Our Team

Claude Bigras, CEO

Since 1982, Mr. Bigras has spent his career in the construction, janitorial and facility maintenance industry. He joined GDI in 1994 and later became a major shareholder in 1998. Over the years, he has held many positions, and became President and CEO of GDI in December 2004. In his role as President and CEO, Mr. Bigras has overseen GDI’s significant organic and acquisition-based growth, leading GDI to become the largest janitorial services company in Canada, and one of the largest in North America. Through his leadership, perspective and experience, Mr. Bigras has driven the development of the company’s key financial strategic planning, and brings with him an exceptional track record of disciplined capital allocation and strategic acquisitions. Mr. Bigras also aspired to build a strong mechanical services company across North America, and with the acquisitions of Ainsworth, Airtron and other smaller mechanical companies in the past few years, his goal has been achieved. Mr. Bigras holds certificates in finance and management from École des Hautes Études commerciales in Montréal.

Stéphane Lavigne, Senior Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Lavigne joined GDI in September 2016 after a year with IPL Inc., where he occupied the positions Executive Vice-President and CFO from July 2014 to July 2015 and President and CEO following the sale of the company from August 2015 to October 2015. Prior to his positions at IPL Inc., Mr. Lavigne held the position of Senior Vice-President, Corporate Business Development and M&A from January 2014 to June 2014 and Vice-President, Strategic Initiatives, Finance and IT from June 2012 to December 2013 with Superior Energy Group, a subsidiary of Superior Plus Corp. Mr. Lavigne joined Supremex Inc. in 1991 and occupied various positions including Vice-President and CFO from January 2006 to May 2012. Mr. Lavigne started his career with KPMG in 1988 and holds a Bachelor degree from Université du Québec à Montréal and is a member of the Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec (CPA).

Craig Stanford, President and Chief Operating Officer

Mr. Stanford started his career in 1981 as a Field Technician with Honeywell. He held various management positions with several companies involved in the maintenance and repair of building systems. Mr. Stanford had a 15-year career with Honeywell in field operations, sales, and management and was Regional Director of Honeywell from 1990 to 1995. He held various senior management positions with Stannair, Enbridge and Direct Energy from 1995 to 2006. He also held the position of President of Modern Niagara HVAC Services from 2009 to 2013, and spent the following three years as President of Airtron. When Mr. Stanford joined Ainsworth Inc., a GDI company, following the acquisition of Airtron in November 2016, he became President of Ainsworth, and was also named Chief Operating Officer in 2019.

Pierre Loyer, Vice President, Quebec & Atlantic Canada

Mr. Loyer is Vice President Quebec, and Atlantic Canada and is responsible for all mechanical and electrical construction services, HVAC, mechanical, electrical maintenance, building automation system solutions, and Facility Management. He joined Ainsworth Inc., a GDI company, in September 2020, after being Vice President of Airport Infrastructure with Aéroports de Montreal. He also took multiple leadership roles at ENGIE as Airport Services Vice President for North America, North American Vice President of Operations, and lastly interim CEO. His career path has guided him to specialize in strategic planning, business development and infrastructure development.

Fred Acheampong, Vice President, Shared Services

Prior to joining Ainsworth, Mr. Acheampong was the General Manager – Material Solutions for Bombardier Transportation, with oversight of procurement, sales operations, health and safety, and support systems across North America. Before that, he spent four years with Wajax Industrial Components as Vice President of Operations and Business Systems. Mr. Acheampong also held various leadership roles at Price Waterhouse Canada, Carrier Corporation Canada, Direct Energy Business Services and Toyota Material Handling North America. In addition to Accounting, Six Sigma and Lean Principles certification, he also holds Master’s and Bachelor of Science degrees in Business Administration.

Michelle Kirkland, Vice President, Human Resources

Ms. Kirkland began her career in 2002 with Tyco Thermal Controls as a Human Resources Coordinator where she quickly transitioned into a national HR Manager role, supporting various national and global initiatives involving performance and talent management, talent acquisition and compensation planning, as well as leading labour relations for the Canadian manufacturing division. In 2014, she transitioned to a Labour Relations role within the automotive industry and later moved to become Director of Human Resources for the Swish Group of Companies. In 2017, Ms. Kirkland joined Ainsworth as the Vice President of Human Resources.

Paulo Mota, Vice President, Finance

Mr. Mota holds an MBA in finance and the Certified Financial Analyst designation. He started his career in the energy and services industry in 2007 as an analyst with Direct Energy. In 2011, he moved to the role of Head of Financial Planning and Analysis for North America, and then to Director of Finance and Accounting for Airtron from 2013 to 2016. Mr. Mota joined Ainsworth in 2017, following the acquisition of Airtron.

Randy Topp, Vice President, Ontario Electrical Services

Mr. Topp is a professional engineer and a PMP holder and started his career as a mechanical engineer and estimator in 1984 with Black & McDonald. From 1990 to 2012, he was involved in building and energy solutions as an Engineer, Project Manager and Operations Leader with Rose Technology Group, Direct Energy Business Services and Johnson Controls. Mr. Topp progressed through various management levels over that span from Operations Manager to Vice President. He was branch General Manager with Automated Logic before joining Ainsworth in 2014, and later became Vice President of National Operations Support following the merger with Airtron. His present role is focused on energy services, electric services, project management, and various business initiatives related national operations.

Steve Horwood, Vice President, Business Development

Mr. Horwood has been active in all aspects of facility maintenance, operations and construction industry for more than 35 years. His 10 years in operations and project management in the hospitality industry in Canada and the United Kingdom helped him develop first-hand knowledge of the importance of understanding the client’s business processes and their goals and objectives. This, combined with his 25 years of P & L and business development leadership roles with technical services providers, has formed the basis of Mr. Horwood’s ability to professionally challenge a customer’s status quo and achieve measurable financial, operational and sustainable objectives.

Kevin Crosgrey, Senior Vice President – Ontario

Mr. Crosgrey began his career in the technical services industry as a facility operator for the City of Brampton in 1989, and after being promoted to Operations Manager in 1999, he started working as an Energy Management & BAS Coordinator at Brampton City Hall. It was not long after that Mr. Crosgrey joined Optimira Controls as Project/Operations Manager in 2002. When Optimira Controls was acquired by ESC Automation in 2011, ESC needed a dedicated leader to grow its Toronto branch. It was the strong core values and family-oriented culture which led Mr. Crosgrey to join ESC as Branch Manager Toronto, and then to become the General Manager for Canada and the U.S. in 2019. When Ainsworth acquired ESC Automation, Mr. Crosgrey stepped up to be Ainsworth Vice President GTA and General Manager Delta Connects U.S. Since 2011, Mr. Crosgrey has helped ESC Automation grow considerably and become a well-respected industry partner. With over 25 years of experience in leadership management, project services, and execution, Mr. Crosgrey provides a collaborative approach with his team to effectively deliver and manage the growth strategy in the Toronto market. Mr. Crosgrey holds an Accounting Diploma from Sheridan College and the BOMA Facilities Management Administrator Certification.

Greg Fontaine, Vice President – Prairies

Mr. Fontaine started his career as a Commercial Electrical Apprentice, before working for Pnue-Tech Controls which installed primarily Delta Controls. When ESC bought out Pnue-Tech in 1990, Mr.Fontaine joined the ESC Edmonton branch and held various positions including Installation Technician, Forman, Supervisor, Engineer, and Project Manager until 1998. The decision to join ESC was easy for Mr. Fontaine as he wanted to partake in the creation of energy efficient buildings using innovative technology. Mr. Fontaine went on to become the Edmonton Branch Manager in 2012 after holding positions as Edmonton Service Manager, Operations Manager, and Sales Manager. As the Edmonton Branch Manager, Mr. Fontaine navigated the volatile Alberta economy by creating a strong, talented and forward-thinking workplace, and by finding ways to grow the business through innovation, diversification, and outside-the-box solutions. In 2018, Mr. Fontaine became the Alberta Regional Manager and created a strong brand for the province, and in 2020 he took the role of VP Prairies at Ainsworth, a role in which he will create an interprovincial support system to allow for diversification. Mr. Fontaine is a great problem-solver, has an amazing service mentality, and has created a positive work culture within ESC. He holds a Certified Master Electrician designation in Alberta (CME) and is a Master Electrician.

John Matthews, Vice President, Master Systems Integration

Mr. Matthews began his career in the Fire Protection industry in 1996 as a technical sales agent with Siemens and was mainly focused on heavy industrial and major infrastructure verticals. That led Mr. Matthews to start an 18-year career with Tyco SimplexGrinnell beginning as a Fire Alarm Systems Technician, holding positions of Project Manager, Operations Manager, Solution Sales Manager, and then becoming a Strategic Executive in charge of industrial business development and P3 program management. Mr. Matthews had known ESC throughout much of his career at Tyco as a strategic partner in team pursuits and execution of some of the largest projects in Canada, competing with companies such as JCI and Honeywell. When JCI acquired Tyco in 2017, ESC was looking to broaden its capabilities as a Master Systems Integrator, and Mr. Matthews felt the humble, client-focused culture of ESC was a better fit for him. He joined ESC as Director-Building Systems, and in 2020 he became Vice President- Master Systems Integration. Mr. Matthews’ broad background in systems, and a wide range of positions have allowed him to tackle Smart Buildings that have similarly broadened. This experience allowed Mr. Matthews to step back and look at whole building technologies to help achieve owners’ goals and navigate the change management process. Mr. Matthews has contributed significantly to establishing ESC as a leading Master Systems Integrator, leading the company to be selected for notable Smart Building projects across the country as well as making advances in the health care vertical, including Real Time Locating and Healthcare Communications Systems.

Fred Messmer, Vice President – BC

Mr. Messmer began his career in the pulp and paper industry for an industrial automation consulting firm before working as a Design Technologist at Universal Dynamics. Mr. Messmer had previously worked as a co-op student for MCC Powers, in which he enjoyed the building automation work he performed there, so he researched up-and-coming companies in that industry and found ESC. During the past 31 years with ESC, Mr. Messmer has held positions as Application Engineer, Project Manager, Senior Engineering Specialist, Project Team Manager, Operations Manager, Director of Operations, Regional Manager and now Regional Vice President of British Columbia. Mr. Messmer has been a key part of taking ESC from a very small, regional, and minor contractor, and growing it into a multinational organization with over 10 locations. As a part of the executive team, Mr. Messmer has grown the ESC philosophy of “Do it Right” and has helped the company’s growth with strategic acquisitions. He is certified as a BCIT Electronics and Instrumentations technologist and uses his technical expertise and people management to grow ESC with the right culture.

Jack Fanneron, President – USA