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August 27, 2012
Smith to retire as London, Ontario construction association executive director
After a five-year stint as executive director of the London and District Construction Association (LDCA)), Derek Smith is poised to relocate to the village of Port Stanley on the north shore of Lake Erie “to enjoy small-town life.” Smith, 44, is scheduled to retire from the association at the end of the year. He has no firm post-association career plans at the moment.
“But I think it is pretty safe to say I’ll end up consulting somewhere,” he said.
“I’ll still be close by.”
Smith joined the association in September 2007, replacing long-time executive director Tom Dool.
A graduate of Ottawa’s Algonquin College, Smith previously held positions in the facility engineering department at Chrysler Canada and as a partner in a Windsor architectural firm.
Smith said his decision to retire was prompted by a belief that “it is time for fresh new ideas” at the association, which celebrates its 114th anniversary this year. The LDCA currently represents 575 companies engaged in ICI construction in six counties in southwestern Ontario.
“It’s been a great ride,” he said.
“But I think I have done what I can here. It’s time for new blood.”
During his tenure at the LDCA, Smith was successful in executing a primary objective identified in the association’s strategic plan of embracing new technology and maintaining a leadership position in this realm.
The LDCA was the first mixed-trade construction association in Canada to investigate and launch a Building Information Modeling (BIM) training program for its members.
The courses have also been granted Gold Seal certification by the Canadian Construction Association.
Earlier this year, the association announced a groundbreaking project to assess the use of information and communication technology throughout the five phases of a construction project.
That work is being undertaken at the National Research Council Canada’s centre for computer-aided construction technologies in London, under the guidance of a LDCA committee.
Other accomplishments include establishment of the young construction executives’ club, aimed at grooming the future leaders of the industry, this year’s launch of the LDCA’s inaugural awards of construction excellence and the resurrection of the LDCA’s annual trade show.
Smith has also been active on the labour relations front.
He participated in the 2010 round of collective bargaining and has worked to develop an understanding of proceedings at the Ontario Labour Relations Board, in order to assist LDCA member firms.
Currently, Smith is penning the Ontario local construction associations’ (LCA) business plan for the second generation of the electronic plans room, an assignment being undertaken with the assistance of the associations’ chief operating officers.
“Come December, the Ontario LCAs will be ready and able to launch the next generation of electronic plans rooms to include e-procurement capabilities and electronic bid deposit,” Smith said.
“It is what our alliance colleagues at Reed Construction Data are telling us we need to do and it what the COOs have been steering towards since the electronic plans room was successfully established 10 years ago,” he explained.
“It will place-hold the construction associations’ value proposition in the e-tendering world that is coming.”
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