B&A Celebrates 30 Years in Business

This month marks three decades of innovative planning, urban design, communications, engagement, and environmental projects at B&A Planning Group.

It’s a significant milestone that began back in 1989 with founder Greg Brown. At that time, B&A was known as Ramsay Walker Orbau and a small team of four was leading the charge. Within the first year, the company quickly grew when Darrell Grant, Ron Wrigley and Eva Borbely began their decades-long careers with the company. A few years later Ramsay Walker Orbau officially became Brown and Associates Planning Group under Greg’s leadership.

Thirty years later, B&A Planning Group has grown to a team of almost 50 subject matter experts who lead and support nine distinct service areas and a wide range of client sectors from landowners, developers, municipalities First Nations, aggregate producers and the energy sector.  While B&A has become a multi-disciplinary organization, its core principles have remained the same: providing strategic leadership, finding creative solutions to client projects and maintaining a passion to create better communities together.

“I never envisioned the company growing to this size,” says founder Greg Brown. “The success of B&A comes from a cooperative, non-egoistic, servant-based attitude with a competitive drive to achieve win-win-win solutions to designs and plans. I also believe that intelligence, respect for others, integrity, perseverance and humility has helped us earn our excellent reputation.”

A Look Back

In 1989 when the company began, Alberta looked a lot different:

It was an interesting time for B&A too:

Greg explains, “We have always encouraged our clients to be more innovative than they may have imagined, while also realizing that plans had to be acceptable to administrations and councils. I think that has helped us earn some really interesting and exciting projects.”

As the company continued making a name for itself in Calgary, a major milestone occurred in 2004 when Greg Brown changed the corporate structure from a single point of leadership to a collaborative partnership of five representatives.  

Where we are Today

With almost thirty years of growth under our belt, and five office moves later, the partnership structure shifted. From 2012 – 2014, ownership transitioned to our current partners Kathy Oberg, Vern Hart, Pam MacInnis, Nathan Petherick, and Ken Venner, while previous partners began to look towards well-deserved retirements.

Managing Partner, Kathy Oberg says, “The partnership is grateful to the foundations of success planted by Greg over the past 30 years and proud that the values instilled have carried forward to present day. Building on this success, the partnership looks forward to advancing the growth and evolution of B&A and the next 30 years to come as we continue to diversify our areas of practice, serve a broader range of client sectors and embark upon measured and strategic growth in new markets.”

With the increase in diverse projects and desire to meet and exceed the needs of our clients, so came the opportunity to expand service offerings. In 2016, B&A diversified its areas of practice to include an urban design, communications and engagement, GIS and visualization team. This has been followed by the recent addition of Marissa Kopp in 2018 and our environmental planning service area.  Not only have these new areas of practice supported our core project needs, they have evolved as independent and stand along services often called upon by our increasingly varied client sectors.

One of the biggest advances yet took place in 2017 when opened an office in Edmonton. In only two years, our Edmonton location has already taken the lead on over 20 projects, led by Brian Murray and his local team. Our Edmonton success has been followed with a new office, with room for growth, and the recent hiring of support staff as we slowly and systematically build our Edmonton team.

As the company continues to grow and adapt to changing markets, so has our geographic outreach. Work has expanded throughout Western Canada to include work all major urban centers – Vancouver, Kelowna, Fort McMurray, Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg.

Looking to the Future

With so much exciting development within the past 30 years, the company is looking towards future strategic growth and opportunity, while continuing to provide reliable support to clients.

“We have come a long way, but as we look to the future we know that some things will always stay the same,” says Kathy. “We pride ourselves on exceptional, best in class service to all of our clients to ensure project success, and the last 30 years and growth of B&A are a testament to this approach. We look forward to the next 30 and more upcoming exciting things to come in the nearer future – stay tuned. ”