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Sunny Ghataurah

Forty Under 40 winner 2014: CEO, Applied Engineering Solutions, Age 35

Applied Engineering Solutions (AES) has made a habit of living up to sustainability standards years ahead of its time.

And if the last two to three years have been “hectic” for Sunny Ghataurah, it’s because he’s been leading the charge.

“A lot of the things that I push for are about sustainability. Everybody uses the word sustainability and green and all that good stuff. I mean true sustainability – really, really reducing the impacts on the environment.”

Ghataurah founded Applied Engineering Solutions’ Vancouver office in 2008 after a rapid rise through the ranks of Keen Engineering, where he made history by becoming the firm’s youngest associate at 26.

Starting in Vancouver as a one-man show, he quickly took AES to a five-employee operation with annual revenue of $800,000 in less than a year. In five, he had built the company to an employee base of 40, with six times the annual revenue and 60% of Vancouver’s electrical consulting market share.

Project-wise, the CEO has many high-profile and award-winning facilities under his belt, including the head office for Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers, and Okanagan College’s Jim Pattison Centre for Excellence.

In his 21 years of industry experience, Ghataurah says the Penticton campus was “one of the most rewarding.”

“The client had a vision of designing a very sustainable project and they let us, as a design team, push the envelope.”

When it comes to sustainability, Ghataurah walks the walk. In 2011 he built his own home, and it has all of the eco-friendly features AES projects would have.

In terms of new projects, Ghataurah is again hoping to make a little piece of history. AES is currently working on turning Richmond’s Firehall 1 into a “living building” – a net-zero firehall that would be the first of its kind in the world, and an engineering feat given its energy-intensive nature.

But the challenge to make the “metres spin backwards” is on.

“That’s the world I play in when it comes to doing projects.”