Recent Changes at Iridia Prepare Company for Future Growth

Every young entrepreneurial company reaches a crossroad when it must position itself for long term sustainable growth. Our company reached that pivotal point toward the end of 2012 when Vern Biccum took on the role of President and Dr. Allan Holmes assumed the title of Founder.

When Iridia was founded in 1998 by Dr. Allan Holmes, he represented the entire workforce. Today, we have grown to include four divisions, each with its own team of staff. Indeed, things have gone well. We have been one of the province’s fastest growing firms for two years running, and have been very fortunate to see demand for services growing.

So why introduce a change?

We believe that all progressive companies make time for introspection. Honestly assessing the way in which a business is run, and confronting the reality of the findings is both healthy and prudent. When we assessed Iridia, the words of Good to Great author Jim Collins rang in our ears. He advocates strongly for having the right people on the bus (read “in the company”), and then figuring out where they should sit (read “what role they should fill”). Applied to Iridia, we recognized that we had selected members of our senior team that could benefit from a seat swap.


With more and more operational demands being made of Allan’s time, he wasn’t able to focus as much energy on his areas of expertise and passion. In the Founder role, Allan will be able to redirect his energies to these foci while Vern will apply his business acumen and strategic leadership to the running of the firm.

“This role change represents a natural transition which has been planned for the past couple of years”, says Allan. “I can provide much more benefit to the company by focusing on select areas such as Physician Engagement services and clearing the way for Vern to implement our long term growth strategy. It will also allow me to continue building a physician network and consulting team for the company.”

“We are leveraging our unique skills and interests to further build the company’s infrastructure and foundation,” says Vern. “Allan gets fired up by the challenges of healthcare and I want to make Iridia one of the top 100 companies in B.C. to work for. Allan will continue to support the business units at Iridia as his time allows. I see my challenges as focusing more on the actual organization, which includes helping our staff become more strategic and financially literate. I have a five-year plan to achieve these goals.”

Greatness Within Reach for Iridia?

Greatness Within Reach

As we continue to build the Iridia brand, we are always on the lookout for pearls of wisdom that will aid us in building the best company that we possibly can.  One authority to whom we turn for inspiration is Jim Collins, author of must-have business books Built to Last and Good to Great.  Collins has made a career of studying the world’s best companies.  He analyses and dissects them to identify exactly what makes them tick.

To Collins, a great company is rare find indeed, as it must meet a very specific set of criteria.  In the June edition of Inc. magazine, Collins discloses that greatness according to him is characterized by:

  • Superior Performance,
  • A Distinctive Impact, and
  • Endurance.

At Iridia, we have always pushed ourselves to be the best that we can be.  But can we be great, is greatness within reach?  Can we be Jim Collins great?  Let’s explore!

Superior Performance

Last year Iridia was fortunate enough to find itself being one of the province’s Top 100 Fastest Growing companies.  Although last year was the first we entered the competition, similar levels of growth have been observed at Iridia for some time, including a span of years that included some very tumultuous economic times. 

Greatness Within Reach

If we stay true to our focused strategy, continue to practice principles of fiscal responsibility, there is no reason we can’t maintain current levels of performance.

Distinctive Impact

The article describes this criteria as the George Bailey phenomenon.  More specifically, if a company closed up shop tomorrow, would anyone truly feel the impact?  Would a void be left as was the case when a future without It’s a Wonderful Life’s Bailey Savings and Loan was foretold in the movie? Or would life simply carry on without missing a beat?

While we certainly cannot compare ourselves to George Bailey and what his company did for the community of Bedford Falls, we’d like to think our absence would be noted.  We have worked hard to provide a supportive and rewarding work environment that empowers employees to make a difference in their roles with us.  

In our consulting work, we pride ourselves on removing barriers and limitations that prevent practical, effective health solutions to come forward. Our paramedic services provide unique and specialized care to remote workers that would not otherwise have access to such services. Our AED programs make workplaces safer and our educational services help ensure that our healthcare worker have access to quality education.

While we still have much growth yet to do, we think an argument exists to suggest that our absence would be felt.


At 14 years young this year, we have only just started the equivalent of our business ultra-marathon. That said, we have already weathered many endurance challenges. Economic downturns, competition, changing legislation, and team member turnover have all reared their ugly heads.  Thus far, we have been resilient.  With a diversified portfolio of offerings and an eye toward continued improvement and evolution in all that we do, our prospects for longevity appear strong.

Greatness Within Reach

So, while we do not have a crystal ball, it is our hope that indeed greatness is attainable for the Iridia.

Stay tuned……