Sam Soltani, P.Eng, LEED®, AP
A true rarity in his field, 37-year-old Sam Soltani is a professional engineer, designated consultant, and LEED accredited specialist who runs his own, highly successful business. In 2015, he founded Trace Consulting Group, Ltd., a multi-disciplinary engineering consulting firm, based in Toronto, Ontario. With a sound reputation for outside the box designs, hands-on service, and a practical and cost-effective approach, Trace Consulting is no ordinary engineering company. Sam and his team are trendsetters who work to understand the needs and expectations of clients as well as to provide innovative solutions that integrate with each building’s architecture to increase efficiency, reduce life-cycle costs, and improve operating ability. The dedicated group of professionals act as “building doctors” who diagnose issues, determine what needs to be done, and advise clients on how to rectify each problem. They specialize in retrofits and tenant improvements for existing infrastructure including high-rise residential, commercial, rental, retirement/long term care applications, and more. Sam recently spoke with us to share more about his background and approach as well as the aspects that make Trace Consulting Group such a unique company.
How did you get your start as a professional engineer?
After graduating from University, I started working for an engineering company specializing in retrofit side of engineering. I went on to earn my designation as a professional engineer which eventually led me to start my own consulting firm. Being a consultant to me and dealing with retrofit side of engineering allowed me to be a problem solver, which is something I am deeply passionate about.
What led you to branch out on your own to start Trace Consulting Group Ltd.?
I have always had a vision of what the role of a consultant is and how one can go about providing this very sensitive service. In 2015, after almost eight years of work in this industry with two separate engineering firms, I started Trace Consulting Group with the intention of providing clients with integrity, and superior service. Our goal was simple; to not only strive to be trustworthy engineers, but to also be able to provide project management services, all the while ensuring we go above and beyond the industry standards. That’s why even today, I’m involved in almost every single project and ensure that each one, no matter how big or small, are handled with the same level of care and appreciation, regardless of who the client is.
How much growth have you seen since the company’s inception?
In our first year, we started with three projects, and last year—during COVID—completed nearly 400. We have in 2021 with a few months to go, already exceeded that number. Our revenue growth average year over year has doubled. Even during the pandemic, we saw a growth in double digits, which I believe is amazing considering we were essentially stopped in March, April and parts of May of 2020.
To what do you attribute such rapid growth and success?
I believe our success comes from being very hands-on, putting in the required care, and treating every client as if they’re our only client. Success is achieved when you have a plan and you put in the time and effort required to put that plan into action. For example prior to COVID, we had procedures in place to work remotely as needed, which made for a seamless transition when we were forced to do so. Stagnation, in my opinion, is the culprit for most failures attributed to startup companies. This is why we are constantly looking for ways to expand our reach and offer services where others may simply pass on. For example in late 2019, we expanded our reach to include for a highly specialized fire consulting service which lies outside our immediate standard services offered. Fast forward to today, we now have implemented this program in over 150 high-rise towers (condos and rentals) and counting. We are very proud to have been able to grow so much after entering a different market.
Describe what it’s like to be an employee at Trace Consulting?
Even though we are very structured, everyone receives our utmost respect, and everyone is on the same playing field regardless of titles. To me, titles are for our client but inside the office, we are all one and the same; one team, one goal. Our employees are treated like family, and in 2019, we took the entire staff to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico for five days as an employee appreciation trip. Of course, our plan to make this a yearly trip was halted due to Covid but it goes to show that we truly appreciate our staff and try and go above and beyond the so called industry standards. In the very near future, we plan to become a profit-sharing company with the wheels in motion on that front already.
What are your involvements outside of your role as the firm’s president?
I do a lot of speaking engagements for bodies that govern high rise condos and rentals in Ontario such as ACMO, GTAA and CAI. We are constantly identifying the next big issue facing our industry, how to overcome it, and how to ensure the work gets done right. I hold ongoing training sessions where we host lunches and learn together—and I work with my team on publications about the industry. I am also a director on a board of condominium corporation as their lead technical advisor. My biggest passion is being an integral part of the engineering industry.
Sam Soltani, P.Eng, LEED®, AP
Trace Consulting Group, Ltd.