Réjean Breton, Eng.
Réjean Breton has always been – and continues to be – an exceptional ambassador of the consulting engineering profession. Gifted with a capacity for wonder and an ability to convey it to others, Réjean has always encouraged the recruitment of young engineers and promoted women in engineering. A passionate and visionary man, he is known for his straightforward manner and for ardently defending what are often very original ideas.
Réjean believes that true success is found off the beaten path. This philosophy is what drove him in 1980 to cofound the firm that would later become Breton, Banville et Associés, or BBA. By 1986, with over 35 employees and growing exponentially, the firm relocated from Beloeil to the small town of Mont-Saint-Hilaire. Moving to a suburban area instead of Montreal was a risk; however, Réjean was forward-thinking. He foresaw that IT advances would eliminate the issue of distance for clients and recognized that suburban quality of life would help attract young top talent. By 1998, the BBA building was constructed, complete with a host of innovate characteristics that earned the new head office several accolades. Almost 20 years later, the building is still at the cutting-edge of technology.
Under his leadership, the firm continued to grow, expanding into the international market to deliver projects in France, Haiti, Peru and several African countries. The refurbishment project the firm undertook in Rwanda immediately after the civil war, really a humanitarian endeavour, was an incredibly intense experience that remains a vivid memory for Réjean. He remained president of BBA until his retirement in 2006. To this day, his legacy of strong, deep-rooted business culture continues to drive the organization which now has over 600 employees.
From the time BBA was founded, Réjean strongly encouraged the firm’s partners to support social causes and recognized the company’s social responsibility. The list of initiatives he led is long and some are highly original, such as the BBA Arts Day. Since 2007, Réjean has chaired the Fonds de la relève Théodore-Wildi, a scholarship for engineering students at Laval University. In retirement, he remains as passionate as ever and continues to give back by sitting on several boards in the areas of arts and culture, science and education, and business.
In the same spirit, Réjean has been passionate in supporting the profession. In 2002, he joined ACEC’s Board of Directors, holding various positions including Board Chair in 2006-2007. During his tenure, Réjean initiated the ACEC Tree for Life Award, presented to a firm whose project best demonstrates outstanding environmental stewardship. Although his official duties with ACEC ended in 2008, Réjean continues to support the world of engineering by regularly attending national conferences and award galas, and by representing ACEC on the Engineering Change Lab sponsored by Engineers Canada.
The Beaubien Award was created by ACEC in 1984 in honour of Dr. James de Gaspé Beaubien, who founded ACEC in 1925.