Why He’s a Top 40: For building a juggernaut property development company from the ground up
Hardly anyone would suspect that behind the door of a small office in the middle of a small plaza in the small town of Stony Plain is Skyrider Holdings– a development, project consulting and management company worth $15 million, with hundreds of millions in property developments. Inside, hockey art decorates the lobby walls, not a surprise considering company president Derek Prue was a semi-professional hockey player. “Anybody who has been involved in professional sports has learned a lot of life lessons,” says Prue, who has maintained his athletic build from his days playing for the Tulsa Oilers and several other teams across the continent. “You learn to have your co-workers’ backs.”
The vice-president of operations, Amy Morin, can attest to those principles. Three years ago, she was the executive assistant on Skyrider’s 123-unit condo building project at the River Cree Resort and Casino in her hometown of Enoch. Like many of the First Nations people of that reserve, she came on board through the company’s policy of hiring and training locals. “Over $4 million was earned by local residents,” Prue says proudly.
Another thing he has transferred from hockey to his company is competitiveness. “We’re pretty hungry. Because we’re successful, we don’t ever pigeonhole ourselves in a certain way of doing business.” Only two years ago, that might have come across as untruthful, since all previous Skyrider developments were pigeonholed in small towns across Alberta. But now the company is looking outward, taking its ideas to cities. Examples include a new condo development on the horizon for Nanaimo, B.C., and an almost-complete commercial-cum-residential complex in Comox, B.C.
He’s got even bigger plans for his hometown. The area structure plan for Skyrider’s Lake View developments has the capacity to double the size of Stony Plain. But while Prue transforms the place he came from, he has just moved into his dream home in Spruce Grove; it’s in Parkland County, in the first development project completed under his leadership, just seven years ago. It’s evidence of his community building – literally.
But if that’s not evidence enough for future clients, Prue and his staff have got the shovels on the walls to prove the company’s rapid growth and reach. Since Skyrider began collecting the groundbreaking shovels in 2005, eight have gone up, each with a nameplate signifying the community it made possible – communities that are now flourishing with first time homeowners, families upgrading to two-storey bungalows and retirees resting in their dream homes. “Primarily a home is something we want to make sure is obtainable for anybody: for a first-time homebuyer or somebody who wants to pimp out their walkout basement on the lake,” he says.
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