Top 10 under 40: Lindsay Wnuk, Lafarge Canada
By Bill Tremblay
Lindsay Wnuk, contract coordinator for large infrastructure at Lafarge Canada in Edmonton, Alberta, has been named as a recipient of Rock to Road’s Top 10 Under 40.
After graduating university with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2010, Lindsay Wnuk was unsure what her next step should be. A friend working for Lafarge Canada, a division of Holcim, suggested she apply for a health and safety coordinator position, so Lindsay gave it a shot.
“At the time, we had 200-plus employees working in a precast plant. I was working with foreign workers help them with their residencies, getting them to come here on work visas. I didn’t really picture it as my career, but I really liked it.”
Lindsay embraced her role at Lafarge Canada and was nominated to join the Lafarge Leadership Development Program in 2012. From 2012 to 2014, she had the opportunity to work in a variety of roles including environmental, safety, quality control (ready mix), sales (ready mix), aggregates (Onoway facility) and infrastructure.
“It’s had a huge impact on my career,” she says.
“During my time in precast, I led a foreign worker program sourcing workers from different countries in Europe as well as Mexico. This consisted of sourcing the employees, assisting with their travel and helping with setting up in Canada, which gave me great opportunities to interact and work with a skilled team. I was also involved in the Vida project, an initiative to create an open and safe environment for workers to discuss safety issues amongst peers as opposed to managers. Teams brought issues to the table, participated in discussion, and became a key element of the final decision making and solutions.”
In 2014, Lindsay was promoted to contract coordinator for large Infrastructure. She currently manages a 30-year contract with Alberta Transportation.
“We maintain a performance-based contract for the southwest and southeast section of the Anthony Henday,” she says.
The Southwest Anthony Henday has 280 lane kilometres of roadway, 31 bridge structures, one bridge culvert, 58 sign structures, three system interchanges, 10 interchanges, 15 signalized intersections, 16,000 metres of sidewalk and 2,217 street fixtures.
The Southeast Anthony Henday has 160 lane kilometres of roadway, 20 bridge structures, two bridge culverts, 32 sign structures, two system interchanges, two interchanges, four signalized intersections, 8000 metres of sidewalk and 1,050 street fixtures.
“I am responsible for the day-to-day coordination of work activities. I source and purchase required materials and investigate infrastructure damage in the field to properly plan out execution. I also ensure that the proper protocols are followed, and work with subcontractors to confirm that the work is being completed within our regulated timelines,” Lindsay explains.
“I am also responsible for invoicing, and the QMS, EMS and audit functions identified in our contracts. Finally, I manage our safety coordinator, and act as co-chair of the Joint Health and Safety committee. We want to provide a safe place to discuss issues that may arise within crews or work environments.”
Across all the different divisions Lindsay has worked in her 11-year career with Lafarge Canada, her favourite aspect of her job has always remained the same.
“It’s the relationships I’ve been able to develop with people,” she says.
Lindsay says her short-term goals involve working to help manage the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in her workplace. Her long-term goals include continuing to expand her knowledge and find ways to innovate.
“I want to expand my knowledge of quality and our quality management systems and increase my involvement in quality plans and risk management. Since moving our documentation to a paperless platform, everyone has the accessibility to all forms and documents, and after completion, auditing processes will be seamless. Now, in the twelfth year of our contract, I’m still seeking innovative solutions to maximize efficiency – including new equipment and material, and maintaining the safety of our workers and the travelling public,” she says.
Lindsay’s advice for young people looking to enter the industry: grow a thick skin.
“For myself, when I was first in the leadership development program it was a huge change. I was in a position for six to nine months, tops. Then I’d have to jump and switch to a different thing. Opportunities really pushed me along my career path, take advantage of them, even if it makes you uncomfortable,” she says.