Imaginative entrepreneur Rowmell!
Name: Rowmell Grosvenor.
Education: University of the West Indies Open Campus; University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus; Barbados Community College; Princess Margaret Secondary School.
Qualifications: certificate in corporate administration (enrolled); Bachelor of Science in geomatics; Associate degree in applied science of land surveying.
Occupation: geomatics engineer, entrepreneur, land surveyor.
You just picked up a magazine, and in it is a summary of Rowmell Grosvenor. What would it say?
Rowmell Grosvenor at the age of 28 is a progress-oriented young entrepreneur and geomatics engineer with a strong belief the imagination is more powerful than knowledge.
With this belief, he enthusiastically pursues his dreams to be a well-established businessman, not only in Barbados but the wider Caribbean.
In doing so, he seeks to provide a firm foundation for future development of his family and loved ones. Driven by positive thoughts, he uses this will to overcome obstacles. This allows any challenges to carve a better rounded individual, enabling him to be more focus in his march forward.
As co-founder of three businesses under the GB brand, those being GB GeoEngineering Inc., GB Greens and GB Design & Build, Rowmell is sticking to the GB business plan of multiple income streams.
Though not fully active to date, Rowmell has a love and natural talent for most sports with a ball. He excelled primarily in cricket, road tennis and football in earlier years.
Which four words best describe you?
Driven, persistent, self-believing and progressive.
What drives you and keeps you motivated?
The thrill of entrepreneurship, family upward mobility and societal contribution. Entrepreneurship presents new and unforeseen challenges that give me great joy to wake up every day with the intent to consume more knowledge and information in attempts to formulate feasible solutions. My motivations also stem from seeing my family taking part
in something new, and this serves as a reminder from time to time of my overall goal.
Lastly, I am especially pleased that I may be able to offer not only employment to others, but allow them to learn from me some of the more formal knowledge acquired from tertiary institutions, along with my experiences.
After completing fifth form at Princess Margaret, you pursued an Associate degree in land surveying. What influenced your decision to pursue studies in this area rather than enrolling in a sixth form programme?
In fourth form I recognized that technical drawing came very easy to me. On top of that, I was very good at visual arts, particularly in drawing and painting. This combination of technical drawing and visual arts, plus the fact I grew up on construction sites, made me feel inspired to be an architect.
So I did some research and found out that there was an architectural programme at the Barbados Community College and so I worked towards it. However, in Upper 5th when the time came to step into to the dream of being an architect, I was uncomfortable with the fact it was more designer-like and not more technically or mathematically based. This channelled me in the direction of land surveying, as I was advised by my technical drawing teacher on its being a good area for someone like me.
We see land surveyors in the field, but many of us really don’t know what they do, besides look through a device. Would you educate us on what that job entails?
Land surveying is the measurement of angles and distances. We use these measurement methods to observe Earth’s surface, man-made features, the sun or stars.
This is in an attempt to find out exactly where we are on the Earth’s surface, enabling us to accurately map relationships between everything that you and I can see. This includes buildings, roads, trees, even high and low tides, along with underground features like utilities.
Having spent six years as a land surveyor (technician), you decided to further your education, and pursed undergraduate studies in geomatics. What is geomatics, and why did you chose this area of study?
Geomatics is an evolution from that of land surveying. It utilizes the same sound mathematical techniques as that of land surveying, but it incorporates these into modern technologies.
While before the land surveyor would have to depend on observing the sun at different times during the day, then do some office work to generate his exact position on the Earth, he can now utilize high-tech GPS to generate this same position in a few minutes. This is the efficiency response required to remain relevant in a rapidly developing word.
Geomatics engineering allows us now to conduct our work arguably 70 per cent faster. It allows us to create the much needed advisory Geographic Information Systems and more to advise governments and other agencies on best practices relative to physical development.
One of our primary goals is that of sustainable development; hence the rapid shift by the world now to these GIS advisory systems.
Between February and October, 2013, you worked as a geomatics engineer with the Caribbean Municipal Utility Services on a project for the Barbados Water Authority. What was that project and what did your role entail?
The Barbados Water Authority is on a commendable thrust forward to fully understand one of the oldest water distribution networks in the Caribbean. Under CMUS I was tasked with providing technical geomatics information to assist with the designs for the replacement of major transmission water mains islandwide.
Under my company GB GeoEngineerng Inc. we spearheaded the collection of data for the creation of a GIS advisory system. This was an admirable attempt by BWA to identify and mitigate network challenges even before they occurred.
If you were offered a plane ticket to any country in the world, where would you go and why?
Canada. With a personal goal to expose Barbados and wider Caribbean to the benefits of geomatics engineering, it is only fitting I travel to the hub of geomatics to acquire more practical knowledge.
Was it always a goal of yours to be an entrepreneur? And how did you prepare for the change from employee and employer, and what as the transition like?
With the economic downturn confirmed worldwide in 2008, I entered into the UWI St Augustine Campus in 2009. Discussion among my peers at the time relative to job-hunting at the end of our degrees was expected to be good, with our estimates being that the recession would last a maximum of three years.
This was not the case, as was reflected by constant rejection of my job applications. It was while in the washroom in Canada Hall I decided that if I was going to struggle through this rough economic patch, I should do so by trying to build something of my own, and hopefully when things turned around potential clients would remember and see the need for the new services I was pitching all along.
Being a person who identifies weaknesses in myself, during my final year I had Ryan Brathwaite train me in the area of public speaking. In doing so I recognized we had opposing strengths.
Upon returning to Barbados, I pitched the idea of our doing business together, and he agreed. Ryan was approached later that year to provide our geomatics engineering services on a project, and so we concreted our business idea a few months later by forming our first business –– GB GeoEngineering.
What can you tell us about GB GeoEngineering Inc. and GB Design & Build? And what does the GB represent?
GB stands for the Grosvenor and Brathwaite partnership, and is more or less our signature brand in doing business.
Out of this partnership were born GB GeoEngineering Inc., GB Greens and GB Design & Build.
GB GeoEnigineering Inc. is a geomatics engineering company aimed at “enabling better physical development for a better tomorrow”. Our motivation is to be superior in the provision of the most viable, modern and innovative services in the field of geomatics and related areas.
We will continue to raise the bar by providing profitable and time-efficient solutions to our clients. Ultimately, we are committed to an extremely high quality of work, as we recognize our integrity and professionalism are our most important assets.
In serving as technical director, my primary mandate is that of research and development of new ideas for the region, and ensuring all techniques employed by GB are sound.
GB Design & Build, is a construction business hinged on the catchphrase Building Tomorrow Today. Managed by Ryan, it seeks to offer affordable housing and renovating solutions to Barbados, since the cost of construction is moving beyond the reach of some of the working class. A chat with Ryan would reveal all the benefits as it relates to building with GB Design & Build.
Intriguing is GB Greens’ instant kitchen garden (IKG) offer. Why not focus on landscaping and the aesthetics of lawns and gardens; why IKG?
GB Greens is a landscaping business that offers a wide range of services to Barbados. Specializing in outdoor beauty, we strive to make every client boast about their properties outdoors. As managing director I am tasked with the growth of this business through affordable innovative products and services.
The IKG is a product that took GB Greens over to agriculture in response to a national call by medical practitioners for Barbadians to include more healthy foods in their diets. This call came out of the concerns for the rising number of people suffering with non-communicable diseases.
The IKG is a raised bed kitchen garden solution, and was designed with the person in mind that “never grew their own food”. Growing your own food with the IKG is made easy through the inclusion of nutritious soil mix, bird netting to protect against pest and other unwanted animals like monkeys.
The IKG also comes with a drip line irrigation system, and a manual that shows how to make homemade pesticides.
GB Greens is currently working on an even easier model for BARP members and the more aged populus with slight immobility challenges, but who value the benefits of light exercise. Anyone wishing more information on the IKG may visit www.facebook.com/gbgreens/.
Sports have contributed to your development as a person and throughout your years at Princess Margaret Secondary. Would you share with us some of your successes?
My journey at Princess Margaret Secondary School as a sportsman started off in a timid-like fashion. Growing up, I was generally good at cricket. I was encouraged repeatedly to go for try-outs for the school team, but was very much intimidated by the formalities of cricket at the competitive level.
For three weeks I watched the guys practise, until one day I asked the coach Mr Patrick Darlington to try out. They recognized I was good at cricket, and at 13 I found myself in the Princess Margaret under-19 cricket team. I was constantly pushed to the next level by coach who would always tell me I had what it took.
In 2005 and 2006 Princess Margaret developed a cricket team that was one of the strongest secondary school teams. Winning the Goddards School Second Division Competition for two consecutive years, this side taught me the importance of teamwork and that there was no “I” in “team”.
Football was also a sport I excelled in. I played in several tournaments, representing various institutions; but Princess Margaret was where I reaped my first success as a footballer.
The school’s under-19 football squad won the Inter-Schools Tournament in the mid to early 2000s, beating St Leonard’s to claim the championship.
You are a member of Business Network International and currently serve on the membership committee. What can you tell us about this organization?
Business Network International (BNI) is a business referral organization that seeks to grow participating businesses through one fundamental philosophy, that is, “givers gain”. Founded in Germany, it exists today in thousands of countries and serves as an excellent tool for business growth. GB Greens is a member within the Bridgetown chapter.
What’s next for Rowmell? What are some of your goals for 2016?
My goal for 2016 is relationship building as this is an imperative component to business success in most cases. Additionally, I am looking to place major focus on GB Greens in developing new adaptable strategies, enabling it to meet its goals within 2016.
Who would you like to say thanks to for contributing to your success and development?
I would like to send special thanks to my mother Pauline Grosvenor and immediate family and friends for assisting heavily in the creation of a platform for me to launch from in pursuit of my goals.
Thanks to God for giving me the will, foresight and courage needed in my pursuit. Thank you, Lord!
(If you are a young Barbadian professional or know of any worthy of being highlighted for their amazing contribution, please contact us at corey@c2jfoundation.)