Receiving an EY Entrepreneur of the Year award is a business milestone that few achieve. This year, Coventry Homes’ CEO, Henri Rodier, was honoured with the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Business-to-Consumer Products & Services category. We recently had the privilege of sitting down with him to discuss his company, legacy and connections to the community.

Coventry Homes EdmontonAlso awarded Top New Home Builder in Edmonton for 2016, 2015, and 2014, Coventry is a 40 year old company with 4,000 new homes to its name. Its success story goes back to the 1970s and has been driven by Henri’s vision every step of the way. Henri and Coventry are involved in the local community, through both their sponsorship of the Edmonton Oilers and their involvement with the Edmonton Humane Society. Henri shows us the value of deep community commitment. Coventry’s long standing dedication to the Oilers covers the gamut from in-arena ads to clients being able to order a custom “Oilers cave” in their basement; a product that no other builder offers.

The ‘Paws and Claws’ Gala is one of the Edmonton Humane Society’s biggest fundraisers and has raised $800,000 to date. It’s presented by Coventry, and we can tell that Henri takes enormous pride in being able to give so much back to his community. “We are local,” he said, “We are Edmonton and area.” As a CEO, his appreciation for the community that has helped make his company successful runs deep.

Henri’s personable nature and humility stood out in our interview. He spoke with the perspective that only decades of experience can give; about his company and our local boom-and-bust economy. When asked about the recent downturn, he smiled and indicated that this was the fourth such recession Coventry had been through. “Downturns,” he said, “are the times when you can make the most progress and when you have the best opportunities.” Perhaps it is this entrepreneurial spirit that the judges for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards saw in Henri and has helped shape the company’s story of success throughout the years.

When asked about his influence on Coventry, Henri’s humility again took centre stage. For a man whose influence shaped a highly successful company over the last few decades, he chose not to remark about himself. Like a true leader, he gave all the praise to the team at Coventry that he has worked alongside all these years, including his professional advisors. Henri talked about succession planning after 40 years at the helm of Coventry. A 5 year plan in the making, the succession plan was nearing completion and Trevor Lukey, a partner with HLH that has worked with Henri for years, “was a big part of it”. Trevor, he said, “was instrumental in guiding me through the way I should be looking at it financially.”

When asked what he would do when he retired, Henri simply smiled, looked around his office and said, “this is exactly what I want to do.” A true entrepreneur at heart, Henri has the perspective that being retired means enjoying the freedom to do exactly what you want. Looks like he’s found it already.

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