Interview with Scot Rutherford, G.S.C, President & Chief Executive Officer, Scott Builders Inc.

Scot Rutherford, G.S.C, President & Chief Executive Officer, Scott Builders Inc.


Scott Builders Inc. is a leader in commercial, industrial, and institutional low-rise construction markets offering a comprehensive Design/Build service that provides a single point of contact for every phase of a project from site selection through construction to interior design and landscaping. Formed in 1971, Scott Builders operates out of three full service branches in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer, which have undertaken work across Canada for a number of repeat and corporate clients. The company is 100% employee owned. It has ranked in the Top 50 Canadian Contractors by volume for a number of years now, and was recognized as one of Canada’s Best Workplaces in both 2011 and 2012.


1. Scott Builders has been recognized as one of Canada’s Best Workplaces in 2011 and 2012. What sets your organization apart? What has been the value of recognition? 

What sets Scott Builders apart is our culture and our belief in the power of culture to help us achieve our goals. Being recognized as a Best Workplace brought our culture into focus and instilled pride in our company as an organization on the cutting edge. 

We think of culture as a state of mind in which people believe in a common purpose and share the same values. Everyone in the organization is committed to four core values: 

  1. Treat everyone with respect and dignity.
  2. Create a safe and healthy environment where people grow and prosper.
  3. Earn our customers’ unequivocal commitment to do business with us again. 
  4. Have a positive impact on our community.

Expressed as a mathematical equation, our philosophy might look something like this: 

Success = (Purpose x Talent) Culture

To explain, success is the goal of any type of organization and will be different for each organization. Purpose is the reason the organization exists – profit is not a reason, only a bi-product. Talent is the people the organization attracts, grows and retains. Culture is not just another element, but a power that exponentially increases the impact of purpose and talent. 

2. You have been described as a low-key, genuine person but with strong thoughts on leadership. Expand, if you can, especially in light of your comment in a recent presentation that businesses need “more leaders than … followers at every level.” 

We often consider a leader to be the person “at the top.” But when you think more deeply, you realize that effective organizations must foster leaders throughout their ranks. Leaders must be woven throughout the company, in place at all levels, to ensure that we grow great people. Tasks don’t get done unless there is a leader. A leader coaches, motivates, shows empathy and humility, is a role model, and supports people so that they can achieve more than they ever thought they could.

3. You have also said that businesses have more to do with people – than any service or product they provide. How is that evident at Scott Builders? 

Culture is the common thread that strengthens our organization. It is possible to have the best product on the market or offer the finest service, but if the people in your organization do not believe in a common goal, the picture is not complete. Our managers recognize that everything is about people- having everybody on the same page. Our first two core values speak to the importance of our people by ensuring that they are treated with respect and dignity, and provided with a safe and healthy environment where they can grow and prosper. The third core value, which depends on the first ones, relates to the commitment to our clients. Our clients use Scott Builders again and again because they know we have great people they can trust and rely upon. 

4. You have said that one of your goals at Scott Builders is to have a positive impact on your community. How do you think of your impact on the community? 

Yes, having a positive impact on our community is our fourth core value. We define  “community” broadly. Our community is as varied as we want it to be. It might be where we live and work, our province or country, or even the world. We reach out to support people and organizations in many places because we want to help where the need is greatest. We leave it to recipients to decide how to use our support to strengthen their own communities. 

5. What advice do you have for others in leadership positions who also want their organization to be recognized as one of Canada’s Best Workplaces? 

I would advise others not to underestimate the value of their corporate culture. As we go forward, the labour pool is shrinking. Organizations are going to need more than salaries to attract and retain employees. Because of our culture we have attracted employees from all walks of life and with different backgrounds, who have stayed and gone on to recruit others to our company. It has never been more important for organizations to look at themselves from the inside, assess their culture, and decide what they need to do to grow. Being part of the Great Place to Work® process gave us that opportunity. The recognition is good, but it is the journey that is key.


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