On December 14, 1999, the lives of Steven Knight and his family were forever changed. That day, Steven’s father, Bill Knight, was let go from his partner position with the demolition firm he was working with. With only 2 weeks before Christmas, Bill took his life’s savings and founded B&B Demolition Ltd., the B&B standing for Bigger and Better, deciding he would do things differently, and most importantly, do things right. Bill started his business in the basement office of his 900 square foot house, with just 4 employees. B&B over the last 15 years has since grown to employ almost 50 team members, and has become central Alberta’s premier demolition service provider. Through their growth, they have won several awards and accolades such as the Consumer Choice Award, being featured on the 2014 Alberta’s Fast Growth 50 List, and being named Family Enterprise of the Year.
Exposed to entrepreneurialism from an early age, Steven started working with the family business by pulling nails out of demolished boards for a nickel a nail, progressed to painting equipment and organizing the tool room, to the day 3 years ago when his father pulled him into his office and said “One of our competitors has a Facebook page, so we need a Facebook page too.” That day, Steven was appointed the marketing and IT manager. Over the past 3 years, he has helped shape the company through executing robust marketing campaigns which push the envelope, including a fleet of smart cars, and offering his ideas and technical expertise. In May of 2014, Steven was promoted to a senior leadership position within the company as Business Development Manager.
A RELATIONSHIP FOCUS
Steven came to understand that relationships are the key building blocks to business early in his career, and this can be seen not only in his private life and other endeavors, but also mirrored in many places around B&B.
PERSONAL LIFE AND PURSUITS – GIVING BACK
“My life is a lot of different hats, and I like it that way—That’s what inspires me,” reflects Steven when asked about his personal life. Steven has just graduated from the Alberta School of business with a Bachelors of Commerce with distinction, where he was juggling full time school along with working for B&B.
This past year, Steven served as the VP Academic as part of the Alberta Not-for-Profit Case Competition, which raises awareness for and helps Not-for-profit businesses assess and solve problems within their organization through a competition format. With the help of his school mentor, Webb Dussome, the group not only raised $32,000 for the project, $4000 of which going to the charity of choice of the competition winner, but brought together some of the brightest students from across the continent. The case presented at the competition was written by Steven about the Youth Empowerment and Support Services (YESS), and has been recognized as one of the best case studies to come out of the University of Alberta.
BACK TO BUSINESS – THE B&B STANDARD
From start to finish, B&B Demolition is all about excellence and focusing on the 4 pillars of service, community investment, environmental consciousness, and safety. “We aren’t just guys in a pickup truck with a sledgehammer and old AC/DC t-shirts,” says Steven, “When we walk off a site, it’s clean enough to eat off of. That’s the value we deliver.” When hiring B&B Demolition, they deliver the full package including a dedicated project planner, HR representative and dispatcher, a safety officer, and a trained team of demolition experts. B&B is also known for the relationships they’ve built in the community. Often, they are contracted to perform insurance work, such as cleaning up after apartment fires. “We take the time to sit there with an excavator and pick out the things that may still be of value to people. People will always remember that B&B is the company that took the extra time to find the photo album of their wedding. The baby photos. Even the simple things like wrist watches. Things that are really important to people, especially when they’ve just lost everything,” recalls Steven when speaking about a past project.
B&B’s commitment to the community also extends towards the environment. Being LEEDS (Leadership in Energy & Environmental design) certified, B&B is dedicated to protecting the environment, and in a recent project, was even able to recycle up to 88% of a building that was torn down. This extensive recycling program saves a huge amount of waste from reaching Alberta landfills. Also B&B recently replaced its fleet of Buick SUVs with Smart Cars in order to reduce their carbon footprint and make a statement that B&B cares about the environment. “It may be a little counter intuitive to see a demolition contractor driving around in a Smart Car, but [we’re] trying to make a difference,” remarks Steven.
When asked about one piece of advice for other young entrepreneurs, he replied “Understand the value of [your] relationships and maximize the value of [your] relationships. Spend your day meeting the people who are going to make you successful. Whether or not you do business with them, or whether or not you get knowledge, you’ve still made the connection. Don’t discredit relationships.”