Meet CHBA’s new President Matt McCurrach

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By Natasha Rombough, Director of Marketing and Communications, CHBA

Last month during Home Building Week in Canada, we welcomed in the new President of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association. Matt McCurrach is President of Homex Development Corp., a builder/developer company based in Kamloops, BC.

McCurrach has served in volunteer roles at all levels of the association for over a decade, including as president of his local association of CHBA Central Interior and CHBA British Columbia, as well as serving on the CHBA national executive committee of the board for many years. He knows from experience that until you volunteer to be part of leadership teams, the people who serve on them can be perceived as different than typical members. It’s a stereotype that McCurrach says he and others are trying hard to break. During his year as president, Matt hopes he can make fellow members more comfortable and encourage them to step up in leadership positions.

“I’m just a regular builder,” says McCurrach. In his spare time, he enjoys live sporting events (especially the Canucks), spending time at Shuswap Lake, and being around friends and family. “I think there’s this perception that people on the board are future politicians. But that’s not the case; we’re just passionate members trying to better our industry.”

Anyone who speaks to McCurrach will sense immediately that he’s someone easy to talk to. He listens intently, and he’s keen to hear from as many members as he can during his upcoming travels across the country, and bring what he learns back to the national table. “Getting involved means you get to speak on behalf of members and advance our industry’s priorities,” McCurrach said during his inaugural address to the membership in Saint John, NB shortly after he was sworn in as president. And he’s looking forward to it.

Finding his stride

Both of McCurrach’s parents worked as teachers when he was young, and his father built homes in the summer. As his business grew in the 1970s, the senior McCurrach gave up teaching to follow his true passion of homebuilding full time. At first, the business did well, but when the recession hit in the 1980s with its 20-per-cent interest rate environment, things took a turn and the family went broke. Matt, his sister and mother moved in with his grandparents in Victoria while his dad worked long hours on the brand-new Coquihalla Highway project, which today runs between Kamloops and Hope.

While the time was surely extremely challenging for his parents, Matt remembers the positive life lessons he learned from it. “My mom, who went back to work as a teacher, always stayed positive. She showed us a strong work ethic and how to be good to others and treat them with compassion and respect,” he remembers. And after five years his dad got back into the home development business with even more success than those early years. “I credit his success not only to his tenacity, creativity and ability to learn, but also to his strong belief in family and friends who provided the support system that helped him build the business back up.”

McCurrach began helping out with the business as a teen, like many builders and renovators do. He started out doing odd jobs and basic labour, and his dad and the site supervisors were determined to show him the ropes and prove that hard work pays off. But he was reluctant to stick with the family business at first. “I didn’t want to be perceived as the ‘silver spoon kid,’ and chose to cut my teeth somewhere else,” McCurrach recalls.

He went to college in Victoria and got a summer job working as a labourer for a civil contractor. Within a few months, when the site superintendent was let go, the owner offered Matt the job, saying he was cut out for that career and didn’t understand why he wouldn’t take the job or work for his family business. Matt describes that experience as a lightbulb moment.

“Having an independent industry player tell me I was capable made me more comfortable with the idea of working in the family business. It gave me the confidence I needed to say ‘I can do this – it’s not preferential treatment,’” McCurrach says.

He rejoined the family business, got his Red Seal in carpentry, and proceeded to work harder than everyone else to prove he belonged. He advanced in his career, learning every aspect of the construction business. In 2014, he became the head of the company continuing his father’s legacy, and he thanks the colleagues who stood by his side as he worked his way up through the ranks. “Our business continues to be a success today, in large part because of those same people.”

Leading a company

Today, Homex Development Corp. operates several divisions, including land acquisition, development, civil works, as well as constructing both multi-family and single-family housing. They develop between 30 and 40 lots per year, and build approximately 30 multi-family units per year (low-rise condos and townhomes).

McCurrach enjoys both sides of the business, and the competitor in him relishes in the challenges that are always being presented. He loves the energy of a jobsite, the excitement of breaking ground and the satisfaction of completing a long and complicated project. A people person, McCurrach tries to get onsite as much as he can to connect with the tradespeople. “While I get a lot of satisfaction from the work itself, what I think I love most about homebuilding and land development are the people, the relationships created with suppliers, trades and professionals involved in our projects.”

The benefits of getting involved

That passion and desire to connect with others is likely what keeps him actively involved in the association. Homex Development has been a member of CHBA Central Interior for more than 50 years. In 1974, Matt’s father was president of their local association, and played a key role in home warranty being implemented in British Columbia.

Matt says that what intrigued him personally about the association was that it brings together like-minded professionals who face similar challenges. He began taking on an active role with his local association after being asked to be a local presidential appointee, and hasn’t stopped since, contributing to all three levels of the association and helping achieve government relations wins on behalf of all members.

He says that while members are often competitors, many aren’t shy to pick up the phone and share with each other. And those competitive barriers are broken down when you can go to bat together under the CHBA umbrella to fight things at city hall with more clout than any one company could do on its own. “Our three-level association has evolved into something even bigger than I ever would have anticipated. Our country-wide influence, specifically with government, is the single most prominent difference I’ve witnessed over time,” McCurrach says.

So why do members like him contribute so much? When asked, almost all have the same answer: The more you put into your membership, the more you get out of it. For Matt, the peer-to-peer mentoring that he’s been a part of by being involved is the key value of membership to him. “I can’t express enough how the advice and opinions from fellow members has helped contribute to the success of our business. I truly consider many of the people I’ve met through CHBA as my good friends.”

FAST FACTS

Company Name: Homex Development Corp.
Head Offices: Kamloops, BC
Number of Full-Time Employees: 6-20
Approx. Gross Revenue: $20 M
Projects per year: 30 lots, 30 units

Coming CHBA Events

Fall 2024
Call for entries for the 2025 CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence

Oct. 21-25, 2024
CHBA National Meetings, Ottawa

May 11-15, 2025
CHBA Home Building Week, Victoria