Businessman of the year
Jack Rowe proud of family business

by Jeff Colbourne
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 13/98) - Jack Rowe is having mixed feelings about winning the businessman of the year award.

The NWT Chamber of Commerce might have been closer to the mark if they recognized the Rowe family business and partners instead of focusing on him.

"It's a little bit unfortunate because what they've done is single out Jack as the person who received this when in actual fact it's more company philosophy and working with my partners that brought this award on," said Rowe from Hay River.

Rowe, who's also mayor of Hay River said the reasons why he was chosen for the award may be because of his family's commitment to the North, and contribution to strengthening the business community.

Rowe's Construction, the family's most active business, has been around since the 1970s. Jack and his brothers, Mike, Owen and sister Becky and her husband Dan took over the business from their father, Bill, and partner Keith Broadhead.

"We tried various entities throughout. We've now taken over the ownership of the Hay River Mobile Home Park.... On the Rowe's Construction side we have a head office in Hay River with a branch office in Fort Simpson. We had an office in Inuvik in the mid- to late-'80s. We shut that down when the economy slowed down," said Rowe.

The 43-year-old is very optimistic about the future of the company and the North. There are lots of opportunities out there, he said.

After division, Rowe expects things to become a little more focused and figures Hay River will become more of a key player in business.

Rowe's Construction has done work for the Department of Transportation doing highway maintenance and construction. They operate marine services at Fort Simpson. They got into general contracting in the later part of the 1980s for residential and commercial construction and now do construction for government projects.

Rowe hopes this award will give his company further recognition.

"The big thing I hope it does is that it lends credibility and merit to the fact to the beliefs we have and that is dealing in the North, employing Northern people and trying to grow with the North. I think it's far better than to give an award to somebody that maybe buys all their materials from the south or brings in employees from either, south, west or east. I think that part of it is the positive side."

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