David Parker: Calgary Construction Association’s new Members Centre aims to unite local industry

via Calgary Herald by David Parker

One of the biggest casualties of the pandemic was the loss of face-to-face communication, resulting in fewer opportunities to share business gossip in a relaxed manner.

Telephoning, emailing, texting and Zooming with others was remarkably efficient in getting information out, but lacking was the casual in-person camaraderie in which people are able to garner knowledge not usually discussed on tighter schedules.

The Calgary Construction Association has addressed the problem by opening a new facility designed to empower and support members with its newly renovated Members Centre.

CCA president & COO Bill Black says that during COVID-19, members missed out on association events but also the chance to simply hang out with each other and share industry information on new projects over a cup of coffee.

The new space, redesigned in the association’s 10,000 square feet of offices on 12th Street N.E., will provide an environment for industry professionals to connect, engage in industry-specific discussions, and gain access to invaluable tools and resources.

The bigger construction companies are members, but the majority of the CCA’s member companies are smaller businesses — 80 per cent with 10 or fewer employees engaged in what the CCA offers, such as its newsletter that is distributed to more than 4,000 individuals each week.

It represents a diversity of trades but also attracts companies on the periphery of the industry, such as engineers, architects, accountants and legal firms.

The renovation of the interiors was done by Calgary’s Walker Lawson Design and built by association member Create Construction Management.

The Members Centre will serve as a dynamic hub for members of the association, offering a wide range of exclusive resources, networking opportunities and collaborative spaces.

The state-of-the-art facility — Black says it has the feel of an airport VIP lounge — aims to foster innovation, knowledge sharing and professional development within the construction industry, further solidifying the association’s commitment to the industry.

There are a number of meeting rooms, including the Legacy Room where young professionals can enjoy a mix of interaction, and a classroom where educational programs are conducted.

Primary is the Gold Seal program that establishes, administers and continuously improves a range of specialized standards. It certifies construction management professionals working in the industrial, commercial, institutional and civil infrastructure sectors against those national standards, while promoting accredited education training.

Education leading to management positions is a big carrot to persuade young people to enter the construction industry as a worthwhile and fruitful career path.

The CCA encourages young people to enter the industry by promoting its advantages in schools. The Forest Lawn High School, for example, has 150 youth enrolled in its carpentry classes, and CCA member Alberta Wall and Ceiling Association collected and donated used tools to the school through its annual golf tournament.

CCA is also stepping up its game as an advocate for the industry with all levels of government.

Eighteen months ago, Frano Cavar, a former chief of staff for the Ward 6 office at city hall and communications and policy liaison for former councillor Jeff Davison, joined the organization as director of government relations.

He is a regular voice on major issues affecting the industry, a new face drawing attention to the challenges it faces.

Cavar is one of only six full-time employees of the CCA — a small team but all enthusiastically engaged, with the support of a large and committed board, in serving their members.

The CCA is planning celebratory events in 2024 when the organization proudly enters its 80th year of serving the construction industry.

There are 83,000 people employed in different areas of construction in Calgary and a total of more than 220,000 throughout the province. According to Black, that exceeds the number employed in oil and gas.

The new Members Centre will do much to bring them together again as a catalyst for knowledge exchange, enabling them to stay at the forefront of industry trends and advancements.

Article by Lena Hogarth
July 6, 2023

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