Earning an impressive #2 spot on the 2023 PSN Top 50 Builders list and carrying a remarkable 50-year legacy through three generations, Gib-San Pool & Landscape Creations (Gib-San) holds a far-reaching influence that goes beyond its Toronto roots. As the company’s global influence expands, we invite you to delve into the journey and perspective of the man at its helm, Edward D. Gibbs—President and CEO of Gib-San, and a TEC Canada member.
Ed’s Evolution: Upholding the Legacy and Pursuing Growth
The Gib-San story has unfolded over five decades, with Ed Gibbs at its core—today’s President and CEO, proudly upholding the legacy set by his father, Ed Gibbs Sr.
Revisiting his early years, Ed reflects, “When I was around five or six years old, I observed my dad engaged in home shows, talking to clients on the phone, and witnessing the joy he brought to people’s lives. It left a lasting impression on me – my dad had a unique job. He wasn’t a plumber, electrician, or pilot. He was a pool specialist, a pool salesman, and his work brought happiness to countless families.”
As a young adult, Ed honed skills and values under his father’s mentorship for 15 years, paving the path for his 1993 acquisition. Thousands of custom pools in the GTA and around the world later, Ed’s leadership has made Gib-San an industry leader—becoming the world’s first pool company to attain ISO Certifications in Quality Management Systems, Occupational Health and Safety, Environmental Protection, and Information Security.
Climbing the Ranks: Gib-San’s Remarkable Journey in Pool Building
Each year, Pool and Spa News, a prominent industry magazine, evaluates all pool builders across North America. Gib-San has secured a spot on the Top 50 Builders list for seven consecutive years and in the latest 2023 ranking, Gib-San reached a new milestone, claiming the second position among all North American builders and retaining the title of the leading Canadian builder. This achievement marks the pinnacle of their journey so far. As the company continually ascends to new heights of success, Ed recognizes the triumphs and trials that accompany his role in leading the company today:
He explains, “With over 50 years in business, we’re now the second-ranked builder in North America, and the only Canadian in the Top 50 ranking. I stop to think about that often. Among the 17,000 builders in the US and 1,500 in Canada, we’re at number two. That’s cool, but it also means a lot of stress. Any leader of a business that’s ranked at the top of their industry knows that it isn’t all that it’s hyped up to be. It’s good to pause for a moment to appreciate the view, but I don’t fool myself…because the real challenge lies in what must be done to stay here.”
Leadership Redefined: Ed’s Vision of Inspiration and Empowerment
In an age where words can be empty, Ed’s leadership stands as an embodiment of action and inspiration. He champions accountability, shared success, and mutual growth. For Ed, a leader’s role extends beyond words to impactful actions that uplift teams, partners, and peers.
“As a CEO, accountability extends from your dialogue to the bottom line—whether success or failure, the buck stops with you. That sounds harsh, but business is harsh; losing money and making tough decisions is part of the landscape. Leading through words alone is an oxymoron.”
According to Ed, “Sharing experiences, mutual growth—that’s how everyone wins.”
He firmly believes a CEO’s involvement in employee success is pivotal for business outcomes. “Success should be shared just as failures are. If success isn’t shared, the outcome is predictable,” he emphasizes. On this topic, Ed isn’t hesitant to illustrate his deep commitment and actions supporting it. “I help people buy homes that work for us. For those facing financial challenges, I’m more than willing to offer a helping hand. It’s about uplifting one another.”
The impact, Ed explains, extends through future generations. “Our employees reshape their lives, transforming their children’s perspectives—permanently. From that point onward, their children only understand home ownership as attainable because they’ve seen it.”
Investment in Growth: TEC Canada Membership
CEOs and company leaders, like Ed, often grapple with distinct challenges despite their success. These are obstacles that only peers in similar positions can truly comprehend and offer guidance on. That’s why, as his journey of success evolved, Ed found trust in TEC Canada membership—a means to invest in himself, his company, and lasting achievements.
He elaborates, “A friend introduced me to TEC Canada membership, and meeting [my TEC Chair] Brian Brennan was pivotal in my decision to join. I never forget that you’re only as good as your last job, your last interaction. Continuous improvement is paramount.”
As a TEC Canada member, Ed discovered a space that embraces vulnerability, sharpens decisions, and nurtures personal and professional growth.
“Vulnerability in business can be challenging, where always projecting strength is the expectation. But finding a space of vulnerability and safety is crucial. For me, that’s the essence of being a TEC Canada member. It’s a blend of vulnerability and security, supported by peers who nudge you back on track. They’ll steer you away from missteps, and guide you to the right choices. That’s the magnetic pull,” Gibbs explains.
A Legacy Beyond Boundaries
As a leader who continuously seeks growth and progress, never settling for complacency, Ed’s journey from his humble beginnings in the early 1980s to his current role as President and CEO remains steadfast in fortifying Gib-San for the future.
His conviction echoes in his words: “Legacy is a complex thing; confronting the finite nature of life is challenging. It hints at limitations, yet compels me to ensure my influence resonates beyond my time—I aspire to be remembered for caring enough to leave a better place, a stronger family, and a more resilient team.”
Ed’s story stands as a testament to the power of true leadership—an ongoing journey of improvement that leaves a lasting impact, even beyond what he may initially realize. As Gib-San looks ahead, Ed continues to shape a legacy that extends far beyond the present, leaving an indelible mark on Gib-San, its people, its customers, and the business landscape at large.