When Gordy Robson was 15-years-old, the carnival came to Maple Ridge and when it left, he went with it.
A lifelong resident, he grew up watching his father manage the Buckerfield’s Feed and Seed store and his mom carry out her duties as a registered nurse.
Over the objections of his heart-broken parents, Gordy followed the lure of the carnival to the Seattle World’s Fair in1962, starting a lifelong love of this global event.
He obtained his US green card, and began to work his way up the management ladder. In 1968 Gordy found himself in San Antonio, Texas for the World’s Fair where he took over a failing ‘Wild West Saloon’ called the Golden Garter.
He turned the venture around and when the fair ended the grateful owners handed him the keys. He moved the saloon to downtown SanAntonio, expanded it and eventually sold it to return home.
With a wad of cash and a decade of business experience, he landed in Maple Ridge. In 1969 he bought the local taxi company, pretty much living in the office as he built the business. Shortly after, he bought a garbage disposal company and when staff phoned in sick, usually on a rainy day, Gordy was the guy hanging off the back of the truck swinging oozing cans of garbage..
Buoyed by his success in reversing failing businesses, Gordy headed to Vancouver. Quickly, he earned a reputation for effective turnaround management and corporate renewal strategies. The clients started to line-up.
It was on one of these turnaround assignments that Gordy met his life partner, Mary. Wanting to put down roots, they chose Maple Ridge as home base for the newly-formed Robson and Associates Consultants.
Even major sports organizations came calling. He became vice-president of the Edmonton Oilers where he had responsibility for building attendance. Wayne Gretsky‘s arrival solved the problem for him.
He also served as director and had an equity position with the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Vancouver 86ers Soccer Teams.
Often his career would veer back to the entertainment and hospitality industry, with ownership of several BC hotel properties, including Glacier Park Lodge in Rogers Pass.
In the early eighties, he owned and operated Meadowridge Centre at 207 Street in Maple Ridge and, missing the city nightlife, opened The Hatchery Cabaret in Hammond, bringing in A-list bands like Doug and the Slugs and Trouper.
When the local newspaper failed to provide coverage of his club, Gordy founded The News, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, eventually expanding the award-winning newspaper into the TriCities area, Burnaby and New Westminster.
With local business partners he also built and operated Maple Ridge Best Western Hotel.
Having attended council meetings since he was a teenager, it made sense that he was drawn to politics. He served as as a political consultant for all levels of government, including work in Eastern Europe as the democracies emerged at the end of the last century.
He served as Mayor of Maple Ridge from 2005 to 2008, and after his term ended he wrote a column for the local newspaper reporting on national, provincial and local issues that were of interest to the community.
He was elected in 2014 for a four year term as a Councillor.
Gordy has a passion for our community and a particular affinity for helping those who are the most vulnerable in our society. His ‘Life or Meth’ campaign in the early 2000s became a prototype for communities to help break the cycle of addiction and homelessness in communities and bridge the gaps between the justice and health care systems.