Yuri Bartzis

An advocate for innovation in construction, Yuri Bartzis is a mentor, leader, influencer and strategist. After several years of gaining site experience supporting construction projects and bringing BIM to a national player in the market, Bartzis transitioned to Pomerleau Construction as an innovation manager. Three years later, he became one of the company’s directors of innovation operations, leading a team of over 50 VDC coordinators throughout Canada.

A virtual design and construction specialist himself, he participated in building the innovation team at Pomerleau and continues to be involved in adopting new technologies in construction.

In 2019, Pomerleau, and Bartzis’ team, was recognized by Building Transformations (formerly CanBIM) with its General Contractor’s Award for the development of the Willow Square Continuing Care Centre long-term care facility in Fort McMurray, Alta.

Bartzis is also a sought-after speaker on the topics of BIM and digital construction tools and techniques and sits on several industry think tanks and advisory committees.

William Donnellan grew up in the building trades. Having qualified as a carpenter in Ireland, and coming from a family of tradespeople, he has spent the past 14 years gaining direct experience in all areas of construction in Canada.

Under his leadership, IRL Group has established a solid reputation for work in concrete, framing and wood tackling commercial and residential projects throughout B.C. This past year, the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) in B.C. recognized him with the 2022 Gord Stewart Workplace Health and Safety Innovation Award for his company’s use of an intelligent illumination safety system that makes workers more visible on a site.

In 2017, the Vancouver Regional Construction Association presented Donnellan with its U40 Excellence in Construction Award in recognition of him growing IRL from its starting point of three employees in 2009 to more than 70 working on projects across Canada.

On a parallel path to his construction company, Donnellan has also built up a hospitality division, which has benefitted from his skills in construction as it developed five Irish pubs in Vancouver.

A collaborative, versatile and innovative leader, Venus Garg has built a wealth of experience in the transportation infrastructure space leading large multi-disciplinary teams of managers, engineers, field coordinators and other staff to deliver world-class transportation solutions. He leads complex infrastructure pursuits on both the advisory side and design-builder side, procured under various delivery models like P3, Alliance, Program Delivery Partner and Progressive Design-Build (PDB).

His work as capture lead at AECOM has significantly improved the company’s use of its global talent, as well as increased its knowledge base and application of collaborating contracting methods which are relatively new to Canada.

With his strong work ethic and collaborative approach, he has been key to the successful delivery of such critical pursuits as the VIA High Frequency Rail, QEW/ Credit River Bridge, Union Station, GO Expansion delivery partner, Scarborough Subway Extension and the VivaNext bus rapid transit project.

Currently the director of construction for Chard Development, an urban real estate development firm based out of Vancouver, Shane McKernan is a seasoned construction professional with a successful career path as a Red Seal carpenter, project manager and Professional Quantity Surveyor (PQS). He has been working in B.C.’s lower mainland for over 15 years.

Since 2012, as a PQS, he has consulted on over $963 million in construction costs. In his project manage- ment capacity in that time, he has worked on commercial office and tilt-up buildings, townhomes, multi-family residential and multi-tower high-rise residential construction projects with combined construction costs in excess of $600 million.

He was the first student member of the CIQS B.C. Chapter, and has held positions as chapter treasurer, vice-president and president. He is also a past observer of the organization’s national board, where he helped cocreate a Young Quantity Surveyor (YQS) community within the CIQS framework.

Instrumental in building a collaborative relationship with contractors on major Metrolinx subway projects, Sean Lal is a qualified solicitor in Ontario and New York State with more than 10 years of experience in legal, construction, commercial and contracts management.

For the past five years, his focus has been on Toronto’s Eglinton Crosstown LRT and Finch West LRT projects with Aecon Construction, and the new Ontario Line subway, new Younge-North subway, and the Scarborough subway extension projects. Prior to that, he was project counsel on the Waterloo LRT project, another large LRT project that was completed in the Ontario.

Passionate about mentoring new lawyers and engineers in construction, he dedicates time each week to mentoring and discussing the commercial thought process required in the day-to-day activities on large construction projects, including how to take large complex issues and convey them simply and efficiently.

As a civil engineering technologist with an Applied Science Technologist (AScT) designation, Scott Longmuir has over 17 years of hands-on experience in the construction, mining and engineering sectors. His entrepreneurial spirit began in the early 2000s in Alberta where he worked to create, develop and operate business interests in the engineering and construction services space.

In 2016, he launched Threeosix Industrial, a company focussed on being an industry-leading contractor in the industrial, mining and energy sectors with strategic operations and partnerships across Canada. The company, which now has more than 250 employees, has a goal of providing a professionally managed and safety conscious approach to construction, maintenance, fabrication and mining.

Longmuir strongly believes in creating opportunities for community members local to their projects, and this is evidenced by the company’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and capacity-building within the communities in close proximity to the areas in which it operates.

Ryan Johnston began his career as a general bridgeman/pile driver with various pile driving companies in the Lower Mainland of B.C. He worked his way up through the industry to become a top crane operator and the president of his company, West Coast Pile Driving. Taking on the leadership role in the company, Johnston not only works directly in the field operating the company’s heavy equipment and machinery, but he also handles office tasks including estimating, project management, invoicing, and business development.

His company, which is a certified Aboriginal-owned business, offers a variety of pile driving and shoring services, recently expanding capabilities to include ground-release drilling. Specializing mainly in sheet piling, Johnston’s company is outfitted with top-of-the line sheet pile installation and pipe pile installation equipment featuring several Junttan and ABI Piling Rigs, and has become known their ability to serve, with excellence, large general contractors and work on large projects around B.C.

Ruairi Spillane moved to Canada from Ireland in 2008 for an employment opportunity in finance. After the global financial crisis, he identified that Canada was experiencing a labour shortage in construction at a time when his native country was exporting construction talent. After observing Canadian contractors recruit from Ireland and the U.K. and having the first-hand experience of assisting his brother relocate to Canada as a civil engineer, Ruairi set out to build an agency that would specialize in matching global talent with Canadian construction firms.

In 2012, he launched his two companies, Outpost Recruitment and Moving2Canada, with the symbiotic goals of recruiting construction talent, both local and international, while enabling newcomers to navigate the immigration and settlement process by themselves.

Since its founding, Outpost Recruitment has successfully placed hundreds of workers from around the world on some of Canada’s largest building and infrastructure projects. The award-winning Moving2Canada website provides free online resources to help job seekers, generating more than 500,000 visits monthly.

Robert Barth has more than 17 years of high-rise residential construction experience, joining Centre- Court in 2014. At CentreCourt, he has played an instrumental role in the creation and growth of CentreCourt Construction, the company’s construction management function, making significant contributions to many of the company’s 19 completed and ongoing developments, bringing deep expertise in the development and oversight of construction budgets, schedules and project teams.

He currently oversees five active construction projects in the Greater Toronto Area, totalling over 2,350 units and $1.5 billion of development value. He is actively involved in the GTA real estate community and is a committee member of the Hold’em for Life Charity Challenge, which is dedicated to raising money for cancer research. The organization has raised more than $42 million since 2006 to be distributed to leading local cancer research centres.

Rob Clifford, co-founder and CTO of Salus, has a passion for developing people as well as software. At Salus, he has built and led a team of engineers in bringing to life a health and safety software platform that mirrors industry best-practice workflows with a high degree of usability.

Despite a lack of prior ties to the construction industry, Clifford saw merit in an idea presented by company CEO, Gabe Guetta, who was running a large high-rise window installation company at the time. Facing challenges around managing his own company’s safety, Guetta approached Clifford for a possible solution. Immersing himself into the industry, Clifford went to work to gain a deep understanding of the regulatory requirements, the processes and the challenges faced by construction companies and their employees when it comes to safety, harnessing that new knowledge into a software platform that solves real challenges for the industry it serves.

Over his 20 years of experience in construction, Rick Morrison has held many roles, including president, area manager, project manager, superintendent, field engineer and estimator, with experience that spans a range of construction projects, including dams, bridges, highways, water and sewer construction, and municipal development.

In the three years since starting Quattro Constructors with only a team of two, the company now numbers more than 100 employees and averages five or more major infrastructure projects a year.

Morrison, a registered professional engineer in B.C. and Alberta, is known as a dedicated and results-oriented manager with an ability to listen, understand and address client needs. Among the key projects that he can count on his resume are the Highway 8 reinstatement, Site C generating station and spillway, Ruskin Dam Generating Station, and the Donald Bridges and Approaches project.

As the company visionary for Steelix, Parm Dhaliwal is focused on creating homes that will make a lasting impression on the neighbourhoods where the company builds. For its Harlo project in Surrey, B.C., he worked with the municipality to increase the density to rezone an initial project of 30 townhomes into 132 much-needed condos. Currently under construction, the project is on track for occupancy by the summer of 2024.

Wanting to get homeowners’ feedback to influence future projects, Dhaliwal has created an online survey to under- stand their needs better. For every survey response, a tree is planted in B.C. to give back to nature.

Using a structured methodology, Dhaliwal creates KPIs for his team to help understand roadblocks and celebrate wins, which he says is fundamentally how the team grows and improves from each challenge.

Moving to Canada in his youth, Octavio Flores soon developed an interest in the construction industry. At 19, he purchased his own equipment and began working on small commercial and residential projects before rising through the corporate construction ranks, winning numerous awards along the way. Today, Flores holds an executive position with Flatiron where he leads a team of over 30 professional staff and oversees projects across Western Canada.

Flores is recognized for his decades of experience in complex projects (worth up to $17 billion) and management of alternative and traditional delivery contracts. He is most notably accomplished in the construction and management of bridges, light rail and high-speed train systems, hydroelectric dams, highways, freeways, airports, tunnel boring, and open surface mining.

Outside of Flatiron, Flores is actively involved in many industry associations. He speaks at his university, volunteers with humanitarian events, and engages his network to help build affordable housing for families in need.

In addition to leading BMG’s real estate division and its current development pipeline of 16 active projects, Milan Mann is also navigating the land redevelopment process at the family-owned firm, from concept through to sales and construction with the company’s general contracting and project management company, Penmat.

BM Group is a family-owned and operated portfolio of companies based in British Columbia, and Mann has been pivotal to the growth and acquisition strategy which has led to the group now consisting of 16 companies. The company is supported by a team of over 400 and has additional offices in the U.S. and India.

Diversity has long been championed at the minority-owned corporation, providing opportunity for those in need of a first chance, and sometimes even a second, to get a foothold in the construction industry.

A leader of equity and diversity initiatives and a devoted supporter of women in construction, Mi Kim is working to ensure that programs impart meaningful change at companies and drive lasting impacts on the industry.

The senior commercial manager for Jacob Bros Construction, a multi-discipline general contractor primarily focussed on heavy civil and building construction, is a people person with the ability to deliver effective and positive change in commercial management, governance and contract management.

In addition to mentoring engineers within her own company, she has spent time facilitating growth of young female engineers through the Women in Engineering group at the University of British Columbia, and earlier in her career, served as an active operations recruiter at university and college career fairs.

Kevin Goldberg began his career working for a company handling liquid solidification on subway tunnel spoils. After experiencing the pain of handling disposal paperwork, the Western University environmental engineering grad began exploring a venture to solve this problem. In 2019, he and fellow engineer Adam Matyja started SoilFLO, software that enables users to manage the movement of excess material across construction projects.

The company has since expanded internationally, with customers in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia in addition to more than 100 customers in Canada, including three LRT subway projects in Ontario.

A disruptor in the earthworks industry, Goldberg’s work has brought a new layer of environmental control to an industry that otherwise did not exist. Quarries and other various rehabilitation projects across Canada can now confidently import soil with a lower risk of contamination.

Kevin Brennan started his career in the concrete field at the age of 17, developing experience as a labourer and dispatcher with Lafarge Canada. He rapidly climbed into higher positions within the organization while attending the University of Ottawa full-time as a student-athlete, completing his honours bachelor of commerce in 2010.

At Lafarge, he served as the project manager for the MHLH Helicopter Support Facilities in Petawawa, Ont., and concrete project manager for the Lansdowne Park Stadium redevelopment project, followed by the Ottawa Light Rail Transit tunnel.

In 2017, he joined Cavanagh Concrete as operations manager, earning a promotion to general manager in February of 2020, and taking responsibility for all day-to-day ready-mix operations of the business. In addition to implementing several new supplier partnerships, he has also led the design of a new concrete production facility site, which is entering the construction phase in the coming months.

A key member of Graham’s senior leadership team, Katie Dempster leads the business relations and development function of Graham’s industrial division, with a focus on new business acquisition as well as supporting customer retention and organic growth opportunities.

Adept at supporting customers in adopting collaborative contract models, she has helped her division build a backlog of business of over $2 billion while achieving $1.2 billion in annual revenues across operations in Western Canada and Ontario, as well as Ohio and Pennsylvania.

She is a member of Graham’s Sustainability Committee and has brought her unique perspective on how energy producers can be part of Canada’s green future via energy transition and greenhouse gas reduction project development. A participant in various industry forums and networking events, including the Construc- tion Owners Association of Alberta (COAA), Canadian Heavy Oil Association (CHOA), and Calgary Women in Energy (CWIE), she is an influencer with peers and customers.

Passionate about the intersection between manufacturing and sustainability, Joseph Gvildys has illustrated that sustainability and profitability can go hand in hand. In Ontario, Gvildys led two major sustainability initiatives that both resulted in carbon dioxide reductions: developing and implementing cement kiln dust (CKD) as an addition to cement to lower the CO2 associated with the product; and leading the conversion of an idle ball mill into a slag grinding operation, which replaced a portion of cement.

In his current role as cement industrial director, he is part of a team working to identify creative uses for captured CO2 and illustrating that the possibility of full carbon capture and sequestration is very real.

In 2021, after a series of promotions in cement distribution, including managing all cement terminals in Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest in the U.S., he was promoted to his current role, and is now responsible for all Lafarge cement plants and grinding stations in the region, overseeing a team of 350 people.

Jordan Clouthier began his PCL career as a field engineer in Ottawa before quickly progressing to project coordinator and then project manager, working on many unique and challenging projects while gaining valuable experience in various sectors, including healthcare, aviation, retail, high security, and commercial and institutional construction.

A civil engineering graduate from Carleton University, he joined PCL in 2008 and has since earned his LEED Green Associate designation.

In addition to working on such major projects as the Bayshore Shopping Centre, Mattawa Plains Compound, and the Ottawa Macdonald Cartier International Airport, he has been recognized at PCL through the company’s High Potential Development Program, which typically selects fewer than 10 participants out of the more than 4,500 employees in PCL’s operations group.