Breaking New Ground—Stories from Defence Construction Breaking_new_ground - Page 16

Richard Golding (Dick) Johnson, B.A., LL.B. Dick Johnson was appointed DCL’s first President by the Rt. Hon. C.D. Howe in 1950. During his 12 years with DCL, Johnson administered Canadian defence construction contracts and foreign aid projects valued at more than $1.5 billion. C.D. Howe gave Dick Johnson instructions to get on with the job and not to bother him except in real emergencies: it was up to Dick and his people to use their experience and judgment to figure out how to get the work done. There was no procedures manual to follow. The guidelines were integrity and good business practice. Dick Johnson shared his own memories on the 25th anniversary: When DCL was born it consisted of little more than (secretary) Rose Konick and myself. Under a manage- ment agreement Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation provided tender calling, site supervision and other services. By the end of March 1951, less than five months after its start, DCL had a staff of 29 and was administering over $80 million in contracts, about half of which it took over from Canadian Commercial Corporation. 6 One of DCL’s earliest urgent needs was for a top flight Chief Engineer… we were magnificently served by a succession of outstanding men. In their period on loan from their companies, as was the practice then, each made a unique and lasting contribution to DCL. On May 10, 1951, the government signed the Charter for Defence Construction (1951) Limited, establishing it pursuant to the Defence Production Act, to operate as the tendering and supervisory authority for the Department of National Defence’s construction require- ments. Its Letters Patent were issued on May 18, and DCL was officially a new corporation. Its role was to create good contracts with respect to DND’s construction program while meeting the Department’s time, cost and quality requirements, including maintaining the minimum possible administrative cost. It was charged with being fair in its administration of those contracts with due regard for the interests of both taxpayers and contractors. As time went on, that would include ensuring that tenders were advertised as widely as possible, to ensure that every contractor had equal opportunity to compete, and making every effort to award the contracts as quickly as possible after the opening of tenders. BREAKING NEW GROUND DEFENCE CONSTRUCTION CANADA