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The future of the industry: Rock to Road’s Top 10 under 40

Celebrating the next generation.

March 30, 2018  By Rock to Road Staff Report

Ken Sim, owner and president of Canor Construction.

Every year, Rock to Road Magazine is proud to recognize the outstanding achievements, hard work and dedication put forth by the up-and-comers of the road building and aggregate industries. We ask companies across Canada to submit nominations highlighting their best and brightest, and you never disappoint.

So, without further ado, here are the outstanding individuals that made our Top 10 under 40 for 2018.

Ken Sim
President and Owner
Canor Construction
North Bay, Ont.

In addition to being the owner, Ken is also a talented operator and takes an amazing amount of pride in Canor Construction. From the initial customer consult to the final checklist, Ken is always involved. Ensuring the highest standards and taking a real pride in what they do, Ken takes part in everything and ensures that the company’s name is always held to the highest of standards. Ken has grown Canor from a small aggregate construction business to North Bay’s premier supplier of aggregate and construction services. In addition to this, the staff have year-round employment, as Ken has further developed Canor into an extremely successful snow removal company. This allows Canor to keep the staff employed year round and maintain its skill base year over year.


Canor enjoys an amazing relationship with the North Bay Regional Health Center, Canadian Forces Base and Canadore College and Nippissing University. Canor donates heavily to charity events and Ken prides himself on being a good community partner while bowing out of the spotlight. To Ken Sim, it is about Canor and the employees, and the long hours and late nights to keep the guys paid and the machines moving – not for accolades. For that and many other reasons, Ken Sim was nominated to the Top 10 under 40, as he represents “the best in a corporate construction owner and president.”

Gary Guthrie
Managing Director, North America
McCloskey International, Keene, Ont.

Gary Guthrie has made a major impact on McCloskey International during his nine years at the company’s head office in North America. Gary joined the McCloskey team with a degree in civil engineering and experience in production and operations management. He was tasked with supporting the introduction of newly designed screening products for McCloskey International. This required the setup of an assembly line and, in the early days, required a hands-on approach to get to grips with the challenges in building this new equipment in North America.

The first main priority was getting the product line to a stage where the product could be efficiently built to an industry-leading quality standard. This involved a review of shop floor layout, staffing requirements, quality procedures and documentation. Through a combination of dealer, customer, internal engineers, and the company owner’s feedback, hundreds of engineering changes were processed. As demand for the products grew, so too did the range of models and the required monthly output resulting in a 10-fold ramp up in production.

Gary has a passion for the development and delivery of industry-leading products that meet the requirements for applications across industries. He pursues consistent progression of the product lines based on firsthand experience working with the machinery on site, with the equipment dealers or working with the company owner incorporating his input and ideas into the final product. From the screener product line, Gary then turned his attention to rock crushers, preparing them for their introduction into global markets. His broad scope included building a separate business unit team to own this product line from start to finish. Again, back to the shop floor to determine the true requirements for shop layout, tooling, manpower and engineering changes to set the product line up for success. The technical complexity of the crushers required a change in strategy to previous products where further extensive testing was required for every unit in the PDI stage. Gary developed this testing with his team to best emulate the real life stresses exerted on the equipment in the field. In parallel with the setup of the new crusher product line Gary worked with a team on the introduction of a new inventory control system after seeking the assistance of an experienced consultant within the sector.

Gary continued to expand his role within the company most recently working with company dealers to improve product support and availability. He spent time traveling with dealers to customer sites performing demonstrations with equipment and investigated new potential business. The added support and training to the dealers and OEM presence with the end users assisted in product sales and company growth. Gary graduated in 2008 with a degree in civil engineering and just recently completely his MBA through Ivey Business School. He has worked consistently on research and development and new product development, and is always keen to identify new opportunities to support his ambition for progression. The talent of the team he joined, the addition of the talent he brought on board, coupled with the freedom and support of the company owner to always support the dealers and end user are, in his opinion, the key contributors to the impact he’s been able to make in his time with McCloskey International.

Ben Dopson
Property/Environmental Co-ordinator
G. Tackaberry and Sons Construction Company LTD.Athens, Ont.

Ben Dopson has been instrumental in the development and implementation of several of his company’s programs, including its species-at-risk awareness and training; Best Management Practices for Fugitive Dust; and new systems for record keeping to ensure compliance with various PTTW, ECA’s and other government instruments. Ben’s hard work and dedication has improved G. Tackaberry and Sons’ overall accountability to the environment. He also identified and led a project to increase existing aggregate reserves within a current licensed site through setback removals and reductions. He is also the project lead for new licensed applications and major amendments that have increased Tackaberry’s reserves and extended the life of operations in some geographic areas. Ben works daily to ensure the on-going compliance of 50 licensed sites through the collection of samples, well monitoring, and site inspections. He acts as a front line contact with public agencies and members of the public.

Ben has worked to improve Tackaberry’s environmental accountability while aiding in the management of aggregate resources and ensure that he does his part to ensure a strong future for his company.

Daryl Todd, president of Frontline Machinery, has been instrumental in bringing the Keestrack brand to the Canadian market. While is it a well known and reputable brand within Europe, Australia and many other countries, Keestrack is not a commonly recognizable brand within the aggregate market here in Canada. This is steadily changing due to Daryl Todd and the team at Frontline Machinery. To effectively bring a product to market, an organization must invest a lot of time and effort to build awareness and educate the end users on the features and benefits of the product. There is where Frontline has really broken the mould of your typical dealer. Their unique approach includes the creation of educational videos about the equipment features, hosting live equipment demo days where users can see the machine in action and consistent messaging through social channels.

Furthermore, Daryl recognizes the importance of selling the right machine to the right user and applications. There is where his consultative approach comes into play. Should the equipment not work for the application, Daryl will not sell that machine mitigating any negative experiences for the end user. Due to their approach to the market, consultative selling and strategic marketing initiatives, both Frontline and Keestrack have grown substantially within the Canadian market.

Reena Sood
District Sales Manager, Ontario Cement, Lafarge

Reena is passionate about the business and this is evident in everything she tackles. She is a mechanical engineer by way of her education and has a great talent for sales. Her tenure with Lafarge has provided her with over 15 years of experience within the company’s ready mix and cement product lines. Early in her career as a ready mix sales representative, Reena was awarded the Customer Solution Innovator Award for her sales ability. She recognized opportunities within the underground civil segment and within the growing solar farm industry in utilizing a self-consolidating concrete called Agilia. In this sales role, Reena continued to help build and grow a strong customer network that became loyal to Lafarge. Through various construction associations, she grew her customer portfolio to one of the largest and most profitable group of accounts.

She then made her next career move and became a plant manager at a ready mix facility and received the Women in Leadership award through Halton Region for being a committed community partner. In this position she expanded on her operational attributes, and worked very closely with the ready mix drivers and plant personnel to help create a safety culture with the team and local community. Under her leadership, the Milton, Ont. team achieved record profits and volumes through the plant. Reena was instrumental as general manager, Ready Mix, in successfully navigating an acquisition that increased Lafarge’s presence within the Greater Toronto Area market. Her personal leadership style is genuine and collaborative, which allows her to quickly build trust with her team and customers. Reena has also been a role model and mentor for many employees over the years. She has the ability to get all members of her team engaged by offering them challenges, seeking their ideas and providing recognition for their contributions. While in her general manager, Ready Mix role, Reena and her team won the Spirit of Innovation Award from the Brampton Board of Trade that recognized innovation in products and product solutions that have contributed in the building of numerous projects across the City of Brampton. Her commitment to her team and to the company is evident in the success of the businesses she has led. In her most recent position as district sales manager within the cement product line, Reena has already been successful in renegotiating and extending important contracts with two new major customers within the industry.

Oakley Sauder
Equipment Maintenance Manager, Kelly Panteluk Construction Ltd.
Estevan, Sask.

Oakley Sauder started his career with Kelly Panteluk Construction Limited (KPCL) in 2004 as a journeyman mechanic focusing on the maintenance of KPCL’s diverse fleet of earth moving equipment. His initial role involved spending summers in the field at project sites in Saskatchewan and Manitoba ensuring that the earthmoving equipment was up and running; while winters were spent in KPCL’s Estevan, Sask. shop overhauling and maintaining equipment for the next construction season. Fast-forward to today and Oakley has stepped into the role of KPCL’s equipment maintenance manager, overseeing the repair and maintenance of more than 250 pieces of heavy earthmoving equipment. Through this integral, high-pressure role in the company, Oakley spends a significant amount of his time ensuring that the heavy equipment is available for work throughout the region’s shortened earthworks construction season; which is compressed into six or seven frenzied months. Maintaining the overall availability of KPCL’s equipment fleet is only one aspect of Oakley’s responsibilities. Employee safety is a top priority for Oakley, ensuring that the employees under his guidance and direction have the means and methods available to reduce or eliminate hazards in the workplace. He is also instrumental in managing the life cycle costs of the fleet, ensuring the high performance of the maintenance department and assisting in decisions to retire andor purchase equipment.

Oakley is a key member of KPCL’s team helping drive the company’s overall success in the heavy construction industry. He is a natural leader, overseeing and mentoring at times up to 20 mechanics and apprentices in the field and maintenance shop. Never one to be stumped, he has a unique knack for troubleshooting equipment issues and doesn’t hesitate to pick up a wrench when the opportunity presents itself. Ever aware, he is quick to adopt new innovations in the industry when they can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the company’s repair and maintenance programs.

Outside of work, Oakley enjoys spending time with his busy family, and on many weekends he and his wife can be found at an ice rink or a swimming pool supporting their kids in their sports endeavors.

Evan Powell
General Manager of Projects
Kelly Panteluk Construction Ltd., Estevan, Sask.

Evan Powell is KPCL’s general manager of projects providing leadership and direction to teams of supervisors, project engineers and surveyors at some of KPCL’s most complex projects. A highly experienced individual in the heavy construction industry, he has grown with the company, which now operates over 220 pieces of heavy construction equipment and employs upwards to 300 employees at peak construction. Evan has a well-rounded depth of experience in the industry, initially joining the KPCL team as a summer student in 2011 to learn from the ground up, in regards to the application of construction methodologies, materials and subcontractor coordination and surveying. As he gained experience, his position increased in responsibility to encompass business development and procurement initiatives, developing construction methodologies, and providing estimating and scheduling for specific projects. Evan is dedicated to his work and will not hesitate to put in the hours required to achieve successful results. Intricate projects he has managed for KPCL include the CP Rail Belle Plaine Railway Spur that included the construction of 30.5 kilometres of railway grade, totalling roughly 9 million cubic metres of earth
excavation and 7.5 million cubic metres of embankment construction across the Qu’Appelle Valley; the construction of two greenfield ash storage cells for the SaskPower Poplar River Power Station, which involved the construction of four new dykes and the widening of three existing dykes for total earth moved exceeding 1.9 million cubic metres; and, is currently overseeing the development of two new interchanges for the cities of Martensville and Warman that include the construction of over 10.5 kilometres of new roadway, ramps, and overpass embankments, totalling roughly 1.35 million cubic metres of earth material. Intrigued by problem solving through design and construction methods, Evan successfully completed a bachelor of engineering degree in civil engineering at the University of Saskatchewan in 2014. This has complemented his practical experience and provided him with a basis of understanding of industry-related design principals and theory to foresee problematic structural and/or earth composition issues.

Ricky Liorti
Equipment Manager
Metric Contracting Services Corporation, Brampton, Ont.

Ricky has only been in the construction industry full time for just under three years, but has been working on site since his early teens gaining experience and learning from others; and because of that, he’s developed into a great leader and manager within the Metric Contracting Services Corporation. Although his primary focus as equipment manager is equipment coordination, he works closely with the president and vice-president, handling many of their daily tasks, which allows them to focus on new business development. Ricky has also helped update some of the company’s systems and created new computer formats designed for easy searching and allocation of the company’s equipment. He has also given his company an online presence through social media, highlighting its work and equipment, increasing its brand presence provincially and nationally. He’s been working hard to develop and increase his industry knowledge through online and in-class courses through the Canadian Construction Association and George Brown College. In the last two years he’s completed construction management, construction law and blueprint reading courses. Ricky is always trying to meet new people and grow his industry network and is involved with the Young Construction Leaders organization within the Toronto Construction Association. While maintaining strong relationships with many equipment dealers in the Greater Toronto Area, such as Nortrax, Wajax, Toromont and ESS, Ricky attends every Ritchie Bros. auction he can, to further gain insight to the equipment industry and create new relationships. Ricky’s strong personality and people skills allow him to represent Metric Contracting in a positive and professional manner.

Jonas Short
BLS Asphalt Inc., Regina

Jonas Short has been on the board since 2014, and BLS has been a member of the SHCA since the late 1970’s. Jonas has worked with BLS Asphalt since the mid-90’s. Jonas took over the operations of BLS Asphalt after the death of his father Jim Short in 2014. Upon Jim’s passing, Jonas also assumed his father’s position on the Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association’s Board of Directors, a seat he has held since that time. Jonas is a great advocate for the betterment of the heavy construction industry in Saskatchewan, as he firmly believes the work the members do is the key to keeping the economy in Saskatchewan strong. Jonas has been quoted saying that having the strength of the association behind you to help deal with whatever issues you may be having helps all members move forward. BLS Asphalt has been a member of the SHCA since the mid-1970’s and they are a great supporter of the association and the industry in Saskatchewan. Jonas has been involved with the family business working his way up the ranks since the mid-90’s. A family-owned business, BLS Asphalt is run with a great deal of pride, and they take every job personally. In 2013, BLS built an asphalt plant so it could begin to manufacture and supply their own asphalt, which was game changer for them within the local industry. The company has grown substantially over the years and is celebrating 40 years in business this year. Stepping into the role of vice-president after his father’s passing takes a great deal of courage and character; and he’s shown he is a strong leader both in running BLS and sitting around the association’s board table.

Mitch Malcomson
Engineer, Explotech
Engineering Ltd., Ottawa

Mitch has worked tirelessly to promote the use of AVM technologies on construction, quarry and mine sites throughout Canada; saving clients valuable time and money by automating and streamlining the data collection and management process in the field of vibration monitoring. Mitch has been fundamental in the development of Explotech’s branded and AVM service, and has successfully saved clients (and projects) many hundreds of thousands of dollars of onsite tech time over the course of his career.

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