Last week we said goodbye to a leader, a mentor, a colleague and a friend - Cal McClary.
Cal had a long history with ISL, joining the Calgary team at the end of 2004 as Transportation Manager. At that time, the office was much smaller with only 16 staff and two disciplines.
In an interview earlier this year, in honour of Calgary’s 20th Anniversary, Cal credited the Glenmore Causeway Upgrades as the real starting point for ISL Calgary’s growth. The economy was booming, enabling the Calgary office to grow and to help grow other ISL offices within Alberta including both Lethbridge and Canmore – a cultural tradition at ISL.
However, it was in 2010, when Cal became the Calgary Manager and an ISL Director that the office really began to boom. In fact, it was likely the year that Cal looked back on with the greatest pride in his career at ISL. This year saw two of Cal’s greatest hits for the accelerated construction schedules that he was known for – including both the 32 Street River Crossing in Okotoks, built in less than 12 months, and the Glenmore Trail/37 Street Interchange, built in a record five months from ground-breaking to opening.
Under Cal’s leadership, ISL Calgary began to build strong relationships with the province and municipalities that exist to this day. While the economic downturn and 2008 recession led many companies to shrink, it is a credit to Cal’s leadership and guidance, these longstanding relationships and our ability to adapt that the Calgary office continued to bring in jobs and grow even in the face of economic trials.
A Senior Project Manager for ISL Calgary since 2011, Joe Thoms became the new Calgary Manager in 2015 allowing Cal to focus on his responsibilities with the Board of Directors. Together, Cal and Joe watched as the Calgary office grew to 120 staff and 24,000 ft2 – now housing every ISL discipline.
Cal also understood the importance of the work hard/play hard and do good culture ISL promotes. In addition to being present at social events, he was always the first and largest contributor to the Calgary office’s United Way campaigns, attended the Annual Pathway and River Cleanup and was happy to help serve meals at the Mustard Seed. Perhaps the most poignant example of meshing his profession and community passions is illustrated in his response to the 2013 Southern Alberta floods. Without hesitation when word that many of our communities across southern Alberta were experiencing severe flooding, Cal mobilized financial resources, equipment and people to help minimize the devastation that so many people were experiencing.
Despite such a tragic loss, we are reminded of how strong our industry friends and the ISL family are –thanks in no small part to Cal’s influence and example. As we continue to take time to remember such an incredible engineer and leader, all of us at ISL would like to extend our sincere appreciation for the overwhelming care and support provided to us following the recent passing of our dear friend, Cal McClary.