W.G. (Gord) Bontje
President and CEO
Laebon was incorporated in 1976, by Peter Lacey and myself; two young guys with a dream. The first year we built two homes, and were pleased to earn enough to buy groceries. We were both ambitious and had big dreams so we persevered, working, learning and improving.
Thirty four years later I am still working at the same job. Things have changed. Pete left in 1982 to focus on other industries. Laebon has evolved into an award winning team of professionals that has built more than 3,000 homes all over Central Alberta, mostly in spectacular Laebon designed and built communities.
I was born in 1957 in London, Ontario. I am the second in a family of six children and grew up on a farm near London. In 1975, being seventeen and feeling the lure of the west I left home landing in Red Deer. It didn’t take long to sense the boundless opportunity that Alberta offers; I soon became a committed Albertan.
On July 18, 1981 I married Kathy, who was born in Red Deer and has lived here all of her life. We have been blessed with three children. Steve, our oldest, works with the land development team at Laebon. Emily is completing a commerce degree at the University of Calgary and Adam is at SAIT working on a Civil Engineering Technologist certificate.
We are proud and committed residents of Central Alberta; this really is a great place to live and to work and raise a family.
My version of an enjoyed life is to uphold the principle of lifelong learning; to never stop reading. Formal education highlights are earning the “Master Home Builder”designation from the Professional Home Builders Institute of Alberta in 1993, and completing the “Directors Education Program” in 2010.
MY JOB AT LAEBON
As CEO my job is to ensure the Laebon team has the resources to achieve our goals. I make sure we do what we say we will do when we say we will do it. That simple statement wraps up the dilemma of leadership. I have to be a cheerleader, head coach, visionary and problem solver.
With each home we sell, we sell a little part of ourselves, so an important part of my role is to buy land continually. We want each new community to grow on the success of the previous one; we have an ongoing quest to create the next great Laebon community.
IN ADDITION TO MY JOB AT LAEBON
I have taken an active role in the building and development industry through its associations and regulatory agencies.
I have been a Director, 2nd Vice President, 1st Vice President and President of the Central Alberta Home Builders Association. On the provincial level, I have beena Director, Vice President and President of the Canadian Home Builders Association– Alberta.
From 1989 – 1994, I served as the Central Alberta representative to the board of directors of the Alberta New Home Warranty Program, and also served on their finance committee.
From 1993 – 1999, I was a part of the Building Technical Council, the technic alarm of the Safety Codes Council, a public/private sector body that administers theAlberta Building Code and governs Safety Codes Officers in the building discipline.
I’ve served as a member and the chair of the Alberta Housing Industry Technical Committee. With representation from home builder locals, the Alberta New Home Warranty Program, municipalities and regulatory bodies, AHITC considers a technical problem not as the purview of the regulator or the regulated, but rather of the industry,and uses all resources available to solve them.
I currently serve the provincial Board of Directors of the Urban Development Instituteas the representative of the Red Deer Chapter, and sit on a number of specialist committees.
OUTSIDE OF THE BUILDING INDUSTRY
I believe that as a business becomes successful, it has an obligation to contribute both its money and time to the greater community. The skills that are used to manage a business are skills that must be used to advance a community.
From 1995 – 2007, I served as a trustee of the Red Deer Catholic Regional School Division, the last six years as Board Chair. The Board is responsible for capital growth, setting policy and guiding the senior leadership team as they educate over 6,000 children, an effort involving a 50 million dollar operating budget and over 500 staff.
From 2007 – 2009, I served on the Board of Directors of Westerner Park, Red Deer’s fair and trade show facility.
From 2008 – 2010, I served on the board of Alberta Health Services, which is the provincial health authority responsible for overseeing the delivery of health supportsand services to more than 3.7 million adults and children living in Alberta, and managed a budget of over $11 billion.
Our passions get us out of bed in the morning and help us to achieve greatness.
I love the design of fine homes, the architecture of great communities, and providing shelter in the finest possible way. I find great joy in finding innovative solutions to difficult problems, and the challenge of designing great communities and great homes that average people can enjoy and love.
I believe in education and in making the education system the best we can. The formation of young minds is the gift we make for the future. We allow mediocrity in the education system at our peril.
Since 1999, I have supported A Better World Canada, an Alberta based humanitarian organization that serves people in the third world in very basicand fundamental ways by building infrastructure that is desperately needed by some of the poorest people on earth. I dedicate my time to ensure that the volunteer staff of A Better World have the resources they need to achieve their lofty goals.