A Brief History

Shift was an idea spawned from the External Relations (ER) Committee (now called the Industry Collaboration (IC) Committee) of the Edmonton Construction Association’s YBG (Young Builders Group) in early 2015. As a new committee, this group had the core purpose of engaging like-minded, young professional organizations, with the goal of fostering collaborative thinking, building lasting relationships, furthering mutual goals, and having a positive impact on our collective industry. 

A lofty goal, but how can this be accomplished? After much brainstorming and discussion, the idea was hashed out to create a new, unique collaborative event with the goal of bringing common groups together — but also hopefully an event that would diverge from the normal series of similar happenings on the calendar. 

Therefore, in partnership with our friends at Go Productivity, The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, The Consulting Engineers of Alberta, Construction Specifications Canada, as well as other local associations, key firms, and ownership groups, the committee began planning the first Shift Conference, entitled Shift 2015: Challenging Collaboration. The basis for this first event was an invite-only afternoon conference designed to bring together up to 140 young leaders and industry guests from the design and construction community to meet each other, learn from one another, and most importantly, to challenge the paradigms that exist in the current building process.

SHIFT 2018

SHIFT 2018 (Critical Choices: Demystifying Strategy) focused on the challenges that many organizations face navigating complex environments. With workplaces being faced with a myriad of critical choices on an almost constant basis, SHIFT 2018 provided an opportunity to learn more about how leading individuals and organizations navigate choice-making. Speakers included David Muddle, Mary Cameron and Brent Hesje. Panelists included: Tim Coldwell (Chandos), Mike Saunders (Qualico), Sheldon Hudson (Al-Terra Engineering) and Georg Josi (DIALOG).

SHIFT 2017

Merging Mindsets was the first year where SHIFT attendees registered in groups, pairing up to 3 up-and-comers from each company with an emerging or senior leader. The main focus of the event was bridging the gap between senior and emerging leaders by creating an open line of communication. Tyler Waye and Michael Mangum facilitated activities, presenting excellent content on the transition of emerging leaders as they take on more significant roles in the work force.

SHIFT 2016


SHIFT 2016 was a unique, interactive half day event that delved into the skill sets required by design and construction professionals as well as young owners to enable us as an industry to be excellent collaborators. In our 2016 iteration of SHIFT, we introduced several distinctive collaborative skills before putting participants through two challenge based activities that tested preconceived notions of yourself, how you operate in a team, and how you respond to feedback and adapt your behaviors — particularly when the pressure is on. It was not your normal sit down education event!

To lead the day, the SHIFT committee engaged FMI Corporation, a company renowned globally for providing high level leadership and team training to construction professionals. FMI has done extensive research around team based interactions and have worked with peak teams for over 30 years. The SHIFT attendees developed key collaborative skills, awareness of areas for self-improvement, and vital connections with industry peers. See the photos from SHIFT 2016 below.

SHIFT 2015


Attendees participated in a case study exercise with a twist. The attendees were asked to work through the case study through a lens (or role) that was not typically their own. An owner could be asked to be a general contractor, an engineer a sub-contractor, and so on. The event made for some excellent interactions and fantastic learning opportunities, with surveys indicating that nearly 100% of attendees found value in the afternoon and would attend future SHIFT conferences. See the video and photos from SHIFT 2015 below.