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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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Image of front lobby looking down at a staircase and offices    

ATS is an industry-leading automation solutions provider for many of the world’s most successful companies. Since the Waterloo Region is known as the “Silicon Valley of Canada”, ATS is following suit and continuing to promote innovation within our community.

 

We had the privilege of providing architectural services, structural, mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering, with support from GSP Group who provided landscaping and site plan application for ATS’s new Cambridge plant and corporate office space. ATS required additional manufacturing space for their life sciences department, a research and development (R & D) innovation lab, a new corporate office space, collaborative spaces (such as kitchenettes), and a cafeteria for up to 400 people. The total area of the project was 120,000 SF. 

 

“ATS has a strong focus and knowledge within automation project management and quality control,” says Will Pentesco, Project Manager. “They showed great interest in the finer details of this project. This gave our team many opportunities to have in-depth design meetings and collaborate using renderings from our 3D modeling programs.”

 

ATS needed an innovation lab that had a functional layout. Underneath this minimalistic design, though, there were highly intricate designs requiring a lot of mechanical, electrical, and structural coordination. Our team’s goal was to keep this complicated technical layout as simple looking as possible.

 

This functional style was carried over into the corporate office space as well. ATS wanted to ensure they had a modern and tech-savvy space for their offices, which included a variety of touchdown and collaborative spaces throughout. During the design development, ATS decided that two floors wouldn’t fulfill the office staff needs, and decided to add a third floor. Our design team showcased the 3D design models via renderings and by utilizing Virtual Reality (VR), which allowed us to showcase and provide an immersive look into the complex details of the whole project. VR also allowed us to reveal the building designs to staff focus groups so they could experience what their new workspaces would feel like.

 

“ATS enjoyed the close relationship with our design team while using VR,” says Will. “It allowed them to fine-tune finish selections for the staff amenity spaces, such as the touchdown kitchenettes on each floor, and the main cafeteria.  We did a series of iterative floor plans, so we could find the right balance for the total number of seats that could fit into the floor plan. It also provided architectural opportunities to showcase their innovative product designs.”

 

A key architectural feature was a grand swooping “A” framing the main entrance. This accent on the façade is reminiscent of the typography used in their corporate logo. It scales the three-stories, peaking at the rooftop. Inside the main lobby, the “A” creates a grand three-story atrium showcasing a prominent staircase, views into the research and development (R&D) innovation lab, as well as a view right into the main cafeteria.

This innovative building, completed in the Fall of 2020, can be seen right off the 401 while driving through Cambridge.

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There is a lot more to creek design than meets the eye. When our Water Resources team was tasked with taking a Cambridge stormwater pond offline to make way for a more diverse creek ecosystem, we knew there would be a lot of challenges. Add in the removal of a 400m stretch of road and you’ve got the makings of a really complex water resources project.

 

The on-line pond had been used for decades to capture runoff from the adjacent agricultural land but had also been recommended for removal for over 20 years. When the Hunt Club Valley Estates subdivision broke ground on the old farmland around the pond, our team worked with GSP Group to devise a plan to take the pond offline and create a more cohesive environment for the wildlife in the area and to restore the coldwater characteristics of the creek which had been negatively impacted by the existing pond. We worked closely with the Grand River Conservation Authority to ensure our plan allocated enough land for enhancements, restoration, and floodplain.

 

Removing the pond meant this existing fish habitat was lost so our Water Resources team restored a wetland area in another portion of the site to ensure an equivalent habitat was reintroduced. A 400m stretch of Briardean Road bisected the wetland and, to restore the wetland into a single contiguous feature, the portion of Briardean Road through the wetland was removed. “Proposing the removal of a section of road isn’t something we regularly do, but in this case, it was what was best for the wetland,” says Brian Verspagen, leader of our Water Resources team. “Excavating out the road made it possible for us to turn the whole area back into a unified wetland habitat and reconnect Middle Creek so it could stay connected with the Speed River.”

 

With the road out of the way and the two sides of the wetland reconnected, the next major component of the project was the restoration of Middle Creek through the former farm pond. “We had to design a path for the creek to get from one end to the other without the pond in the middle, while also navigating a 1.5-metre change in elevation,” says Brian. “Instead of doing a 1.5-metre drop in one spot with a waterfall, which would make it impossible for fish to migrate up the creek, our team introduced a series of meanders [bends] with pools and riffles changing the grade of the creek just 6 inches at a time.” By studying the types of fish that would commonly live in this creek, the team knew the fish would have a spurt speed that could handle a 6-inch incline over a 2-metre distance if they had adequate rest time in a pool afterward.

The pool and riffle sequence also had an additional design advantage. “Middle Creek is a cold-water creek, which is quite rare for the area, so keeping the temperature of the creek down was important,” says Brian. “Running in and out of the shallow pond had been warming up the creek water, making it difficult for aquatic life to thrive. Each riffle section oxygenates the water, causing evaporation. The energy the water uses to change state from a fluid to a vapour cools it.” This means even if the water warms up in the pool sections, it can cool up to half a degree when it passes over a riffle, rebalancing the water temperature.

 

Within the pools, the team introduced areas that would enable the fish to breed and safely create nests for their eggs and fry. These spaces included fallen trees and root wads that would protect the fish from predators like raccoons, while also shading them from the sun. Overflow ponds were also introduced, creating the perfect habitat for the many frogs that live in the area.

 

This project has revitalized an underused ecosystem and breathed new aquatic life into the area for the whole neighbourhood to enjoy.

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New Partners: Patrick Darby, Matt Ninomiya, and Russ Parnell

 

KITCHENER, Thursday, November 12, 2020 – The WalterFedy Board of Directors is pleased to announce three new shareholders are joining our ownership team. Congratulations to Patrick Darby, Matt Ninomiya and Russ Parnell who have all proven themselves as leaders within the firm and will be strong representatives of WalterFedy moving forward.

 

“We are proud to be adding these three talented professionals to our shareholders' table,” says Jamie Van Dyk, Chair of the WalterFedy Board of Directors. “Each one brings different skills and experiences to the group and their voices will be valuable additions to our ownership team.” 

 

All three represent different departments and showcase the breadth of talent within our organization. 


Patrick Darby, P.Eng., CEM, CMVP, LEED AP, has been a champion for sustainability in engineering at WalterFedy since joining the team in 2008. Patrick meshes his mechanical engineering background with environmental advocacy to develop future-conscious solutions for his clients. As manager of our Energy and Carbon Solutions department, he challenges his team to explore new approaches to carbon reduction and energy conservation, and actively encourages clients to make savvy, green choices for their buildings. He is also the chair of Smart Energy Oxford that has the mandate to support the county-wide goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050. 

 

Matt Ninomiya, MBA, P.Eng., leads the Land Development practice with our Civil Engineering group. Matt joined the WalterFedy team in late 2018 and has made big strides for our business since coming on board. He brings a strong energy and client focus to every project he works on. Whether it be finer details on a small site or a big picture vision of a subdivision, Matt is passionate about designing and building the communities we all call home. He is also actively involved in the home building industry and serves as a Director on both the Waterloo Region Home Builders Association Board and the Brantford Home Builders Association Board.  


For Russ Parnell, P.Eng., M.ASc., structural engineering isn’t just his job – it’s his passion. This seasoned engineer joined WalterFedy in 2014 and believes building collaborative relationships is just as important as creating structures that will stand the test of time. As a creative problem solver, Russ is known for his ability to deliver large, complex, and multi-phased projects on accelerated timelines. Empowering those around him to grow and excel in their positions is something Russ takes great pride in. Outside of work, he is a dedicated member of the Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region Board of Directors. 


Congratulations Patrick, Matt and Russ. The WalterFedy community is happy to have you joining our leadership team to guide us toward a successful future for our organization. 

 

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 solutions; 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.

 

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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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Employees like Chris Powell are a hiring manager’s dream. After graduating from Conestoga College’s Civil Engineering program, Chris took the first job he ever formally interviewed for — an Inspector/Designer position at WalterFedy — and made it the foundation of a successful career. Now Team Leader of Civil Field Review and an Associate of the Firm, his career is a true “from the ground up” story. If there’s one thing the decade-long tenure has taught Chris, it is the value of time.  

 

In a society accustomed to instant gratification, time is a hot commodity, and managing it is a fine art.  “In this industry, your ability to manage commitments, as well juggling personal and professional life is how you succeed,” says Chris. “Time is the most valuable thing in the world. We can make more money, we can hire more people, but we can’t create more time. To waste time is a very different thing than wasting money.”  

 

Backed by over a decade of industry experience, Chris shared some of his insight around managing, investing and respecting time. 

 

Taking the time to do things right 

A good reputation can take years to earn, but only one misstep to falter. For that reason, Chris is committed to doing a job right and doing it well. Sometimes that means taking a bit of extra time. “I want to make sure everything is done right. If we are worried it isn’t, we go back and fix the issue, so we don’t sacrifice our integrity with the client.”  

 

Part of doing a job well is making sure the right people are managing the right pieces. “One saying that always sticks with me is Lead, follow, or get out of the way,” says Chris.  It can be tempting to step in and take control, but it’s important to assess whether you are being a help or a hindrance. “Especially in management, you have to understand when it is your time to act and when to play a supporting role.”  

 

Investing time in people 

Career development can be a struggle, especially if you are uncertain about your path. Having an ally and mentor in the workplace can help ease some of that pressure. As a leader, Chris firmly believes in developing meaningful, lasting relationships with everyone on his team. “Whether they work at WalterFedy today, or left years ago, they are still welcome at my table,” he explains.  

 

“Being a leader is not just listening, but trying to motivate, support, and build people up. I am here to help people through challenges whether they are personal or professional,” he says. “What continues to make me feel successful is giving other people opportunities to succeed.” 

 

Chris’ commitment to investing time in others extends beyond his immediate team. Strong relationships with Owners and Contractors lead to stronger projects, and building those relationships takes time and care. 

 

“If we can all agree to be fair and equitable to each other, we will have great projects every single time,” said Chris. To do this, you need to have great communication. “I believe in open communication and honesty,” Chris explains. “If we’ve made a mistake, I will call it a mistake. Transparency is key.” 

 

Balancing your time commitments 

The concept of work-life balance is both increasingly sought-after and difficult to achieve. 

 

“You have your professional career, your personal well-being, and your family,” says Chris. “It’s a trifecta.” Each aspect of your life affects the others, he goes on to explain. Finding a balance between these three competing facets is never easy, and it is a skill acquired through time, practice, and sometimes struggle. 

 

“Setting boundaries is an important piece of it,” he offers. This can be anything from having guidelines around when you take phone calls and dedicating time to be distraction-free, to taking advantage of the supports your workplace offers. Field Review sometimes demands long days and weekend work. To prevent burn out, Chris encourages his team to leverage company flex-time to balance out the work week and take vacations when they’re needed.  

 

“I try to always say yes to time-off requests,” he explains. “As a team, we make it work. There’s a lot of trust, respect and support. You know you can step away for vacation, and the team will take good care of things until you come back.”  

 

Sharing your time with the community 

Being generous with your time is one of the best gifts you can give yourself and the community. Not only does it help the community prosper, but it can also instill a sense of purpose and belonging. “I take a lot of joy out of working with people, building people, and supporting people,” Chris says. As someone who enjoys mentoring others, Conestoga College’s program advisory committee and job shadow programs were a great fit. Last year, Chris helped facilitate 30 job shadow opportunities with industry experts, helping students explore the paths open to them upon graduation. For him, volunteerism is a way to build the skills and confidence of our next generation of workers and set them up for success. 

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Interested in connecting with Chris to discuss your next project or career goals? Send him an email or connect with him on LinkedIn

 

If you’d like to explore a position with the Field Review team, be sure to visit our careers page or express your interest to hr@walterfedy.com. 

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There’s always a story behind how people choose their careers. For Brian Verspagen, Water Resources Engineer, it was a love of cars. A motorhead at heart, his enthusiasm for vehicles originally steered him toward mechanical engineering. After further research, his eyes were opened to the many options in engineering and he found himself gravitating to the water resources specialty at the University of Waterloo.

 

What was it that drew him in? “The water resources principles really clicked for me,” he explains. “The fluid hydraulics, hydrology, and the calculus behind it were all things I understood, and I thought I would enjoy the practice.”

 

After graduation, he furthered his education with a Master of Applied Science in Environmental Engineering from the University of Guelph. His studies, including his thesis on thermal enrichment of stormwater runoff from pavement surfaces, only furthered his passion for the field.

 

With his Masters in hand, Brian’s career path took him down south to Florida and Texas to try his hand at work in a warmer climate. As much as the warm weather was great for cruising, Brian was drawn back to the Waterloo Region in 2000 and in 2009 he joined WalterFedy to establish the Water Resources Team. He is now a Senior Project Manager and Team Leader for the group, in addition to being a Partner with the firm.

 

In the last 10 years, the Water Resources Team has grown to five professionals dedicated to designing water resource solutions for a variety of project types. Brian and his team have worked on several projects using Low Impact Development (LID) measures to enhance groundwater recharge, including monitoring the sites to prove that the implemented measures have a positive impact.

 

“Early in my career, I saw more projects focused on designing to the minimum standard for development than I do now,” says Brian. “The shift to doing more projects using LID measures is more environmentally responsible and allows us to do design work that really enhances the natural environment. It represents client demand for development in our growing communities without sacrificing the environment.”

 

Brian has seen the importance of water resources grow exponentially in the last decade. “Every project needs water resources in some capacity,” says Brian. “It’s not possible to construct a new road, develop a site, or build a subdivision without having an aspect of water resources involved. This means we have to have a good understanding of every sector’s needs and challenges to design the best solution for each client.”

 

It is that client-centred approach that makes all the difference for our team. Every new project is an opportunity to be creative when designing the perfect solution. “We look at each client’s goal and develop the best approach to fulfil it,” says Brian. “We have a team dynamic that allows us to look at a problem from a number of different angles to ensure we are choosing the solution that best balances client needs with an optimal approach.”

 

What’s in store for the future of water resources? A lot according to Brian. “The potential that our rivers, streams, and creeks offer as spaces for people to reconnect with nature will continue to gain importance, along with the need to preserve and enhance the quality of these natural systems as functioning ecosystems,” he says. “The role of water resources engineering will evolve to ensure these natural systems continue to function and are seamlessly incorporated into our landscape.”

 

If you’re looking for a new place to explore your passion for water resources, WalterFedy is expanding our team to include another Water Resources Engineer and a Junior Water Resources Engineer and we’d love to hear from you! You can also visit walterfedy.com/careers to see all the available opportunities to join our team.

 

 

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