B.C. construction industry celebrates leadership
By Adam FreillConstruction Leadership
Awards presented for exceptional contributions to flood and fire responses as part of B.C. Construction and Skilled Trades Month.
Three awards for exceptional leadership were presented to members of the British Columbia construction community as the British Columbia Construction Association (BCCA) capped the celebration of the fifth annual Construction and Skilled Trades Month last week.
The Leadership Awards are an annual opportunity for the industry to acknowledge its outstanding people and companies. This year, the awards recognized those who helped others through the impacts of recent extreme weather events, as well as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Knowing that the homeless population is particularly affected by floods, fires and pandemic, in February of 2021, award winner Scott Construction (Scott) took on the task of construction manager of a 60-bed homeless shelter in Vancouver. The fast-tracked project went from being an empty warehouse with no drawings or permits, to a fully functioning emergency shelter in just six months.
The entire team moved incredibly quickly, while ensuring a quality product and a safe space for the occupants. The synergy between all parties exemplified how Scott produced significant project benefits by having team members work together during the unprecedented challenges of the combined pandemic and homelessness crisis.
The Klahowya Tillicum Lalum shelter (meaning “welcome friend home”) is operated by Lu’ma Native Housing Society and is funded by B.C. Housing.
Another award honouree, Philip Robinson of Pitt Meadows Plumbing and Mechanical (PMP), acted upon learning about the flooding in Abbotsford in November. Being raised on a farm, he knew how devastating the floods would be for so many large family farms.
His company offers vacation time to employees undertaking humanitarian efforts, so Phil was able to spend time helping in the restoration of several properties. There was a crucial moment when a group of people were working day and night to stave off another levee breach and Phil was there with sandbags, helping the farming families.
He also brought PMP’s emergency response trailer to Abbotsford for farmers to use, and his heartfelt efforts motivated PMP to donate to the Red Cross.
Phil and a small group that included three PMP employees went from farm to farm assessing needs and providing assistance. In some cases, they removed drywall, insulation and flooring right after the flooding and then worked on cleaning out the garbage and going into basements and crawlspaces to assist residents.
“Phil has a gift for communicating with people and motivating them to do well and has a big heart for those who are struggling,” stated Sara Searle of Pitt Meadows Plumbing.
The third recipient, Tammy Olsen of Acres Enterprises Ltd., was able to keep field employees safe during the historic B.C. heatwave in June of 2021. In addition to rescheduling work to avoid the hottest times of the day and providing cooling towels, she also checked on the wellbeing of all staff on projects near wildfire areas, reaching out to employees that were being evacuated from their homes or placed on evacuation notice.
When the flooding hit in November, Tammy and site supervisors coordinated emergency procedures for the evacuation of projects. Fortunately, only one site was impacted, where Tammy led the safe evacuation of team members.
“We get through challenging times when we stick together and rise to the level that the situation calls for,” said Chris Atchison, president of BCCA. “These awards celebrate just a few of the thousands of leaders that kept our industry going through flood, fire, and pandemic this past year, and we thank them for everything they do to keep our workforce safe and productive.”