Family owned and led general contractor Pomerleau has infused its values into each of its locations since its creation in 1960. The coast-to-coast company has employees based throughout all of Canada and continues to stay true to its desire to create family bonds with its team members.
In Atlantic Canada, Pomerleau is home to three offices, one in Halifax, Nova Scotia, another in Moncton, New Brunswick, and one in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. Using their knowledge as residents of Atlantic Canada, the dedicated team is establishing a community-based approach to constructing the region’s leading infrastructure.
Read some of their stories below:
Andrew Squires is a true Halifax local. The assistant project manager joined Pomerleau as soon as he completed his Bachelor of Civil Engineering at Dalhousie University and began work in Halifax. Since his start at Pomerleau in 2016, Squires has fulfilled several career goals and worked across the east coast.
The avid hockey player studied civil engineering because he wanted to build stadiums and arenas, which he did by being a part of the management team for the construction of the UNIplex Intergenerational Community Complex in Dieppe, New Brunswick. Now completed, the facility is home to a local hockey rink where his fellow hockey friends get to play. “Pomerleau gave me the opportunity to build a sports centre, something I had always wanted to do. I am grateful to contribute to the local community by building something I know they will use. Seeing people enjoy the facilities we build brings a smile to my face,” Squires said.
The Atlantic team is supported by Pomerleau’s coast-to-coast resources but continues to exude local values. With employees spread across the east coast provinces, each project and region are home to their own families. “What is nice about the Atlantic team is that we have a small town feel when we are working with the community. Every day we are performing work that we believe in and as locals, our authenticity shines in our work. It is good to be helping the region I call home,” said Squires.
Lee Vicars did not plan on pursuing construction until his father started a general contracting company in Newfoundland and Labrador. After gaining some experience developing condos, he began working for Pomerleau. His career covers a wide range of experiences. He started as an estimator, then became a health and safety coordinator and was later promoted to a project manager.
Vicars quickly realized after starting at Pomerleau that it is a company that holds true to its values. He is currently working on a high-profile renovation project for Defence Construction Canada in Halifax. He is proud of this project because the team has built a great relationship with the client. “When you work in Atlantic Canada, it is not uncommon to work with people more than once on different projects. Most of our relationships are forged onsite. It is important to foster great experiences with clients and be completely authentic with them,” said Vicars.
Each project requires the team to adapt to its specific requirements. It is important to understand the local market to find solutions to problems presented on remote sites. Vicars likes the technical aspect of his job because he gets to solve issues onsite with ingenuity. The close-knit team is proficient with innovative tools like BIM, and they bring innovative mindsets to every site. The use of these types of tools is relatively new to the east coast, but not to Pomerleau’s Atlantic team, who are leaders in innovation and quality. For Vicars, who has worked in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia, seeing a job come together with his team is the most positive aspect of his job, especially when it’s in his hometown of Halifax. “I like helping people who work with me because I find it rewarding when they progress—especially when I am building in Atlantic Canada because it means a lot more to me,” said Vicars.
Michael Gehue completed two internships with Pomerleau while studying civil engineering at Memorial University in St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, and became a full-time employee once he graduated. Gehue is now a project manager for the reconstruction of the Gros Morne National Park Visitor Centre. The LEED® certified project is the first project to be delivered for Parks Canada within the Atlantic region and requires Parks Canada and Pomerleau to work methodically together to ensure the safety and protection of the existing wildlife in the park during construction. For example, conservation work includes not disturbing the roosting periods of an endangered bat species within the park and locally sourcing topsoil for landscaping.
This project, like many of the others Gehue has worked on at Pomerleau, is fast-paced and detailed. Having a supportive team helps him work through challenges. “The dynamic I have had on sites has been quite enjoyable. We must be able to adapt to the differing needs of our environments, like a Swiss army knife. Project work is always difficult, but when you enjoy the people who you work with, it makes it all worth it,” said Gehue.
Adaptability does not only pertain to the projects themselves but the communities within which Pomerleau is working. Some regions are small and remote, and the team must understand the needs of the local communities to perform well. Gehue finds great value in building relationships when acclimating to new projects and regions. He believes that building relationships and knowing the community well are the most important aspects of the job. Once relationships are solidified, everything else falls into place.
Abigail MacEachern made Nova Scotia her home after years of travelling and studying. The Dubuque, Iowa native received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado, studying environmental design with a focus in architecture. Following this accomplishment, she went on to study for her Master of Architecture degree at the University of Virginia. She and her husband, who is from Nova Scotia, spent a lot of time travelling before they settled in Halifax.
MacEachern became acquainted with Pomerleau when she was practicing as an architect on a joint venture residential project that involved Pomerleau. After working with the team on this project, MacEachern made the move to Pomerleau and is now a Senior Design Manager and Team Leader for the company’s APEX team, who work on alternative contract types. “At the Halifax office we are very collaborative. Everyone here lives and breathes the statement of love. We value each other’s experiences. It comes naturally to be supportive here,” said MacEachern.
MacEachern was the first design manager hired for the Canadian Business Operations (CBO) division. Her passion is defining the design processes for APEX. The team applies a holistic approach to projects, responding to the needs of the community and building relationships with local industry members. The jobs MacEachern works on are challenging and intricate, the way she likes them. “We are a small office that considers ourselves a family. Our collaboration makes us a competitive force. We have a strong team that possess the expertise to manage the design aspects of contracts. Our work speaks for itself,” said MacEachern.
Sara Evely grew up in rural Newfoundland and Labrador within a close-knit family that worked in the trades. The first-generation university student began studying neuroscience and then switched to engineering. She is now working as a project coordinator on a 500-million-dollar hospital project in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
The building is the centre piece to a comprehensive upgrade of healthcare facilities on the island of 100,000 plus people. It includes a new cancer centre that will provide essential treatment for those in the region who usually need to travel far distances for specialized treatment. “It is a great opportunity for a young professional to test their abilities and to be involved in a project that will change and benefit the local community immensely. It is extremely rewarding,” said Evely.
Evely was drawn to Pomerleau because of its innovative practices. However, she stayed because of the company’s value of authenticity, which allows her to come to work every day as herself and defy stereotypes. “We bring innovation to the local industry. Integrating the trades into the pre-construction processes using innovative tools creates a positive outcome for the project as a whole,” said Evely. Her goal is to develop community relations through projects, leading initiatives and organizing events that encourage women and girls to pursue their passions in STEM. As she continues to navigate the early experiences of her career, Evely finds solace in her Atlantic Pomerleau family. “I get to interface with different individuals from different backgrounds who have a lot of experience, daily. I draw from their knowledge in the field and apply it to my work,” said Evely.