Paul Raboud takes home OGCA chairman award

As Originally Seen in the Daily Commercial News: dailycommercialnews.com

Bird Construction’s Paul Raboud has been recognized by the Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA) for his integrity in dealing with the construction industry.

Raboud is the recipient of this year's Chairman's Award of Recognition, created in 1990 to honour individuals who have been affiliated with the association and have made an outstanding contribution to the general contracting industry and specifically the OGCA.

"I'm grateful for the recognition of my peers," said Raboud. "I am thrilled to have received this recognition. I had no idea I had been nominated, much less won."

Raboud has been on the OGCA board for 15 years is currently the first vice-chairman. He was the Council of Ontario Construction Associations (COCA) representative when the OGCA was still part of COCA, he said. More recently, he also chaired a committee to develop the OGCA submission to Bruce Reynolds and Sharon Vogel who conducted the review of the Construction Lien Act. In addition, Raboud served on a committee representing the Construction and Design Alliance of Ontario with Infrastructure Ontario, dealing with design and construction issues that the industry raised.

Raboud, a registered professional engineer, is the vice-chair of Bird Construction. He obtained a bachelor of science in civil engineering from the University of Alberta, a Master's of science in civil engineering from the University of Washington and an MBA from the University of Alberta.

Raboud joined Bird in 1984 in the Toronto office and held the positions of field engineer, estimator, project manager and assistant district manager. In 1990, he was appointed manager of the Vancouver district and in 2000 returned to the corporate office in Toronto as executive vice-president. He was appointed president and chief operating officer in 2006 and CEO in 2008. In 2010, Raboud stepped down from his position as CEO into the role of vice-chair of the company.

"General contracting is a huge industry in Ontario and when I look at the influence that the general contracting industry has in this province, it's tiny compared to the influence that I see that much smaller industries have," said Raboud.

"It's really through the work of organizations like the OGCA that we get a voice."

According to Raboud, the reason general contractors don't have influence is because the industry is so fragmented.

"There are hundreds of little general contracting businesses out there," said Raboud.

"The OGCA is a way to consolidate that, to speak with one voice, but people have to participate, people have to get out, show up at meetings, volunteer their time and resources from their companies. It's an incredibly competitive business and the margins are tight and to devote those kinds of resources to a volunteer undertaking is difficult for sure, but I think it's really important and great for the OGCA."

Clive Thurston, president of the OGCA, explained Raboud has been a long-time board member and will be OGCA's chairman next year, following Frank Perricone.

"His dedication to the industry has long been recognized, but what triggered the award was his commitment to the integrity and the ethics of the association in dealings with the construction industry," said Thurston. Recently, Bird Construction provided pre-construction services for a project on which they were preparing to bid.

"Somebody complained that it was unfair that we'd done some budgeting work and we were still bidding on the project," explained Raboud.

"We weren't in any way doing it under the radar. There was no real policy for that in the OGCA, it's undefined. Rather than put the OGCA in that position, we made a decision to withdraw from bidding the project."

Bird made the decision to forgo bidding the project in order to support the OGCA, Raboud added.

"I think the OGCA appreciated that we supported them even when it hurts," he said.

"I guess that's what principles are all about — it's not doing something when it's easy, it's doing something when it costs you money."

As a result of this issue, the OGCA will be developing a guideline for other contractors who may find themselves in a situation where they may be in a conflict of interest.

"Even more important than that, a committee will now deal with this so this policy can be properly defined and outlined," said Raboud.

With respect to the decision, Thurston commented, "he took the high road, Bird took the high road as a company and they have always done that and that is why he was recognized."

Raboud believes the OGCA needs to continue to boost its profile in the industry.

"We're looking for more members all the time and there's just so much more we can do," said Raboud.

These recognition awards are important to the OGCA for many reasons, Thurston concluded.

"We're an industry that doesn't blow its own horn very much," said Thurston, adding contractors are extremely shy and rarely promote themselves as they should.

"We feel it's important to recognize leaders and celebrate them so people know we are more than just contractors."

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Paul Raboud Takes Home Ogca Chairman Award : News & Media : Bird Construction