Avree Bujaczek is no fortune-teller, but she can sense that the
construction industry is changing.
Avree Bujaczek at the SAIT Alumni Awards on
October 5, 2017.
Avree Bujaczek accepts her SAIT Outstanding
Young Alumni Award.
It’s not just a focus on technology, innovation, and sustainability
that is pushing the construction industry into the future. As the baby boomer
generation approaches retirement, leaders under 35 years of age are beginning
to be mentored for management and leadership roles within organizations,
As vice chair of the Calgary Construction Association’s Young
Construction Leaders Committee (YCLC), Avree and her counterparts are committed
to understanding the differences in work styles between under-35s and baby
boomers, and paving the way for under-35 leaders to excel in an industry that some
might say has been slow to change.
When she’s not volunteering her time on the YCLC or sitting on the
BuildForce advisory panel on promoting diversity in the industry, Avree is in her
hard hat and steel toed boots on a PCL jobsite in Calgary, Alberta. As a field
coordinator for PCL Construction Management, Avree contributes to the overall
performance of our projects by coordinating with trade contractors and clients
and building relationships. On October 5, 2017, she hung up the hard hat long
enough to accept the 2018 Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT)
Outstanding Young Alumni Award.
What does the future of the construction industry look like with
millennial leaders? With PCLers like Avree Bujaczek, all signs point to very
PCL: When did you realize you
wanted to work in construction? What inspired you?
Avree: I started out working for a geotechnical consulting company,
which exposed me to many different types of construction projects, and I was
hooked. What inspired me to keep learning about the industry and the Geotech
side of things at the time was my manager. He saw potential in me and pushed me
to do things I wouldn’t have done on my own.
As employees of the largest
general contracting company in Canada, PCLers have the unique opportunity of
watching our hard work being build right before our eyes. What is your proudest
accomplishment at PCL?
I will never forget the feeling I had the day we paved the new runway
in Calgary over top of the Airport Trail Tunnel, which I had helped construct
the summer before. I felt so lucky to be a part of two major civil projects and
was amazed at how they were incorporated into one another.
As the vice chair of the Calgary
Construction Association’s Young Construction Leaders Committee (YCLC), how do
you inspire other young people to become leaders in the industry?
Collaboration is a huge part of what we do with the YCLC. Every time we
get a group of people together to have a conversation, everyone leaves feeling
inspired. Encouraging engagement from people who don’t often attend networking
events or might not feel confident in sharing their opinions within their
organizations helps them realize they are capable of being leaders and making
changes, however small those might be, towards a better industry.
What’s the most exciting thing
about seeing more construction industry leaders under the age of 35?
The industry will benefit greatly from having a balanced group of
leaders. It’s comforting knowing the future of the construction industry is in
good hands as people with decades of invaluable experience and knowledge begin
to retire. I often touch on how our generation can’t possibly obtain the same
amount of experience as the baby boomers. It’s critical young leaders keep
those contacts engaged and use them as mentors going forward.
Working style, communication,
and access to technology sometimes set the under 35s (U35s) apart from their predecessors.
How are these differences shaping the future of the construction industry?
There are some solid positives and negatives regarding the ways the
U35s have been raised to operate in general. The YCLC has been discussing how
we can manage things like the never-ending inbox, work-life balance (largely
due to the higher percentage of dual-income
households with children), and the speed at which technology is
always changing. We aren’t sure if these are positive or negative, but they are
changing the way we work so we are pushing to find the best way to incorporate
them into the industry.
How can young people use their
unique skills to make an impact on the industry?
It’s about being a leader in your own shoes, where you are right now,
today. You don’t need to be a manager to do this. Find your passion and pursue
it and you will be impactful.
Communication is so very critical. If everyone took a few extra minutes
every day to focus on being a better communicator, it would be an improvement.
Focus on your strengths and communicate them to your team. This will enable you
to work with people who can complement your weaknesses.
What is your vision for the
future of the construction industry?
My vision is an industry where owners aren’t quite so averse to
spending a few extra dollars to ensure projects are constructed in a
sustainable way that allows for inclusion and accessibility for all. It’s
sounding like after sustainability, accessibility will be the next big push in
How does your SAIT Outstanding
Young Alumni Award motivate you to keep inspiring young leaders?
We get so caught up in the “busy” that we go too long without taking a
step back to see what we have accomplished. Being selected as the first woman
from SAIT’s School of Construction and the most recent graduate to receive an
Outstanding Young Alumni Award was an incredible honor. Trying to balance three
projects, along with my work with YCLC, BuildForce, and SAIT, can be trying at
times, but being recognized in such a huge way added another tank of fuel to
the fire that keeps me going! Joining the Distinguished Alumni Circle and
getting to meet past winners, hear their stories, and see where they are today
has been an inspirational experience, and I am excited to keep digging to
uncover my full potential and the potential of those around me! My efforts to
date have been my way of paying that forward, and I’m not done yet.