1+ months

Vice President, Construction and Engineering

Lee Hecht Harrison Knightsbridge - Toronto, ON
Markham, Ontario M5B 2L7
  • Job Type
  • Job Status
    Full Time



Markham District Energy Inc. (MDE) is entering its third decade providing thermal energy services within the City of Markham, Ontario. MDE operates two district energy centres supplied by four energy plants that serve over 12 million square feet of varied use buildings. In addition to providing thermal energy to its customer base, MDE additionally operates power generating assets totaling over 25 MW with more than 15MW configured as cogeneration.

MDE is planning an aggressive growth strategy during the next decade. The Company will expand the existing district energy grids, build new systems in other parts of the city, add to its power generation portfolio, introduce alternate fuels and technologies, and provide consulting services to other municipalities. Being wholly owned by the City of Markham, but operating as an independent for-profit corporation provides MDE unique flexibility and access to information and resources. The workforce is non-unionized, and service delivery of thermal energy to MDE’s clients is not regulated through the OEB or other entity.

MDE has received international recognition for its leadership in the district energy sector. The Company maintains a lean staff complement that operates a significant asset base serving institutional, commercial and residential customers connected to its energy systems.

In countries such as Denmark, Sweden and Germany, district energy systems heat, cool and power most, if not all, urban areas. While there are over 100 systems in Canada that have operated for decades (some for over 100 years) community energy planning and energy resiliency is now becoming a top priority for municipalities from coast to coast. MDE, through its solid track record of success, is often referred to as the Canadian “poster child” for district energy systems and as an example of good urban planning combined with a forward-thinking energy plan.

MDE’s growth over the next 10 years is expected to more than double the existing customer base with a good portion of that growth being driven by residential builds. This will include a new district energy system in the developing area of Langstaff Gateway in Markham, plus the ongoing expansion of the existing systems. Three new energy production plants will likely be required to support this new infrastructure while a strong, ongoing focus on efficient design and construction will ensure MDE’s continued success. Implementation of new low-carbon heating and cooling technologies including sewer heat recovery and ground source systems are also planned. This ten-year capital plan is expected to increase MDE’s asset base by approximately $200M.



The Vice-President, Construction and Engineering reports directly to the Chief Operating Officer and is primarily responsible for all construction and engineering activities at MDE. This includes MDE’s thermal energy plants, underground distribution systems and customer located energy transfer stations. Responsibility includes managing both internal resources and external engineering consultants, construction procurement and management, establishing and managing budgets and schedules on the projects to meet the growth and operating needs of MDE.

As highlighted, MDE’s new capital work budget slated for the next ten years is expected to exceed $200M. In addition to new builds, existing plant assets – that range in age up to 21 years – will require refurbishment.   On average, ten percent of the Company’s new annual capital work spending will be dedicated to an ongoing program to renew these assets, adding to the Company’s ongoing engineering and construction requirements.

Given MDE’s lean structure with 25 current employees, the majority of engineering is done utilizing a small number of third-party consulting engineering firms. Any external engineering is overseen by this Vice President and is supplemented by the internal expertise of existing MDE staff with engineering credentials. In addition, the Plant Managers have decades of experience in operations and new construction and are also a valuable resource in making engineering and construction decisions and, ultimately, the commissioning of all third party activities. Again, with MDE’s lean structure, construction activities have been largely outsourced, with smaller projects being managed in-house or by using the engaged engineering consultants for project management and construction management duties. The goal of the new VP will be to provide effective management and control for the large number of capital projects planned over the coming years.


The VP of Construction and Engineering will ideally have extensive construction management and project management expertise, with a strong mechanical and electrical background. A self-directed individual, the VP of Construction and Engineering will be equally capable and comfortable working in the head office role and at the plant/project sites where they will be required to lead and direct Construction activities, third party contractors, consultants, and suppliers.

As a key member of the leadership team of this lean and nimble organization, this Vice President role has a unique opportunity to ‘wear multiple hats’ and embrace a culture where everyone is encouraged to get involved beyond their functional area and be an active contributor to the organization’s broader success. The individual will be incentivized (like all of MDE staff) to deliver on both their key responsibilities but also on the overall success of the Company.



Construction Management

Responsible for management of all Construction, which includes:

  • Develop Construction budgets
  • Develop and manage project schedules to meet the needs of MDE’s growth and customer commitments
  • Develop, implement, and manage construction procurement and delivery in a manner suitable for each type and size of project
  • Manage major equipment procurement and accommodate long supplier lead times by leveraging MDE’s strong purchasing power (many of MDE’s main mechanical and electrical components are purchased direct and free-issued to contractors)
  • Contractor negotiation and delivery as required
  • Construction Contract responsibilities
  • Manage and/or directly perform frequent formal inspections to ensure compliance with design and contract documents, applicable regulatory bodies and MDE policies and standards
  • Provide construction activity and cost tracking and related reports; present reports to the leadership team and the Board of Directors (BOD)

Engineering Management

Responsible for management of Engineering, which includes:

  • Managing both internal resources and external engineering consultants
  • Developing capital budgets for new projects
  • Assisting in cost/benefit studies
  • Helping to develop and guide conceptual projects through to detailed design
  • Presenting to the leadership team and BOD for new project justifications and approvals

Revenue & Earnings Growth

Work with the President & CEO, the COO and the Vice President, Finance to study and recommend new system capital, enhancements to existing plant to improve system efficiency, overall customer reliability and earnings growth.

Other Internal and External Linkage Responsibilities

  • Support the Vice President, Finance with issues relating to contract management
    • Support the President & CEO and the COO with respect to Board reports, communications and meetings, Annual Business Planning & Budget approval process
    • Interact with the BOD related to approvals and updates on major projects
    • Effectively interact with:
      • The International District Energy Association
      • Other district energy system operators
      • Utilities (PowerStream, Enbridge Gas) and other utilities in the City of Markham
      • Health and Safety Organizations



During the first year the VP will be expected to:

  • Take responsibility for MDE’s capital plan, which in the first year includes roughly $10M in new construction including a heat pump project, installation of a new chiller and cooling tower, a significant distribution piping expansion and several customer energy transfer stations
  • Effectively manage each project with a goal of delivering ‘on time and on budget’
  • Build excellent relationships with all staff, colleagues, and external partners
  • Become a trusted advisor to all staff and the business ensuring the integrity of the operational results


  • Contribute to the renewal of the Company’s 5-year strategic plan and to its annual business plan
  • Develop a more formalized construction budget system and project management tools/systems that can be used to manage projects
  • Further enhance the monitoring, control and management of external engineering scope and costs
  • Become increasingly more involved in the process of establishing growth plans, equipment needs and budgets; become a key participant in the annual capital planning process; help present the plan to the BOD and to gain its approval
  • Become involved in the refurbishment and/or replacement of aging equipment
  • Recommend construction delivery approaches for each of the various projects undertaken; build recommendations based on the balancing of risks, scheduling opportunities/constraints, and cost of options being considered; delivery approaches could range from acting as the Company’s own general contractor to a full outsourcing solution.



Qualifications of the Ideal Candidate:

  • Brings (10) ten or more years of experience holding progressively more senior construction management responsibilities along with leadership in related Health and Safety practices; preferably has gained experience with capital intensive industrial or infrastructure settings with exposure to technologies similar to those residing within MDE’s energy production and distribution asset base 
  • Based on the broad range of construction projects planned to be undertaken by MDE over the next 10 years, ideally candidates will bring proven project/program management expertise gained in leading both renewal/refurbishment projects as well as ‘new build’ initiatives; additionally, success in leading a portfolio of projects with capital costs that ranges from under $1MM to over $30MM would be ideal 
  • Offers a mix of leadership experience gained in both large, well-disciplined organizations and smaller, more entrepreneurial settings 
  • Offers ‘cradle to grave’ experience in managing in-house as well as outsourced resources that cover the spectrum of a project from conception through design, engineering, construction and post-build asset management 
  • Experience managing a variety of construction delivery approaches such acting as the general contractor right through to full outsourcing 
  • Ideally offers a strong background in mechanical and electrical systems 
  • Track record of delivering projects on time, on budget, reducing costs and increasing value 
  • Technically strong to a level such that they can provide technical leadership to an external engineering team and ensure compliance throughout the project’s execution 
  • Brings solid project and budget management skills; solid financial acumen 
  • Proven skills in contract development and negotiation 
  • Proven ability to work in a lean, roll up your sleeves organization and act as a true business partner and cross-functional team player; brings an ability to think and act strategically, but also to jump into technical challenges and tactically lead by example 
  • As the Company grows and embraces operational ‘best practices’, this VP will call on his/her strong people management and leadership skills in effectively developing, leading, retaining and motivating a team 
  • Strong organization and time management skills 
  • Strong relationship building and inter-personal skills; excellent communication skills both verbally and in written form; talented in reporting effectively on project budgets and schedules to the President & CEO, the COO and the BOD

Education/Professional Development:

Possesses a relevant technical certification or undergraduate degree and/or may be a licenced Professional Engineer. Certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP), Program Management Professional (PgMP) and/or in Green Project Management (GPM) would be a recognized asset. 

Leadership Attributes:

  • Entrepreneurial – with a long-term owner mentality and level of commitment
  • A high level of energy with a results-driven attitude in a lean, ‘get it done’ environment
  • Well suited to an essential services environment where oneself and one’s team embraces a 24/7 approach to providing customers with highly reliable and resilient energy services delivery
  • Demonstrates a high degree of adaptability; is comfortable in establishing new directions, managing change and trying different approaches to deal with a desire to go beyond the status quo
  • The versatility to think strategically and develop new ideas while also managing day-to-day responsibilities
  • Exceptional relationship building skills with the ability to connect well with different functional areas, external partners/suppliers, and with customers
  • Team player; collaborative manner 

Other Key Attributes/Competencies:

  • Self-starter
  • Roll-up-your-sleeves attitude
  • Results orientation, and ability to learn from and improve on past work
  • Curious, open to new ideas, and,
  • Is blessed with a sense of humour.


Posted: 2021-10-27 Expires: 2021-12-11

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Vice President, Construction and Engineering

Lee Hecht Harrison Knightsbridge - Toronto, ON
Markham, Ontario M5B 2L7

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