On June 27, 1977 John and George Poole, sold the company founded by their father to their employees. With that sale, Poole Construction Limited became PCL Construction, and the foundation of a unique and successful business model was established.
This year, PCL Construction celebrates 35 years of employee ownership and 106 years in business as a general contractor.
Historical photo of Bob Stollery signing purchase of company from George and John Poole.
SHARING IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS
Bob Stollery was the company’s CEO in 1977 and the visionary behind the employee ownership model at PCL. He believed that “sharing is good for business”. Despite the objections of skeptics in the industry, Stollery worked with an initial group 25 employee investors to purchase the company from the Poole family. Since then, the number of PCL’s employee-owners has grown to include thousands of people in all of PCL’s operations around the world. While the employee ownership program at PCL is voluntary, over 90% of PCL’s employees own shares in the company. PCL is not publically traded.
THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY IN PCL’S HISTORY
Paul Douglas, present-day president and CEO of PCL, points to the company’s unique employee ownership model as one of the keys to PCL’s success.
“Sharing profits through ownership with employees was a revolutionary concept back in 1977, especially in the construction business,” said Douglas, “When you give employees an opportunity to participate in the success of their company, productivity, customer service, and employee engagement all increase dramatically.”
THE VALUE OF EMPLOYEE OWNERSHIP
PCL’s clients benefit from the employee ownership model as well. Employee-owners appreciate the importance of satisfied customers for long-term profitability and growth.
“Happy clients are repeat clients,” said Darin Chestnut, vice president of business development for PCL’s US operations, “and strong relationships are the key to longevity in the construction business. As owners, every employee has an interest in exceeding the expectations of clients and business partners. Everyone is driven to add value in all aspects of PCL’s operations.”
PCL’s culture of employee ownership and generosity has benefits in the broader community. Employees reinvest their profit-sharing earnings in their local economies. Additionally, PCL and its employees are regularly recognized as leading supporters of charities such as the United Way, the Red Cross, and Habitat for Humanity. Employees donate to many other non-profit organizations in their communities.
Though Bob Stollery passed way in 2007, his legacy of an employee-ownership model continues to demonstrate that sharing is not only good for business, it’s also good for people.