Lazenby’s new gig

Former In­vest Ot­tawa boss ready for next chal­lenge as Re­gional Group’s head of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment.

Ottawa Business Journal - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVID SALI david@obj.ca

When he stepped down as head of the city’s main eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment agency in late June, Bruce Lazenby vowed he wouldn’t be “re­tired” for long. True to his word, Mr. Lazenby is back. The former CEO of In­vest Ot­tawa and tech firm FreeBalance em­barked on the next – and per­haps fi­nal – stage of his pub­lic ca­reer in late Septem­ber as the new head of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment at the Re­gional Group.

For Mr. Lazenby, the op­por­tu­nity to help one of the city’s largest real es­tate man­age­ment com­pa­nies ex­pand its port­fo­lio was too good to pass up. De­spite man­ag­ing more than 1,100 condo and apart­ment units and nearly five mil­lion square feet of com­mer­cial, in­dus­trial and re­tail space, the com­pany feels it has been “fly­ing un­der the radar” since it was founded 55 years ago, he told OBJ.

“They want to change that,” Mr. Lazenby said. “They want to start do­ing more and big­ger deals, and they think I can help with that.”

In his five years at the helm of In­vest Ot­tawa, Mr. Lazenby – an eco­nom­ics and com­merce grad­u­ate of Royal Mil­i­tary Col­lege who will only say he is “over 50” – rel­ished a role he re­ferred to as the cap­i­tal’s “VP of sales.”

Be­fore lead­ing In­vest Ot­tawa, Mr. Lazenby spent years as an ex­ec­u­tive in the city’s tech­nol­ogy sec­tor. He plans to use his ex­pe­ri­ence in the worlds of tech and mar­ket­ing to full ad­van­tage in his new po­si­tion.

Led by pres­i­dent and CEO Steve Gor­don, Re­gional is hop­ing to make greater in­roads with tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies – a sec­tor Mr. Lazenby feels many land­lords in Ot­tawa have over­looked.

Tech firms have unique re­quire­ments for ev­ery­thing from in­ter­net band­width ca­pac­ity to how of­fices are con­fig­ured, he said, and the Re­gional Group wants to work with those com­pa­nies to cre­ate “bet­ter build­ings” that are more suited to their needs.

“What we want to do is start a di­a­logue with tech teams,” Mr. Lazenby said. “My plan is to try and bring that sec­tor to­gether in the hope that we can help them grow.”

He said he first met Mr. Gor­don and his ex­ec­u­tive team about four years ago and was im­me­di­ately struck by how quickly they grasped the im­por­tance of cater­ing to the tech sec­tor. Mr. Lazenby said he had a num­ber of other of­fers on the ta­ble – in­clud­ing C-suite jobs at firms in Ot­tawa and out of town – but Re­gional seemed like the per­fect land­ing spot for what’s likely his “last big gig.”

“This is prob­a­bly the best place for me to make a dif­fer­ence,” he said.

Mr. Lazenby said he is also serv­ing on sev­eral boards and is act­ing as an ad­viser to Wil­lis Col­lege.

FILE PHOTO

Re­gional Group’s Bruce Lazenby.

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