Tipping my hard hat to one of the best

Today’s post is a tribute to my old alma mater, EllisDon Corporation. Geoff Smith, President of ED was in Monaco  (yes, the real one, next to Italy) last week representing Canada’s nomination for International Entrepreneur of the Year, in a prestigious award ceremony hosted annually by Ernst & Young. That’s serious recognition and one EllisDon can be justifiably proud of.

Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. EllisDon is Canada's largest builder of hospital and healthcare facilities.
Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. EllisDon is Canada’s largest builder of hospital and healthcare facilities.

When I joined the firm in 1971, I’d never even heard of the company. At that time they completed $65 million in new construction each year and there were only slightly more than 50 people at our Toronto Christmas party. They now complete in the neighbourhood of $4 billion annually and their Christmas parties are attended by more people than a Stones’ concert. In more than 30 years at EllisDon I had the privilege of working with both the founder Don Smith and later, Geoff Smith. The corporate culture originally established by Don Smith and further advanced by Geoff does not follow typical business school models yet it resulted in a highly successful, uniquely-styled company that for the past several years has consistently been recognized as one of Canada’s top employers and best-managed companies.

The recipe is not that complicated but it is unusual in the business world. EllisDon is not strictured by hierarcial protocols, formal policies and corporate dogma. The management structure is relatively flat and employees are strongly encouraged to put their ideas forward. If it’s a good idea and it flies, great. If not—it was a lesson learned, deal with the consequences and carry on.  Senior managers are accessible, open and supportive of innovation. I doubt I could have done as well as I did in another type of organization and ED employees who can take the heat thrive in this type of environment.

My husband, George and I both have deep and strong roots at EllisDon. George also spent most of his career at EllisDon and for many years was number two guy under Don Smith and then Geoff. We’re both so proud of our small part in helping create this incredible company. I follow EllisDon’s website and read Geoff’s blogs regularly just so I can retain that feeling of being part of a very special family that has matured and keeps getting better in ways I could never have imagined. As Geoff so often and readily states, it’s a combined effort by a group of incredibly bright, hard-working, creative and talented men and women. This international recognition confirms it.

Lynda Davis

As an early Baby Boomer, born in 1947, it seems to me that as we approach our retirement years, Boomers have gone from being the energy driving our nation to slowly becoming invisible. We risk losing our identity as society remains stubbornly youth-centric. And the irony is that Gen Xers and Ys are not the majority; we are. BOOMERBROADcast is my platform for being the voice of Baby Boomers, women in particular. We've generated a lot of changes over the decades but there's still a long way to go. After a 40-year career in the corporate world, I've taken up expressing the observations and concerns of our generation. Instead of pounding the pavement in my bellbottoms with a cardboard sign, I'm pounding my laptop (I learned to type on a manual typewriter and old habits die hard). If you have issues or concerns you would like voiced or have comments on what I've voiced, I'd love to hear from you. We started breaking the rules in the sixties and now that we're in our sixties it's no time to become complacent. Hope you'll stay tuned and if you like BOOMERBROADcast, share it with your friends. Let's rock n' roll! If you would like to be notified whenever I publish a new posting, click on the little blue box in the lower right of your screen that says +Follow→ Lynda Davis

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Great blog about Ellis-Don and its different business model – we can all learn from that one!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Close Menu


%d bloggers like this: