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Retro Specialty Contractors

  /  News   /  An interview with the President, Grant J. Raeburn

An interview with the President,
Grant J. Raeburn

  1. What encouraged you to move from Calgary to BC back in 1989 and start Retro Specialty Contractors?
    • Following several trips to Vancouver, I determined that as a bigger city there was more opportunity, more diversity, and I didn’t have to deal with the very cold winters. I’d seen that the variety of opportunities for my family growing up in B.C. would be greater. Calgary was a wonderful welcoming city as an immigrant, but it was time to explore new horizons.


  1. What would you say was your most challenging or rewarding project over these past 30 years and why?
    • Most challenging (and ultimately most rewarding) project was BC Place Stadium ( Rogers Arena)upgrade prior to the 2010 Winter Olympics. The facility was to be used for the opening and closing ceremonies and the medal awards in Vancouver. The stadium (completed in the early ‘80’s) required a complete renovation of the concrete bleacher structure prior to removing and replacing the roof. Retro was chosen to complete that work and it was the single biggest project we had undertaken at that time. The products selected by the designers for that renovation failed prior to the new roof completion – but Retro managed the problem, replaced all of the earlier work, and negotiated the final cost claim to everyone’s’ satisfaction.


  1. We’ve all heard the saying no risk no reward do you believe this to be true it’s starting your business ?
    • Contracting is regarded as a risky business. It doesn’t have to be. With foresight, experience, a professional approach, training, knowledge, honesty, integrity, and aptitude, one can narrow the risks down to a minimum, and develop a scientific, logical approach to the profession. My attitude was “..if I want to gamble I’ll go to Vegas.” I haven’t gambled very much in my approach to business over the last 30 years (maybe that’s an issue!). Plus I had a real desire as a younger man to set my own destiny, and negotiate life’s challenges and responsibilities on my own terms.


  1. What motivates you to still be in the construction industry after 30 years?
    • I love the challenges, the diversity, and the construction people. Although I am looking at a younger generation these days, and many of my contemporaries have ‘moved on’ or retired, I can still recognize the personalities. I never wanted anything other than to be in this business and try to be successful.


  1. If you were to say “Retro Specialty Contractors is successful today because…” What would your answer be?
    • Success is a relative term. But if we are considered successful its probably by being consistent, being careful with our resources, never over-celebrating success or dwelling on failure, problem solving or adding value for our clients, and determining to remain a purposeful component of the great BC Construction industry. Or, it may be that I’ve had the same mobile number for 30 years and still get calls from people I worked with over my 30 years in business.