Movers & Shakers

Russ Golightly
Project manager of corporate properties, City of Calgary

The Water Centre in Calgary sets a high standard for green building in Alberta.

The city is anxiously waiting to see if the centre, built to meet the silver rating of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), earns the highest certification possible-platinum.

Think of Russ Golightly, project manager of corporate properties with the City of Calgary, as the maestro behind the project. Not only did he spearhead efforts to ensure than over 90 per cent of construction waste was diverted from landfills, but the project likely played a big role in launching Alberta's drywall recycling industry.

"There was no drywall recycling when we first started," Golightly notes. "Literally, within a week of starting our drywall, two companies came forward and said, ‘We'll take it.' In Alberta, drywall recycling popped up about the same time we were doing it. I think this was one of those catalysts."

Built during a time of cost escalation and tight labour, Golightly had his share of challenges in making sure the $43-million project became a leading-edge green structure.

"You can imagine when the first sketches came out [what] the reaction to the management within the city of Calgary was," he recalls. "A lot of the comments were, ‘I thought I told you to build a 10-storey box.'

"I was very adamant during the process of planning and design that I hire architects to create. I don't dictate to what they should be creating to."

Among the notable features of the Water Centre: it cuts water use by 59 per cent and waste water by 72 per cent, as compared to a traditional office building of its size and scope (over 400 workers are housed there). The building uses water wisely with its low-water-use fixtures, rain harvesting, and green roof that provides rainwater absorption that's reused with grey water in landscaping and low-water-use fixtures, such as the dual-flush toilets.

Inside, there's plenty of natural daylight. Most of the windows on the north-facing windows can be manually opened to allow fresh air into the building and give people control of their environment. And a low-voltage lighting control system, including motion sensors and daylight sensors, aids in reducing energy consumption.

So what's next for Golightly?

"I'm currently working on the city's first LEED warehouse."

Dave Filipchuk
VP, PCL Construction Management Inc.

Dave Filipchuk, VP at PCL Construction Management Inc. for southern Alberta, has a talent for putting the right people in the right place at the right time.

Since Filipchuk took on the role of district manager in June 2004, the number of employees at PCL Construction's Calgary office has more than doubled from 102 to 217. As well, there has been a 185 per cent increase in annual construction volume from under $200 million to more than $500 million.

With a portfolio of more than a billion dollars worth of work currently underway in Calgary, PCL is upgrading infrastructure at Glenmore and Bearspaw water treatment plants and building tomorrow's landmark towers such as Centennial Place and Keynote Development.

"A lot of these are for national clients," Filipchuk says. "Certainly that brings with it a lot of pressure to perform. Our teams are doing a wonderful job in servicing those clients." He adds that the teams work equally hard at servicing local, long-term clients such as the City of Calgary.

Attracting those talented team members wasn't hard. "We're fortunate that PCL's well-known and respected," he says. Filipchuk says PCL's employee ownership structure usually keeps team members motivated and the culture keeps them engaged.

Filipchuk says the company wants employees to have an enjoyable work environment so "we did things like add a workout facility in our building."

For Filipchuk, the best part of his job is seeing how the tools and resources PCL provides its people empower teams to succeed on their projects: "That's very reinforcing for me."

Stephani Carter
VP, Canada Green Building Council
Principal, EcoAmmo

When Stephani Carter studied interior design, she learned to create spaces that were "functional and beautiful," but when she started working, she discovered the dysfunctional and ugly side of the industry.

"We do mostly renovations," explained the 28-year-old interior designer. "Five years is the typical turnaround time for retail. Even if everything's brand new, you could get new tenants who want a different design, and everything's torn out and sent to a landfill."

The waste and the toxic content in commonly used products and materials made Carter question if she should quit the industry, but murmurings about a U.S. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system gave her hope.

Not only did Carter become an accredited LEED professional, she helped found the Alberta chapter of the Canada Green Building Council in 2004, where she's currently VP.

As she listened to clients bicker over a shade of paint, she thought, "If that paint is full toxins, what difference does the shade make?" Although she worked for a firm known for its sustainable design, the clients weren't catching on fast enough for Carter.

That pushed Carter to start her own companies. EcoAmmo of Edmonton assists designers with the LEED process and Green Alberta works with the provincial government to create a database of sustainable material and products.

Once viewed as the "green girl who asked too many questions," Carter's now the "it" girl who knows how to navigate green terrain. "Pointing fingers doesn't get any change happening," notes Carter. "Environmentalists are no longer standing outside corporations. We're standing within, leading the way."

Dean Brawn
VP, business development, Calibre Environmental Ltd.

Dean Brawn, VP of business development for Calibre Environmental Ltd. (CEL), is passionate about paint. In fact, Brawn takes a lot of pride in his company's 100 per cent recycled latex paint called ecocoat, which performs like a premium paint.

"Apartment owners love our stuff because more often than not one coat and you're done," Brawn says. "You're in and out of there. Property owners and managers are catching on."

In addition to turning "waste" into a commercially viable product, CEL produced 200,000 litres of ecocoat in 2007. CEL also kept 300,000 pounds of metal out of the landfill-that's the weight of an empty Boeing 777.

Brawn anticipates those volumes will balloon in 2008 with the launch of the Alberta Paint Stewardship Program, which charges an environmental fee on new paint products. Part of that fee goes towards processing the remains of approximately 30 million litres of paint sold in Alberta each year. About 5 to 10 per cent of that paint ends up as waste paint, which will keep CEL very busy indeed.

Available in 14 colours, ecocoat is sold at Peavey Mart, Liquidation World, Bianca Amore's, and Clean Calgary. Over the next year, Brawn would like to see a home improvement retailer such as Home Depot take on ecocoat.

"Our product fits best with someone who's cost-conscious or environmentally conscientious," he says. For those who want a "designer" colour, Brawn suggests using the closest ecocoat colour as a primer and then finishing off with the designer colour. "It's the perfect complementary paint."

Paul Bassi
Senior VP, western Canada district, Earth Tech (Canada) Inc.

For more than 22 years, Paul Bassi has been among the thousands of engineers involved in major construction projects around Alberta, across Canada, and around the world. In that time, he's developed a reputation as an innovator, leader, and visionary.

A former transportation engineer with Alberta Transportation, Bassi joined the Earth Tech team in 1996 and was soon named VP for the firm's western Canada operations. Today, he oversees the activities of more than 500 engineering and support staff in 11 offices across the Prairies, British Columbia, and the Northwest Territories.

"Paul has the ability to transform challenges into opportunities," according to his nomination for this year's Movers & Shakers. "His creative vision has enabled him to make vital contributions to Alberta's transportation system. When a new interchange was required to move traffic quickly and safely through the intersection of Highway 63 and King Street in Fort McMurray, constraints such as the limited space available meant that an innovative design was required. To meet these challenges, Paul led the Earth Tech team in the design of Canada's first modern roundabout interchange, a project which won the Overall Award of Excellence in Alberta Transportation's Minister's Award for Transportation Innovation in 2005."

Bassi's initiatives were instrumental in earning Earth Tech the engineering contract for one of the largest transportation projects issued in Canada. The $460-million North East Stoney Trail ring road project in Calgary includes the construction of 21 km of mainline freeway, 190 km of paved roadway, seven interchanges, 14 km of other local roads, and 23 bridge structures.

"Under Paul's leadership, Earth Tech's ability to offer a uniquely planned fast-track approach to design allowed the firm to provide design in parallel with the construction schedule," Bassi's nomination continues. "With construction set for completion by the end of 2009, Paul's leadership of the Earth Tech [ring road] team has resulted in a project that has progressed successfully under budget and ahead of schedule."

Bassi attributes his success to having a great team: "Surrounding yourself with the best people, professionals, technicians, and support staff is why we're successful."

Dr. Sam Shaw
President, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

We've all heard about the shortage of skilled labour in Canada. The fact is that things are probably going to get worse before they get better. In Alberta alone, about 21,000 construction workers are expected to retire over the 2007-16 period, according to the Construction Sector Council. Beyond that, another 31,000 new workers will be needed to keep up with an expected rise in construction activity.

Dr. Sam Shaw, president of the Edmonton-based Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), has worked tirelessly to do something about the situation. In 2002, under Shaw's leadership, NAIT saw the looming crisis and started planning expansion of its apprenticeship capacity. Between 2006 and 2008, NAIT opened eight apprenticeship-training centres. According to NAIT, the school will train 16,669 apprentices in 2008-09, which will mean a growth of 62 per cent since 2005-06. The centres were built with 40 per cent provincial funding; the majority of the remaining funding came from business and industry, unprecedented in post-secondary education in Alberta. All the centres were opened on time, on budget and at full capacity.

Just this past April, NAIT announced that it had smashed its "Building on Demand" campaign goal, raising $80 million-$30 million higher than the goal. The NAIT Waiward Steel Centre for Steel Technologies, Spartan Centre for Instrumentation Technology, Petro-Canada Centre for Millwright Technology, Shell Manufacturing Centre, Sandvik Coromant Centre for Machinist Technology, and the EnCana Centre for Power Engineering were all built with campaign funding. Also being planned are new training centres for building environment and piping systems.

Shaw is this year's only Mover & Shaker who was also a 2007 Mover & Shaker.

"There is no question Dr. Sam Shaw is a mover and shaker," reads one of Shaw's supporting nominations. "He has vision, he is a strategic planner, and he gets results. What makes him a standout is how he gets so many people to enthusiastically jump on for the ride."

Donald Oborowsky
CEO and president, Waiward Steel Fabricators Ltd.

As Edmonton's Waiward Steel Fabricators Ltd. approaches its 36th birthday, Donald Oborowsky, CEO and president, has much to celebrate. Thanks largely to Oborowsky's innovative thinking, willingness to move forward, and commitment to excellence, the multi-million-dollar company he and his partners built from the ground up has been recognized as one of Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies by the Financial Post, possesses a stellar safety record, and has been acknowledged with several awards, including the Alberta Business Worksafe Award and the Canadian Construction Association (CCA) National Safety Award.

But Oborowsky isn't content with mere business success. This passionate leader has worked steadily to build a better future for youth, industry, and the community.

"I care about everybody and everything," says Oborowsky, explaining what drives him to participate in a staggering number of causes. He's been involved with 48 boards and committees across Canada and is active in community development, charity work, the arts, research and development, and improving safety and quality in the construction and manufacturing industries.

Improving trades education is one of his current passions. As an advisor to several trades-related advisory boards who works closely with educational institutions such as the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and the University of Alberta, he advocates more compulsory trades certification and apprenticeships so people not only have the skills to do the job but the knowledge to get the job done right, and safely.

Oborowsky credits his father-a man with a strong work ethic who taught his son the value of striving for excellence-for giving him a unique understanding of innovation and its place in the workplace and the world at large.

"Innovative isn't just improving on technology. Innovative is getting the best out of everything," he explains. "My theory is that there is always a better, quicker way of doing absolutely everything. And you need to look for that and you need to apply it."

Michael MacLean
Director of Public Works and Engineering, Leduc County

Municipal infrastructure deficits are the norm across Canada, but Michael MacLean, director of Public Works and Engineering at Leduc County, and his team have dreamed up an innovative solution that allows the county to control costs and take advantage of the best technologies on the market.

It's called Program Funding. The premise is quite simple. Rather than make annual decisions to fund one-year projects, the municipality agrees to fund an entire program.

"What we're doing is going into a sustainable infrastructure plan which is really focused on life cycle management," MacLean says.

MacLean is a confirmed believer in pushing the envelope in pursuit of excellence and is always willing to explore new ideas and technologies. He cites former supervisor Raymond Off, operations VP at Edmonton Airports, MacLean's employer for 11 years, as a major influence.

"He was a tremendous leader and motivator. He delegated authority and allowed people to be adventurous," MacLean says. MacLean has adopted a similar management style, surrounding himself with talented people and taking a motivational leadership position that fosters creativity and a strong team approach.

While Program Funding has been used in the private sector, it's new for municipalities. The fact that Leduc County Council agreed to the plan is a testament to the strength of the team MacLean has built.

Reconstructing the roadways of Nisku Industrial Park is the test project for the new funding model. To meet industry needs, the roadways of the park must be rebuilt to bear 25 per cent more axle weight than the average stretch of asphalt in Canada.

The Leduc County Road Reconstruction Cold In Place Program recently won the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators Willis Award for Innovation. West-Can Seal Coating Inc. in Didsbury, a subsidiary of Seeley & Arnill Construction from Ontario and Michigan, is the contractor and partner on the project.

Bob Gallimore
VP Surety, Prairie Region, The Guarantee Company of North America

In charge of the surety operations for The Guarantee Company of North America's Prairie Region in Edmonton since 1993, Bob Gallimore is well known and highly respected in the construction industry for his insight and experience. It's no wonder. When it comes to the business of contracting, Gallimore may know as much as the contractors his company serves.

"I enjoy the interaction with the contractors, getting to know what their business is all about, understanding why they do it, what drives them, and seeing the results," says Gallimore, who also sits on the board of the Alberta Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association to learn more about the industry and share his expertise.

Part of the reason for his interest in the construction business is professional. After all, Gallimore is charged with the task of deciding whether or not to provide contract surety to contractors. "You have to have the interaction with the clients and know what's going on in the industry," he explains.

But there's more to his passion for construction than professional requirements.

"Probably the No. 1 person that got me into this crazy industry was my father," laughs Gallimore. An employee of Union Tractor and R. Angus Alberta, the senior Gallimore passed his interest in heavy equipment to both his sons.

Gallimore's career began in 1975 with Wardley Canada, where he got to know many of northern Alberta's contractors. He later moved to the Bank of Montreal. When The Guarantee Company of North America purchased Canadian Surety, Gallimore was asked to head the small Edmonton branch.

Since then, he has grown the contract surety operation from a handful of inherited accounts to the leading surety provider in the Alberta marketplace. The Edmonton office now oversees Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba and has quadrupled premium volume.

Ed Stelmach
Premier, Government of Alberta

Back in the summer of 2006, Ralph Klein captured headlines when he admitted that the province was unprepared for dealing with the explosion of growth. "They were right about [us] not having a plan," the controversial and colourful former premier was quoted as saying. "…[N]o one could anticipate the phenomenal growth that was taking place."

If you've ever driven on an Alberta highway or visited a school or hospital, you understand the downsides to economic prosperity. And you are also probably aware that the province is in major catch-up mode to update its infrastructure.

The task for doing something about Alberta's infrastructure shortcomings has fallen on current premier Ed Stelmach, who earlier this year came out with an accelerated capital spending plan for 2008-11 plan calling for:
• a 21 per cent, or $3.9 billion, spending increase from the previous budget.
• $3.3 billion for health facilities and equipment
• $1.7 billion for schools
• $1.5 billion for post-secondary facilities
• $5.2 billion for provincial highways
• $5 billion for municipalities
• $1.1 billion for housing.

This year, the province will re-pave 1,240 km of highway, including 82 km of widening work. As well, the province will have 50 km of new paved highway. And along with increased spending, Stelmach has reshuffled his cabinet, splitting Infrastructure and Transportation to ensure a greater focus on meeting the needs for roads and other public facilities.

All of this impacts Alberta's construction industry. And while it will be years before the decayed infrastructure is brought up to 21st century standards, there can be little argument that Alberta's top government official is trying to deal with the problem.

2015 ACM MMM Button

2015 ACM Email Button


Free account to gain access to ACM digital editions.