Press Release
Principal Announcement Announcement Graphic (Green)
Smith + Andersen Welcomes Five New Principals to Partnership


As of June 2023, Smith + Andersen is pleased to welcome Bertha Lai, Cory Zakowsky, Peter Kastelic, Simon Graham, and Tom Jacknisky as new Principals of the firm.

Over their many years of committed service, Bertha, Cory, Peter, Simon, and Tom have consistently embodied our company values—acting as ambassadors for Smith + Andersen while also earning the respect of their peers. Professional, team players, client-focussed, and dedicated to engineering excellence, they have demonstrated a long-term commitment to the growth of the firm, and we are excited to welcome them as Principals of Smith + Andersen.

Below is a bit more information about Bertha, Cory, Peter, Simon, and Tom —their locations, tenure, and a quick description about the value they provide to our clients. Bertha and Simon are joining the twelve Principals based in our Toronto office, and Cory and Tom will continue to work together to lead our Edmonton operations. Peter will be moving to Nova Scotia this summer, and will work with Troy Droesbeck to lead our Halifax office. 



Bertha Lai
M.A.Sc., P.Eng., LEED AP BD+C

Bertha is one of the top mechanical engineers in the country, specializing in healthcare and laboratory design. She is a national leader for our healthcare group, with project management skills that are above reproach. Bertha’s understanding of the funding challenges and limitations within this sector are valuable assets, no matter the project at hand. 

Bertha first joined Smith + Andersen six years ago, and has since established an unparalleled reputation as a leader within and beyond our organization. Throughout her 18-year career, she has directly contributed to the success of healthcare projects across Canada, including upgrades and improvements to some of the largest healthcare clients in Ontario. From acute care and long-term care to masterplanning and renovations, Bertha understands the objectives of this sector in its entirety, and is able to clearly and directly speak to her clients on topics that matter to them, such as immediate and long-term decarbonization strategies. She demonstrates a commitment to innovation on every project, leading her team to find realistic, yet sustainable solutions. As a strong advocate for mentorship, Bertha is an active member of the CAGBC, Professional Engineers Ontario, the Women in Healthcare Toronto Chapter, and the ASHRAE Toronto Chapter. Bertha also established the Women in STEM group at Smith + Andersen back in 2019, and is deeply committed to Engineers Canada’s “30 by 30” goal. 

Our healthcare experience has grown exponentially under Bertha’s leadership. As Principal, her guidance in the healthcare sector, as well as with numerous internal and client-facing processes across our company, will only continue to improve Smith + Andersen. 

Cory Zakowsky
A strong leader in everything from project management, to mechanical building systems design and controls, to construction administration, Cory earned the immediate respect of Edmonton clients from the moment he joined our team. He has collaborated on some of the most intricate office, residential, retail, and multi-purpose community projects across Canada, and has built an impressive reputation for Smith + Andersen locally. 
Cory joined Smith + Andersen in 2011, and proved himself as a strong project manager and mechanical design leader. In 2017, he stepped up to lead our Edmonton office alongside Tom Jacknisky, and he has been a pillar in the local market ever since. His methodical and detail-oriented tendencies have been a key factor in the success of several developments throughout the ICE District, as well as various Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) projects across Alberta. Cory is also currently leading the Prince Albert Victoria Hospital project in Saskatchewan for Smith + Andersen. As a LEED Accredited Professional, Cory has a passion for sustainability, and he reviews each project design through this lens. Over the course of his 20-year career, Cory has proven that he goes above and beyond for clients, and his reputation as a skilled engineer, combined with his calm business acumen, makes him the ideal local and national leader for our firm. 
As the newest Principal of our Edmonton office, Cory will continue to use his technical knowledge to work collaboratively and lead project teams across Alberta, western Canada, and beyond.  

Peter Kastelic
B.A.Sc., P.Eng., LEED Green Associate

Peter has demonstrated critical mechanical expertise on some of our firm’s largest healthcare projects. Facilitating clear and open communication within and beyond project teams, Peter provides innovative solutions tailored to the unique requirements of every project.

Peter has dedicated his whole career to Smith + Andersen, joining our company immediately following graduation more than 13 years ago. He has played a key role in building up the national Smith + Andersen healthcare practice, and has led numerous successful DBFM pursuits and projects, including CAMH Phase 1C Queen West Redevelopment in Toronto and, more recently Corner Brook Acute Care Hospital in Newfoundland. Peter’s experience extends beyond healthcare as well, gaining a well-rounded understanding of numerous building types and projects of every size over the course of his time with Smith + Andersen. Aligned with the firm's commitment to sustainability, Peter is also a certified LEED Green Associate, and has worked with residential and commercial developers, post-secondary institutions, and healthcare providers to improve the energy-efficiency of their building infrastructure. Peter's proven project management skills are trusted to keep even the most difficult projects on track, and his professional and approachable demeanor supports a smooth, personable project experience.

As Principal, Peter will bring his leadership to the east coast, working with Troy Droesbeck to lead our team in Halifax. Our local team has been steadily growing over the past seven years, and Peter’s experience will be a welcome asset to the local team. 

Simon Graham
B.Eng., P.Eng., LEED AP BD+C
Practical and reliable, Simon applies more than just impressive mechanical technical abilities to projects. His natural charisma and collaborative leadership style acts as a guidepost for professionals inside and outside of Smith + Andersen. 
Since joining our firm in 2014, Simon has established himself as a trusted professional who places great value in the open, collaborative way that we work. His willingness to learn and share ideas across teams led him from designing community centres when he first joined us, to one of our top mechanical engineers for commercial office towers. Simon makes a point of understanding how a building is actually going to be used, and what the client’s goals and concerns really are, and then uses that information to guide the design team. He applies this approach to every project he works on, whether he is providing expertise for the implementation of an underfloor air system, or he is designing on a fast-tracked project. He has contributed to the success of landmark developments across the country, including HSBC Place Redevelopment in Edmonton,  the 65 King Street East mixed-use office tower in Toronto, and the 160 Front Street West office tower currently under construction in downtown Toronto. A LEED Accredited Professional in Building Design and Construction, Simon is a champion for sustainability on every project to which he contributes, and a huge advocate for energy efficiency particularly in the recladding and renovation of existing buildings. 
In his new role as Principal, Simon will continue to lead pivotal projects and mentor those around him, promoting collaboration and client-focussed communications across the country. He is a true team player who is committed to the success of Smith + Andersen, and will continue to strengthen our local and national presence from our Toronto office. 

Tom Jacknisky
P.L.(Eng.), LEED Green Associate
Tom's mechanical expertise is highly-regarded in the Edmonton market, as he is known for adding a level of practicality and attention to detail that makes a significant difference on projects of every size, type, and complexity. 
Over a 28-year career, Tom has worn many hats and developed countless areas of expertise. A problem-solver by nature, he began as a journeyman plumber/gas-fitter, but quickly grew as a project manager and leader when he entered the field of consulting engineering. Now, his experience spans a variety of commercial building types, including educational facilities, arenas, and renovation projects across the city, including, the new net zero (target) Windemere Fire Station 31, the renovation of the prestigious Royal Glenora Club, and several new and upgraded schools as part of the Alberta Schools Alternative Procurement (ASAP) project. His widespread knowledge gives him a multi-faceted perspective that provides insight that is not only critical to our internal teams, but also sought out on a regular basis by clients to assist with designs on projects. Tom has been involved in national and local ASHRAE initiatives for many years, and is a past President of the Northern Alberta Chapter. He is also active in several ASHRAE technical committees, sharing his knowledge on the Educational Facilities and Radiant Heating and Cooling Technical committees.
Tom has been instrumental in expanding the reach and reputation of our Edmonton office across the northern Alberta market, alongside Cory Zakowsky. Tom’s ongoing commitment to engineering excellence throughout the industry will continue to make an impact in his new role as Principal.  

Please join us in congratulating our new Principals, and celebrating their dedication to the continued growth of Smith + Andersen.