In 2003, driven by a vision that prioritized a more people-first construction industry, Bob Robinson, along with his three pioneering partners, set the foundation for a general contracting company that lived its values, measured its success by the strength of its relationships and built more than just quality buildings. Over the past 20 years, Westcor Construction has done exactly that, delivering quality projects and building a brand that enabled the growing company to invest in its people, the community and the industry.
At its inception, Westcor ventured into the realm of public work and open bidding projects, steadily carving a name for itself in the market. However, President and CEO Bob Robinson understood that the soul of the company could not thrive if cutthroat competition was its goal.
“It was difficult from a competitive standpoint,” says Robinson. “We were up against companies that had different priorities than we did. We decided early on to invest in our people and work with clients who valued these people-first services.”
This foundational choice transformed Westcor from a mere construction company into a people-focused, collaborative entity.
Westcor’s journey led them to collaborate with select clients on intricate projects across southern Alberta. Their long-standing relationships with commercial, light industrial and multi-family residential clients are a testament to the value they bring to every project. Central to this approach is their Client Experience Framework, ensuring the journey through a construction project becomes not just successful but also enjoyable.
“We try our best to make the client’s construction experience a lot more enjoyable,” says Glen Clark, Director of Client Experience at Westcor. “That leads to repeat work, satisfied clients and our consultant partners keeping us on the forefront of their minds when new opportunities for collaboration arise.”
This commitment to enhancing client satisfaction is more than a mantra; it’s a promise that resonates through every brick laid and every blueprint studied. That value is optimized by Westcor’s Lean Construction methodologies, The Westcor Way, which focuses on continuous improvement, proactive collaboration and constraint management, and eliminating waste in construction.
As a full-service general contractor and construction manager, Westcor’s portfolio is diverse, serving clients across sectors as enthusiastically on the small service projects as the large greenfield ones. The priority is meeting the clients’ needs, whatever they may be, and clients know that the Westcor team genuinely cares about delivering a successful project and a positive experience.
Strong relationships are the bedrock of Westcor’s success. They provide the trust needed to coordinate all aspects of a project from the earliest stages to produce preliminary budgets, value engineering services, scheduling, constructability reviews and identifying efficiencies that can be worked into the construction process. Collaboration and ongoing communication with partners, along with the agility to adapt as the project progresses, keeps all parties on the same page and helps projects run smoothly.
“As part of our collaborative scheduling methodology, we facilitate stand-up Pull Planning sessions with all trade partners to work visually on planning boards to identify what the milestones are, identify what the constraints are and how each trade partner will commit to what they can provide and what they need so we can meet our desired schedule,” says Andrew Morgan, VP Construction at Westcor.
With accountability and teamwork built into the process from the get-go, projects contain accurate and clear projections that all parties agree to in advance, and the resulting low-stress efficiency is one reason trade partners, clients and consultants want to continually work with Westcor. Building a Better World for its clients, community and its people means fostering an environment where all stakeholders, from clients to trade partners, have a voice.
The company strives to work with clients who share their values, and together they build more than just impressive structures. For example, the team is currently working on a Ronald McDonald House expansion to improve the experience of the families living there.
“Yes, we’re building a building but we’re helping provide a service to the community and if you can align yourself with the end value that your client is trying to deliver, that’s where that ‘Building a Better World’ really comes in. That’s where we get the reward. Building an actual building is just the means to that end,” says Kyle Morgan, VP Preconstruction at Westcor.
This alignment follows the team outside the office too. When Westcor’s clients and partners hear about the company’s commitment to the community, they want be part of it, from helping the team fill backpacks with school supplies for Siksika children to giving a facelift to the play area at the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter to food and clothing drives for Calgarians in need. They’ve supported a number of worthy community initiatives together over the years, and Westcor’s culture directs the team’s involvement beyond the chequebook.
Hands-on community involvement has been woven into the fabric of the company since the beginning and as the company has grown, the level of giving has too. When considering how to commemorate its 20th anniversary, Westcor continued with the success they had created in 2018 with their “Building a Better Community, a People-First Initiative” campaign that launched their 15th anniversary, and committed to performing 20 acts of kindness for their 20th year in business. The entire staff rallied behind the idea and soon amended it to 20-plus acts to keep up with the enthusiasm. These acts could be as simple as dropping water at the Mustard Seed during the hottest days of the summer or writing Christmas cards for seniors in retirement facilities, and as involved as fundraisers for cancer research or sponsoring events to support children, youth and families battling mental health, poverty and addiction. The huge number of people within the company that champion various causes is evidence that when Westcor claims it is people-first, it really walks the talk.
“People first” focuses on respect and investment in clients, trade partners, the community and most importantly on both its many long-tenured employees and new recruits. With a handful of apprentices who learn on the job while Westcor covers their tuition as well as seasoned employees taking advantage of opportunities to grow and develop professionally to advance their careers, management strives to build a Westcor family where all employees know they are valued. Employees play an important role in its success and are empowered to propose improvements, many of which are later implemented organization wide, to make that team even better. Management knows that if they value and take great care of its people, their people will do the same for clients.
After all, the employees are key to the company’s success, so management doesn’t leave anything to chance. They don’t hire blind and instead accept referrals from industry partners who know the company’s culture and can recommend a good fit. Management seeks out proficient professionals who also align with the company’s ethics and purpose. Westcor is guided by its core values of collaboration, ownership, continuous improvement, community and having fun and using these values to hire has resulted in a cohesive, collaborative and wildly talented staff that has helped the company grow.
“We embed continuous learning and sustainable growth into our culture. We believe that if our people are excellent from a personal perspective, then being excellent in their professional lives is seamless. The way that we help our people to strive for excellence both personally and professionally is through our Core Competencies Framework. We hire and train based on those Competencies, and a lot of the Competencies focus on people skills. Where the focus in the past has been on the development of technical skills, we’ve flipped that around and made the focus the development of people skills because the people skills are what make businesses thrive,” Cathleen Peter-Swart, VP Corporate Services for Westcor.
And Westcor Construction is certainly thriving after 20 years, Building a Better World one project at a time.
2420 – 39 Avenue NE
Calgary, AB T2E 6X1