The RGO team, seated, president Ross Glen and Cathy Orr, vice-president of window coverings and corporate initiatives; standing, Cassandra Will, corporate marketing co-ordinator, and Dave Orr, vice-president of Office Environments.
Photo by Wil Andruschak
Sponsored by Calgary Economic Development
If a company can reap what it sows, then the continued success of RGO Products Ltd. is a well-earned reward for decades of dedication to the community.
Opened in 1966 with just three employees, RGO and its related companies now boast more than 275 people in Alberta. RGO has contributed to many local charities and non-profit organizations over the past five decades.
Beneficiaries have included Calgary performing arts, the University of Calgary, Mount Royal University, SAIT, Bow Valley College, Calgary Junior Achievement, the Calgary Zoo, the City of Calgary, Heritage Park, Calgary Humane Society, the Resolve campaign to end homelessness in the city.
President Ross Glen, however, is humble and happy to downplay these contributions by redirecting any accolades to his employees.
“Yes, giving back to the community has definitely been a priority for us, but really, what enables us to do that is our people,” says Glen.
“It is the service they provide that has kept us moving forward all these years, giving us the ability to contribute to our community.”
With respect to this most recent economic downturn, Glen says: “We’re getting through this not too badly, and while it may not be quite as much fun operating in the current economic climate, we’ve seen it before and made it through, and we will this time, too.”
A passion for people, community building and entrepreneurship has been evident since his youth when Glen started his first job delivering newspapers at the age of 13.
That was followed by work servicing and then selling typewriters.
Not long after that, he turned a modest family loan into a million-dollar business as he diversified into office products.
RGO has continued to grow and is now one of the largest companies of its kind in Canada, selling and servicing all products with a full range of value-added services, he says.
While office, hospitality and institutional furniture is a primary focus, the company has also branched out into residential and commercial window coverings and flooring.
“My daughter has done an amazing job diversifying our company and keeping us relevant, and she will be taking over the company and I know I am leaving it in good hands,” says Glen, referring to Cathy Orr, vice-president of window covering and corporate initiatives.
While the company has been around for 50 years, its state-of-the-art 50,000-square-foot head office showcases its products to full effect. It highlights the benefits of modern workplaces that incorporate common areas, break stations and even areas to exercise and re-energize during the workday.
“You can be around a long time and still stay ahead of the trends and the needs of your clients,” says Glen. “We are proof of that and I believe we will continue for a long time to come.”
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