By Cheryl Long
Construction clients who appreciate the personalized, hands-on service of a smaller company but don’t want to sacrifice the resources and wealth of knowledge found in larger firms will discover the best of both worlds working with Etera Group of Companies.
Based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the group is comprised of three companies: Etera Construction Management (eteraconstruction.ca), which provides construction management, general contracting, and design build services; Equinox Home Innovations (equinoxhomes.ca), one of the city’s leading custom home builders and renovation specialists; and Etera Developments (eteradevelopments.ca), which offers solutions for commercial, retail, and residential developments. Throughout the three companies runs a common theme: corporate values that emphasize teamwork, quality and transparency. The client-focused organization prides itself on being accessible to its customers but also incorporates processes and systems typically found in larger companies, adding value and cost-effectiveness to each project.
The organization was founded in 2013, and brings together years of industry experience through its executive management team, which includes CEO Brian Lueken, VP Finance Trish Harris-Schentag, VP Operations Curt Leggett, and VP Business Development Ruben Beattie. The executive management team collectively has over 80 years of experience in the construction industry, including construction operations, financial management and executive leadership through several businesses across North America. To supplement the executive management team, a senior management team has been recruited that brings more than 150 years of collective construction experience to manage the day-to-day operations.
The team came together in 2013 with the intention of forming a number of companies that would serve specific sectors within the construction industry. The Etera Group of Companies was the result of this goal. Equinox Home Innovations, Etera Construction Management and Etera Developments are owned by the Etera Group of Companies. Operating from its corporate office, Etera Group provides oversight and expertise to each company, which ensures that all clients have access to the full range of services and experiences offered by the management team.
Equinox has already made a name for itself in the custom home market by developing strong relationships with its clients and putting an emphasis on innovation and excellence. Etera Construction Management was created to work primarily on commercial buildings, retail centres, and light industrial buildings, using methods and materials that are cost-effective and environmentally sustainable. Most of their projects are mid-size and deal with additions, renovations, and tenant improvements.
The next venture for the Etera Group of companies was Etera Developments, which created a connection between the two existing businesses through its work as a real estate development company specializing in commercial and residential properties. Etera Developments partners with investors on specific projects, providing leadership, financial reporting, and project development throughout the life cycle of the investment. Their team of professionals covers all aspects of real estate development, from architects and engineers to bankers, lawyers, and municipal consultants. Capitalizing on the synergies that exist between the three companies is a key part of their overall mission, allowing Etera to create efficiencies within the group and adopt a leveraging approach.
The group’s vision is one of “professional project management within the Western Canadian construction industry.” Both Etera Construction Management and Equinox follow processes and procedures that ensure the highest quality in their construction projects, supported by an experienced management team for each of the businesses. “Each of the operations has managers and supervisors that are overseeing each project to ensure that the expectations of the contract and the owners are met,” Brian said.
Etera implemented an enterprise management program that provides integrated financial and operational management for the group and developed a comprehensive health and safety program. They have realized the benefit of aligning the company with key business professionals, consultants, and organizations like the Saskatchewan Construction Association, who have all offered support during the company’s growth.
As a general contractor, Etera subcontracts a large percentage of their work, often relying on a core set of tradespeople who work for the company on a long-term basis. Managing a revolving number of projects and contractors is one of the more challenging aspects of the business, but that’s where their strong operations team excels. Their staff believes in the group’s values, culture, and vision, which adds quality and consistency to the business. A strong team is especially important when you are growing a new venture, and it has taken a lot of effort and years of industry experience to get through some of the everyday challenges.
“Certainly we were confronted with challenges every day,” Brian said. “We’ve been fortunate to overcome many of them with a lot of hard work and talent of the management team. It is this management team that makes this company what it is.”
Etera Group of Companies currently operates out of their Saskatoon office but they have plans to expand further into Western Canada. That means continuing to market and communicate their brand and the values it represents. One of the earliest efforts as a team involved deliberation over the company’s name. After working together for a few months, determining their vision, mission, and desired culture, they noticed that many of their values revolved around “e” words – employees, the environment, efficiency, energy, and being economical. The name Etera developed from this trend.
Today the company is positioned for growth, going so far as to add another logo to their brand. The words “An Etera Company” are displayed in the bottom right-hand corner of their marketing materials, including the company’s multiple web sites. That allows Etera to easily fold a company of a different name into the group, keeping brand recognition clear and consistent – another sign that Etera Group of Companies is looking to the future.
For more information, visit www.eteragroup.ca.