People Stories

Christian at Mud Hero last year

Employee Profiles: Christian Petersen

Christian is our Team Lead, Senior Systems Analyst here at CONTAVA. He’s been with the company for over five years and loves what he does. “I have the unique opportunity of doing work that I’m passionate about,” he says. When asked about the best part of his job, Christian couldn’t pick just one thing. “Developing business processes, advising some of our largest customers, growing my team, playing with new technology, dabbling in software development and graphic design, being able to mentor a great bunch of guys… these are all things that I love to do,” he explains.

Christian grew up in Edmonton where his mother taught him at home until grade 10, after which he began attending high school in Morinville. Computers were always a passion of Christian’s from a very young age, but he also won a merit award in high school for wood working, something he still enjoys doing. After graduating, he went on to NAIT to receive a software development diploma in Computer Systems Technology.

How Christian ended up at CONTAVA is another story! He was working on contract for IBM. Just as his account was about to close, he received a referral from his previous team lead who had just been hired at CONTAVA. “He saw something special in me, and I will be forever grateful!” Christian remarks.

At CONTAVA Christian is responsible for the management and coordination of customer services and projects as well as taking care of internal IT systems. He often does pre-sales consultations for new opportunities and spends time researching and developing new technologies. He also leads a team of four other IT employees, scheduling and managing their day-to-day activities. Christian says that he enjoys his work at CONTAVA. “I feel like my knowledge and experience is valued a lot,” he says. “That’s a great feeling to have.” Christian points to his leadership role on a national access control and video management software upgrade as the coolest thing that he’s worked on so far.

Outside of work Christian loves spending time with his family. “My family is my life,” he says. “My amazing wife Stephanie is the love of my life and my kids, Grace and Noah, keep me on my toes every day!” They bought their first home last February, an amazing fulfilling experience!

We are so thankful to have Christian as part of the CONTAVA team. We appreciate his dedication and commitment to CONTAVA’s goals and values! Make sure you get a chance to meet Christian next time you stop by and in the meantime, keep an eye out for more employee profiles – we can’t wait to tell you more about the amazing people that work at CONTAVA!

Project Management Professional

Congratulations Derek!

At CONTAVA, we believe in allowing our employees to grow by continually giving them opportunities to grow and challenge themselves. Every year, CONTAVA invests significant dollars into employee training. Whether it’s training on new products, new software, new processes, or new trends, we want our employees to have the opportunity to be the best in the industry at what they do.

Recently, one of our Edmonton Project Coordinator, Derek Chynoweth, received his Project Management Professional (PMP) certification through the Project Management Institute. The PMP credential (according to ) is “the most important industry-recognized certification for project managers. Globally recognized and demanded, the PMP® demonstrates that you have the experience, education and competency to lead and direct projects.” Derek has been working with CONTAVA for over 5 years and continues to be a valuable asset to the CONTAVA team.

“This designation hands you a set of tools to utilize in building efficient projects…[which] increases project management capacity,” says Derek, who decided to get the certification in order to enhance his skills and provide more value to CONTAVA. “It exposes you to mainstream thinking on project management standards, tools and techniques, best practices, and current trends. You can then take these concepts and apply them to your current project portfolio to ultimately increase customer satisfaction.”

“We’re extremely proud of Derek and his recent achievement,” says Scott Ranger, Edmonton Branch Manager. “Derek continues to display a passion for professional development through his own education and personal growth. His recent certification and apt ability to apply the knowledge and tools gained will certainly allow for his continued success and growth in our field.”

When we asked Derek “what’s next?”, he expressed his interest in the Physical Security Professional (PSP) designation offered by ASIS International. This credential demonstrates knowledge and experience in threat assessment and risk analysis, integrated physical security systems, and appropriate identification, implementation, and ongoing evaluation of security measures. “It takes a step back from project management and teaches you how to assess different situations,” Derek says, “so that I can offer the best solutions for CONTAVA’s customers.”

Congratulations, Derek, on your accomplishments – we look forward to the great work that you’re going to continue to do for CONTAVA in the future!

Doug Kaplan

Employee Profiles: Doug Kaplan

Doug Kaplan hasn’t been at CONTAVA for long, but already he’s part of the team. After only two short months of working as our brand new Customer Care Manager, Doug is now into his day-to-day routine, improving CONTAVA’s customer experience. When asked what the best part of his job is, Doug replies “I get to remove road blocks for others at CONTAVA”.

After finding CONTAVA through the recommendations of several former colleagues, Doug realized he would enjoy working for the company. “It’s a great group of people,” he says. “Everyone at CONTAVA is interested in getting it right.” Doug may be new, but can already pick out his favourite moment so far – watching Branch Manager Scott Ranger get many litres of ice cold water dumped on his head out of the bucket of a Bob Cat as he filmed his ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Doug grew up in Alberta and attended college here. Recently, he has decided to go back into post-secondary schooling at NAIT to finish the Bachelor of Technology Management degree. While going to school and working a full-time job may not seem like a fun hobby to some, Doug doesn’t mind; “My son and daughter are also enrolled at NAIT in degree programs. Although we live apart now, we still get together most every week at school,” he says. When he does have free time, sports are his go-to. He has, in the past, enjoyed coaching local teams in football, baseball, and softball.

It’s possible that Doug is also secretly a dare-devil! He recently tried skydiving and took his first solo jump after going through a one-day training session, but no word yet on whether or not he would go again. When asked what hobbies and skills he has, Doug replies “if you mean skills like tightrope walking or walking on my hands, well, none of those. I am pretty good at coaching and mentoring people though”.

We are thankful to have Doug Kaplan on the CONTAVA team. His passion and dedication to creating an awesome customer experience is just one example of why we are inspired by our employees and love boasting about them! We hope you get a chance to meet Doug soon, and please check back for more Employee Profiles in the future!

It’s cold!

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has finally made its way to the employees at CONTAVA. Friends and colleagues have nominated individuals within the company to participate in the organic viral fundraising campaign that consists of dumping a bucket of ice and water on one’s head as well as making a donation to

ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) is a neuromuscular disease that leaves those affected in a state of paralysis. Individuals all over the world are taking part in this challenge to raise both awareness and funds.

Well done, Derek, James, Len, Scott, and Annette!


Lunch Time

Leonard’s Lunches

In the office environment, lunch rooms can sometimes be sparsely populated, with individuals taking their lunch breaks at different times or simply heating up their food and bringing it back to their desks. In the CONTAVA Edmonton office building, Leonard Horst, our Warehouse Supervisor, has decided to intentionally share his lunch time with colleagues who are working in the office by dedicating a specific break time every couple weeks. Leonard volunteers his time to collect money from individuals who would like to participate and then purchases and prepares a dish for those individuals to partake in.

“I do it for moral and comradery. It gets everyone together!” says Leonard. Making a deliberate effort to share a meal together is a great opportunity for our hard-working employees to get away from the desk for a short break. Through casual conversations, stories, and laughs, employees can get to know each other on a more personal level rather than purely professional.

Leonard’s creativity and willingness to commit to cultivating team spirit in the office is the kind of attitude that CONTAVA values.

Victims of Crime Awareness

Crime Stoppers Television Spot

At CONTAVA, we already know that our employees are super stars – and now some of them are television stars too! Three employees from our Edmonton office took the opportunity to participate in Crime Stoppers Association of Edmonton and Northern Alberta’s project for Victims of Crime Awareness Week. The project brought together individuals who had been victimized by a variety of crimes to speak about how anyone can become a victim, and to encourage the public to look out for each other by reporting crimes or suspicious activities.

The final product was a short video that will be aired throughout Victims of Crime Awareness Week (April 6-12, 2014) on Global.

Watch the video here.

Becoming a victim of crime is often not easy to talk about. The CONTAVA employees that took part exhibited courage and passion, and their willingness to participate will certainly help bring awareness to this cause. We are so proud of our employees for being involved in our community and for representing CONTAVA with integrity.

Jonathan Schnell

For a Good Cause

At CONTAVA, we believe that family and work-life balance are incredibly important for our employees and we encourage employees to share the personal endeavours that they partake in. Recently, one of our Edmonton Service Technicians, Jonathan Schnell, participated in a fundraiser called the Hair Massacure in support of the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, Make-A-Wish Northern Alberta, and Ronald McDonald House Northern Alberta.

“At CONTAVA, we strive to create and encourage an environment that makes people proud to work here. I think almost everyone has been, or knows someone that has been affected by cancer in some way. Losing a family member to cancer leaves an enormous sense of helplessness,” says Linda Spilchen, HR, Payroll & Benefits Coordinator. “Hearing how Jonathan and his family made the decision to turn their personal sorrow into an event that raised money and awareness confirms what a great human being we have in Jonathan. A big thanks to the Schnell family for setting an amazing example of selfless courage and determination. We are truly proud!”

Jonathan and his family decided to embark on this adventure to raise money in memory of Danny Kerr (Grandpa Dan) who lost his brave battle with cancer last summer.

As part of the fundraiser, Jonathan and his entire family committed to dying their hair bright pink. They then asked family, friends, and co-workers for donations and were able to raise over $3,200. The final day of the event took place at West Edmonton Mall, where the whole family had their pink heads shaved with all of the other Hair Massacre participants.

We want to congratulate Jonathan Schnell and his family on the success of their fundraiser. Your efforts are an inspiration to everyone around you and we commend you on your dedication to such a great cause!

Hanno Brugman

Employee Recognition

“Our customers are extremely important to us,” says Hanno Brugman, a CONTAVA Edmonton x-ray technician. “If an x-ray unit is down, the Sheriffs have to manually screen or divert the public to an alternate screening line. This creates long line-ups and an inconvenience for the public.” “I have a lot of security experience and realize when critical equipment like an x-ray unit is down, perimeter security can be compromised. I always keep my customers well informed so they are aware of the steps and progress being made, to get the x-ray unit operational.”

A technician’s passion is vital for excellent customer service.

Hanno … Thank You

From: Hubert Martineau
Sent: June-21-13 10:10 AM
To: Curtis Nikel
Subject: Employee recognition

I just wanted to advise Hanno Brugman’ s supervisor/manager that I am very pleased with his level of professionalism and work ethic. He is continually checking in with my perimeter staff and I about the x-ray machines at our site and is keeping me well informed with developments concerning VOTI and the new unit we are expecting.

I just wanted to make you aware of this fact.


Alberta Sheriffs
OPE Primary
Field Training Officer
Defensive Tactics Instructor

James Gosteli

A unique security solution for remote sites!

A customer asked CONTAVA to provide a security solution for their remote sites and James Gosteli rose to the challenge. With a strong background in manufacturing, James is one of CONTAVA’s leading Project Managers. Educated in computer engineering he started his career in high-tech manufacturing in the late 90’s building a vast array of sensor systems, wireless devices and prototype equipment. He continued to excel by employing his manufacturing and project management skills constructing specialized oil and gas well monitoring devices.

James created a “security in a box” solution which would allow the customers personnel to switch out the entire box if any failures occurred minimizing downtime and allowing troubleshooting and service to occur offsite. James not only designed and engineered this solution from scratch, but was also able to create a manufacturing process and teach other CONTAVA employees how to build security in a box in order to meet the customer’s timeline for 21 sites.

Thank you James for having provided a unique solution to our customers, for your excellent customer service, creativity and passion. Great Job!

The CONTAVA team

PCL Recognizes CONTAVA team!

On July 19, 2012 a CONTAVA team received PCL recognition for their work on The Edmonton Clinic South. The Clinic South is 62,000 square meters and over eight floors, with a nine-story parkade. More than 2000 health science professionals will operate from the Alberta Health Services facility, serving an expected one million patients annually.

“We pulled 45 kms of cable, installed and integrated 180+ VideoIQ cameras into a Genetec Omnicast video management system, and installed over 190 access controlled doors configured into a Lenel OnGuard database” said Alex Edlund Project Manager.

CONTAVA’s management and installation teams provided expertise to the construction team which was vital to the successful coordination of all sub-trades responsible for door and door hardware installation and deficiency resolution. The June 2008 – July 2012 project followed the CSA Z317.13 Infection Control during Construction, Renovation and Maintenance of Health Care Facilities standard.

“Working in a Z317.13 environment was a pleasure. An amazing clean job site and amazing co-operation between the trades.” said Paul Verdin, Lead Technician.

(Left to right: Alex Edlund EIT, Project Manager; Ron Greenaway,Technician; Paul Verdin, Lead Technician; Keith Fisher, Technician)

Dan helps out in a blizzard!

Dan Boissonnault

On Friday February 24, 2012 at 4:30 p.m. CONTAVA Edmonton Service received a call from a casino customer. The casino is located 190 KM northwest of Edmonton. A electric strike on a perimeter door was not operating properly thus creating a security risk for the casino. Dan was assigned the service call. Dan left Edmonton at 6:00 p.m.

The normal driving time to the rural casino is 2 hours. During the February 24 – 26th period, North Central Alberta was under a heavy snow fall warning. Twenty minutes before arriving at the casino, the snow started to fall.

Dan arrived at the casino without incident and proceeded to trouble shoot the wiring, electric strike and perimeter door. An intermittent ground fault in the old wiring was the issue. Dan resolved the issue and commenced the trek home.

The temperature had dropped and snow plus wind had developed into an infamous Alberta blizzard. Highway visibility was zero. Twenty or more cars were in the ditch at various locations along the highway. Dan persisted and arrive home safely at 1:30 a.m. Saturday February 25th.

CONTAVA provides value to our customers because we are more passionate and more tenacious than our competitors.

Dan proved it by going the extra mile for the customer. Thank you, Dan!