Page 27 - Edify-Nov-Dec-2023
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A decade later, he and partner Caitlin Fulton (also
a Top 40 Under 40 alumna) have not only grown RGE RD into a nationally renowned restaurant, they’ve added The Butchery, a whole-animal butcher shop that emphasizes produce from local farmers and suppliers, next door.
So what would Blair Lebsack of today have warned Blair Lebsack of 2013 about?
“The advice I’d give to myself is that construction is really, really hard. We’ve expanded twice since that first Top 40, and construction can take a lot
out of you. It’s so
much more time
and so much
more money
than you think
it is.”
And, the ex- pansion occurred as the world was going through the throes of the COVID pandemic. The restaurant served take-out meals. Money was borrowed to
see the businesses through. And while things have recovered, and those loans are being paid off, Lebsack admits getting back to normal wasn’t easy.
“With people not going out for so long, their expectations were so high when they were finally coming out. And, we hadn’t really done it for a long time, so it was really hard to get back into it.”
In fact, he didn’t feel RGE RD and The Butchery were both really humming along until November of 2022. There are butcher’s table events planned. The outdoor farm-to-table dinners for which RGE RD is famous came back. And, now, as the business grows, it’s time for Lebsack and Fulton to ponder something very few restau- rateurs get to think about — work/life balance.
“This year, Caitlin and I are trying really hard to make that time and separate things a bit more. Our daughter is now six and a half and she realizes how much we talk about work. She’s an incred- ibly brilliant child so, if we have a weekend off and we pick up the phone, she says ‘This isn’t a weekend off if you guys are going to work.’ Now, I literally do not touch my phone for a Saturday or Sunday when I am off.”
–Steven Sandor
» As the president of the Rohit Group of Companies, Rohit Gupta is at the head of one of the biggest homebuilders in the province.
And while we read about skyrocketing housing prices
in other parts of Canada, Edmonton remains affordable — and that’s good for developers. If houses are more affordable, that means more people can qualify for mortgages, and there are more potential customers out there.
“I think the outlook for Alberta is very positive for the next 10 years,” he says. “Our core industries — energy and agriculture — are doing fairly well, and our tech sector is starting to move up.”
That means more people moving to the province, and more demand for housing.
He said that Edmonton has been a better city than most in Canada when it comes to being “pro-development.”
“Edmonton has done well to support elasticity; that’s a mix of of suburban and urban housing.”
While he’s bullish over this city’s future, he does have one major personal regret.
“If I could go back in time, I’d tell myself to put about five to 10 per cent of my time into my body, and to do a better job of looking after my physical and mental health.” –Steven Sandor
opment can be (most recently through her work developing the Village at Griesbach with Canada Lands Company).
“You look back and say, ‘Oh, my parents needed that as a stepping stone in their path forward,’’’ she says. “There’s an added passion for me
to make sure when I build communities and neighbour- hoods, that everyone has access to it.”
Pawlina, a professional engineer, has taken that ethos with her as she approaches the Village at Griesbach, striv- ing to develop a community that’s inclusive.
“It’s really about continuing to move along that housing continuum in the community that you live in, so that as your circumstances change, you’re able to stay in the community you want to live in,” she says.
Pawlina elevates her in- dustry, too. In 2016, she was frequently among the only women in the room. Seven years later, she says that’s changed drastically.
“My office in Edmonton has six staff and five out of six are
When chef Blair Lebsack was a Top 40 Under 40 a decade ago, RGE RD had just recent-
ly opened its doors, and the farm-to-table restaurant was wowing diners and the critics.
 (2016) women. In our western region, it’s all women in leadership
KAIRI roles right now,” Pawlick says,
calling it a positive for young women entering the industry.
“I’ve seen a shift in our company and in the land development industry. It’s helping younger women ... to feel more included and welcome.” –Jesse Cole
Having grown up in subsi- dized housing, Kairi Pawlina (Pawlick) understands how important community devel-

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