FACILITYCalgary publisher Mark Kolke, in conversation with Steve Revay
January 15, 2013
My recent conversation with Steve Revay, VP Western Region at Revay and Associates Limited – began, as you might expect, with queries about how he got into the family business. Youthful conflicts between Steve and his father, the founder of the company – saw him pursue education and work in opposite directions, but returning – or rather starting in the family business at 29 in 1977, first in his Montreal birthplace, then to Calgary in 1979, to Branch Manager in 1988. The company was acquired by Stantec in 1994, a fit that didn’t . . . leading to employees buying it back in 1998. Steve’s story of personal and professional triumph was inspiring for me and I believe his answers to some questions will inspire and intrigue our readers.
I learned far more than a website and some Googling could help me with – a genuinely open, recovering workaholic, heading his firm here in Alberta. 40 years of forensic analysis of things gone wrong, damage control, dispute resolution, mediation, conflicts and fairness. We even went off tangentially for a while on my favourite subject – P3 (public private partnerships) and the growing need for better front-end risk assessment . . .
He explained his work in risk assessment – at the front tend, about knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns, commodity cost influences – again with the knowns/unknowns, insured issues vs. non-insured ones, project execution risk and the tried-true parts of the business, figuring out what really went off-track when disputes arise between contractors and owners need fair assessments of which issues need to be considered to resolve a problem . . . way past the point of my eyes glazing over until I actually understood – and enjoyed the conversation.
I asked Steve how he sees the market, in his industry, over the next 90 days.
. . . continued busy times – our business volume rises and falls with construction activity which rises and falls with the economy. Based on activity levels in Nov/Dec, things are looking steady and strong.
Over the next 5 years?
… expansion of our services – doing more for our clients on the front end of projects, which is a real diversification we are doing more of in our office here than in other parts of the country.
What qualities distinguish your preferred suppliers?
. . . experience, desire to provide quality services, trust – cost, obviously, and competency
Why do your clients hire you instead of your competitors?
. . . experience, reputation for quality service produces repeat business, makes us the go-to-guys when our clients have problems
…. and this interesting tidbit
. . . retention of strong performers, quality staff is connected to a profit sharing program across the company’s 5 offices – so an office plowing new ground or having a tough year isn’t penalized. Balanced. Fair.
What do you worry about?
. . . personally, I worry about my kids’ futures (28.27,25) retirement. Corporately, I worry about complacency. I believe we are the best known company in Canada doing our kind of work – so sustaining that is an ongoing concern.
Things that changed your life?
. . . my wife’s cancer, and recovery - that experience and my workaholism caused me/us, to refocus our time. We committed to taking a 3-week vacation every year, often with my siblings and their spouses, like sailing in warm places. We have a great time and get along well.
What are you reading?
. . . I only read fiction on vacations. Right now, . . The End of Lawyers? Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services, by Richard Susskind
. . . squash, for 20 years
. . . ’99 Ford Expedition. I never buy new.
Thanks Steve for sharing more than just a few nuggets.
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