BC BUSINESS – June 2006
OK, what’s the big secret? What do B.C.’s superstar entrepreneurs know that the rest of us haven’t figured out? Well, for starters, this province’s heavy hitters chart their own course and make up the rules along the way
TIP: Be stubborn
President and CEO, the Kryton Group of Companies
Kari Yuers, the “Queen of Concrete,” took a family business to big-league success and is responsible for its remarkable financial growth. An innovative woman in a male-dominated profession slow to embrace change, Yuers refused to listen to people who said she was crazy. Their dismissals just intensified her determination.
Case in point: Kryton’s research team came up with an additive to make waterproof concrete at a time when the industry standard was to pour the concrete and later add a waterproof membrane to the outside surface. Kryton’s new ingredient made the entire poured mixture waterproof, saving time and money – and resulting in a more water-resistant product.
A great idea, or so Yuers thought. She went to the concrete suppliers and was instantly dismissed. “Most of those guys just told me to quit,” Yuers recalls, laughing. ‘”A young lady like you, you’re never going to change the industry. Good luck! The industry will never embrace this.”‘
Undeterred, Yuers continued to promote the product until she found someone who said maybe. Or, more precisely, someone who said: “Tell you what, young lady. You go get us a job and we’ll supply the [concrete] and try your mixture.” Yuers admits to being just plain stubborn. “I think I was just so wrapped up in the fact that this was the right thing to do, and that it makes sense and that there is a need and that it solves problems.” She adds that it helps to keep a youthful perspective: “Youth is a wonderful thing. When you’re younger, you’re more apt to not give up. I didn’t come into the company to try a few things and fail, either.”
Today the product is a standard choice in the industry.
“In hindsight, it might have been easier if I’d been some six-foot-tall blond guy,” Yuers muses. “But I looked at being a woman in a male industry as an advantage. People remembered me from a meeting or from a job site – I wasn’t forgettable. The nice thing is that if you do break through and have success, you feel good that you can attribute it to bringing value.”