EllisDon Hangs With The Entrepreneurs

Geoff Smith Portrait

BY Geoff Smith


EY (Ernst & Young) has a terrific program called the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards, and this past November EllisDon won the award for Canada.

Formally, it is the CEO that wins, and I was not keen at the beginning because I thought the award was too 'individual', but I listened to good advice and went along, and in the end I needn't have worried. Everyone at EllisDon knows that we exist in the weird reality of a construction company with a CEO who can't build, can't read a drawing, who's work boots are way too shiny. That is too say, they know that we are all in this together, and since that seems to include all the crap that happens on any given day, it also definitely includes any awards that come through the door. It's an EllisDon award.

The 'EOY' program in Canada is run by a terrific (and terrifically nice) woman named Colleen McMorrow, and I was sheparded through the program by another very capable and very generous woman named Andrea Feddema who worked very hard on my behalf. Sometimes you get dragged into something and your life is more enjoyable as a result, and that's certainly the case here.

And say what you want about stuffy black tie affairs, we got to meet some very cool regular people. Matt Rendel, the 'Young Entrepreneur' winner, builds vehicular robots in Kitchener, Ontario that go into war zones and into space by clients from over 25 countries. George Roter, CEO of 'Engineers Without Borders', working across Africa and elsewhere to build desperately needed infrastructure - how many lives has he touched? And Francis McGuire of Major Drilling, whose business model is to seek out the toughest drilling jobs all over the world from a base in Moncton, New Brunswick. You could put together a great Advisory Board from just this paragraph.

And over two galas, we all had a blast and signed some large bar tabs. Colleen asked me to write this blog about how I feel about the award. Here's how I feel. I feel like a bit of an idiot. Gerald Slemko (an EllisDon Director who knew better) had to drag me to a party where both I and EllisDon were given a whole bunch of great presents that will keep on giving for a long time. I think Gerald is going to slap me about the head next time we get together.

Life can be a whole lot of fun if you get to work with great people and try not to overthink everything. I've been very lucky with the former. I'm working on the latter.

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