Zach Seymour

Zach Seymour is an accomplished lawyer known for his expertise in construction law, litigation and dispute resolution. Having been involved in numerous high-stakes cases before courts and commercial arbitration tribunals in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan, as well as at the federal level, Zach enjoys both thorough knowledge of the law and rare ability to parse the details of how that law is likely to be applied in complex disputes. Such disputes can involve hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars, and just seven years after obtaining his law degree, Zach’s achievements in representing his clients and their interests have made him something of a rising star in legal circles. He also mentors younger lawyers and remains engaged with the community around him, providing pro bono services to – and/or helping to raise money for – disability advocacy groups, low-income persons and un- or under-employed women.

The many reasons for Taylor Lefebre to stand out in Canada’s construction industry includes his pioneering efforts in design, production and paving methods that produce higher quality at lower costs, reduced energy consumption and lessened environmental impacts. He has shared some of his breakthroughs not just with colleagues, but also as an award-winning technical author and presenter. He is an avid participant in industry associations. He works with clients and suppliers alike to keep improving materials and processes, has personally developed software to improve quality control, and has had his innovations earn several accolades for his employer. And he is far from finished. Having entered management in 2017 at just 25 years of age, Taylor now instils the same drive for excellence in members of all his teams, including dozens of entry-level hires he has moulded into intermediate and even senior roles. 

William Schwarz is on the frontlines of helping solve one of construction’s biggest challenges: workforce development. At 36 years old, he is the youngest person to ever serve as executive director of apprenticeship and training at UA Piping Industry College of B.C., overseeing 24 full-time staff, and over 1,100 apprentices. His innovative approaches are helping students find careers in the trades. For example, he developed a program to provide dual credits for part-time training courses for students attending high school. The program allows students, many of which would not otherwise graduate, the opportunity to complete their Level 1 apprenticeship training during class time. William was also instrumental in adapting the college to changing conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, he has been working to develop deeper relationships with Indigenous communities so they can access trades careers. 

It would be impressive enough if Tamara Gavrilenko simply found success in a project management position at EllisDon where she assisted with applying prefabrication methods to long-term care projects. Instead, she has gone much further, founding and running TGV Construction Group Inc. Over the years she has worked to grow her business into a multi-million-dollar company, expanding it from a focus on emergency restoration to offering general contracting services. She also uses her business to benefit the community, and strongly advocates for underrepresented groups in the construction sector. She is a potent example for other women looking to step into leadership roles. 

Sharelle Dayco embarked on her professional journey as an educator but has since dedicated the past 18 years to the dynamic world of construction. Her pivotal role at Novacom has been to develop a highly skilled team while fostering a people-centric culture, something that the company says has been instrumental in driving its success and creating a thriving work environment. Beyond her professional achievements, Sharelle’s unwavering commitment extends to philanthropic endeavors. She passionately contributes her time and effort to Women in Construction events, building homes in El Salvador, and lending her support to initiatives addressing housing challenges in Canada. Sharelle is a strong advocate for fair and equitable hiring practices, particularly in championing the cause of underrepresented groups in the workforce.

Joining FLINT in 2013 as a recruitment administrator and quickly growing into a management position, Sarah Haque is a trailblazing human resources professional whose acumen and leadership have helped FLINT successfully navigate a series of high-profile advancements fostering the company’s growth. Sarah led the integration of more than 700 new personnel during company acquisitions and has made a tangible impact on retention of certain trade positions by pioneering an apprenticeship program with targeted incentives. Sarah’s influence expanded through the introduction of a company-wide competency framework to improve staff development and implementing efficiencies in the human resources function through the enterprise system. Through Sarah’s success in delivering on initiatives to support FLINT’s objectives, she is engaged by all levels of the company for input into strategic objectives. Embodying FLINT’s values, her commitment and contributions have resulted in a reach that extends across the industry.

With extensive experience as a project manager, Ryan Going has overseen a diverse range of projects, spanning from $5 million to well over $100 million in the industrial, institutional, commercial and healthcare sectors across Canada and the U.K. Pomerleau celebrates his proactive approach to promoting well-being in the workplace. Ryan was instrumental in the creation of a comprehensive well-being module at the company that tracks mental health, project progress, and deliverables. Ryan’s passion for innovation is evident on the University of Toronto Academic Tower mass timber project, where he championed the adoption of a prefabricated wall system and contributed to value engineering efforts. Outside the jobsite, Ryan is a member of the Toronto Construction Association’s Young Construction Leaders’ executive committee.

Ryan Brown has worked as insurance broker and risk advisor specializing on transformative high profile infrastructure projects in North America, including the new Ontario Line Subway projects, Miami-Dade Courthouse, and more than 80 others over the past nine years. Ryan takes a highly proactive approach during predevelopment and stakeholder negotiations to execute on the insurance program within budget. Over the past few years, he has developed a new framework for deploying risk advisory services before approaching insurers, adopted creative new structures in the project-specific professional coverage market to unlock much needed capacity, and developed infrastructure portfolio insurance solutions materially reducing costs of coverage. For these and other reasons, he is regarded as one of the top brokers and risk advisors by his clients, which include contractors, developers, owners and public sector entities, and other construction stakeholders.

Ron Lord, an accomplished construction leader in Atlantic Canada, progressed from a labourer to various pivotal roles, including project coordinator, project manager, superintendent, design manager and vice-president. He’s now the driving force behind Cedar Camp Projects, a construction management and development group he founded in 2019, and which has seen continuous growth despite the challenges of a pandemic. Beyond construction, Ron loves to build on all levels, from family, community, businesses, teams and relationships. He’s dedicated to inclusive hiring and training and has welcomed nine Ukrainian teammates in the past year, with plans for more. Ron’s daily mission is turning concepts into reality, always with an eye on community, sustainability and long-term success, and is persistent in his pursuit of excellence in the Canadian construction industry.

Patrick Wilson started working full-time for Kiewit while he was still studying for his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Once he graduated, his career really took off. He now has 18 years of experience in the construction industry, almost half of which have been in project management. He currently has responsibility for the transportation, marine and foundations markets in Western Canada, a portfolio that generates about $300 million in annual revenue. These figures are especially impressive given that Kiewit only entered the marine and foundations markets in that part of the country in 2019. Patrick combines technical competence with a great head for business and a knack for communication, all of which have propelled him from one success to another. He also mentors three or four new project managers every year and is an avid supporter of – and participant in – efforts to recruit and retain more women in the industry.

Param Dhillon’s achievements speak for themselves. Since taking charge of daily operations at Lafarge’s Winnipeg Pipe Plant, he has made the workplace safer, registering zero health and safety incidents from January 2022 to present. He also has made it more efficient, instituting process and maintenance improvements that have reduced overtime hours by 85 per cent, leading to lower labour costs, stronger employee morale and greater productivity. In addition, Param makes full use of innovation to improve performance, including development of data and efficiency solutions, among them a stock tracker that ensures adequate supplies and minimizes unnecessary downtime, and creation of a plant competency tracker, which helps employees to learn and develop in accordance with company strategic goals. He also continues to develop his own skills and competencies, and generously shares his time with a variety of good causes in the community.

As QM’s National Manager of Special Projects, Nicholas Doucette is known as a passionate advocate for innovation in the pursuit of safer, more sustainable environmental construction projects. Specializing in large scale multi-disciplinary projects, he started with QM as a project coordinator, working his way up to his current role through consistent delivery of his project portfolio. He has been a key part of some of the industry’s largest and most complex projects, including the Sydney Tar Ponds, Victoria and Esquimalt Harbour Dredging Portfolio, Rock Bay Remediation in Victoria, Port Hope Area Initiative, and the Toronto Port Lands Flood Protection and Enabling Infrastructure Project. He currently leads a team of approximately 100 personnel across a variety of competencies, including marine, ecology, soil management, civil, geomatics, quality, safety, and project controls.

Armed with a bachelor of civil engineering from British Columbia Institute of Technology and a master of engineering leadership from University of British Columbia, Mustafa Khalid has excelled in project controls, strategy, business development, process enhancement, technology deployment, and much more during his career. Having brought his expertise from Deloitte to Aecon three years ago, Mustafa has quickly risen up the ranks. His most recent promotion made him senior project controls director for Aecon’s Major Projects West business unit. His contributions have propelled such landmark Canadian projects as the Highway 401 Expansion, Go Rail Expansion On-Corridor Works, and Scarborough Subway Extension Stations, Rail and Systems. His efforts were also instrumental in Aecon’s achievement of the 2022 Building Transformation Best in Innovation and Construction Management awards, highlighting his role in integrating digital technologies and processes for enhanced productivity. 

Scores of Metro Vancouver residents and tourists will have Ming Tian to thank for their year-round fun in the coming years. The accomplished engineer was recently named vice-president of facilities, maintenance and master plan projects at the PNE. Through both building new facilities and transforming existing buildings and lands, Ming has successfully led many large-scale construction projects as a project owner. This included spearheading an upgrade to BC Place Stadium in preparation for the FIFA 2026 World Cup. Committed to continuous improvement, Ming has been an avid advocate for collaborations across the construction industry using Lean methodology. In addition to having a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, Ming also holds a Lean management certificate and is a certified professional engineer. He also holds PMP, FMP, CFM and LEED AP BD+C credentials.

Michael Pham is on the cutting edge of all things digital in construction. He is an accomplished Virtual Design Construction (VDC) manager with numerous achievements and contributions in the industry. He currently serves as a VDC manager at Amico Affiliates where one of his major tasks is overseeing digital twin and digital delivery implementation. Furthermore, Michael is working with the Building Transformations board of directors to spearhead a new initiative within the Building Transformations Think Tank Program. His work has garnered him multiple awards. Notably, Michael led his team to receive the Digitalization Strategy Award in 2022 from Building Transformations for the Paradim Digital Twin – Highway 401 Expansion Project, recognizing their outstanding work in making the project a success. The digital twin platform allowed for seamless collaboration and data collection, streamlining project phases and ensuring data accuracy.

Matt Main is helping push the industrialized construction movement forward with his work at Pitt Meadows Plumbing and Mechanical. Main has pioneered and managed the company’s BIM journey since 2013, transforming its use of various software, increasing the performance of robotics, and more. This had led to success on major projects like residential development for the City of Lougheed, Penticton Regional Hospital, Royal Inland Hospital, the Whitehorse General Hospital expansion, Powell River WWTP and Surrey DES. It also resulted in his promotion to senior BIM manager in 2022. In nominating Matt for this year’s 40 Under 40 in Canadian Construction, his employer noted that his journey from a young apprentice facing a tragic leg loss to becoming a proficient leader of a large BIM team stands as a truly inspirational testament to his resilience and determination.

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Maraika De Groot excels at many things, but perhaps her greatest skill is getting other people to do the same. In addition to leading safety services and project delivery accounts for several clients, she hired 60 per cent of Maven’s workforce in just three years, and her efforts to develop its corporate culture have resulted in multiple “Best Place to Work” awards. Maraika began her career as a geological engineer and has business operations experience in various industries including academia and finance. All of these elements have made her a well-rounded leader with a penchant for recruiting quality applicants, then helping them to fully harness their talents. In addition to her engineering degree, Maraika also holds a masters in management, innovation and entrepreneurship, and her industry and volunteering credits are too numerous to count.

Mackenzie Spurr has delivered on several challenging construction projects during his career, with a focus on safety, environmental stewardship, financial success and client satisfaction. He is currently project director for Spread 8 West of the Coastal GasLink, one of the most difficult sections of pipeline ever built in Canada with more than 400 crossings and eight steep slopes between 35 and 65 degrees. As the recipient of five safety awards during his 13-year career, Mackenzie brought an innovative approach to these challenges that included novel means of bypassing steep slopes, coping with weather-driven time constraints, and getting the pipeline safely across watercourses. He is also actively involved in both industry groups and various community activities.

With over 17 years of experience in the construction industry, Lesley Whitten has an impressive track record that includes leading project management, field operations, engineering and construction on multimillion-dollar grain handling, fertilizer and processing facilities in Western Canada. Lesley brings a passion for construction execution as she leads the operations for all of Todd & Sargent in Canada, a key and critical player in agricultural industrial construction. Lesley is passionate about the connection between the field staff and the office staff, believing that the key to a successful project is having close connections between the two. Her leadership skills are not only based on experience, but her ability to influence people around her to develop their own soft skills including intuition, conflict management, negotiation and relationship building with the consistent goal of achieving win-win outcomes.

Lauren Cooper has taken on many challenging projects during her 11 years in the construction industry. Starting with project managing a 10-million-dollar facility at the Calgary Airport as a student intern, she has overcome everything from COVID-induced delays to poor site conditions to deliver for clients throughout her career. Taking on increasingly challenging and larger projects, she is now working on a unique multi-hundred-million-dollar tower in downtown Kelowna, B.C. As one of Ledcor’s youngest senior project managers, Lauren is very aware that she is helping blaze a trail for other women to follow in construction. Lauren also takes her role as a mentor to other employees very seriously, taking pride in organizing and supporting many communities through charity fundraising events.