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Course Instructors

  • Dean Slater, P.Eng., GSC

    Headshot of Dean Slater, P.Eng., GSC, VICA InstructorDean C. Slater, P. Eng., GSC 

    Dean is a Professional Engineer APEGA Life Member with 40 years’ experience in the construction and development industry. A past president of the Calgary Construction Association (CCA), his experience spans estimating and construction management as the General Contractor, Project Manager, and Project Owner’s representative / Vice-President. Dean has also held various executive level positions working in General Contracting, Development, and the Alberta Health Services (AHS) project management group. He has worked on significant Alberta construction projects including Calgary’s Petro-Canada (Suncor) Centre, the Olympic Saddledome, the Hyatt Hotel, Telus Convention Centre, SMART Technologies Building, major hospital expansions, and the South Health Campus. Since retiring in January 2018, Dean has embarked on a new role as a fundraising volunteer with Wellspring Calgary – a cancer support group. Dean was recognized in 2018 with CCA’s ‘Person of the Year’ award.

  • Debbie Hicks, B.Sc

    Headshot of Debbie Hicks, B.Sc, DSH Consulting, VICA InstructorDebbie Hicks, B.Sc, DSH Consulting | President

    Former President of the Southern Interior Construction Association (SICA) in BC for 22 years, with a comprehensive education background (Diploma in Business Administration, Bachelors of Science, teaching credential, and MBA in progress) learning has always been at the core of Debbie's career. During her time with SICA, she worked with a range of industry stakeholders including the buyers of construction services, architects, engineers, and contractors, coordinating and providing industry advocacy and education. Recent experience as the owner Rep for the construction of Kelowna Yacht Club's new Clubhouse has provided an additional perspective. Debbie's extensive experience in construction industry both as a stakeholder and educator make her uniquely qualified as a trainer and facilitator. With her energetic and dynamic instructional style, you won't want to miss an opportunity to train with Debbie!

  • Derek Smith

    Headshot of Derek SmithDerek Smith | Constructionlab

    Derek is a design professional with 15+ years of experience teaching at the college level. As a design professional, he has collaborated on over $300 million in built or contemplated ICI and residential projects working for clients like Chrysler Corporation, Penske Industries, University of Windsor, Nature Fresh, COCO Paving/Developments and more. In 2007 he became Executive Director of the London & District Construction Association. During his time in this role, he chaired the Construction Lien Act Task Force for the Council of Ontario Construction Associations – which led to the recent prompt payment and adjudication in Ontario. In 2010, Derek also acted as employer bargaining agent to General Contractors and Civil Contractors in a successful strike free round.

    Since he founded Constructionlab in 2015, Derek has been trusted by over 1000 small, medium and large construction firms, law firms, design firms and real estate development firms to deliver best-practice advice on labour, procurement, contract administration, and more. He counts 12 mixed-trade and labour relations construction associations as clients. Derek is also the inventor of the JOBSITE boardgame! He recently invented, manufactured and released this series of construction industry and design sector themed board games to raise awareness of construction careers through spirited play and learning.




  • Diane Jolicoeur

    Headshot of Diane Jolicoeur, Builders Code Diane Jolicoeur, Builders Code | Employer Advisor & Worksite Culture Training Facilitator

    Diane is a certified coach in personal/professional development and emotional intelligence. Her experience in human resources includes specialized recruitment, employee relations, career transition and displacement; as well as training development and facilitation on subjects including worksite culture, stress management and emotional intelligence in the workplace. Diane supports employers and leaders in the construction and trades-related industries with resources and best practices for creating a positive and inclusive worksite culture.

  • Drew Willms, B.A.Sc., EIT

    Headshot of Drew WillmsDrew Willms, B.A.Sc., EIT, Structure Craft | Business Development Engineer

    As BD Engineer, Drew's responsibilities include pre-construction project management and estimating, as well as developing and coordinating new project opportunities. He has led the estimating effort on institutional and commercial mass timber projects across North America and Asia. Drew is also responsible for early project engineering and 3D design, working in collaboration with our engineering department.

    He joined StructureCraft after four years as a Regional Engineer at one of Canada’s largest civil infrastructure companies, where he coordinated the design and site supervision efforts for bridge structure installations across the Pacific Northwest. Drew is a graduate of the University of British Columbia’s Civil Engineering program.

  • Elisa Brandts, AAA, OAA, NSAA, FRAIC

    Headshot of Elisa Brandts, AAA, OAA, NSAA, FRAIC - VICA InstructorElisa Brandts, AAA, OAA, NSAA, FRAIC, Stantec | Managing Senior Principal

    Elisa is a Senior Principal and the Business Centre Managing Leader for the Stantec buildings group in BC. Her role combines active senior team leadership, financial and studio management with managing significant projects. Her project focus is particularly on large-scale alternate delivery scope, IPD and those integrating Lean process. Throughout her industry career Elisa has accomplished many major projects including: Eric Hamber Secondary School Replacement Project, Vancouver; Camosun College Alex and Jo Campbell School of Health Sciences, Victoria; Canalta Centre, Medicine Hat, Alberta; Sault Ste. Marie Event Centre, Sault Ste Marie, Ontario; Youngstown Convocation Center, Youngstown, OH, USA; and the Rideau Carleton Raceway, Ottawa.

  • Elizabeth Chick-Blount

    Headshot of Elizabeth Chick-Blount, Buy Social Canada Elizabeth Chick-Blount, Buy Social Canada | Executive Director

    Elizabeth’s experience spans frontline roles in communities, consulting for the public sector, and working with social enterprises in the UK and Canada. As Executive Director at Buy Social Canada, she coordinates and connects Buy Social Canada’s work with public and private sector purchasers to design and implement Social Procurement and Community Benefit Agreement policies and practices. Elizabeth worked with the City of Vancouver on the development of the CBA implementation strategy and is working with PCL construction on the implementation of the CBA on the New St. Paul’s hospital development, and Chandos Construction on the implementation of a voluntary CBA. Elizabeth also continues to collaborate with the United Way GTA, TCBN and PCBN to connect the Metrolinx LRT projects with social enterprise suppliers in Toronto.

  • Elizabeth Zhu, BSc.

    Headshot of Elizabeth ZhuElizabeth Zhu, BSc, Fraser Health Authority | Procurement Manager

    During her 15-year tenure as Procurement Manager at Fraser Health, Elizabeth has built a highly specialized ten-person public construction procurement team that manages facility maintenance and construction projects across four health authorities in the BC lower mainland. As the acting procurement advisor to multiple BC hospital redevelopment projects, she has a thorough understanding of federal and provincial public procurement policies as well as a variety of construction delivery methods and contracts. Elizabeth is an active member of the BC Public Construction Council, and her procurement team has been recognized for excellence by the ICI industry as the two-time recipient BCCA‘s “Best Public Owner Award” in both 2017 and 2022.

  • Izzy Perry

    Headshot of Izzy PerryIzzy Perry, Microsoft Office Specialist Expert, Microsoft Certified Trainer

    Izzy is an administrative professional with over twenty years of experience working with Microsoft Office. Her experience in various paralegal, corporate and government offices has given her differing perspectives to engage and develop both her knowledge and her students' knowledge. Izzy is a Learning Facilitator and Coach Evaluator certified through the Coaching Association of Canada and the National Coaching Certification Program. She is passionate about computers and software and brings that passion to her work and her classes.

    ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Izzy has been teaching people to skydive for over ten years, and served as President of the Canadian Sport Parachuting Association and was on their Board of Directors for five years. In 2020, Izzy was the recipient of the Canadian Sport Parachuting Association Cathy Johnson Service Award, in recognition of her outstanding support, contribution and dedication to sport parachuting in Canada.

  • James Clapp

    Headshot of James ClappJames Clapp, Managing Director | Wilson M. Beck Insurance Services Inc.

    James is a construction insurance and surety broker with 22 years of experience and over 300 clients across North America. He spends the bulk of his time reviewing tender and contract specifications, alerting his clients to any onerous conditions, and ensuring they understand and comply with insurance and bonding requirements. As a former surety underwriter, James also brings a strong background in construction accounting. He has served on VICA’s Board of Directors, including the role of Chair.

  • James Johnston, P. Eng.

    Headshot of James (Jim) Johnston, P. Eng.James (Jim) Johnston, P. Eng., President | Quality Dynamics Inc.

    Jim is a Professional Industrial Engineer, holds a CM-Lea designation, is a member of the Lean Construction Institute, an advisor to the Board of the Lean Construction Institute of Canada, and an Accredited Instructor for the Associated General Contractors’ Lean Construction Education Program. He has extensive experience and success implementing Lean Construction tools on construction projects that range in value up to $250,000,000. He is a nationally recognized trainer and speaker on the topic of Lean Construction having addressed audiences across the country. Jim has 25 years of experience as a consultant and instructor, leading organizations through Lean transformations, implementing quality assurance systems and business process optimization.

  • Jim Clement, GSC

    Headshot of Jim Clement, GSCJim Clement, GSC, Graham Construction | Operations Manager

    With over 40 years of experience, Jim is a seasoned construction professional with most of his time spent in the Calgary marketplace. An outside-the-box thinker, he enjoys finding creative solutions to complex design issues. He also recognizes and understands the importance of proper cost and schedule control, as well as the interactions required between the owners, consultants, and construction management personnel.

    Jim has been the President of both the Calgary Construction Association and the General Contractors Association, has been awarded Person of the Year by the Calgary Construction Association for his industry contributions. Jim adds value to his projects through his effective management of project constructability and an understanding of the full project delivery. A natural leader, he provides clients with the optimum balance between cost, schedule, quality, performance and project lifecycle.

     Jim has worked on a wide array of construction projects including: commercial office buildings, residential towers, retail developments, parks and civil work, industrial facilities, and a variety of other project styles and types.

  • Keith Robinson, FCSC, RSW, LEED® AP

    Headshot of Keith RobinsonKeith Robinson FCSC, RSW, LEED® AP, DIALOG (retired) | Specifier

    Keith Robinson graduated from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) as an architectural technologist in 1980 and has worked as a specifications writer since 1981. Keith worked for DIALOG; a multidiscipline architectural and engineering company since December 1996 until his retirement in early 2023.

    Keith’s primary role in the last 20 years of his career was writing construction documentation for technically complex by providing project specifications and contract documents for unique and innovative projects. His project experience ranged from hospital and university campuses, high rise construction, bridge and tunnel infrastructure, and commercial/retail developments. His duties at DIALOG included maintaining the in-house master specification and technical library, and addressing various challenges associated with identifying building materials to address environmentally sustainable construction work results. Keith prepared contract documents for all forms of construction delivery including standard stipulated price agreements, construction management and design build agreements, and public/private partnerships.

  • Lee Kelly, M.A.A.T.O., P.GSC

    Headshot of Lee Kelly, M.A.A.T.O., P.GSC, Constructing Minds Inc.Lee Kelly, M.A.A.T.O., P.GSC, Constructing Minds Inc. | President

    Lee knows construction because she has built it. With over 30 years of construction management/General Contracting experience under her belt she has extensive knowledge of construction practices, processes and procedures in all contract delivery formats. Lee is a long serving member on the National Gold Seal Committee, and the winner of the Construction Institute of Canada (TCIC) “Chancellor’s Award of Excellence.” Her enthusiasm for training makes her a highly informative, interactive, motivated and sought-after trainer.

  • Lisa Gibson, P.GSC

    Headshot of Lisa Gibson, P. GSCLisa Gibson, P.GSC

    Lisa is a construction industry professional with a diverse background as both a Project Owner and General Contractor giving her a unique understanding of each of these stakeholder perspectives. During her time working for a national developer, Lisa led the internal construction services team responsible for the Western Canada portfolio. Over the past seven years she has since worked for a General Contractor and in her current role is involved in both operations and business development. Industry involvement is important to Lisa. She has been a board member of the Calgary Construction Association since 2017, as well as a volunteer with SAIT, Lean Community of Practice, Calgary General Contractors Association and wherever else she can provide support and value to the construction community.


  • Lorenzo Wallace, BSc., LSSMBB

    Lorenzo Wallace, BSc., LSSMBB, KGC Consulting Services Ltd. | Senior Consultant, VP of Operations

    With 40 years of experience in Canadian civil engineering, construction, and business development across all provinces and territories, Lorenzo has worked on projects of every size and shape of complexity. His career has been about embracing change, and as a construction industry professional, he enjoys finding innovative solutions to the increasingly complex challenges that project owners face today.

    His experience includes every aspect of construction from development through to close out with experience in delivery methods that include: Design/Build, IPD, EPC, EPCM, P3, PM, CM and Design-Bid-Build, to name a few. As an advocate of continuous improvement processes and methodologies, Lorenzo’s approach to avoiding claims is by managing the root causes.

    Lorenzo is an industry champion and has acted as the Past President of ACI (American Concrete Institute), the Past Director of ACI Ontario & Alberta Chapters and acted as an ACI Examiner; he is also the Past Chairman & Director of RMCAO (Ready Mixed Concrete Association of Ontario, as well as a former Director of multiple Construction Associations.

  • Marc Alam, B.Eng., Ph.D.

    Headshot of Marc AlamMark Alam, B.Eng., Ph.D., Canadian Wood Council | Manager, Codes & Standards - Fire

    As manager of codes and standards in the fire division, Marc participates in CWC’s building code and standards fire‐related initiatives and the development of CWC’s fire design tools, as well as code‐related fire research projects. He has a PhD in Civil Engineering from Carleton as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Management.

  • Marcela Ouatu, JD

    Headshot of Marcela OuatuMarcela Ouatu, JD, Civic Legal LLP | Associate

    Marcela’s practice focuses primarily on tendering, procurement, construction matters and local government law; she assists clients with drafting and reviewing construction contracts and procurement documents, contract administration, and general municipal matters. Marcela regularly writes on legal topics of interest to local governments and the construction industry. Prior to joining Civic Legal LLP, Marcela completed a Juris Doctor and a Master of Laws at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia. During her time in law school, she completed the Business Law Concentration and was a student clinician at the Business Law Clinic, where she provided legal advice to small businesses. Marcela also worked in the legal department of an international franchise company and at a Vancouver boutique law firm, specializing in real estate, corporate law, and estate planning. Marcela articled at a civil litigation law firm, where she gained extensive legal experience in advocacy by frequently representing clients in the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

  • Mark Byram, P.Eng.

    Mark is a concrete and coatings expert who works on Vancouver Island. He is based out of the Thurber Victoria office. His experience includes international projects such as repairing lighthouses on the Great Barrier Reef and local projects like 75-year durability design for the Macaulay Point Pump Station and the 100 year service life design of the Patullo Replacement Bridge. Mark has helped developed standards for concrete and coatings. He regularly helps contractors troubleshoot construction issues.

  • Mark Scharf, BA, MHA

    Mark Scharf, BA, MHA HeadshotMark Scharf, BA, MHA

    Mark recently retired from the University of Calgary where he was responsible for the delivery of capital projects across the organization entailing approximately 400 capital and renovation projects per year with an annual project spend of approximately $150M. During his 12-year tenure as Director the Project Management Office constructed nine new campus buildings, including major infrastructure renewals, new residence halls and a new library. With  30-plus years of public sector experience working in post-secondary and health-care organizations, Mark has been directly involved in procuring design and construction teams and negotiating and overseeing a wide variety of contract types including Design-Build, CM at Risk, Lump-Sum and performance-based engagements. Mark takes pride in building strong teams, mentoring the next generation of project professionals, and engaging diverse stakeholder groups to achieve outstanding results.