Building with Vision
Q+A with Mike Geric Construction
Mike Geric Construction has been a member of SIPP since January 2020. Founded by Mike Geric in the late 1960s, this award-winning company is now proudly run by his son, Ed Geric, who carries on the family tradition of community, quality and innovation.
Today, Geric Construction builds on these values with a thoughtful and responsible approach to planning, design and construction that has made the company an innovator and leader in wood-frame construction. Their newest 12-storey mass timber development will combine mass timber and housing affordability to create a first-of-its-kind project in Canada.
Why did you join South Island Prosperity Partnership?
Mike Geric Construction joined SIPP because of its strong leadership team and the quality of the members who are all working together to build the South Island economy. I feel strongly that this group includes a lot of like-minded professionals who see the South Island as I do — a place ripe with potential.
What do you see as key to growing a resilient, robust economic future for our region?
The most important thing is building an economic vision and a growth mindset within the entire community. There are so many talented people here who are fully engaged in the creation of good jobs, but as a whole, I think there’s a lot of resistance to change and that’s not going to create a robust economic future. We have to carefully build confidence in the community that we can preserve all the wonderful things that this region offers and create new opportunities and good jobs at the same time. We need more of a ‘let’s get things accomplished’ attitude so that our young people can see a really exciting economy growing around them and want to be part of its future.
As a developer, I am focused on building diverse and positive relationships to help this happen. Developers play a huge role in shaping cities and it’s important for people to see how invested we are in creating a strong future for this region.
What is our region’s secret sauce when it comes to competing internationally to attract quality talent, businesses with household sustaining jobs, and investment?
This is the best place to live in Canada and the world has woken up to that. I think our natural surroundings combined with a culture that values balancing success and lifestyle is going to continue to attract talent and investment. We have an opportunity to harness the innovation and flexibility we have all developed this past year while working through a pandemic to offer an incredible lifestyle and opportunities. What we really need to round that out is more places for people to live. We need attainable housing for the people who are going to be the future of our economy.
What are you most excited about in terms of your own organization’s plans and potential?
We’ve always placed a lot of value on building sustainable homes that are part of a community, where you can walk to the store and you aren’t reliant on a car for everything. These days, we’re taking it a few steps further and building communities that are like mini cities. They’ll include services and commercial spaces that are tailored to residents — like daycares. We’re looking to design for multiple generations in one place so there’s diversity built in with families, single people and seniors all living in the same buildings and enjoying indoor and outdoor spaces that make their homes really livable and create community connections.
What’s one thing about your organization you really want people to know that they probably don’t know?
The main thing that people likely don’t know about us is that every time we start thinking about a new building or community we’re looking 40+ years into the future. Buildings last a long time and it makes so much sense to future proof them in any way that you can to meet the future needs of the people who live in them.
From the design and quality of the materials to the needs and growth of the surrounding community, there are a lot of things developers can do to make buildings relevant for longer and we do that. A recent example for our team was including rough-ins for electric vehicles at a time when there were very few of them on the road. Now, just a few years later it’s a huge benefit to a building to be EV-ready.
What challenges are you most invested in helping our community overcome and why?
Resistance to change. This region can grow and change in a positive and healthy way, but we all have to get on board. Whether it’s creating more diverse and attainable housing or tackling climate change, it’s our communal vision of an exciting future for the South Island that will ultimately help us take on any challenge this community faces.
What lessons have most profoundly impacted you since the pandemic sent shockwaves through our community and economy?
I’m a home builder who has now spent 85% of the last year in my house. What I’ve really learned is the home is a safe space that we’ve come to value even more because of the pandemic. Though we’ve all probably spent a lot more time at home than we would like to this past year, for better or worse I think people will continue to spend more time in their homes than we did in the past. That has given me pause to think even more about how to create attainable and livable spaces. It’s also made me think more than ever about how important it is for people to have a roof over their heads. This is something I’m glad is being given significant attention as of late, but it’s not an issue that’s going away quickly and we need to do more.
When you envision the South Island region in 2040, what will have changed? What does our future look like?
I anticipate tremendous growth in the Victoria region, giving the big cities of the country a run for their money when it comes to innovation, investment and talent. I think our population will be younger because we’ve been able to keep younger people here with good jobs and opportunities. I also see us taking a smart approach to maintaining the much-valued balance of work and lifestyle that we enjoy here while we continue to build a vibrant and diverse economy.