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Thursday, Apr 19, 2018

Paul Pinder strives to build successful team focussed on client service and building better communities

Paul Pinder

Paul Pinder of our Saskatoon office grew up in the family business. He was exposed to retail sales and customer service at a very young age, in the drug stores that the family owned and operated. 

Paul’s first exposure to engineering was through a friend’s dad who, Paul tells us, “...could build and fix anything.” Paul became fascinated with this “foreign” skill. After high school, the appeal of building drew Paul into construction. 

After working for a time, Paul returned to school to get a diploma in Building Construction Engineering Technology. With his diploma, Paul returned to work in construction. One cold fall afternoon, while framing concrete grade beams, an individual drove up to the project, got out of his vehicle with a clipboard and a hard hat, inspected the rebar, and got back in his car and drove away. Paul asked the grizzled old carpenter that he was working with who the individual was. The carpenter said, “That is the “$#@!&*” engineer,” to which Paul replied, “I think I want to be a “$#@!&*” engineer!”  

Paul graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a degree in civil engineering.  After graduation, Paul worked for the Department of Highways in a variety of positions, including Construction Resident, Design Resident, Construction Engineer, Design Engineer, and Preservation Engineer.  

His career highlight during this period was the upgrade of a northern road near Jan Lake. The project required the road to be upgraded to current standards which eventually meant relocation of the road. The unique terrain made the project interesting. The area around Jan Lake transitions from traditional till to Canadian Shield bedrock. The new road threaded through lakes, muskeg, and around rock outcrops. For someone who had only designed roads through prairies, this was an exciting challenge. The new location was established from airphotos, lines were cut on the proposed alignment, and after a final walk through the wilderness on a one metre wide cut line, the design was completed. The project included rock blasts, muskeg padding, and curves around many small lakes.

After 19 years with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure, Paul was approach by Jason Horner, who was then Associated Engineering’s Transportation Manager in Saskatoon. Paul was looking for something different, and Jason convinced him Associated would be a good fit.  

Moving to the consulting industry took Paul back to his roots--working in a business with clients and stakeholders, providing customer service, marketing and selling, and all the areas of engineering that he wanted to work in. Although Paul had never been formally in business, he realized how much he learned about business from his dad, through the family’s drug stores.

“I always saw my dad working and getting to know his fellow workers and customers, and I admired and idolized him for that. I get great pleasure in working with people, and getting to know our clients.” 

Paul joined the company as a project manager, and took on roles of increasing responsibility, including Manager of the Transportation group in Saskatoon. In 2016, Paul was appointed General Manager of our Saskatchewan and Manitoba operations, when Bert Munro retired. Paul reflects, “My current position is much more like running a business.” He cites three cornerstones for building a strong business: building a successful team, providing great customer service, and delivering solutions that build better communities. 

In his free time, Paul and his wife, Cindy, like to travel, visit wineries, enjoy the outdoors, entertain, and spend time with family. Their favourite activities include golfing and kayaking at Waskesiu Lake. In 2001, Paul built three kayaks, much like his childhood role model.