by Shantel Lipp Shantel Lipp
Shantel Lipp - Portrait

I am counting down the days until the first ever SHCA Infrastructure Summit & Trade Show takes place in Regina next week, and I can’t wait for you to see all that it will bring to the forefront.

First, you will see the importance and impact of the heavy construction industry within and beyond Saskatchewan reinforced. I look forward to seeing contractors, suppliers, engineers, government officials and other professionals coming together to focus on infrastructure and transportation for two full days on Nov. 29 and 30, 2023, at the Delta Hotel & Convention Centre.

You have heard me say that funding to develop and maintain that infrastructure can deliver a return when there is a strategy for investment. This event is another opportunity to deliver that message. The role of infrastructure in trade relationships and the need for long-term investment in infrastructure  to grow trade that will benefit our economy are why this event will be valuable to more than members.

I hope all who are there  will take in the panel discussion, which is in the agenda for Nov. 29. You will hear the panel discuss how trade and transportation infrastructure intersect in Canada’s economic growth strategy. The panelists will include: 

  • John Law, senior fellow with Canada West Foundation and co-author of From Shovel Ready to Shovel Worthy: The Path to a National Trade Infrastructure Plan for the Next Generation of Economic Growth  
  • Gary Mar, president of Canada West Foundation 
  • Mary VanBuren, president of the Canadian Construction Association
  • Kyle Toffan, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Highways  
  • Jodi Banks, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Trade and Export  
  • Chris Lorenc, president of the Western Canada Roadbuilders & Heavy Construction Association (WCR&HCA)  

Mar and VanBuren are involved in a coalition of national organizations that also includes the Business Council of Canada and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. They are concerned about the current level of investment as well as the lack of coordination and planning on a long-term strategy and the state of the federal trade corridors fund.They have endorsed the WCR&HCA report by the Canada West Foundation, From Shovel Ready to Shovel Worth: The Path to a National Trade Infrastructure Plan for the Next Generation of Economic Growth.

This coalition is approaching the three orders of government to advocate for a nation-building strategy to invest in Canada’s trade corridors to harness trade-based economic growth. This summit is important for government because for decades the private sector has been asking for a long-term permanent plan to grow business investment.

I am excited about the opportunities you will have to deepen your knowledge  about infrastructure, equipment, labour needs, projects, investment and much more.

As projects become more complex and technology evolves, there is always a need to prepare for the future. At the summit, you will gain information through industry education sessions that can help you become an even better builder. Technological advancements within the industry will be highlighted through technical sessions across a broad sector of industry applications.

Valuable information on many different topics will be shared by Brandt Industries, Gerry Huber, Wirtgen Group, Water Security Agency, Asphalt Institute, SMS Equipment, SaskPower, Cenovus Energy and the Women of Asphalt. They will cover cold in-place recycling, how to use intelligent compaction, asphalt volumetrics, balanced mix design, AI advancements in roadbuilding equipment, new technology in tack coats, flood mitigation, the future of carbon capture and mining, and the inclusion and retention of women in the industry.

There will be opportunities to learn more about the production and processing of materials as well as troubleshooting asphalt plants and greener ways of paving. You can expect to see virtual reality being used to attract young people to our sector as well as to conduct safety training.

It is a time to develop personally as well as professionally. Speakers at the summit include Mark Nesbitt, who will discuss creating the next generation of construction leaders. There will be a presentation by Pamela Barnum, who will describe how to unlock the code of non-verbal communication. Also speaking is Bob Vaughn, who will cover projects becoming more complex and how to create a culture of success.

There will be so many people you will want to meet and interact with – whether it is at the innovative trade show  or the industry awards and banquet that will wrap up the event.

It will be a busy two days full of people embracing our industry and sharing what it means to this province we call home. I look forward to seeing you there to take part in all that activity to show you value a strong future for all who make up and support the heavy construction industry.