A company empowered by progressive ideas and communal ties
By Rajitha Sivakumaran
In 2010, the vision of structural engineer Yufeng Wang and his two partners was to create an all-inclusive enterprise, specializing in land and real estate development. Their business plan gave rise to the Baydo Development Corporation, a venture that has now grown to be a reputable builder of commercial spaces, condominiums, townhomes and single-family residences in Saskatoon.
With core values that centre on integrity and innovation, supported by strong social relationships with clients and staff, Wang now serves as president and CEO of a highly successful business. Stephen Gray, VP of Operations at Baydo, and Chris Luczka, VP of Finance, spoke highly of Wang’s vision for the company, attributing Baydo’s rapid growth over the past five years to Wang’s leadership and the competence of the Baydo team.
A multi-faceted company
In 2011, Wang and Gray planned the company’s first project, a series of luxury townhomes called Stonegarden, a construction that drew a phenomenal amount of success.
“Since then, we’ve maintained that rate of expansion and built 299 units and 56,000 square feet of commercial space to date in five years, totalling over $100 million in development,” Gray said.
In addition to excellent leadership and proficient staff, the very infrastructure of the company, organized into in-house departments and specialist teams, has paved the way for an entrepreneurial success story.
“Baydo encompasses the whole process of construction,” Gray said.
The company consists of an in-house design team, an engineering department, a construction wing, a warranty department and a sales team. The varying degrees of specialities all housed within a single business entity offer Baydo the competitive edge needed to prosper in the industry.
“The biggest thing that’s setting us apart right now is our ability to maintain all those different development areas in-house, from purchasing to design to construction. The fact that we have the people who are capable of doing every one of those aspects with us gives us a better vision and a freedom of choice that the majority of builders don’t have,” Gray said.
Quality in everything they do
One of the most appealing aspects of Baydo is its commitment to quality assurance. An extensive quality control check is carried out at every step of a project. Before proceeding to the next step in construction, project managers ensure standards are met — thus each stage of a project is subjected to scrutiny. Luczka added that outside project monitors watch the project too.
Since the company is involved with the Progressive Home Warranty Program, additional checks are put in place to make sure the quality of the project meets the program’s standards as well. Before the client enters the site, the sales and marketing team does another check — Gray referred to them as a third set of eyes — to ensure that everything is in tiptop shape.
Past successes, present challenges and future innovations
Unlike many new companies that stumble across difficulties when first entering the market, Baydo encountered smooth sailing for the most part throughout the construction of Stonegarden. The inception of the company took place during an economically profitable time.
“Sales were flying, construction was flying,” said Luczka.
One source of strain, however, came from finding the right people for the right tasks — a time-consuming effort that took nearly two years. Weeding out the good from the bad and establishing a dependable core group of people were the primary challenges faced by Baydo.
“Having the money and the project and doing construction itself is really easy if you’ve got the right people doing it,” Gray said.
Now with a staff base of about 35, with numbers reaching as high as 50 during peak construction periods, the company prides itself on the talent and aptitude of its people.
“The current economic conditions are not as ideal as they were in 2010, but I don’t think they’ve presented us with anything insurmountable,” Gray said. Despite this, Luczka admits that “it’s not the gravy train we were on”.
Even in the face of economic troubles, Baydo has not endured as much as some other companies. Back in 2010, there were labour shortages, but the sales were at a record high. The present situation is the complete opposite.
“The challenges of the sales side right now is completely balanced out by the gains that we’re making on the construction side because there’s no more labour shortages in Saskatchewan,” Luczka said.
Furthermore, Saskatoon is in the middle of an influx of migrants — people who were formerly employed by the oil industries of Alberta are turning to Saskatoon for employment. Being the largest city in the province, Saskatoon serves as a centre for job opportunities. Through this migration, Baydo is seeing increased sales, making it a beneficial time to be doing business in Saskatoon.
“Saskatoon as a city is still growing,” Luczka said. Home to a diverse economic base of everything from agriculture and potash mining to uranium and oil, Luczka added that the city is far from being a one-trick pony. Additionally, the Saskatchewan government is very supportive of business.
In regards to current projects, “We’ve got lots on the go,” Luczka said with a chuckle. With 440 units and 25,000 square feet of commercial space in various stages of planning, Baydo is contributing a staggering amount to development and construction in Saskatoon.
“We’re very confident of our trade in Saskatoon,” Luczka said.
In fact, the company received recognition at both the 2014 and 2015 Bridges Awards for the best warranty program, customer service and best mixed-use multi-family development.
At the moment, Baydo is expanding to the neighbouring communities of Saskatoon. The city and the smaller municipalities are providing the company with enough opportunities that a large-scale expansion is not a priority at the present time. Instead, Baydo is intent on keeping its local ties in Saskatoon strong.
“The biggest thing that we’ve done over the past five years is develop relationships at every level of this business,” Gray said.
This includes local and provincial governments. Oftentimes, these governing bodies charge Baydo with construction projects meant to enhance the local economy. For example, the company’s largest construction to date, a rental project called Baydo Place, was built with incentives and grants from the government to address the needs of the community.
“We’ve impacted the community in such a way that we’ve built a name for ourselves,” Gray said.
These relationships with clients, contractors and governing bodies — they are one of the main things that have kept the company rooted to its home base of Saskatoon.
“If you don’t have all these relationships and if you don’t have that good name for yourself, the word here travels very, very fast and because we’ve developed both of those things, now the whole community is aware of what we’re capable of and is willing to work with us,” Gray said.
For more information on Baydo Development Corporation, visit www.baydo.ca.