We Are Vanguard Mechanical
Vanguard Mechanical provides Complete Mechanical Contracting services throughout the Lower Mainland. This includes, but is not limited to plumbing, gas fitting, HVAC services, fire sprinklers, mechanical insulation, fire stopping, and controls. The core of our business is focused on new construction of multi-family residential projects that often include commercial retail spaces.
Through our list of contacts and partners (sub-trades), we make a general contractor’s life much easier by helping them manage their complex projects by encompassing a massive part of a project’s scope.
Everyone at Vanguard Mechanical is proud to work here because we all know that what we do positively affects the communities around us. We play an intrinsic role in providing safe and quality mechanical systems for homeowners and businesses alike. We deliver quality workmanship, competitive pricing, and timely project completion with reliable and predictable results.
We are acutely aware that we work in a highly competitive industry, with many companies offering similar services like ours. That being said, we are always evolving and changing along with the new technologies being presented to us every day and applying it to our projects where possible and beneficial.
We seek to build long-term relationships in our industry. We value a proactive team approach to every project and believe that a satisfied customer is everyone’s success.
We believe this, in large, sets us apart from the rest.
Jacob Kuehne, Director, Senior Project Manager.
I began Vanguard Mechanical together with my wife, Candice, in 2005, but my career began in 1996, as a full-time plumber. Growing up on the job site alongside my father and grandfather is most likely why I chose this industry, but my being able to work alongside my wife, together supporting our children, our employees and their family is what today motivates me to come to work every day.
Professional Qualifications: I completed my red seal in plumbing and gas fitting at BCIT, and hold a certificate in hydronic design by TECA. I also have my gold seal certification in project management from the Canadian Construction Association. But education is a lifetime process. Which is why I’m always learning new things on and off the job site, including regularly upgrading my skills through the many training courses offered by the Mechanical Contractors Association and the Vancouver Regional Construction Association, where I’m a proud member of both.
My official title is owner and operator of Vanguard Mechanical. My responsibilities include project procurement, project management, estimating, and supporting all of the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes on in every company. But the backbone of this company is built on the solid relationships I maintain with my staff, customers, suppliers, and, sub-trades.
Mathew Freeborn, Director, Construction Manager.
I am an owner/operator at Vanguard Mechanical, having been with the company since 2012. I have been a fulltime plumber since 1998. My career allows me to build communities for people, communities that contribute to people who come from all walks of life. One of my proudest accomplishments is having worked on some of the first LEED-certified housing done in the lower mainland.
Professional Qualifications: I earned my red seal certification in plumbing and gas fitting at BCIT, and hold a certificate in HVAC design by TECA. I’m a proud member of the MCA and the VRCA. I’m currently pursuing my boiler contractor’s license. One of my professional goals is to consistently grow Vanguard beyond what it was the day before.
My official title is Owner / Operator. One of my primary responsibilities is ensuring that our sites meet the schedules of the builders. Part of this, for example, involves allocating our manpower throughout our various sites.
Candice Kuehne, Director.
I began working with Vanguard Mechanical together with my husband, Jacob, in 2005, when we founded the company. Developing this company alongside my husband is one of our proudest achievements. I can remember back when this company was run out of our tiny apartment – just him, I, and two other employees. Our family has grown to over 85 people since then. We all love it here, and we all enjoy seeing each other grow together, whether that’s earning our red seals to getting married and having babies.
Professional Qualifications: I’ve taken various courses through the MCA and the VRCA, as well as some small business courses through Small Business B.C. However, a lot of my experience comes from trial by fire! I’ve had my hands in nearly every aspect of this company at some point. When we first began I took care of Human Resources, payroll, and performed my share of cold calls. But Vanguard has grown since then, and I’ve taken a step back from all that.
My official title is Director. My responsibilities include decisions about staffing, investments, and, most importantly, planning the fun stuff like events. I feel that internal event planning is undoubtedly necessary because it provides our staff and their families an opportunity to enjoy each other’s company, and a chance to connect on something other than work.
Ed Kuehne, Quality Control Manager.
I’m a seasoned tradesman who’s been with Vanguard Mechanical for a very long time. My father was a plumber, which makes me a second-generation plumber. When I was 6 he showed me how to install lead pipe joints and shower bases. Needless to say, my dad has heavily influenced my career choice. Outside of work I actively study trigger point therapy, take sailing courses, and am considering taking a Total Station Robotics course.
Professional Qualifications: I’m a Journeyman Plumber, certified in 1981. Since 2002 I’ve been certified IGSHPA Geo-Thermal, and am certified by Weil – Maclean VHE Heating and Water Group for water treatment and Novatek Pumps.
My official title is Quality Control and Training. I mentor entry-level apprentices and provide in-depth guidance for our staff. I really love what I do, and take particular pride in precision work, which is something we do a lot of at Vanguard.
Jeff Lawrance, Estimator, Project Coordinator.
I’ve been working with Vanguard Mechanical since 2014 but began my career in plumbing as a wholesaler in 2002. In 2003 I crossed over to construction where my plumbing apprenticeship began. Outside of work, I spend a lot of time with my wife, our three kids, 2 cats, and 1 dog – I’m busy! But I always find time to work on my vegetable garden and getting my kids to and from soccer practice, horse riding, and mountain biking.
Professional Qualifications: I completed my red seal certification in plumbing and gas fitting at PVC. I’m part of the MCA and the VRCA and constantly participate in many of the training courses offered through them.My
My official titles are Estimator and Project Coordinator. Most of my work tends to be done out of headquarters where I can focus on estimating and managing many of the behind-the-scenes activities. I bring experience in logistics, safety coordination, and material purchasing/handling to the table, working directly with everyone from our suppliers to our builders. Lastly, I work very closely with Project Managers, assisting them when needed. A few of my specific responsibilities include document control, maintaining the database detailing who’s on site, site expenses, team coordination, project scheduling, and compliance.
Elijah McWilliams, Site Foreman.
I’ve been with Vanguard Mechanical since 2005. Jacob Kuehne, Mathew Freeborn, David, and my brother Matti have all positively influenced in my career, and it’s fantastic working alongside them. Outside of work, my wonderful wife, amazing children, my bass guitar and hockey games keep me happily busy.
Professional Qualifications: I completed my red seal certification in plumbing and gas fitting at BCIT and PVC. I’m also currently working towards obtaining my gold seal.
My official title is Site Foreman. My responsibilities include My specific responsibilities include having familiarity with the building plans and its budget, monitor and maintain the project’s construction schedule, maintain OSHA, and ensure “as-built” drawings are prepared on an ongoing basis by everyone. I’m there supervising our on-site crews from the time we break ground right up to project’s completion day.
Josh Olinoski, Site Foreman.
I began working with Vanguard Mechanical in 2012, but I began my professional career building custom homes in 2009.
Professional Qualifications: I’m working towards my red seal. I’ve attended PVC, and am a proud member of the MCA and the VRCA. One of my biggest professional influences is my boss, Mathew. He’s always providing me with inspiration and a better understanding of work delegation and project scope.
My official title is Site Foreman. My specific responsibilities include having familiarity with the building plans and its budget, monitor and maintain the project’s construction schedule, maintain OSHA, and ensure “as-built” drawings are prepared on an ongoing basis by everyone. In short, I make sure that my job site is running smoothly, on schedule, and that my coworkers are provided with everything that they need.
Daniel Gosal, Financial Controller.
I began working as a Junior Accountant in 2006, and have been with Vanguard Mechanical since 2007. The biggest influence in my life is my family. I learned the value of hard work from my parents. Creating systems which make people’s work-lives easier is hard work, and that’s part of why I love my career. And the rest of my family, including my wife, Kam, our dog, and our soon-to-be-firstborn (due Dec 2017!!), keeps me on track and motivated.
Professional Qualifications: I hold a Financial Diploma in Accounting from BCIT. I’ve also taken various construction related courses from the VRCA and the MCABC. I’m also currently completing my BBA in Accounting.
My official title is Financial Controller. I’m in charge of the full-cycle accounting system. This includes managing government reporting, contract management, financial statements, payroll AP, AR, etc.
P.S., I am a HUGE Canucks fan!
Valerie Richards, Administrative Assistant.
I began working with Vanguard Mechanical in 2012 as an Administrative Assistant. My husband, daughter and I enjoy many outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, cycling, photography, and travel to tropical locales.
Professional Qualifications: My clerical career began in high school where my secretarial teacher arranged my first job in the claims department of Prudential Insurance. Since then I have completed my Financial Management/Accounting courses through BCIT, as well as various computer courses through Pacific Vocational Institute. I have also completed a two-year program for website design and photography where I attained Honours from Sessions College for Professional Design in New York City. Prior to Vanguard I was employed for 19 years with BC Hydro/BC Gas (now known as Fortis) and the RCMP in Vancouver and Coquitlam.
My official title is Administrative Assistant/Human Resources. My responsibilities include support for our staff in all of our day-to-day office activities such as maintaining personnel records, registering employees for medical/dental benefits and ITA apprenticeships, assisting with payroll and arranging site inspections, etc.
Dietrich Pajonk, Project Coordinator.
My career as a full-time plumber began in 2011. I’ve been with Vanguard Mechanical since 2012. I’m often asked what I like about my job, and the truth is that construction’s one of my hobbies in general. In fact, I’m in the process of building a woodworking shop in my garage so I can begin building my own furniture.
Professional Qualifications: I earned my red seal in plumbing and gas fitting (B-Gas license) at BCIT, and regularly participate in the training courses offered through the MCA and VRCA. I also bring 25 years of experience in product manufacturing (from concept to production), have a strong foundation in Quality Management Systems, and have extensive experience creating Standard Operating Procedures for ISO and HACCP Certifications.
My official title at Vanguard is Project Coordinator. My primary responsibilities include having a comprehensive understanding of a construction project’s scope and contract documentation. In short, I analyze specifications, schematics, and mechanical, architectural, and structural drawings. I then take this information and, as a liaison/facilitator, ensure that head office, our in-field project managers, sub-trades, and building contractors (our customers) have all of the information they need to get the job done right.
Clayton Palanio, Project Manager.
I began working with Vanguard Mechanical in 2008, where I was offered the opportunity to begin my plumbing apprenticeship. I come from a family of plumbers: this includes my grandfather, brother, uncle, and many of my cousins. So, it’s easy to see why I chose to make plumbing my career. I became who I am today through their influence. Everything I do I do for my two beautiful children Alec (3yrs) and Lennan (2yrs) – they might even grow up to be plumbers themselves one day!
Professional Qualifications: I completed my red seal certification in plumbing and gas B fitting at BCIT. I hold my back-flow testing certificate and am a member of the ITA. I continuously develop my skills through the courses offered at VRCA and take every opportunity to learn something from my coworkers when the opportunities arise.
My official title is Project Manager, and I’m currently working on several of Vanguard’s projects. As PM, one of my major responsibilities is to represent both our clients’ needs and Vanguard’s needs, ensuring that they’re relayed to the right people here at Vanguard. These tasks include project selection, establishing a project strategy, and overseeing the hiring, dismissing, training and performance of the staff responsible for Project Coordination. In short, I manage and delegate the daily tasks our employees and sub-trades have when the need arises.
Nick Trottier, Site Foreman.
I began plumbing full-time in 2008, both beginning and completing my apprenticeship with Vanguard Mechanical in 2013. What I enjoy most about this career is that I can work with my hands, directly contributing to the community and projects through hard work.
Professional Qualifications: I am red seal certified and have my gas fitting level B from BCIT. I also have 4 previous years of experience steam-fitting in the energy sector. I’m currently working on my blue seal, and take part in the courses offered through the MCA and the VRCA. I’ve had many career influences, including Dave Carlson, Ed Kuehne, Troy Macatocker, and indirect influence through the Plumbing and Energy industry. But, most notably, I wouldn’t be plumbing without Jacob’s help. He gave me the opportunity to develop my skills further, teaching me what it takes to be successful in this industry.
My official title is Site Foreman. My responsibilities include coordinating the work of multiple crews. Some specific responsibilities include having familiarity with the building plans and its budget, monitor and maintain the project’s construction schedule, maintain OSHA, and ensure “as-built” drawings are prepared on an ongoing basis by everyone. What I do is manage front-line manpower, material, safety, inspections, and schedules.