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Richer retires and sells UCG

By June 23, 2022No Comments
Paul Richer has retired at 63 years of age and sold his Universal Consulting Group Ltd. business to four employees. Staff threw a party for him last Friday with well-wishers dropping by the office to congratulate him during a BBQ. Geoff Lee Meridian Source

 

Paul Richer came to Lloydminster in 1980 with a mattress tied to the roof of his car and the hope of scoring a job in construction drafting.

He has left those modest expectations in the dust over the years to become a family man, volunteer and respected business owner.

Richer, who is now 63, brought everyone up to speed on his life and times during his surprise retirement party last Friday at Universal Consulting Group Ltd. (UCG), which he built from scratch.

“It’s a great day of just enjoying the fruits of those years of work,” said Richer, with friends family and colleagues dropping by to wish him well and enjoy an open barbecue.

He also took the opportunity to reveal he has sold his architectural design company to four employee-partners, Kevin Jacques, Shari Klenk, Kim Procyshen and Erin Rommel and their three employees.

“There’s definitely a transition plan and I’ll be here for a few months to help the new owners out,” said Richer.

“There’s a high volume of work happening right now and expected to come, so it’s a good story for everyone.”

Work was also plentiful when 22-year-old Richer left his hometown of St. Paul for a job interview with Craftex Builders for a project in Islay, backed by his drafting diploma from Lakeland College.

He didn’t get that job, but he found work the same day with Chimo lumber. 

“I started with nothing and a hand drafting board that fit in the back seat of the car and started with that in the apartment and sold lumber for Chimo in the day and drafted at night,” recalled Richer.

The job lasted just two years when the company went into receivership.

“I took a month off and went to Europe and came back and went back to work. The oil patch was going strong and there was all kind of construction going,” said Richer.

He founded Universal in 1985 specializing in architectural design and construction management, and looking back over the past 35 years in business, he says, for the most part, Lloydminster has been a good place for a business.

“We’ve had two bad times in Lloydminster and it seemed to be when the Trudeau government happened to be in place,” he said. 

“But barring that, Lloydminster’s always been on a growth spurt and good to us.”

UCG has designed a slew of commercial residential and retail buildings in Lloydminster, including several car dealerships as well as the design and construction of the Medical Building beside the Lloydminster Medical Clinic.

“We’ve done foundation drawings, even for Tim Hortons,” said Richer, who estimates they’ve designed 50-60 industrial shops over the years. 

UCG’s suite of services includes interior design, consulting, engineering procurement and 3D modelling with some tweaks in mind for the new ownership group.

“If anything, we are going to look at increasing some of our services to branch out to different areas in the design field,” said Jacques.

Diversification is also top of mind for Rommel, who is UCG’s interior design technologist.

“Different seasons bring in more types of work, so the more diversified the better,” she said, noting new projects are keeping them busy during the business transition.

“It’s picking up really good this year,” said Rommel.

Richer is confident the new ownership group has the knowledge and experience to succeed.

“It’s people that I know dearly and I know they will do very well,” he said.

Aside from helping with the transition, Richer plans to continue his volunteer work as a member of the Rotary Club of Lloydminster and chair of the Lloydminster and District Health Advisory Council.

“I am very excited for him,” said his wife, Kim, who manages the LloydMall.

“He’s worked very hard his entire life. I am excited to see him slow down a little bit. He volunteers a lot in the community. He’ll be still super busy. Of course, he’s going to help the staff with the new ownership.”