Movers & Shakers TWENTY11: Michael Powell, BURNCO Rock Products Ltd.

Leadership for the second century

In May 2010, Michael Powell became the first president in the nearly 100-year history of BURNCO Rock Products Ltd. who is not a member of the Burns family, but he feels right at home. After 19 years in the building materials industry, most recently as chief financial officer at TIM-BR Marts Ltd., a national building materials buying group, Powell is well prepared for the challenges of operating a growing company.

Born and raised in Calgary, Powell earned a bachelor of commerce degree from the University of Calgary and went on to receive the chartered accountant designation in 1991. Initially hired by an oil and gas company, he was transferred to a roofing manufacturer, working first as controller and later as director of sales for western Canada. He's been in building materials ever since, and he's excited to lead BURNCO into its second century of business.

A fourth-generation family business headquartered in Calgary, BURNCO turns 100 in 2012, making it a bit of an Alberta institution. Even while preparing to celebrate its centennial, the company, which has around 800 employees, continues to grow. BURNCO acquired three landscape centres in British Columbia this past April, giving the company more than 60 locations. The company is also seeking other opportunities in each of its operating divisions.

"We believe that our financial strength allows us to buy quality assets at prices today that are more reasonable than they were three or four years ago," Powell says. "We have also seen that there are numerous independent businesses in our industry that do not have firm succession or exit plans, and we feel that we are well positioned to work with these owners for mutual benefit."

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