Dawson Construction is very fortunate to have a long line of talented and successful estimators. In the 2000s, Tom Falladown became the latest and greatest Estimator that oversaw one of the busier stretches in the company’s history.
Prior to working for Dawson, Falladown got his start in the construction industry in the 70s and 80s by building roads, where he was working alongside future coworkers such as Ben Kazakoff, Jim Mason and John Sweatlakoff, among others. He took a 20-year break from road building and switched over to civil construction, completing projects related to water and sewer infrastructure, water reservoirs and residential subdivisions.
“Tom came to Dawson extremely qualified and with a ton of experience. He was very thorough, detail orientated, very professional and had a lot of innovative ways to approach projects,” said Don Lewis, former Estimator with Dawson Construction. “He was a great guy to work with and he got a lot accomplished during his time with the company.”
When he made his way back to road building in the 2000s, the company was working with a lot of momentum, obtaining a variety of projects all over the province. Best of all, he was excited to work with a crew that he was quite familiar with from previous jobs.
His first project as an Estimator and a Superintendent was one of the most challenging – widening and straightening the TransCanada Highway through the Kicking Horse canyon, east of Golden.
“That was the first contract of many that we awarded on that canyon project. As such, it was a little bit of an experimental job. The B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) wasn’t sure how stable the rock was, or how traffic on the highway would be impacted by the construction,” said Falladown.
As Dawson crews blasted the mountainside 60-metres above the existing highway, the rock proved to be less stable than anticipated. That resulted in Dawson’s workload increasing, as the contract grew in value four-fold. As work progressed, the crew admirably protected the highway and the railway below from damage and kept the travelling public safe. Falladown claims that this project served as a great learning experience for all involved, even MoTI, who gained an understanding on how to improve designs for future canyon contracts, which are still going on today.
Luckily, for Falladown, the projects that followed were a little less extreme, while still being as challenging as he hoped for.
He estimated for the widening of the TransCanada through the Three Valley Gap, constructing a new bridge over Eagle River and a Canadian Pacific Railway mainline. He also led another major rock job near Kitwanga, to name a few.
“I had a lot of great coworkers, such as Jim Mason, Arnold Holland and Craig Sharpe, to name a few, that really helped out on those significant rock projects,” said Falladown.
While his time with Dawson (12 years) wasn’t as long as some of the company’s other tenured employees, doesn’t mean his time wasn’t as productive.
“Looking back, those years went by in a blur. Once Don stepped away in 2003, I didn’t think we would keep the pace that the company had when he was the Estimator. Instead, with Brooke Webster supervising, we got more involved in the Fort St. John area, we did a bunch of city work up there. We also always kept two or three highway grading jobs ongoing throughout B.C., which were supervised by Merv Lehr and (Ben) Kazakoff,” said Falladown.
During Falladown’s tenure, Dawson Construction also expanded into Alberta, led by Bob Froess as Superintendent. There, they took on contracts to four-lane the TransCanada near Lake Louise, which included the building of several animal overpasses. Locally, they also expanded their footprint by building subdivisions for private developers, as well as infrastructure projects for the City of Kamloops, which were supervised by Tommy VandenBrink.
“It was a whirlwind and it went by in a flash. We were extremely busy and had so much going on. But, all that work was made more enjoyable because of the corporate culture we developed and the personalities I was working with. It was a great time at Dawson,” said Falladown.
Understandably, Falladown began to get a little worn down by 2011 and stepped away a few years later from Dawson to look after some health issues. Feeling fine as ever a decade after his departure, he continues to work, but this time for his own bridge building company, which is managed by his daughter and son-in-law. He is proud to pass down many of the lessons and successes he had from his time at Dawson to his children.
On our 100th Anniversary, Dawson Group extends its sincerest gratitude to Tom Falladown for his 12 years of dedicated service. His contributions helped us achieve this significant milestone and lay the groundwork for our promising future.
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