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We’re halfway through our 70 Acts of Good to celebrate our 70th Anniversary and we want to tell you what we’ve been up to! We shared our full plan in a blog at the end of October and we are very excited about what we have accomplished so far.

 

We started by kicking off a six-week food drive in our Kitchener office for the Food Bank of Waterloo Region. We’ve been closely connected to the organization for many years through food drives and our yearly Canstruction builds, so including the Food Bank in this initiative was an easy decision. We’ve already smashed our goal of 70lbs of food and we keep adding more to our collection! We also launched a food and gift drive in support of Good Shepherd in Hamilton. We’ve supported Good Shepherd initiatives since we first arrived in Hamilton in 2015.

 

With a change of seasons on the horizon, we turned our attention to those most impacted by the cooler temperatures and donated the monetary equivalent of 70 pairs of socks to ToastyToes Waterloo Region. This annual program helps local shelters support our most vulnerable residents with clear, warm socks – the most requested item by people accessing their services.

 

We teamed up with Community Fridge KW to fill their community fridge for four days earlier in October and it was our first time being involved with this grass-roots organization. They are directly supporting those in need in our community and their new location outside of the Kitchener Market now has a pantry set up to go along with the fridge. If you’re at the Kitchener Market, please consider buying a little extra and adding it to the fridge.

 

Every Wednesday on our Instagram account we are hosting raffles to support local small businesses in Kitchener and Hamilton. Winners from KW win Downtown Kitchener BIA Downtown Dollars and winners from Hamilton chose businesses through the Hamilton Hometown Hub and have picked Bread Bar, Blooms Fresh, Merit Brewing and Hambrgr so far.

 

Last week we hosted a week-long contest for community members to nominate frontline workers to win a free lunch on us. We sent lunch to seven people who’ve worked throughout the pandemic to keep us safe and much-needed services open. Thank you to all the winners!

 

This week we made donations of cat food to both The Humane Society of Kitchener Waterloo and Stratford Perth and the Hamilton/Burlington SPCA. We hope there are some very happy kitties today!

 

We have three more weeks in our 70 Acts of Good campaign and we can’t wait to share what else we have been working on!

 

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The year is 1951. Kitchener is nearly 45,000 people strong with a vibrant shopping district, a healthy textile industry, and a newly erected Memorial Auditorium Complex. The city is booming, and eager to support a metropolis on the rise, our founders Herman Walter and Bill Roberts open a mechanical and electrical engineering firm. Tucked in an understated office on Francis Street with only a handful of staff, the two would launch HK Walter & Associates — a firm that, in the years that followed, would grow to include architecture, full-service engineering, and construction management, undergo three name changes, employ hundreds of staff, expand to three offices, and help weave the remarkable tapestry that is Waterloo Region and beyond.

 

It’s now 2021. Kitchener’s population has soared to 571,000 people, and the textile manufacturing facilities that drove the economy in the 50s have since been transformed into start-ups, tech hubs, and trendy apartments. The office space where it all started has since been wiped from the map and is now a vacant parking lot and future site of a 44-storey glass monolith. In our 70 years of business, there isn’t much that hasn’t changed, but one important thing remains: we continue to have the privilege of shaping the communities we call home through our work.

 

As we reflect on our history, we can happily recount the projects that helped put us on the map. But anniversaries, at their core, are more than a list of accomplishments. They are a celebration of a beautiful relationship. And so, as we celebrate our 70th year in business, we turn our attention to the community that has trusted us to play a leading role in enhancing the world around them, and in so doing have provided meaningful employment for so many. Thank you.

 

“In the past 70 years, WalterFedy has had many incredible employees grace our hallways to help build us into the company we are today,” says Garth Cressman. CEO. “We wouldn’t be where we are without the people who helped us grow and the community that supported us in that growth for the past 70 years.”

 

In honour of our anniversary, we will be performing 70+ Acts of Good in our community from now until December. It is one small way we can demonstrate our gratitude for the communities that continue to inspire and support the work we do.

 

  • Buying lunch for 7 frontline workers
  • Giving away 7 gift certificates to support local businesses in Kitchener and Hamilton
  • Buying 7 bags of cat food for the KW Humane Society and 7 more for the Hamilton-Burlington SPCA
  • Buying 7 essential household items for the YWCA supportive and affordable housing project
  • Filling up the community fridges in Kitchener and Hamilton for 7 days
  • Cleaning up 7 parks before the snowfall
  • Raise 70 lbs of food and donate 70 meals to the Waterloo Region Food Bank and the Hamilton Food Share
  • Planting 70 trees through the Grand River Conservation Foundation
  • Donating funds for the equivalent of 70 pairs of socks to the Toasty Toes Campaign


Keep up with us on Instagram and LinkedIn to engage with and follow our campaign.

 

WalterFedy’s History

1951 – HK Walter and Associates is formed, offering mechanical and electrical engineering services

1969 – Structural and civil engineering services are added to our offerings while HK Walter and Associates becomes Walter Fedy McCargar Hachborn

1971 – Architects Horton & Ball Ltd join our team

1974 – Construction management services are added, allowing us to provide start to finish design and construction services to our clients

1991 - Walter Fedy McCargar Hachborn becomes the Walter Fedy Partnership

2011 – The team moves to a new LEED CI Certified office and becomes WalterFedy

2014- AEC Developments is created to independently manage the construction management arm of the business

2015 – WalterFedy opens a new office in Hamilton with mechanical, electrical, structural, and civil engineers. Energy and Carbon Solutions is added to our service offerings.

2018 – Architecture is added to the suite of services offered in Hamilton

2019 – The Hamilton Team gets a new consolidated home in the downtown core

2021 – WalterFedy commits to achieving Beyond Zero Carbon, offsetting all carbon emissions plus an additional 10%. We also open a new office in Toronto.

 

 

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Morwick Groundwater Research Centre

 

The Morwick Groundwater Research Centre, designed by the architecture and engineering team at WalterFedy, has received Outstanding Project status for excellence in educational facility design in the Fall 2021 edition of LEARNING BY DESIGN.

 

The publication features eighty-one recently completed educational facilities across North America, vetted by a panel of six architects and facility professionals. The scoring criteria included several pillars crucial to learning environment excellence, including transparency, connectivity, safety, sustainability, great interiors, purposeful design, and sophistication.


The judges offered the following comment:
"The Net Zero Carbon approach is commendable, something for which the community can be grateful for, which benefits society as a whole. Preserving the existing barn is tremendously beneficial to the environment, as are the other measures indicated. Exposed structure becomes a theme and a point of continuity between program spaces. The building is appropriately scaled and reflects the nature of the earth-science focus.” 

 

About the Morwick Groundwater Research Centre

The Morwick Groundwater Research Centre was designed to generate global respect for groundwater. The expanded facility will allow the University of Guelph to increase and intensify their efforts to conduct leading-edge groundwater education, training, technology advancement, and research. The Centre will be an important multi-functional hub for groundwater-related activities, operating as a teaching and research facility for students and faculty, a venue
for collaboration between the University and industry and investment partners, and a public education resource.

The design reflects the concept of vernacular architecture, leveraging local, natural materials to connect the building to the lands on which it is built. Low-profile, sloped rooves tie the addition into the pre-existing context creating a harmonious juxtaposition between the built and natural environment. Expansive windows throughout the facility invite natural light into the space and remind staff, students, and researchers of the direct link between their work and the world around them. Slate and neutral tones dominate the interior, with subtle rock and wood accents to bring the beauty of the outside into the working and learning environment. 


The facility was designed to be Net Zero Carbon and uses no natural gas. Instead, the design leverages an air-sourced heat pump for heating and cooling. The solar panel will provide enough power for interior lighting demand with additional battery storage to store excess power. Insulation in the building surpasses Ontario Building Code requirements by 50%.

 

 

View the original press release here.
View an e-version of the magazine here.

Learn more about the Morwick Groundwater Research Centre

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This year marks our 8th annual year participating in the Hockey Helps the Homeless (HHTH) tournament to help raise funds in support of five local charities. This year, Lutherwood, House of Friendship, Cambridge Shelter Corporation, oneROOF Youth Services, and YW K-W Emergency Shelter will split the funds raised at the tournament, set to take place on Friday, October 29th.

 

Our Team Captain, Patrick Darby, has been involved with HHTH since WalterFedy began participating in 2014. When asked why he joined the team all those years ago, he had many reasons. “First and foremost, I share WalterFedy’s corporate value of community involvement,” he shares. “It’s also a great opportunity for our employees to come together to support important fundraising initiatives in the community.”

 

This year, the day of the tournament will be structured a little differently, but that hasn’t dampened any of the anticipation for gameday. “With current Public Health guidelines in place, the tournament will look a little different but that won’t stop us from enjoying the day,” said Patrick. “With the cancellation of last year’s tournament, we’re eager to hit the ice this year.”

 

In past years, our HHTH team organized various fundraising events in the office to help meet the team’s fundraising goal. Because of COVID-19, the team has been unable to host their usual events like the much-anticipated company barbecue, jeans and jersey day, and bake sale. This has forced our participants to double down on their individual fundraising efforts to meet the team’s fundraising goal of $15,000.

 

In addition to organizing the team and fundraising leading up to the event, as Captain, Patrick is also responsible for team coordination on the day of the tournament. But it can’t be all work and no play for the team. “I really like hockey, so this is a natural fit for me,” explained Patrick.

 

We couldn’t complete our interview without asking Patrick if WalterFedy has ever brought home the winning trophy. “Well no. But it doesn’t matter! It’s not the driver behind why we’re there. It’s about hitting the ice to support local organizations doing great work in our community.”

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Employee appreciation is more than just recognizing the excellent work our team has done; it’s about acknowledging their value in the organization. Gratitude for our employees increases motivation, creates connections with our colleagues, builds trust, and ultimately makes us work better together like a well-oiled machine! 

That’s why, on top of our regular recognition efforts, we host an annual Employee Appreciation Week (EAW) – because really, where would we be without our employees? Our people are invaluable assets to our organization, and that calls for a celebration. 

 

This year, we tackled EAW in a hybrid work setting. With some employees working from home and some returning to the office, our festivities remained low-key, as things continue to slowly open back up in our communities. 

 

To set the tone for the week, leaders prepared personalized, handwritten thank you cards which included messages of recognition and appreciation signed by all the Partners at WalterFedy/AEC. Everyone was also invited to choose a branded swag item including cozy Roots zip-ups, windbreakers, Bluetooth headphones, and vegan leather duffel bags. 

 

We continued the tradition of daily gift card and big-ticket prize draws, with offerings from local restaurants and bakeries, trendy home gadgets and appliances, invigorating spa packages, ski passes, and more! Our winners were able to choose any prize and have it delivered directly to their doorstep. 

 

We rounded out the week with a socially distant, COVID-friendly afternoon at the movies to see Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,  complete with a classic popcorn snack and drink combo. 

 

We leave the week feeling exceptionally grateful for our team and their ongoing contributions. Beyond that, we are proud of their adaptability,  and how they have continued to thrive even under the uncertain circumstances COVID-19 presented throughout the year. 

To each and every one of you, thank you!

 

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It is with a very heavy heart that we share the tragic news that Roger Farwell, a long-time member of our team and former Partner, has passed away.

 

Roger was instrumental in positioning WalterFedy as a strong architectural partner within the Waterloo Region and beyond. As an avid community supporter, he was a huge driver of WalterFedy’s commitment to community building for many years. Roger was passionate about everything he touched and was always looking for ways to make the Waterloo Region the best place to live and work.

 

 

Roger’s many awards and accolades speak to the quality of man he was and the important role he played in not only shaping WalterFedy, but the world around him. In 2015, he received the Waterloo Award, which is Waterloo’s highest civic honour given to community members who have helped enhance the quality of life for all in Waterloo. Also in 2015, Roger was inducted into the GVCA Hall of Fame for the incredible mark he made on the construction industry in the Waterloo Region.

 

In September 2014, he was the recipient of the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award. This award honours individuals who volunteer their time to help others, creating a smarter and more caring nation. That same year, he received the Michael R. Follett Community Leader Award, which recognizes an individual’s commitment to the community in which they live and work. In 2010, he received the second annual Waterloo Region Record Barnraiser Award in recognition of his significant volunteer involvement with organizations such as Participation House, Junior Achievement, and KW Counselling.

 

His project work at WalterFedy was just as extensive as his community work. He was responsible for the direction of some of our most successful projects including the KidsAbility Centre for Child Development, the John McGivney Children’s Centre in Windsor, numerous Police Headquarters and Divisions, and YMCAs across the province.

 

He was also meticulous in his commitment to understanding and capturing client’s visions, which is why he was so greatly respected and appreciated by his team members and his clients. When leading a pursuit, he was always inclusive of the whole pursuit team and showed that highlighting the strengths of everyone is what makes WalterFedy shine.

 

Roger’s commitment to building lasting relationships – even as he spent more time with his family and less time at work over the last few years – set him apart. He was an insightful and patient mentor for many people across the company, especially in the Architecture group. His passion for developing people into strong professionals and community advocates will be his legacy at WalterFedy.

 

Roger will be greatly missed, and our thoughts are with his family at this time.

 

Garth Cressman, CEO, and Jamie Van Dyk, Board Chair

 

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Exterior photo of Cooksville Go Station track and transit hub.

 

The International Parking and Mobility Institute recently honoured Metrolinx’s Cooksville Go Station with an Excellence in Architectural Design award in their June publication of Parking & Mobility Magazine. The project, conducted in partnership with Infrastructure Ontario, includes a new station with upgraded pedestrian tunnels, platforms, and an overhead pedestrian bridge; a civic plaza; a bus loop; and a six-storey parking structure with 1,900 spaces for commuters. 

 

Servicing a corridor with the third-highest ridership of the seven rail corridors in Ontario, the Cooksville GO Station is an important node in the Province’s transit system. Metrolinx’s goal was for Cooksville to evolve into a major mobility hub connecting users to larger transportation networks. 

 

As Project Architect on the station, WalterFedy’s architectural team worked closely with the Design Architects, NORR Architects & Engineers, to ensure the facility anchored the Cooksville GO Station with iconic architecture to create a sense of placemaking at the urban and human scale. The facility’s most notable feature is the geometric mesh façade abstracted with long, slotted cut-outs. The cladding adds texture and movement to the building and has the unique characteristic of transfiguring the façade with the changing position of sun and shadow.  

 

The system was designed to maximize natural light and airflow while minimizing light disruption in the surrounding neighbourhoods. The design team also employed Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles and accessibility standards to ensure passive supervision of the parking structure. The design is meant to increase the user experience and ease of use for all, regardless of ability or need.  

 

Congratulations to everyone who had a hand in making this project a grand success!

 

You can view the full project profile in the IPMI Parking & Mobility e-magazine on pages 60-61. 

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WalterFedy was honoured today with a Hamilton Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Business Achievement Award in the category of Large Business. This award celebrates the achievements of a local business with over 50 employees in the areas of entrepreneurship, employee relations, promotion of Hamilton, community relations, and product innovation over the past year.

 

WalterFedy has called Hamilton home since 2015, when we opened our second Ontario office in the Hamilton Port Authority building. Just four years later we moved into a new home in the heart of downtown Hamilton, where we are surrounded by big-thinkers, entrepreneurs, and industry trailblazers. The culture of innovation and artistic expression in this city inspires the work that we do. We are excited to be part of Hamilton’s transformation from an industrial haven, into a vibrant business and cultural hub in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). We look forward to being a part of this community and bolstering its success for many years to come.

 

Congratulations to this year’s winners and all those nominated who continue to make Hamilton a great place to live and work.

 

Small Business: Laser Spa Group

Mid-Sized Business: Eccles Auto Service

Not-for-Profit: Amity Goodwill Industries

Young Entrepreneur & Professional: Lohifa Pogoson Acker

Accessibility Award: TownePlace Suites Hamilton

COVID Champion: Good Shepherd

Century Award: YWCA Hamilton and YMCA Hamilton Burlington Brantford and

Citizen of the Year: Paul Johnson and Dr. Elizabeth Richardson

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This past year has been a whirlwind of activity for our firm, from transitioning to fully remote work, to celebrating our 70th year in business, to welcoming a new CEO. One of our most significant achievements came at the beginning of 2021 with the launch of a new committee, dedicated to ensuring our organization is diverse, equitable, and inclusive. It was a significant step for our firm, which up until this point opted for a more neutral stance toward DEI-related topics. So, what changed?  

 

This time last year, with Pride month on the horizon and the recent news surrounding the death of George Floyd, two of our employees had the courage to say, “we can do better.” 

 

Allegra Friesen, an Intern Architect at WalterFedy, had been discussing equity with her friends and family for ages, but these most recent events, coupled with her own ADHD diagnosis, prompted her to rethink her allyship. When Allegra reflected on what this might mean for her workplace, she had some big ideas but didn’t quite know how to begin enacting change.  

 

Allegra broached the subject of diversity and inclusion with her mentor, Russ Parnell, a senior structural engineer and partner at WalterFedy. A father of two, Russ was also learning to introduce and navigate conversations about inclusion at home.  

 

“Now is the time to demonstrate our leadership and integrity to inspire others to action and to work to build truly equitable communities by acknowledging and addressing our own systemic biases,” Allegra recalls telling Russ. Allegra’s passion was met with enthusiasm and, with a leadership meeting on the horizon, they decided to have Russ put the topic in front of some of the business’ most influential decision makers.  

 

In tandem, Shelby Johnson, an Asset Management Specialist/Building Science EIT, was also moved to action, and scribed a letter to management asking the company to join in on the conversation:  

 

“I cannot speak for the people of [other communities], but I can speak as a person of the LGBTQ+ community. I notice. When I walk down the street, and I see a rainbow flag in the window of a shop or restaurant, I notice. I think it’s important for WalterFedy to show support for these communities and the staff members who are a part of them. We are a community of roughly 200 people that are individually unique, inspirational, and important. To me, the voice of each and every staff member is important and should be heard.” 

 

Shelby proposed the initiation of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee with the goal of providing awareness to staff and liaising between other committees and departments regarding matters of equity in our company and community. 

 

The feedback from Shelby and Allegra was a catalyst for management to think critically about our operations and the implications of choosing neutrality over vocality. “Our ambition is to enhance the world around us, and we can only achieve that if our best changemakers, our people, feel safe, seen, heard, and supported in our office and the world outside of it,” said Garth Cressman, CEO and Partner.  

 

Acknowledging the intricacies that would come with launching conscientious discussions around DEI,  WalterFedy hired an external consultant to guide us through the process. Over the course of many months, Stacey Alderwick, of Alderwick and Associates, supported our team through the process of thinking critically about DEI, and helped us map out terms of reference that would guide the formation of a new employee-led DEI committee.  

 

"We knew there were things we wanted and needed to change, but we wanted to do it with intention," said Victoria Campbell, Director of Human Resources. “Stacey has been instrumental in helping us practice corporate introspection.” 

 

The creation of the DEI committee has been the first step in a journey toward responsible and equitable business practices. We acknowledge that to make meaningful change we need a collaborative and iterative process, and we will continue to work with our committee and employees to move forward toward positive change. 

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Leveraging inspiration from our new strategic plan, last October I sat down with our Sustainability Advisory Committee to discuss what bold steps we could take to reaffirm our commitment to sustainability and enhancing the world around us. We had just purchased carbon offsets for 2019 and for the first time in WalterFedy’s almost 70-year history, we could say that we were a carbon-neutral company. While we were excited about this big step we wondered where we could go from here.

 

One of our core values at WalterFedy is Integrity. Integrity means that we “do the right thing,” and not just when it’s convenient. We had set strong carbon reduction goals with Sustainable Waterloo Region and we felt we had done a good thing in purchasing carbon offsets, but we also knew we needed to do more. A true commitment to the environment comes through real organizational and operational change and not just strategic giving.

 

We used this as a springboard to propel our firm toward more substantive changes and set to work in building an ambitious plan to present to our board. Our proposal included a commitment to aggressively cut our greenhouse gas emissions from our 2017 levels by 60% by 2030, all while purchasing enough carbon offsets annually to offset our remaining emissions - and pull us 10% below zero emissions. The board overwhelmingly supported our initiative.

 

Our largest carbon footprint is linked to transportation-related emissions – more specifically in Employee Commute and Business Travel. Our Sustainable Advisory Committee is currently working to develop strategies to help us achieve our reduction goals, but we know that we will all have to work together to realize this ambitious vision. 

 

Beyond the carbon emissions directly linked to our employee’s daily activities, we know that our team can make an even greater impact on the world around us through our design and construction activities. As a firm, we are committed to improving the materials and methods used in our projects so that the spaces we design and construct have minimal impact on the environment.

 

Our Sustainability Advisory Committee is actively developing an implementation plan to integrate The Canada Green Building Council’s (CaGBC) Zero Carbon Building Standard and additional sustainable design measures in all our work.

 

Learn more about our corporate sustainability goals.

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