Construction, civil engineering, mining services
Primary markets: Canada
Number of employees: 1,500
Marie-Claude Houle, president
Building on her family’s success
Late last year Marie-Claude Houle, president of EBC Inc., one Quebec’s largest construction companies, beamed with pride when the Corporation of General Contractors of Quebec paid tribute to her late father, Fernand Houle, who co-founded the business almost a half century ago. The ceremony provided a stark reminder of the shadow the late entrepreneur continues to cast.
Fernand Houle, who passed away in 2010, would have been particularly proud of Marie-Claude Houle’s continued success, the roots of which he witnessed first hand. Armed with an engineering degree and an MBA she took the construction industry by storm. Revenues have soared from $100 million to $700 million since the turn of the millennium, when she took over as president of EBC Inc.
Houle cites several reasons for EBC’s progress. These include a cross-Canada focus; which has enabled the company to carry out projects far beyond its Quebec base. EBC’s wide range of in-house talent, which is focused on three core capabilities also helps. These include construction projects, such as hospitals, office buildings and housing complexes, civil engineering initiatives and mining infrastructure. This broad diversification came in handy during recent years as many of the massive Plan Nord investments planned by the Quebec government, were being shelved, due to shrinking global demand for raw materials.
That said, a new Liberal government in Ottawa, which has promised to use deficit spending to finance infrastructure investments, has raised expectations. EBC Inc. is slated to play a major role in one of those projected initiatives: construction of the new Champlain Bridge, which will link the island of Montreal with its southern shore.
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