Rock to Road

Rock to Road’s Top 10 Under 40 is out!

Celebrating the industry's next generation of leaders

March 29, 2017  By Rock to Road Staff report

Nicholas Cifelli, Technical Services - Pavement Products, Miller Paving Limited, Aurora, Ont.

March 29, 2017 – With a labour shortage looming in almost every skilled trade required in the construction industry, it is more important than ever that companies from across the industry highlight and celebrate the great work being done by their up and coming generation of employees.

With that in mind, Rock to Road Magazine is excited to recognize Canada’s best young workers in the aggregates and road building industries for 2016-17.

Some of this year’s chosen nominees are being awarded their Top 10 Under 40 certificates during the National Heavy Equipment Show, which takes place on April 6 and 7 in Mississauga, Ont.

James Donaldson, Skyridge Solutions, Owner and Director, Edmonton, Alta.
From 2012 to 2016, James sold GPS equipment to operators and consultants in Northern Alberta. He soon realized, however, that there was an immense opportunity to change the way UAVs were used on gravel sites. James decided to risk everything and quit his job to start a new company, Skyridge Solutions, because he knew the potential of his innovation – it would be a game changer. Although there were many UAV outfitters in the industry, James understood the benefit of pairing his RTK UAV with a high precision GPS. Not only was he able to calculate stockpile volumes, but he learned the ins and outs of creating operating plans for the government, 3D models, reclamation plans, cross-sections, among other deliverables. This completely changed the way gravel operators obtained data; the traditional method was expensive, posed safety risks, and was timely, taking up to four days.


With the UAV, which James dubbed “Bibi,” he and his team are able to fly to a site within 35 minutes and offer centimetre-level accuracy without asking a hefty price, making it affordable to all operators.

He is committed to better serving the aggregate industry and is constantly looking for innovative ways to use his fixed-wing UAV and help his customers. His commitment to improve industry standards can also be seen when he takes the time to meet with manufacturers, different organizations, and fellow UAV operators. James only started his company a year ago, but his impact in the aggregate industry can already be seen in Alberta.

Jason Cardinal, Equipment Supervisor, Cruickshank Construction, Kingston, Ont.
Jason began with Cruickshank Construction as a 310t mechanic in 2011. As an employee he was an outstanding mechanic and an engaged employee active in the company’s employee suggestion committee and on its joint health and safety committee (JHSC).

Jason left Cruickshank for a short time to pursue a role in a leadership position but when the opportunity presented itself to be a supervisor at Cruickshank, Jason immediately accepted and returned. As a supervisor, Jason has implemented many new management tools to improve both the equipment fleet and the happiness of the employees.

Jason is now a member of the company’s pension and a management rep on the JHSC. Outside of work, Jason is a member of the South Dundas Volunteer Fire Department. He lives in Morrisburg, Ont., but his office is in Kingston. This means that he does a one-hour-and-15-minute commute each day to and from work. This would not be extraordinary except when you consider that the company’s Morrisburg office is only three minutes from his house. When presented with the opportunity to take on a different role to have him work out of the Morrisburg office, Jason’s response was that he “didn’t want to leave his team.”

Jason took a very dissatisfied group of employees, and, with strong leadership and management skills, now has them very engaged with the company. Jason’s role is specific to one of three shops at Cruickshank, but he is managing cost reports and inventory reports for all three shops as well as supporting employee development in all thee shops.

Jason is listed on the Cruickshank “Mover and Shaker” list.

Ryan Held, Sales and Marketing Manager, CBM Aggregates, Toronto, Ont.
Ryan started working in the aggregate industry as a summer student in the quality control lab for Blue Circle Aggregates in London, Ont. He continued to do so while attending Western University in London.

After university, Ryan took on the role in quality control full time, until a sales representative job was posted internally for the London area, and Ryan applied and took over the sales position.

From there an opening for the sales and marketing manager for aggregates in Ontario became available, and again, Ryan succeeded, obtaining the position. Currently, Ryan manages a group that includes sales representatives, inside sales representatives, and scale people, as well as selling and marketing the various products for all of the CBM Aggregate locations in Ontario.

Ryan enjoys helping co-workers succeed though initiatives including safety training, self-improvement courses, and taking the time to listen to others ideas. Ryan is also involved in industry associations including the Ontario Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (OSSGA) and Aggregate Recycling Ontario (ARO). When Ryan is not at work he enjoys spending his time with his family and friends, golfing, and playing hockey.

Jason Pecarskie, Equipment Operator, Cruickshank Construction, Kingston, Ont.
Jason Pecarskiehas been an employee with Cruickshank Construction since 2011. He is an equipment operator and most recently has been running a 2016 Cat D6N Dozer. Over the last two years, Cruickshank has put a significant focus on reducing the idle time on its heavy equipment fleet with a target of achieving a total idle time goal of 10 per cent. No one equipment operator at Cruickshank did a better job than Jason.

At the end of the 2016 construction season, the dozer Jason operated had the lowest idle time in the entire Cruickshank fleet at four per cent. To put that in perspective, Jason achieved an 85 per cent reduction in idle time from the previous year when the average idle time on the company’s dozers was 28 per cent.

Jason understood the company initiative to reduce its impact on the environment, save hours on the machine and ultimately save money for the company and he exceeded the company’s expectations on idle time reduction.

Not to be forgotten in all of this, Jason is a great operator!

Ryan Anderson, Greycoat Software, Lead Programmer, Kitchener, Ont.
Ryan is an enthusiastic, adaptable, and extraordinary developer at Greycoat Software who has been committed to his work since joining the software company in 2006. Ryan has worked with many companies throughout the aggregate industry to help streamline aggregate operations through data optimization, organization, presentation, and standardization and to reduce the environmental impacts of shipping aggregates through dynamic map-based calculation tools.

Ryan has also worked alongside industry organizations like TOARC to track surrendered, revoked, and abandoned aggregate operations to help bring increased levels of accountability to the industry.

Among Ryan’s newest projects is the open-data based This software is helping bridge the information gap between aggregate companies and the public they work to serve.

This implementation of government created open-source data-sets to aggregate industry operations will allow for more interaction between government, industry, and the public, with a better understanding of the lifespan of aggregate sites and a closer look into how they operate.

Ryan is also a wonderful family man who has worked diligently to bring awareness around Muscular Dystrophy after his eldest son was diagnosed with the disorder in 2015. In 2016, Ryan took part in the “Ride for MD”, raising thousands of dollars for critical research initiatives.

Nicholas Cifelli, Technical Services – Pavement Products, Miller Paving Limited, Aurora, Ont.
In less than three years with Miller Paving, Nicholas Cifelli has made numerous valuable contributions to the company and has advanced the road building industry as a whole.

He has done extensive research in cold-in-place recycling, slurry seal, micro surfacing, surface treatment, and concrete.

He is also actively involved with Ontario Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (OSSGA) events to promote the aggregates industry. Travelling across Ontario and Manitoba, he gives seminars and Lunch & Learns to teach municipal engineers, councilors, and consultants about asset management, pavement preservation and road recycling – the best ways to keep their roads in the best shape using the most cost-effective and innovative techniques in the industry.

Nicholas shares his depth of knowledge to the people responsible for turning tax dollars into safe and sustainable roads for the general public to use. He has also spoken at the University of Waterloo to educate its students about pavement preservation in the road building industry, as well as conducted research projects with them in partnership with Miller Paving’s research laboratory in Aurora, Ont.

Nicholas was the driving force behind Miller Paving being recognized with the ORBA 2015 Green Award for Leadership and Sustainability in the road building industry. Nicholas plays a large part in advancing that culture and mindset throughout the Miller Group.

His dedication to the industry and Miller Paving so early on in his career have been invaluable.

Travis Coates, Alberta Sand & Gravel Association & BURNCO ROCK PRODUCTS, Edmonton, Alta.
Travis Coates has worked in Alberta’s aggregate industry for 10 years, graduating from the University of Calgary in 2005 with a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering. This past January, Travis successfully completely his term as the Alberta Sand and Gravel Association’s (ASGA) president, where he provided leadership and direction in major association initiatives. During the second year of his presidency, ASGA experienced complete turnover of its office staff. Travis not only re-staffed the empty ASGA office, but also created an additional position, expanding the association’s capability and ability to plan for the future. This increase in capacity has helped to build a more active association in Alberta’s industry.

In addition to steering the association towards significant membership growth, Travis focused much of his efforts into championing health and safety projects that will have significant impact on the future of Alberta’s sand and gravel industry.

In 2015, Travis worked alongside the association’s Part 36 subcommittee and the Alberta Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association (ARHCA) to represent the industry in the review of Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Code. Travis worked with the committee, ARHCA and Alberta Labour, providing subject-matter expertise into Part 36 (Mining).

The efforts of this work may see the sand and gravel industry receive its own subsection as part of the Code. In 2016, Travis continued work on the association’s long-standing silica initiative, building on the Silica Code of Practice and Education Sessions developed with ARHCA in the previous years.

Travis once again championed the association alongside ARCHA, providing strategic oversight and support to the Health and Safety Committee.

The continuation of this project and subsequent research will have lasting impacts on regulations for the industry and has formed a positive relationship with Occupational Health and Safety.

After the close of his presidential term, Travis moves into a new advisory role with the ASGA Board.

Along with working as a volunteer ASGA board member, Travis is BURNCO Rock Products’ land and resource manager for southern Alberta, where he is involved with all aspects associated with securing and permitting new and existing aggregate properties including minimizing environmental concerns, land use conflicts and final reclamation decisions. Travis ensures BURNCO’s compliance with increasing government pit regulations and is a key member of the BURNCO management team.

ASGA is better positioned in its operations, government liaisons, membership relations and overall viability thanks to the contributions of Travis Coates.

Harley Diederichs, Project Engineer, Potzus Paving & Road Maintenance, Yorktown, Sask.
Harley Diederichs is a civil engineer with 18 years of experience in the Saskatchewan heavy construction industry.

He began his career as a consultant working mainly in the road construction sector of the industry.

Through his years in consulting he had the opportunity to meet and work with many of the members of the Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association (SHCA).

Harley joined Potzus Paving & Road Maintenance in 2012. His position as project engineer has allowed him to take a different perspective on the industry in turn rounding out his experience. In this capacity he had the opportunity to get to know many consultants and suppliers in the province.

Harley gained his civil engineering degree at the University of Saskatchewan in 2000. He is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering, and the Canadian Technical Asphalt Association. Harley also currently sits on the Tri-Party committee as a representative of the SHCA.

Mary Panteluk, Vice-President, Human Resources, KPCL Dirt Movers, Estevan, Sask.
Mary Panteluk  works closely with the company’s senior management, administration and safety teams to provide oversight and leadership in the recruitment, training, onboarding and retention of employees.

Since joining the company full -time in September 2012, she has assisted in the growth of the company by ensuring skilled trades and support staff were available to meet the company’s growth demands. This involves the recruiting of many professional and trade positions across the company.

To support the company’s recruitment efforts, she participated in a successful recruitment mission to Ireland in 2013; integrated online tools for the hiring of employees through the company’s website; and developed strategies to hire Aboriginal persons.

She fills a unique liaison position between KPCL’s field and head office operations by standardizing administration and safety processes. Alongside her human resources role, she is responsible for KPCL’s marketing program and website.

As part of the executive team responsible for the ongoing welfare and growth of the company, which operates over 200 pieces of heavy construction equipment and employs approximately 300 employees at peak construction, her recent focus has been innovating KPCL’s hiring practices.

This has included the implementation of a behavioural-based survey tool that significantly increases the odds of the company making good hires.

Moving forward her goal is to increase the company’s diversity and inclusion and to focus on growing a permanent stable workforce.

Prior to becoming joining the company Mary worked with the provincial government’s Enterprise Saskatchewan in the manufacturing sector and worked for the federal government’s Western Economic Diversification to connect local manufacturing capabilities with prime contractors fulfilling defence procurement contracts.

She successfully completed a commerce degree in business management at the University of Saskatchewan’s Edwards School of Business. This has provided the foundation for her practical experience and piqued her curiosity for continuous learning and growth.  

Riley Panteluk, vice-President, Operations, KPCL Dirt Movers, Estevan, Sask.
Riley Panteluk provides leadership and direction to teams of supervisors, foreman and mechanics at each of KPCL’s projects. A highly experienced individual in the heavy construction industry, he has grown with the company which now operates over 200 pieces of heavy construction equipment and employs approximately 300 employees at peak construction.

Prior to becoming vice-president of operations, Riley worked in the family-owned company for 10 years overseeing the construction of numerous earthworks projects in the province.

He has a well-rounded depth of experience in the industry; humbly starting out washing heavy equipment in his early teens before moving onto the operation and maintenance of the equipment. As he became competent in the trade and gained more experience in the industry, he took on increasing roles of responsibility; first as an earthworks foreman and then as a supervisor.

In addition to Riley’s other accomplishments, he successfully completed a diploma in mining engineering technology at Saskatchewan Polytechnic in 2014. This has complemented his practical experience and provided him with a basis of understanding of industry related design principals and theory.

While Riley’s primary focus is on the day-to-day operations of KPCL’s projects, top of mind for him is the safety and wellbeing of KPCL’s employees. He provides both leadership and mentorship to KPCL’s management and employees on having a safety-first attitude.

Riley believes that employee safety is key to owning and operating a successful business in the heavy construction industry.

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