COUNCIL OF ONTARIO CONSTRUCTION ASSOCIATIONS — The Construction Hard Hat Special Achievement Award presented annually by the Council of Ontario Construction Associations, has been renamed to honour past chair Gary van Bolderen. Pictured here, from left, Steve Dietrich, current COCA chair, van Bolderen and Ian Cunningham, COCA president.

The Council of Ontario Construction Association’s (COCA) Construction Hard Hat Special Achievement Award has been renamed to honour past chair Gary van Bolderen.

The award, which was introduced two years ago, was conceived by van Bolderen and at an awards dinner held recently in Niagara Falls, Ont., it was announced that the award has been renamed the Gary van Bolderen Hard Hat Special Achievement Award.

“For me it was a really big honour, it’s nice to be recognized,” van Bolderen told The Daily Commercial News after the event, adding he had so much support from members during his time as chair. “I’m from a small company and I really enjoy the diversity at COCA. It’s a unique organization, one with an agenda for the broader betterment of the industry.”

In addition to being past chair of COCA, van Bolderen also represents COCA at the Canadian Construction Association (CCA) and is past chair and a long-time member of the board of directors for the Canadian Farm Builders Association. He is also the founder of Dutch Masters Construction Services which designs and builds horse farm properties.

“I am genuinely interested in making the industry better through association work,” said van Bolderen. “You work for a living and you’ve got to make money but this is way beyond that, it’s about making things better for everybody and really it goes beyond the industry — it’s about the public good. If we produce something that is good for the public it’s going to be better for everybody in the industry not just for my little company.”

“Gary is always thinking of others who are worthy of special recognition so not surprisingly the Hard Hat Award was his idea,” said Ian Cunningham, president of COCA.

“During his time as COCA Chair, Gary made important contributions in the areas of membership retention and development and went on the road many times to meet with existing and prospective members to listen to concerns and explore for ways where COCA might help. He continues to be a wonderful ambassador for COCA.”

Three individuals were presented with the Hard Hat award this year.

“We started the award when I was chair we wanted to recognize somebody who had unique input into the industry and even beyond that for the public good,” said van Bolderen. “It recognizes people that are outside of the association that have made a contribution.”

Martha George, president and CEO of the Grand Valley Construction Association received the award this year. George is also the immediate past chair of the CCA’s Chief Operating Officers Committee, a member of the CCA’s Trade Contractors, Standard Practices and Innovation Committees.

“Martha has also been an outstanding contributor to the affairs of our provincial construction federation, providing input and advice to many submissions to government and serving on our board of directors, Executive Committee and Chief Operating Officers Committee for many years,” said Steve Dietrich, chair of COCA at the awards dinner. “But above all, Martha is the leading example of construction association management excellence that many of us aspire to.”

John Mollenhauer, president and CEO of the Toronto Construction Association (TCA) and president and vice chancellor of The Construction Institute of Canada (TCIC), was also presented with the award.

Mollenhauer served for many years on the COCA board of directors and Executive Committee and continues to contribute to the Chief Executive Officers Committee. He currently serves as chair of the CCA’s Chief Executive Officers Committee and as a member of the CCA’s governance review committee.

“There are few in our construction network who can match John’s industry knowledge and experience and it goes without saying he is considered ‘the voice of experience,’ ” said Dietrich.

The final recipient of the Hard Hat Award was Hugh Laird, who passed away days before the awards presentation. Laird was the executive director of the Interior Finishing Systems Training Centre (IFSTC) and the Interior Systems Contractors Association of Ontario (ISCA).

“Hugh had a long history of working with the provincial government to advance trades training in Ontario including serving on the first board of directors of the Ontario College of Trades and then on the College of Trades Appointments Council,” said Dietrich.

“Behind the scenes, Hugh’s leadership at ISCA was critical to the success of COCA, helping to solidify the place of our provincial federation.”

COCA is hoping to present the award to Laird’s family at a later date.