Five Ws with the TIAs Finalists: Excellence in Technology Adoption

BGC Engineering, City of Vancouver, and Finning at the 2020 Technology Impact Awards Finalist Announcement on April 28th, 2020.

In the lead-up to the 2020 Technology Impact Awards, BC Tech is profiling all 38 finalists in 11 award categories. Today, we look at three companies whose technologies clearly demonstrate exceptional adoption and agility, with direct impacts on BC’s infrastructure. The “Excellence in Technology Adoption” award is presented in partnership with Accenture.

BGC Engineering 

Who: Founded by Dr. Iain Bruce and Dr. Wayne Savigny in 1990, BGC Engineering’s robust team of over 500 engineers, geoscientists, technicians and support staff have helped BGC expand their practice and areas of expertise. “We have a unique culture here that has been instrumental in our success. As a private, employee-owned company, our staff all operate as one. This allows us the flexibility to give every one of our clients 100% of our employee resources,” says Steve Hedberg, CEO & President of BGC Engineering. “We’ve evolved tremendously since 1990, and are very excited about the future.” (Visit BGC’s Careers page here.)

What: Finding safe, methodical solutions to complex problems is at the heart of BGC Engineering. To support their consulting services, BGC builds and implements unique software tools such as Cambio™, to better serve their clients. Most notably, their expert team of software engineers have developed a Holographic Visualization Tool (HVT) called the Ada Platform (find out more here) which enables experts and non-technical stakeholders to visit a 3D version of their project site at any time, past, present or future. “We love data, and we love providing our clients with tools that make that data more digestible for them,” says Software Development Manager, Eldon Wong.

When: In 2015, the BGC Engineering team set an internal goal of reducing the global rate of pipeline failures caused by geohazards by more than 10% by 2025, and have not looked back since. Making great strides year after the year, the team has been working diligently to adopt new technologies and software to help them measure their successes and further decrease pipeline geohazard failures. “A huge part of our company culture is built on safety and making the world a safer place,” says Sarah Newton, Senior Geological Engineer. “How can we do things better? How can we create safer solutions for our clients? Thanks to a team of very curious people, we’ve been successful in our efforts.”

Where: “We are excited to be part of the thriving BC Tech community,” acknowledges Steve. “BGC was created around one of our co-founder’s kitchen tables in Vancouver, a start-up of sorts, if you will. So while we work everywhere and have offices across the globe, there is certainly a lot of affection for this great city and our history.”

Why: “Our purpose is to bring responsible solutions to complex earth science challenges,” Steve says. “What could be better than harnessing powerful software to present the data we collect and show it in a way for our clients to see like never before?”

City of Vancouver

Who: Led by Jessie Adcock, formerly the Chief Technology Officer for the City of Vancouver, now the General Manager, Development, Buildings and Licensing, the city’s digital strategy team has evolved and matured tremendously. “The team we have and watched grow here is remarkable. It’s been such an honour leading the team,” says Jessie.

What: The City of Vancouver was the first city in Canada to implement a robust, digital strategy “We wanted to show that government and innovation can go hand in hand and provide our citizens with a variety of resources that make day to day life easier,” says Jessie. From the creation of one of North America’s largest free-wifi networks, to implementing Give a Hand Vancouver, an online site that collects donations of vital items from businesses and individuals in response to the COVID-10 pandemic, has put them on a global scale. “As the world continues to grow and evolve digitally, I’m confident we’ll be able to grow with it.”

When: Since setting out to redefine their digital footprint in 2013, the digital team at the City of Vancouver has continued to excel. “The idea of revolutionizing how the City of Vancouver operates and services its community digitally really started in 2013. Since then, we’ve seen amazing growth and innovations from our team,” says Jessie. “We haven’t looked back since winning the IT World Canada award for Digital Strategy in 2018 – and the team shows no plans of slowing down any time soon.”

Where: “A full circle experience” is how Jessie describes her tenure as Chief Technology Officer with the City of Vancouver. “The diversity of the tech sector in both Vancouver and BC is quite incredible. My experience has been nothing short of amazing. And now, watching other leaders like Tadhg taking the work of the Digital Strategy to the next level as Director of Digital Platforms, is very rewarding.”

Why: “Purpose is what carries you through. In the beginning when digital marketing was not well known, it was hard to convince people to get behind what we were trying to accomplish. What guided me throughout the entire thing was the drive to make a healthier and happier community,” says Jessie. “The things you love and the things you’re great at are often what the world needs. I carry a quote in my wallet as a reminder of the importance of knowing your purpose and living your purpose in everything you do.”


Who: For over 85 years, Finning has been a leader in heavy-equipment sales, service and support and now, technology-driven solutions. “The history of our organization is quite remarkable. And now, as we scale and evolve technologically, we couldn’t be more proud of the impact of our Finning teams” says Jordan Willms, Director of Marketing and Commercialization. (Visit Finning’s careers page here.)

What: Finning has incorporated a robust array of business and technical solutions that have helped them better serve their customers –helping them become more productive. Among their most impressive technological advancements is their Finning Earthworks Productivity Solution, a commercial offering powered by its homegrown platform, “Earl”, that is currently being used in the UK on a high-speed railway project (HS2) to provide end-to-end visibility across construction earthworks. HS2 has an estimated cost of CAD$180 billion, more than 112 million tonnes of earth to be moved, and more than 230 kilometres of track. “Applying for the Excellence in Technology Adoption award was a great way to recognize and thank our technology and business teams for their dedication and expertise, but also to showcase that our company, whom some might perceive to be traditional, has significantly evolved and grown digitally,” says Jordan, as he reflects on Finning’s growth.

When: Finning has not looked back since digitally connecting 80 percent of their customer’s machines and continues to invest in technologies and customer experiences to create a sustainable cost structure and a customer impact. “Our President and CEO Scott Thomson and Chief Digital Officer Dave Cummings have been instrumental in guiding us into the digital age, delivering solutions that touch every part of Finning’s and our customers’ businesses” says Jordan. “Building our own technology platform takes strong conviction and commitment from leadership, and when combined with a top-talent product development team produces great results like those we showcased in our application.”

Where: “We’re a Canadian company, with strong roots in Vancouver. I couldn’t be more proud to be part of the thriving BC tech community. I know the entire team feels the same,” says Jordan.

Why: “Many of our customers provide essential services in the communities we serve, whether it be building and maintaining critical infrastructure like roads, bridges and tunnels or supporting public health through powering hospitals and water treatment plants. We are proud to be able to continue to provide them with the most advanced solutions and tools to help them better deliver on their commitments,” says Jordan. “We thrive on their success, it’s what really fuels and motivates us.”