David Podmore - BCIT

David Podmore's philanthropic impact on the construction industry

In the mid-1990s, David Podmore, OBC, Co-Founder and Chair of Concert Properties, identified a looming crisis in the construction industry: a shortage of skilled tradespeople. Rather than shy away from the issue, he embarked on a mission to transform trades training and expand access to educational opportunities for people across Canada—a commitment he continues to uphold today.

The journey began in the basement of Vancouver’s historic Hotel Georgia, where David convened industry leaders to help tackle this pressing issue. With each partner contributing a modest initial investment of $3,000 - $5,000 per year for three years, they initiated the Trades Discovery Program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). For over two decades this program has remained a success, empowering individuals across BC to pursue valuable careers in various construction trades. 

In 1995, David took things a step further and spearheaded the Concert Properties Annual Charity Golf Tournament, an event whose mission is to raise funds for trades training programs. As a result of this and other initiatives, over $4.6 million has been raised by Concert Properties and its industry partners to date. These funds support trades training programs, bursaries and scholarships across Canada, benefitting institutions such as BCIT and Camosun College in BC as well as George Brown College and the Hammer Heads Program in Ontario.

As Campaign Chair for INSPIRE, BCIT’s largest fundraising initiative, David has played a pivotal role in raising over $100 million towards campus redevelopment, teaching and learning innovation including state-of-the-art equipment and access and inclusion initiatives such as student bursaries and scholarships. The impact of these funds on students, in and out of the trades industry, has been profound.

As part of this important initiative, Concert Properties announced a $7.5 million donation in 2022 to BCIT for the Concert Properties Trades & Technology Centre, the anchor building for the new BCIT Trades and Technology Complex. This new facility will provide a space for innovation in skilled trades and engineering, applied learning, research and industry collaboration. It will accommodate an additional 700 students annually, addressing the anticipated need for 85,000 new trades jobs in BC between 2022 and 2032.

In addition to supporting education programs, Concert Properties has championed gender diversity in the trades. Programs like BCIT’s Jill of All Trades, which hosts an all-day event led by female mentors, inspires young women in grades 9 through 12 to pursue careers in skilled trades. Concert Properties even covered tuition for one year for Jill of All Trades participants who chose to enter the Trades Discovery Program.

Monique Song, a graduate of the Trades Discovery for Women Program at BCIT, shared her story: "I attended the Trades Discovery for Women Program in the summer of 2021. During this course, I discovered my passion for working with metal and later applied for the metal fabricator foundation at BCIT. Thanks to the generous funding, I was able to start my job with the necessary equipment and cover my first month's rent. Today, I am a full-time welder fabricator, and I attribute my success to the support I received.”

Monique’s is but one of the many stories of the widespread gratitude resulting from David’s generosity. Over the past three decades, David has received countless hand-written letters, cards and photos from grateful students. These have been meticulously preserved in a collection of scrapbooks—each one a testament to the lives positively impacted by his contributions.

Through ongoing fundraising efforts, significant donations and initiatives to promote the trades and diversity within the industry, David Podmore and Concert Properties have made a lasting impact on the industry and the lives of many trades students. Honouring David’s legacy, Concert Properties is committed to carrying this work forward, ensuring access to education for aspiring trades students to create a thriving construction industry across Canada.