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Employee-owned PCL Construction supports career development with leadership training.Provided

From the moment that Kian Shoai stood on the roof of Vancouver’s BC Place stadium as a co-op student over a decade ago, he knew that PCL Construction was the place he wanted to be.

“When I started, the old roof was gone and at the end of my term, the new roof was up, and the city of Vancouver’s skyline was changed forever,” recalls Shoai, now a project manager with PCL. “Being a part of that project cemented it for me.”

A design like BC Place required unique ways to build it, presenting new challenges not just for Shoai, but for his more experienced colleagues as well.

“Some of the senior people had never done anything like that before, so everybody had to put on their problem-solving hats,” he says.

That ability to take on unique projects was just one of the reasons Shoai has been with the Edmonton-based company for almost 12 years now.

“I don’t do well with stagnation,” he says. “Every two to three years you’re getting a completely new challenge with new things to discover. It keeps it exciting and fun.”

PCL’s employee ownership model is another big reason that Shoai was attracted to the company.

“It’s not just the financial incentive, it’s what it brings – everyone’s invested and driving towards a common purpose,” he says. “No one has that mentality of ‘It’s not my problem.’ It brings a different mindset and creates a more positive work experience.”

The employee-first culture is the focal point of what has led PCL to become the country’s biggest contractor, explains Harmony Carter, vice president of people and culture. Being 100-per-cent employee-owned, however, is only part of the equation.

“We prioritize development and growth opportunities because we want every employee-owner to reach their top potential,” says Carter, who started with PCL 22 years ago.

Internally, PCL offers ongoing professional development opportunities and leadership training to drive employee success.

“We build very intentional programs to be pro-active and stay ahead in our industry,” says Carter.

Take, for example, solar energy. When PCL found that the industry wasn’t keeping up with the training required for the technology, the company moved quickly to create its own internal training.

“No one was trained in solar, so we mobilized and trained ourselves to ensure our employees have the skills to do it,” says Carter.

Actively seeking out diverse talent has also made an impact in the day-to-day operations – something Shoai, who serves on multiple committees including PCL’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) committee, has noticed.

When he started in the construction industry and also at PCL, women were minimally represented in leadership roles. Shoai now sees the needle moving closer to gender parity, something he attributes to purposeful opportunities, development and actively working to change the perception of construction as a male-dominated industry.

“That’s been amazing to see, just in the span of 10 years, how much change has happened for the positive,” he says.

The support from within the company is among the standout benefits that Shoai has seen in his time at PCL.

“If you show your interest, the company is going to support you as far as you want to go,” he says. “The opportunities are there you just need to seize them and be hungry for it.”

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Advertising feature produced by Canada’s Top 100 Employers, a division of Mediacorp Canada Inc. The Globe and Mail’s editorial department was not involved.

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