2004 Technical Employer of the Year

Morrison Hershfield Ltd.

"Equal opportunity employer" Morrison Hershfield named ASET's 2004 Technical Employer of the Year

Morrison Hershfield Ltd., a multidisciplinary consulting engineering and management firm that prides itself on being an equal opportunity employer when it comes to technology professionals, was recently presented with ASET's Annual Technical Employer of the Year Award.

Company CEO Ron Wilson, P.Eng. from Toronto, along with Vice President Jim Warren, P.Eng. from Calgary, Vice President Bryan Evans, R.E.T., R.P.T.(Eng.), from Edmonton, and over a dozen more company employees were on-hand May 1 to receive the award at ASET's Annual Awards Banquet in Edmonton.

Founded in 1946, Morrison Hershfield (MH) now employs over 470 staff in 11 offices throughout North America, including approximately 50 in Edmonton and Calgary. The company specializes in transportation, building, municipal, utility and telecommunications sectors.

MH opened its first office in Edmonton in 1966 with one staff member, who worked nearly full-time inspecting towers for AGT. Today the company still specializes in telecommunications work, as evidenced by its direct involvement with the ongoing Alberta SuperNet project.

As the oil industry grew so did MH, although it shrank back down to one staffer during the tough years in the 1980s. In 1990 a Calgary office was opened and in 1999 MH merged with Maxim Engineering of Edmonton. The new company, which for a time was known as Maxim Morrison Hershfield, now had considerable municipal experience at its disposal and could take on larger and more diverse projects.

MH is an employee-owned firm, with approximately 20 technologists currently listed as associates or shareholders. Many are senior project managers and lead teams of engineers, technologists and others. The company prides itself on low staff turnover and a set of core values that stress responsibility, ethics and accountability.

The Technical Employer of the Year Award was created by ASET to recognize organizations that do an outstanding job of supporting, promoting, utilizing and rewarding technicians and technologists. These key individuals form the 'backbone' of Alberta's technology community and play critical roles within business, industry and government.

Employers who make maximum use of their technology professionals are considered for this award. Professional development, encouragement of volunteerism, community involvement, corporate achievements, safety, innovation, profitability and growth are also considered key factors.

Past winners of this prize have included Syncrude Canada, the City of Lethbridge, Viridian, Corlac, Stream Flow Industries and last year, Colt Engineering. ASET President Scott Turner, R.E.T., CCEP, said this when announcing the winner of the award:

All of these firms, and our winner again tonight, share something in common. Even though they may be involved in totally different businesses… they all have demonstrated a willingness to provide technicians and technologists with opportunities to succeed… and to excel.

Morrison Hershfield has been involved in Alberta on some very high profile projects—many you may recognize.

The company provided turnkey wireless services to the Extended Area Network of the Alberta SuperNet. They are the company that many of us here in Edmonton watched demolish the infamous 'Rathole' and replace it with a six-lane divided grade-level highway and intersection. They have provided building envelope expertise to Grant MacEwan College in Edmonton and Bankers Hall towers one and two in Calgary. And they have played instrumental roles in major roadway and drainage infrastructures throughout the province and many, many other significant projects.

Such a diverse project workload requires building an equally diverse and competent team of technical professionals. Morrison Hershfield routinely requests ASET certification in job postings. It continues that support throughout employees' careers by encouraging ongoing professional development and certification upgrading.

ASET certified or registered technologists hold top executive and project management positions with Morrison Hershfield. Many are investors and shareholders in the company as well. This truly is a firm that can call itself an "equal opportunity employer" since technology professionals are only limited by their own abilities—not by any glass ceiling within the company's structure.

The organization encourages volunteerism and support within its communities as well. In Alberta, staff have been involved with Habitat for Humanity, Camp Horizon summer camp for children with disabilities, NoKaOi Children's Foundation, the United Way and the Healthy Families program.

Volunteerism is promoted to support the technology profession as well. Several MH staff members commit numerous hours to ASET activities—from accreditation teams to Council positions.

The company's support and belief in ASET is also clearly evident here tonight, as the company has taken over three complete tables for its ASET members and their guests. I understand that the company's president has also flown out from Toronto for the occasion. Thank you for this incredibly generous gesture—we appreciate it very much.

As representatives of Alberta's technicians and technologists, we're proud to see organizations like Morrison Hershfield in Alberta… organizations that appreciate and respect the contributions of their technology professionals. This is why we designed the ASET Technical Employer of the Year Award.

So tonight we say congratulations, and thank you, to Morrison Hershfield, ASET's 2004 Technical Employer of the Year!