Three local brothers, who were born into the industry, were named entrepreneurs of the year in the construction industry by Ernst & Young last month.
Scott, 52, Todd, 49, and Jason Jacob, 47, share ownership of Jacob Bros Construction. The brothers’ main office is located at 19162 22 Ave., and they own a satellite office in Langford.
The jobs they do include heavy civil, municipal and commercial construction projects.
The sons grew up as a helping hand to their father, Wilf. Wilf always wanted his sons to get into the carpentry industry but their mother had different plans.
“Unbeknownst to him, my mother said through tears to get a degree in something, anything other than carpentry,” Scott Jacob told Peace Arch News.
“My compromise was that I’ll get a technical diploma, but I wanted to do carpentry when I was done.”
Each of the brothers went to school and none of them became carpenters but all were “pulled back into construction.”
Jason and Scott had careers in civil work; Todd focused on highrise construction.
One day, the three brothers met in the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria. What started out as a six-pack quickly turned into a flat of beer, and Jacob Bros Construction was born.
“We each had successful careers, but we stumbled on a crossroad and Jason floated the idea of the three of us coming together,” Scott said.
The company started early 2008 when the construction industry was booming.
“The biggest challenge we thought was how are we going to get (employees) because jobs were plentiful. Margins were high. It looked like you couldn’t lose,” Scott said.
“Needless to say, the world looked a lot different by late 2008.”
The company now has 65 to 70 salaried staff and an hourly workforce of 150 to 250 people, depending on the season.
Scott attributes the growth to great staff and industry relationships that they were able to maintain and build through the years.
“Those relationships, you live or die by them. Right out of the chute we were lucky to have tremendous support from those that worked with us in our previous careers.”
The brothers received the regional award at the Ernst and Young Pacific Awards Gala Sept. 30 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
“I really see it as an acknowledgment of a lot of hard work by a lot of people. Yes, the brothers are the figure heads and they couldn’t put 400 names on the trophy. We see it as a well-deserved pat on the back for a lot of people that work hard.”
As for the future, Scott said business is good right now, but it’s only going to get better.
“We seem to be in this perfect storm, which should be provincial spending, federal spending and some exciting large-scale projects like Site C. Whether we are directly involved in these projects or if we benefit from our competitors being pulled out of our market, it adds up being good for business.”
And their father, who now lives in Kelowna and is in his mid-80s, lives vicariously through his three sons.
Scott said the brothers talk to their father “pretty much every day.”
“He’s obsessed with watching baseball, but more importantly, ‘how are the jobs doing and can you send me pictures?”’ Scott said.