Q&A with Peter Grose, WCA Chair and President and CEO of Westland Construction

June 16, 2018

What was your first job?

I worked on the family cattle farm from my childhood. I milked cows, shoveled shit (pardon my vulgarity....manure), fed cattle, made hay. My first job outside of the family farm was working on other farms and then at the local lumberyard when I was 16. I started with Westland when I moved to Winnipeg after I graduated high school in 1989.

What influenced you to work in the construction industry?

My brother worked for Westland and I needed a summer job to make money for university. I met with the founder of Westland in June of 1989 and started as a general labourer right after I graduated from high school.

If you weren't working in the construction industry, what would you be doing?

An accountant.

What is the best advice that you could give to a young person entering construction?

Work hard every minute of the day, never be idle, always keep busy and if you are idle think of what you can do to benefit the company.

What is the hardest part of your job?

Dealing with disputes of all types.

What is one thing that you want to do as WCA Chair?

To ensure that the WCA continues as a strong member-driven organization; increase member connectivity and knowledge of what WCA's many services and roles are and have members understand this value; incremental improvement over the next two years so that the organization is better after my term.

When you're not working, what are you busy with?

Kids, kids, kids! We have two children; our daughter Sydney is 10 and our son Tanner is eight. It seems that since they were born life outside of work has revolved around them, whether it is evolving/changing our country home and cabin to facilitate a quality childhood, playing with them or coaching their sports teams. It is a short window of time while the kids are at an age when we can spend quality time with them and we try to maximize on this phase of life as much as possible. As a result, I think we sacrifice our time as adults, but we make a conscious effort to do our best as parents.

What does a fun weekend consist of for you?

Presently, my wife coaches ringette and I coach hockey so our world revolves around this right now.

We do get away for family trips often and spend as much time at our cabin in the summer as possible.

Do you have a motto?

In business it is the Japanese word 'Kaizen' - continuously improving what we do. Also, nothing gets done without a deadline!

What is your favourite project that you've worked on?

A specific project doesn't come to mind, but what does come to mind is when we have worked on a project where we had a great team including consultants, owners and subcontractors. It makes all the difference when there is a cohesive team on a project!

Who is your mentor?

I have had many people that have impacted my life in various ways. Even those negative experiences have actually taught me how to not conduct myself. I have had many moments of revelation that have impacted my views and perceptions of my professional and personal world. I am a sponge, always looking to pick up on things that can be a positive improvement to my world.

What's your favourite Manitoba attraction? Why?

It may not necessarily be an attraction, but I love our Manitoba nights - cold, crisp, dark nights in the winter and summer with the stars and/or bright moon and the northern lights.

  • This Q&A was originally published in the Spring 2018 issue of Build Manitoba magazine. Click here to read the full magazine on the official website of the Winnipeg Construction Association.


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