Anniversary Spotlight: Debbie Stone


As Debbie Stone, an Office Manager for Alberici's Canadian division, is celebrating her 25th anniversary this year. To mark this milestone, she shared some of her experiences with Alberici.

Describe the path that brought you to your current role?

I interviewed for a full-time position with Ryco-Alberici for a position at Ford Windsor.  lthough the position was guaranteed for only 18 months, Ryco-Alberici seemed like the right fit for me. Here I am writing about it 25 years later.  I worked in an administrative role at the Ford facilities in Windsor for almost 12 years, together with several people who remain close to my heart.  From Ford, I moved to Chrysler, before travelling to Goreway in Brampton, Chrysler Brampton, Hillsdale Structures, Stone Church in Hamilton, Highland Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant in Scarborough, BioAmber in Sarnia, and then back to FCA in Windsor.  I am currently in Sterling Heights, MI as an Office Manager/Financial Coordinator for ACI, where we are working as Construction Managers for FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automotive).

What do you enjoy most about your current role?

I enjoy experiencing the differences between the U.S. and Canada, and the fact that after 25 years I am still learning.  I am understanding and learning the Italian culture and language, as our current Owner is from Milan, Italy.  We have been working at the FCA Paint Shop for over a year, and last week I witnessed the painting of the first box.  I was in awe of the robotics and the whole process. I was proud knowing Alberici played a big role in making this happen.

What do you like most about working at Alberici?

 I feel great satisfaction after working so hard to complete a project, while achieving goals and milestones.  I enjoy the learning environment and making each project interesting and challenging.  It’s a good feeling to go home at the end of a day knowing you have accomplished something and are making a difference.  I am grateful to be working with amazing people, some new and some from past projects, and to get to do it over and over again.  Each new project is a new experience and that makes going to work every day enjoyable.

What are you most proud of in your time at Alberici and why?

There are a number of instances where working at Alberici made me proud, and I had to go back a bit in my career for this one. While working for Alberici at Ford TMEP, I was able to help Ford recoup millions of dollars of government grants for infrastructure.  It took hours of hard work and I was very proud that Ford recognized it by mentioning myself and Alberici in a letter to both Ford Executives and Ryco-Alberici Management.

In your time at Alberici, which project was your favorite and why?

I’ve never worked on a project that I didn’t like. The project that stands out for me more than others is the Sarnia BioAmber project.  My role was to track millions of dollars of civil, mechanical and electrical time and equipment work.  Everything about the project went smoothly, from start up to close out.  It didn’t hurt either that Sarnia is not far from Ipperwash, Ont., a small beach town, where I spend as much time as I can in the summer!

What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting in the construction industry?

I’d say bring your energy and eagerness, represent Alberici with integrity and professionalism, and learn from others with experience.  Every project is different.  You’ll face many challenges along the way and every time you’ll be stronger because of them. Work hard and remain loyal and you’ll reap the benefits.  Alberici encourages growth and cares about every employee. There is no other place I’d rather work.

Alberici Listed in The Career Directory, a Guide to Canada;s Top Employers for Recent Grads

Alberici is proud to be listed on The Career Directory (2018), a collection of Canada’s best employers for recent graduates. Assembled by the team at “Canada’s Top 100 Employers”, the directory is a resource for new graduates seeking jobs that make the most of their university degree or college diploma. The guide has been a trusted source of information on employers since 1991, and has helped hundreds of thousands of Canadian graduates get started on their careers.

Thousands of Canadian employers are reviewed to determine the academic qualifications they actively seek in young job-seekers. Firms must demonstrate strong entry-level recruitment programs coupled with benefits, HR programs and career advancement opportunities. Alberici’s orientation and training programs, tuition, subsidies and “work perks” were highlighted on our editorial profile, which outlines why Alberici was listed. To view Alberici’s full profile please visit https://content.eluta.ca/top-employer-alberici-constructors.

Anniversary Spotlight–Sean Thibeault

Thibeault, Sean - Key PersonnelSean Thibeault, Vice President in Alberici’s Canadian division, is celebrating 16 years with Alberici this month. In honor of this milestone, we asked him to share about his time at Alberici and in the Industry.

You’ve been in the construction industry for 23 years. How has the industry changed during that time?
There have been many advancements in equipment, software, materials, construction techniques, technology etc. however communication is the highest on the list. If you look at the tools we have, in a very short time we have gone from cell phones that were the size of a brief case to now using iPhones, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), and everything you need electronically at your fingertips. It’s amazing how many people you can keep in the loop and at the rapid speed we operate.

 

You’ve been involved in a diverse group of projects ranging from automotive plants, to water treatment facilities, to power plants. How has this diverse experience helped you?
Our diversified portfolio is one of the things that makes Alberici a great company. To be afforded the opportunity to work in multiple markets has been one of the greatest benefits and challenges in my career. I learn something new every day. Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of working with great teammates, dealt with a wide variety of owners & engineers and liaised with every possible trade union.  I learned new construction techniques, worked in interesting geographical locations with varied climatic challenges.  Most importantly, I learned how to keep my head on a swivel while driving through deer and moose infested country.

 

In your time at Alberici, which project was your favorite and why?
They were all good projects. If you take a step back and look at what we do day in and day out, it’s very impressive. Where else can a group of teammates receive a set of documents that someone has conceptualized then build it in remote locations, safely and on time? That’s something I am proud of.


Our business can be described as “time sensitive construction” with a new challenge every day. There are always challenges, the unexpected, and a few head scratchers. Having said that, isn’t that why we do it? The challenge.

 

What piece of advice would you give someone just starting out in the construction industry?
Take one day at a time and find a good mentor or teammate you can talk with. I’ve been fortunate to have several great mentors who have been a tremendous resource. I run ideas by them, hear their perspectives and observe how they manage situations. The best mentors are those who don’t tell you want you want to hear, but rather provide you with a different perspective and allow you to draw your own conclusion for the right answer.  I borrowed that line from a fortune cookie.

 

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Construction has always fascinated me. What we do is very unique. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. As a child I used to hang around construction sites and watch the heavy equipment in operation while houses and structures were being built. Big excavators, cranes, and other large equipment drew my attention. As I got older it shifted to the sequencing of construction. I would often ask myself “how did they build that?”, then try to figure out how it was done.


To this day when I see a building, power plant, bridge, old church, etc., I always think to myself, “how do all those pieces go together?” An example of this is when I ruined the tour guide’s day at Stonehenge (yes the Stonehenge in England). He commented that no one knows how this was built. I took this as a challenge and figured out a pretty simple way to do it. By the end of the tour I shared it with the group. He couldn’t counter the idea and needless to say was not pleased with me. The secret to building Stonehenge is “free labour”. You can move a lot of dirt with free labour.

Anniversary Spotlight–Dave Gough

Gough, Dave - Key PersonnelDave Gough, President of Alberici Constructors, Ltd. is celebrating 35 years at Alberici this month.

After graduating from Murray State University in 1980, Dave joined Alberici as an Estimator. He spent a year in estimating before moving into the field to work on a lead mine project for ASARCO in Viburnum, Missouri. After two years on the road, Dave returned to St. Louis where he climbed the career ladder from Project Engineer to Project Director. In the late 80s and early 90s, Dave worked on major projects for Monsanto, Saint Louis University, St. Mary’s Hospital and Ameristar Casino.

In the late 90s, Dave was Project Director for the BJC’s Siteman Cancer Center. While managing this project, he was promoted to Vice President of Operations and Market Leader for the Buildings and Healthcare division.

After serving as VP/ML for five years, Dave took on a new assignment and relocated to Burlington, Ontario as President of Alberici Constructors, Ltd. (ACL). 

In honor of his 35 years at Alberici, we asked Dave to share some thoughts and experiences from his career.

How has the construction industry changed since you started?

Technology has changed the construction business and the speed at which we all work. When I started with Alberici, it was all paper and pencil - no personal computers, no cell phones, no internet. On my first out-of-town project I experienced the new technology of a fax machine to process timesheets. Handheld calculators cost around $250. Carbon paper, mailing letters and Saturday morning meetings with Gabe was the norm. Adapting to the computer revolution has been the biggest change in my career.

What are you most proud of from your time at Alberici?

In 1980, Alberici’s annual revenue was $109 million with one office at 2150 Kienlen Avenue. We had 127 employees. We worked primarily in states contiguous to Missouri. Now, we’re a $2 billion corporation with 13 offices and approximately 1,300 employees working on major projects throughout North America. I’m proud to have been part of that growth. I’ve had the chance to work in operations in multiple markets, and I have also been fortunate to work on the management side of our business. During my tenure, I have worked with four different presidents.

dave_ballonWhat do you like most about working at Alberici?

I’m proud to be associated with the Alberici name due to its outstanding reputation in the construction business and the one-of-a-kind, record setting billion dollar projects we construct including Olmsted Dam in Paducah, KY, Constellation Brands Brewery in Mexico, Holcim Cement in Ste. Genevieve, MO and Vale Long Harbour in Newfoundland, Canada. Additionally, I like and value our open door policy where egos are checked at the door. The culture still has a family feel to it where trust, integrity and respect are paramount between employees.

What do you enjoy most about your current role?

At ACL, I moved away from the building/healthcare proposal driven markets to the industrial GC lump sum "rip and read" market. This was a challenge but provided an opportunity for personal and corporate growth. In my current role, I enjoy hiring employees and being part of their mentoring, training, development and personal growth. Alberici continues to raise the bar and hires the best of the best.

Do you have a favorite project from your years at Alberici?

Probably the most unique, challenging and enjoyable project was the Ameristar Casino. During the three-year project, we built barges in the middle of the Missouri River, welded them together and assembled two casinos on top of them. From a logistical standpoint, you’re at the mercy of the river. We had to keep the casino open at all costs during the 1993 floods. We built a 4,000 car parking garage in 9.5 months in the Missouri River floodplain. We were transporting workers and material by amphibious “ducks” to keep the projects on schedule. When I drive by the casino and other projects I have worked on, it’s a gratifying feeling to know Alberici has been part of so many significant landmarks.

What advice would you give to someone just starting in the construction industry?

Whether you have a passion to build locally or travel and work in multiple markets, this is a great Company to check all the boxes. In recent discussions with an Alberici employee who volunteered to go to Mexico on the Constellation Brewery project, I asked if he was looking forward to it. He responded by saying at 24 years old he’s very fortunate and thankful to have the opportunity to work on the largest brewery in the world.

Do you have anything else you’d like to share?

Work hard, have fun, stay healthy and enjoy life - that’s what I like to do. To me, humor in the workplace is extremely important. I have a quote from Anthony Robbins on my wall: “Live life fully while you’re here. Experience everything. Take care of yourself and your friends. Have fun, be crazy, be weird. Go out and screw up, you’re going to anyway; you might as well enjoy the process. Take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes: find the cause of your problems and eliminate it. Don’t try to be perfect; just be an excellent example of being human.”