A northwestern Ontario based consulting firm has grown on a fast-track to becoming a regional leader in providing engineering and technical services to mining, municipalities, constructors, developers, institutional, forest products and First Nation clients.
Established in 2006 in Thunder Bay, the 45 employee firm led by CEO Eric Zakrewski has evolved from a boutique shop focused initially on environmental services to a diversified organization providing civil/geotechnical engineering, surveying, environmental, industrial hygiene and specialized air/noise consulting services throughout Ontario and western Canada.
The company has grown on the basis of providing high quality solutions and attracting some of the most talented professionals in the region.
Principal and Manager of Engineering Services, Adam Rose, P.Eng., joined the firm two years ago recognizing the exceptional management systems that were in place to facilitate professional growth and the delivery of world class solutions. "I looked around at what other traditional engineering firms were doing in terms of professional development, employee retention and technical service delivery and realized that True Grit's approach is innovative, exciting and dynamic. Our management and staff are dedicated to customer service and satisfaction; while the company is dedicated to its most important assets – its people".
Rose has grown the engineering part of the firm's business to include civil, geotechnical and environmental engineers, surveyors and designers, all supported by certified field inspectors and a state of the art construction materials testing laboratory.
The firm continues to diversify with the recent start-up of a new business, True Grit Surveying. Dave Kovacs, O.L.S., one of only a handful of licensed Ontario Land Surveyors in northwestern Ontario joined the firm as a partner for many of the same reasons as Rose. Kovacs, a former survey manager for the Province with over 22 years of experience, leads the firm's Legal Surveys & Plans group that includes experienced surveyors, planners and field staff that support the delivery of legal and engineering surveys for land development projects, mining claims, subdivisions and construction projects.
"In the mining sector, True Grit has evolved to assist international clients such as Montana's Stillwater Mining Company through Ontario's first ever Joint Panel Review Environmental Assessment (EA) process for their proposed Marathon PGM-Cu mine development in Marathon, Ontario. True Grit has provided advanced technical work on the project since 2007 including conducting extensive baseline environmental monitoring programs that led to advanced computer modeling, analysis and engineering completed in support of the EA. True Grit is hard at work preparing pending applications for Provincial permits and approvals for the proposed mine water/wastewater systems, tailings management facility, water crossings, roads and air emissions.
True Grit’s teams can guide mining clients through Ontario’s new exploration permitting process, from Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) studies and comprehensive EA’s, to detailed surveys, engineering and construction management for site infrastructure development.
The firm has experienced growth and demand for services associated with the construction sector as well. The flooding experienced in the region in 2012 saw a huge demand for the firm's engineering expertise in assessing drainage systems and infrastructure, completing stormwater modelling and engineering road, bridge and water crossing solutions to repair the damages experienced by municipalities.
The materials testing laboratory has seen a dramatic increase in demand for aggregate, asphalt and concrete testing services across the region, particularly supporting its geotechnical engineering services for developers and constructors. The firm is busy conducting soil investigations, foundations, site servicing, drainage and parking lot designs for new large-scale commercial, industrial and institutional developments, cellular communication towers and power lines.
Perhaps the single biggest milestone in the firm’s history is the construction of their new 11,000 ft2, state of the art office and materials testing facility in Thunder Bay. “We set out with a vision to create the most innovative, collaborative and healthy engineering facility for our staff and customers”, said Zakrewski. Since moving into their building in late 2012, the facility has proven just that. One example is the regular use of the state of the art video conferencing and presentation facilities to host miners from around the world and regional First Nation leaders in connecting over mining development. “Having our own Starbucks themed coffee lounge and collaboration space central in the facility doesn’t hurt either”, Zakrewski states with a smile. “We created a place both employees and clients want to spend time at”…a winning combination from Zakrewski’s perspective.