Canada's Top Employers

Fusion Project Management rewards high achievers

Matias De Paoli’s bet paid off. In 2011, he was working on a project development team constructing the interior of a Vancouver casino when he saw a brochure from Fusion Project Management Ltd., a Vancouver firm which designs and builds office interiors in the health care, educational, legal, financial and technology sectors.

“These were the type of projects I wished to be involved in,” he recalls. “I wanted to work on a variety of different projects and expand my knowledge.”

So he joined Fusion as a project coordinator. He has since worked his way up to Senior Project Manager, moving from participation in projects of 10,000 square feet to the management of larger, more complex projects of 75,000 square feet with project budgets of up to $10 million.

De Paoli’s advancement has mirrored Fusion’s own growth spurt. The company has grown 60% over the past couple of years.

“Our workplace is dynamic and collaborative,” says Bruce MacKenzie, Human Resources Leader. “It brings together three distinct phases of construction – design, project management, and construction management – and Fusion manages that entire process. So we are highly reliant on our team members’ exceptional communications skills and the ability to make decisions under fairly stressful conditions.”

The company culture relies on employees to be direct, approachable and responsive, says MacKenzie. “Despite consistent year-over-year growth, our rapid career development programs have managed to keep very much alive the entrepreneurial spirit upon which Fusion Projects was founded. We’ve created teams or pods, so our team members enjoy the same type of interaction and mentorship that existed when Fusion was a much smaller company.”

For its project management personnel, Fusion recruits staff who have training and/or experience in construction management, architectural technology or general project management. The company also has three business development team members, and a small finance and administrative team.

Fusion regards itself as “Vancouver’s premier construction and project management team in the Design Build sector.” It prides itself on offering its clients high-value tenant improvement. “Clients want to be on the cutting edge of design and office appearance, yet functionality is the primary goal,” says MacKenzie.

Clients have included technology companies such as Sony Pictures Imageworks, Hootsuite, Unbounce, Clio and DHX Media, insurance brokerage HUB International, along with many real estate companies such as Cadillac Fairview, Avison Young, and Colliers. Fusion has also recently built out its Health & Wellness practice, providing local healthcare providers with highly functional spaces in which to treat their patients.

For De Paoli, the most challenging project to date has been converting a floor of the old Eaton’s building on Granville Street in Vancouver for Sony Pictures Imageworks, the visual effects and animation unit of Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, in 2014-15. “The overall project involved consolidating several satellite offices into a headquarters facility,” he says, “and we had to turn retail space into office space.” Fusion completed it on time and on budget, despite an extraordinarily short time frame.

Team members who are high achievers can earn a significant annual bonus. Fusion pays membership fees for its staff at a nearby health club, provides extended health and dental coverage, and offers a plan to match employees’ RRSP contributions. “It’s one of the best benefits packages in the industry,” says De Paoli.

Fusion encourages employee skills development, offering tuition subsidies for job-related courses. De Paoli, for example, has taken courses at the B.C. Institute of Technology, studying towards a Bachelor of Technology degree in Construction Management.

“Team members are valued by the ownership and management teams, and the company invests in their professional and personal development. We want to see how our team members’ work lives fit into their whole lives,” says MacKenzie.

This article appeared in the magazine announcing this year’s Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers winners, published March 29, 2016 in The Globe and Mail. This article was prepared with the financial support of the employer, which did not write or edit its contents.