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Brookfield Featured Team Member: Ken, Director of IT

June 16, 2019
Ken centre with Suhi and Dino members of his IT team

Welcome to a fun new series on the Brookfield Residential blog: our Featured Team Member series! We’re going to be introducing you to some of our employees to help you get to know the Brookfield team. Learn about their unique contributions, their favourite parts of their job, and day-to-day life behind the scenes at Brookfield.

Today, we’d like to introduce you to Ken Robertson, our Director of IT at Brookfield Residential (Ontario). With Ken’s long history (30 years!) at Brookfield, his friendly nature and his famous Christmas party dancing, he’s a well-loved and highly-respected member of the Brookfield team. Ken is passionate about team-building, collaboration and the importance of work-life balance. He recently announced his retirement, and we wanted to honour him with a feature before his official send-off. Get to know the man behind the screen. Introducing, Ken Robertson.

How long have you been working at Brookfield Residential? What drew you to working here?

I’ve been working at Brookfield for over 30 years, since 1989. Before working at the Brookfield Residential (Ontario) office in Markham, I started at the corporate office in downtown Toronto, back when it was called Coscan — prior to the company changing its name to Brookfield Homes, which then later became Brookfield Residential.

What drew me to working here was the opportunity to work with a company at a management level in IT and the opportunity to become a department manager.

Can you tell us a bit about what do you do at Brookfield?

In my time at Brookfield, I’ve done basically the whole gambit of IT, from implementing the first PC network, writing software, creating network and software proposals, developing applications and training users to working with providers and suppliers, working on websites, making decisions on software and hardware, completing hardware PC changes and creating ISP contracts. I’ve done everything in IT.

Currently, I’m the Director of IT at Brookfield Residential (Ontario). My job of managing the IT department is extremely busy and hands-on. I work directly with the sites — whether it’s construction, warranty or sales departments — to help them solve problems and to provide solutions that work for the business. That’s the big thing in everything I do — providing solutions that work for the business, and collaborating with others to arrive at those solutions.

I’ve also worked on the Sustainability Team, which I enjoyed very much.

If we asked your coworkers, what would they say you’re famous for?

My amazing dancing at the Christmas party! My coworkers would say that they all know the party has started when I kick on my dancing shoes. I’m the first one on the dance floor and the last to leave.

They’d also say that I’m famous for always working as a team player and team leader – listening to others’ needs and collaborating with them.

What has been your favourite project or contribution that you’ve made while at Brookfield? What has been your proudest moment?

A great project that I worked on was the implementation of Builder Lynx, the home building operational software that we’ve used for years to manage every detail of the home building process from cradle to grave — sales, Inspiration Studio, construction schedules, warranty, sales contracts and more.

I’m really proud of my IT team and the way that the team I built has grown. Dino, Suhi and Andrey are an incredibly strong team and I’m very proud of them.

Ken participating in Brookfield events: golf, volleyball, adventure climbing and curling
Ken participating in Brookfield events: golf, volleyball, adventure climbing and curling

Have you gotten involved in Brookfield life beyond work — for example, social or recreational activities?

Oh yeah, definitely. I played volleyball — still do — and I once played hockey with Brookfield, too. I’ve also been the commissioner for our office’s NHL Hockey Playoff Pool since its inception many years ago.

If you could switch jobs with anyone else at Brookfield Residential for a day, whose job would you want to try?

I’d like to switch jobs with the President, Sid, for a day. I’d like to sit on that side of the fence and to see a different perspective of how the business runs.

What are 3 characteristics that you would say define Brookfield?

First of all, it’s got a great culture that takes care of its people and that puts its people first. Secondly, it’s a great work environment and Brookfield is extremely fair to its employees — we’ve got a good workplace and good benefits. And thirdly, Brookfield gives you the opportunity to grow — that’s probably one of the biggest things.

What advice do you have for prospective or new employees at Brookfield?

Talk or collaborate with as many people as possible, whether it’s within your own functional area or other areas so you can learn as much as possible. Collaborating and learning from others are the best ways to grow.

Another piece of advice: don’t take your work home with you every single night! Going on vacation with your cell phone connected to the office is a waste of time because you’ll never feel like you’re really on vacation. Work hard but don’t always think about work!

Ken dancing up a storm, enjoying quality time with coworkers and giving a speech
Ken dancing up a storm, enjoying quality time with coworkers and giving a speech

What’s next for you in your personal and/or professional life?

I recently announced my retirement, and that’s coming up soon. On the personal side, I’m going to go up north and live at my cottage. I’m doing work on it right now to make it a four-season home. I’ll spend a lot of my summer up there.

I’ve always had a passion for travelling and I’ve got a trip planned to go to Tahiti in the fall for about 3 weeks. After that, I plan to take other trips to pretty well everywhere in the world.

For a bit of fun, we’d like to finish off with some rapid fire questions. Get ready!

What’s your favourite...
Movie? A Few Good Men
Travel destination? I’m hoping that Crete in Greece will be my favourite – I’m planning to go there next year sometime!
Beverage? Beer – Erdinger Weissbier Dunkel or 80 Shilling Scottish Ale, preferably
Animal? Dogs

Thank you for the interview, Ken, and your immense contribution to our team!

Which Brookfield team member would you like to see featured next? And what questions would you like them to answer? Join us on social media to let us know! And make sure to LIKE us on Facebook and FOLLOW us on Instagram for more informative posts and lifestyle tips.