CCC Sector Director for Infrastructure and Construction, Christian Dechamplain discusses the remarkable growth of a diverse, evolving sector — and the potential it holds for exporters.
Business has always been in Christian Dechamplain’s blood. He got his start early, working alongside his father in a string of family businesses.
“We owned stores, commercial and residential real estate properties and even a bowling alley,” he recalls. “It was a great introduction to the life of an entrepreneur.”
Later, Christian struck out to start his own safety equipment supply company before moving on to CCC. Today, in his role as Director of Infrastructure and Construction, he helps Canadian exporters position themselves to win opportunities around the world. As he’s quick to point out, those opportunities are huge.
“The world’s infrastructure requirements amount to more than $3 trillion,” he says. “That’s bridges, airports, power facilities, solar farms, hospitals and ports waiting to be built, expanded or repaired. All of them are vital to the national economies they support.”
Christian says Canada is in an excellent position to export its infrastructure expertise. The country is home to many companies with the experience and capabilities to support power, water and transportation projects, whether enabled through traditional financing approaches or public-private partnerships.
“Infrastructure is expensive and complex, with many stakeholders,” Christian explains. “You need all the players at the table — the public-sector buyer, the private-sector experts and willing investors — to get things done. We’ve done this very successfully in Canada, but there are still many countries that haven’t. Our experience has tremendous value, given how complex infrastructure projects can be.”
In other words, Canada’s technical expertise and best practices are sought after around the world. Christian takes pride in helping companies reach major infrastructure buyers through CCC’s government to government contracting approach.
He acknowledges that competition in the sector is fierce, and that corruption in some countries can make it challenging for Canadian firms to pursue business abroad on their own.
“That’s really where CCC comes in,” he notes. “We fast-track the process by getting companies engaged with the right decision-makers, giving them a competitive edge. And by working directly with governments to co-develop projects — leveraging Canadian private-sector expertise — a lot of the risk that typically comes along with infrastructure contracts is greatly reduced.”
One bit of advice he likes to give is the importance of having a plan to manage expectations and risk. “Political cycles can kill a project; it’s important the project plan has contingencies in place for shifting political realities,” he says.
Christian adds that he loves working in a job where no two days are the same and there’s always a lot to learn. But the old entrepreneur in him really gets fired up by knowing he’s helping companies right here in Canada make money which in turn creates jobs and supports local economies.
“Making a difference for Canadian companies and their communities, that really matters to me,” he says.
Are you looking to export infrastructure projects or services?
Contact CCC today to learn more about our government to government contracting model.