“We were in a very strong economic cycle [in 2006]. I was quite enjoying my job at the time.” – Ross Grieve

We begin our throwback in 2006. Stephen Harper began his tenure as Prime Minister in February and Alberta Premier Ralph Klein would step down by the year’s end. Alberta’s unemployment rate was 4.3 per cent and the vacancy rate for Calgary’s commercial real estate was almost zero. The year also marked an exciting time for Ross Grieve, then the CEO of PCL Construction and the year’s Business Person of the Year award winner. It was the company’s 100-year anniversary and celebrations were held throughout the year. In his decade at the helm, Grieve had seen the company’s construction volume balloon from $1.8 billion to $4.6 billion, but he still had his mind set on growth, expansion and asset acquisition. “We were in a very strong economic cycle,” Grieve says. “I was quite enjoying my job at the time.” By the time Grieve stepped down in 2009, revenue was $6.2 billion, despite the global financial crisis. But for a man who remained with the company his whole career (since 1969, when it was still called Poole Construction), it’s not that easy to cut ties completely. Grieve remains chairman of the board and appreciates watching his younger employees move up the ranks, taking on more responsibility and heading senior roles. As a veteran executive who has plenty of experience with Alberta’s volatile economy, those young guns are now turning to Grieve for advice on how to navigate the province’s downturns. “[Business leaders] are fearful and challenged as to how to deal with this significant economic challenge,” Grieve says. “But with adversity comes opportunity. For the sharp leaders of today, there are going to be lots of things people can take advantage of in an economic shift and still do very well.” Grieve’s experience comes in handy for his two sons, Matthew and Noah, as he maintains a director’s role in their family-owned private real estate investment company, Maggnum Ventures. On top of that, he sits on the boards of AIMCo and Melcor Developments. “I don’t seem to have a lot of time that I feel overly idle,” Grieve says. “The trick is to stay busy and stay healthy, and so far, so good.”

The Year that Was 2006

Alberta’s population 3.2 million (it’s now 4.2 million)

Alberta Premier Ralph Klein and B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell sign the Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement