Executive Director, Association of Consulting Engineering Companies-Ontario

The Association of Consulting Engineering Companies - Ontario (ACEC-Ontario) acts as the collective, authoritative voice of consulting engineering companies that in turn employ approximately 25,000 people in Ontario. The member companies provide a wide range of professional engineering services to government and private sector clients. Members help develop Ontario’s infrastructure, bringing vision, creativity, and technical expertise to realize the projects that improve quality of life and economic vitality throughout the province.  

ACEC-Ontario is seeking their next Executive Director who will bring an understanding of, and enthusiasm for, the consulting engineering industry. Significant opportunities exist for ACEC-Ontario to build member engagement, engage with clients to advance key issues, raise the profile of the industry and the association, strengthen the tangible value of its offerings, and attract sponsors.

The Executive Director of ACEC-Ontario is a proactive, strategic executive with an impressive advocacy track record, skilled at connecting with members at all levels. Association leadership experience is a requirement whether acquired as a paid association executive and/or gained in a volunteer leadership capacity. Being a professional engineer and having worked for a consulting engineering firm will be advantageous in the role, but neither is mandatory. Familiarity with the infrastructure, construction and design sector is also a decided asset.

The focus of the association is in three current areas of strategic priority:

  • Advocacy to shape policy, legislation, and regulation proactively and effectively, and to be a trusted voice to government on sector issues.
  • Member engagement and resources that add value for members, where ACEC-Ontario is the 'go-to' resource offering programs to help member firms raise their capabilities and further benefit from diverse, equitable and inclusive environments that deliver value and demonstrate impact through proactive, meaningful engagement.
  • Raising the profile of ACEC and its members. As the thought leader for the consulting engineering industry, ACEC Ontario will lead as trusted advisors to the industry and stakeholders, promoting and elevating the voice of members.

The Executive Director works with a board of directors, committees, and a chapter network, and the candidate must have a keen awareness of governance best practice and the role of management. ACEC operates as a virtual organization and the Executive Director must be adept at motivating, developing, and supervising employees to be their best.

Executive Director Experience Requirements


  • Association (membership organization) leadership, working collaboratively with boards of directors and volunteers.
  • Staff leadership and management experience.
  • Demonstrated experience developing key relationships with members and other constituents through consistent outreach.
  • Visibility with government and excellent government relations with experience influencing policy. A strong network and advocacy track-record with municipal governments and provincial ministries and agencies, including politicians, senior staff, and procurement personnel.
  • Considerable experience leading strategic planning; operationalizing and executing plans (including the budget process to support the plan).
  • A track record of engaging relevant audiences confidently and effectively.

Required Skills

  • Executive experience in a not-for-profit, corporate, or public sector senior role.
  • Excellent relationship development and engagement skills (government, members, sponsors, media).
  • Critical thinking to grasp the implications of issues and their impact on the broad range of member interests and being creative in advancing solutions.
  • Superior and persuasive communication skills. Also, the ability to listen to points of view and create consensus.

Knowledge and Abilities

  • Keen insight to association governance and operations.
  • Ability to clearly articulate issues and positions.
  • Understand how to engage members and sponsors in ACEC-Ontario’s value offering and demonstrate return-on-investment.
  • Excellent knowledge of the business, professional, and legislative environment for consulting engineering or the capacity to quickly learn it.
  • Experience with procurement and contract language.
  • Simultaneous ability to step up and take initiative and the ability to work as part of a team; knowing when to lead and when to follow.
  • Implementation of diversity and inclusion initiatives.
  • Capacity to achieve great results with modest resources.

Other Desirable Attributes

  • Management degree or other relevant academic qualification.
  • P.Eng. or ability to obtain P.Eng. (for potential out-of-province candidates).

The Executive Director will reinforce values of collaboration, trust, diversity, integrity, and respect.

Qualified individuals are invited to apply in confidence to –

The Portage Group, Attn: Jack Shand, FCMC, Executive Partner
Email: acec@portagegroup.com

Please include a résumé and a cover letter addressing fit to the role. A statement of salary expectations* will be helpful. Consideration of candidates will begin immediately and continue until a hiring decision is made. Candidates selected for interview will be contacted in March.

For more information about the organization, please visit www.acecontario.ca

This opportunity arises due to the upcoming retirement of the incumbent.

*Of note, the compensation range is consistent and competitive with comparable (size, scope, etc.) membership organizations at the CEO level (reference: annual compensation research of the Canadian Society of Association Executives).