As the son of a General Contractor, Aaron Engel, President of AEC Construction, developed an early appreciation for how the world around him was built. The excitement of watching a building go from an idea to something concrete and built by your own two hands drew Aaron first to his father’s construction sites, and in later years to Conestoga College’s Architecture – Construction Engineering Technology program. Aaron’s studies gave him a full picture of every stage of the design and construction process, which he then applied as a technologist at WalterFedy, a Kitchener-based architecture, engineering, and construction firm from which AEC would eventually develop.
Starting as a design technologist, Aaron put his education and passion to work, learning more about the structure of buildings and how the design and construction process works in the real world. Working mainly for commercial and industrial clients, Aaron developed an understanding of and appreciation for a customer-first philosophy.
“It’s gratifying to be able to take ownership of a project and put your all into it,” said Aaron. “Especially working for a company that did both design and construction, I liked being able to deliver full client satisfaction with every project and getting to contribute to something that made them happy at all stages. Learning how to achieve that outcome through an effective process right from the start of the project was eye-opening as a new grad, and something I still find myself using today.”
In 2014, WalterFedy’s construction arm became AEC Construction. Aaron brought his passion for construction and his broad perspective of the construction process to the newly formed company as AEC’s Business Development Director. Leveraging his focus on client stewardship, he worked directly with our clients to help make sure they received the services they needed to make their project a success. Aaron’s work was also instrumental in sharing the value of Construction Management (CM) with consultants, bringing valuable insight into this fair and open delivery model.
“I truly believe the Construction Management model brings the best value to the market, and it was great to get to introduce that to people – both on the owner side and the consultant side – who were mostly familiar with the General Contractor – Stipulated Sum model. While the different construction models on the market all have their place on different projects, the transparency you get with CM really stands out to me in giving my clients the best value and the best experience on their projects.”
Aaron’s focus on strong client relationships and his confidence in the CM delivery model helped shape AEC’s vision as a company as he rose to the role of President. While AEC offers all construction delivery models – including CM, General Contracting or Stipulated Sum, Design-Build, and Integrated Project Delivery – our goal to offer an open and transparent construction process is well served by the involvement we are able to have in all project stages in a CM delivery model.
Aaron’s philosophy is that a successful construction process is one that fosters collaboration, openness, timeliness, flexibility, and communication. When the designer, contractor, and owner work together and communicate openly, the project benefits from the resulting collaboration and shared understanding of the key drivers for a project’s success. The ability to contribute to a project from the earliest stages through to the completion of construction has allowed Aaron to put into practice what drew him to construction from an early age. It is what he still loves about construction today.
“I’ve always appreciated building things,” said Aaron. “I see a lot of value in being able to envision something, generate a plan, and make it happen. It’s what I liked when I was working with my dad doing framing, when I was early in my career drafting and designing buildings, and now when I’m working with owners and designers as a Construction Manager or Project Director. Being the person the owner needs – the person who can take their vision and make it a reality, something they can use – is rewarding every time.”
While collaboration as a project team is important, Aaron also stresses that the foundation of a successful project starts internally with the right team of colleagues who share a commitment to client satisfaction. Great projects happen when everyone on the project is committed to working as a partner with the owner and is equally excited about achieving their vision.
“Beyond the great work we do, the thing I am proudest of is the team environment at AEC. Our team is encouraging, collaborative, and motivated to go to the next level with the firm and with our clients. We’ve adopted the mindset of working together and achieving every goal together as a team. I know that if I don’t know something, someone else does, and I can ask anything without fear of disappointment or frustration because above all, everyone is equally committed to learning and growing together to deliver the best projects we can.”