Member Spotlight: Harris Rebar
By Samantha Sommerfield
With over 70 locations throughout North America, Harris Rebar is seen as a leader in fabricating, installing, and distributing concrete reinforcing steel products.
Tom Spatola, a manager at Harris Rebar in Kelowna, has been with the company for 18 years. In his time with the company, he has worked with the Delta, Stoney Creek, and Nanaimo branches, but for the past six years he has called Kelowna home.
What started Harris Rebar’s stay in the Okanagan Valley was the need for reinforcing steel on the William R. Bennett Bridge project. This major project, which started in 2006 and was completed in 2008, gave Kelowna’s original floating draw bridge a much needed upgrade and ultimately connected the communities of Kelowna and West Kelowna.
This was the first of many major projects Harris Rebar has contributed to for the community of Kelowna.
“Over the years, I would say we have completed close to 300 projects in the Kelowna market,” says Spatola. Since its introduction to the Kelowna area, not only has Harris Rebar contributed to major infrastructure projects, but the business has also become involved in the community. The branch is involved with the SICA Under 40 and Women in Construction groups, and it is also heavily involved with the Lake Country communities.
“We are actually located right on the border of Lake Country and Kelowna. So we have supplied material for the Lake Country’s flood bank and we also supply material for their water park,” says Spatola. “We got involved when customers
started calling us to help support the cause, and to supply time and material to the community projects, so we started providing reinforcing steel at a discount or at no cost. This has been going on since day one.”
Another one of the main community initiatives that stands out the most to Spatola is supporting future engineers by supplying material for educational purposes at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan (UBCO) campus.
“We have had engineering students ask us to provide materials for testing,” says Spatola. “An individual was working on bridge design testing and was looking for rebar material to be donated to support the endeavor, and we wanted to help out. It is on a small scale, as it’s not a lot of material, but we try to help out however we can.”
These community initiatives are above and beyond the day-to-day projects that comes with being a leader in their field. These extra steps taken by Harris Rebar to ensure they are not only contributing to, but also investing in the future of Kelowna is why Spatola is proud of his workplace.
“I believe it is important to be a part of a company that is involved because we live, work, and play in this community and it is important to give back to it,” says Spatola. “At the end of the day, you want to see your community thrive around you and it is nice to be a part of that in some small way.”
This article first appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of SICA's Construction Review Magazine. To read the entire magazine click here.
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