Parker: Ukrainian immigrants build successful construction company in Calgary

Ambition and courage have provided the three Ukrainian partners with a successful Calgary company

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Most of us who immigrate to Canada chose to move here to better our way of living.

Ihor Marchenko did just that. After growing up in Ukraine, he felt the country was already unstable and unpredictable when he and his wife decided to journey to a new life here six years ago. He says that at the time, there was no way one could plan for a future of even three to five years in his home country.

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He had the benefit of some English, having studied the language while earning his degrees in mechanical engineering and agriculture, and benefited by summer exchange programs in England at the universities in Canterbury, Bristol and Taunton. It was while studying in England that he met and became friends with Artem Tkachenko and Andriy Lysak, Ukrainians who are now his business partners in Calgary.

He says it took him two years to get to Canada, during which time he improved his language skills to earn a certificate in English that helped his application.

Marchenko’s first residence in Canada was in Winnipeg, but after 18 months in Manitoba he decided to move to Calgary in 2019.

He and his partners, now all residing in Calgary, gained further experience in the building trades and, after several industry jobs here, launched ThreeStones Alliance. The three share equal positions spreading the responsibilities — Marchenko acts as CEO, Tkachenko is COO and Lysak is CFO.

They started chasing small jobs as subcontractors, working hard to earn a reputation. Their efforts were rewarded when an engineering company that was impressed with the way they conducted their business recommended them to Truman Homes, and ThreeStones was awarded its first big job doing the exterior siding of 160 units.

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Today, the company has an employee count of almost 60 who are trained to work on all existing materials — brick, stone, stucco — on contracts to complete exterior siding jobs. New prospects are tested to see how they would fit into the company, and trained for potential positions at senior levels.

Rapid growth by a new company of immigrants meant they needed some help in running the business. Fortunately, they were introduced to Mike Joseph Executive Coaching, which helped them with a business plan, a vision and business development strategy. And he, realizing that they also needed financial advice, introduced the partners to Brian Anderson, regional director for CFO Centre, who leads a team of fractional CFOs who were able to set up the right accounting procedures, reporting and banking contacts.

Most of the work to date has been on multi-family residential projects, but Marchenko says he is winning more commercial construction jobs and wants to expand into that area.

ThreeStones has an informative website that shows off many of its completed projects, and it is currently busy with a number of new ones — including two six-storey condo buildings for Truman in West District called Mondrian, and residential units for Next Door Homes on Banff Trail S.W.

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Ambition and courage have provided the three Ukrainian partners with a successful Calgary company, and they are already dreaming of expansion in this province and throughout Western Canada.

To celebrate their success, with the help of Joseph, Anderson and ATB, they held a reception at Teatro last week for clients, suppliers and important people in their growing network.

It was also a celebration of an immigration story that brought three good guys to Canada and this city.

Notes:

A well-deserved congratulations to Kim McConnell, named recipient of the Haskayne School of Business and Calgary Chamber of Commerce 2024 Inspiring Business Leader Award. A celebrated icon in the agricultural industry, McConnell spent most of his career in the advertising agency business. In 1984, after earning his degree in agriculture from the University of Manitoba, he launched Fieldstone Marketing in Calgary and grew it until he merged in 2002 to become AdFarm, one of North America’s largest agricultural marketing companies. In his work with national and international agricultural and food companies, he oversaw significant marketing campaigns working with large multinational brands. “We are so pleased to honour a visionary and well-respected leader in ag and food whose work has demonstrated how innovation, leadership and deep respect can lead to inspiring results and impact across a sector,” says Gina Grandy, dean of the Haskayne School of Business.

David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at calgaryherald.com/business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622.

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