Brodsky Construction – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

May 30, 2024

Brodsky Construction

Continuing a Legacy in an Evolving Industry

 

Constructing a leading path within a family model of success

With roots that trace back to the 1940’s, Brodsky Construction started as a Cat train operation, hauling freight across the frozen Manitoba landscape, and laying the foundation for its future endeavors. Over the years, this innovative company progressed into earthmoving, gaining a reputation for excellence in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Jack Brodsky, Vice President of Business Development, shares the evolution of this multi-generational family endeavor. “My dad ran the business with his brothers, up until about 1970. And then my brothers and I bought in, and we were partners with my dad until 1996 when we got out of the business. At the time I believe we were the largest earthmoving contractor in the province.” he details. “We liked working up in the north, working for mining companies. We did build a lot of highways as well, and a lot of site grading and subdivision development in Saskatoon, that sort of thing.”

For Brodsky Construction, this is far from the end of the story. In 2014, Jack’s sons, David and John Brodsky, revived operations for the company. John, who is Vice President of Business Operations, continues the tale. “My brother David bought an excavator and started up the business again. I started working for him in 2016, and then I bought back into the business. I’m a 50/50 partner now. We’re still very much a family business.”

 

Moving Forward

With a fresh start, Brodsky Construction has continued to embrace opportunities for larger and more complex projects. “We like to do large earthmoving projects on the scale of hundreds of thousands, or over a million cubic meters of earth,” boasts John. “We don’t shy away from the more technical or complex jobs as well. And just like the generation before us, we like to work in northern and remote places. We like the challenge of getting that difficult work done.”

He highlights some recent projects, including a 300,000 cubic meter man-made lake in Lloydminster, Alberta, which involved constructing an outlet structure throughout a winter season due to the lake’s active drainage. Another notable project is the ongoing upgrade of a lagoon, sewage force main, and sewage pumping station at Beardy’s First Nation near Saskatoon, expected to span two years.

Additionally, Brodsky Construction tackled the removal of muskeg in Lac Brochet, northern Manitoba, to prepare for a subdivision construction. This project was completed during the winter months in temperatures between -30 and -40 degrees. “That’s exactly what we’re talking about when we say we like going into remote and challenging places,” John remarks. “It is many kilometers of winter road to get up there. For shift changes, we had to fly our crew in and out chartering planes out of Saskatoon. It was a project that was primarily winter work because it needed to be done when it was frozen. That was one of the most interesting and rewarding jobs we’ve done.

Fostering Connection and Collaboration

Recognizing the importance of collaboration in continuing to rebuild and grow the company, Brodsky Construction has forged a partnership with the Whitecap Dakota First Nation. Jack recounts, “Whitecap Dakota is a very successful First Nation, one of the most successful in the country over the last 20 years. I’ve known the chief there, Darcy Bear, for many years and when we thought we wanted to partner up with a First Nation, that was the first name that came to mind. Thankfully, we gave them a call and they decided that we would be a good partner for them.”

He notes that this relationship aligns with the province of Saskatchewan’s efforts to support better engagement with First Nations, while also providing an opportunity to work with some of the mining companies in the region, who are striving to involve more Indigenous communities. Mentioning similar collaborations during the early years of Brodsky Construction, Jack adds, “Our big thing with these partnerships is engagement and to build capacity. In our First Nations here, there’s a need for capacity building, to get people trained to do the work and get them understanding the business. That’s our goal with our current partnership. We haven’t done a lot with them yet, but we’ve been actively pursuing work with them. It’s been good, we get along very well. And we’re certainly looking forward to the evolution of that.”

 

An Operational Overview

With up to 50 employees during the peak construction season, John shares, “The local engagement is a big deal for us. We work all over Saskatchewan and into Alberta and Manitoba. It’s always a benefit to bring in and hire as many local people as possible. It’s a win-win. It’s good for us, and it’s good for them as well.”

Brodsky Construction places a significant emphasis on the efficiency of its operations and maintaining equipment is a priority. With a fleet of 35, consisting almost entirely of Caterpillar equipment, the company operates its full-service shop to ensure timely maintenance and major rebuilds. “We take great pride in looking after our equipment and making sure that it’s there to do the work for us when we need it,” says John. “We’ve got an excellent staff of mechanics, both in the shop and in our mobile service trucks that are out on site when we’re working.”

By investing in cutting-edge technology such as GPS equipment for surveying and machine control, as well as reporting for real-time diagnostics, Brodsky Construction ensures the accuracy and reliability of its machinery. “Most of our fleet is fitted with telematics and the mechanics can get real live updates of the of the codes that the equipment may be having. That just allows us to bring our maintenance program to the next level,” he asserts.

Leadership and Responsibility

As partners in the business, John and David take on similar duties, from estimating and pricing to project management. “One thing that we both feel passionately about is that we need to be involved in the day-to-day operations on site. So, we’ll spend a lot of time out on the road, making sure that the jobs we have go as well as possible. We don’t like to sit back in the office and assume everything’s going to go to plan, we go out there and we make it go to plan,” John explains.

On the business development side, Jack works on initiatives such as developing First Nations partnerships. Although at one point he thought retirement was his plan, he says, “I grew up in a family business with my dad, and now the table has kind of turned. It is pretty cool. I’m a bit of an advisor for the boys, I talk to them both virtually every day. They know what they’re doing. But every once in a while, I can offer a little bit of advice in some different areas. And then whenever we have major meetings, I sit in on those and throw my two cents worth in.”

Jack is also the President-Elect on the Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association board and will be president in 2025. In addition, he sits on the Saskatchewan Workers Compensation Board. Yet, amidst the boardrooms and policy discussions, Jack remains rooted in his construction roots. “Every once in a while, they do get me to jump on a piece of equipment if they’re short-handed, and I run a bulldozer or a scraper for a day or two,” he quips.

Looking to the future, John says, “We’re looking hard at trying to build relationships with some mining and industrial companies to kind of break into that space. We know that there’s some value that we can add there, especially with our indigenous partnership. So, that’s kind of the main push for us this year, in terms of the goals we’ve got as a company.”

The ongoing success of Brodsky Construction is a testament to their dedication, forward-thinking approach, and commitment to excellence, ensuring a road filled with continued achievement.

AT A GLANCE

Brodsky Construction

What: A construction company with a legacy dating back to the 1940s

Where: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Website: www.brodksyconstruction.ca

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