NANAIMO – George Hrabowych is changing gears.
The long-time Principal at Herold Engineering has sold his shares in the company, but makes it clear that he’s not retiring – he’s re-tooling, and continues to provide the engineering services for Herold. After 44 years as a professional engineer, it is part of his DNA.
A fixture in the Nanaimo business community, Hrabowych has been a Principal in the firm for 22 years and was Managing Partner for 15 years. He is well known for his 20 years on the Vancouver Island University Foundation, including terms as Chair, membership in Rotary, coaching minor hockey, the Brain Injury Society and for the past six years, President of the Nanaimo Golf Club.
“It’s been a great run, and it’s gone well,” he states, adding his change in status is part of the company’s succession plan to encourage staff to move into Associate and Principal status. “When Mike Herold and I drew up our original shareholders agreement, we agreed we couldn’t have shares past 65 years of age so that younger staff could have an opportunity as well. We wrote in the agreement that Principals had to be full-time with the company.”
Mike Herold stepped aside three years ago, but also continues to work for the firm.
A graduate of the University of Manitoba, Hrabowych moved to Nanaimo in 1997 to open an office for Reid Crowther, and joined Mike Herold in 2000 to provide civil, structural and multi-disciplinary engineering services to clients.
There were eight employees at the time, and the company now has 70 on the payroll with offices in Nanaimo, Victoria and Ucluelet.
Hrabowych cherishes his long-term clients, whom he will continue to work with, like the Nanaimo Port Authority, VIU, the City of Nanaimo, Hazelwood Holdings, the Nanaimo Airport Authority, the Town of Ladysmith, and WCMRC, which recently completed new operations buildings in Nanaimo and Port Alberni.
“They’re all good clients, and I value them very much” he notes. “Over the last 20 years that I’ve worked with them and talked with them, we’ve become friends. We have good relationships, and in communities like ours, relational networks are very important.”
Herold Engineering has been a long-time, generous supporter of community events, particularly with sports and at VIU, supporting education. The firm has sponsored scholarships at VIU for many years.
“At Herold Engineering, we believe it is important to give to the community as part of our social responsibility policy,” Hrabowych says. “It is a foundational principle to support youth and sports as well as public and non-profit organizations in the community. It is things like this that build a strong and thriving community.”