By Andrew Ehrkamp
News Editor

Grant Beck says faith, family and hard work are among the values that have sustained him on his journey from a farm boy in rural Saskatchewan to the chief executive officer of Graham Construction, a company with $2.7 billion in revenue.

They also helped him overcome adversities along the way, including a hail storm that destroyed his family’s farm, losing two siblings, the near-breakup of his parents’ marriage, and nearly losing his home in a business deal.

“You gain strength out of adversity,” said Beck, the guest speaker at the annual Edmonton Prayer Breakast on April 26 at the Shaw Conference Centre. “Eventually I came to believe adversity was just another way of making me stronger and better.”

The prayer breakfast brings together faith and business leaders to show their support for police, fire and other first responders, as well as for Mayor Don Iveson and city council.

“As mayor, it’s important for me to embrace all the faith traditions in the community,” Iveson said after the breakfast, declining to comment on his own spiritual background.

Two years ago, city council dropped the tradition of prayer or reflection to open its meetings, ending a nearly 40-year tradition. Iveson said it was to comply with a Supreme Court ruling on freedom of conscience and religion. He also said he misses it.

“We would have liked to continue to begin our meetings with prayer. That was clearly the will of council,” Iveson said. “It was an excellent way to include all faith traditions in the city in an appropriate ceremony to open our council meetings. I always found it refreshing to hear prayers from many different cultures and many different perspectives at the start of our meeting, and I’m disappointed we can no longer do that.”

It’s prayer that has helped Grant Beck, a member of the Alliance Church, through tough times in his life.

“All those things position you to grow out of that, and after finding the Lord and realizing that I didn’t have to worry about the future, if these things came at me I could handle it,” said Beck, adding that’s especially important in his role as a CEO.

“My faith, like most people, goes up and down. Irrespective of maybe how engaged I might be in my walk, in my faith and in my community, I know that I have a future and that is releasing.”

Without his faith, Beck – a father of three children – would be “lonely” and his marriage, business and community life wouldn’t be as strong. In 2013, Beck’s company partnered with Samaritan’s Purse and First Alliance Church to provide flood relief in Calgary, where Graham Construction is based.

“The strength that comes from that is hard to imagine. That’s where I get my support and my strength and my ambition … The things I do, I do for my family, and I also do it for my community.”

Beck and his wife Mavis are not only talking about faith, but sharing it. They pay for and distribute trips to couples’ retreats and registrations for friends, family, employees and other business leaders through Family Life Canada.

“God only knows what the impact is, but maybe one day I’ll ask them.”