Twelve organizations in the heavy construction industry have pledged $1,127,500 over five years to establish an endowed chair at McMaster University. It is believed to be the first such chair in Canada.
Among the key duties of the chair will be to provide leadership in advancing innovation in the heavy-construction sector, attracting and developing talent, and contributing to the advancement of a modern and durable infrastructure in Ontario.
“This chair is a vital step in ensuring strong growth and a progressive future of our industry,” said Jon Brown, president of the Hamilton and District Heavy Construction Association. Brown, along with Leo Laviolette who was general manager of the Association at the time, initiated the endeavour.
The organizations involved include: Hamilton and District Heavy Construction Association, Ontario Road Builders’ Association, Ontario Sewer and Watermain Construction Association, John Deere Foundation of Canada, Ministry of Transportation Ontario, Laborers International Union of North America – Ontario Provincial District Council, Mechanical Contractors Association – Hamilton, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 793, Ontario Concrete Pipe Association, Greater Toronto Sewer and Watermain Contractors Association, Battlefield Equipment Rentals The Cat Rental Store, and the Heavy Construction Association of Toronto.
“We need to develop more intelligent infrastructure,” said Ghani Razaqpur, chair, Department of Civil Engineering at McMaster. “That means more efficient, safer, and greener construction methods. It means longer lasting, sustainable infrastructure that needs less maintenance. But we need to attract and develop a pool of highly qualified engineers and engineering technicians who can provide the leadership and management skills to make it happen.”
The chair in heavy construction will have an academic appointment in the Department of Civil Engineering at McMaster with instruction responsibilities at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as in the McMaster-Mohawk Bachelor of Technology civil engineering technology program.
Heavy construction includes the development of transportation networks such as roads, bridges, and harbor facilities; municipal infrastructure such as water supply and sewer systems; and the sustainable supply of power such as hydro-electric facilities.