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DECEMBER 2016
CCIL’s Laboratory Inspectors
Elementary, my dear Watson
Like Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot and Philip Marlowe, these inspectors rely on their highly specialized knowledge, years of experience, and a keen eye for detail in getting to the bottom of things. Unlike the fictional detectives, however, their job is not to solve a mystery, but to ensure that Canada’s certified testing laboratories are world-class.
 
Working for the Canadian Council of Independent Laboratories (CCIL), the 10 inspectors are each responsible for a geographic area of the country. For most, this is a second career, having retired from senior positions in engineering and construction. Several are former employees of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO). All are testing experts in one or more areas of concrete, 
asphalt and aggregates.
(Back to Front, Left to Right) – Charles Fulton, Fred Strang, Harry Heikkila, Alan Schaubel, Sal Ganam, Emily Worden-Kwok, John Graham, Nabil Kamel (Program Manager), Ray Ramasray, Domenic Sangiuliano (Missing from photo Bill Werbowetski)
Sal Ganam’s story is typical of the group. After eight years of retirement, he felt he wanted to do something more, so he found himself on the phone with CCIL Certification Programs Manager, Nabil Kamel, asking: “Hey, what does it take to work for you guys?” Since then, he’s been inspecting labs in Edmonton and the surrounding area.
 
“I like that I can run my own schedule. I work part-time, traveling around the province, usually driving out to the labs,” says Sal. “It’s 
important work. Ultimately, certification ensures that the lab has the experienced, highly-trained staff, the right equipment, and the most up-to-date systems for the job.”
 
Sal began his construction career in 1965 as a concrete technician, working for the major concrete suppliers in the city and practicing as a professional engineer before running his own construction and engineering company. “Now as an inspector, I feel I’m giving back, making sure our industry is equipped and trained to meet the highest standards.”
 
Domenic Sangiuliano explains that the lab managers and personnel are often nervous when he arrives, but they come to appreciate that the inspection is helping them identify any challenges and improve performance.
 
“In a way, it’s kind of like coaching,” Domenic notes.
 
And that’s also a subject he knows a lot about. For the past 23 years, he has coached in the AAA division of the Greater Toronto Hockey League. Some of his young players that he coached and coached against even made it to the NHL – Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos,  P.K. Subban of the Nashville Predators, John Tavares of the NY Islanders, and Anthony 
Peluso of the Winnipeg Jets to mention a few.
 
Domenic was born in Catanzaro, Italy, and immigrated with his mother and sister to Timmins, Ontario when he was just 18 months old. After a long career at MTO, today Domenic is a CCIL lab inspector covering the GTA, Southern Ontario and parts of Southwestern Ontario.

Ray Ramasray also immigrated to Canada, coming here after he completed college in Guyana in 1970. “I had a technology diploma which is how I got into the field, and I always liked building things, even as a child. My dad built houses and I was always really interested.”
 
From 1970 to 2011, he held a number of increasingly senior positions at MTO, becoming the manager responsible for its lab operations. “But after almost 40 years, it was time to do something else.” He landed a job at CCIL, and now he inspects private-sector laboratories and administers written and practical exams for field and laboratory technicians in the GTA.
 
“To ensure compliance, laboratories are audited on a regular basis. They must have the proper equipment, procedures, and qualified staff to carry out the tests for which they are certified,” Ray explains.
 
“I start by having a meeting with the manager of the operation to establish what I’m going to do and why I’m there. And then there’s a quality manual I look at, which tells you many things like a lab’s organization, policies, customer service, complaints, training, testing records, equipment and calibration procedures.”

A key component of the process is proficiency testing, where certified laboratories participate in correlation testing in accordance with their published methods. Technicians employed by certified laboratories must also demonstrate their proficiency in carrying out test procedures through practical tests and written exams.
CCIL’s inspectors are responsible for inspecting certified testing laboratories in the areas of asphalt, aggregate and concrete, and evaluating laboratory testing staff.
 
They administer CCIL written and practical exams for field and laboratory technicians which specifically address factors relevant to a laboratory's ability to produce precise, accurate test and calibration data as well as quality management procedures.
 
Inspectors audit labs on a regular basis (annually for concrete, every two years for asphalt and aggregate) to ensure standards of technical expertise are maintained. They carry out more than 800 comprehensive inspections at certified labs to review all aspects of their operation.
Harry Heikkila says certification is critical to the industry. “Through certification, labs demonstrate technical competence, which enhances confidence in the testing results. This leads to fewer disputes and increases the cost-effectiveness of projects. The certification program is fantastic and it’s working well,” he enthuses.
 
As a teen, Harry spent summers with his dad batching concrete at a large ready-mix company. He graduated with a civil engineering technology diploma from St. Lawrence College Kingston, and then joined the concrete company where he became responsible for quality control. This passion for construction seems to run in the family. Now his son, too, is an engineering graduate and works in the industry.
 
Today, Harry lives in Kingston, Ontario, and carries out lab inspections in the eastern area of the province as well as Newfoundland and Labrador. Because of the distances he travels, he’ll often schedule half a dozen or more audits one after the other, 4-6 weeks in advance.
 
On the other side of the country, Charles Fulton also has a large geographic area to cover. Based in Abbotsford, he manages lab inspections in B.C. What he likes best about the job is the knowledge exchange.
 
“In some ways, I’m an advisor. I see how other people do what I used to do, and I can help them with information and advice,” says Charles. “Mind you, it’s not all one way. Some of these kids figure out better ways to do things, and it’s neat getting their new ideas and passing these along.”
 
Prior to joining CCIL as a lab inspector, he worked as a supervisor for private engineering firms. “I used to be the one being inspected. Now I audit others. It’s a really interesting and rewarding job.”

Happy Holidays from CCIL and its Certification Program inspectors and staff!
(Back to Front, Left to Right) – Fred Strang, Harry Heikkila, consultant Pat Paladino, Alan Schaubel, Charles Fulton, CCIL President Gordon Leaman, Nabil Kamel, administrative assistant Gigi Kermath, Sal Ganam, Emily Worden-Kwok, John Graham, office assistant Therese Mardros, Ray Ramasray, Domenic Sangiuliano

Lab Watch is a quarterly newsletter produced by the Canadian Council of Independent Laboratories. By opening this ‘window’ on our sector, we hope to engage government, industry and other stakeholders in an informed discussion of the issues.


CCIL represents the independently-owned, private-sector testing laboratories in Canada. Operating more than 330 facilities across the country, our members help ensure the quality and safety of highways, bridges, buildings, other infrastructure, manufactured goods, water, food, soil, air and more.





NEWSLETTER CONTACT:
Megan Stephens

mstephens@ccil.com  
416-777-0368
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