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Christopher Gauthier, BEng Mgt '17 & Daniel Gonzalez, MEng Design '16

Civil Engineering & Management, Engineering Design | Reaching for the Sky

A new 32-storey office tower is rising on Toronto’s skyline, and two McMaster grads are part of the team responsible for turning architectural vision into an environmentally-advanced concrete and glass reality.

Cadillac Fairview’s 16 York – a 32-story, $479 million project named for its downtown York Street address – has been designed to exceed LEED Platinum and International Well Institute guidelines for environmental and workplace excellence standards. Anticipated for completion by June 2020, work on the building is led by PCL Construction.

On the construction site, Daniel Gonzalez and Christopher Gauthier are overseeing the structural building blocks as the tower steadily climbs out of the busy area near Union Station.

Gonzalez, who earned his M.Eng.Design in 2016 after completing the BTech program in Civil Engineering Technology, serves as a PCL Project Manager on the site.

“I look after managing the day-to-day execution of the building Structure and Interior Finishes scopes to ensure they are built on time, within budget and to the utmost level of quality,” he says.

Gauthier, who earned his B.Eng. in Civil Engineering and Management in 2017, serves as Structural Coordinator for the project. Working alongside superintendents and trades professionals, he ensures construction is in accordance with design drawings and specifications, as well as developing and managing the construction schedule.

“My short career can be defined using three words – steep learning curve,” says Gauthier, laughingly. “But the highlight so far was pouring out this project’s massive ground level lobby (13m+ in height) capped by the level two slab.

“We had the unique challenge of coordinating and placing 11 structural steel embeds (some of which were more than 12,000 lbs), which sit intertwined with column reinforcement. Soon these embeds will support a steel canopy extending over a popular downtown Toronto intersection.”

While originally anticipating he would become a design engineer, Gauthier says his degree prepared him perfectly for a career in construction project management.

“Along with a strong technical background – including the ability to read and interpret drawings – I bring the ability to effectively problem solve, add value and communicate with my colleagues,” he says.

For Gonzalez, whose McMaster post-graduate work focused on sustainable structures and the emerging engineering technologies available to reduce planet pollution, the 16 York project is a perfect fit.

Prior to this, he worked on the construction of a Wastewater Treatment Plant facility for the City of Kitchener. Three co-op work terms helped guide him toward the construction management career path, and he urges students to take full advantage of such programs to get into the workplace.

Gauthier adds that students should start networking early and reach out to industry professionals to learn about different career opportunities and experiences.

“I can’t stress how important it is to keep an open mind and continue to explore all the different careers paths which exist, even if you feel dedicated to a specific expertise,” he says. “The world of ‘engineering’ is so vast and provides a limitless number of opportunities.”