Longtime J.L. Richards & Associates executive Guy Cormier retires

Guy Cormier
Longtime J.L. Richards & Associates CEO Guy Cormier is retiring after 37 years with the Ottawa-based firm. Photo courtesy J.L. Richards & Associates

After nearly four decades, J.L. Richards & Associates president and CEO Guy Cormier is leaving the firm he helped build into one of the capital’s leading engineering and consulting companies.

The Ottawa-based organization announced the news in a light-hearted tweet on Thursday morning, noting the longtime executive’s decision to retire “was not an April Fools’ joke.” He’s being succeeded by Saverio Parrotta, who unofficially took over CEO duties last year.

It’s the end of an era for J.L. Richards and Cormier, who started with the company as a civil project engineer fresh from the University of Ottawa in 1984. After being named an associate in 1993, he eventually became vice-president and chief civil engineer in 2006 before ascending to the president and chief executive’s chair in 2012.

The company lauded Cormier for his “approachable demeanour” and “innovative business acumen,” saying he was “instrumental in shaping JLR’s culture and success.”

Cormier said the time was right to pass the torch to a new generation of leaders.

'Balance sheet in order'

“After 37 years at JLR, my balance sheet is in order,” he said in a statement. “I have enjoyed a career with excellent work-life balance at a company that, while not perfect, is and always will be focused on growth and improving. As I reflect on my time at JLR, I am reminded of an important lesson: if you look after JLR, it will look after you.”

Parrotta, who joined the firm in 1998 and spent the past several years working alongside Cormier as vice-president and later CEO, praised his long-standing mentor for his contributions to building the business and nurturing the careers of younger engineers.

“I am thankful to Guy for his leadership and guidance over the years, and I am honoured to take on the role of leading JLR as president and CEO,” Parrotta said in a statement.

Founded in 1955, J.L. Richards is headquartered in Ottawa and has 300 employees in seven cities across Ontario. The company offers services in engineering, architecture, planning and project management.