Throughout the Ontario Road Builders’ Association’s (ORBA) 89-year history there have been a variety of presidents who’ve come from different environments, explains incoming board president Allan West.
"I came from the field," he says. "I graduated from Ryerson back in 1975 and I started out on a job, worked my way up the ladder by actually estimating, bidding on jobs and managing jobs."
Now he is a vice-president for K.J. Beamish Construction Co., Limited, which has operated in the road construction industry since 1946. The company states it has management teams that control a fleet of road building equipment, eight asphalt plants, one concrete plant and thousands of acres of plant sites, gravel pits, quarries and properties.
West says he is the type of person who "tries to make things work" and characterizes his role at K.J. Beamish Construction "as really helping our people get their job done."
He says he intends to take these qualities and apply them to his position on the board of directors as he takes over for Blair McArthur of Miller Paving Limited.
"How I’m going to transition into the ORBA organization, I think it will be along that line," he says. "I’m looking forward to working with the team…then focusing throughout the year on why it is such a great organization."
ORBA executive director Geoff Wilkinson says West’s experience will be a benefit to the association.
"I think Al brings a great perspective from senior management," he states. "Al has been very active in the industry."
West has been part of the Ontario College of Trades Appointments Council for nearly six years. The council is responsible for making appointments to the governance structure of the college, including the board of governors, divisional boards and trade boards.
He’s also been involved with a number of organizations over the years including the Coalition of Concerned Construction Employers, the Project Management Institute and the Ontario Hot Mix Producers Association and the Ontario Stone, Sand & Gravel Association.
According to a release from the province of Ontario, in 1986 he worked with the Ontario Women’s Directorate to introduce a program to encourage women to pursue careers in road building.
Wilkinson says he admires West’s "passion, his dedication, and his commitment to the industry and to ORBA."
West states ORBA can benefit those in the roadbuilding industry and presents various opportunities.
"If you’re looking to develop professionally, it’s a great place to be. The individuals on this board of directors are the backbone of the roadbuilding industry in this province," he states. "I’m looking forward to the experience. I am sure I will be learning quite a lot this year."