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Construction leaders gathering at CCA Industry Leaders Forum

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by Kelly Lapointe

Industry leaders will be re-thinking the basics of construction at the upcoming Canadian Construction Association's (CCA) Construction Industry Leaders Forum.

Industry leaders will be re-thinking the basics of construction at the upcoming Canadian Construction Association's (CCA) Construction Industry Leaders Forum.

“We’re really looking at re-thinking the basics and really trying to understand if the time-tested ways of doing business still exist in a world that’s changing, in an industry that’s fast-changing,” explained Martha George, president of the Grand Valley Construction Association (GVCA).

She said this year is dynamic because they’re suggesting companies take a step back and look at their progress.

The construction industry is not the same as it was a few years ago and the pace of change is only accelerating.

Foreign completion has entered the Canadian marketplace as has competition with the emergence of new technologies.

“The way our companies are formed, the fibre that makes our companies unique. Does that still stand the test of time? Do we need to change?” she said.

“We have to make sure that our companies are ready, our employees are ready. It’s a paradigm shift in terms of how our companies are thinking and functioning. I think that is kind of the baseline we’re hoping for, to get people to just take another look.”

The event will feature a CCA past chairs’ panel consisting of Tom Brown (2003 chair), Brad Greene (2009 chair) and Paul McLellan (2000 chair), roundtable discussions moderated by Geza Banfai, Senior partner with the national firm of Heenan Blaikie LLP, and a keynote speech from Robert Herjavec, chief executive officer of the Herjavec Group and star of CBC’s Dragon’s Den.

“This year’s Construction Industry Leaders Forum is an excellent opportunity for industry leaders to meet, convene and discuss the future of the Canadian construction industry,” said Dee Miller, CCA chair, in a release.

Other presenters include Alex Carrick, chief economist at Reed Construction Data, and Geoff Smith, president of EllisDon Corporation.

“He (Carrick) really sets the stage by giving a global perspective in terms of what’s happening in the whole construction industry. It really just sets the stage for what it is that we can see coming in the next five, 10, 15 or 20 years, so it’s pretty neat that way,” said George.

The roundtable discussion will focus on what keeps Canada’s construction CEOs awake at night.

“(It’s) really designed to promote open and frank discussion on the topics that are important to the members of the construction industry,” she explained.

“They talk about what’s causing them the most headaches, what are some of the best practices, how do we overcome some of the challenges.”

The goal is for participants to walk away with ideas and that it’s a thought-provoking, action-oriented event. The annual forum usually provides a lot of food for thought. This year it is in Toronto.

Last year featured a panel discussion about the procurement process that involves defense construction.

The program, sponsored by Reed Construction Data, begins with dinner on Oct. 25 followed by the roundtables and presentations on Oct. 26.

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