Curtis Way

The Way Ahead

Curtis WayWhen Curtis Way graduated from NAIT’s Business Administration – Management program in 1977, he wasn’t dreaming of boardrooms and corner offices. He was thinking about a future filled with hammers, nails, saws and two-by-fours.

“Believe it or not, I apprenticed as a carpenter,” says Curtis, now 46. “I wanted to get into the homebuilding and construction side of the field and I took Business at NAIT to get there. But I soon realized that carpentry was not my direction in life.”

In the Alberta boom of the late 1970s, jobs in construction were not difficult to come by. With his carpentry experience and business education, Curtis quickly became a project manager. “In those days, you could be a kid in your early twenties and manage a highrise project with a multimillion-dollar budget,” he says. “You just wouldn’t see that today. It was a real reflection of just how hot the business was at the time.”

Curtis built up a track record of managing projects completed on time and on budget, but in 1989 he reached a professional crossroads. “I was working as a project manager with a contractor on a large project in Grande Prairie and they didn’t like to pay people a salary. They told me they preferred working with companies. So I had a choice to make,” Curtis says. “Like any major decision, this was a tough one. I had a wife and two children and I really agonized over this. When you’re self-employed, there’s always a question of where your next paycheque is coming from.”

Curtis decided to stick with the project and co-founded a development company, then created Royal Management Services Inc. in 1994. Thanks to Curtis’ project management experience, the company has a wide range of expertise and is able to spread its time between land subdivisions, large retail centers and multi-family complexes. In the last nine years, Curtis has more than 500,000 square feet developed, and counting.

“At first, Royal Management was just me and a phone. Now, our menagerie includes nine staff members and we’ve done a lot of great things,” Curtis says. “Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Curtis Way - Alumnait Above article taken from 'Taking Care of Business' Alumnait, Summer 2003