Boating Vancouver – Duperron Navigates Another Successful Journey

Anyone who knows Dean Duperron can attest to the fact that he can chart a clear course toward his destination and always manages to attract the best crew along the way. Once again the Vancouver based Duperron Group has managed to demonstrate its propensity toward success as they announce the recent acquisition of  The Oaks at Cypress Station Apartment complex. This development is located at 1000 Cypress Station Drive in the Medical Centre of Houston Texas with hospitals and clinics located close at hand. The new Exxon Mobil campus will be opening nearby in 2015 bringing another 8,000 people to the area.  The Oaks is a gated community situated on 12 acres and has 41 buildings with 294 units; it is a mix of 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom and 3 bedroom apartments.  Amenities include 3 swimming pools, a club house, an exercise facility and 3 laundry mats…not a bad acquisition on any day.

Boating Vancouver is always proud to note the accomplishment of local businesses, especially when at the helm of such ventures people like Dean are found. In addition to this recent accomplishment, Dean is well known for his contributions to higher education and philanthropic causes in Vancouver. Over the past 20 years the Duperron Group has generously donated $20,000,000 to various organizations. Dean is always quick to share credit for his success and in the case of this recent purchase credits Lance Edwards (of First Cornerstone Group) who negotiated the successful bid process amidst heavy competition.  The project was awarded on the basis of a quick due diligence process and certainty in closing.

Dean is a visionary if ever there was one. His vision for the Duperron Group is to “leave footprints in the sands of time, which positively affect our society.”…I dare say he has done that in spades.  His hard work, forethought and commitment to the community make him one of the great treasures of the Vancouver business world and as such Boating Vancouver is proud to salute this recent accomplishment.

Business in Vancouver – Education Quest: innovative business plan drives private university growth

Marketing a single degree offering at a school where tuition is five times that of UBC is one of many challenges for Squamish university

By Glen Korstrom

Tue Aug 7, 2012 12:01am PST

Squamish’s Quest University has rapidly increased enrolment and started building the first of five new residences – but many challenges remain for Canada’s first independent, non-profit, secular university.

Atop those challenges: how to raise its profile and convince prospective students that an education at Quest is worth annual tuition of $27,000 – more than five times the approximately $5,100 paid by students at Simon Fraser University and University of British Columbia. Another challenge is how the registered charity can break even without relying on private donations and endowments to cover some operational costs. Increasing class sizes and slashing scholarships are not options, because the institution values quality education and accessibility, Quest president David Helfand told Business in Vancouver.

The 425-student institution has an average class size of 15, and about 80% of its students get some form of scholarship.

Former UBC president David Strangway founded Quest and in May 2002 convinced the B.C. legislature to give the institution official university status. Strangway then encouraged an unidentified benefactor to provide a $1.7 million loan so Quest could buy a 240-acre property that Squamish council rezoned to allow the university to sell up to 960 units of market housing. Donations followed. They included tens of millions in 2005 from the Stewart and Marilyn Blusson Foundation, which helped the university cover $100 million in construction costs. The campus opened in 2007.

Given the complexity of starting a university from scratch, operational glitches were inevitable.

In an effort to reduce reliance on financial gifts, Quest hired CIBT Education Group Inc. in August 2008 to review its cost structure and considered having CIBT manage the school.

Former CIBT executive Dean Duperron became Quest’s president for a month, but Duperron told BIV his ideas for improving efficiency met resistance.

“They had more of an academia approach. We would have provided a business approach. They had the resources to continue on the path that they chose. It’s just that people were hoping that they would not run through as much cash as they were.”

Duperron praised the academic excellence of the university’s faculty, all of whom have PhDs. Savings, he said, could have come from streamlining the institution’s scholarship system. Because virtually all Quest’s students are awarded at least a partial scholarship, Duperron said the university employs staff to administer those grants. So he said it could save money by cutting those employees and reducing scholarships. Duperron added that Quest could also save money by using its real estate more efficiently, which would lower lease costs. But Helfand, who followed Duperron as president, bristled at those suggestions. He said staff don’t needlessly push paper and lease costs can’t be cut at dorms that are now at capacity.

“For the past four years, we have closed each fiscal year with a small surplus over budget.”

Helfand added that a donor has agreed to cover startup costs until 2015. Corporate donations are welcome, but the school will not change its curriculum to suit a donor’s requirements. Its flush coffers, however, have allowed Helfand to focus on Quest’s distinctive education. The school offers only one degree: a bachelor of arts and science. All students take the same 16 courses in the first two years. There are no departments, and students don’t major in any subject area. Each course is taught sequentially for one month so students can immerse themselves in a single subject. After two years, students are asked to pose a question that they spend the next two years answering. Because the school issues only one degree, its graduates often face challenges in a job market that places a premium on the wide range of degrees offered by bigger post-secondary facilities.

Earlier this year, Quest’s education was rated No. 1 in Canada by Maclean’s Magazine, which used Indiana University research on such criteria as interaction between faculty and students – but not academic success.

The ranking was separate from Maclean’s annual rankings of Canadian universities, which made no mention of Quest. •

Conversation with TAN – The Afro News

Conversation with Dean Duperron President and CEO of the Duperron Group of Companies

Posted on 20 September 2012. Tags: 

Dean Duperron President and CEO of the Duperron Group of Companies

By Honore Gbedze : Duperron Group of Companies, is a force in the business community. Dean Duperron finds great joy in experiencing all manner of challenges and opportunities and this can be seen in his varied interests and expertise.

Mr. Duperron’s story is one that some might call a ‘Cinderella Story’, in the rags to riches sense, however, Mr. Duperron is more of a ‘pull himself up by his bootstraps’ sort of man. Instead of waiting around for a Fairy Godmother to wave her magic wand, Mr. Duperron knew that the only way he was going to achieve his ambitions were through his own hard work. Mr. Duperron did not become who he is today by being handed anything, in fact, he started out on this journey as a homeless teenager, forced to live on urban streets, a challenge not of his own making. He worked hard and found jobs, even though he had no address to call his own. He worked janitorial jobs at McDonald’s, eventually finding a temporary home at the local YMCA. This led to him finding a position at an international retail chain. Once there, his hard work and determination led him to become a manager. He managed a multi-million dollar retail business, selling everything from plants and toys to sporting goods and domestic sundries.

Mr. Duperron eventually found his way to not only managing successful educational institutions, but in 1991, he purchased a small business college and through his drive, vision and direction, turned it into the largest and most respected private post secondary institution in British Columbia. Ultimately, the College became a $37 million worldwide organization with over 600 employees.

In 2007, Mr. Duperron earned Sprott-Shaw the right to grant degrees, a privilege no Community College had ever been granted prior.

How would you describe yourself?

I think of myself as being blessed and fortunate in my life. I had the opportunity to experience life both as an impoverished and successful person and have the privilege of influencing and helping people change their life. As the Chinese proverb says if you want to plan for one year plant rice, if you want to plan for ten years plant trees if you want to plan for a century educate people. Education has been a tool that I’ve used myself and have helped educate others. Education helps people to grow and develop.

How has Canadian education changed in the last 30 years?

You only get to know how good the Canadian education is until you expand your networks and find out how education is in other parts of the world. In other parts of the world where having pencil is a treat and books are even more of a luxury, Canada is rated in the world’s top 3 education places amongst the UK and USA. We have a variety of education levels from private to public education. Education is viewed as a responsibility and therefore the government induces and supports education.

Education alone is not the pivotal role of progress, what about the financial stability that is needed?

Entrepreneurship is one option and is critical to any economy. Unfortunately there are not enough entrepreneurial minded individuals.

Our educated new immigrants are not able to integrate into the workforce, what advise do you have for our readership and leadership regarding this?

We seem to import people that are well educated and subsequently become highly educated janitors as they often have to settle for less and work in a job that is way below their grade and skill level. When we bring in doctors from other countries the majority can’t practice here in the same profession as Canada does not recognise their credentials. In my opinion is the human body that is studied in another country so dramatically different from a Canadian human body that it is necessary for these experienced doctors to relearn all that they learned? We really need to ensure that we have jobs available for these professionals that we are importing.

We have a lot of foreign students that come here to further their studies, what do you see we must do to protect our own people rather than promote foreign education?

Foreign education is a Multi Million Dollar business. One of the things we did was to take Canadian education outside of the country to other countries and educated foreigners in their own land, charging them local currencies and using Canadian standards. These students then had the option of either staying in their own countries or apply to come to Canada thus already having a Canadian education.

What advice do you have for our youth?

The exciting thing of being young is as long as you look at the incredible energy you have and the remarkable opportunities and the blessings of time, magic can be yours. You can be highly educated or not so highly educated but if you’re driven you will apply yourself and believe that you are lucky and it is remarkable how you would be able to change the world.

How would you like to be remembered one day?

I have a mission statement and accept the fact that I will not be able to build a pyramid in my life but I like to think of myself as leaving foot prints in the sand that will positively affect the social fabric of our communities.

If there is a chance that you could start your life over today given that you already have gained success what would you do differently?

I would like to think that I would continue to do what I do by reaching out and endorsing philanthropy, education and housing.

What’s a Moment?

A moment is;
The beat of a Humming Bird’s wings,
A FLASH of lighting,
The time it takes to fall in LOVE,
The time it takes for SAD news to change your life.

Forever is:
The moment of HAPPINESS you feel every time you see a loved one,
The moment of REGRET that lasts the rest of your life,
That moment of GIVING that changes someone else’s life.

I invite you to take every opportunity to create forever in a moment.

Life is a Series of Choices

A wiseman once said “Life is a series of choices, leaders prefer to make the choices, followers let others make the choices.”

Often people find themselves in situations, such as their careers, where others choose for them. Their first job is often a starting point chosen by the company. The second job is based on the current needs of the company, the opinion of your Boss and the convenience of promoting you. Several years later you find yourself in a career which you may or may not enjoy and may or may not be great at, purely by happenstance.

Interesting but sadly true for many people out there.

Clearly, there must be a better way. And there is…first make sure you decide what you like, AND what you are good at. Then decide what career best meets with your likes & skills. Next determine your strengths & weaknesses. Keep improving in both areas (afterall, no point in being mediocre in everything right!!) through education, mentors and reading.

Finally…review your goals every year to two years to be sure you are you are on track.

Follow this simple process and you will in for an amazing life!!!


The RIGHT Question

Today I had the privilege of being approached by a remarkable individual whom I have been mentoring for over a year.

This individual is intelligent, well educated, connected, charismatic and over the last year has gone from sleeping on friend’s coaches to finding her voice and driving a successful high-end business.

As part of her amazing journey she has now embarked on an even bigger challenge and is busy building her new business plans etc. In doing so she was polling me and many other leaders with a variety of question which were certainly wide ranging, if not unfocused.

After an two hours of her presentation and questions, I stopped her with a quote ” A wiseman once said…Search hard enough for the right question & the answer will not matter, as the solution will appear!”

She paused…blinked and smiled as she understood…


Do it With Flair!!

Whatever you do…do it with FLAIR!

So many times in life the next thing is just a job. It’s just assumed and approached with a disappointing air of indifference. Some one is coming in to rent an apartment. So what does the leasing agent do? Hands them a form. Oh, you have been referred by one of our residence, well that’s good. “So” the agent says “you don’t really need a tour, ’cause you already know what we look like?!? Right. And because you know our rules, no point in spending that much time on them. Ok, so you are ready to sign up, right? NO!”

What happened?

What happened was you took a 60% chance of a lease and turned it into 0% chance. Why? Because no show. Thats right… possible resident came in thinking good things but still expected a professional presentation and tour. A show!!

Oh by the way, when the leasing agent takes the potential resident on tour. You know, the build to the close through your properties chance to show off it’s benefits as you point out all the obvious and hidden gems of your place? A couple points to remember:

DO: Point out the easy access to swimming pools, laundry, exercise rooms AND nearby schools, hospitals and play grounds.

Don’t: Complain about the heat, state this too far a walk…

DO: Point out the size of the unit, neat layout, great view and how quite it is at night. Oh and make sure in summer the air conditioning or winter the heat is on before people walk in. Just saying…

Don’t: Walk in gripping about the temperature, then turn around say ” this is a one bedroom, there is the bathroom, over there the kitchen and that’s the bedroom”. Afterall most people have an idea what a kitchen is! But that they can see the kids playing outside from there, oh and the roses when they bloom over there…just gorgeous!

Quite simply everything in life stands out when done with FLAIR. Next time we’ll talk about maintenance…with Flair.

Meantime here is a Bartender…yes, just a guy pouring a drink. Oh, but he got 6,500,000 YouTube hits, because he did it with FLAIR.

(Titled: Worlds Best Bartender)


Own it…Now what?

So you have just invested in your Multifamily complex. Be it sixplex to 20 units to 50 units to hundreds of units. Now what? Well very likely you invested to make some money. Ideally make money and provide a great environment for your residence and your staff. If those are your goals here are some basic rules.

1) Run the apartments like a business. Which means know your numbers, and take care of your customers.
2) Look for places of waste, which include everything from theft to water leaks to wasted heat or air conditioning.
3) Look for every opportunity to create value and add revenue.
4) Protect your asset by insuring that repairs are done on a timely basis.

Assuming you have more than 20 units here are some other things you must do:

1) have a budget for the up coming year minimum and ideally for the next 3 – 5 years. This budget should cover revenue, expenses and capital expenses.
2) measure your performance and cash flow against the budget both on P&L and on Trailing 12 months.
3) hire awesome Apartment Manager and Maintenance staff. These people should have a clear idea of how to treat your customers, covering everything from cash collection to timeliness of customer work orders.
4) once a month walk the property this visit should include:
a) inspect all empty suites to ensure they are indeed empty, and what stage of make ready the suites are in
b) check the inventory of all supplies in particular paints, freon, pool chemicals, etc. Also ensure these products are put away properly each day
c) check the curb appeal, lawns, gardens, signage
5) review the marketing are we visible and advertising in the right places? What’s the inquiry count? Show up? Lease rate? Acceptance rates?

These simple tasks will make your aware of your business show your staff and customers you care about your business and most of all keep you in tune with your business.

Remember Real Estate can be a really rewarding business BUT if you don’t love what you do DON’T DO IT!!! There are lot’s of ways to make money…so be sure to chose something you can enjoy!!!


Other People’s $$

I was the Keynote Speaker at the 2012 Wealth Summit in Houston a couple weeks ago. I was asked to speak because of my successes. The audience wanted to hear how to attract OPM (Other People’s Money), they wanted to know what would cause me or my friends want to invest with them. How do we choose the projects we will support?

You want my answer to all those questions? You DO NOT want Other Peoples Money!!!

Crazy? Here why…want you want is AMAZING other people who bring their skills, their excellence, their brands and their insights. Because not only do amazing people often have money they are always connected to other amazing people and more $$$$!

Something to think about…