Every great company has leaders who inspire their employees to be better, and do better, in life and in work. PodTech is such a company. All of the founders of the company are just that sort of person, and each in their own way. One of them, Brian Fehr was just awarded the highest honour that the Province of British Columbia can award an individual, the Order of British Columbia. The order was established to recognize those persons who have served with the greatest distinction and excelled in any field of endeavour benefiting the people of the Province or elsewhere.
Brian Fehr is the founder of a billion-dollar group of companies — BID Group — that provides innovative technical systems and construction services for wood products industries in B.C., across Canada and into the United States. His work supports many of B.C.’s rural economies. Brian is an astute businessman and he cares deeply about his employees and the communities they work in.
PodTech Innovation Inc. and the Columbia Lake Technology Center (CLTC) are perfect examples of Brian’s entrepreneurial qualities, and why he was nominated and awarded this prestigious award. PodTech and CLTC are located in Canal Flats BC – the headwater of the mighty Columbia River.
Canal Flats was a lumber town; it’s primary employer was a sawmill. When that mill closed in November of 2015 it threw 75 people out of work and decimated the town’s economy. Many people, grown children, young families etc. left to find work elsewhere, reducing the population there to about 600 people.
In 2017 Brian stepped in and bought the mill and surrounding land. He opened a metal fabrication shop there for BID Group and hired locals that had the requisite skills and brought in new employees. He started CLTC to be the seed to attract businesses to Canal Flats and started by working with three other entrepreneurs to create PodTech, a modular data center construction company with access to large amounts of hydroelectric power. PodTech has already hired over 35 new employees, many of whom have moved to Canal Flats to work there. The town is being revived.
Canal Flats is right in the major recreational region, skiing, hiking, fishing etc. of the Columbia Valley and housing in most towns there has become too expensive for the workers who run the local economy, and many of the homes are vacation homes, empty a lot of the year. That’s a drain on the local economy. Because Brian truly cares about his employees much of the property surrounding the PodTech manufacturing plant and MegaPod deployments will be devoted to mixed residential housing and small business, as well green spaces. He intends to keep the prices affordable for those who work there.
This is why he is an inspiration for all who work for him, and why he won the Order of BC. Congratulations Brian.