CSC 2018 conference wrap-up: Building collaboration in Edmonton

by nithya_caleb | July 16, 2018 12:00 am

Photo ©[1]
Photo ©

By Blair Adams

The City of Champions had little to celebrate this spring—its beloved National Hockey League (NHL) team, the Edmonton Oilers, failed to make the playoffs while a record-breaking streak of freezing temperatures kept Edmontonians indoors well into late April. Fast forward a month, the clouds parted, the climate warmed, and spirits lifted just in time to welcome delegates to the Construction Specifications Canada (CSC) annual conference, held May 23 to 27.

The Edmonton Westin was the host hotel for this year’s conference under the theme, “Building
on Collaboration.”

A hallmark of CSC conferences is the networking opportunities combined with a first-rate speaker program. This year, the Edmonton Chapter’s organizing committee raised the bar a little higher, garnering much praise from attendees.

The event kicked off with the Welcome Reception (sponsored by Building Systems Design [BSD]), followed the next day by the Welcome Breakfast (sponsored by Alumicor) featuring keynote speaker Linda Edgecombe, who had the audience not only laughing, but also pondering the question, “Am I happy?” with her presentation, “Holy Crap I’m Busy: Moving from Overwhelm and Distraction to Energized and Resilient.”

The technical discussions were often standing-room only as attendees had a choice of three educational streams each day. The sessions included presentations such as “Emergent Technologies in the Conservation of Historic Places” with NEXT Architecture’s Allan Partridge and “Emerging Solutions, Products, and Methods for Getting to Net Zero” by Christian Ciafrone of Morrison Hershfield. There was also a well-attended two-part workshop put on by Erik Lussier and Cherise Lakeside entitled, “Let’s Fix Construction.”

Throughout the conference, there were experts sharing experience and advice on everything from insulation, project commissioning, office design trends, and acoustics to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) v4.

Toting, an alliance between CSC and BSD, conference bags, attendees were also able to network during “speed” sessions between seminars or among the sponsor booths during the packed Connections Café.

At the Thursday luncheon, delegates listened to Robert Black, executive vice-president of the Katz Group, discuss the at-times-controversial process of building the city’s new arena and entertainment complex, Rogers Place, and the development of the surrounding Ice District.

The finalists of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) Student Social Housing Design Competition were recognized at the Friday luncheon.[7]
The finalists of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) Student Social Housing Design Competition were recognized at the Friday luncheon.

At the next day’s luncheon (sponsored by TimberStone Distribution), the CSC Edmonton Chapter, along with the Capital Regional Housing Corp. and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), hosted the finalists of the NAIT Student Social Housing Design Competition. Team 6 took first place. Congratulations to Hafsa Salman, Celine Doutre, Katherine Campbell, Katelynn McKenna, Sarah Price, and Colin Schulte.

During the CGC-sponsored Fun Night, attendees got a chance to trace their Polish roots with an evening of entertainment and magic at the famed Polish Hall. Keeping with the theme of collaboration, attendees divided up into teams and put their design skills to the test by competing in a Lego building competition. “Team Pink” took top honours with its “flamingo and babies” entry.

A highlight of the conference is always the President’s Reception (sponsored by BSD) and Ball (sponsored by Custom Tile Installation System). CSC President David Boyle had the privilege of introducing this year’s Life Award and President’s Award recipients to the delegates, companions, and special guests. The President’s Award recipients were Brian Colgan, Peter Emmett, Kazim Kanani, Cathy Schneider, and Nick Franjic.

CSC Life Award

The CSC Life Award is the highest accolade the association bestows on individuals in recognition of their service. This year, two distinguished CSC members were honoured with Life Awards: John Cooke, FCSC, RSW, of the Ottawa Chapter and Peter Semchuk, FCSC, RSW, CCCA, CET, of the Edmonton Chapter.

CSC president David Boyle, CTR, presents John G. Cooke, FCSC, RSW, with a CSC Life Award.[8]
CSC president David Boyle, CTR, presents John G. Cooke, FCSC, RSW, with a CSC Life Award.

John G. Cooke, FCSC, RSW

Cooke has been a member of CSC for nearly 25 years, having joined in November 1993.

As partner and president of John G. Cooke and Associates, he is also the senior structural engineer in the firm. His responsibilities include technical review, specification writing, and client liaison. His particular fields of expertise are heritage and masonry conservation and project management.

When Cooke joined CSC, he immediately realized he could use the organization to improve aspects of the construction industry. In the mid-1990s, he co-authored CSC’s engineering co-ordination document. As an employer, he is a strong supporter of CSC’s educational programs. After becoming a registered specification writer (RSW) himself in 2002, he realized sending his staff members to take—as a minimum—CSC’s Principles of Construction Documentation (PCD) course not only helped things run better in his office, but also meant he was able to provide better and more cost-efficient contract documentation to his clients.

Since joining CSC, he has held various positions in the Ottawa Chapter executive. He joined as vice-president in 2002 and served as president from 2006 to 2007. He continues to be active on the executive today.

In addition to being inducted into the CSC College of Fellows in 2008, Cooke has received numerous awards, including:

Peter Semchuk, FCSC, RSW, CCCA, was also a Life Award recipient.[9]
Peter Semchuk, FCSC, RSW, CCCA, was also a Life Award recipient.

Peter Semchuk, FCSC, RSW, CCCA

Semchuk joined CSC in 1989 and was elected to the Edmonton Chapter executive in 1993, where he went on to serve as officer specification writer, vice-chair, chapter chair, and chapter director. In 2001, he was elected to the CSC Executive Council as 4th vice-president.

He acted as CSC conference co-chair for the successful joint CSC/CSI conference in Banff in 2002. Semchuk also served on the Technical Studies Committee and was president in 2004/2005.

In addition to receiving his Certified Construction Contract Administrator (CCCA) designation in 1999, earning his RSW designation, and being inducted into the College of Fellows in 2006, he has received a Chapter Award of Merit, the Eureka Club Award, a National Award of Merit, and an Education Certification Committee Program Director Award (2008, 2009, and 2015). Semchuk played an active role in the development of a number of joint CSC/CSI initiatives, including the MasterFormat expansion task team and the Overall Construction Classification System (OCCS) table development. He continues to provide direction and support for numerous CSC activities and initiatives. He was a driving influence on the development and updating of CSC’s Manual of Practice, served as chair of the CCCA Subcommittee for several years, and recently took on the role of chair of the RSW Subcommittee. He continues to be active as an instructor at the chapter level and for CSC workshops.

Following the award presentations, President David Boyle, CTR, introduced incoming President Paul Gerber, who touched on what lies ahead for the association and the design-build community. The formal program was followed by a night of dancing.


Brenda Thompson of the Winnipeg Chapter accepts the Lloyd Boddy Chapter of the Year Award from CSC executive director Nick Franjic, CAE.[10]
Brenda Thompson of the Winnipeg Chapter accepts the Lloyd Boddy Chapter of the Year Award from CSC executive director Nick Franjic, CAE.

The President’s Chapter Award encourages and recognizes active, forward-looking chapters in categories ranging from membership growth and education programs to financial contributions and meeting attendance. This year’s qualifiers were Atlantic, Calgary, Edmonton, Grand Valley, Montréal, Québec, Regina, Saskatoon, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Vancouver Island. When it came time to decide the best of the best and hand over the Lloyd Boddy Chapter of the Year Award, Winnipeg was the winner, excelling in areas such as professional development opportunities, spirit, and participation in local industry and CSC committees.

The chapters themselves also present Chapter Awards of Merit to their own outstanding members. This year’s winners include:

  • Atlantic—Scott Cunning, CCCA, and Peter Emmett, FCSC, CCCA;
  • Grand Valley—Douglas Pinnell and Joanna Wcislo;
  • Montréal—Sophie Brochu, Philip Caron, and Dave Barriault;
  • Regina—Marlene Hooper ;
  • Saskatoon—Wade Klassen and Tyler Grabowski, CTR;
  • Toronto—Michelle Wood, Ashley McKay, CSP, Nellie Vila-Legere, and Sandro Ubaldino, FCSC, RSW;
  • Vancouver—Courtney Skene-Hamilton, Glenn Chatten, and Mikhala Way;
  • Vancouver Island—Sheldon Croden;
  • Winnipeg—Coram Lalonde, CCCA, Jason Moses, and Sarah Panasiuk;
  • Calgary—Corinne Golding, FCSC, RSW, Larry Shoesmith, CTR, and Tim Simpson; and
  • Edmonton—Jeff Halashewski, RSW, and Shaune Smith, CCCA.
CSC executive director Nick Franjic, CAE, was also a President’s Award recipient.[11]
CSC executive director Nick Franjic, CAE, was also a President’s Award recipient.

Recognizing excellence

Sponsored again this year by Rockfon, the annual awards luncheon was emceed by Cam Newton, CTR. The event gave CSC a chance to celebrate its best and brightest members and associates.

F. Ross Browne Award

The F. Ross Browne Award recognizes editorial excellence in Construction Canada, highlighting the author or co-authors of an article in the magazine. This year, the publication’s editorial advisory board chose a July 2017 piece from a shortlist of top contenders. Frequent Construction Canada contributor Brian Burton was the recipient for his article, “Parliamentary Privileges.”

Program Director Awards

Peter Emmett was honoured with a President’s Award.[12]
Peter Emmett was honoured with a President’s Award.

Program Director Awards were given out in several categories.


In recognition of their work in hosting the informative and fun event in Edmonton, co-chairs Peter Semchuk, FCSC, RSW, CCCA, CET, and Kevin Osborne received Program Director Awards, as did the other members of the 2018 Edmonton Conference Committee:


The Edmonton Chapter, with the help of Keith Robinson, FCSC, FCSI, RSW, and various sponsors, created the Stephanie Wertz Education Fund (SWEF) Bursary in the memory of Stephanie Wertz, who was passionate about specifications and a great friend to CSC. This cash award is presented to a deserving student in the architectural technology program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) and is being expanded to include the construction technology and interior design programs.

The bursary, in the amount of $1500 per year, is awarded to a student who shows exemplary academic achievement and demonstrated financial need, and who has submitted an essay indicating his or her commitment to construction communication and documentation.

Over the past several years, in lieu of speaker gifts, CSC conference host chapters have chosen a charity or cause to support. This year, the Edmonton Chapter chose the SWEF as the organization to receive funds


President-elect Paul Gerber presents outgoing CSC president David Boyle, CTR, with a plaque in recognition of his term as president.[13]
President-elect Paul Gerber presents outgoing CSC president David Boyle, CTR, with a plaque in recognition of his term as president.

Education Certification

In order to make it more interactive and informative, CSC embarked on a project to update the online version of the Principles of Construction Documentation course. The following members were recognized for their efforts:


For their continued efforts in reviewing, developing, and implementing the CSC marketing plan, Program Director Awards were presented to:

In addition, Laura Herbert and Brittany Mazzocchi, CSP, were recognized for their work in getting the CSC message out via Twitter.

National Award of Merit

This award is presented to members in recognition of their contributions to the well-being of CSC. Board members can nominate or endorse the nomination of a member to whom they believe an award should be made beyond that of a Chapter Award of Merit for exceptional effort, zeal, effectiveness, and time expended for the benefit of CSC as a whole. This year, Guy Houle of the Québec Chapter and Kazim Kanani, CSP, CCCA, of the Toronto Chapter were the recipients of the National Award of Merit.

Houle was a driving force behind the revitalization and stunning member growth of the Québec Chapter, while Kanani worked to bring the PCD course into the college system. Kanani also took the lead in bolstering CSC’s social media efforts, website development, and more. Active on many committees, he has joined the Executive Council as 4th vice-president.

College of Fellows chancellor Claude Giguére, FCSC, officially welcomes Peter Hiebert, CTR, into the College.[14]
College of Fellows chancellor Claude Giguére, FCSC, officially welcomes Peter Hiebert, CTR, into the College.


This year, the ranks of the College of Fellows rose by one with the induction of Peter Hiebert, CTR. Chancellor Claude Giguère, FCSC, dean Peter Semchuk, FCSC, RSW, CCCA, CET, registrar John Lape, FCSC, FCSI, CCS, and treasurer Mike Garlinski, FCSC, were joined by many other Fellows at the induction ceremony.

Peter Hiebert, CTR

Hiebert has been a member of CSC since 1995 and recognized early on not only what the association could do for him, but also how he could give back. The number of awards he has received and the number of committees on which he has served are evidence of his contributions to CSC at the chapter and executive levels. Completing the CSC Administrative Manual updates and bylaw revisions were just a couple of the accomplishments Hiebert cites during his time on the Executive Council.

Go Riders!

Next year, the CSC national conference moves to Saskatchewan. Tim Walsh, CCCA, is chair of an energetic conference committee team, and plans for the 2019 conference—which will take place at the Delta Regina Hotel—are taking shape.

When an industry group grows, it means people see value in its goals (and benefits), and want to be part of it. There were 237 new (or rejoining) members in 2017, of which 72 were sponsored by 44 current members.

 Russell W. Cornell Award for Membership Recruitment

To qualify for the Russell W. Cornell Award, a member must sponsor at least three new members during the membership year.

Guy Houle of the Québec Chapter was this year’s award recipient, edging out three-time winner Kazim Kanani, CCCA, CSP, of the Toronto Chapter. Houle sponsored 13 new members in 2017.  His strong efforts in recruiting new members also helped to grow and revitalize the CSC/DCC Québec Chapter.

As important as these fresh faces are, having long-term members is also critical, as it ensures continuity and serves as an example of passion and service over the decades. Fortunately, CSC has no shortage of veteran volunteers, with several in attendance to receive their Longevity Awards.

55 Years
J.M. Minialoff
H.D. Theis

50 Years
Jean F. D’Haese, RSW
Ian Bartlett, FCSC, RSW
Erwin W. Baumann, RSW
Joe J. Karpala

45 Years
David H. Brookes, RSW

40 Years
Gerry Wilson, FCSC, RSW
Kenneth A. Halldorson,
Jon A. Gravell

35 Years
Philip J. Evans, FCSC
Madine Godin

30 Years
Glenn D. Reinders
Jean-Guy Levaque
René Rufiange
Vern Gudmundson
Wynn McDonald
Wes Anderson
Manfred W. Grote
Ron J. Van Berkel, CTR
Michael J. Schneider, FCSC, CCCA
Steve Clayman
Paul Andre Babin

25 Years
Ken Rowson, FCSC
Wesley T. Moore
Allan Morris
James Dykes
Paul Cartier
Marc Comtois
Jules Leduc
Brian Colgan, FCSC, RSW

20 Years
Donna DeVloo
John Mainer
Domenic Biase
K. Zielonka
Marvin Megley
Brent Belanger, CTR
Mike Boldt
Thomas J. A. Piskor, CTR
James Kwan, CTR
Gary E. Bearham
Dean Karachi
Don Delaney
Michael E. Thornber
Russell Snow, CTR, CSP
Imtyaz Kanji, CCCA
Billy Lai
Greg Mylks, CTR, CCCA
John Blair
Frank Zrim
Derrill Ayotte
Nancy McPherson, CTR
Darren Wingerak
Kevin L. Chouinard
Grant Stuempfle, CTR
Ruth Shannon, CTR
Sylvain Valcourt
Don C.K. Poon, CCCA

15 Years
Georges Carazzato
Nick H. Aroutzidis
Bradford W. Cove
Dave Laurie, CTR
Janis Dubreuil
Tony Martinelli, CCCA
Raymond B. Nelson, CCCA
Rachel Blanchette
Kelly Clarke, CTR
Cam Munro, CTR
Scott Waechter
David Johnston
Heather Ziober, CCCA
Robert St. Louis, CCCA
Larry Shoesmith, CTR
Tyler R. Pochynuk
Cathy Garrido
John Hendriks, CCCA
Karen Griffith
Fraser Powell, CTR
Bob Matich, CTR
Brian Abbey
Gerald Atkin
Douglas J. Ault, CCCA
Jason Armstrong
Jack Gustafson, CCCA
Brenda Dejaegher
Ron R. Beatson, CCCA
Jay Creighton, CCCA
Mark Liberty
Peter Kubas
Mario Rovina
Gene Dejneka
J.D. Eckmire
Wyatt Eckert
Bill Maretzki
Jameson Vong
Agnes Vermes
Joanne Walker, CTR
Jacques Hebert
Guy Desjardins
David Shields
John Trainor, CTR
Shandra Vedress, CSP
Yves Roy, CTR
Michael Kresin

10 Years
Veronica L. Mendoza, RSW
Patrick L’Ecuyer
Trevor Stupack
Adam Strachan, RSW
Yves St-Cyr
John Garbin
Allan Taylor
Brent Cherwinski, CTR
Bernie Duquette
Kristin Hetterly
Ken Kosziwka
Pete Stevens, CCCA
Stephen Attfield
Daniel William Horner
Gary Goldberg
Rodway Jung
Brent Mehyden, CCCA
Lou Lima, CCCA
Garret Hamm
Leslie Maksymowicz
Frank Schippers, CTR
Hector Valenzuela
Kris Norman
John Greco
Dale A. Wilson, CCCA
Roy Anderson
Jamie Mantle
Dave Vella
Bretan Baumgardt, CCCA
Marko Durbic
Paul Ledaire
Rob Mutch
Rui Cabral
Derek Januszewski
Alexander Walker
Colin McIntosh
Sofia Racanelli, CTR
Pierre Hebert
Thierry Ségard
Paul Schmidtke, RSW
Daniel Fournier
Jeremy Friesen
Mark Owen
Lee Phillips
Monica Guzman
Cameron Forbes
Ashley McKay, CSP
Jean-Pierre Baril
Walter Stewart
Jean Gelinas


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