After stepping away from her family’s business, RSV Building Solutions, for a brief period of time, Vickie Dalton returned to the business in 2018 to support her brother Ron Frederiksen in operating RSV. She was named president of the business in 2019. Dalton answered some questions from the Vancouver Business Journal to be included in this special edition of Women in Business.
VBJ: Tell me about your involvement with RSV. You stepped away for a while and then returned not too long ago. How do you and Ron run the company together?
Dalton: I returned to RSV in 2018 to support my brother Ron Frederiksen in operating RSV Building Solutions. I was named president in 2019 where I now oversee business operations, including our staff, subs and suppliers. Meanwhile, Ron focuses on solving design and construction challenges for our clients which is the heart and soul of RSV’s Design-Build process.
The business was started by our parents 45 years ago and I was part of the company for many years. I stepped away to build a business software company, which was sold. I am thrilled at the opportunity to return to RSV, being all the more prepared for operational excellence.
VBJ: Tell me about being a woman involved in the Design-Build industry. Do you feel this industry is still challenging for women to be in? Has it gotten easier/more common for women to be involved and owners in this industry? What changes have you seen over the years for women in this type of industry?
Dalton: I believe women have earned their place in all facets of the workplace. I am very comfortable working with anyone to solve business challenges and I am treated with respect. RSV has always had women in key positions, starting with our mother 45 years ago.
VBJ: As a woman in business in general, what are some of the disadvantages/challenges you face? What about advantages that you feel you might have as a woman in business?
Dalton: It is difficult to put people, careers and performance in a box by gender. Women generally are more conscious of culture and organizational dynamics. Because company culture always is the key to success, women have an advantage as senior managers and owners.
VBJ: As far as RSV is concerned, how has the business been doing? What kind of growth have you seen? What changes?
Dalton: Our business has been very good although lumpy because projects have very long planning and permitting cycles. We have been filling gaps with deferred maintenance and tenant improvement projects. We’re finding that many people never circled back to deferred maintenance after the recession, and are now forced to spend money they didn’t really need to spend.
VBJ: Tell me a bit about your background … before becoming involved with RSV … what made you decide to pursue a career in the Design-Build industry?
Dalton: I became involved early because RSV was a family business. I started doing accounting and took on more responsibilities over time. My brother Ron had the vision and discipline to convert RSV from a Bid-Build to a Design-Build company for private companies and nonprofits. It is even more critical today because the opportunity to reduce project costs is through the early planning process, not through the bid process.
VBJ: What else would you like our readers to know?
Dalton: One thing I appreciated when returning to RSV is how critical it is that Design-Build companies have deep personal connections with clients, lenders, building officials, architects, engineers and key subcontractors. Ron has done an incredible job of building relationships. Without those, RSV would be just another general contractor.
President, RSV Building Solutions