GTA Construction News staff writer
It is a challenge to develop the list of the Top 10 Women of Toronto’s Design & Construction Industry. Many women have earned a place on this list, and we struggled to determine who should win a place. In the end, a combination of sponsor nominations, public achievements, and association and community leadership roles entered into the calculations.
Since it it is difficult enough to determine the Top 10, please note that this list is alphabetical rather than ranked hierarchically.
If we missed someone you think should be on the list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll consider the nomination for next year’s list.
Reliance Home Comfort key account manager, builder markets – Hamilton region
Carla Agostino has been with Reliance Home Comfort for close to 30 years, working in the new home construction market for the last 18. Carla is an active member of home builders’ associations and has, in particular, an extensive record of contribution with and recognition from the Hamilton/Halton Home Builders’ Association, holding various positions on the board and serving as its president in 2012. From this same association, Carla has been awarded the prestigious President’s Award (2005 and 2007) and Distinguished Service Award (2011). Under her leadership, Reliance was named Member of the Year in 2008, 2009 and again in 2010. In 2018, the association awarded Carla with a special “Superwoman Award”.
Managing partner, Artistic Skylight Domes
Lora Ferrazzo-Bourck, a director of the Canadian Association of Women in Construction (CAWIC), is a managing partner of Artistic Skylight Domes. She took her place at the helm of a manufacturing business in a male-dominated industry and through strong leadership has proven herself a successful businesswoman.
She has been a driving force behind the company’s growth for 23 years. While her brothers take care of manufacturing, she oversees the company’s finances and strategic business development. She also has an impressive track record as a strong advocate in industry and community associations
Lora’s background and knowledge has enabled her to be a strong proactive female advocate in the construction, manufacturing and exporting industries and she believes, with these strong attributes, she can support CAWIC to promote and increase women’s retention and progression in these industries.
Service manager, power systems, Toromont CAT
CAWIC vice-president Lisa Brown has focused her career in the construction and power generation industry, including project management, sales and service of standby and prime power generation projects for Toromont CAT, one of the world’s largest Caterpillar dealerships by both revenue and geographic territory. Lisa’s project exposure ranges from system supply to multi-million-dollar, design-build solutions in sectors such as mining, municipal infrastructure, commercial manufacturing and nuclear power.
In addition to her work with CAWIC, she has served with several community groups and organizations. Lisa is also a director on the board of the Joseph Brant Hospital Auxiliary. She enjoys mentoring aspiring youth, and is a regular participant in McMaster Engineering’s Mentor Connection Night, and the Halton Industry Education Council (HIEC)’s annual Women as Career Coaches event.
Operations manager, WIZ Overhead Doors
Jessie Dickson has earned her place on Toronto’s Top 10 Women of Design and Construction for her role as operations manager at Wiz Overhead Doors – a business serving a sector not traditionally associated with the female gender.
“We are an industrial overhead door company that focuses on installing, servicing and manufacturing high quality overhead doors in the greater Toronto area,” she writes. “We strive on maintaining a high level of work ethic by teaching our staff about personal development and encourage growth. Our team values the importance of customer service and we work directly with our clients to ensure all expectations are fulfilled.”
Reliance Home Comfort, key account manager, builder markets
For the past 11 years, Jennifer has served as a director on the board of the Durham Region Home Builders’ Association. In 2008 and 2010, she received the President’s Star Award and, in 2013/2014, served as the association’s president. Jennifer has alsoHabitat for Humanity board member in her region.
Project services manager, Infrastructure Ontario
Kate is CAWIC’s president. When she isn’t contributing to voluntary and community organizations, works as a project services manager and Project Management Professional (PMP) for the provincial procurement agency, with more than 10 years of experience in the construction industry.
In her current role, she oversees both capital and Ministry-funded projects in the Real Estate Management Division. She is an active member of the PMI Southern Ontario Chapter and is diligent in her application of best practices in project budgeting, scheduling, procurement, and contract administration.
Kate believes that mentorship and networking are vital in the development of a successful career in the construction industry, and is always willing to provide counselling and mentorship to peers and protégées.
Reliance Home Comfort key account manager, builder markets, South Western Ontario
Tracey has more than 25 years of experience in sales and account management, especially in executing full sales cycles and product solutions in the areas of hot water tanks, heating and air conditioning for builders. Tracey is actively involved in local home builders’ associations in her area, including the Waterloo Region HBA, Guelph & District HBA, London HBA, Windsor Essex HBA, Stratford and Area HBA, St Thomas HBA and Sarnia Lambton HBA.
Director, FTI Consulting
Christelle Soto-Suarez is a director in the Construction Solutions practice of FTI Consulting in Toronto. She has approximately 20 years of experience in the construction industry, including 10 years specializing in contract management and dispute resolution, her current specialization. She is also a director and treasurer on the CAWIC’s executive.
Her experience has embraced various types of construction projects, including dam, subway station, HVDC, power plant, pipeline, fibre optic network, data center, baggage handling system, residential, mixed-use development, school, hotel and retail. She has worked in various countries including Canada, Germany, the UK, Gibraltar and France.
STL Lighting Group senior account executive
Stephanie Teotico started her career at age 22, right out of university. As a symbol of her rapid rise and achievements, she was instructing at Ryerson University just two years later.
She has completed work on many award-winning projects, both locally and internationally, and currently serves on the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) Toronto Section board.
See comprehensive profile on page xx.
Project manager, Vestacon Limited
Julie Zabizewski is a director and serves as the secretary on CAWIC’s executive. She has more than a decade of experience in the construction industry, She has worked collaboratively with a resourceful team of professionals, learning different stages of the construction business as she’s been a part of the company since its preliminary stages, and has gained an understanding of the needs and issues related to this sector.
As well as overseeing construction projects, she’s also the designated health and Ssafety management representative, committed to enhancing the workplace environment, and ensuring employees follow safe work procedures.