J.L. Richards & Associates Limited
Ottawa, Ontario
Engineers, architects, planners
Primary market: Ontario
Number of employees: 250+
Guy Cormier, president
Randall Romanin, executive director,

Engineering a big success

When CEOs talk about the organizations they lead, they often credit their “people,” for major achievements. But when Guy Cormier, president of J.L. Richards & Associates Limited attributes the engineering and architectural panning firm’s success to “teamwork,” he means it. “We are entirely employee-owned,” he explains. “No one person controls more than five percent of outstanding shares. Even the receptionist who answered the phone when you called is a shareholder.”

J.L. Richards & Associates Limited, which was founded in 1955, provides clients with structural, mechanical, electrical and civil engineering services. Employees are based in six offices spread throughout Ontario. Projects taken on include infrastructure, roadwork and wastewater plants. However the firm has also been developing in growth sectors such as health care and power generation.

Cormier began working at J.L. Richards & Associates in 1984. Like many company employees he has spent much of his career there. “The firm’s strength is in large part related to our long-term outlook,” he says.  “As there are no outside shareholders, we answer only to our employees and our clients. This enables us to grow steadily and prudently.”

Effective diversification is another major competitive advantage. “Our current (order book) includes several hundred small and medium-sized projects that involve small teams, single engineers or perhaps only architects or planners,” explains Cormier. “During the dot.com boom many firms got too big by tying their growth to the technology industry and even to individual companies like Nortel. But because we never put all our eggs in one basket, when the sector tanked it ddi not affect us that much.”



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