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