General News

Priestly Demolition named one of Canada’s top managed companies

May 12, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Mark Pavilons

King’s Priestly Demolition has been recognized for overall business performance and sustained growth with the prestigious Canada’s Best Managed Companies designation.
The 2021 Best Managed program award winners are among the best-in-class of Canadian owned and managed companies with revenues over $25 million, demonstrating leadership in the areas of strategy, capabilities and innovation, culture and commitment, and financials to achieve sustainable growth.
“This year’s Best Managed winners demonstrate the organizational grit required to thrive in these increasingly uncertain times,” said Kari Lockhart, Partner, Deloitte “By putting their people first, and showing the courage to experiment and take risks, they were able to overcome some of today’s most pressing challenges. This year’s winners were able to succeed because they weren’t afraid to fail.”
Priestly Demolition Inc. (PDI) is founded on 4 key values: Family, Safety, Integrity and Innovation.
“We live these values every day, in every project. We encourage teamwork and respect, help develop individual strengths, and recognize that the contribution of our people is the key to our success,” said Ryan Priestly, president.
People are one of the company’s strongest assets. Priestly has apprenticeship programs that mentor and guide young demographic in many different fields. There is continual review of staff and high performers are rewarded through promotion.
There’s no mistaking Priestly staff when you see them on a job. Company swag is generously distributed among staff who proudly wear their hats, sweaters, t-shirts, jackets in the office and on the jobsite.
The Priestly family story is shared, and a sense of pride and loyalty exist around it.
Ryan Priestly regularly visits job sites to meet new employees, and re-connect with the ones he has known for years, often asking about the wife and kids, thus making employees feel like valued members of the PDI family.
“We care about our employees and realize that they are truly our most important asset,” said Priestly.
All employees are eligible for their Variable Pay Program. Recognition is a key part of the strategy to attract and retain top talent.
During challenging times such as the pandemic the company is still finding ways to celebrate its people. For example, last December, employees receive a gift of appreciation which they can choose online, as well as grocery gift cards.
“There is a strong culture at PDI that can only be described as inclusive. We celebrate our people and make sure that they are well taken care of. Because of this, we have created a strong organizational structure, with strong leaders, guiding and mentoring their successors,” Priestly added.
PDI celebrates its people through corporate events such as employee BBQs, Heavy Equipment Skills Competition, December holiday party, raffles, giveaways, job site lunches and team building charity events and food drives.
For many years the Priestly family have and PDI have been generously supporting the following charities: Sick Kids Hospital, St. Mike’s Hospital, Southlake Hospital, McKenzie Health Centre, Princess Margaret Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer, Town of Aurora United Way, Hope House Hospice, Margaret Bahen Hospice, Doan House Hospice, The Haddan Eby Foundation, Kerry’s Place Autism Services, Friends of We Care Foundation, York Regional Police, Big Brothers Big Sisters, MADD, Special Olympics and the Canadian Association of Women in Construction.
Featured in the reality show “Salvage Kings,” staff took great pride showing off their skills. The show created a significant “buzz within our team and with friends and family as well.”
PDI has an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) committee, which includes employees from the field, office and executive. Through this committee, PDI is promoting a diverse and inclusive program which includes celebrating all cultures and diversity. They are in the process of developing training sessions for all levels of employees to educate, inform and create self-awareness.
“People are our first priority, without them PDI would not be who we are today. Demolition work is dangerous, and stressful, and it takes the teamwork of highly skilled workers and professionals to make the company successful.”
Priestly continues to look for new and innovative ways to renew communities (by clearing the way for new development), and by playing the role of environmental stewards. This concept is woven into the company mission – “We are trusted innovators, leading the change to a more sustainable tomorrow.”
Their corporate strategy is to be a dominant leader in the industry, and always be the first choice for demolition projects. They continue to grow the business across Canada and into the U.S. with offices in King, Ottawa, Calgary and Virginia. PDI has the largest fleet of demolition equipment in the country, which is a key part of its success. They have larger equipment and attachments than most competitors and this allows them to get the work done faster, and in a more cost-effective manner.
An example of this is the high-reach equipment that Priestly is able to deploy in the downtown core that others cannot.
“The investments we have made in technology, people, engineering and safety allow us to take on the complex projects that other companies aren’t set-up for.”
PDI clients acknowledge that they have the best team in the industry, the most impressive and productive fleet of equipment, and our use of technology to track, schedule and report on projects is best in class.
“Our key resources are our people, our fleet of equipment and our technology. We have key employees, who are ‘high performers’ (for example field base operators) with specific knowledge, and a proven safe work history in operating demolition specific equipment).
“We make sure to align younger employees with these key employees to learn as much as possible, and invest in their future career.”
The atmosphere at PDI is like one big family.
“Everyone cares about each other and looks out for one another. It’s a dangerous job, teamwork is essential. You have to trust the guys you work with,” Priestly said.
As an example, last September, PDI made headlines when a nearby swing stage fell (across the road from where PDI was working) leaving a worker dangling from a high-rise at Yonge and Eglinton.
“Our crew quickly ran to help, got to the top of the high-rise and our 5 guys pulled the worker to safety.”
Employees also enjoy having senior mentors to guide them those first few years on the job. They enjoy annual get togethers (BBQ, skills competition and Christmas party), as it brings the team together.
“These are just some of the reasons why PDI has so life-timers, and now second-generation operators coming to work at PDI as well,” Priestly noted.
The company is also quite the innovator as well. PDI adopted an “oil quick system” that allows workers to change attachments on heavy equipment in less than 30 seconds. Without an Oil Quick, this task would take 30 minutes.
PDI has a team of in-house structural engineers, which allows them to pivot quickly to new projects or challenges.
PDI is working on behind the scene development with the unions to continue to develop the union apprentice program and to promote working in the trades.
The president, and several of executives have developed relationships with colleges and universities in the province, to promote the construction-based position, particularly trade roles and the need for these skills in the future.
Now in its 28th year, Canada’s Best Managed Companies remains one of the country’s leading business awards programs recognizing Canadian-owned and managed companies for innovative, world class business practices. Every year, hundreds of entrepreneurial companies compete for this designation in a rigorous and independent process that evaluates the caliber of their management abilities and practices.
For more information, visit



Tags: , ,

Readers Comments (0)

Sorry, comments are closed on this post.

Page Reader Press Enter to Read Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Pause or Restart Reading Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Stop Reading Page Content Out Loud Screen Reader Support