Estonian Centre Update: Profile on Project Managers David Kalm and Rob Deutschmann Estonian Life (4)
For David Kalm and Rob Deutschmann, Project Managers for the new Estonian Centre, steering such a train is something with which they both have had a good deal of experience.
David, who grew up in the Toronto Estonian community, is an independent real estate developer with 27 years’ experience in development, construction and infrastructure. For the past 15 years, he has focused on project management from a financial, planning and construction perspective. “Being involved in this project is very special to me,” said David. “I am excited and proud to be part of the team working toward a new Estonian Centre in Toronto. We want to make sure we get it right.”
David’s strong skill set includes project conception, real estate development, project management and construction risk management. He has been involved in dozens of residential, commercial and institutional projects and has senior level experience in all types of building development. David has undertaken projects in every sector of the real estate industry. Some of his notable projects are Baycrest Hospital, 30 Adelaide office tower, Touchstone Resort on Lake Muskoka, Mississauga Living Arts Centre and Solara Condominiums. His attention to detail, persistence and creativity have enabled him to build a track record of successful projects that consistently meet the needs and expectations of all project stakeholders. He has an MBA, and a Professional Mechanical Engineering designation.
For Rob, the experience of working with the Estonian community is proving to be very rewarding. “It is a privilege to work with so many highly skilled and educated individuals on this project,” Rob said. “The Estonian-Canadian community has some very talented people involved in creating the new centre and it feels very good to have the support of these hard-working, passionate volunteers.”
Rob has 25 years of investment, development and asset management experience gained through his work in real estate and infrastructure projects with international responsibility. His skills include managing large projects and investments, acquisitions, real estate and infrastructure development, project management and risk management. He has been involved with many types of developments over the last 30 years including the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, the renovation of Ricoh Coliseum, and the MaRS Discovery Centre.
These projects had a great deal of complexity associated with design, building, financing, and operating aspects which provides him with an ideal background to deal with any complexities that may arise with the Estonian Centre development. He has an MBA, a Professional Civil Engineering designation and a Chartered Director designation.
David and Rob were brought on board as Project Managers in July 2017. They say the reason their partnership on this project is working well is because they both have a thoughtful, conciliatory approach to their work. “Working with the community and really listening to their needs is of utmost importance in this process,” David explained. “There will be a lot of uses for this centre.”
Both project managers are excited about the possibilities for the new building. “The design of the centre combines a practical vision with a very strong, clean Estonian aesthetic,” David said. “The feeling will be one of natural warmth, with a number of modern elements.”
The new Estonian Centre will have solid infrastructure that allows for flexible use by all the groups who will use it – from meetings for scouts and guides to choirs and language classes and folk dancing practice. “It will also have technical capability that speaks to the modern Estonia,” Rob said. “The architect will build in the use of technology that will benefit all users.” The spaces will have multi-use capability and the design and layout will be highly efficient. Modern hall facilities, wide hallways, convenient washroom locations and bright spaces will be featured.
The community will be consulted as the plans evolve and the use of space is finalized. This is a step David and Rob will oversee. “It’s very important to continue to gather information from each group who will call the new centre home,” David said. “We want to hear exactly how the space needs to be used and the unique uses. Everyone has to be accommodated.”
David and Rob are leading, under the direction of the steering committee, the current due diligence process. The purpose of this process is to verify that the project will provide a long-term, financially sound home base that meets the community’s needs. They are working with city planning officials and potential developers of the Estonian House property. “This work is very meaningful for both of us.”
The Estonian Centre is envisioned to be a hub for the largest community of Estonians in the world outside of Estonia. It will provide a gathering place for culture, learning and social interaction for Estonian Canadians.
The Estonian Centre project is guided by the heads of boards of four major Estonian Canadian organizations: Tartu College (Jaan Meri, President); Estonian Foundation of Canada (Eva Varangu, President); Estonian House (Raivo Remmel, President) and the Estonian Credit Union (Ellen Valter, Chair, Board of Directors).
For more information, including a detailed list of questions and answers on the project, please go to www.estoniancentre.ca
You are also welcome to email questions and comments to