Published on January 31, 2019
Alumni Award of Distinction ’08
In 1971, a 17-year-old farm boy from Irma, Alberta, got his first big-city construction job loading concrete blocks onto a scaffold and making sure the bricklayers had enough mortar.
His name was Roger Dootson, and the small but vital role on the site of the Dominion Bottling warehouse in Edmonton’s west end had him instantly hooked.
He graduated from NAIT and eventually joined PCL, where he became a respected executive and leader on many high-profile projects, including the southeast leg of the Anthony Henday and the terminal expansion at the Edmonton International Airport.
“I just love being part of building things. To go back and see the finished product, even years later, is very satisfying.”
Dootson is a builder not just of buildings, but of the construction industry itself, having served on several boards to advocate for the industry, such as the Merit Contractors Association and the Alberta and Canadian construction associations.
During Alberta’s last boom, which hit as baby boomers began to retire, Dootson foresaw a potential leadership vacuum at PCL just when good leaders would be crucial. In response, he led teams to Germany and the United Kingdom to recruit seasoned construction managers “to help us through the high tide.” Everyone hired on those recruiting trips remains in Alberta today, he says.
Dootson retired from PCL last year and now devotes much of his time to his Roger Dootson Charitable Foundation, helping young Albertans follow their dreams of a career in the trades and professions. It’s just his way of making sure tomorrow’s bricklayers have enough mortar.
— Eliza Barlow