35 and Counting
2020 marks MTE’s 35th year in business. However, like most things right now, the way we will celebrate our anniversary will not happen as we had planned. This doesn’t change the fact that we want to formally acknowledge this significant milestone for MTE and we still want to celebrate with our staff, clients and industry peers. Each of the next 35 weeks will be dedicated to applauding the people and profiling the projects from one year in MTE’s storied history. Let’s start with 1985.
MTE’s first project was known as Valeriote Place, a residential subdivision located in the City of Guelph.
The first letter issued by MTE was dated July 11, 1985 and was addressed to Terry Hearn, P.Eng. of the Engineering Department at the City of Guelph. It was sent by our founder Bruce G. Scheifele, C.E.T. Interestingly, the letter is on thin yellow paper (carbon copy), the predecessor of the “CC” now commonly used in email communication.
It’s hard to write about 1985 without the primary focus being on the people who were essential in the founding of MTE. Bruce Scheifele founded MTE in July of 1985 and at that time was joined by Ron Beatson and Gary Honsberger. When Bruce named the firm “More Than Engineering”, he did so because he wanted his clients to know that MTE would always strive to provide the right solution while working together to ensure that their overall project objects were met.
Bruce deservedly retired in 2005 and we will always be grateful for his vision all of those years ago. Ron retired from MTE just last year after 34 years of dedicated service with the company, and Gary still enjoys working for MTE today!
Stanley Park East is a 125-lot residential subdivision located off Lackner Boulevard in Kitchener. In 1986 the subdivision was being developed by Hallman Construction, which at the time was being led by Lyle Hallman who was renowned for his philanthropy. It was this generosity that inspired Bruce Scheifele to also build a reputation for MTE as community-focused organization; a legacy that we still epitomize in 2020.
Hallman Construction is now guided by Lyle’s son Jim Hallman, and is still a very charitable organization. We’re proud to still be working for them on projects across Waterloo Region.
Some of the early drawings for this project were stamped by Glenn Shugg, who was not an MTE employee. In fact, MTE did not employ a stamping engineer until 1986 when Jeff Martens was hired.
Jeff is still actively involved in the leadership of MTE and is the technical lead on many projects. He has inspired generations of engineers at MTE and helped establish our commitment to technical innovation and excellence.
This week reveals that municipal proposals have always been a part of our business.
In 1987 we submitted a proposal to the City of Kitchener for inspection services for the construction of streetscape improvements on King Street. It was advertised in the newspaper, we obtained the paper RFP documents from City Hall and we submitted a typewritten proposal.
Today we receive notification of RFPs through various online platforms, we download the documents from the City’s procurement website and we submit them electronically.
Oh how things have changed (including hourly rates)!
It didn’t take long for our founder, Bruce Scheifele, to start thinking about expanding. In 1988, with the hiring of Angelo Innocente, MTE’s journey as a multi-service engineering firm started to take shape. Angelo focused on work with clients in the public sector. One of the first projects he managed was the construction of hydro ducts and pull boxes for Kitchener Wilmot Hydro along Ottawa Street from Fischer-Hallman Road to Westmount Road. Angelo retired from MTE in 2011 and certainly helped shape what MTE is today.
As the company grew it naturally needed operational and administrative support. Gail Raddatz joined MTE in 1988 and continues to be a key member of our accounting team.
In 1989 we designed our first pumping station for the City of Waterloo. The Malabar Road Sewage Pumping Station was needed to support residences and development in the area of University Avenue and Lexington Road. The station had two submersible pumps, a forcemain and a stand-by diesel generator.
Our contribution to Ira Needles Boulevard goes back much further than roundabouts. Back in 1990, we started a project with the Region of Waterloo to survey and provide the preliminary design for what was to be a brand-new roadway.
At the time, the street was envisioned to have traditional intersections at Highland Road, Victoria Street and University Avenue. However, several years later our team completed the detailed design of the modern roundabouts that can be found along Ira Needles Boulevard today.
This residential townhouse project from 1991 reminds us of how long we have been working with some of our industry partners and clients. We were the civil engineering consultant on a team that was led by SRM Architects Inc. who designed this municipal housing project for Kitchener Housing.
1991 was also the year that Bill Douglas joined MTE as our first IT employee. Bill is still an integral member of our IT team today and was instrumental in our successful transition to working from home!
In 1992 we were the civil engineers on a team led by Mmmc Architects who designed the Greenwood Court long-term care home in Stratford. We still design many long-term care and retirement facilities today; many of them with MMMC as well!
This was also when we made our first branding change; transitioning the colour of the logo from orange to teal.
Our project from 1993 shows us how plans can change over time. This site at the corner of Homer Watson Boulevard and Block Line Road in Kitchener started as a townhouse development. Over the years the vision for the property was amended. Plans were updated to include commercial and office space, and then low-rise residential.
Today the site is under construction and will become two apartment buildings, one 12 storeys and the other 8 storeys.
In 1993 we were the civil engineers on the project, however, today we are not only providing civil engineering, but also structural and environmental engineering services.
Our client has also changed over the past 30 years. Today we are working for Northview Apartment REIT on a design and construction team that includes Melloul Blamey Construction and ABA Architects.
1994 & 1995
In 1994 we began a significant land development project for Hallman Construction called Aberdeen Estates, an 81-ha residential subdivision in south Kitchener. The project team working together in 1994 is the same consulting team that continues to collaborate on projects for Hallman Construction today, a team that includes MHBC and McCarter Grespan Beynon Weir PC.
In 1995 we welcomed Valentina Lazic and Marie Sullivan. Today Valentina is the Manager of our Land Development Division in Kitchener, and Marie is our Corporate Secretary.
Green on the Grand is a 23,000 ft2, two-storey office building that was designed by a team that included SRM Architects, Enermodal Engineering, Ian Cook Construction, and MTE as the civil and structural engineers.
It was the first green office building in Canada and in 1996 became our new office. The design followed the Waterloo Region Green Home standards; it pre-dated LEED and similar rating systems that are used today. The team set out to create a building that had lower energy and environmental costs than conventional commercial buildings, while also promoting a healthy internal environment.
A pond at the front of the building was designed as a stormwater management solution, a cooling tower and a natural wildlife habitat. Rain water from the roof drained directly to the pond, and the mechanical system emitted excess heat into the pond which then dissipated through evaporation.
The building features laminated strand lumber beams and columns and was constructed almost entirely of wood as engineered wood is a renewable resource and is energy efficient.
In 1996 Scott Scheifele officially joined the company, although as our founder’s son, he was involved with the business from the start. He began as a Surveyor and today is CAD Practice Leader.
In 1997 we completed a Schedule B Class EA for the City of Kitchener for the extension of Eastforest Trail and the Detweiler Greenway in Kitchener. The purpose of the EA was to identify a preferred solution for a new roadway and a naturalized channel. As with many municipal projects in Waterloo Region, collaboration with the Region of Waterloo is key. On this project our Region contact was Dave Hallman. Years ago Dave made “the switch” to consulting and works within our Municipal Division today.
In 1997 we welcomed Ena McIntyre to the MTE team. Today Ena is a CAD Technologist who works with our environmental engineering teams.
In 1998 we began working on the civil engineering design of The Seagrams Lofts project in Waterloo. This innovative project, designed by Grinham Architects, involved the conversion of the original Seagram Distillers whiskey barrel warehouse into 105 luxury condo units. The property features one 11-storey building and one seven-storey building. MTE was responsible for the civil engineering of the site.
The structural engineering was completed by Sze Straka Engineering who later joined MTE (more on that soon). Their scope of the project involved the phase-by-phase demolition of racking and re-construction of new foundations and building façades, which were maintained for historical preservation. As well, all services were re-constructed and barrel racking was re-milled onsite and used for stairs, doors, trim, panelling and railings.
In 1998 Dave Wilhelm and Bob Schaefer joined MTE. Today Dave is the Manager of our water and wastewater engineering team, and Bob is Designer working on our land development projects.
This is also the year we started using email for project communication.
In 1999 construction of the extension of University Avenue began. The project would extend the City of Waterloo’s corridor from Wismer Street to Woolwich Street. Our municipal engineering team designed the new road, which included incorporating combined bike and horse carriage lanes, retaining walls, traffic signals and a large box culvert to accommodate a crossing of Colonial Creek.
Furthermore, this project was one of the first projects in the Grand River Watershed that involved a newly adopted policy for harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat (HADD).
This was also the year that we welcomed Brian Hesch, Joanne McDaniel and Paul Douglas to MTE.
For over 20 years we have worked with Bingemans on various projects at their 80-ha recreational park, a popular destination in Kitchener that was started by the Bingeman family in 1960. In 2000 we were involved in the early stages of a massive re-development of their flagship facility, which involved a reconstruction of their internal road and servicing systems, as well as an external road extension project for the City of Kitchener, which would become known as Bingemans Centre Drive and is the current address for our Kitchener office.
Since then MTE has provided engineering, environmental and surveying consulting services to support various expansion and renovation projects at Bingemans. Our most recent assignment involved structural engineering services to support their new drive-in theatre.
It was also year that Barbara Arp, Garett Korber, Pierre Raimbault and Rebecca Kerr started at MTE.
In 2001 we began the design and construction of the Waterloo Region Emergency Servicing Training and Research Centre. MTE was retained to provide civil and structural engineering services for a facility that would primarily support firefighting training exercises.
Our team was challenged with maintaining safety and realism, while ensuring cost effectiveness and environmental stewardship. We accomplished this by leading a Value Engineering workshop, which resulted in a 25% cost savings and allowed for fire training props to be added.
Our civil engineering team also created an innovative method for treating the firefighting water, which is managed and treated through either the stormwater management pond, or a more stringent treatment process and pumped into the sanitary sewer system.
In addition to designing the internal roads, a driver training track was also incorporated into the site. A detailed analysis of vehicle capabilities was completed to understand requirements for turning radii, speed, acceleration and braking rates. We concluded that the track had to accommodate for adequate acceleration and deceleration distances paired with roadway width for maneuvering. All of this had to fit within the confines of the available site grades and distances, while still maintaining real world conditions.
In 2003 we received an Award of Excellence from Consulting Engineers of Ontario for our contributions to the project.
2002 was the year that MTE began the first of many projects in support of development at the Waterloo Region International airport. Our first contribution was the design of a wastewater pumping station for the Region of Waterloo that would support construction of a new terminal building at the Airport.
Over the past 18 years our team has continued contributing to the design and construction of the terminal as it grows and progresses. Currently, our team is working on projects related to the future expansion of the Airport as a whole.
2002 was also a year of growth for MTE. During this year we opened our Burlington office to better serve clients in the Hamilton and Halton Regions. Today that office is a team of over 65 engineering, environmental and surveying professionals.
We started designing the Williamsburg subdivision in 2003.Our client, Schlegel Urban Developments, envisioned this 600-lot subdivision to take on a small town feel by incorporating a main street with fronting commercial properties. We were responsible for the engineering design,obtaining the various land development approvals, and construction services.
2003 was also the year that we completed our first acquisition. Sze Straka Engineers joined MTE, which kick started our journey as a multidisciplinary consulting firm. It was also founded in 1985 by structural engineers Yulun Sze and Peter Straka. MTE’s founder, Bruce Schiefele, recalls that he and Yulun were already talking about a joint venture in 1985. Yulun continued to lead our structural engineering team until 2015. Sadly, he passed away in 2018, leaving behind an unmatched legacy in the Waterloo Region engineering and construction community.
We were happy to welcome Nathan Duimering and Chris Urbina to MTE in 2003. Both started their careers with MTE and continue to be integral members of our team.
In 2004, the City of Hamilton retained our water resources engineering team to carry out a Class EA to support upgrading the Delsey Creek storm drainage system. The goal of the project was to identify a preferred solution to address the existing flooding, erosion, encroachment and water quality concerns relating to the Delsey Creek watercourse.
The preferred solution involved rehabilitating and maintaining open channel portions of the watercourse, rehabilitating existing stormwater management facilities, and diverting major storm flows to a by-pass sewer to relieve the existing flooding issues.
A new water quality control facility was also recommended to enhance downstream water quality in the receiving water body, Cootes Paradise.
We were also retained to complete the detailed design and construction phases, which involved design and construction of a major storm trunk sewer.
In 2004 our structural engineering team grew with the addition of Stephen Cooper and Rob Lowry. Doug Winger also joined the firm to manage our all-important finances.
2005 was a big year for MTE! We moved into a new office in Kitchener on Bingemans Centre Drive, and rebranded and updated our logo.
We were not the only ones moving into a new home on Bingemans Centre Drive in 2005. MTE was a member of the Melloul-Blamey Construction Inc.'s design-build team, providing civil and structural engineering and surveying services for Brick Brewing’s new facility. Today they are better known as Waterloo Brewing, and we continue to provide them with engineering expertise. We recently provided civil and structural engineering services to support an expansion of their facility, which added a larger retail store, taproom and a small batch brewhouse, as well as expanded their warehouse and production facilities by 65,600 ft2.
2005 was also the year that Bruce Scheifele retired. When asked about his 20 years at MTE, Bruce said his most memorable project was one of the company’s first, the Stanley Park subdivision in Kitchener. He was also amazed at how much the company had grown.
By the time Bruce retired there were nearly 100 employees, including Adam Hewson, Kayam Ramsewak, Kurt Ruhland and Paul Slater who joined MTE in 2005 and are still part of the team today.
In 2006 we began designing Activa Sportsplex; a City of Kitchener recreational facility that features two NHL-sized ice arenas, a four-lane indoor oval walking track and multi-use spaces. Our team was responsible for the civil engineering design, which challenged them with meeting stormwater design criteria that satisfied the guidelines of both the City and the Grand River Conservation Authority, as well as LEED certification. The team also created a grading solution that carefully integrated the facility within an existing forested area.
Our team continued to grow in 2006, including these six key team members who are still with MTE today.
There are some projects in a company’s history that truly leave their mark. The Kitchener coal tar remediation project involved the environmental clean-up of a former gasification plant in downtown Kitchener.
The work involved not only the clean-up, but also reconstruction of two urban roadways and the development of a heritage entrance feature into nearby Victoria Park that was designed by GSP Group. By completing the remediation activities in conjunction with the road reconstruction, economies of scale were achieved. Environmental remediation activities included the excavation and offsite disposal of coal tar impacted soil, and the operation of an onsite water treatment plant. Although this project met several challenges, MTE was committed to providing services that were cost-effective and value-added, allowing for innovative and efficient solutions for the City of Kitchener.
It was through this project that we became connected to Frontline Environmental, as they were the environmental consultants leading the remediation work. In 2007 their team joined MTE, and in fact five of their staff still work at MTE, including the company’s founders Peter A. Gray and Robert Fedy.
Another notable addition to our team in 2007, was Ted Rowe. Ted is our current President and we are celebrating his 10th year as our leader.
In 2008, RIM, now known as BlackBerry, was starting their ascent as a leader in the smartphone industry. One of their flagship projects was the development of a corporate campus in north Waterloo; a 37.5-ha site that includes four office buildings and parking structures. MTE was retained early in the project to work with the design team.
After submitting for site plan approval in early 2008, a Master Plan was developed, addressing all aspects of the project including building design, public spaces, and sustainable development, taking into account access, circulation, servicing upgrades and relocations, and utility services.
A significant civil engineering component of the project was the creation of a roundabout at the site entrance, which required a retrofit of an existing stormwater management pond.
The four- and five-storey office buildings were constructed using structural steel with pre-cast concrete exterior wall panels and curtain wall glazing. The three parking structures were built using reinforced, poured-in-place concrete. MTE’s structural group provided the engineering design services related to all of these structures.
Throughout the project, the team was met with many design challenges and time constraints. MTE’s engineering staff endeavored to solve any issues using their technical expertise and by implementing innovative solutions.
Before and after our involvement on this project, MTE worked with Blackberry on the design and construction of their facilities across Ontario.
MTE’s staff continued to grow as well in 2008, including these eight who are still proud members of the team today.
In 2009, MTE started designing the site and building that would become home to the City of Kitchener’s Maintenance Facility. Today this facility serves as a multi-use operational centre for the City’s Public Works and other departments. The goal of the project was to bring together all of the Municipality’s previous sites. This was accomplished by giving a new lease on life to the former BF Goodrich manufacturing facility and transforming it into a 300,000 ft2 building that is more efficient and less costly for the City to operate.
MTE was retained by the City to provide civil, environmental and structural design services on the project and some key aspects of our role included:
- Topographical survey of the existing site conditions;
- Structural design for renovations and additions to the existing manufacturing building, as well as the new salt storage facility;
- Civil design for the site grading and servicing, including coordination with the proposed Wabanaki Drive extension; and
- Stormwater management design with consideration to mitigate impacts to the Hidden Valley wetland, Grand River and the wellhead protection area.
2009 was also a significant year of growth for MTE. It was during this year that McNeil Surveying became a subsidiary company of MTE and launched our Ontario Land Surveying services. We also acquired GlobalTox International Consultants and Waterloo Geoscience Consultants. These acquisitions allowed us to serve our clients better by increasing our services with toxicology and risk assessment consulting, as well as improving our water resource services and hydrogeological capabilities. Several of the staff who joined us in 2009 are still important members of MTE today!
In 2010, having recently opened our Stratford office, MTE was working with the City of Stratford to implement and design their South Side Storm System plan.
The plan, which was started back in 2002, was a result of a major rainfall event that contributed to the flooding of a large portion of the southern section of Stratford. Following the flooding, the municipality initiated a city-wide Storm System Master Plan Study. Five years later additional lands were annexed into the city, providing opportunities to address the flooding not available when the Master Plan was completed. The City then identified a series of storage ponds south of Lorne Avenue to the further address flooding issues.
Our team was then retained to complete the engineering design for the first phase of the project, which included the construction of three large ponds with a surface area of 14 ha and a volume of 250,000 m3. We were brought on again for the second phase of the project which included a two-cell pond with a surface area of 14 ha and a water surface area 40 per cent larger than the Phase 1 ponds. The total pond volume is 300,000 m3. The two projects provide substantial stormwater storage and reduce the overall surcharging of the Lorne Avenue trunk sewer during significant rainfall events.
2010 proved to be another year of growth for us. Not only did we gain these seven key members of our team who are still with us today, but we also had Finelli Engineering join MTE, which grew our structural capabilities in Burlington.