It makes perfect sense that Southwest partner Gary Veldman was born in a small hospital in Beaverlodge, Alberta, a town of about 2500 people located 30 minutes from Grande Prairie.
“I’m a farm kid,” Gary explains. “My parents ran a dairy farm near Grande Prairie when I was a kid. Then we all moved to Kelowna where the family had an orchard.”
The connection Gary formed early on with company founders Wes and Lloyd Geransky, also from a farming family, explains Gary’s comfort in his role. “Beaverlodge is a classic Canadian town, and that’s the upbringing I take to the job every day.
“It could be why I landed my first job at Southwest Contracting back in 1993.”
For Gary, his position as partner comes second to his role as estimator. “I’m able to see projects in three dimensions, and I hope I’ve shared that ability with others along the way. It’s my strength, and I take pride in it.”
In fact, Gary hasn’t strayed much from his farming roots. With his wife Kirsten and their three young kids, Gary lives on an 4.5-acre farm in Aldergrove where the Veldmans operate a small Christmas tree operation.
“It’s a lot of fun, it attracts a lot of friends and family we don’t get to see enough of, and it keeps us active year round with cores,” he explains.
Gary wouldn’t have it any other way. “The home’s a 30-minute commute to the Southwest offices, and it’s well worth the drive.”