May 9 – 10 2017

Best Practices Conference 2017

Edmonton, Alberta

COAA’s 25th Annual Best Practices Conference – May 2017

On May 9th and 10th, the Construction Owners Association of Alberta (COAA) held another successful Best Practices Conference, bringing in more than 350 industry professionals, leaders and guests. Held at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, this year’s two-day conference included, but certainly was not limited to the following:


  • 16 Technical Workshops from the Best Practices Steering Committees
    Safety, Workforce Development, Construction Performance and Contracting
  • Safety Leadership Awards
    Total of 11 nominations with three recipients in categories of Small Organization, Large Organization and Individual
  • Industry Leaders Panel
    Perspectives from five well-known industry leaders
  • Safety & Productivity Moments
    Frank Engli of Shell and Jim Kanerva from Waiward
  • Keynote Speaker
    AWP Presentation from Kevin Nalley of ExxonMobil

The Conference started off on its usual path, beginning with a Safety & Productivity Moment from Frank Engli of Shell Canada Energy. The evening continued with reports from both the COAA Board and Industry Leaders Roundtable, along with plenty of time for networking with colleagues. The Safety Leadership Awards were presented as well, with huge congratulations going to the following three recipients:

  • Large Organization: Kiewit Energy Canada
  • Small Organization: International Competency Assessment Board (I-CAB)
  • Individual: Jim Kanerva, Operating Officer at Waiward Steel LP

The I-CAB Foundation was honoured to receive a Safety Leadership Award for the Alberta construction industries’ use of its OHS competency assessment and development tool. We are pleased to have found alignment with COAA’s proactive efforts to invest in the future workforce.”Morgan Connell Hall, Board Secretariat, I-CAB Foundation
“It took more than just following the rules to achieve millions of work hours without an incident and maintain a higher level of productivity.” – Terry Degner, President, Waiward Steel LP < click here to read the press release >

The Don Currie Award, which recognizes individuals whose dedicated service has contributed to the success of COAA, was presented to COAA’s fourth Executive Director, Brad Anderson. The evening then concluded with a Keynote Presentation from Kevin Nalley, Construction Manager at ExxonMobil, which focused on an owner’s perspective of Advanced Workface Packaging (AWP).

Day Two kicked off early, commencing with another great Safety & Productivity Moment provided by Jim Kanerva and his experiences at Wairward Steel and MODOS. A plenary session followed, covering the Best Practices Committee Reviews and a discussion on High Level Safety Metric. More information on the Steering Committee Reports can be found in the Conference Program and presentations are available through the Library.


Up next came the anticipated Industry Leaders Panel Discussion. This segment of the conference explored how different stakeholders in our industry see an issue, whether there is alignment or diversion, common understanding or perhaps a little confusion. Included were the following five panelists and their perspectives:

  • Owner – Mike Gordon, VP Supply Chain Management, North West Redwater Partnership
  • Engineer – John Day, Senior VP Oil, Gas & Chemicals Canada, Amec Foster Wheeler
  • Contractor– Jason Idler, Senior VP, PCL Industrial
  • Labour Provider– Warren Fraleigh, Executive Director, Building Trades of Alberta
  • International – Dr. Stephen Mulva, Director, Construction Industry Institute

The next agenda item – and a popular conference highlight – was the Workforce Forecast & Demand Projection by Herb Holmes, who has both expertise and an intense interest in connecting the dots between construction workforce demand and the macroeconomic picture.

The afternoon was occupied by two tracks of 16 workshops (view workshop descriptions here). From Safety Maturity Curve Findings to Facts & Myths About Marijuana to Collaborative Contracting Models, a wide range of workshops were held to leave participants with the following thoughts: What best practices or ideas can you implement to make your project or your company even safer and more productive?

Twice as Safe, Twice as Productive is not going to happen by itself, therefore we must take the lead to drive toward that goal; each working in our own area to make it happen. Our conference this year was once again a success. An enormous thank you is extended to everyone who attended and participated, including the tremendous support from our sponsors.

We hope you all enjoyed your time as much as we did, because we’re already planning for next year!

Full list of presentation documents:

Plenary Sessions May 9th:

Plenary – Safety and Productivity Moment Frank Engli

Plenary – Workforce Development Committee Report

Plenary – Safety Committee Report

Plenary – Contracting Committee Report

Plenary – Construction Performance Committee Report

Plenary – Industry Round Table report

Plenary – Keynote AWP from an owner’s perspective


Plenary Session May 10th:

Plenary – Safety and Productivity Moment  and Video 1  and Video 2

Plenary – Workforce Forecast and Demand Forecast

Workshops May 10th:

Workshop – Facts and Myths about Marijuana

Workshop – Safety recent project experience

Workshop – Safety Maturity Curve findings  and Safety Survey

Workshop – Safety Leadership Story SNC Lavalin Kentz

Workshop – Safety Leadership Success Story Kiewit

Workshop – Safety Leadership Success Story Brock Canada  and Video

Workshop – Creating an Alberta Apprenticeship Culture

Workshop – Implementing ICCS

Workshop – Workforce Development, recent project experience

Workshop – The Role of the frontline supervisor

Workshop – MODOS, CanadaWest Foundation – Beyond the Rules

Workshop – Benchmarking Phase III

Workshop – Recent trends by IPA

Workshop – Impact of AWP on project performance

Workshop – Path of Construction

Workshop – Taking AWP to the next level

Workshop – Collaborative Contracting

Workshop – PAAD Collaborative Risk Management