In the summer of 1986, our four founding Principals – Demetrios Kontzamanis, Helmut Graumann, J. Bert Smith and Dave MacMillan – chose to leave the security of their traditional engineering positions, took a leap of faith and formed KGS Group.
The early days required grit and determination to build and grow a fledgling company. Ultimately, our founders’ perseverance, focus on quality and commitment to lasting relationships led to success. To this day, we remain faithful to the ideals our founders modelled for us: we are dedicated to excellence, we have the discipline to consistently deliver KGS Quality, we fear no experience and we build lifelong relationships with our clients and people.
Learn more about our founding Principals
Demetrios Kontzamanis was born and raised on the island of Chios, Greece. At the age of 18, he emigrated to the United States to pursue an engineering degree at the University of Illinois, Chicago. After three years in Chicago, he moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he met Helene his future wife. He completed his B.Sc. Civil Engineering degree in 1967 followed by a Diploma in Engineering in 1971, both at the University of Manitoba.
From 1967 to 1986, Demetrios worked as a consulting civil (structural) engineer on numerous large projects, primarily in the hydroelectric field. Significant projects included the design of the Long Spruce and Limestone Generating Stations for Manitoba Hydro, as well as studies for other future hydro developments in Northern Manitoba.
Demetrios rose to the position of Civil Department Head and played a key role in developing a feasible concept for the 250 MW Nipawin Hydroelectric project for Saskatchewan Power Corporation. The foundation at the Nipawin site was initially deemed unsuitable for a hydro development, but Demetrios was instrumental in devising a unique approach to accommodate the expected movement of the shale foundation over the life of the facility.
Over the course of his career, Demetrios became recognized in the hydroelectric industry for his expertise in the design of hydraulic gates. He was responsible for the design of hydraulic gates for large utilities and fabricators at many hydroelectric projects across Canada, in the U.S. and offshore.
In 1986, Demetrios, along with Helmut, Bert and Dave, founded KGS Group, fulfilling a lifelong dream. As President of KGS Group, he was a driving force in the establishment and growth of the company until his retirement in 2017.
Demetrios continues to take great pride in the success of KGS Group. He considers the growth of the company to become the largest consulting engineering office in Manitoba as his greatest achievement.