Growing the Development Pie

In his twenties, Andrew Usenik was signed by Universal Music, and quickly found himself touring the world. But in between sold-out concerts, Andrew managed to continue his University of Alberta studies and even accepted part-time work with IBI Group, a civil engineering firm in Edmonton.

“The rest of the band spent their spare time at the bar,” he said. “I was stubborn though. I had already put in a few years of engineering, and I had this crazy idea of continuing with it.”

His persistence paid off.

The band, Ten Second Epic, would later wind down. Back in Edmonton, Usenik found himself quickly immersed in the land development industry – what he compared to as being just like a band.

He joined his father and sister at Strata Developments in 2011, a family-run business they recently took over.

Andrew volunteered on multiple committees with the Urban Development Institute and would later serve as the youngest Chair of the Board of Directors from 2018 to 2020. This year, he is also the youngest recipient of UDI’s Spirit Award.

“Volunteering with the Urban Development Institute has got to be some of the best education I’ve ever received,” he said. “Working in a small business where you don’t have a lot of people to bounce ideas with, UDI was a chance to listen and learn from the experience and expertise of other people in the industry. I am totally a different developer now than what I was when I first started.”

Andrew commends his colleagues as being collaborative and eager to “making the pie bigger.”

He added, “What’s great about this industry is that your peers really want you to succeed,” he said. “And because of that, I believe that there is still so much runway ahead of me.”

Come celebrate Andrew and his achievements at the 23rd Annual Spirit Awards.