Loyal, curious and dedicated. These are three attributes that describe Robert (Bob) Bellamy, a passionate construction manager based out of Guelph, Ont. Bob started his career at construction firm Armel when he was 16 years old. This fall, he is turning 86 and has just celebrated his 70th work anniversary with the company — a milestone few have accomplished.
Beginning his career
After becoming close friends with Mel Wolfond in high school, Bob took a part-time position working construction at Mel’s father’s company, Wolfond Construction. Bob was responsible for scrapyard tasks, while helping to build commercial and residential properties across Guelph and elsewhere.
“I was in high school and needed a job, so I had to start somewhere,” says Bellamy. “All of my family worked in the construction field and it was always my desire to do the same.”
Wolfond Construction transitioned to Armel in 1978. Today, Armel has grown into a leading residential and commercial property developer that has developed more than 20,000 residential units and 1.5 million square feet of shopping centres and commercial space. Armel has contributed significantly to the growth of Guelph, and Bob has led or participated in many residential and commercial development projects over the years.
“Armel made it easy to stick around for as long as I have. From the start, the company valued itself as a family-run business that was in it for the long haul — a vision that I respected and have stood by for all of these years,” he says.
Mel’s son Greg Wolfond remembers Bob fondly for helping him grow within the company.
“He has been quite a presence in our family’s lives and is a big part of the company’s history,” says Greg.
Throughout his years at Armel, Bob transitioned from day-to-day construction — where he would often travel in and out of town as a superintendent on construction sites — to property management. Today, he is focused on managing properties in Guelph.
“Bob’s attitude and work ethic is remarkable,” says Mel. “He is truly first class. From the time he started with the company until now, if someone suggested a task that needed to be completed, Bob would get it done with a smile on his face. His work is critical to helping projects move forward at Armel — there is nothing in the construction industry that Bob can’t do.”
In his current property management role, Bob handles a wide range of tasks, including hiring contractors, installing pipes in subdivisions, cutting large parcels of grass and assisting tenants with their day-to-day needs.
Bob is now managing many of the plazas he helped build throughout his career, including the West Hills Shopping Centre.
“We don’t get much time in life to do the things we want to, so we need to take advantage of the time we do have,” says Bob. “In addition to the properties I manage, I have built many properties on my own time. It is testament to my love for the construction industry and the great opportunities I have been provided with throughout my career.”
Despite the 70 years, retirement isn’t on Bob’s mind. He is certain he won’t retire until he gets old and, right now, he says he is “still a young boy.”
Recently, Bob made a visit to the doctor — at his children’s wishes — and found out he was perfectly healthy. The doctor’s parting message — “Keep doing what you’re doing” — speaks volumes to Bob’s life mission; in his 70 years at the company, he has never taken a sick day, never shown up late and is always working hard.
“When I was young, my mother told me ‘A rolling stone does not get moss,’ which is the reason I am still holding on today,” says Bob. “I have always looked at the business as if it were my own company. I wake up each day knowing I have to be there in order for everything to get done.”
“The secret to success is honesty,” he says. “I encourage everyone to be honest in everything they do.”
“Put your mind to it and do what your mind tells you to do. If you love your work and foster a relationship of mutual respect with your employer, you will be successful in everything you do.”
Mandy Scully is president of Armel in Guelph, Ont. For more information, visit www.armelcorporation.com.
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