Building the roadmap to success through hard work and dedication
Patrick Lalach is a well-regarded industry professional for the work he has accomplished in the Transportation sector over the last 25+ years. As a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan, Patrick earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering degree with Distinction in 1995 and worked at two reputable firms before joining CIMA+. In 2013, Patrick opened the company’s Saskatoon office.
As a partner and leader at CIMA+, Patrick and his growing team have spearheaded numerous game-changing projects across Saskatchewan and Western Canada. Today, we are pleased to announce Patrick’s new appointment as the Vice President of Transportation.
We had the opportunity to chat with Patrick to learn more about his role at CIMA+, some of his biggest accomplishments, and how he gives back to the community through his volunteer work.
You have worked in the Transportation sector for the duration of your career. Can you share some successes and the projects you are most proud of?
“I have had the pleasure of working on a large variety of projects from the southern regions to the Far North, so it is hard to pick just a few. I am especially proud to have been directly involved in the location planning, detailed design, and construction of over 160 km of haul roads to Cameco’s uranium mines in northern Saskatchewan. These were critical projects for that industry to have in place quickly and efficiently to allow the uranium industry to expand in Saskatchewan.
The $300M Circle Drive South Design/Build Project was a critical roadway connection for the City of Saskatoon that changed the landscape and traffic patterns to support developmental growth within the city. As the Design Manager on that project, I learned a lot about contractor interaction and teamwork.
More recently, I was the Project Manager for the Technical Advisor team for the City of Saskatoon on the $225M North Commuter Parkway and Traffic Bridge Project. This was Canada’s first P3 project applied to a local urban roadway network and involved two bridge river crossings, sensitive environmental swale crossings, architectural requirements, and a large Design/Build team working on accelerated timelines.”
In addition to your role at CIMA+, you are an active member of various organizations and committees. Can you tell us a little more about the various hats you wear?
“Early in my career I was taught by my mentors that continued learning, strong networks, and contacts are critical components to a successful career. I became an active member of several technical organizations, which included Canadian Institute of Transportation Engineers (CITE), Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE), and Transportation Association of Canada (TAC). I also was on the local organizing committees for four national conferences hosted in Saskatchewan.
More recently, I started focusing on the business side of consulting engineering and I am presently the Chair of the Board for the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies – Saskatchewan (ACEC-SK). This group has had a strong influence on my personal professional development and has helped develop further relationships with governments and other client bases. The ACEC-SK helps to strengthen the consulting engineering industry, while demonstrating the value that consultants bring to projects and the local economy.”
As a newly appointed Vice President at CIMA+, what is your main priority?
“My main priority is to successfully expand CIMA+’s Transportation presence across Western Canada in support of our corporate growth plan goals. We will continue to build a strong base of leaders in key strategic markets and disciplines, and through solid client focus and project delivery, we will build our reputation across the region. Equally important is ensuring a proper team fit with the right components and people in place, while making the career fun and personally rewarding. By working smarter, not harder, and enjoying what we do, the rewards will come.”
How has your team fostered innovation through the transportation work you have done in Saskatchewan and across Western Canada?
“CIMA+ puts a large emphasis on innovative opportunities and invests significantly in proper software and other tools to maintain a strong technical portfolio and team. For example, we have implemented innovative solutions, including 3D scanning survey techniques, which gathers complete snapshots of existing conditions in less time and more accuracy than conventional methods. Effective modelling software applications allow us to quickly assess design and planning options as an added value for our clients. Furthermore, the most valuable tool we have is the ability to share ideas and information across our teams, across the country, quickly and effectively.”
What advice would you give to an engineer who is starting their career?
“The most important thing for junior engineers and technologists to realize is that you actually don’t know a lot. Your post-secondary education has proven only one thing: you are capable of learning. The real experience is about to begin and will continue every day, and every year, of your entire career. You are never done expanding your knowledge and professional value.
The other key trait is the importance of being self-aware. Be sure you understand what you are capable of, what you know and what you can do well. Bring your new and unique knowledge to identify ways to solve problems more efficiently, while appreciating why some things are done in a certain way. More importantly, know what your weaknesses are and where you need to grow to increase your value to the firm and industry. Never be afraid to seek out critical feedback of yourself and your work, as it is the only way to truly grow and develop.
Research and identify additional educational, association and training opportunities that you feel you need for your career growth. Don’t forget, this is your career, not anyone else’s, so own it!
In this business, we are simply people providing professional services to other people with a need. Yes, they are our clients, but they are people first, you need to be approachable and capable of interacting with them. Once you achieve that, your career will see great opportunities.”
What is your favourite sport and why?
“Growing up in small-town Saskatchewan, I had many opportunities to get engaged in team sports, mainly hockey and football. The strong team spirit in sports has led me a lot in my life and career. Football resonates the strongest with me because of how it relates to leadership and teamwork. Success of a football play is entirely reliant on each player completing their assignments – no one individual wins a football game, the team does. The same goes for the consulting engineering world – it takes a team to win an assignment and to complete a project. And never forget: Go Riders!”