B.C. tradespeople recognized for emergency response initiatives

James Zelinski, CAO (left) with Phil Robinson, Fabrication Manager Photo courtesy BCAA

To cap off the fifth annual Construction and Skilled Trades Month celebrations, B.C.’s construction community presented three awards for exceptional leadership.

This year’s Leadership Awards recognized those who helped others through the impacts of recent extreme weather events, as well as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The winners are:

Philip Robinson of Pitt Meadows Plumbing and Mechanical (PMP)

As soon as Robinson heard about the flooding in Abbotsford in November, he acted. He brought PMP’s emergency response trailer for farmers to use, and his efforts motivated the company to donate to the Red Cross. Robinson gathered a small group which included three employees, who went farm to farm assessing needs and providing assistance. They removed drywall, insulation, and flooring right after the flooding, cleaned out the garbage, and went into basements and crawl spaces to assist residents.

Scott Construction

In February 2021, Scott Construction was the construction manager of a 60-bed homeless shelter in Vancouver. The fast-tracked project went from being an empty warehouse with no drawings or permits to a fully functioning emergency shelter in just six months. The Klahowya Tillicum Lalum shelter (meaning “welcome friend home”) is operated by Lu’ma Native Housing Society and is funded by BC Housing. The entire team moved quickly, while ensuring a quality shelter and a safe space for the occupants. The synergy between all parties exemplified how the company produced significant project benefits by having team members work together during the challenges of the combined pandemic and homelessness crisis.

Tammy Olsen of Acres Enterprises Ltd.

By being prepared for the historic B.C. heatwave in June 2021, Olsen was able to keep field employees safe, quickly rescheduling work to avoid the hottest times of the day and providing cooling towels and electrolyte products to help keep staff hydrated and boost morale. Olsen also checked on the well-being of all staff on projects near wildfire areas, reaching out to employees being evacuated from their homes or placed on evacuation notice. She stayed abreast of the wildfire situation, gave regular updates, provided face masks and respirators to all employees, and supported all levels of emergency response for evacuation. When the flooding hit in November, Olsen and site supervisors co-ordinated emergency procedures for the evacuation of projects. Fortunately, only one site was impacted, where Olsen led the safe evacuation of team members.

“We get through challenging times when we stick together and rise to the level the situation calls for,” says Chris Atchison, president of the British Columbia Construction Association (BCCA), the organization which presented the awards. “These awards celebrate just a few of the thousands of leaders which kept our industry going through flood, fire, and pandemic this past year, and we thank them for everything they do to keep our workforce safe and productive.”

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