Industry veteran Jim Schwindt, a former president of Cambridge, Ont.’s Traugott Construction Ltd., has been inducted into the Grand Valley Construction Association’s (GVCA) Hall of Fame.
Schwindt, a professional engineer who joined Traugott in 1973 as an estimator and project manager, was promoted to general manager in 1978.
He became president and controlling partner in 1982, a position he held until his retirement at the end of 2005.
"I enjoyed my time in construction," says Schwindt, who was active in industry circles for a number of years and served on the board of Infrastructure Ontario following his retirement from Traugott.
"It’s not an easy business, though. It’s not a nine-to-five business."
Schwindt, whose father was a general contractor, joined what is now Traugott Building Contractors Inc. after graduating from the University of Waterloo with a degree in civil engineering.
"In the early days, the firm was doing work for the Zehrs grocery store chain," Schwindt recalls. "The original founder of Traugott was good friends with Lester Zehr. We had a niche in that area and ran with it."
GVCA Hall of Fame
Over the years, the construction company made a name for itself in the realm of big box stores and shopping malls.
"We had a reputation for completing projects on time," Schwindt says.
The firm’s services now include LEED designs, renovations, new builds, site work and construction management as well as design-build.
During his time in the industry, Schwindt chaired the GVCA’s general contractors’ section. He was involved in labour relations work for many years.
Schwindt complemented that with stints as a director and later chair of the Ontario General Contractors Association and subsequently, the Council of Ontario Construction Associations.
"I found this to be a great learning experience," he says.
"Networking with other contractors is a great way to expand your knowledge of your own industry and your capabilities."
At Infrastructure Ontario, he served two terms as a director, protecting the interests of the province’s general contracting sector.
The agency was established by the province in 2006 to help deliver an ambitious infrastructure renewal program using the alternative financing and procurement model.
"In the early days, they really needed someone on the board representing the interests of general contractors, someone who was retired with no conflict of interest," he says.
At the GVCA, he has been an adjucator for the past six years for the Building Excellence Awards. This allows him to keep a hand in the industry.
Over the years, Schwindt has also been active in the community, supporting a number of events. In 2008 he was chair of the Kiwanis Club. He remains active in that organization.
Schwindt was nominated by the GVCA’s board for induction into the hall of fame "because of his commitment to the industry and for all of the work he does for the community," says president Martha George.
"Jim was a natural pick."
Schwindt was formally inducted into the hall of fame at the GVCA’s annual general meeting on Feb. 28 at the Holiday Inn in Kitchener.