Panel Sessions

Employee Engagement: Effective employee engagement, ownership transition and creating a sustainable corporate culture in a changing labour pool


A thriving, innovative corporate culture can contribute greatly to a business’s success – especially in an industry where the greatest asset is people. By promoting company values and designing policies around those values, executives can help their team members perform to their best abilities.  Culture is not only about creating a ‘best place to work’. It is very much about being more successful as an individual or as a collective in an organization.  The companies with the strongest, most positive cultures and positive employee engagement tend to have much lower turnover rates and are generally more innovative.  Also, culture is often more about attitudes than it is about tangible perks and benefits.  In this session executives will describe how employee engagement and culture impacts their business and how they try to shape the cultural environment at their companies.  They will discuss the investments that they have made in engaging employees and speak about the return on those investments.

Risk Management: Corporate risk management challenges related to finance, litigation and leadership


All executives in the industry, regardless of the size and complexity of their operations, deal with the three key areas of finance, insurance, and legal. This panel session will explore how each of these services manage corporate risks that impact the consulting engineering operations when dealing with financing needs to support cash flow and growth, insurance requirements to limit exposure, and legal to mitigate corporate risks and manage corporate liabilities.

Mergers and Acquisitions: Industry consolidation with increased mergers & acquisition - challenges, impacts and opportunities


The industry has been going through major transformation and consolidation over the past 15 years. Pre-recession and post-recession M&A activities in the industry have resulted in the introduction of many large foreign environmental and consulting engineering firms operating in Canada. Owners heading toward retirement and the subsequent desire to create liquidity for shareholders have been key factors in increased M&A activity in the industry. This session will discuss the M&A trends, what the potential acquiring companies may be looking for, integration issues, valuation matrix, cultural compatibility, size and what makes an M&A transaction successful.

Technology: Industry consolidation with increased mergers & acquisition - challenges, impacts and opportunities


Technological improvements have changed the way companies in the industry collect, analyze and report information to their clients.  The pace of technology development continues to accelerate at an exponential rate; standard tools and best practices are being replaced at an ever-increasing rate. Rapid advancement in key technologies, including artificial intelligence and 3-D printing could have dramatic impacts on many industries, including ours. Many organizations have decided to develop customized systems using off-the-shelf technologies or to develop them from the ground up with mixed success. This session will explore potential impacts of emergent technologies on the industry and how the industry’s executives are dealing with them.

Commoditization: Industry commoditization and supply chain management

impacts on the industry and what it means to your organization’s performance


The environmental and engineering industry is becoming more and more commoditized, especially when compared to other consulting professionals (such as lawyers and accountants) in Canada.  This trend towards sector commoditization, which started over 20 years ago, continues today.  Many factors have put increased pressure on billing rates including the competitive landscape, sluggish economy in some regions in Canada, clients’ aggressive supply chain management programs and lack of discipline. The industry also faces challenges to convince certain clients that services provided by the industry should be valued as much as the clients value legal and accounting services. Preventing the commoditization of services, stopping erosion of rates, increase of value proposition leading to higher rates, and different service delivery models are some of the topics that will be discussed during this panel session.

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