Mon, 4 August 2014
Introducing Ed Webber
Ed Webber is a veteran of old-school family business in Nova Scotia. He started in his youth by helping out his father but at the age of 16 his father died. This left his family strapped for cash, and Ed was forced out of school and into the workforce. He began running a gift shop out of a local hotel, and through the years went on to the buy and sell business, as well as opening a breakfast and lunch joint. But after getting married and having a child, Ed wanted better job security and decided to take a job as an area manager for a firm, which rented televisions in hospitals. From there he grew into a regional manager and then with a few partners became the companies only franchisee by starting VistaCare Television Services of Canada in 1989. By 2003, Ed was getting a bit bored with hospital TV rentals and decided to leverage the reputation of VistaCare Television to start a high-end cabling and fiber-optic construction firm. He formed VistaCare Communications Services of Canada and sold VistaCare TV in 2007.
Ed’s vision with VistaCare Communications was to set a new standard in the cabling industry in Nova Scotia. He took a risk and changed the way worker in his company would be paid from piecework to hourly wages and demanded the best quality of work. Soon companies were willing to pay more for the quality of work provided. Ed was able to hire the best technicians because they now could make a consistent pay cheque and were able to show this to banks in order to get mortgages for themselves. In nearly a decade of running VistaCare Communications, the company grew from a single employee to 125 with over 100 trucks on the road. Along the way, Ed never had to layoff a single employee because he built the right team and invested in them.
After Ed sold VistaCare Communications, he and his son (our producer Matt) have gone on to start Edible Matters, a restaurant in Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia. His knack for finding opportunity told him that a restaurant was just what the community needed and that it should focus on quality food, bought locally and seasonally whenever possible. Ed has exported his practical philosophy of business to EM and continues to run the business with “do onto other” mentality.
In this episode
Ed imparts some of his pragmatic, logical approaches to business. He cautions of some pitfalls of starting a family business and also tells us why some good ideas fail. Greg tells us how he met Ed, and how he became a mentor and was challenged by him. Dave is inspired by Ed’s belief that you can’t win everything, but you can win sometimes if you just keep trying. Everyone is reminded that by treating members of your team the best trickles down to your customers feeling like they are important.