Applied Engineering Solutions Ltd.
Applied Engineering Solutions Limited (AES) is a B.C.-based electrical engineering and consulting firm. It offers innovative, sustainable designs to meet modern client needs. AES’s commitment to providing functional, cost-effective services has made it a paramount player in the electrical engineering industry.
Supplying the Market with Superior Solutions
In 2001, the engineering company that Jay Singh and Roger Dupuis both worked for in Victoria closed its doors. Singh and Dupuis believed there was still a need for high-quality building engineering in the local market, and so they established Applied Engineering Solutions Limited (AES). The start-up began with only 12 staff members.
The mandate was simple: to identify client needs, budgets, and timetables, and work to meet those requirements through effective and economical engineering solutions.
Within a few years, the firm grew to 15 staff members. AES became a major electrical engineering firm on Vancouver Island, heavily involved in the residential, commercial, and institutional building sectors.
In 2008, AES decided to expand and began construction on a new office in Vancouver, BC. The firm also took on two new principals: Sunny Ghataurah and Met (Ahmet) Ulker. Both had worked with Dupuis and Singh on projects in the past. Ghataurah and Ulker were tasked with opening and operating the new office, as well as overseeing growth within the Vancouver area.
AES’s Vancouver office opened in September 2008 – less than a month before the global market crash. However, the firm’s integrity-based approach, superior client service and openness to new technology and ideas propelled its growth during the downturn in the economy.
In a May 2014 interview with CBJ, Ghataurah noted, “We provide boutique engineering services – which set us apart. A lot of Vancouver-based firms began amalgamating with larger corporations. Our clients prefer to work with smaller boutique firms such as ourselves; which has shielded us from the impacts of the recession.”
In order to distinguish itself from the competition, AES, in addition to general electrical engineering, offers specialized niche services such as daylight modelling, architectural lighting, and audio-visual system design. The firm regularly assesses and expands its service offering in order to stay on top of industry trends.
Today, AES has grown in both core regions. In Victoria, it controls the majority of the sector’s market share and has successfully completed over 3000 projects. In Vancouver, AES has completed about 1000 projects, and grown to a staff count of 40. The firm collectively employs 60 staff today and is the largest building electrical engineering firm in BC.
AES’s Victoria operation continues to focus on the residential and commercial construction sector. In Vancouver, the focus rests on transportation, commercial and institutional projects such as transit facilities, healthcare facilities, post-secondary education facilities, and recreation complexes. AES is currently involved in the design and construction of the SkyTrain Evergreen Line in Burnaby, Coquitlam, and Port Coquitlam, BC.
A Corporate Culture that Matters
As put by Ghataurah, AES ‘walks the walk’ when it comes to sustainable engineering solutions. The firm regularly undertakes LEED Gold and Platinum certified projects, and aspires to meet the Living Building Challenge. Several projects are Net Positive; the building’s contributions to the environment outweigh its impact.
Ghataurah and the Vancouver team bring in these ideas of environmental sustainability and apply them to their daily lives. AES workstations are equipped with sensors that turn off all unnecessary equipment when the employee leaves the area. The lighting and HVAC systems are completely automated.
The facility is strategically located to be accessible by all forms of public transit. Less than half the staff drive into work. Ulker bikes into the office each morning, weather permitting. Ghataurah, in order to significantly reduce his ecological footprint, lives in a condo above the new office. Kevin Cheong, a Senior Associate of the firm uses his electric bike to commute, irrespective of weather.
“We push for environmental sustainability both in the projects we pursue and in our own lives,” explains Ghataurah, “No one prints unless it’s absolutely necessary. All waste is separated and recycled when possible. We provide everyone with electronic tools to reduce paper use.”
“The space is relaxed and sustainable. Some compare it to a Fairmont Hotel. We believe in comfortable space, employees can perform better.”
This approach allows AES to attract some of the best industry professionals from around the world. Workers arrive from across Canada, the U.S., and overseas to work alongside the AES team. The firm also facilitates a mentoring program for young professionals; older, experienced technical advisors visit the facility a few days each week and offer advice and training to the younger generation of engineers.
Growing with Demand
A major challenge facing the electrical engineering industry is the increasing speed in which projects are being built. In the past, projects would first be designed, priced, and then constructed in a sequential order. Now the design-build and public-private partnership (PPP) models are growing more popular.
“We’re designing just as fast or just ahead of the pace of construction,” says Ghataurah, “We’ve had to change our approach to facilitate the speed of delivery.”
“When we work on a project, we treat it as our own. We make decisions as if it’s our money being spent on the building.”
AES plans to expand strategically. The firm takes a selective approach in choosing projects to undertake, and follows the market when deciding their next step forward.
“If there’s a client, an opportunity, and a service we can deliver, we’ll open an office in that area. We won’t open an office just for the sake of growth. We pride ourselves on providing top-quality service and operating with honesty; we will grow with these principles in mind.”
Further information on Applied Engineering Solutions Limited can be found at
Photo Credits: www.appliedengineering.ca