This summer, Senior Project Manager Jason Shank has been paving memory lane throughout Kamloops.

For Shank, it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long, but it is the second time in his 17-year career with Dawson Construction that he is paving over a section of highway that he previously worked.

“I better be retired by the time that highway needs to get paved a third time,” joked Shank.

Back in 2010, Shank was a Superintendent on the paving crew when sections of the Trans-Canada Highway needed resurfacing in town. Fast forward to 2023 with Kamloops’ population increasing by more than 10,000 residents and increased heavy traffic rolling through, sections of the highway became rutted and were becoming safety issues for travelers. Shank was excited to work a job his is familiar with and in his own community.

“It just shows you that I’ve been lucky enough to find a company and a career that I love and that allows me to support my family. Also being around as long as I have, it’s cool to see the technology change in the industry. Right now, the asphalt our employees are laying down contains more polymer, a stronger plastic inside the asphalt, that will make it stronger, less susceptible to rutting and hopefully last longer,” said Shank.

In June and July, Shank’s crew has been milling and paving sections of the highway in town, on East Shuswap Road and sections of lanes heading up to Inks Lake. This summer, they will cover 97.3 lane kilometres in and around town in new asphalt.

Shank also recalled repaving a section of the Trans-Canada heading east into Sorrento in 2008 and again in 2020.

“Hopefully those jobs won’t be up for a while,” said Shank. “But even if they come up again, there’s nothing I’d rather be doing. There is such an instant gratification element to paving that I just love. I love looking back at a job as you’re packing up and seeing a nice, new paved road.”

Highway work is all Shank has known for the past 30 years. Back in Alberta in the 90s, he was building roads outside Edmonton and paving airports all over North America. Needing a change from his former company, Shank made his way to Kamloops on a bit of a whim, when he heard a paving crew was in need of a Superintendent.

“I grew up wanting to be a paver. I’ve had a pretty good life doing what I love and with a company that has treated me so well,” said Shank.

In his early days with Dawson, Shank was travelling all over the province with the rest of the paving crew. While there were memorable projects on Highway 113 near Lava Lake and in and around the Bella Coola area (which allowed him to fish), he also missed being around his family.

“Our family didn’t know many people when we first moved here. But guys like Lenny (Kazakoff, Manager of Paving and Aggregates) and Gord Procknow (former General Manager of Paving) always did their best to include my wife, Roxanne, and our kids. They made them feel like part of the community, which was huge,” said Shank. “When I first started with Dawson, my daughter, Brooke, was in Grade 1. Now she is done school. It’s crazy to think how much of my life has changed since I started at Dawson.”

Adding to his experience at Dawson was getting the opportunity to work alongside his son, Josh, who recently celebrated his 10th year anniversary with Dawson Construction. These days, Josh can be found on the paving crew as a Screed Operator, putting the finishing touches on a brand-new lane of asphalt.

Josh is one of the many on the crew that Jason is trying to pass down his decades of knowledge to. Jason feels a great sense of pride watching his crew grow and make improvements in their work.

“I want to make sure that whenever I decide to retire, that the guys are in the best position to succeed and carry on the great work that we have been doing,” said Jason.

Whether it’s in a packer or on the phone with a new hire, Jason continues to find ways to pave the path for future generations.

If you are looking for an enjoyable career that features a healthy balance of challenging opportunities, great support and being surrounded by employees that care about your well-being, apply for a job at Dawson today on our Careers page.