Page 1

B r i n g i n g U s To g e t h e r

HIGHLIGHTS Celebrating Success

Page 2

Safety Moment Page 4

New Teammates

Page 5

Community Engagement

Page 6

From the Front Lines

Page 7

Technology Tips & Tricks Page 11

New Comtech Website Officially Launched We are proud to announce the launch of our newly redesigned website: Live since April 9th this year, the Comtech website was redesigned to reflect our continued growth, development and achievements. The goal is to provide our current and prospective clients, employees and visitors an up-to-date overview of our organization, who we are, our markets & services, solutions, featured projects and career opportunities. The newly created “markets & services” section provides a seamless overview of our services. In this section, you will find information about the four market segments Comtech provides services in; Transportation & Infrastructure, Industrial & Manufacturing, Energy & Utilities and Buildings & Facilities. Within each segment, the services we offer are summarized into four categories; Program & Project Management, Engineering, Technology and Project Capacity Services. The featured projects section highlights our current and completed programs and projects. Each featured project outlines an overview of the engagement, our scope of work, expertise and value we bring to our clients.

More exciting developments are coming!

Whether it’s new featured projects, white papers, articles, announcements, success stories, community involvement or other content, we welcome your contributions and feedback. Please forward feedback or suggestions to: and Q2-18 Volume, Page #1

Celebrating Success Building Innovative Solutions for Metrolinx to Advance Program Delivery As of April 16th, 2018, Metrolinx transitioned to the Electronic Property Requisition Form (E-PRF), replacing the traditional paper-based forms for property requisitions and requests. This was made possible with the excellent efforts of Banash Ghiassi, Agata Jokka, and Mary Fountain, three members of the Comtech Program Management team supporting Metrolinx. E-PRF is a user-friendly, web-based system which provides a clear and streamlined process for approvals as well as the ability to see workflow progress showing all tasks and relative timelines/status. The team captured the form, business processes and built the functionality in Oracle Unifier to make everything electronic. “I just wanted to send a quick note to express how grateful I am to have had Banash, Agata and Mary work on our Electronic PRF process.” said the Director of Property Acquisitions, Capital Projects Group at Metrolinx in an email. “The team has been professional, diligent, creative and efficient, every step of the way. Beyond creating this user-friendly document, they have also provided an amazing training program for new users.” Keep up the great work team!

From left to right, Comtech teammates involved in this project: Houtan Seirafian (Director, Program Management), Mary Fountain (Business Applications Specialist), Banash Ghiassi (Business Systems Technical Lead), Agata Jokka (Business Applications Specialist)

More About Our Team Supporting Metrolinx

Mary, Banash and Agata are a part of our Program Management Consulting team supporting Metrolinx in Project Management Information System (PMIS). A PMIS is a specialized, multi-platform digital solution which supports best practices in program and project management. To achieve efficiencies and increased productivity, a PMIS often replaces standalone software or other obsolete systems. A PMIS supports the successful monitoring, control and overall delivery

of large capital programs and projects. As Program Management Consultants, our team has direct responsibility in the initiation, planning, development, implementation, management, integration and administration of a robust PMIS for the Metrolinx Capital Projects Group, which is supporting the delivery of over $40+ Billion in complex urban rapid transit infrastructure.

Heidi Levitzky is Recognized for Leading Environmental Initiatives Heidi has been an employee of Comtech for 8 years as an Environmental Engineer supporting our Industrial & Manufacturing Division. She is a great asset to the Comtech Team and was recently recognized for successfully leading two environmental initiatives.

Heidi’s Accomplishments

Comtech’s Jason Crowley, left (Director, Project Services) and GM’s Peter Birrell, right (Lead Environmental Engineer) presenting award to Heidi Levitzky, center (Environmental Engineer)

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As part of the St. Catharines Propulsion Plant’s commitment to sustainability, General Motors adheres to a family of standards related to environmental management known as ISO 14001 certification. In order to attain certification, the plant must pass an auditing process performed by a thirdparty organization. Heidi was responsible for leading the transition of the site’s Environmental

Management System to reflect the revisions made to the ISO 14001 standard. This required a gap analysis, implementation of multiple new processes, updated procedures and training. Recently, an outside third party contractor completed an audit for compliance. The site did not receive any non conformances, which is a very impressive result! Heidi was also successful in leading a widely supported community outreach event in partnership with Niagara College and a local elementary school. This program helped a student complete watershed monitoring as part of the GM GREEN outreach program. Congratulations Heidi!

Celebrating One Year Anniversary: Congratulations to The Comtech Team and YRRTC! Congratulations to the Comtech Team supporting the York Region Rapid Transit Corporation (YRRTC) Office for celebrating their one year anniversary as Program Management Consultant (PMC) for the vivaNext Program. The vivaNext program is a $5+ Billion urban transportation and infrastructure program that will deliver a comprehensive Rapid Transit system across York Region. It is imperative for us as a company to pause on our journey of success to reflect on milestones achieved. This is why Charles Wheeler, VP Transit, and the Comtech PMC team supporting YRRTC, took time out to host a combined celebratory breakfast with YRRTC and the overall team on May 2, 2018.

From left to right: Kishan Dhanjal (Sr. Manager Project Delivery), Kaveh Boromand (Lead Systems Administrator), Muhammad Ardalani-Farsa (Program Controls Manager), Nima Shamsi (Lead Scheduler), Jermaine Pitter (Document Controller), Davood Mirzaei (Senior Cost Lead), Sophia Campbell (Reporting Specialist)

The Comtech team clearly understood that transitioning to the new PMC role was going to be very challenging and it was a steep learning curve for the team. Through the dedication and engagement with YRRTC and YRRTC consultants in other areas, we are building lasting relationships.

implement new plans and procedures, resolving and progressing outstanding change orders and cost issues, implementing an effective reporting program, and enhancing the organizational effectiveness at YRRTC in various areas.

Some of the major milestones the project team has accomplished includes the management of the transition process, the seamless transition of the project information systems, establishing a relationship with YRRTC and YRRTC Consultants, working strategically with the client project teams to identify and

Our dedicated efforts have facilitated a relationship of trust with YRRTC and an We look forward to the continued improved understanding of the importance strengthening of the Comtech PMC team of the project’s commercial, contractual and and supporting YRRTC as a client. controls management. The warm welcome from YRRTC made our deployment, transition and assimilation both seamless and natural. It’s true what they

say, “time flies when you’re having fun!”. We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank every member of the YRRTC project team for their contribution and dedication to the vivaNext program over this past year.

Reflections from Our Team CRYSTAL COLE “The Comtech PMC team has evolved into a cohesive project team that is continuing to work together to share knowledge in the goal of improving the YRRTC rapid transit projects and supporting the organization. This was, and continues to be, accomplished through the Comtech PMC team’s willingness to collaborate, challenge and stretch themselves to understand and adapt to the project and the client’s culture.”

MUHAMMAD ARDALANI-FARSA “The YRRTC program was the most challenging journey in my career. Entering a multi-dimensional environment interfacing with YRRTC project teams and multiple contractors made the journey more like an adventure and discovery. The great alignment between Comtech team from the beginning under Charles Wheeler’s leadership made this overly complex program easier to manage and contribute. No “one person” could have come this far. We have achieved many milestones in only one year and we will continue to add to our achievements every day for the remainder of the program.”

Q2-18 Volume, Page #3

Outstanding Performer Award for Amanda Tuma Grant: Going Above and Beyond There are times when our client’s needs are very urgent and our team need to go the extra mile. Amanda Tuma Grant, one of Comtech’s Program Management Business Application Specialists supporting Metrolinx’s Capital Projects Group, received high praises from our client for going above and beyond. “I would like to recognize Amanda for all her incredible efforts” the Director, Program Implementation & Integration, Capital Projects Group at Metrolinx said in May. “Since April, she has produced the Project Delivery Lifecycle Map and has now completed the CPG Team Structure data.

She worked extensively beyond her regular work schedule the last month, including working on a weekend to achieve this incredible milestone.” In recognition of her efforts, Houtan Seirafian, Comtech’s Director, Program Management, nominated and presented an “Outstanding Performer Award” to her. Thank you, Amanda for your incredible dedication to help make our client’s program successful!

Amanda Tuma Grant (Program Management Business Applications Specialist), receives Outstanding Performer Award from Houtan Seirafian (Director, Program Management)

SAFETY MOMENT With summer officially here, it is important to take proper care and prevent heat exhaustion. Below are a few helpful tips1.

Preventing Heat Exhaustion Exposure to excessive heat may cause heat exhaustion and other more serious health problems. If you are impacted by exposure to excessive heat you may feel dizzy, sweat heavily, experience muscle cramps or become very pale. To prevent heat exhaustion: • • • •

Find shade or breeze and drink plenty of liquids (non-alcoholic) even if you are not thirsty Wear loose, lightweight clothes and if you have one, take your phone with you in case you are going to be out longer than expected Use sunscreen with a high SPF to protect against the sun If possible, organize your activities to avoid being out in the sun during the hottest part of the day

If you begin to experience any symptoms of heat exhaustion, take action to cool yourself down by: • • • •

Resting Finding shade or breeze Hydrating Advise your coworkers or supervisor you are feeling unwell


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New Teammates

We are pleased to announce the following new teammates who joined us between January 1st to June 30th, 2018.


Program Management Business Systems Analyst

Abdallah Qasem

Magda Rewkowski

Junior Contract Administrator

Amanda Natale

Liza Saebi

Change Analyst

Mary Fountain


Business Applications Specialist

Amin Abolhasanpour

Maryam Babolian

Project Scheduler

Senior Scheduler

Ashish Gupta

Mike Khamsehzadeh

Scheduling Lead

Bradley Wiseman

Organizational Change Manager

Brandon David

Financial Analyst

Catalina Garbati

Change Management Consultant

Christine Shaughnessy

Project Manager

Dharmakumar Pullendran

Junior Contract Administrator

Jenny Dai

Senior Architectural Technologist

Jiten Lad

Senior Contract Administrator

Joseph Basaly

Design Architect

Karina Bernal

Senior Contract Administrator

Project Scheduler

Neha Mirdha

Senior Contract Administrator

Niki Niknafs

Senior Contract Administrator

Ranganathan Kumar

Junior Contract Administrator

Rayeed Choudhury

Junior Project Accountant

Reza Paykazadi

Program Management Business Application Specialist

Soroush Parvin

Junior Contract Administrator

Usama Azhar

Junior Business Analyst

Vivek Bhai

Technical Writer

Wadie Zreik

Assistant Contract Administrator

Karunakar Metuku

Senior Scheduler

Q2-18 Volume, Page #5


Manufacturing IT Specialist

Albert Maginley

Manufacturing IT Specialist

David Miller

Production Supervisor

Dave Pierce

Production Supervisor

Devi Indukuri

Virtual Manufacturing Engineer

Nigel Samuel

Field Parts Attendant

Nishant Gupta

Manufacturing IT Specialist

Rahul Thakkar

Quality Supervisor

Scott Greb

IT Project Manager

Sidney Alencar

Project Administrator

Todd Stevenson

Production Supervisor

Gary Elliott

Project Management Consultant

Jasper Palencar

Quality Supervisor

Jithendar Singh


Project Controls Specialist

Intermediate Controls Engineer

Joseph Bobowski

Senior Electrical Engineer

Kun Zhu

Intermediate Controls Specialist

Lorraine Patterson

Payroll and Timekeeping Analyst

Loyola Dsouza

Manufacturing IT Specialist

Mark Laduke

Manufacturing IT Specialist

Mel Jenkins

Production Supervisor

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Director, Project Services

Joe Mohamed

Resourcing Specialist Joe

Shelly Gosse

Human Resources Coordinator

Umar Khan

Talent Acquisition Specialist

Community Engagement FRED’S WALK

On June 1st, five Comtech team members participated in Fred’s Walk. This is a 7-km guided tour of Fred Victor’s downtown sites to learn the facts about homelessness in Toronto and to see first hand how the funds raised will help people who are experiencing poverty and homelessness. Fred Victor’s roots began over 120 years ago as a downtown mission when a visionary woman named Mary Sheffield, started a Sunday School for “rough and neglected” boys. Years later in 1894, Hart Massey, a member of the Metropolitan Methodist Church, constructed a building at the corner of Queen and Jarvis Street to house the mission naming it after his youngest son, Fred Victor. Since then, Fred Victor has grown and expanded to 20 sites while remaining true to its core values and goal – to end homelessness and for everyone to have a home and the opportunity for meaningful participation in society. Keeping with Comtech’s foundational principles and core beliefs to give back to the community, we have continued to support Fred Victor through Fred’s Walk. In total, Fred’s Walk raised $71,266!

Marie MacCormack, Director of Fundraising and Special Projects, shared with us the following after the walk. “Your pledge for Team Comtech made someone’s life better - someone who doesn’t have a home, someone struggling to put a decent meal on the table, someone living on the edge. Not having a home is awful. Having to carry all your belongings; having to spend all your energy on finding your next meal and a safe place to rest can be all consuming and leaves no time for personal care, job search, improving your circumstances. You’re helping people come in from the streets and face the months ahead with hope and determination. Your gift puts blankets on beds, food on the table and staff at the door to welcome people in and offer a hand up.”

Reflections from Our Team DAVOOD MIRZAEI


“It was an awesome 7km tour to Fred Victor’s downtown sites walk. I learned that Fred Victor care for homeless individuals without hopes in Toronto. I am happy that Comtech is supporting Fred Victor.”

“Participating in Fred’s Walk was an eye-opening experience. It was incredible to see the reach of the charity and the ways in which they make Toronto a better place.”



“Fred Victor’s guided tour of some of their sites was a very humbling experience. We had the opportunity to see how Fred Victor is creating a supportive community for those trying to overcome homelessness.”

“Fred’s Walk was a moving and captivating experience. I learned a great deal about how Fred Victor is providing valuable resources to homeless individuals in Toronto. I am proud that Comtech is supporting our community and organizations like Fred Victor.”

MILAN TOSIC “The guided tour was informative and eye opening. We forget that there are many disenfranchised individuals who reside in the same area. It is comforting to know of the services Fred Victor is providing.”


We are always looking for volunteers and new opportunities. If interested, please contact: Q2-18 Volume, Page #7


From left to right, Comtech’s Nisso Keslassy (Financial Controller), Mark Montemayor (Contract Administrator), Jason Claxton (Partner), Mike Khamsehzadeh (Project Scheduler) and Ahmad Jafari (Senior Scheduler)

Once again, Comtech proudly participated in the annual golf tournament hosted by one of the transit agencies we are currently engaged with. In partnership with the United Way, money raised from this event goes toward addressing challenges related to poverty, kids reaching their full potential due to social economic barriers and creating strong communities. The golf tournament is played in a team format, with each team consisting of four players.

On the same day as Fred’s Walk, Comtech teammates participated in an annual golf tournament supporting the United Way. This event was hosted by a transit agency we are actively engaged with. All money raised goes directly to support the charity.

Throughout the 18-hole round, the best score from any member of the team is recorded. In addition to team awards for the best score, there are also individual awards for longest drive, closest to the pin and the most honest team. Our golfers had an enthusiastic teambuilding time throughout the day. Special thanks to Nisso Keslassy, Mark Montemayor, Mike Khamsehzadeh, Ahmad Jafari and Jason Claxton for participating in this event.

From the Front Lines Enhancing Our Expertise Through the Oracle Industry Connect Event Held from April 10-11, Comtech sponsored the Oracle Industry Connect (OIC) event in New York. The event focused on how the pace of change, driven by mobility, digitization and transformation will impact project management in the future. Members of our team participated in the OIC Construction and Engineering program as part of the OIC event. The Construction and Engineering Program provided insights into the transformative innovations that are driving changes in project management. Educational sessions led by thought leaders from multiple industries showcased success stories of business and project transformation driven by digitization. Particular emphasis was placed on

sharing ideas, best practices and innovative thinking that will: • Increase project delivery success through technology • Increase productivity and enable predictable outcomes • Maximize the value of capital assets Our team gained industry knowledge of key best practices, innovative solutions and lessons learned in a variety of areas related to the above mentioned areas. The value of attending the OIC conference was it provided key knowledge in advancing our efforts to design, build and implement integrated systems, applications and project management tools for our clients. This ultimately provides strategic value, real-time information and traceability.

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Houtan Seirafian, PMP Director, Program Management


As Director of Program Management, Houtan brings over 20 years of professional experience in program/ project management, business systems development, implementation and management consulting across multiple industries. He is currently responsible for managing all Metrolinx business systems supporting the delivery of the Rapid Transit (RT), Next Wave and Regional Express Rail (RER) programs.

How Technology is Evolving The Delivery of Over $40 Billion in Urban Transportation Infrastructure at Metrolinx Presentation Highlights • Overall scope of the Metrolinx Capital Projects Group (CPG) Program, including delivery complexities and how we are overcoming them • Journey of our PMIS development with Metrolinx, from the first iteration’s development and implementation to how it evolved to its the current state. • The planned future state of the PMIS and actions currently being taken to implement the future state design • Challenges associated with the PMIS journey, including architecture and complex integration, meeting reporting requirements, people change management, user adoption, scalability and ease of use • Business goals established and achieved with the PMIS, including implementation of lean processes, streamlining and expediting program data, engaging all program departments to establish standards, process optimization, enhancing project management capabilities, improving decision making from accurate data, driving accountability and transparency • Our next steps of PMIS evolution to accommodate future needs

On May 2, Houtan conducted a comprehensive presentation at the Oracle Construction & Engineering Day held inside the Toronto Hockey Hall of Fame. The event focused on sharing best practices, innovative strategies and success stories to help optimize capital project delivery. It was also a good opportunity for networking. For over seven years in his consulting role at Metrolinx, Houtan has led the discovery, design, build, implementation and management of multiple Metrolinx business systems, including a multiplatform Program Management Information System (PMIS). He gave an engaging presentation to showcase the

modernization of its current and future technology strategy to deliver sustainable infrastructure of over $40 Billion in value. Houtan was very engaging to the audience and delivered an excellent presentation. His presentation provided the audience with best practices, innovative strategies and an overview of robust project tools that Houtan and our business systems team are developing, implementing and managing for Metrolinx. For more information about our Scope of Services for Metrolinx, please visit our website’s “featured projects” section at:

Q2-18 Volume, Page #9


Charles Wheeler Vice President, Transit

Over the course of his 38 year career, Charles has been responsible for executing the planning, design, and construction phases of large and complex urban transportation infrastructure and rapid transit projects. He has overseen projects such as the Sheppard Subway, Toronto York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE), Yonge Subway Extension, Union Station Second Platform Project, York Region Rapid Transit Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Program, and Ottawa Light Rail Transit (LRT) Project.


Overcoming Challenges of Designing and Constructing Bus Rapid Transit in York Region’s Busiest Roads Presentation Highlights • An overview of York Region Rapid Transit Corporation (YRRTC), their mandate, project delivery structure and funded Rapid Transit projects in York Region

The Project Management Institute (PMI) Durham Chapter hosts monthly meetings to facilitate networking and team building amongst project management professionals. Guest speakers are invited to present an industry topic. On May 15, Charles Wheeler, Vice President of Transit, was invited as the featured speaker to present “Perspectives into York Region’s Bus Rapid Transit Mega-Project (vivaNext).” In his consulting role as Program Manager, Charles oversees our Program Management scope of services for York Region Rapid Transit Corporation (YRRTC), which consists of full scope program management, program control, commercial management, quality management and technical advisory support. He delivered a comprehensive presentation to showcase the perspectives of delivering

the vivaNext program, a complex, multi-billion dollar Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Mega-Project. Key highlights of the presentation can be found on the right. The presentation was very informative, engaging and stimulated a great discussion within the PMI Durham Chapter audience. If you would like to find out more about our Scope of Services for YRRTC or more about the vivaNext program, please visit our website at:

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• The case for Rapid Transit due to projected population and employment growth in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA) from present day to 2041 and transit investment growth in the Region’s fastest growing centers and corridors including Markham, Richmond Hill, Newmarket and Vaughan • York Region’s Current and Future Rapid Transit Projects including Yonge Street, Highway 7, Davis Drive BRT Projects, the Yonge Subway Extension (YSE) and the Toronto York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE) projects • The various types of contracts and procurement methodologies used by YRRTC in the delivery of their mega-project • Program and Project Management challenges, best practices and lessons learned • Yonge Subway Extension project challenges and options to improve Yonge Subway Capacity

Technology Tips & Tricks WORK MORE EFFICIENTLY WITH: MICROSOFT TO-DO In each newsletter edition, we will highlight new software technologies which could help increase your productivity. For this edition of Technology Tips & Tricks, we will be covering a relatively new and helpful tool called “Microsoft To Do”. It is a task management software powered by Office 365 integration.

Microsoft To-Do is an add-on application available to all users within the Office 365 System. It is intended to help users manage, prioritize and complete daily tasks. w

and enjoy its simple, intuitive interface. You can download this app (select “get the app”) or use it in the cloud through the following link using your Office 365 login:

This software is particularly useful for those with very hectic schedules. Some of our teammates have started using it recently

Q2-18 Volume, Page #11


Thank you for your contributions to Comtech and the programs / projects you support. Teammates included below celebrated their anniversary between January 1st to June 30th, 2018.

Ten Years Lindsay Kronister

Communications Editor

Five Years Cheryl Legaspi

Talent Acquisition Specialist

One Year Agata Jokka

Business Applications Specialist

Ahmad Jafari

Senior Scheduler

Azaan Nilar

James Davis

Program Director

Jingyue Zhang

Joy Ang

Susheel Brahmmarouthu

Charles Wheeler

Marcos Santos

Crystal Cole

Cyrus Choy

Senior Sales & Marketing Specialist

Danny Van

Project Manager

Davood Mirzaei

Design Architect

Marie Polyzotis

Human Resources Generalist

Mayada Naji

Project Manager

Melwyn Miranda

Documents Control Lead

Michael Clegg

Senior Cost Lead

Production Supervisor

Edwin Sunico

Mike Sobieralski

Senior Contracts Manager

Systems Analyst

Hamed Pourrezaei

Rajeev Ranjan

Senior Contract Administrator

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Sophia Campbell

Reporting Specialist

Senior Project Manager

Deputy Program Manager

Document Controller

Maintenance Cost Controller

Inventory Management Project Coordinator

Vice President Transit

Shubhasree Morgan

Claims Lead

Infotainment Test Engineer

Syed Ali

Senior Procurement Specialist

Tiger Tanaka

Maintenance Engineer

Todd Dunk

Production Supervisor

Veena Gurram

Junior Controls Engineer

Yassin Berahhou

Senior Procurement Specialist

Newsletter July 2018  
Newsletter July 2018