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Spanning half a century.

When your product is knowledge, your market is the world.


This mantra has driven the success of Wardrop Engineering Inc., an employee-owned Canadian consulting engineering firm celebrating its 50th anniversary.

In 1955, the company opened its first office in Winnipeg with a five-person staff. Since that time, it has grown to employ 511 employees in 13 offices, nine in Canada, one in the United States and three in Africa.

Over the years, the company has expanded and diversified not only geographically, but in markets it caters to. With a wealth of knowledge and a global mindset, Wardrop has contributed to the forestry, mining, health, aerospace, nuclear, manufacturing, power, transportation, and water and waste management sectors, as well as the many offshoots of those industries.

As a global company with a vision for growth, Wardrop establishes strong local anchors through their involvement in local boards, charities and corporate citizenship initiatives.

Len Hoey, vice president of the forest products division, Thunder Bay, is proud of every one of the company's employees.

"We have 511 superstars in our operation."

Recognized as one of Canada's top employers for four consecutive years, Wardrop is unique in its approach with its staff and clients. The company keeps its team liquid, trading people back and forth as the skill sets are required.

"Even though we are geographically quite diverse, we've always shared staff among offices and created that cross-functional environment," Hoey says. "We understand the value of that cross-pollination."

The company not only fosters ideas and operates transparently with its employees, it brings in technology to support them.

"We're focused on giving our people tools to make aspects of their job easier, not to replace them," Hoey says.

Wardrop played a major role in the development of the Canadian Mobile Base System that was transported aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour to the International Space Station in 2002. They also designed a mechanism for the Canadarm2, which was launched on April 19, 2001.

Another major project that received both domestic and international awards was the Winnipeg Provencher Paired bridges project.

Hoey calls it a signature-artistic piece that is unique among bridges in the world. The project, the product of the collaboration of several offices, involved the construction of a vehicular bridge and a separate suspended pedestrian bridge named Esplanade Reil. In addition to its multipurpose design, the bridge has a centralized gathering plaza/shopping mall, making it architecturally distinctive.

Wardrop designed and built the radioactive waste storage facility at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station that won awards in Ontario and Manitoba. According to Hoey, it was built on a design-build basis: a partnership is developed with the contractor and a turnkey package is delivered to the client.

Currently, one area the company has had to overcome is access to resources.

"There's a lot of competition for resources right now," Hoey says. "It's tougher to find staff to fuel our growth."

With its defined and focused market-oriented approach, the company's future sites are on geographical expansion.


Northern Ontario Business
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:NEWS; Wardrop Engineering Inc
Author:Larmour, Adelle
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Article Type:Company Profile
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jun 1, 2005
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