Now Open In Calgary

Calgary may be home for Blaine Labby but he concedes he is also treading a most unfamiliar path in moving back to the Alberta city from Vancouver.

“This is extremely exciting and, yet, a bit overwhelming because I have never done anything like this,” says Labby, who is charged with overseeing the opening and operation of a Calgary office for Vancouver-based electrical engineering firm Nemetz (S/A) & Associates Ltd.

“I know Calgary extremely well, having worked and lived in the city. But I've never started a company office but this whole endeavour just feels so right to me. I grew up playing sports all my life. I'm a very competitive person and when the chance came to me to oversee the new Calgary office I knew I had to take it. I want to make this a very successful business. I'm a fighter and I'm going to make it work.”

Labby grew up in Slave Lake, Alta., some 550 kilometres northwest of Calgary. In addition to playing hockey and baseball he also worked weekends at one of the local mills. While he gained valuable work experience at the mill, he opted for an electrical apprenticeship upon high school graduation, later travelling to Vancouver to take advantage of greater work opportunities.

For some 13 years he worked as a foreman and journeyman electrician then, seeking new challenges, he joined the Nemetz company for a brief time before opting to take a job opportunity in Calgary to be closer to family in Alberta. But when the province's economy stagnated and construction opportunities stalled, Labby was invited to rejoin the Nemetz company in Vancouver, where the impending Winter Olympic Games had created a large and diverse hub of construction activity.

“It was the best thing that happened to me, coming back to Vancouver,” says Labby, who worked initially as an electrical designer then project manager at Nemetz. “It was difficult to leave Calgary but I had lost money on my house, the work opportunities crashed with the economy. It was a good move as I became involved in a lot of different projects such as City of Vancouver offices, BC Ambulance projects, lots of food stores — a good thing because it broadens my base, initially the contractors I worked with were strictly residential.”

The Calgary office is slated to open in the fall of 2013. Company Chief Executive Officer Steve Nemetz notes Labby, with his personal and professional ties to the Alberta city, was the perfect person to oversee his firm's office expansion to Calgary.

“It made sense to open up a consulting company there as we have the right person who understands our system and can translate that to become effective in the Calgary market,” says Nemetz. “We're already doing a lot of work in Calgary and having a permanent office presence there will only enhance our ability to do the job and give people even more confidence in us.”

Labby concurs Calgary is currently a city of opportunity.

“Workwise, both Vancouver and Calgary are very busy right now, although Calgary is perhaps even a bit busier,” he explains. “In terms of projects there is a bit of everything — we have quite a few residential projects, commercial, and they are lacking on services because so many people are moving out there. This move couldn't have come at a better time, and from what we understand there are not a lot of consultants there who do what we do.”

Copyright © 2013 Nemetz (S/A) & Associates Ltd.