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Events and tourism grad makes life-changing decision to enter construction

Dan O’Reilly
Events and tourism grad makes life-changing decision to enter construction

After graduating from George Brown College’s Special Events and Tourism program in 2010, Mapleine (Maple) Iordanis came to realize work in that field can be erratic and made the decision to return to the same college a few years later.

“I found it difficult to find stable work in the events industry, as it was a lot of contract/event-to-event positions,” says Iordanis on her journey into construction.

Now a DPI Construction Management project manager, she says that transition was inspired by one of her contract assignments at a real estate conference.

“I realized there was more opportunity in the real estate/development/construction field.”

She enrolled in George Brown College’s architectural technologies program but transferred to construction engineering technologies after her first year, “as it fit my skill set better.”

Still in her early 20s at the time, Iordanis says making the career switch wasn’t all that difficult and that a number of skill sets needed to be an effective event planner are applicable to construction, such as project management, budgeting, scheduling and working to deadlines.  

If there were any second guesses about that change, they were quickly dispelled after she graduated, for the second time, in 2017 and almost immediately obtained a project co-ordinator’s position with D.F. Pray General Contractors, which was the construction manager overseeing the restoration of the historic Simpson Tower.

As this was a 24/7 project, she had to liaison with three different site superintendents and the property manager, sometimes work at night and occasionally assume project role responsibilities, plus scheduling of trades and dealing with budget issues.

In 2019 she was hired as a project co-ordinator with the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation on its Pickering Casino Resort project. The position necessitated relocating to the Pickering/Ajax area, but the move was worthwhile because the complex’s sheer size and complexity, especially its electrical system, increased her knowledge of construction.

There was a move back to Toronto when she became Tridel’s assistant site superintendent for quality assurance and quality control on the five condominium buildings it was constructing as part of The Well, the multifaceted retail and residential facility.

Since there were five buildings, she had to deal with five different construction teams on quality assurance/quality control issues, including inspecting the structural grout on sculptural glass canopy which is suspended above The Well’s pedestrian spine.

“I would describe my duties as being proactive, rather than reactive (to issues).”

As for her current job as DPI Construction Management project manager, Iordanis explains that company called her offering the position. Being a project manager is a “step up’’ because it allows her to have a hand in actually planning projects as opposed to overseeing day-to-day issues.

The company does interior fits out and, although its projects may not be of the magnitude of the Pickering Resort Casino or The Well, “it’s a very fast-pace environment.”

Last fall Iordanis made another change when she took maternity leave to care for new-born son Leon.

It will be a “full maternity leave” and she won’t be returning work until March 2024. Her maternity leave is fully supported by DPI project managers, 90 per cent of whom are women.

A LEED Green Associate, she intends to stay current with ongoing industry trends and issues by taking LEED continuing education and project management software courses.

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