Alberta’s thriving economy of the 1990s often referred to as the second oil boom, had wide-reaching economic implications for Calgary. As people migrated from other parts of Canada to the province’s largest city to take part, the housing market saw unprecedented expansion.
Tim Logel, President and Co-Founder of Cardel Lifestyles, a leading multi-family (condominium/townhome) builder seized the opportunity and launched his business in 1999. Since then, Cardel Lifestyles has housed more than 3000 people, which works out to nearly a billion dollars’ worth of construction.
Recently, Tim was joined by his sons Brayden and Kevin, and in 2017, Cardel Lifestyles rebranded itself as Logel Homes to symbolise the importance of family involvement going forward. Despite the recession that has defined Alberta’s economy over the last five years, Logel Homes has enjoyed sustained success, in part due to their remarkable customer satisfaction ratings.
As the company matures, so does the family that runs it, and their continued success in a city and industry infamous for economic extremes will depend on their approach to embracing technology, facing industry disruption and dealing with succession.
Tharawat Magazine had the opportunity to sit down with Brayden Logel to discuss his journey in the family business, what it’s like working for his father and the future of Logel Homes.
You and your brother have seen your father build the business up from the very beginning. Did you always know you wanted to join him?
I did. I began my journey as a labourer at 15 and when I was in high school, I worked as a sales associate. Later, when I was attending University, I was a construction site supervisor assistant during my summer vacations. Filling such diverse roles as I came up enabled me to get acquainted with the business and as soon as graduated, I started full time at Cardel Lifestyles, which is now Logel Homes. My first task was automating and updating our systems. From there, I moved into sales and marketing where currently I’m Vice-President and manage a sales team of about 20 people. Being in the home building and land development industry is exciting. I also really enjoy being in a business to consumer environment dealing with customers on a daily basis.
My brother, Kevin, left university to come back and work on the construction side of the business. Previously, he worked as a site supervisor assistant and now, he’s a site supervisor. He’s built close to 500 condos where he’s typically had to manage 42 trades and 10 consultants for each unit in the year and a half or so it takes for completion.
The business was a frequent family topic at our dinner table – in that way we were involved from the very beginning. I get a great deal of satisfaction out of construction. There’s something very compelling about building a tangible structure and providing people with a home.
When you first started, what was it like to see your dad in a different role and have him be your boss?
It wasn’t a difficult transition. I was lucky that he was willing to collaborate early on and I think the fact that I had a university education gave him the confidence to let me make a lot of mistakes, from which of course I learned. He’s been an excellent mentor. I never thought I’d have as much impact early on as I did and that’s given me the confidence to grow into my role.
My brother and I don’t own any of our family business, and I think this is crucial – our parents are the sole owners. From the very first day, we’ve been compensated in the same way as any other employee. That’s important, especially in the first five to ten years. You’re going to have a skewed relationship with other employees if you’re walking straight into ownership. I see a lot of that with our peers, and I think they’re less motivated as a result.
Do you feel like the fact that you are a family owned and operated business helps with the way customers view you?
I do, but I also recognise it can go both ways. Often, the developer partners that we’re buying land off of want to see continuity in our succession plan. They want to know there’s some long-term stability and having a family member involved instils confidence in that respect. The other side of the coin is that if somebody in the family business lacks passion or is only there because they feel familial obligation the business won’t be successful. I think we’re lucky in that we all get along well, but it doesn’t come without its challenges.