When Dean Xuereb said he wanted to be an architect, his dad went to the barn and returned with a hammer. “Learn to use this and we will talk about University.” So, he asked a local residential builder if he could work for them for a week for free. He did so well that they started paying him after day two; 10 months later, he was an apprentice carpenter. Dean’s ability to seize opportunities through hard work landed him at PCL more than 28 years ago, and he hasn’t looked back since. 

“My dad, a huge hockey fan told me that nobody ever remembers who passes the puck — if you want to make something happen, don’t sit back and wait for it, all leaders want the puck,” says Dean, now a Toronto based field operations manager for PCL’s Canadian Buildings sector and a Gold Seal-certified superintendent. Today, he oversees complex multibillion-dollar infrastructure projects for PCL throughout the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) and implements lean, innovative best practices in field operations across the Canadian and US integrated buildings and civil projects portfolio.

Dean joined PCL’s Toronto District in 1995 as an assistant superintendent and worked on some of Canada’s most complex, iconic projects at the time, including the Infield Development at Pearson International Airport; Fallsview Casino and Resort, RBC Centre,  Niagara Health System - St. Catharines; and Humber River Regional Hospital, which was the first fully digital hospital in North America and was, at the time, PCL’s largest public-private partnership undertaken. Always focused on maximizing efficiency and value for clients, Dean’s solution-provider instincts, passion for innovation and deep commitment to collaboration earned him PCL’s Les Albert Supervisory Leadership Award in 2003.

Having proven his ability to manage complex mega-scale projects, Dean transferred to California in 2016 to oversee the $1.8 billion Midfield Satellite Concourse North project at Los Angeles International Airport, returning to Canada in 2020.

“You can’t build a large project by yourself — it’s impossible. That’s why I’ve spent my career focused on developing high-performance teams and strengthening subcontractor relationships,” Dean says. “Beyond developing high-performance teams, great project leaders at PCL are encouraged to foster collaboration with clients while empowering their teams to be innovative in the quest for continuous improvement.”

What’s next for Dean? He continues to demonstrate to clients the value of engaging PCL’s in-house experts early in the project planning and preconstruction process. Working directly with stakeholders, consultants, trade partners and experts means PCL teams can optimize designs, assess constructability and mitigate risks early.

A great example of this is the Lakeridge Gardens Long-Term Care Home project, which was part of Infrastructure Ontario’s Accelerated Build Pilot Program. With PCL’s expertise in rapid procurement, modular construction and advanced preconstruction, the Lakeridge Gardens team delivered in a mere 13 months which typically takes three years to build. This innovative and collaborative approach to construction is something Dean champions at every opportunity because it’s a winning strategy for completing complex projects on time and on budget. 

Feeding his passion for teaching, Dean also instructs and supports at the Ontario General Contractors Association’s Pathways to ICI (Industrial, Commercial and Institutional) Program and Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Programs and Specialized Trades Exploration Program (STEP).