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Association of Consulting Engineering Companies-Canada to hold summit in Prince Edward Island

Patricia Williams

Consulting engineers from across the country are poised to converge in Prince Edward Island for the upcoming annual summit of the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies-Canada (ACEC). The event takes place June 21 to 23 and the keynote speaker is futurist Jim Carroll.


Geared to industry leaders, the summit program includes presentations on a range of topics such as business and market trends, industry challenges and opportunities, infrastructure investment, human resources issues and business risks.

A young professionals’ (YP) program also will be offered, targeted at future industry leaders.

The theme of this year’s summit, at the Rodd Brudenell River Resort, is “Connecting Leaders: Driving Business.”

Association president John Gamble said the event provides participants with an opportunity to think about the future and consider how to best position their firms moving forward.

Keynote speaker is futurist Jim Carroll. His presentation will focus on why innovators will rule in the post-recession economy.

“Jim is a highly regarded futurist,” Gamble said.

“He will help us step out of our everyday reality and allow us to take a more dispassionate look at the future. We think this will set a great context for the rest of the conference.”

The line-up of more than a dozen speakers includes Stuart Bergman, assistant chief economist at Export Development Canada, Bob Collins, a regional labour market information co-ordinator at the Construction Sector Council, construction lawyer Owen Pawson of Miller Thomson, Michael Burt, director of industrial economic trends at the Conference Board of Canada, Paul Juniper, director of the industrial relations centre at Queen’s University, and Guy Felio, an adjunct professor of civil engineering at Carleton University and project co-ordinator for the Canadian infrastructure report card.

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For their part, young professionals will receive advice on such topics as networking and relationship-building, choosing a career path, and building lasting client relationships.

Gamble said the young professionals’ groups have been “a great success” across the country. Currently, organizations are in place in six provinces, including Ontario. ACEC has set up a network to facilitate communications between the groups.

“These organizations provide an opportunity for young people, who have been identified as the future leaders in their firms, to gain exposure to some of the business aspects of consulting engineering and also to network.”

ACEC represents the business interests of close to 500 independent consulting engineering companies across Canada that provide services to both the public and private sectors.

Given that mandate, Gamble said the annual summit tends to attract “the decision-makers, the go-to people” in firms.

“Thus, the summit inherently provides one of the industry’s best networking opportunities,” he said. “The event also gives young professionals a chance to interact with some of the leaders of the industry.”

Some 15 young engineers, employed by ACEC member firms and under the age of 35, are expected to attend.

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