One of the capital’s leading construction and real estate executives is heading back to school – albeit briefly.
Jim Taggart, chairman of the Taggart Group of Companies, is among six community leaders from Ottawa and Eastern Ontario who will receive honorary degrees from Algonquin College at the post-secondary institution’s spring convocation ceremonies next month.
Taggart joins a roster of honourees that also includes John Stewart, former chair of the Perth Heritage Commission; Wendy Jocko, former First Nation Chief, Pikwakanagan; Mark Barnes, owner of Respect Rx Pharmacy in Vanier; Deirdre Freiheit, president and CEO of the Shepherds of Good Hope; and figure skater Elizabeth Manley, a Gloucester native who won a silver medal at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.
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“We are proud to acknowledge and honour this group of community leaders for their achievements and contributions,” Algonquin College president Claude Brulé said in a news release. “Their leadership in their individual fields have touched the lives of many and we are pleased to recognize their incredible accomplishments.”
It’s the second major community honour for Taggart in the past 18 months. The second-generation entrepreneur received the Lifetime Achievement Award from OBJ and the Ottawa Board of Trade at the Best Ottawa Business Awards in November 2021.
Taggart has been chairman of the Taggart Group, which was founded by his father Harold in 1948 and originally specialized in sewer and road construction, since 1995. He started at the company full-time after earning his engineering degree from Carleton University and, along with his brother Ian and brother-in-law Dave Parkes, bought the business from his father in 1974.
Since then, the organization – which consists of Taggart Construction, Doran Contractors, Taggart Realty Management, Tamarack Homes and Tartan Homes – has grown into a major force in construction and real estate throughout Eastern Ontario.
The family-owned business, which now employs more than 600 people, is one of the region’s largest homebuilders and manages two million square feet of commercial real estate across the city.
The Taggart clan is also well-known for its philanthropic endeavours. The family made a historic donation of $2 million, followed later by another $1 million, to the local YMCA-YWCA as part of a major capital campaign led by Jim and his younger brother Keith.
Born in 1942, Taggart is the oldest of seven children. In a 2021 interview, he credited his father and his mother Muriel with teaching him and his siblings to always put family first, to take care of one another and to keep the family close.
“It’s been our guiding principle, established by my parents,” Taggart told OBJ’s Caroline Phillips.
“Make sure that you don’t sweat the small stuff. If you start picking on the faults of your family members that work with you, you’re going to be in trouble before very long.”