Honourable Brenda Bailey
Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation, Government of British Columbia
Small businessperson, tech entrepreneur, and change maker, Brenda Bailey was elected MLA for Vancouver-False Creek in 2020 and named British Columbia’s Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation in December 2022.
Minister Bailey brings to her role a passion for expanding opportunity and economic innovation nurtured over a lifetime building new businesses, leading economic development initiatives, and serving the community. In every role she has taken on, she has worked to create a more inclusive community and economy.
Minister Bailey blazed new trails for women in tech as co-founder of Canada’s first women-owned and operated video game studio. She helped strengthen and diversify B.C.’s creative tech industry as head of British Columbia’s interactive and creative digital marketing association, DigiBC. Today, as Minister of Jobs Economic Development and Innovation, Minister Bailey’s focus is working with business, Indigenous and community leaders to drive the government’s Stronger BC Economic Plan forward. For Minister Bailey that means growing an economy that benefits all British Columbians with support for business, expanded access to post-secondary education and skills training, meeting our climate commitments, and fostering innovation across our economy.
Vice President, Transportation Innovation Lead, Global Transportation, AECOM
Amy Ford leads Innovation Transportation for the Global Transportation business at AECOM (NYSE:ACM), the world’s trusted infrastructure consulting firm, delivering professional services across the project lifecycle — from planning, design and engineering to consulting and construction management.
Ms. Ford joined the company in March 2022.
A national leader helping communities and governments leverage innovation and advanced mobility solutions to elevate how they move people, data and goods, Ms. Ford focuses on integrating transportation technology services, such as automated and connected vehicles, cooperative ITS, electrification, on-demand mobility and more. Her teams also focus on emerging technologies, including urban air mobility, and solutions that help clients meet their decarbonization ambitions.
Prior to joining AECOM, Ms. Ford led the strategic direction and activities of the Mobility of Demand (MOD) Alliance and Intelligent Transportation Society of America’s policy programs focused on transportation technology and mobility. Ms. Ford also served as the Chief of Advanced Mobility for the Colorado Department of Transportation where she was responsible for accelerating innovation programs, policies and projects, including connected and autonomous vehicles, mobility operations, workforce of the future, communications and other transportation technologies. She also chaired Colorado’s Autonomous Mobility Task Force.
Director of Virtual Design & Construction,DPR Construction
Hannu Lindberg is DPR Construction’s Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) leader. Hannu’s primary responsibilities are overseeing the implementation of VDC best practices, field technology and construction technologies across DPR enterprise and family of companies. With 18 years in the industry, he has well-rounded experience in construction, software product management, and technology — and broad applied knowledge in construction operations and technology implementation.
Director of Strategy and Governance, Buttcon
In 2016, after taking a rewarding break from her career to raise four children, Tamara returned to school to earn an MBA from Schulich School of Business, in Sustainability and Real Estate.
With her experience and passion for construction, understanding the business and seeing the opportunity for change Tamara returned to the family business and became an integral part of the team to help foster positive changes occurring in both how we build and what we build. After her initial position as Business Development Manager, Tamara continued to grow with Buttcon to her current position as Director of Strategy and Governance. She is focused on being a catalyst for change within her company and the construction industry, by leading strategic initiatives in the areas of corporate governance, sustainability, and innovation, Tamara helps foster Buttcon’s growth and reputation within the industry as a socially and environmentally responsible construction company.
Tamara brings what construction needs, a long-term perspective that change in the industry is needed to not only provide the status quo but to drive diversity in the way we think and act, to bring vision and the ability to see old challenges with a fresh and open perspective. Her diverse career background in health and wellness, the environment, and arts and culture has highlighted for Tamara how our individual lives, our communities, and our collective wellbeing is shaped by the environments we build.
Director of Innovation, Diverge, Hensel Phelps
As the Director of Innovation for Diverge, Thai Nguyen is pioneering a new approach to sourcing, evaluating, and deploying disruptive solutions for the construction industry. With over 20 years of virtual design and construction experience, Thai’s vision is to leverage technology and collaboration to empower the AECOO industry and build the future.
After Illinois Institute of Technology and team athlete tenure for The North Face, Thai partly hung up his skis and mountain bike and joined Hensel Phelps in 2006 as an engineer. As technology opportunities started to grow within the construction industry, Thai rose to the challenge, leading a team of virtual design and construction (VDC) engineers on one of the largest semi-conductor projects in the United States that created the foundation today for all things VDC within Hensel Phelps.
No stranger to adventure and uncharted territory, Thai was tasked with developing and managing Hensel Phelps’ VDC program which quickly grew into an eighty-person-strong department. As the Director of Virtual Design and Construction, Thai drove innovation for Hensel Phelps, creating new technology systems, tools, and processes for one of the largest employee-owned general contracting firms in the nation. Today, Thai oversees the operations and development of Diverge, a Hensel Phelps’ innovation entity, where he discovers and fosters new technology within the construction industry.
Global Sustainability Leader, DPR Construction
Ryan leads Sustainability for DPR Construction, one of the country’s top technical Builders with offices spreading globally. From early on, sustainability was a passion of Ryan’s. While attending Clemson University he founded and served as the Director of Sustainability — where he helped the university shape their vision for a greener future. After college, Ryan began leveraging his Construction Science & Management B.S. and Civil Engineering Sustainable Development M.S. to help shape the industry across numerous market sectors through leading projects and business growth.
Ryan is now passionately driven to ensure DPR is innovating sustainable practices for how they operate, build, and ultimately help change the world. Through strategic partnerships, he harnesses the power of collaboration and unity to provide influence towards creating a healthier future for all.
Building Transformations: What does “Sustainable Growth” mean to you and your vision for the future of our collective industry growth?
Honourable Brenda Bailey, Gov. B.C
Sustainable growth means Government listening to British Columbians, bringing their ideas forward and coming up with an economic plan that works and delivers the skillset, the workers, and services amongst other needs that make British Columbia a great place to live.
We launched our StrongerBC Economic Plan almost a year ago with two key goals: clean and inclusive growth as we work to build an economy that works for everyone.
British Columbia is an incredible place to live, with limitless possibilities. But businesses are struggling to find workers with the right skills while potential workers are looking for training for well paying, in demand jobs.
The BC Government is working to provide the training needed to help fill the jobs now and in the years to come through our StrongerBC Economic Plan, our master plan to build an economy that works for everyone.
We know that businesses can’t go it alone and that’s why our Plan builds on B.C.’s strengths by closing the skills gap, and making sure people have the right training to fill the one million jobs that will be open in the next 10 years. Many of those jobs will be in the building sector.
As part of this approach, we’re creating the biggest expansion of post-secondary training in decades with the Future Ready jobs plan, which includes building a new Trades and Technology Complex at the BCIT Campus. This will give students the skills needed to build sustainable projects, like with mass timber as we deliver on our Mass Timber Action Plan.
British Columbians have told us that Government’s help is needed to build resilient communities by investing in affordable housing, new schools, and hospitals to make sure our communities can withstand changes in the climate and the global economy. Government is there to support British Columbians to help make life better in B.C.
Government has worked with B.C.’s trade sector to develop a Trade Diversification Strategy that will target new opportunities to export sustainable B.C. products and services globally. By strengthening and diversifying our global partners we will help better protect B.C. from supply chain disruptions, market instability, and global challenges.
Amy Ford, AECOM
At AECOM, we are focused on building a better world. A better world takes on a variety of meanings depending on the clients that we are supporting. But at the core, it’s all rooted in how we build a better world sustainability. This means we are focused on improving the environmental impact or even reaching net zero in what we build. It’s also about ensuring that what we build does not just “do no harm”, but actually creates broader equity and access. Our vision is to meet clients where they are in the journey of designing, building, operating, and maintaining infrastructure in a manner that delivers positive legacies for our communities and planet.
Hannu Lindberg, DPR Construction
Having experienced years of significant growth, DPR Construction is continuously assessing the notion of growth and what it means beyond just sales, market share, or top line revenue. There are some obvious challenges that come with fast paced growth. We believe that the focus should always be on strategic goals and aligned expectations. To pursue sustainable growth, the strategy quickly becomes about what you can control. Types of projects to pursue, methods of construction to deploy, how to grow the next generation of great builders… all things to consider as we protect our strong culture for the long term. So, you must first align on what is strategic and what focus is required. By focusing on some core strategies like design-to-build, prefabrication and self-perform work powered by Virtual Design and Construction (VDC), we can better control our destiny and deliver more predictable results. It will not only help increase productivity, it will allow us to not only better manage the schedule and the supply chain process, but also empower the next generation of builders with the skillsets needed for a rapidly changing industry.
Tamara Mull, Buttcon
Our vision is to be the construction partner of choice for owners, consultants, trades, and employees. To do this and to continue to grow sustainably and responsibly requires addressing change holistically.
Not just surviving but thriving in an increasingly complex, digital world, with rising expectations from a larger and more diverse group of stakeholders will require novel approaches. Technology gets a lot of attention, but technology is only a part of the solution. The changes needed to meet today’s building challenges will require an equally innovative and entrepreneurial approach to the people side of construction.
Central to Buttcon’s vision of sustainable growth is attracting, retaining, and growing our people. This can only happen with a strong, diverse, and inclusive culture, with a shared sense of purpose, mission, vision, and shared values. To prepare for the future we are investing in the growth and development of our people, particularly through innovation, training, and education.
Our vision for sustainable growth also demands we develop construction solutions that address the climate change crisis. There are compelling opportunities for the construction industry to help solve a rapidly changing climate, we can collaborate on and incorporate sustainable construction and operational solutions into our designs and sites today. Our company believes in taking the right action, caring about the long-term, and sharing our successes. These beliefs are analogous to taking a more active role in thwarting climate change in the way we build and what we build, for the benefit of our clients, the communities we build in, and our employee shareholders.
Ryan poole, DPR Construction
Having a focus beyond sales and more on strategic growth from diversifying our business to support advancement in various functions all the way to ensuring we grow our culture and, therefore, our people more sustainably. We strive to create a culture that supports the individual as a part of a high performing team and room for evolution throughout careers. We avoid the model of titles and implied hierarchy, which creates tremendous flexibility for entrepreneurism that stimulates innovation. DPR is on a mission to become a Most Admired company. To achieve this, DPR is looking far beyond the successful delivery of construction projects and more deeply at how our work affects the environment and our people. We’ve developed our own in-house sustainability best practices that are supported by our Path to Regeneration, prioritizing the evolution of our practices to drive a more positive impact on our environment and the communities within it. We are continuously supporting our craft and offering extensive programs to support the development of a more inclusive and equitable culture that creates a safe environment. These core strategies are central to our ability to Build Great Things that create a healthier future for both people and the planet.
Thai Nguyen, Hensel Phelps
At Hensel Phelps, our commitment to sustainability and growth is built upon a foundation of core principles that are guided by three pillars: People, Processes, and Partnerships.
People are our driving force. We empower our team members to innovate by giving them an opportunity to pitch their innovative ideas and receive support to turn those ideas into reality through programs like Innovators’ Arena, an internal initiative similar to the popular TV show Shark Tank, started by Diverge, our CVC and Innovation arm. This helps us to drive innovation from the grassroots up and ensures that our team members feel valued, recognized and motivated. This allows us to deliver truly exceptional projects by constantly pushing boundaries of what’s possible.
The second pillar is Processes. We constantly strive to improve efficiency in our operations, reducing waste and increasing profitability while also creating a happier and more productive workforce. We leverage AI to optimize forecasting, predictive maintenance, quality control, and risk reduction, ensuring that we deliver high-quality projects that meet our customers’ expectations.
The third pillar is Partnerships. We believe in shared success that benefits the entire industry. Our Innovation Lab partners with academia, startups, and technology leaders to conduct advanced research in construction technology. This ecosystem of collaboration empowers our partners to accelerate their growth and benefits the entire industry.
Overall, our commitment to these three pillars allows us to innovate, drive sustainability, and achieve growth, while also contributing to the development of the construction industry as a whole.
Building Transformations: How are you staying abreast of emerging technologies and trends in the construction industry, and how do you plan to incorporate these into your operations to achieve goals around sustainability? What impact do you expect these technologies to have on efficiency, cost, and sustainability?
Tamara Mull, Buttcon
Construction is at the tipping point of change, by speaking to like-minded companies and leaders that are focused on emerging technology and incorporating new trends into construction we learn and cautiously adopt trends that will achieve our goals around sustainability and innovation. We have found that collaboration is a real driver in doing this and speeds up the adoption of technology as a value driver for our company and clients. To achieve our company goals around sustainability will require authentic collaboration with clients, consultants, trade partners, and industry associations (like Building Transformations), as well as entrepreneurs, educational institutions, governments, and employees.
Collaboration and partnership lead to the creation of our leading-edge DERS (Deep Energy Retrofit Solutions) team of best-in-class partners (QEA Tech, Upbrella, UnitiWall). This vertically integrated team provides real world solutions to simplify the complexity involved in remodelling and repurposing Canada’s existing inventory of aging buildings.
Our DERS team is a group well established in technology, data, and energy modelling, to effectively meet net zero, passive-house, and WELL standards with holistic building analysis and a construction process that dramatically reduces energy consumption and increases building value. We have experienced that there is potential to have a greater positive impact on reducing our industries carbon emissions when we collaborate, combining technology and new products, to speed up the process of retrofitting Canada’s cities to meet our climate goals.
Hannu Lindberg, DPR Construction
DPR was founded in the heart of Silicon Valley and has witnessed the industry change and adapt rapidly, especially as it relates to technology. Innovation, especially as pertains to increasing efficiency, is inherently intertwined with DPR Construction’s DNA. There are some exiting new trends with construction robotics, reality capture, and construction technology (software). We view our projects as living laboratories to try out new and existing things, and also perfect our core operations to make building more efficient. We also want to get better at leveraging data for strategic sourcing and planning. This will not only help us deliver more cost savings to our customers, but also identify ways to source sustainable materials more cost effectively, mitigate construction waste, and reduce carbon footprints. We have some ambitious goals like doing for the construction industry, what Toyota has done for the car manufacturing industry. That takes some bold ideas and a willingness for risk. You must be willing to challenge the status quo and come up with new ideas.
Honourable Brenda Bailey, Gov. B.C
Tackling climate change is top of mind for many British Columbians and a key priority for the Government of B.C. People in communities all over B.C. are seeing changes in the environment with global warming and would like to see Government take action in more environmentally friendly ways. Our StrongerBC Economic plan is designed to meet the challenges of our time by achieving two big goals: clean and inclusive growth to create a more prosperous B.C. today and for generations to come. It’s not an easy task taking on new trends in industries such as construction to build a stronger, better future. B.C. is a leader in taking strong action to protect and preserve our environment. We continue to set ambitious targets and introduce new ideas to address climate change.
While clean and inclusive growth are big goals that are a part of our economic plan. B.C. is committed to reach net-zero carbon pollution by 2050. This means that beyond the emissions we eliminate by 2050, we will capture and store more carbon pollution than we make. Our Mass Timber Action Plan is an example of Government working together with industry leaders, stakeholders, First Nations leaders among others to come up with a plan for mass timber that allows us to showcase B.C. as a global leader in mass timber innovation and production in an environmentally-friendly manner. This high-value mass timber technology is helping reduce our carbon footprint while adding value and opportunities to people and businesses in our forestry sector.
Mass timber gives us the opportunity to change the way we build here at home, and around the globe, and it plays an important role in advancing our CleanBC climate targets by providing a smaller carbon footprint that lasts throughout the life of the building when compared to using concrete. And, it can deliver up to seven times the economic value of milled logs, resulting in good-paying jobs for British Columbians.
The global demand is there for mass timber and we are seizing the opportunity to be at the forefront of innovation in the sector.
By working with the building industry we can create economic opportunities that are environmentally sustainable that promote good paying jobs throughout the province. Being a leader in the mass timber sector provides job opportunities through British Columbia that pay well and support a reduced carbon footprint.
Amy Ford, AECOM
AECOM is at the forefront of emerging technologies and trends in the transportation construction industry, as sustainable design and materials, and the electrification of passenger vehicles, buses and commercial vehicles are reshaping how we engineer and plan corridors. The physical built environment however, is only one changing area. For instance, automated and connected vehicle technologies have transformed what sustainability can look like, and the collection and use of big data has become an increasingly valuable tool for decision makers to enable sustainable operations. All together we believe that these technologies will improve customer outcomes and create more efficiencies in operations, offsetting the costs that may be increased as people adopt different solutions.
Ryan Poole, DPR Construction
Beyond exploration of the new frontier on our projects, we also use our offices as a playground for testing the boundaries on innovative solutions. Numerous DPR offices are Zero Energy, WELL, and LEED certified, with a focus on either adaptive reuse, prefabrication, or a combination of the two. DPR uses numerous platforms to help us efficiently coordinate sustainable material selection for streamlined procurement. We have also developed a carbon analysis service, which is supporting our partners in selecting lower embodied carbon materials early in the design stage. We also use platforms and various hardware devices to help track our impact during the construction process. We feel it’s important that we support our partners not only with sustainable solutions during construction, but also as a part of the team during early design collaboration. Questioning the status quo and developing innovative solutions are celebrated at DPR, so much that we even have an entire innovation team dedicated to supporting our efforts. We set aside company funding to pilot new ideas and have an in-house platform that serves as a database of knowledge around all our innovative solutions. Connecting our network to share industry solutions is critical to our success. DPR partners closely with many external teams to help support this mission across the industry. It takes all of us aligning with the goal of creating a healthier planet through sustainable built environment practices.
Thai Nguyen, Hensel Phelps
Innovation and sustainability have always been the top priority at Hensel Phelps. By offering employees courses in advanced technologies such as 3D printing, drones, AI based digital tools and organizing programs such as “Continuous Improvement Process”, where employees are encouraged and incentivized to contribute to innovative ideas, we promote a culture of innovation, collaboration and ownership.
To keep ahead on the innovation front, Hensel Phelps partners with universities, research institutions, industry publications and investment firms to gain access to emerging technologies and research. In addition, with the launch of its Corporate Venture Capital group, Diverge, Hensel Phelps aims to attract the best startups and top talent in the construction technology industry.
Diverge will play a key role in ensuring we nurture the technologies of tomorrow until they are ready for launch at the right time. Through pilots, incubation programs, strategic partnerships and investments, Diverge will help in accelerating the transition to a more efficient, safer and sustainable construction industry.
Building transformations: What role do you see for itself in driving innovation and advancement in the industry, and how are you working to make that happen?
Thai Nguyen, Hensel Phelps
With skilled labor shortages and construction spending reaching all-time highs, there is a pressing need to adopt advanced technology solutions that will empower workers to be more productive, safer and efficient. The $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has given an additional boost to the construction industry, including an incentive to adopt digital technology solutions.
Through initiatives such as “Continuous Improvement Process” and Advanced Training Courses taught by top industry veterans, we train our workforce to be more productive today and be ready for tomorrow’s challenges. By investing in the latest tools and technologies, and partnering with startups, universities, and government and trade organizations, we have a unique approach in driving innovation and advancement in the industry.
Whether a project goal includes LEED certification, Net Zero energy or achieving a Well building, these advancements not only benefit the environment but also improves the client’s bottom line. Hensel Phelps’ sustainability track record includes more than 200 LEED certified projects, and we are proud to have earned the #4 spot of ENR’s Top 100 Green Contractors List. As one of the largest construction firms and industry leader in Design-Build Awards, Hensel Phelps has a corporate responsibility towards a sustainable future.
Amy Ford, AECOM
We have created holistic approaches where we are incorporating processes, frameworks, methods, skills, data and digital tools that we use to embed emerging technologies and sustainability into our projects to reduce carbon, improve resilience and build equity. We do so with a focus on the customer experience and delivering seamless outcomes, as well as an approach informed by the latest solutions and future technologies. Again, it is all about working cohesively with our clients, matching their vision and how we can deliver a better future.
Ryan Poole, DPR Construction
Our venture partner, WND Ventures, has a strategic focus to support companies that are developing innovative solutions to create a more sustainable built and work environment. Our goal is improving safety, quality, schedule, cost, and sustainability of the product we deliver. All of these solutions provide an environment that is more controlled and therefore more sustainable. We are able eliminate direct jobsite emissions, reduce overall waste, reduce water consumption, reduce overall power consumption, improve quality, and create a safer environment for our craft. Since our inception, we have prioritized the creation of a company culture that not only takes care of its people, but also ensures the product we deliver for our clients can do the same.
Hannu Lindberg, DPR Construction
DPR has made some strategic investments in manufacturing to drive innovation and prefabrication for our industry. Some of those ventures are SurePods, Digital Building Components, and EIG Electrical Systems. SurePods manufactures prefabricated modular bathrooms that are sized, designed, and accessorized precisely to architectural plans with the highest quality. Digital Building Components manufactures custom solutions for exterior building panels, load-bearing structures, and interior building panels. And EIG provides comprehensive modular solutions for electrical construction, Solar PV and telecom. So, to some extent, DPR has put its money where its mouth is. All this innovation has been realized through years of applied lessons learned and implementation to improve quality, productivity, and consistency.
Tamara Mull, Buttcon
Regarding technology, we see ourselves as fast followers of innovation. Buttcon’s purpose statement is “transforming visions into buildings” TM. To do this well we must help drive innovation and advancement, but this is sometimes an uncomfortable place for us when considering hefty capital investment in new technology, as an employee-owned company we are cautious about our choices. Operationally, we aim to be at the leading edge not the bleeding edge of innovation and fast followers of modern technology, adopting technology that has proven real world value creation and risk reduction within the construction industry.
Internally, our drive to advance the industry is supported through learning, training, and education, and by promoting a healthy dose of curiosity and enterprising spirit amongst our staff. Our story is one of innovation, entrepreneurialism, and teamwork, going back to our early days and our founder Michael Butt. Remembering this and incorporating this into our systems and processes, the “Buttcon Way” is fundamental to everything we do, it helps drive innovation.
Externally, we see ourselves as collaborators, facilitators, and champions of great construction ideas. There are a lot of exciting creative things happening in our industry. Being open and curious allows us to embrace change, it helps us find ways to explore and support an innovative technology that will further improve how and what we build, for the benefit of us and our environment.
Honourable Brenda Bailey, Gov. B.C
As part of the StrongerBC Economic Plan, the Integrated Marketplace Initiative is a new government action which will create jobs and economic opportunities by supporting made-in-B.C. companies to develop and sell clean-tech solutions locally, so they can solve industry challenges. The Government of BC is investing up to $11.5 million to develop the new initiative and create a unique marketplace that matches innovators of clean, made-in-B.C. technology with industry buyers looking for clean-tech solutions.
This will provide small B.C. clean-tech companies with a platform to test their innovation on real-world challenges, while B.C. industry gets help solving challenging business problems. This will result in domestic customers for B.C. clean-tech companies and proof of concept to support scale up and export of B.C. innovation. I’m eager to see the clean-tech solutions for the building industry that result from this program.
Another innovative step the Province is taking to support jobs and the economies of rural and remote communities is through our new $90-million Manufacturing Jobs Fund. We’re investing in high-value industrial and manufacturing projects to drive clean and inclusive growth in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities. It will also help to diversify local economies, promote value-added innovation in the forestry sector and create thousands of good-paying jobs for British Columbians. We’re working with industry to make B.C. a better place to live in all parts of the province.
This is part of our work to ensure we get more jobs out of every tree that gets logged. And while we understand fibre supply is an issue for manufacturers, we recently announced that, for the first time, small and medium-sized secondary manufacturers will have a dedicated fibre supply.
We will support companies that advance value-added manufacturing so that we can expand the industry and support workers as we build an economy that works for everyone.
Supporting a greener environment through industry is of top of mind for many British Columbians. With this in mind, the BC Government is driving innovative, clean growth through initiatives throughout the province.