer of the Algoma Community Legal Clinic; past treasurer of the Searchmont Ski Association; and past board member, president and treasurer of Hospitality and Travel Sault Ste. Marie.

Regarding his wrestling roots, David said, “I attended LSSU as I was fortunate enough to have wrestled for Lake Superior State for four years under coach Jim Fallis and obtain a great business education.” Even though he still does not skate, he has been able to relate to hockey players by providing accounting services based on his U.S. – Canada taxation acumen.

David went on to say, “I have always been proud to have graduated from Lake Superior State University and believe it gave me the education and background necessary to have succeeded in becoming an International Tax Partner at BDO.  Considering all the successful alumni of LSSU, it is a great honor to be named LSSU’s 2019 Outstanding Alumnus.”

David and his wife Elizabeth have a daughter, Dr. Nora-Beth Mercier.

The Outstanding Alumnus Award will be presented at the Alumni Awards Banquet during Great Lake State Weekend on Friday, October 11 at 5:00 pm. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available on the GLSW website or in person at the Alumni office.

About the Author

Susan FitzpatrickSusan Fitzpatrick
Director of Alumni Relations

Susan started working at Lake Superior State University one year after she graduated from Lake State with a bachelor's in English Language and Literature in 1987. She has held various positions for the Foundation and Alumni offices and has been Alumni Director since 2006. In her free time Susan enjoys reading, running, biking, hiking, kayaking and gardening, and cooking as long as someone else cleans up!