We love what we do and we have been doing it for a long time. Our past, present and future are very important to us at Johnston Builders. Here are just a few of the amazing things that have happened over the last 30 years.
Don founded JBL in the basement of his St. Albert home to provide exceptional service to clients in any market. His dream was always to have his own construction company. He implemented a strategy of bidding on the jobs that other contractors didn’t want to pursue. This led to JBL successfully completing many great projects in Northern Alberta and in remote, rural communities. Don’s commitment to his employees and community is the foundation JBL was built on.
In early 1993, Johnston Builders entered into a contract with the Samson Cree First Nations Council and began construction on our first project valued at over $1,000,000. Located in Maskwacis, Alberta (formerly Hobbema), this multi-tenant commercial building near Highway 2A included a gas bar. During this project, a carpenter named Geno Barahona walked on site looking for work. Geno would join the Johnston Builders team for this project and continue with us as a carpenter, foreman and superintendent for the next 20 years.
1999 marked the 100th project completed by Johnston Builders. Over the first nine years we went from completing primarily small, low-rise new builds, renovations and additions to constructing larger, mid-rise complexes and hotels. Although we grew significantly during this period we continued to be active in smaller and remote communities.
With over 102,000sq ft of floor area across the 6 stories, the Hilton Garden Inn was the largest project JBL had undertaken at the time. This also marked the first time we had utilized prefabricated construction. By having the load bearing steel studs, partitions and exterior wall panels fabricated offsite, we were able to construct the hotel in just 13 months.
The construction of the Hampton was unique in that it utilized pre-assembled exterior wall panels and structural steel stud throughout the building. It also marked the first time JBL had utilized a tower crane on a construction site. These new methods came with new challenges but our team was well prepared and their experience allowed for another successful project completion.
Johnston Builders has always undergone slow and steady growth over the years. 2012 marked the year that we had finally grown out of our office, we needed an upgrade. The result was an exceptional 15,500 sq. ft. two-story office complex in Campbell Business Park in St. Albert, AB.
In late 2013 JBL began one of it’s most ambitious projects to date. The Andrew Motor Lodge, originally built in the mid-1950’s, was purchased by Mountain Park Lodges and re-named as the Amethyst in 1988. It has since undergone several additions and renovations over the past 60 or so years. Our task was to completely strip the structure down to the framing and re-build the hotel in a modern fashion. This included all new plumbing, electrical, mechanical, finishes and even a brand new pool in the basement. When it was all said and done, the newly branded Crimson Hotel was the most modern in Jasper.
2017 marked a year of change for JBL. The retirement of our founder, Don Johnston, brought about changes to our company. James Hackney took on the role of President and CEO, we undertook some of the largest projects in our history, brought in a number of new team members and we changed our look. After 27 years, Johnston Builders re-branded. With fresh leadership and a new logo, 2017 began great strides towards the future.
Don Johnston, founder of JBL, spent the majority of his childhood growing up in the north. His father helped build the Alaska Highway and now JBL helps to build the future of the Yukon. We started our first project in Whitehorse in 2015 completing renovations of the Home Hardware Building Centre and in 2017 we undertook our largest project to date, the Rivers Reach 2 condominiums, also located in Whitehorse. We are looking towards a bright future in Yukon with many more projects on the horizon.
A lot can happen in 30 years. In the past three decades at JBL; we have successfully completed hundreds of projects, worked with thousands of tradespeople, collaborated with dozens of consultants and built solid, long-lasting relationships with many clients. We are proud of what we have done in the previous 30 years and are excited to see what we can do over the next 30 or more.