Modern Niagara Celebrates National Construction Day!

Construction is a vital industry across Canada, employing over 1.4 million people and contributing 7.5 percent of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP), says the Canadian Construction Association (CCA). From critical infrastructure such as hospitals and schools to residential structures, buildings are at the centre of Canadian lives.

November 30 marks National Construction Day – a day set aside to recognize and highlight the invaluable work and contributions of people in the industry, who play an integral role in the development of our communities by building and maintaining important infrastructure.

As an industry-leading contractor with locations across six regions in Canada, we know that our success is largely attributed to the dedication and commitment of our people. In honour of this year’s National Construction Day, we took the opportunity to speak with a few members that make up our Modern Niagara team and share their insights about working in construction.


Mark Fazio, President of Construction, joined Modern Niagara in 2015. With almost 30 years in the industry and a proven track record of strategic leadership, business acumen, and results-driven performance, his contributions have been integral to the growth and advancement of Modern Niagara.

Mark’s introduction to the world of construction seemed inevitable, originating from his family background during his formative years.

“Construction has always been in my blood. Both my grandfathers worked in the trades. One was a mason and the other was a carpenter. My father went to university and got an engineering degree. Following the Second World War, my family migrated from Italy to Canada, and they were able to build a good life in construction.”

Deciding on his career path was not entirely smooth sailing as his resolve to become a carpenter conflicted with his father’s desire for him to attend university and obtain a degree in Engineering. “I wanted to become a carpenter. I didn’t want to go to university. I wasn’t a very good student, particularly in high school. I didn’t enjoy being in the classroom. I liked to work with my hands,” explained Mark. Despite his initial reservations, his father’s persuasive efforts encouraged him to enroll at Concordia University where he later graduated in 1994 with a degree in Engineering.

After completing university, he began working in construction at the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). He had previously spent co-op terms working alongside the team which led to him being offered a permanent position.

“I left TTC in late ‘97. I then moved on to work with UMA Engineering for under a year. From there, I joined Ellis Don in ’98 and I worked with the company for 17 years before coming to Modern Niagara.”

Over the years, the construction industry has transformed immensely resulting from innovation and technological advancements. “Any innovation is driven by improving workflows and the associated costs. It’s difficult to predict the technology that will be adopted and help shape the industry in the next 5 years. However, as a significant player in the industry, Modern Niagara will be at the forefront of those innovative changes,” mentioned Mark.

He further highlighted that as new technologies emerge helping to drive change in the industry, areas such as productivity and efficiency will experience a significant impact.

“We’re constantly in the process of evaluating the different options as it relates to innovation and trying to figure out which ones are most applicable and can be integrated with the services we provide to our clients. The greatest impact will be the improvements that we can put in the hands of tradespeople, making their work more efficient.”

With an expanding workforce in an ever-growing industry, Mark affirmed that the cornerstone of the company’s success has been the talented individuals who commit to improving the everyday lives of Canadians through their work in building important infrastructure.

“The work we do makes a difference to the larger, broader community. This is an exciting, dynamic, and rewarding industry. We are a collection of people that bring a project from inception to completion. There’s frankly nothing more important to the organization. The company doesn’t exist without our people,” Mark commented.

Addressing the decreasing profile of the labour force in construction, he further joined the increasing call for more young people to enter the trades, emphasizing the rewarding benefits that come from working in the field.

“There aren’t enough young men and women coming in the trades. The biggest challenge is how do we keep up and build the workforce, without which nothing gets done.”

His advice to young professionals looking to enter construction is to take advantage of various learning opportunities and apply themselves.

“Stick with it, learn as much as you can in as many areas as you possibly can. I had the opportunity to be exposed to a lot of different areas which benefitted me greatly. Construction is interesting work, there’s truly never a boring day.”


Justin Sulzle, Electrical Supervisor recently joined our Modern Niagara Electrical Service Division in Vancouver. His experience in the industry spans over 10 years. Justin credits his family background for his motivation to pursue a career in the trades.

“I was influenced very early on by watching my aunts and uncles grow their careers in the trades and construction,” explains Justin.

As a natural problem-solver, Justin quickly gravitated to the complex nature of the construction industry. “I love that no day is the same. There are new challenges every day which makes the day so much more interesting. I have always enjoyed solving problems and my career allows me the opportunity to solve complex problems every day,” explains Justin.

Highlighting one of the company’s core values of teamwork, Justin further emphasized that the culture at the organization is one in which he feels supported while performing his duties.

“Working at Modern Niagara has provided me the ability to work on much more challenging projects than I ever have before and most importantly the culture at Modern Niagara is a team mentality. We are all here to help each other, it’s been awesome.”

Beyond the technical skills needed to get the job done, Justin’s advice to young professionals aspiring to become involved in construction is to be an avid learner. “If you can focus on learning as much as you can then the sky is the limit, and you will enjoy your career more,” added Justin. “I always enjoy working with people who are new to construction but love to learn and are willing to put in the work because they treat their jobs as a career, and it makes such a difference in the quality of work we provide our clients.”

Notwithstanding the current challenges facing the industry, Justin remains optimistic that the industry is moving in a positive direction to overcome these hurdles.

“The biggest thing shaping the industry right now is the inclusivity compared to where it was and the stereotypes that have come with that in the past. There is less of a negative opinion on construction workers than there ever has been before.”

Looking ahead to the future, Justin further highlighted that as the demand for construction increases, there are many promising opportunities to take advantage of.

“There are so many projects being built across Canada and there is a labour shortage for people to fill these roles. There is no better time than right now to be involved in the construction industry.”


John Neary, Foreperson has been working with Modern Niagara since January 2019. John recalls witnessing his father undertake their home renovation himself while balancing a career as a medical doctor which had a lasting impact and further propelled him to consider a career in construction.

“My father had always fully renovated our houses growing up while working full-time as a medical doctor. It taught me that even with an important career you can take pride in working with your hands and creating things if you put your mind to it,” said John.

Among the many benefits of working in construction, John highlights that being able to work in a dynamic and ever-changing industry is especially fulfilling to him.

“Every day presents a new challenge since the job sites are continuously evolving. And I get to work with some of the most hardworking, driven, and intelligent people I know here at Modern Niagara.”

Recognizing that no day in construction is the same, along with the everyday challenges that come with working in the field, John details his approach of remaining level-headed by thoughtfully considering the full scope of each obstacle before developing a plan.

I try to not dwell on the challenge as a negative while developing a plan that lays out all the steps to overcome that obstacle. I consider any roadblocks or barriers that will come up in the process. I’m able to move forward with an open mind, being prepared to make changes to the plan should something unforeseen arise.”

With the increasing call for more persons to enter the skills trades and construction, John emphasized that for those who are new to the industry, asking questions and connecting with helpful resources is especially valuable.

“Ask questions, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes because we all do. If you’re looking to become involved in construction but don’t know where to start, there are community groups online and Local Unions that you can go to and they can help guide you while answering any questions you may have.”

Modern Niagara is proud to support the building of Canada’s infrastructure, impacting the communities where we live, learn, work, and heal.