Bob Bellamy started working as a handyman in 1947, when he was just 16 years old. Over the next 70 years, he moved up through the ranks at real estate development company Armel Corp. in Guelph, Ont., and continues to work there today as a construction manager.

“He used to work for my father, and when my father passed away, he worked for me,” says Mel Wolfond, Bellamy’s supervisor and one of Armel’s owners. Bellamy no longer does heavy labour but he checks buildings and corrects problems. “Anything you ask him to do, he could it.”

While he’s now 86, Bellamy has no plans to leave Armel. “I come to work every day early and I still work right to dark every night,” says Bellamy, adding he’ll retire “whenever I get old.” His father, who had worked as a superintendent at the company, stayed at his job until he died.

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Wolfond notes that while 70 years of service is unusual, many employees stay for up to 35 years and end up retiring with the company.

So what’s making employees stay so loyal to the company? It’s simple: courtesy and respect, according to Bellamy.

“If [employees] get treated properly, they’ll stay there,” he says. “I never had anybody order me around, telling me what to do. Anything I had to do, I was asked if I could do it. I never was ordered to do something. They asked me, ‘Would you have time to do this? Could you possibly do this?’ . . . I never had any reason to be concerned about things like that.”

Wolfond’s wife Pedie, who has also worked at Armel, agrees employee loyalty is a result of good treatment.

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“[Mel] has the ability to give people ideas, let them fly with the ideas and then give them the full credit for doing things,” she says. “And that is his real secret.”

As for Bellamy, he’s “just an exceptional, exceptional guy,” she adds. “They had a dinner for him at the office. And he said, ‘You know what? I still get up at 5:30. I still go and check stuff in the building. I love working. I love being alive. . . . I just get up in the morning and I’m happy to be here.’ And that is a sensational philosophy.”

Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on
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Jill Shanks BSN MCEd:

What an exceptional article, to tell the story of how aging & work is changing. If a person loves what they do, have the health & stamina to continue to do the work, and most important feel valued & respected in the workplace, and want to work, why shouldn’t they? Employers need to prepare by changing their policies and embrace this change of an aging workforce.

Thursday, June 29 at 11:32 am | Reply


What a great story !
Congrats to the company and Bob for making this work !

Thursday, June 29 at 11:57 am | Reply


This is us

Thursday, June 29 at 1:09 pm | Reply

Peter Paine:

The federal government is certainly not like this company. I know several government employees who can’t wait to get out.

Thursday, June 29 at 5:06 pm | Reply

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