|For our November 2020 Newsletter, we asked Margie Shenduk about Casman Projects, her work there, and a bit about her life outside of work.
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Can you briefly introduce yourself and Casman?
I started my career in construction right out of Post Secondary in 2001 with the Casman Group, and while my Title for the last 5 years has been the Director of Operations for the Casman Group, my almost 20 years has spanned numerous roles in the organization. The Casman Group of Companies provides Development, General Contracting, and Construction Management Services throughout Western Canada in the Commercial, Multi-Family/Residential, and Industrial Sectors. Started in 1981 we are turning 40 this year!
What sets Casman apart from other development companies?
At Casman, our heart is in Construction and building for our Customers. In the instances where we purchase land and construct for ourselves, we do that under the Casman Properties brand. Our construction team takes great pride in building quality projects for every client, however in the instances when we build for ourselves we get to have everyone work together on both the design and construction from before even making the decision to buy the land. There is a ton of pride that comes from being part of the entire process from land purchase to turning over and servicing homeowners.
Because we are so integrated, our construction team doesn’t just walk away, they become key members of the service team and view the homeowners as their customers as well. I regularly get compliments from homeowners about how great our field team is because they also interact with the buyers.
What is the most challenging part of your job, and what do you love most about it?
The most challenging part of my job is also the fundamental reason why I love it. I get to be a part of interesting and unique construction projects in multiple cities with clients that vary from ourselves (Casman Properties) to Other Developers, Non-Profits, Municipalities, Affordable Housing agencies, private business owners, and buyers of our homes. The most challenging thing is splitting my time effectively across these.
What made you pursue a career in the development industry?
I LOVE building and the construction industry. The results are so tangible you can literally drive by and see projects you were a part of. My original education that brought me into the industry was in Design, so I get extra excited when at Casman we purchase Land for a Casman Properties Development because I still play a very hands on role in selecting the design and finishes of our buildings.
Now that we are moving into a new phase of Covid-19, what does the “new normal” look like for Casman and its ongoing projects?
Casman operates in multiple regions so our “new normal” is very subjective even across our team. One thing we have always been good at is communicating across regions and working with our coworkers through video chat and conferencing, however we have now taken this to a much higher frequency. Construction is very collaborative both in the field and in the office. Our natural inclination as builders is to all get together and stand over at a set of plans to find solutions. We are now learning to do this more comfortably from a virtual setting.
What do you love most about living in Greater Victoria?
I have the unique opportunity to share my time across BC and Alberta which reminds me how amazing and different both are. Every time I get off the plane at YYJ I get reminded of the climate and lush greenery and landscaping. I intentionally take the long road home to look at the ocean and am thankful I have a career that has given me the opportunity to put down roots here. All of that being said, the food scene in Victoria is second to none. I think I’ve eaten at every restaurant in the greater Victoria Area, and some many times over!
When you’re not working, what are you favourite activities?
Locally, I have only been in Victoria for 5 years so I feel like I am just starting to get a handle on all the different characteristics and “vibes” of all of the areas of greater Victoria. I try to pick a general destination/neighborhood and go shop/eat, and walk to see what it has to offer. Victoria is very unique in just how completely different one neighborhood can be to another; architecture, views, topography, culture, demographic, food, and in lots of cases even the weather on a given day!
Tell us something that may surprise us about you
I’ve been told I’m pretty “vanilla” (I’m pretty sure it was meant as a jab, lol). I’m by nature an introvert who loves consistency, but being a Developer does not allow you to be shy, and definitely comes with a daily rollercoaster of things thrown at you, so outside of work I recharge by being “vanilla”. No surprises here, what you see is what you get.