While working for an awful Ottawa construction firm in the 1960s (it doesn’t exist anymore, and it shall not be named), Mike Lundy had an up-close view of how not to run a business. Opportunities were wasted. Rivals were undermined and relationships destroyed. “It was kind of a scorched-earth approach to contracting,” says Sean Lundy, Mike’s son, who grew up hearing those horror stories. Construction involves plenty of pressure: high-stakes deadlines, unpredictable weather conditions, budget constraints. But Mike believed that no amount of pressure justified treating people poorly. Founded by Mike in 1967, MP Lundy Construction has a mantra that Sean, who took over as CEO in 2003, repeats to this day: “Relationships over bricks.”
The approach has served the company well. In 1997, for example, MP Lundy took on its first project for Giant Tiger: a renovation of the Canadian discount retailer’s distribution facility. “I really liked them, and I did everything I could to get them to trust me,” recalls Lundy. That project led to others for the company — a renovation here, a warehouse conversion there — until, in 2017, Giant Tiger tapped MP Lundy to build its brand-new 56,000-square-metre distribution centre outside Ottawa. “This project is a testament to the maturity and confidence of our team,” says Lundy. He turned over the building on precisely the day promised. “And after that, Giant Tiger gave us another project for their new head office without any competition. It’s unheard of that a construction company would not be asked to compete. But that’s where growth comes from.”
A minor generator-room retrofit for Gillin Engineering, owner of the Lord Elgin Hotel, went so smoothly that when it came to upgrading every one of the hotel’s 355 rooms — while it remained in full operation — MP Lundy got the call (and then completed the job three months ahead of schedule). But these smaller projects aren’t just trial runs for clients; they’re also perfect training grounds for greener members of Lundy’s 35-person staff. And the major projects, like transforming a 100-year-old heritage building in Ottawa into the Global Centre for Pluralism? “That’s how we provide a trajectory so we’re able to hold on to our best people,” says Lundy. “Those larger projects give top talent a reason to stay.”
Even in the middle of a pandemic, MP Lundy hasn’t missed a step: By June 2021, the end of its fiscal year, the company is projected to pull in $75 million in construction volume. COVID did give the company a good reason to double down on its technology. Drones now map sites from above to safely develop more efficient electrical plans. Digitized construction sites enable clients and designers to walk through the space remotely and make approvals in minutes, wherever they are. “When you start to look at all these tools in a construction project,” says Lundy, “it’s incredible — and it’s accelerating construction.” That’s a pretty enticing prospect for a company that prides itself on finishing projects ahead of time.