Page 5 of 7
One RMV board member, alongside since the early years, says an important element in Armstrong’s success has been his regard for staff.
"We went through a period of growth," Mike Phillips said in a telephone interview. "We had about 300 employees. And Peter looked at me one day and said very sadly ‘You know I don’t know everyone’s names anymore.’"
"You have to start with respect," Armstrong says. "When something goes wrong or even goes right, what made that happen, what’s the lesson learned, and then how do you apply it so it never repeats itself or apply it across your company so it becomes a better experience for everyone."
The president of Grouse Mountain says unlike some entrepreneurs, Armstrong listens well and is open to fresh ideas.
"There’s a difference between just being a good listener and willing to hear but actively going out and seeking it so you can improve yourself – that’s a rare talent as an entrepreneur," said Stuart McLaughlin.
Former head of BC Rail Mac Norris takes it one step further.
"Peter’s confident of his own abilities but aware of his deficiencies and has the courage and wisdom to seek help in those areas – which is unusual."
When Armstrong courted Alberta premier-hopeful Jim Dinning as a board member, Dinning, now entering his fourth year as a board member, said he took a ride on the Rocky Mountaineer from Kamloops to Calgary to check out the operation. Ensconced in the cozy dome car with attendants at hand, Dinning managed to slip away to the kitchen, and even to the engineer.
"And the way the employees felt about how they were treated by the company was extraordinary," Dinning, the former Alberta treasurer, said in a telephone interview from his Calgary office.
"It isn’t just a thin veneer at the top of the organization. It crosses the whole organization and that to me is the success of the company."
"Peter is politically astute," Norris added. "He understands politics and makes sure that politicians know who he is.""He understands politics and makes sure that politicians know who he is." - former head of BC Rail Mac Norris. Photo by Maureen Provencal
Armstrong learned important political skills from federal Conservative advisor David Aftergood who told him he had to start playing ball on a different level to deal with VIA Rail executives like Jim Roche. In Trip Roche is quoted as saying: "I am no particular fan of Mr. Armstrong, not just because he bought our train… I find him smarmy and unctuous."
May 20, 2013, 8:30 AM
Police investigating mischief calls over long weekend More...
May 19, 2013, 9:15 AM
Owners watch helplessly as flames and smoke pour out of their home More...
May 18, 2013, 2:00 PM
Investigation into Paradise Valley water source for mountain resort continues More...