One on One with Markus — Ron Arnold

Ron Arnold's company, Dalron, started as a family business back in 1969 when he borrowed six thousand dollars from his dad to start building some homes.

Arnold borrowed six thousand dollars from his dad to start building some homes back in 1969

Ron Arnold started the Sudbury construction company Dalron back in 1969. (Markus Schwabe CBC)

Ron Arnold's company, Dalron, started as a family business in Sudbury back in 1969 when he borrowed six thousand dollars from his dad to start building some homes.

Arnold was working as a teacher at St. Charles College at the time, but when he went back to finish his degree he started to wonder if building homes would be a better vocation. He'd built his camp that year and wondered if he might not make more money by building a house or two.

He was right. The first year he built 25 houses.

"I'd go out every day and learn, for example, by counting the number of blocks that went into a foundation."

That first year, he had more work than money.

That's when Arnold gathered the courage to go to his suppliers and ask for a handout. He stared with Nick Naneff at Rainbow Concrete.

He admited to Naneff that he couldn't pay him for the materials. "He said, 'Ron how many blocks do you need? The blocks are better on your houses than in my yard. Take as many as you want.'"

"At that time, trust was a major part of it," said Arnold. He went on to ask the same of other suppliers who all followed suit.

Arnold is quick to point out that he couldn't have done any of it without the support of his wife, Bonnie. Arnold says one year she said to him, "Ron do you realise you've worked 365 days in a row without a day off? What woman would put up with that?"

Arnold says he also depends on his brothers and other family members like his own children, who help run the business.

When asked why the business isn't the family name, Arnold explains. "I was too shy to use the name Arnold and I didn't want to use the name Ronald. Each one of those names has the same six letters. So I reorganized them to make Dalron."

As for the future of the company, Arnold says if the economy turns, and he fully expects it will, they have plenty of land to start developing on. One spot he has in mind is 70 acres he owns across the street from Laurentian University.

With files from Markus Schwabe