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Firm excels despite tough times: Trow Engineering witnesses 250 per-cent growth rate. (Engineering).

Trow Consulting Engineers Ltd., winner of the 2001 prestigious "One of the 50 Best Managed Companies in Canada Award" has two branches in Northern Ontario, one in Sudbury and the other in Thunder Bay.

Demetri Georgiou, the company's Thunder Bay branch manager; says the award that was announced in mid-December is a "significant honour," considering Trow was competing with 15,000 competitors across the country.

The engineering firm has more than 650 employees operating out of 22 offices located across Canada. It has been in Thunder Bay since the late 1970s. Trow also has an office in Florida.

"The award has come to symbolize success by companies that are growing rapidly and excelling in the global marketplace, creating value in innovative ways and keeping focused on a core vision," Georgiou explains.

The awards program has changed its focus somewhat since it was first created in 1993. Then, it paid tribute to companies that were achieving success during difficult economic conditions, but were not receiving recognition.

Sponsors of the award are Andersen, CIBC, National Post and the Queen's University school of business.

"In the past five years, Trow has had a 250 per-cent growth rate in net fees," Georgiou says.

The company's fees are derived from providing professional consulting services in many areas of civil, environmental and mining engineering. The services offered include geotechnical engineering and geoscience, materials technology and testing, environmental assessments and abatement, hydrogeology, resource assessment and building science and engineering and rehabilitation.

Major activities at Trow's Northern Ontario branches include geo-technical and environmental engineering. The Sudbury branch, managed by Andy Schell, employs 16 full-time staff year-round, and during the busy construction season adds an additional 14 temporary employees. There ere are 12 people employed full time at the Thunder Bay branch, with an additional nal eight hired during the construction season.

Georgiou says one of the major challenges of operating in Northern Ontario is the geography.

"It's a big area, and unlike southern Ontario where clients are usually located within 50 miles of the office, here you are often dealing with clients hundreds of mile away," Georgiou says.

The weather is also a factor, he adds.

"The winters are long and cold, which shortens the construction season." he says. Services are more costly because of these factors, but it is one area where engineering firms face same costs.

Another challenge is attracting and retaining qualified staff to work in Northern Ontario.

"Experienced engineers can only mentor so many graduates entering the field," Georgiou says. A shortage of qualified staff limits expansion into growth areas, he says.

Trow's head office is located in Brampton, Ont. It is a private company that was formed in 1957 by William Trow.

Demetri Georgeiou graduated from Queen's University in 1977 with a degree in geological engineering. His first job in Thunder Bay was with Robert Dodds Ltd., where he worked for four years.

Georgeiou spent two years at the University of Waterloo acquiring a master's degree in civil engineering. He came back to Thunder Bay for two years with Dodds before moving to Halifax to work with Jacques Whitford Ltd., where he stayed for nine years. In 1994 he returned to Thunder Bay as branch manager of Trow.

One of the larger mining projects Trow's Thunder Bay office handled was the Gold Corp. Red Lake mine.

"Our involvement (with the mine) goes back as far as 1994," Georgiou says. The company's work with the gold mine, intensified between 1999 and 2000 and involved the design and construction of a new tailing impoundment and a mill complex.
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Title Annotation:Trow Consulting Engineers Ltd.
Author:Lynch, Michael
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Feb 1, 2002
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