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For the fifth consecutive year, the WalterFedy team has made the coveted Waterloo Area’s Top Employers list.

 

The annual selection is curated by the team at Mediacorp Canada Inc., best known for administering the Canada’s Top 100 Employers contest. Employers are judged on their ability to offer exceptional workplaces with a focus on physical workplace; atmosphere and social culture; health, financial, and family benefits; vacation/time away; employee communications; performance management; training and skills development; and community involvement.

 

The selection team pointed to WalterFedy’s retirement planning assistance services; retirement savings matching contributions; and vacation, volunteer, and time away policies as reasons for selection. The flexible nature of WalterFedy’s health benefits was also commended.

 

“As people start to return to the workplace, this year’s winners have made it clear that their employees deserve both the time and space to focus on their families, their health, and their education,” says Kristina Leung, Managing Editor at Mediacorp. “Organizations are doubling down on their commitment to flexibility, such as flexible working hours or a health plan that allows employees to tailor coverage to suit their needs.”

 

"Receiving this award for the fifth year in a row is a great achievement for WalterFedy and our team,” says Victoria Campbell, Director, Human Resources. “Our employees play an important role in shaping WalterFedy as we continue to grow. Their suggestions for continuous improvements have been essential to our overall employee experience.”

 

The announcement rounds out an exciting year for the WalterFedy team, which has seen a 22% increase in staff since January. This large jump in staff has also coincided with new initiatives like the roll-out of a people-first culture strategy and the launch of a comprehensive Learning Management System.

 

“As we continue to grow within the Waterloo Region and beyond, we strive to create meaningful work opportunities for our team,” says Garth Cressman, CEO. “We want our employees to love the work they do and love working for us. When our employees are thriving, so is our business.”  

 

View WalterFedy’s award profile on Canada’s Top 100 Employers website along with the full list of Waterloo Area’s Top Employers.

Interested in joining our team? We'd love to hear from you. Visit our careers page for a complete list of open opportunities.

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WalterFedy was among 25 local businesses recognized as one of Waterloo Area’s Top Employers today. This marks the fourth consecutive year that the firm has made the list, carefully curated by the team at Mediacorp Canada Inc, and the fifth win since 2016.

 

The Waterloo Area’s Top Employers competition is part of the larger Canada’s Top 100 Employers contest, now in its 15th year. Employers are judged on eight criteria – physical workplace, atmosphere and social culture, benefits, vacation/time away policies, employee communications, performance management, professional development opportunities, and community involvement.

 

The staff editors at Mediacorp Canada Inc. cited WalterFedy’s pandemic response and vacation policy in their reasoning for selection. The full employer profile is available here.

 

"Hearing from our employees through regular pulse surveys and open forums helped us understand their changing needs as we moved through different stages of the pandemic," said Victoria Campbell, Director of Human Resources. "We continue to adjust our approaches based on the challenges our employees face. Our hope is to maintain this invaluable open dialogue so we can continue to pivot to the needs of our business and our people."

 

“The past few years have been challenging for businesses across Waterloo Region,” said Garth Cressman, CEO. “That we were able to maintain our culture amid a pandemic without compromising on the programs and supports we could offer really speaks to our people. Despite the adversity and uncertainty presented by the pandemic, they continued to drive us forward and challenge us to rethink the workplace.”

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WalterFedy is pleased to announce we have achieved Canada’s Top Small and Medium Employer (SME) status for the third consecutive year. Administered by Mediacorp Canada Inc., the annual awards program recognizes employers across Canada for their exceptional workplace practices and policies. This includes consideration of physical workplace; work atmosphere & social; health, financial & family benefits; vacation & time off; employee communications; performance management; training & skills development; and community Involvement.

 

“These companies have proven to be extremely agile,” says Richard Yerema, Managing Editor of the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project. “Not only were they able to transition employees to working from home right out of the gate, but many already had policies in place that allowed for flexible work. It was simply a matter of extending existing benefits, such as home office allowances and internet subsidies, to make the full transition.”

 

This year, WalterFedy’s RSP contribution matching program, profit-sharing model, and personal development opportunities were among the top reasons behind being selected for this prestigious award.

 

“It is an honour to be recognized as a Canada’s Top SME for another year, especially in the middle of a pandemic,” said Victoria Campbell, Human Resources Director for WalterFedy. “Our leadership and employees continually make a positive impact on our work, clients, and community and this award is a great way to celebrate the efforts of our incredible team here at WalterFedy!”

 

“In professional services, our people are our most valuable asset,” said Garth Cressman, CEO, WalterFedy. “Among other things, this award recognizes our firm for the programs that we put in place to support and develop our teams.  This award reinforces that we are doing the right things to build our business and attract and retain talent."

 

WalterFedy was also recognized by Mediacorp Canada Inc at the end of 2020 as a Waterloo Region Top Employer for 2021.

 

View our 2021 Waterloo Region Top Employer and Canada’s Top Small and Medium Employer award profiles.

 

View our active career opportunities.

 

Read Mediacorp Canada’s official release.

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Without a doubt, working from home comes with just as many opportunities as challenges. For some, it’s afforded the opportunity to spend more time with family and furry friends and less time spent in the car commuting to and from work.

For others, it has meant juggling work while also checking in with a child as they learn virtually. Or more hours than normal spent in front of your computer because you simply can’t seem to log off at the end of the day.

 

Over the past year, we connected with our employees to see how they’ve managed to balance everything life has to offer while working from home. We gathered some helpful tips for staying connected and managing your workload while balancing your mental health. Here’s what our employees had to say:

Maria Valderrama, Structural EIT, suggests breaking up your day with some time outdoors. Take a pause and disconnect from work for a bit mid-day. Whether you are walking your dog, taking a jog, or sitting on your front porch with a coffee, it is important to take a break from your workspace. The fresh air and natural light leave you refreshed and ready to take on the rest of your day.

 

Maria Melo, Architect, says over communicate. "Working remotely requires you to over communicate. Inform your team about your schedule and availability. When you finish a project or important task, say so. When you have a vacation planned, let clients and coworkers know about it. Over-communicating doesn't mean writing a novel on your day, but it does mean repeating yourself. Clear communication via the correct channels can be very effective."

 

Architectural Technologist Matthew Fraboni has found to-do lists to be a helpful tip to manage his day. Creating a to-do list with goals for the next day allows him to prepare. It gives opportunity to structure the day and focus on a task.

 

Project Administrator, Sheri East says to make your space your own. Keep it clean, functional, and add items that bring you happiness. It might be a plant, a photo of something or someone you love, a piece of art that speaks to you, or a favourite mug. A joyful space equals a joyful attitude!

 

Katie McQuaid, Team Leader of our Marketing and Business Development team, shares a tip on how to handle your work with two small kids at home. Katie’s advice is to embrace the distractions! Whether the phone rings, the washing machine breaks, or your kids need a bit of TLC (or just want more snacks), distractions are inevitable. Allow them to happen and go with the flow. Chances are, your team will understand that you wear multiple hats when working from home and that you’re doing your best to balance everything.

 

Jacob Gibbs, Team Leader of our Enterprise technology team had this to share: "Stay Connected. With technology, working from home does not equal working in isolation. It is important to keep your team’s spirit fueled by scheduling calls and meetings as normal. Be sure to check in with colleagues to see if they are managing. Schedule a virtual coffee break with coworkers to stay linked!"

 

At the end of the day, we’re all human, and we’re all in this together!

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It’s May. The office in Kitchener is quiet save for the occasional groan-creak of a tape dispenser. As Chief Operations Officer, Mark Christensen was acutely aware of the red tape that would come with reopening an office during a pandemic, but he could never have anticipated how literal that tape would be. Proposed traffic flow patterns in hand, he paces the office pretending he is Amanda Knopf, then Paul Rodriguez, then Fei Wei. Does the flow make sense for everyone? He marks out conflicts and changes on the floor with a bold red X of tape.

 

As he moves about the office, he thinks about the Hamilton location. The 10-storey building comes with its own set of logistical challenges: three elevators, narrow stairways, multiple tenants, a high-traffic lobby, washrooms with controlled access. The return to office plan will be much less straightforward than the Kitchener location.

 

Later he will check in with Leadership—they’ve been meeting almost daily for the past six weeks to discuss the company’s next steps. Then he’ll need to circle back with Jy, AEC, Enterprise Technology, Human Resources, and Business Development. Just as the to-do list starts to shrink, it surges again for everyone.

 

Calling this an operational exercise is an understatement. Since March it has been simultaneously a sprint and a marathon. With a steady stream of information and hodge-podge restrictions rolling in from regulatory bodies, the ground is forever shifting underfoot. But one thing has always been certain – the safety of the team comes first.

 

When Ontario announced the Declaration of Emergency on March 17, 2020, the path forward was crystal clear for leadership. “We decided we're working from home,” said Mark. “That's the best and safest place for all our staff, and that's where we need to be. Period.”

 

Transitioning a staff of over 200 to remote work while maintaining a high level of service is a feat that requires careful thought, planning, and ideally, time. In the early days of COVID-19, time was not on anyone’s side. “There was a lot of pressure on everyone to make the right decisions, and there were tons to be made,” Mark explained. “There was a gravity to the decisions we had to make, with the potential to impact our business. Collectively we wanted to make sure we insulated our staff as best as we could from it.”

 

So how do you plan for the unprecedented? “You don’t navigate that amount of thinking without a team, I’ll tell you that,” Mark laughed. “I very quickly drafted Jy Hamilton and said, Remember that little line on the bottom of your job description that says other duties as assigned? Tag, you’re it. This is going to be unlike anything you've ever done before.”

 

As staff settled into a new routine from home, working groups from across the company banded together to absorb any turbulence and minimize the wake for the rest of the organization. “It was a time full of emotion and stressors that were new to everyone. We were all trying to navigate maintaining a healthy business in a new climate, and at the same time, work from home and fulfill our family roles as partners and parents. It was absolute madness that stretched from very, very early starts to very, very late ends to the days,” Mark reflected. “But there was a real sense, too, of locking arms.”

 

As summer rolled into fall, staff began successfully transitioning back to a reimagined office equipped with directional arrows, increased cleaning protocols, reduced capacity, and a five-page COVID safety plan. “A key part of the success of the plan has been connecting back with staff. It's a continuous improvement thing. Everything evolves and we need to make sure that we check back in to see what’s working and refine as needed,” Mark explained.

 

“[The pandemic] has been a real testament to our ability to adapt and be flexible, and to meet a challenge head-on and actually thrive,” Mark offered.

It is now February. As mandated, the offices are dormant, and staff resume their work from home routine. While the desks are empty, what does remain is a deep sense of optimism and gratitude.

 

“It has been quite an experience. I am thankful for the opportunity it has provided us to learn how resilient we are. We have recognized a need to find a balance, when the time is right, to have the best of both worlds because I think it makes us better and stronger. As I look forward, I think about the opportunities that this learning has presented us. We need to make the best of it.”

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For the third year running, WalterFedy has made the list of Waterloo Area’s Top Employers.

 

The designation, now in its 14th year, recognizes businesses in the Kitchener-Waterloo area that offer an outstanding work experience. Competing workplaces are judged on their physical office space, atmosphere and social culture, benefits, vacation/time away policies, performance management, professional development opportunities, and community involvement.

 

This year, flexibility was the stand-out feature earning WalterFedy a top spot. The judges identified our flexible health spending, flexible work hours, and paid volunteer days as key factors in their decision.

 

"The collaborative efforts of our team at WalterFedy and the engagement of those that work here make all the difference,” says Victoria Campbell, Human Resources Manager.  “It's not a mindset of only a few that create the environment for which we are recognized today. It is the energy and passion of the entire team that enhances our culture and workspace each and every day."

 

Read more about our award.

 

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CEO Garth CressmanKITCHENER, Thursday, October 1, 2020 – The WalterFedy Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Garth Cressman is the new CEO of WalterFedy and AEC.

 

Garth began his career at WalterFedy back in the early 2000s. Fresh out of school and eager to make an impact, he quickly demonstrated an aptitude for mechanical engineering design and leadership. In 2007, Garth changed direction and took on a project management role with a local construction firm. When he returned to WalterFedy in 2014, he brought with him a wealth of experience, an MBA, and a determination to give back to the company that kickstarted his career.

 

“So many people invested in my development as a young engineer here,” says Garth, “I’m honoured to lead the company in developing the next generation of leaders.”

 

The appointment comes on the heels of a new and profound strategic plan, nearly a year in the making.  

 

“As we prepared to launch an ambitious strategy laid out by our Board of Directors, we recognized the need for an agile leader to fully realize the potential in our goals,” says chairman of the board, Jamie Van Dyk. “We are excited by Garth’s enterprising nature and unshakeable drive which are well-matched to the challenge ahead for WalterFedy and AEC. Garth is and will continue to be a strong ambassador in our community and for the firm.”

 

“My primary goal is to help us realize our potential—to self actualize,” say Garth. “In general, we’re well-aligned as an organization, so now we are looking to provide clarity on what makes us special as a firm and in the marketplace.”

 

Garth is the company’s 9th CEO and is taking over for Paul Reitzel as he rounds out his term.

 

ABOUT WALTERFEDY

WalterFedy is a dynamic, integrated firm delivering creative design solutions and practical built environments. Our expertise includes architecture; mechanical, electrical, structural, and civil engineering; energy and carbon management; asset and facilities management; project management; and construction management through our sister company, AEC Developments.

 

Our staff of nearly 200 people serve from two locations in Kitchener and Hamilton. Together, we support clients across Canada with their commercial, healthcare, education, municipal, industrial, and residential projects.

 

--

 

Website – walterfedy.com
LinkedIn – linkedin.com/company/walterfedy/
Facebook – facebook.com/walterfedy
Instagram – Instagram.com/walterfedy 

 

WalterFedy Media Contact
Katie McQuaid
519-576-2150 x229
kmcquaid@walterfedy.com

 

 

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As employers increasingly embrace remote work opportunities, new employees are searching for ways to make their transition to a virtual setting more comfortable. We connected with Esther Kong, Human Resources Generalist, to find out how new remote employees can make a stellar impression, build strong relationships, and hit the ground running. Not only is Esther a leader in recruitment, she is also settling into a new role while working from home. Here are some of her strategies:

 

Get to know your tools

From the outset, identify what technology and tools are essential to your daily operations. Then, ask if there is anything you have at home that can supplement. In the early days, take some time to familiarize yourself with essential programs. If you receive training on special applications, demonstrate you understand how they work. “Share tips, tricks, best practices or shortcuts,” says Esther. “This shows the team they have properly prepared you, and it's one less thing for them to worry about on top of their daily workload.”

 

Identify top priorities

When you begin your new role, make a point of identifying immediate priorities with your manager and determining where you can have the most meaningful impact. “Whatever your team’s needs were before the pandemic are likely different now,” Esther explains. “Understand what the priorities are now, because they may be different from what was initially discussed or laid out in the job description.”

 

Set or take advantage of regular check-ins

Building rapport with colleagues can be tricky without the luxury of proximity and collaboration. If your team holds regular check-ins, schedule your day around it. “Now more than ever, it's important to be present in those meetings,” says Esther. “Even if we can't physically be around each other, we should still maintain close social contact. These meetings offer valuable facetime with your coworkers even though it's online.”

 

A good way to integrate yourself into a team is by sharing anecdotes at the beginning of these check-ins to help break the ice. “You find out all these interesting facts about your coworkers, so they are no longer just a person on the screen to you. It helps you humanize each other,” she adds.

 

Ask questions

Asking a lot of questions is also a strong way to demonstrate commitment to quality. “It’s important to ask clarifying questions to fully understand what needs to be done. It’s always better to take a bit of extra time on the front end rather than jumping in, guns blazing, and having to fix things on the back end,” she says. “This shows others you want to do a good job.”  Your leader will appreciate your initiative, and desire to do something right the first time, and this opens the door for communication for the future. 

 

Be intentional

Being intentional in your interactions with colleagues is important to establishing yourself as a professional. You can show intention by being punctual for meetings and coming equipped with an agenda or meeting notes. “This demonstrates to people that you are someone who takes their work seriously and is respectful of other people's time,” says Esther. She also infuses intention in her daily interactions. “If I reach out to someone, I give them a reason to collaborate with me and try to add value,” she says. “For instance, if I'm sending an instant message to someone, I don’t start by saying hi and wait for the person to answer. It’s a time waster. I want to get my point across in the first message,” she explains. “We're all going through the same thing right now working remotely. Everyone's getting pinged with emails, instant messages, calls, and video chats. I try to be mindful of that.”

 

Welcome feedback

If there’s a sure-fire way to garner respect from your colleagues, it’s acknowledging the value they have to offer. Your teammates are already familiar with processes, personalities, and policies that can impact the success of your projects. A bit of this insight can help provide clarity and remove barriers unbeknownst to you. “I think it's important to establish to everyone on your team that you are respectful of their opinion and trust their expertise. This in turn also encourages further collaboration,” Esther offers. “Mutual respect is key to team dynamic.”

 

Take on some quick wins

While compliance training might not be the most exciting project on your radar, it is essential to onboarding. Tackle this essential training as soon as possible so your team can have your full and focused attention. Once that is complete, you can seek out low-hanging (but important) fruit. “Some tedious tasks that no one wants to do are really easy. Dedicate half an hour or an hour to breeze through it. That's one less thing on the list your team has to worry about.” This is an easy way to build rapport and better positions the entire team to take on priority tasks.

 

Prepare for the physical office

For many starting new roles in our current climate, the virtual work environment is a temporary arrangement. Give yourself a leg up by creating a daily routine that is transferrable. “I don't want that shock to the system, so I've still been getting up early in the morning, going out for my morning runs, getting showered and dressed as though I'm going to work, and keeping my work area organized” Esther says. “The less transitioning you need to do once you return to the office, the better.”

 

Esther also recommends creating a digital parking lot of activities suitable for when your return to the office. “This helps you plan and prioritize what to do once you’re back in a physical setting.”

 

While starting a new role in a virtual environment might seem intimidating, remember that your employer wants you to succeed just as much as you do. If you follow the guides above, embrace the new challenges a virtual setting brings, and have the courage to ask for help along the way, your effort won’t go unnoticed.

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For the second consecutive year, WalterFedy has made the list of Waterloo Area’s Top Employers. Released earlier today, the list recognizes businesses in Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph that are industry leaders based on the physical workplace, work atmosphere, benefits, vacation and time-off, communications, performance management, training, and community involvement.

 

The judges identified WalterFedy’s commitment to employee engagement, training and development, and employee support as some of the key factors behind our selection for the list this year.

 

“Today was a great achievement for our team,” said Victoria Campbell, Human Resources Manager. “We will celebrate being named one of Waterloo Area’s Top Employer, but we will also celebrate the people who work here, who care a great deal about the work they do and who they do it with!”

 

Creating an environment where people are supportive and collaborative within departments and across the company is an important part of our corporate culture.

“I love my job because everyone shares the same vision and is dedicated to the mission,” said Parisa Fazeli, a structural designer at the firm. “This truly creates an environment where everybody is there for each other and supportive.”

 

Alex Lubczuk, a member of the Asset and Facilities Management team, appreciates the opportunity to work with friendly, skilled professionals that WalterFedy continues to attract. “It’s nice coming in to work every day—our teams are diverse and the people we bring in are talented.”

 

We are always striving to deliver exceptional value and build long lasting relationships for our clients, and the same can be said for how we operate internally. “These internal relationships are essential to our business success, and a great deal of time and effort is put into building an environment where this can continue to be fostered,” said Victoria. “We want to learn and grow together as a team.  When you are stretching yourself and taking on new challenges, there is always a team of people around you that are supporting you, and encouraging you to keep going. The friendly faces, and smiles, the willingness to try something new, excitement around a new idea for a project, and the desire to come together as a firm to achieve a common goal. That, to me, is engagement.”

 

Read more about WalterFedy’s recognition.

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Combing through job boards, searching for valuable connections in your existing network, and fine tuning your social profiles can make hunting for a new job feel like a grind. But after hours of slugging away, you’re bound to see a role so perfect you can already picture yourself at your new desk drinking coffee with a collection of grade-A industry pros. When the thrill of the discovery settles, and the daydream fog lifts, reality sets in. To nab an interview, you’re going to need a standout resume.

 

Natalya Smith is a Human Resources Generalist at WalterFedy and spearheads the bulk of our recruitment efforts. Every week she reviews hundreds of resumes, looking for the next great addition to our team. What makes an application stand out from the stacks? Natalya offered us some insight into five things you can do to help bring your CV to the top of the pile.

 

  1. Pay close attention to the organization and editing of your resume
    Resumes that stand out are clearly organized with consistent spacing and text styles. Overcrowded text can be challenging to read, while too much white space can leave your application looking sparse. When a page is clearly organized, it’s easier to spot the keywords relevant to the position (make sure you add them!). Before you submit anything to a hiring manager, be sure to give your document a thorough edit for typos and clarity; for some hiring managers, glaring mistakes may take you out of the running.

  2. Show us why your experience is relevant
    We want to see you have the skills and experience needed to excel in this role. Tailor your resume to complement the expectations of the position. We can tell when you’ve put in the effort to draw parallels and it goes a long way. If you are trying to break into the field, show us experience that is relatable and take the time to explain why.

  3. Education and training are important
    Whether you are a new grad or an experienced applicant, we are interested to learn about your academic qualifications and personal commitment to continuous improvement. Don’t be afraid to point to a couple of courses that are relevant or distinguish you as a strong leader. This section is particularly useful for applicants coming right out of school who may not have industry experience.

  4. Call out any special skills
    No, we don’t mean your aptitude in Microsoft Word—these days that’s a given. Show us that you are familiar with the special applications, tools, technologies, and emerging platforms that are sought after in your role. Sometimes we look for these skills first.

  5. Take some time to write a cover letter
    Do you ever wonder if people actually read your cover letter? Natalya does. A cover letter is your opportunity to tell your story. It doesn’t have to be long, but it should be tailored to the position. We should know within the first few sentences what you are applying for and why you will be a great fit. While a cover letter is not mandatory, it is one additional way to show us you are truly interested in the position.

 

Bonus tip: We love to see a commitment to our core values

Quality, Integrity, Client Focus, Community Building, and Environmental Sustainability are important values at WalterFedy and demonstrating how you live out these values will go a long way. For example, because we care about giving back to our community, we would be happy to hear about your volunteer experience. While this is not a deal breaker, it certainly shows us that you share one of the values we hold dear.

 

If there is one key takeaway, it is this: if the opportunity feels right, take a little extra time. Not only will it help elevate your application, it also goes a long way with hiring managers, who can spot when you have invested your time and care.

If you are interested in a career at WalterFedy, check out our current opportunities at walterfedy.com/careers/.

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