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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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And just like that, after seven fantastic weeks, our 70+ Acts of Good campaign has come to an end. When we set out to celebrate WalterFedy’s 70th Anniversary, we knew we had to do something that would include and benefit the community around us.

 

In the final three weeks, we covered a lot of ground, including purchasing 70 trees through the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) to be planted in the Waterloo Region via their Give Grand program. This isn’t the first time we’ve teamed up with the GRCA and we hope to work with them again to help plant some of those trees!

 

After a successful run at Community Fridge KW, we connected with  Community Fridges Hamilton to fill up the Beasley Fridge in Downtown Hamilton for three days. Like their Kitchener counterpart, Community Fridges Hamilton provides 24/7 low-barrier access to free food provided entirely by the community. We were happy to play a small part in filling their fridges for a week and look forward to supporting them again in the future.

 

We also purchased seven essential items from YWCA's wish list for their affordable and supportive housing project on Block Line. We’ve been providing project management services to this project and were happy to give back and help support this project that is so important to the Waterloo Region.

We wrapped up the campaign by delivering 401lbs of food and $915 to the Food Bank of Waterloo Region. That translates to 3,060 meals to help feed our hungry neighbours. In Hamilton, our team rallied to provide an assortment of festive gifts that will be distributed to people in need this holiday season through the Good Shepherd. 

 

We’re sad that the campaign is over, but after a long 2021, this was the perfect way to end the year. We might be 70, but we’re feeling spritely heading into 2022 . We look forward to finding new and exciting ways to live out our core value of community building! 

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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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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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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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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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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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On December 13, 2019, two groups of WalterFedy volunteers visited the St. Jacobs Lions Club to help fill Christmas stockings for StuffIn Stockings.

 

Established in 2010, StuffIn Stockings is led by the St. Jacobs Lions Club, a group that believes everyone should feel special and remembered on Christmas day. What started as a small passion project has grown exponentially over the past nine years and, along with many community partners, is helping create holiday memories for many in need. This year, volunteers stuffed almost 3,000 stockings for infants to seniors, for 27 different charities.

 

Melissa Fishman, WalterFedy Lighting Team Leader, is the Vice President of the St. Jacobs Lions Club and connected us with StuffIn Stockings for the 2019 holiday season. We began collecting stocking stuffers in November. In early December, we teamed up with several committee members to fill stockings and learn more about the program’s impact in Waterloo Region.

 

“I’ve been involved with StuffIn Stockings for a number of years and as we get bigger, having corporate support is so important,” said Melissa. “I love being a part of something that means so much to the community and can bring a smile to someone’s face over the holidays.”

 

While we were volunteering, CTV News came for a visit to learn about the StuffIn Stockings story for their In Your Backyard segment. Mellissa also put CTV’s Max Wark to work stuffing stockings for different age groups.

 

Congratulations to the StuffIn Stockings team for all their hard work and another successful holiday season.

 

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For two weeks in October, the WalterFedy community rallies around our Hockey Helps the Homeless (HHTH) tournament team. This year, Lutherwood, House of Friendship, oneROOF Youth Services, and YW K-W Emergency Shelter split the funds raised at the tournament.

 

Our Team Captain, Steve Hales, has been involved with HHTH since the tournament’s inception six years ago. “Our company hockey team was participating in other local fundraisers when the opportunity to join HHTH came up and we knew it was a great fit with our corporate values,” says Steve. “The chance to play with ex-NHL and Olympic athletes and hear stories from their playing days also made it a unique experience to take part in.”

 

But what is it about this tournament that keeps our employees coming back year after year? “This tournament is a great opportunity to give back to several local charities at the same time,” says Jordan Hardy, WalterFedy HHTH team member. “I’ve been volunteering with my family since I was young, but what I didn’t know growing up was just how many charities there are. Contributing to four charities at once reaffirms my belief of how critical it is to give back, provide support to your neighbour, and be thankful for what you have.”

 

Jordan’s project management skills have been called on this year to manage the overall internal fundraising efforts for our team. Along with a BBQ, a jersey day, and a 50/50 draw, the team also coordinated an internal silent auction to fundraise for the tournament. “The entire company comes together to support the fundraising efforts of our team and we really appreciate it,” says Jordan. “It shows how important community support is to our company.”

 

The tournament is run entirely by volunteers from industries across Waterloo Region. For the past five years, coordinating all those volunteers has been Donna Lloyd’s role within HHTH. As a long-time WalterFedy employee, well-known community member, and hockey enthusiast, she rarely turns down an opportunity to give back to the community. “I’ve been volunteering in our community for as long as I can remember, but being involved in this tournament has brought together my passion for hockey and my love of working with the community,” says Donna. “I truly believe in why this tournament is run; every Canadian needs a safe place to call home and the support to thrive.”

 

This year’s tournament exceeded its fundraising goal of $235,000 and raised $260,000. It also surpassed a total of $1 million raised since the tournament’s inception. We’d like to wish a big congratulations to this phenomenal community event for all its success. We’re happy to be a part of all the amazing work Hockey Helps the Homeless has done supporting our community.

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