As the story goes, Paul Wellington enjoyed playing with Tonka toys as a youngster, but never imagined as an adult he would be recognized for his skill at managing front-end loaders, excavators and everything else relating to the construction of water supply infrastructure.
“I’ve always enjoyed the trucks and tractors, but I never thought I would be on this side of projects,” Wellington said, recalling the many hours he spent as a youth playing with Tonka toys.
Wellington’s dedication to his work and to the community was recognized recently with a special Applied Science Technologies and Technologists of BC) Professional Achievement Award during a Smithers Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
Projects completed over the last ten years, including work on the Telkwa and Smithers water systems stand as a testament to Wellington’s professional accomplishments.
As for his contributions to the community, Wellington volunteers with the Smithers Minor Hockey Association as a member of the board and fundraising co-ordinator.
Wellington tops off his community service as the representative for Smithers at the Bulkley Valley Economic Development Association as Chairperson of the Board of Directors.
The Opus DaytonKnight office in Smithers is small, but that suits Wellington just fine,
“I like the smaller office because we see everything in a project,” he explained.
“In a bigger office you get slotted into one part of the process.
“Here we do everything from problem identification, determining the solutions, then designing and building the solutions.”
Although he enjoys taking part in all aspects of a project, Wellington did admit he especially enjoys being on the construction site.
With 20 years experience in engineering, Wellington said computers have had a significant impact on the way projects are developed, designed and completed.
One of the biggest impacts has been on the drafting of designs, which, when Wellington started, was done by hand.
“When you’re doing design work you can look at a lot more scenarios very quickly, compared to when the designs were drafted manually,” he said.
Computers also allowed Wellington to put examine the Smithers water supply under various simulations, including fires and determine how much water would be available at various locations in the town.
“It’s amazing what we can do, we can try stuff out without having to build anything,” Wellington said.
A native of New Zealand, Wellington first arrived in Canada in 1994 when he took a job in Yellowknife, NWT.
Moving to Smithers in 1997 to take a position with Opus DaytonKnight was an easy decision, as his wife Shannon is a native of Smithers. The pair met in Europe in 1992.
Today with three children, Bradley, 12, Jack, 10 and Tess, 7, Wellington is happy to be living in Smithers.
“I like what Smithers has to offer,” he said.
“It’s small, housing is affordable, commutes are short.
“I like the sense of community, it’s nice knowing your neighbours.”