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Best Managed Success

Cathy Orr, president and CEO of RGO.

Being relevant, up to date, customer focused and well managed are contemporary business essentials.

When Calgary’s legendary RGO recently earned its second Canada’s Best Managed Companies Platinum Award, it provided the opportunity for a fascinating flashback. The respected office solutions company was founded in 1966, at a time when Calgary was a much different and basic business place. Typewriters still rolled out carbon copies, telecopiers were about to hatch early fax machines, phone messages were still scribbled longhand on small pink sheets and the word “ergonomic” was as weird and unheard of as “digital.”

With warp-speed business innovation and changes, RGO is now a dynamic source for a wide range of office products and services, specializing in the latest office solutions from state-of-the-art furniture, adjustable work surfaces, unique work and break stations, flooring and window coverings to space planning, office move co-ordination and how the integration of place and technology can unlock creativity.

Nurturing decades of customer relationships, the RGO team plays a key role in the company’s success.

“We are focused on being industry leaders,” says Cathy Orr, RGO president and CEO. “It drives us to ensure that our employees have the knowledge and passion behind our solutions.”

The prestigious Canada’s Best Managed Companies distinction recognizes excellence in Canadian-owned and managed companies with revenues over $15 million. Every year, hundreds of entrepreneurial companies compete for the designation in a rigorous and independent process that evaluates the calibre of management abilities and practices.

Although the program recognizes overall business performance and sustained growth, it measures much more than just financial performance.

“Of course our strengths as a best managed company are related to our fiscal discipline, strong balance sheet, strategy to grow our business units and reinvesting for the future,” she says, while underscoring the importance of some company values that transcend business basics. “We value efficiency and competency: doing it right the first time and being open to new ideas and changes while bringing knowledge and expertise to the marketplace and being agile and adaptive.

“Trust is vital! We collaborate and win together. We are passionate about innovative and integrative solutions and we create and support a strong culture of people who can learn, grow and thrive,” Orr adds with enthusiasm.

“It’s built on respect, fairness, accountability and having fun! After all, our human capital is one of RGO’s largest investments. Our people need to continually grow and learn and our company prioritizes developing soft skills in combination with defined skills related to technology and product knowledge.”

With business savvy and pride, she explains being cited as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies is not only humbling but a reinforcement RGO is staying current and working through the economy and political landscape challenges that all leaders and businesses face in Alberta and Canada.

She acknowledges the business landscape has changed a lot since RGO earned its first Canada’s Best Managed Companies award in 2006. “The pace is much faster and expectations are high, on all sides. We are looking at ways that our people can work together in collaborative settings and share information on a more regular basis, so that insights can be shared and taught.

“As a result of the Internet, many customers have access to information, so our team needs to be ahead of this. This year, one of our mantras is let’s be 15 minutes ahead of our customer.”