In their own words, Colas Canada's operating companies' employees in different job areas talk about express their sense of enterprise, their taste for responsibility and their passion for their work.



“My father worked for the Group and offered me my first summer job when I was just 13 years old”, recalls François Vachon. Before being appointed President of the Quebec subsidiary Sintra, at the end of 2013, he had held every construction job imaginable in Colas’ other Canadian entities: worker, foreman, surveyor in the northwest of the country, project manager with Terus Construction in British Columbia, profit center manager and then general manager of Wapiti Gravel Suppliers in Alberta. “In 2011, having spent close to twenty years out west, I was appointed ColasCanada’s Vice-President for Construction and Manufacturing. And now here I am at the helm of Sintra.” His goals? To develop partnerships, cross-functionality, to give responsibility to every employee, irrespective of his or her position in the hierarchy, and to improve communication: “It’s vital to share information and good practices”. A strategy that fits squarely with his vision for Sintra: “we need to explore new markets and anticipate changes.” A new president, confident in the future and for whom “the Group’s strengths lie in its local businesses and the talented men and women working for it”. 




From a very young age, Kurt Wilkie had always wanted to be a cowboy! Today that dream is a reality because he’s now responsible for a herd of 40 cattle and several horses at his ranch in Alberta. “Thanks to Colas, I’ve achieved personal fulfilment and enjoyed some great professional opportunities along the way”, he enthuses. Having joined Alberta Highway Services in 1996 as a foreman, Kurt now manages the team responsible for maintaining almost 4,000 km of highways across central Alberta. “I’ve been incredibly lucky because my managers believed in me. I did a lot of my training out in the field but I also attended internal training programs, particularly phases 1 and 2 of Colas University.” Depending on the time of year, between 85 and 120 people work under him. Between snow clearing operations in the winter and road maintenance in the summer, the jobs to be done are numerous and varied. “I’m always looking for ways of being more efficient and to maximize safety for employees and the motorists who travel the highway system”, he concludes. 


It was a Thursday: August 8, 1957, to be exact. Claude Laroche remembers it as though it were yesterday.
Then aged 16 and still at school studying to become an electrician, the young man joined Modern Paving (later to become Sintra, in 1974, following a merger with Fabi & Fils), in Saint-Jean-Chrysostome, in the province of Quebec to work for a few months as a seasonal worker. “In the end, I never did become an electrician… I really enjoyed my experience at Modern Paving and I went back there in April 1958 to become a welder. I’ve been working for the company for 55 years now!” Claude mainly works in the BML Quebec workshop, one of Sintra’s many regional centers. He is responsible for the maintenance of heavy equipment. Always on the lookout for new solutions to tackle day-to-day problems, he thrives on the diversity of tasks handed to him. The longest-serving employee of BML Quebec and the winner of many awards for his outstanding loyalty to the company, he was promoted to the North American Skilled Workers Guild in 2009. “It’s an honor, and real recognition of my investment and hard work.”


After putting her career on hold while she took care of her two sons, Nancy joined Colas Canada in Montreal in 2004 as accounting director. “I was given a warm welcome and I fit in easily thanks to my predecessor, who spent six months with me,” she says with admiration. “I’ve never seen anything like that before.” The certified public accountant is responsible for consolidating the accounts of the four Canadian subsidiaries. A perfectionist who enjoys numbers, Nancy is proud to work for Colas: “It’s a company that works throughout the world and is always moving forward. That impresses me a lot.” Behind Nancy’s logical mind beats the heart of an artist! For the last five years, she has been taking classes at the Laval Fine Arts Academy in the suburbs of Montréal. After two years of drawing classes she took up painting, and now enjoys reproducing old master paintings using period techniques. “It makes me more creative… and indirectly, it helps my work, too.”


A few months after becoming general manager of Colasphalt, the division of Canadian Road Builders responsible for buying and selling asphalt concrete (logistics, transport and storage), Chuck Van Dyk smiles: “Colas and I are still in our honeymoon phase!” His job consists in developing Colasphalt’s business and ensuring it remains profitable on a market characterized by high price instability. He got where he is now through his experience in the oil sector. His career began at Shell, where he advanced as a result of internal training. He then became a senior marketer at Husky Energy, which gave him the opportunity to be in contact with Colas. “I liked the work culture and the human relations that exist in the Group,” he explains, “and I wanted to play a part in its development.” Chuck wishes that days were longer so he could give even more. Involved in charity work, he sees a link with his role as a manager: he provides support for others.


Born in Canada of an Italian family, Dante Massari lived from the age of 3 to 15 in Italy, before coming back to North America. “I played in the junior team and dreamed of becoming a professional soccer player, but things didn’t work out. So, it’s almost by chance that I entered the building trade,” he recalls. Lukewarm to begin with, he changed his mind when Terus hired him in 1988. With its excellent organization, the company offered him real career opportunities. Today Construction Manager at 48, Dante loves his job: “I work a lot on remote sites which can only be reached by plane or boat, in areas where Indians still live. It’s always a challenge to see a project through, but once the mission is accomplished, there’s huge satisfaction.” And then the Group helps him achieve a good life and work mix by sometimes renting an apartment near to sites so that his 8- and 10-year old daughters can follow dad.