When you first walk into the foyer of Jacob Bros Construction’s new office building, you are immediately drawn to the vaulted ceilings, the light streaming through the floor-to-ceiling windows, and the harmonious use of natural wood with polished glass and concrete. What you may not notice, tucked up high, is a long, thick rope hanging from an antique iron bell, waiting to be rung.
“When we win a tender, we gather around to ring that bell and enjoy a small toast,” explains Scott Jacob, principal at Jacob Bros and a BCIT alumnus (pictured above, centre, in photo by Adam Blasberg). “Our team works very hard, so it’s important to mark our successes.”
Scott, a general contractor with a BCIT Civil & Structural Engineering Diploma (now Civil Engineering Technology), started Jacob Bros Construction with his two brothers, Todd (a developer), and Jason (a general contractor) 10 years ago. The family-run company is now one of Canada’s largest multi-disciplinary construction companies and winner of BCBusiness’ 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Construction. It employs up to 400 people, whom Scott emphasizes are integral to the company’s success.
“When we first started Jacob Bros, we had no idea how we were going to get people to join our staff, let alone get contracts,” Scott says. “In those early days, a lot of people left secure jobs and took a risk by joining us. I am grateful for that. Our new facility is a really a thank you to all our staff.”
Scott and the team at Jacob Bros will celebrate the grand opening of the new facility later this April, to coincide with the company’s 10-year anniversary. The new 50,000-square foot facility, which is designed to LEED standards, brings all of Jacob Bros’ functions together on one property, improving efficiency and encouraging collaboration. It is situated on five acres in Surrey and includes offices, a warehouse and service area, a wash bay, two permanent storage buildings, a fuel station, an on-site service area and a welding fabrication shop.
It is filled with touches that demonstrate just how much Scott and his brothers appreciate their staff. Features include a large, modern on-site gym, sit-stand desks, environmentally friendly water chiller stations, natural light in all work areas and electric vehicle charging stations.
Beyond these perks, Jacob Bros fiercely supports its own. When one of the company’s mechanics, Jordan McIldoon (also BCIT heavy duty mechanic student), tragically lost his life in the Las Vegas shooting, Jacob Bros teamed up with BCIT Foundation to establish a memorial endowment and future scholarships for trades students in his name.
“I feel a tremendous responsibility for our staff,” reflects Scott. “Taking care of them to the best of our ability is very important to us.”
Many of their employees are BCIT grads. “We hire BCIT grads preferentially over university grads,” says Scott. “When I was at BCIT, I worked incredibly hard and gained a strong ethic. So I know that BCIT grads show up with the right skills and the right attitude. They roll up their sleeves and they’re good to go.”
“Any way you look at it, every part of our business is influenced by our ability to get and keep staff,” Scott concludes. “This facility is what it’s all about. We appreciate the people—our staff, the sub-trades, our suppliers and our clients—who took a chance on us.”
Now that’s worth ringing the bell for.