Bob Dhillon, president and chief executive of Mainstreet Equity Corp., at his office in Calgary.
Ted Rhodes / Calgary Herald
Calgary rental property developer Bob Dhillon will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Lethbridge at a special ceremony Friday.Dhillon, who came with his parents to Canada as a teenager, began flipping real estate and buying distressed Calgary rental properties to renovate and put back into the market when he was barely 20 years old.From there, he built his Mainstreet Equity Corp. into one of the fastest growing property businesses in Canada, one that has weathered the long-running Alberta downturn and is once again producing record results as its stock sits at an all-time high.Dhillon, who credits Canada for much of his business success, last year decided to give back to his adopted homeland and province by donating $10 million to the University of Lethbridge. That gift and his own involvement has resulted in a major development to the curriculum of the college’s business school, which now bears Dhillon’s name.It isn’t all doom and gloom in Alberta.Bob DhillonHe helped craft what aspiring entrepreneurs attending the university will be taught, and plans to be hands-on in making sure the business school develops into a major hub of innovation and forward thinking.“I am a first-generation Sikh immigrant, and in how many places in the world would a person like me end up having a business school named after them? Canada’s the greatest country and we have all been given enormous opportunities.“You can come here with no money and no education and you can make a life for yourself,” said Dhillon.University chancellor Charles Weaselhead praised Dhillon’s offer to help develop and fund a more innovative form of financial education at the institution.
Charles Weaselhead is chancellor of the University of Lethbridge.
Jim Wells /
“His work ethic, perseverance and willingness to trust his instincts speak to his outstanding business sense and are a great inspiration to our students in the Dhillon School of Business,” said Weaselhead.“We are very pleased he has accepted our offer of an honorary degree,” he added.Mainstreet’s portfolio of retail assets now consists of more than 12,300 units across Canada with a $2-billion market value.The company’s recent second-quarter results marked the fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year double-digit growth in revenues, net operating income and funds from operations — the company’s three most vital metrics.“We believe this substantial achievement is the direct result of our counter-cyclical strategy, stretching over the past four years, to create value for shareholders during periods of slow economic growth,” said Dhillon.He added that the recent decision by the new provincial government to drop the carbon tax and cut corporate tax rates should help boost Mainstreet’s performance in the years to come.“It isn’t all doom and gloom in Alberta. It is important people realize that,” he said.