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Conestoga grads honoured for top Cambridge businesses

March 23, 2018 - Conestoga College News

Businesses operated by Conestoga graduates were in the spotlight at the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence awards held on March 22, taking top honours as Businesses of the Year in both categories.

Blendtek Fine Ingredients is focused on developing innovative new technologies, food systems and ingredients to address the need to feed a growing world population. It was named Business of the Year for companies with one to 49 employees. President Steve Zinger, a 2006 graduate from Conestoga’s Business Administration - Marketing program, launched the business after completing his studies. Annual sales now exceed $8 million.

In addition to Business of the Year, Zinger was also honoured with the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Collaborative Structures Limited (CSL), a company that provides construction management, general contracting and design-build services for the industrial, commercial, institutional and residential sectors, was honoured as Business of the Year for companies with 50 or more employees. President David Timlock, the company partners and many of the employees are graduates of Conestoga.

CSL has been honoured with numerous building excellence and design awards and in 2015, was named as Business of the Year by the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce for companies with one to 49 employees. Currently, the company serves as general contractor for Conestoga’s Waterloo campus expansion project.

“I am delighted to offer my most sincere congratulations to these exceptional companies and all of this year’s award nominees and recipients,” said Conestoga President John Tibbits. “We are very proud to contribute to the success and prosperity of our region through career-focused education that prepares graduates to embrace real-world challenges, strive for excellence and make a real difference to their communities.”

Conestoga graduates own more than 3,500 local businesses, ranging from single proprietorships to enterprises with hundreds of employees, from professional health services to construction services. The college’s Centre for Entrepreneurship provides opportunities for students from a wide range of programs to prepare for future success through engagement in applied research, innovation and commercialization activities. 

For a list of all 2018 Business Excellence Awards recipients, visit the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce.

The City of Guelph wins two Ontario Public Works Association awards

Historic preservation and leadership recognized

January 31, 2018 - The City of Guelph Website

OPWA Award Luncheon-Guelph Transit Terminal

The City of Guelph wins two Ontario Public Works Association awards Historic preservation and leadership recognized Guelph, Ont., January 30, 2018– The Ontario Public Works Association (OPWA) has recognized Guelph’s commitment to historical preservation and restoration. The City was presented with the award for 2017 Project of the Year for Historic Restoration/Preservation in the less than $2 million category for the Guelph Transit Terminal Renovation. Steven Di Pietro, Construction Engineering Technologist for the City of Guelph, was also presented with the 2017 Wall Wells Young Leader Award. The awards were presented at the OPWA’s Annual General meeting in Mississauga on January 25.

The Transit Terminal, originally built in 1911, has been in continuous operation for over 100 years. The Association noted the complex nature of the project including the requirement of three levels of Government heritage-designation approvals and exterior and interior improvements to restore the building’s historical finishes while upgrading it to meet current standards for accessibility, security and communications. The City also worked closely with the Ministry of Natural Resources to ensure habitat protection for the rare Eastern Chimney Swift, a threatened species that sometimes live in old chimneys.

“The City of Guelph is very pleased and proud to accept the award for historic restoration,” says Mario Petricevic, general manager of facilities management at the City, speaking at the awards ceremony, “Thank you to the Association for recognizing the efforts of our project team.”

Petricevic applauded the work of the project team, recognizing project manager, Rob Broughton, architect Janet Stewart and her team at Thomas Brown Architects, general contractor Jim Blair and his team at Collaborative Structures Limited, and the sub-contractors on all teams.

“To complete any project on time and on budget takes team work, collaboration, cooperation and strong leadership,” said Petricevic. “This team was definitely a clear example of what can happen when these qualities are adhered to and demonstrated by all parties.”

Leadership in engineering

The OPWA hands out the Wally Wells Young Leader Award in recognition and encouragement of young OPWA members who have demonstrated a commitment to the profession and the Association, and who show potential for future growth. As the current chair of the OPWA’s Young Professionals Committee, Steven Di Pietro has represented the highest standards for his industry, working with the Association to promote new membership and enhance networking opportunities, especially for young professionals.

“Steven has been a welcomed addition to the City’s engineering team, where he uses his experience and knowledge to prepare detailed designs for road projects,” said Antti Vilkko, manager of design and construction. “I know I speak for our entire team when I say that this award is well deserved and we congratulate him on this achievement.”

Westinghouse building restored to former glory, then some

Hamilton office building, closed 30 years, is being transformed. Its first tenant is an architectural firm

January 6, 2018 - Hamilton Spectator

Westinghouse newpaper photo

It's colder in the former Canadian Westinghouse head office building than it is outside.

It's -12 C on Sanford Avenue on a December day, yet the four people leading us on an icy tour of the long vacant building are so optimistic about its future they radiate warmth.

"The space in this building is phenomenal because it has incredible history and architectural details," says architect Joanne McCallum.

The Westinghouse office building, at 286 Sanford Ave. N., is being reborn and McCallum Sather Architects have signed on as the first anchor tenants. They will occupy the 10,000-square-foot second floor, with a move-in date set for June 1.

It's been at least 30 years since there were desks and switchboards here, and business being conducted in this building. Yet evidence of its grand history is visible behind the boarded up windows and shackled doors. The terrazzo floors with marble borders live under layers of dust. The ornate pillars, the panelled office of the president, and the decorative ceiling in the auditorium remain.

It's this history that attracted Meir Dick and Ray Hutton to the lonely building north of Barton Street East. They are partners in the financing, design, construction, and management of the building on behalf of the investors.

"For us, we always try to retell the story of Westinghouse," Dick is saying as we tour the light-filled second floor where banks of windows, at least 40, are being replaced. "The Westinghouse story is its long history as an economic industrial power and major employer of 11,000 people in Hamilton alone."

The Canadian Westinghouse head office was built in 1917, designed by Prack & Perrine, the predecessor to Prack & Prack, designers of the Pigott building and Lister Block.

The five-storey brick and stone building (two more storeys were added in 1928) became a landmark in the Barton and Sanford area.

The large, arched windows of the ground floor and decorative keystones and cornices were key elements in the building's dignified design and projected a proud corporate image.

Nearby, the Westinghouse plant was evolving from making railroad air brakes to becoming a major manufacturer of gas turbines, transformers, water wheel generators, circuits, stoves, toasters, and refrigerators.

The Westinghouse success story and its place in Hamilton history is a major reason Ray Hutton, a native of Hamilton, got involved in the project.

In the only heated space in the building he shows images of the original blueprints for it and talks of discovering old photos in the Ontario Archives and McMaster Library.

There are photos of elegant dinners in the Westinghouse boardroom and of the ornate auditorium complete with projection booth. His family, through the Hutton Foundation, is providing a portion of the financing for the redevelopment.

"The project is significant to our family as Hamiltonians, because we see it as having the potential to be a catalyst in the revitalization of the Barton commercial corridor as well as the community at-large."

The Westinghouse office building faces the big open space of Woodlands Park. It's close to the community minded 541 Eatery & Exchange and the Barton Public Library. The area is changing and the plans for the building, the partners believe, fit right in.

There is 50,000 square feet of commercial office space, and about 30,000 square feet available for food or event space. That space could be used to bring the community in and contribute to the revival on Barton.

"When the building is full, there are so many windows here, we will have eyes on the street," McCallum says.

McCallum Sather is already working on plans for their office space, but they are also the architects and mechanical and heritage consultants for the entire project.

"We are aiming for net zero carbon," says architect Greg Sather.

Sustainable systems will be worked into the building, and for their space they are designing the office of the future.

"There will be no assigned desks," McCallum says gleefully.

In Hamilton, there is no shortage of vacant office space, but class A space like what the Westinghouse headquarters will have to offer is in short supply, according to McCallum.

Hutton and Dick say that two more prime tenants are close to signing.

Twenty years ago Siemens bought Westinghouse, but by 2010 it had moved the Hamilton gas turbine jobs to the United States. Now, Empire Steel occupies portions of the 620,000-square-foot plant.

It took much longer to find a purpose for the elegant office building.

In 2001, the city took possession of 286 Sanford for tax arrears. They estimated it would take $5 million to repair the heritage designated building. It was put up for sale as surplus property and bought for $200,000 in 2003.

The new owners are not saying how much it will cost to bring back the Westinghouse headquarters building but their commitment is on view at the job site. Many of the 300-plus windows have been duplicated and replaced, and rubble and refuse cleared.

"This office building was their crown jewel," says Dick. "We want to celebrate the Westinghouse heritage and bring it back."

Promoting Fair and Open Tendering at Queens Park

April 5, 2017 by Karen Renkema - Progressive Contractors Association of Canada

PCA held a suabout_us_CSLnews_PCAphotoccessful Lobby Day at the Ontario Legislature last month. It was an opportunity for us to meet with more than a half dozen PC Caucus members as well as Labour Minister Kevin Flynn and Cambridge MPP, Kathryn McGarry, the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.

We continue to raise awareness about the benefits of fair and open construction tendering. Our message is about fairness for contractors, workers, municipalities and taxpayers. As you know, a loophole in Ontario’s Labour Relations Act restricts construction competition, which shuts out contractors and workers and forces too many municipalities to pay a premium for infrastructure work. We had some interesting conversations about the issue and will continue to push forward to make a strong case for fair and open tendering when we meet with officials in the City of Toronto.

Over the coming months, we will be capitalizing all opportunities to raise further awareness and galvanize support. We will keep you updated on our continuing progress.