Journal of Commerce | News Service | September 6, 2019
VANCOUVER — Vancouver’s local construction industry has lost one of its long-time advocates with the passing of Brian Martin, former Journal of Commerce publisher, says the Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA).
“Brian Martin was a tireless advocate for the construction industry and a great champion of the VRCA,” said Fiona Famulak, VRCA president, in a statement.
“He is credited as being one of the founders of VRCA’s Awards of Excellence program over 30 years ago and was very active in helping it to grow to the celebration of excellence in construction that it is today. As one of VRCA’s Life Members, he was a wise elder of the association and will be greatly missed by all who knew him. The Board of Directors and staff at VRCA send their deepest condolences to Brian’s family, friends and former colleagues at this sad time.”
In a column he wrote for the 25th anniversary of the awards Martin described how the idea for a general contractor award came about. The VRCA Awards of Excellence are now in their 31st year.
“The program started as a single award for a general contractor. The late Allen Bennett, who was president of the VRCA, approached me. I was the editor of the construction industry newspaper, the Journal of Commerce. He asked if the paper would financially sponsor the award and we agreed to do so,” explained Martin. “The first award went to Dominion Construction for a new building constructed for Macdonald Dettwiler in Richmond. Dr John Macdonald, one of the founders of the iconic Canadian company and current chancellor of the University of Northern B.C., was on hand for a modest gathering of around 30 or 40 people when the award was presented.”
Martin said the VRCA’s Awards of Excellence program had “succeeded beyond all expectations.”
“It has grown to be by far the largest construction industry awards program in Canada. The basic premise was always very simple: recognize the work of contractors. Architects and engineers all had an array of awards programs. Contractors went largely unnoticed. Sometimes their work, if it was underground or hidden behind walls, went literally unseen,” he wrote.
The expansion of the award program to better reflect the variety of work being done across British Columbia and the evolution of construction was something that was necessary, added Martin.
“Who knows? Quite possibly when the Awards of Excellence celebrates its 50th anniversary some of the new high-tech projects that are winning awards for sustainable construction today will be up for heritage awards that year.”