Event recap: ‘Construction’s Most Influential’ celebrate in Calgary

SiteNews and our friends gathered near the banks of the Bow River to toast the industry’s best and brightest.

SiteNews Co-Found, Andrew Hansen (left), Orion President Josh Gaglardi (middle) and SkilledTradesBC CEO Shelley Gray.

A sold out crowd joined SiteNews in the Prairies to lift up those who are having a positive influence on the industry. 

Part of SiteNews’ mission is to celebrate people who are making construction better and inspiring others to do the same. We did just that this week in Calgary where we gathered with more than 100 guests to honour everyone recognized by our latest awards program, Construction’s Most Influential People.

The competition winners included teachers, lawyers, association leaders, entrepreneurs, engineers, documentarians and more. Collectively they have helped shape how builders build and how the public at large thinks about construction.

There’s so much passion in construction, and when you work in it there’s always this tangible asset, and there’s value in that. And right now, construction plays such a big part in both our economies, in B.C. and Alberta.

Josh Gaglardi, Orion Construction president

The event was generously supported by our sponsors, including ICBA Alberta, Sherwin-Williams, Clark Builders, Alltrade Industrial Contractors Inc., SiteMax Systems Inc., A Few Good Lads, SitePartners, VAULT & SALUS

In addition to enjoying some fine Alberta beef, those who joined us at the sold out celebration near the banks of the Bow River were treated to a panel discussion hosted by SiteNews Co-Founder Andrew Hansen with two of our competition winners: Orion Construction founder and president Josh Gaglardi, and SkilledTradesBC CEO Shelley Gray. 

The pair gave their thoughts on leadership, growth, attracting workers and more. 

Gaglardi spoke about the benefits of starting his business from scratch so he could full implement his vision for what a construction company should be. He also noted that embracing technology and other modern construction methods allowed Orion to ride a massive wave of industrial work. The company has seen immense growth, and in 2022 it earned the number one spot on the Globe and Mail’s Top Growing Companies. Orion also boasts a 100% retention rate as no employee has ever quit. 

While Orion’s initial rise was in industrial, he sees a great future in expanding into the residential market as well. 

“There’s so much passion in construction, and when you work in it there’s always this tangible asset, and there’s value in that,” said Gaglardi. “And right now, construction plays such a big part in both our economies, in B.C. and Alberta. I think it’s only going to play a bigger part as international immigration increases, housing increases, and industrial increases. The outcome is very optimistic for both markets.”

Gray explained that while B.C. has seen record-breaking apprenticeship registrations, the reality is that the true challenge is retaining them in the industry. She noted that the data shows many are still facing bullying, harassment and other negative behaviors on job sites and said that this must change. 

She shared the story of her neighbour, a young electrician, who quit the trades to go to school for business. 

“He said he just had gotten sick of the environment. I always worry for this sector because if we do anything to fix the culture, we will just lose people in the long run. It’s in one end, out the other,” she said. “We can’t get complacent just because we’re seeing those numbers come in.”

The crowd also heard from Mike Martens, who leads ICBA Alberta. He explained that with comprehensive and competitive group health and retirement benefit plans, an industry-leading workplace mental health and wellness program, innovative professional development and training courses, and strong advocacy, ICBA Alberta supports businesses of all sizes by drawing on the expertise and strength of our members to support innovation and a thriving construction industry.

From everyone at the SiteNews team, thank you for attending, and we hope to see you at our next event. 

Photos from the evening:


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