Junior Stormwater Engineer
KERR WOOD LEIDAL
How did you become interested in Environmental Engineering? What made you choose the UNBC/UBC joint program?
Coming out of high school I didn’t have a very good idea of what engineering was – I thought that all engineers did was build bridges. I started out taking Sciences at UNBC but wasn’t sure what direction I was heading. I ended up taking many of the required first and second year courses for Environmental Engineering simply because they interested me, and after finding out more about the program from students and faculty I decided to switch into the program.
What memories (good or bad) do you have of your time at UNBC or UBC?
Mostly good memories! I met some of my very best friends at UNBC and found a program and career that I am passionate about. Even those moments that at the time seemed hopeless (endless 7 am to midnight shifts at the UNBC computer lab working on our final project…) are fun to look back on now.
Did you have a favourite course or topic in ENVE and why?
All of the water courses, but my favourite was probably Coastal Engineering (a Civil Engineering elective at UBC). The course was taught by Michael Isaacson, one of the few professors that could keep a class awake at 8 in the morning, both because of his enthusiasm and his practical-based lecture style. Plus, I grew up in a coastal town, so part of me is always attracted to the ocean in some way.
What did you learn most from your Co-op work experience?
I was excited going into my first co-op position thinking that it was a job that I was really interested in. What I found was that I didn’t actually enjoy that type of work as much as I thought. My second co-op job was in water resources, a field that I hadn’t initially considered. I was surprised to find that I really enjoyed the work and when I returned to school I decided to focus my electives on water resources. This helped guide me to the work that I do today.
What is your current position and what do you enjoy most about this position?
I am a Junior Stormwater Engineer at Kerr Wood Leidal Associates, a water infrastructure engineering consulting firm. What I love most about my position is that my work is varied – I get to do a bit of everything from planning and modelling through to design and construction. I also have the freedom to work on projects with other sectors, allowing me to broaden my skill set to different areas.
What is one of the most important things you have learned from your work?
Time management! I’ve always been quite organized, but lately I’ve been trying new methods to perfect my organizational behaviours and improve my overall efficiency. The nature of consulting is that there will be times that are slow and times that are extremely busy, so time management is crucial. Super nerdy, but if you get a chance, read Getting Things Done – The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. It’s a life-changer!
If you could give an undergrad student one piece of advice, what would it be?
Take every opportunity to make new connections, whether it is through summer jobs, co-ops, conferences, or classes. The people that you meet and the impressions that you make are lasting and will make finding a job that much easier.