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Bruce Evans inducted into Ontario Road Building Hall of Fame

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Construction industry veteran and entrepreneur Bruce Evans, currently chairman of Gravenhurst-Ont.-based Evanco Corp., has been inducted into the Ontario Road Building Hall of Fame.
Bruce Evans (right) being inducted into the Ontario Road Building hall of fame
Bruce Evans (right) being inducted into the Ontario Road Building hall of fame

Construction industry veteran and entrepreneur Bruce Evans, currently chairman of Gravenhurst-Ont.-based Evanco Corp., has been inducted into the Ontario Road Building Hall of Fame.

Established in 2006, the institution recognizes individuals who have contributed “significantly and consistently” to their companies, the Ontario Road Builders’ Association, the industry and their communities over the course of a career.

Evans, who is credited with leading Fowler Construction Co. Ltd. on a path of continuous expansion after acquiring that firm in 1971, subsequently served as ORBA president in 1982.

“Bruce embraced the benefits of ORBA early as a roadbuilder,” said newly elected ORBA president Alfredo Maggio. “During his tenure as a director, he was a leader in promoting the industry’s interests.”

Evans, the 14th member of the hall of fame, got his feet wet in construction after graduating from the University of Toronto. He teamed up with his brothers Gordon and Bob to supply sod, landscaping and general contracting services.

The company was one of the first to be awarded a winter maintenance contract from the city of Toronto. He later set up his own firm, Bruce S. Evans Ltd. which continued with the winter maintenance business, but expanded into landscaping and golf courses.

The company got its first big break at Montreal’s Expo 67.

At Fowler Construction, Evans “always insisted on supplying the highest quality products and materials and on using the best equipment available to do the job,” Maggio said.

More than 400 employees at peak keep four asphalt plants and six portable crushing plants busy. Many of the employees have been with the company for more than 40 years.

Evans is still a shareholder in the firm.

In Muskoka, Evans has launched a number of businesses.

At one point, he turned Grandview Farm into an upscale 180-room resort with timeshare condominiums and two golf courses.

Another company, Forrec, designed and constructed facades for various theme parks and numerous Las Vegas casinos. His company Evanco is the largest land developer in the Muskoka-Parry Sound area.

“I’m honoured, pleased, humbled and proud,” said Evans, who was inducted into the hall of fame during the president’s dinner at ORBA’s recent 84th annual convention in Toronto. “It’s nothing I ever contemplated.”

Evans, who was accompanied by his wife of 57 years, Marie, and their five children, described ORBA as a “wonderful” organization, with a long and outstanding history of providing quality infrastructure.

“To participate and play a part in it has been a privilege,” he said, noting that the province’s roadbuilding industry has always been a driving force in the economy.

“For me, to be elected to the hall of fame is the ultimate honour.”

by Patricia Williams

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