“The only constant is change.” Though he heard these words from Michael Cooper nearly 20 years ago, Jim Grandan remembers them as though they were spoken just last week. That’s not surprising considering that, in all the years he has worked at Dream – he joined Markborough Properties in 1989 and Dundee Developments acquired the company in 1997 – nothing has been truer.
Jim has worked with the same core team for over 20 years, but in the meantime the company has grown and the team has adapted, taking in new people and taking on new challenges. Jim plays his role once land has been acquired, at which point he directs the detailed subdivision and engineering design and gets approvals from cities on the company’s proposed plans. He is then involved with the construction process of these plans.
“No two developments are the same,” he explains, unable to hide his obvious passion for his job. “We’re always dealing with different challenges. Yes, we build lots for the homes, but we look past that and think of the residents who will eventually buy from the homebuilder. You get a great sense of accomplishment from creating a place that you would like to live in yourself.”
|VP, Development and General Manager
|Dream Development, Calgary
Jim takes pride in feeling that his role is at the heart of the company’s purpose to build better communities. Through feedback from residents, both positive and negative, “we’ve developed a feel for what future residents look for in their community and we look to integrate that in our design so we can literally build better communities where people will be happy.”
He and his team are focused on creating new communities that will exceed expectations, and on improving current communities. For example, about a year after the 2013 Alberta floods, it was brought to the attention of Jim and his team that the Dream community of Montrose, in High River, was still feeling the after-effects of the floods and that damages were not being taken care of as quickly as planned: the community was, thankfully, not as badly impacted as other areas of High River, which also meant they were lower on the town’s list of priorities.
With that in mind, Jim joined other Dream employees, some homebuilders, and about 40 residents of the community for a “Renewal Day”: together, they set about fixing the special features of the neighbourhood that were starting to look shabby, planted new shrubs, got loam and bark mulch delivered, picked up the garbage and arranged for dumpsters for residents who still needed to dispose of damaged items from their houses.
All that work was done in one day, and Jim has a very simple way of explaining not only that day, but also his last 25 years: “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t like what I do.