Greg Gillespie, Development Manager at Mike Geric Construction
|For our April 2020 Newsletter, we asked Greg about Mike Geric Construction, what he does there, and a bit about his life outside of work.
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Can you briefly introduce yourself and Mike Geric Construction?
As Founder of Gillespie Land Management, I have led a broad spectrum of land use projects across Canada, including residential revenue portfolios, telecommunications networks, multifamily developments, and waste-to-energy facilities. Currently, I am the Development Manager for Mike Geric Construction, a local developer and homebuilder known for their leadership in green building technology, energy efficiency and wood-frame construction.
What sets Mike Geric Construction apart from other developers in the community?
The Geric family has been building quality homes in Victoria and Saanich for more than 50 years. They are invested in the community they call home and are innovators in wood-frame construction. Mike Geric Construction built the first six-story wood frame building on Southern Vancouver Island (Travino Square) and continue their trailblazing efforts with Tresah, a first-of-its kind, 12-storey development that will combine mass timber and housing affordability.
Your most recent project, Tresah, is designed to be a 12 storey mass timber building. What surprises challenges have you encountered as you begin the development process with this new building material?
The biggest challenge has been the required level of coordination amongst disciplines. Constructability, acoustical performance, code compliance, supply chain…there are so many factors to consider, balance and coordinate in bringing this project to fruition. Fortunately, we have an amazing team of professionals who are the best in the industry. Every project requires a substantial amount of coordination; however, everyone has elevated their game to meet the extra demands of this project.
Aside from embracing mass timber, Mike Geric Construction also uses Built Green Gold standards. Why do you believe it’s so important to focus on environmental efficiency, and how has that focus impacted your business?
Simply put, it is the right thing to do. We create healthy living spaces and offer cost-effective, smart technologies that provide savings for our homeowners. As we move toward a more sustainable way of life in our everyday activities, it only makes sense that we also consider where we live. Our choice of home and how it is constructed can significantly reduce our overall environmental impact.
What have you found to be the most difficult hurdle you face when engaging with the community you have a new project in?
Change can be difficult for many people. Most neighbours want to know how the project will impact them directly and if we can show them our modeling, views, amenity offerings, etc, it can help clarify misconceptions and alleviate some concerns. Educating neighbours on what makes a complete community is also key in our engagement. At the end of the day, we look to offer homes for everyone…people down-sizing, renters, new buyers, families. They all deserve a home and to enjoy the neighbourhood amenities experienced by current residents.
What do you love most about your job?
I love the variety and the challenge. In a single day, I can be working on an RFP for consulting services, have coffee with a non-profit agency to discuss housing affordability, oversee tenant improvements at our presentation centre, liaise with provincial officials on a permit application and make a presentation to Mayor and Council on a proposed development. Working on a variety of projects at different stages of development keeps me motivated and engaged.
What advice would you give to someone looking to become a developer in Victoria?
Deal flow. Get in front of as many deals as possible and realize some good ones may slip through your hands but there will always be opportunities. Network and collaborate. There are very successful people in Victoria and it is important to surround yourself with the right team members. Be persistent. Successful real estate projects take time and you need to be willing to push through temporary setbacks.
What do you love most about living in Victoria?
I love the variety Victoria has to offer…forests, beaches, movies, sports, good food. There is lots to offer depending on the weather, season and mood.
When you’re not working, what are your favourite activities?
My family is very important to me and I enjoy spending time with them whether going for a walk with our new puppy, dining out together or working in the yard. I also sit on a number of volunteer boards and love contributing whenever I can.
Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
I am a former skydiving instructor and have jumped out of an airplane nearly 300 times!