Arup is a British multinational professional services firm headquartered in London, a leading sustainable development and engineering consultancy with a collective of 20,000 designers, advisers and experts working on projects across 140 countries.
The global firm has had a presence in Canada for more than 20 years, with offices in Toronto and Montreal. An Arup team has been working in Calgary for the past eight years at the Arthur J.E. Child Cancer Centre, a huge project for which it won the 2023 Canadian Consulting Engineering Award of Excellence.
This vibrancy of this city impressed Arup and, eager to grow its presence in Western Canada, the company sent Simon Stephenson to Calgary in January to determine if it was the place to be.
The result is that Arup has opened its third Canadian office in Calgary, and firm principal Stephenson has permanently relocated here to lead and grow a team with a focus on renewable energy, health care and downtown revitalization.
Stephenson has been with Arup’s Toronto office for the past five years, primarily as the lead engineer on the under-construction Finch West LRT extension to the north campus of Humber College in Etobicoke, Ont., and was technical director for the Arbutus-UBC Subway extension in Vancouver.
He grew up in Oxford, England, and studied at Cambridge University to earn his masters of engineering, specializing in soil mechanics, structures, mechanics of solids and materials engineering.
Stephenson says he became fascinated with tunnels, and in his early career worked on shaping tunnels in the A3 road from London to Southampton, and managed the interface of Crossrail C121, a high-frequency hybrid commuter rail and rapid transit system crossing the capital city.
He says that after the experience of living in Calgary for the past 10 months it was an easy decision to urge the North American board to open a permanent company office here. He believes Calgary is well positioned for Arup to serve Western Canada, and he personally appreciates this city as a clean, safe and healthy environment, with great natural amenities for his family to enjoy. With full approval, he has taken transitional space in the Rainmaker Business Centre, but will be looking for downtown office space — close to his clients — to grow the firm here,
Stephenson expects to have a staff of 25 within two years and 50 within five years, comprising experienced Arup people from its other offices as well as local hires who better understand the ways of operating here.
Arup is well known as a company that likes to push the boundaries. From its start in 1946 by philosopher and engineer Sir Ove Arup, it paved the idea of architect, engineering and construction companies working closely together, collaborating with clients and partners using imagination, technology and vigour to shape a better world. Using technical abilities, it has been able to support the most disadvantaged, vulnerable and marginalized people in the world.
And with the same beliefs and convictions of its founder, it strives for quality in all it does. Creative ideas and energy has earned it work with some major projects around the world, including being consulting engineers for the Sydney Opera House, providing the remaining structural design for the Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona, and to design the world’s longest sea crossing — the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge in Greater China.
Arup will now bring that expertise and global perspective to advanced innovative projects and drive transition and diversification from its new Calgary office.
Breathing new life into a historic space, the partners behind True Wild Distillery have announced plans to convert one of Alberta’s earliest electrical substations into one of Canada’s largest craft distilleries. The 1911 concrete structure in the Highfield district that was home to Calgary Power’s first substation is presently being transformed, through the design of Frank Architecture and Interiors, into a distillery that champions the meticulous craft of small batch whisky using Canada’s tallest copper pot alembic still. The noble building, set on 1.2 acres, will also include a full-service restaurant and outdoor patio, with event space capable of hosting groups of up to 250 people. Anticipated opening is June 2024.
David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at calgaryherald.com/business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at [email protected].