Meet the Associates – Paul Paquet

We are thrilled to announce that Paul Paquet (P.Eng., M.A.Sc.) has joined the ASPECT team as an Associate in our Toronto office. Paul graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2007 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering, and in 2009 with a Master’s of Applied Science, Structural Engineering. He began his career working on Transportation, Infrastructure and Sport Facilities, then added Education and other sectors to the mix. He has extensive experience across North America, Asia, the UK, and the Middle East, and has been a key player in shaping the businesses he has been a part of.

Paul has worked on several high-profile and award-winning projects, including the Toronto Pearson Airport Pier G Expansion, York University Subway Station in Toronto, PanAm Games Athletics Stadium in Toronto, York University, Bergeron Centre for Engineering Excellence in Toronto, and Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain

Paul strives to create avenues that promote innovation, and through his leadership drives streamlined communications between disciplines. He has a passion for sophisticated methods of working, and with advanced skills in parametric design and the implementation of digital workflows, he delivers high quality, tailored design solutions that add value to projects and communities.

 

SELECTED PROJECTS

2019
2019

TORONTO PEARSON AIRPORT PIER G EXPANSION*

TORONTO PEARSON AIRPORT PIER G EXPANSION*

The Pier G Expansion is a project designed to meet the continued growth of Toronto Pearson Airport. The first phase involved 3 temporary gates to facilitate the remainder of the construction. The second phase will involve a north connection and south expansion, and the last phase is a west expansion. Learn More…

 

Gensler | Toronto, ON
2019

YORK UNIVERSITY SUBWAY STATION*

YORK UNIVERSITY SUBWAY STATION*

With its distinctive boomerang shape, the York University station serves Toronto’s second-largest university with a vital link to downtown. It features a station box of 160 meters, platform length of 150 meters and depth of 18.5 meters; the station box was efficiently ‘shoe-horned’ into the very tightly constrained site between existing settlement-sensitive buildings. Environmental features include cool roof and green roofs, increased daylight levels, and landscaping with native and drought-tolerant species. Learn more…

 

Foster+Partners, Adamson Associates Architects | Toronto, ON
2019

PAN AM GAMES ATHLETICS STADIUM*

PAN AM GAMES ATHLETICS STADIUM*

This stadium, now known as the York Lions Stadium, was designed to TO2015, International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) specifications. The stadium includes 3,160 fixed-seating for spectators (7500 seats during games), Class 1, 400m track and infield, broadcast facilities, athlete change rooms, equipment storage, office and classroom space. The stadium has achieved LEED Silver certification. Learn More…

 

Cannon Design | Toronto, ON
2018
2018

YORK UNIVERSITY BERGERON CENTRE FOR ENGINEERING EXCELLENCE*

YORK UNIVERSITY BERGERON CENTRE FOR ENGINEERING EXCELLENCE*

This building is home to York University’s civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering programs. The five-storey structure looks weightless, with a cloud-like design intended to represent the principles that define the engineering program’s goals. The building contains a variety of teaching and research labs, workshops, collaborative classrooms, studio spaces and social areas for students and faculty, and is LEED Gold Certified. Learn more…

 

ZAS Architects  | Toronto, ON

*Work performed prior to joining Aspect

 

PUBLICATIONS / PRESENTATIONS

Aside from engineering many state-of-the-art buildings, Paul has also engaged with the engineering community through the publication below:

Journal of Engineering Mechanics, Volume 138, Issue 4Under-determined Blind Identification of Structures Using Modified Cross-Correlation Method2012

 

ASPECT couldn’t be happier to have Paul as a key member of our team. Our Associates are some of the best in the structural engineering business - learn more about our Associates.

 


Promotion Alert! – Ilana Danzig

We are super proud to announce that Ilana Danzig (P.Eng., Struct.Eng., PE, SE, M.Eng.) has recently been promoted to Associate Principal in our Vancouver office!

Since joining Aspect in 2019, Ilana has had a tremendous impact on both the work of the firm as well as professional growth of our team. She is extremely well respected as an engineer and mentor, both within our team and also within the industry - and has been a role model for many along the way. She brings the whole package to the table: top shelf technical excellence, a passion for teamwork and collaboration, and, importantly, a diplomacy and sense of humanity and compassion that she applies to all of her interactions.

As an Engineer, Ilana is especially passionate about structural mass timber design and seismic engineering. In her new position at ASPECT, she will play a key leadership role in the development of the Vancouver office, with focus on acquisition and delivery of projects in the US. 

 

 

RECENT PROJECTS

2019
2019

Terminus Office Building

Terminus Office Building
Langford, BC

 

A 5-storey mass timber post-and-beam building that contains the first ever steel Buckling Restrained Braces housed within a timber frame. Located in a high seismic region in Langford, BC, the lateral system needed to be highly ductile while allowing the wood to be exposed. The team therefore developed a glulam frame that provided the over strength and drift compatibility needed for a BRB system.

Learn More…

 

Architect: Jack James Architect 
2019

Tallwood 1

Tallwood 1
Langford, BC

 

A 12-storey encapsulated mass timber building consisting of ground-level commercial space and 11 storeys of residential units, with 1 storey concrete podium and 2 levels of underground concrete parkade. The structure is a streamlined and efficient point-supported CLT on glulam post floor plate, with highly ductile eccentrically braced steel frames. Tallwood 1 is celebrated as the first mass timber tall building on Vancouver Island, and one of the first built in Canada.

Learn More…

 

Architect: Jack James Architect
2019

Wadajir Market & Residences (Modular Building)

Wadajir Market & Residences (Modular Building)
Tukwila, WA

 

A modular mass timber, multi-storey project consisting of 96 units of family housing and a community marketplace. The CLT volumetric modules will be situated atop a one level mass timber podium structure with commercial and mixed occupancies below.

Learn more…

 

Architect: Mithun
2019

Darrington Wood Innovation Center

Darrington Wood Innovation Center
Darrington, WA

 

An industrial facility that will include a CLT & Glulam Factory, a 3D Modular Factory, a Sawmill, as well as smaller pre-fabricated boiler and kiln buildings, at 245,000 sq.ft. total. True to the project’s name, the buildings are intended to be innovative and modern structures and will be built from high-performing Mass Timber materials and systems chosen for their cost, ease of fabrication, strength, and performance.

Learn more…

 

Architect: Mithun 
2019

Modular CLT Townhomes

Modular CLT Townhomes
Seattle, WA

 

An exciting, first of it’s kind, volumetric modular townhome project in Seattle. The project will be comprised of 7 units at 1,100 sq.ft. each, incorporating offsite prefabricated CLT modules on a concrete foundation. CLT shear walls are used as the Seismic Load Resisting System.

Learn more…

 

Architect: Mahlum 
2019

Rockford Place

Rockford Place
Langford, BC

 

Two 6-storey mixed-use residential buildings totalling 165,000 sq.ft. with 2 levels of underground parkade each. The structures are concrete to the main floor, and from level 2 up are comprised of CLT floors on light wood frame walls, with additional lofts on the 6th floor.

Learn more…

 

Architect: Jack James Architect
2019

Capilano University Student Residence

Capilano University Student Residence
North Vancouver, BC

 

This new Student Housing Facility will provide 362 beds of student accommodation and related facilities. The project is comprised of a 6-storey student residence of 87,000 sq.ft. (light wood frame on concrete transfer slab), and a 1-storey dining hall of 7,000 sq.ft. (mass timber on shallow concrete foundation). Learn more…

 

Architect: IBI Group/HDR

 

PUBLICATIONS / PRESENTATIONS

Ilana has not only engineered many state of the art buildings, but she also gives back to the engineering community through her publications and talks, such as:

Tallwood Cost Comparison StudyCanadian Wood CouncilNot Yet Published
Technical Guide for the Design and Construction of Tall Wood Buildings in Canada. Contributor and Peer ReviewerPublished by FPInnovations 2013 and second edition in 2022
Terminus, Vancouver Island: Solving a Mass Timber Challenge in a Seismic RegionThe Structural Engineer (IStructE publication)April 2022
Terminus: Innovative Seismic Design For Mass TimberPublished in New Zealand Timber Design Journal, Volume 29, Issue 4November 2021
SpeakerFuture of Prefabrication Symposium, UBCMarch 2022
Mass Timber in High SeismicStructural Engineering Podcast, Episode 59May 2021
Terminus: Innovative Seismic DesignPublished in Construction BusinessApril/May 2021
SpeakerFuture of Prefabrication Symposium, UBCMarch 2021
Demystifying Tall Wood BuildingsPublished in Construction BusinessSeptember/October 2020
Tall Wood BuildingsConferences in Victoria, Vancouver, Kelowna, and Edmonton with WoodWORKS! BC2019
Mass Timber + Prefab HousingMass Timber MeetupSeptember 2021

 

Please join us in congratulating Ilana on this much-deserved promotion!

Learn more about our stellar team here.

 


Malahat Skywalk Wins in the 2021-22 Wood Design & Building Awards

We are extremely proud to announce that the Malahat Skywalk has won the Canadian Wood Council
Structural Innovation Award in the 2021-22 Wood Design Awards!

The Malahat Skywalk is an exciting new tourism project on Southern Vancouver Island. The project consists of three main structures: a single-storey Visitor Center, a 500m (1,650 ft.) long elevated Boardwalk, and the 30m (100 ft) high mass timber Viewing Tower, where visitors enjoy stunning views of Finlayson Arm and the distant Coast Mountains. Objectives are to protect and enhance the ecological values of the area, collaborate with First Nations, balance public use with ecological values, and connect visitors of all accessibility levels to the area’s natural values and cultural heritage.


The single-storey Visitor Centre contains a café and gift shop, and features mass timber and light wood frame. From there, the elevated Boardwalk leads visitors through the forest canopy, zig-zagging through the arbutus forest reaching heights of 15m (50 ft.) tall.


The intent of the Tower structure is to bring visitors of all abilities into nature, so the use of wood was imperative to the look and feel of the attraction. The design looked to successful precedent structures locally and internationally, and was driven by the accessibility requirements. A gentle spiral ramp takes visitors up to the 30m (100 ft.) high viewing platform and is cantilevered off a ring of glulam columns. A galvanized steel central spiral staircase provides emergency egress and support for a slide and adventure net.


The Tower and Boardwalk both employ hybrid timber and steel construction. The Tower consists of Douglas Fir Glulam columns and beams with steel connections and lateral bracing. The Douglas Fir Glulam was chosen for its structural performance and durability in exterior exposure. The Boardwalk consists of Glulam beams spanning between structural steel tripods and struts which carry the gravity and lateral loads down to the foundations, which are anchored into bedrock. Between the primary Glulam beams there is steel diaphragm bracing for stability.

The majority of the wood is exposed to the elements except the primary Glulam columns of the tower. The decision was made to clad these columns in a thin 3/4" CLT panel as they are the only element that is not replaceable. The rest of the wood elements are thoughtfully detailed to be weather resistant to support the longevity of the structure. These elements can also be replaced or refinished as needed.


The ability of wood elements to be maintained and/or refinished throughout the structure’s lifecycle is one benefit. Another is that it is lightweight, which allowed the components to be prefabricated into large sections and lifted with mobile cranes through the forest. This minimized the clearing required to construct the Boardwalk. 

The size and remote location of the site made placing concrete a challenge. However, the lightweight wood structure allowed for small concrete foundation sizes which had the added benefit of minimizing the impact on the forest, while also reducing the embodied carbon of the structures.

Since opening in Summer, 2021, the Malahat Skywalk has become one of the most popular attractions on Vancouver Island. We are proud to have been part of this stellar team, bringing this exciting project to life:

  • Malahat Skywalk
  •  Murdoch & Company Ltd.
  •  Kinsol Timber Systems
  •  Styxworks
  •  Evolution Building Science
  •  GroundFX
  •  Western Archrib
  •  Wide Open Welding
  •  Ryzuk Geotechnical
  •  Tom Barratt Ltd. Landscape Architects




Images: Hamish Hamilton


Meet the Associates – Thomas Brotschi

We are thrilled to announce that Thomas Brotschi (B.Sc.BFH) has been promoted to Associate in our Bern office! As a specialist timber engineer, Thomas has a unique skill set, along with valuable knowledge of the supply chain, and the timber industry as a whole. He began his career as an on-site licensed carpenter, then went on to study timber engineering at Bern University of Applied Science, graduating in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Wood Engineering. He spent his internship in Canada, and during this time gained experience in steel and concrete design, rounding off his skill set.

His portfolio of delivered mass timber structures ranges from high-end single-family homes, to sports and multi-purpose halls, to large-scale educational and multi-storey residential buildings. As part of his leadership role, he is spearheading our shop drawing and specialty timber engineering services.

Thomas has worked on several high-profile and award-winning projects including the Shaare Zedek Cancer Center in Jerusalem, Israel; B&B Guimarães in Guimarães, Portugal; Brunel Center in Bristol, UK; Northstowe Education Campus in Cambridge, UK; and Press House in London, UK.

Thomas is passionate about Mass Timber, and his thesis focused on NLT design and implementation in Canada, part of which formed the basis for the US and Canadian NLT Design & Construction Guides.

 

SELECTED PROJECTS

2019
2019

SHAARE ZEDEK CANCER CENTRE

SHAARE ZEDEK CANCER CENTRE

Shaare Zedek Medical Centre is one of Israel’s most prominent health sciences organizations. Aspect is engaged to help develop the roof / lobby area of the new expansion, which is a mass timber structure with a large atrium skylight resembling a “butterfly”. Along with concept development, Aspect facilitated the RFQ and RFP process to help find the right partner for execution of the timber structure. Learn more…

 

Farrow Partners | Jerusalem, Israel
2018
2018

B&B GUIMARAES

B&B GUIMARAES

A new B&B facility comprised of two base levels of reinforced concrete and two 4-storey CREE buildings overtop, with a total floor area of 77,500 sq.ft. Aspect provided complete structural engineering for the system, the complete shop drawing package for the prefabricated timber-concrete-hybrid slabs and prefabricated light wood frame panels, as well installation drawings. Learn more…

 

Grupo Casais | Guimarães, Portugal
2017
2017

NORTHSTOWE EDUCATION CAMPUS*

NORTHSTOWE EDUCATION CAMPUS*

Part of a larger masterplan development, this project involved a number of buildings including a secondary school, special needs school, and sports facilities. The entire structural frame above ground for the buildings is formed from CLT and glulam comprising over 3000m3 timber. A special challenge was the requirement for a future extension of the sports hall, solved with a state-of-the-art glulam truss connected with glued in rods. Learn more…

 

Frank Shaw Associates | Cambridge, UK
2017

PRESS HOUSE*

PRESS HOUSE*

An affordable mixed-use residential development in Neasden, London, comprised of four blocks of varying heights, between 2 to 8 storeys. The CLT and glulam frame sits on top of a concrete podium, which forms the parking space and an elevated courtyard. CLT shear walls and floor plates create an efficient structure featuring hanging steel balconies attached to the main frame. Learn More…

 

Eurban | London, UK

*Work performed prior to joining Aspect

 

ASPECT couldn’t be happier to have Thomas as a key member of our team. Our Associates are some of the best in the structural engineering business, learn more about our Associates.

 


Meet the Associates – Eva Chau

We are thrilled to announce that Eva Chau (P.Eng., M.Eng.) has been promoted to Associate in our Toronto office! Eva has a wealth of experience in designing with all major building materials on projects ranging from small house renovations to large institutional, commercial, and civic projects. In her leadership role, Eva provides mentorship to our younger engineers and supports business development in Toronto. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Toronto and a Masters degree in Structural and Earthquake Engineering from the University of British Columbia.

Eva has worked on several high-profile and award-winning projects including St. Luke’s United Church Redevelopment in Toronto; Oakville Fire Station No.8; Humber River Regional Hospital in North York, ON; Royal Canadian Electrical & Mechanical Engineering School in Borden, ON; and Pioneer Village Subway Station in Toronto.

Eva is passionate about structural engineering and always strives to help clients realize their unique visions. She believes that expressive and ambitious architecture does not have to come at the expense of rational and efficient structural systems.

 

SELECTED PROJECTS

2019
2019

ST. LUKE’S UNITED CHURCH

ST. LUKE’S UNITED CHURCH

A new 12 storey residential building that will be constructed directly adjacent to the heritage St. Luke’s United Church. A portion of the new building will project overtop of the existing church. The project also includes demolition of some of the more recent additions around the main Sanctuary, and repurposing the existing main sanctuary building for new programming. Learn more…

 

KPMB Architects | Toronto, ON
2019

OAKVILLE FIRE STATION NO.8

OAKVILLE FIRE STATION NO.8

Oakville Fire Station No. 8 is a hybrid structure – a combination of mass timber and structural steel. Aspect was the specialty mass timber engineer working under Element 5 who was responsible for the supply of the mass timber package. The building is designed with a high performing building enclosure resulting in better thermal performance and reduced energy costs. Learn More…

 

Lett Architects, Element5 | Oakville, ON
2018
2018

ROYAL CANADIAN ELECTRICAL & MECHANICAL ENGINEERING SCHOOL*

ROYAL CANADIAN ELECTRICAL & MECHANICAL ENGINEERING SCHOOL*

This 140,000 sq.ft building serves as the central training facility for all Canadian Armed Forces mechanical and electrical engineers. Built to accommodate modern military vehicles and specialized training equipment, the building includes storage areas, administration and office spaces, classrooms, and six high-bay shop spaces for equipment maintenance training.

Learn more…

 

RDHA Architects  | Borden, ON
2017
2017

PIONEER VILLAGE SUBWAY STATION*

PIONEER VILLAGE SUBWAY STATION*

One of the 6 new subway stations on the TTC’s York-Spadina subway extension, this 175,000 sq.ft. station is a distinct, whimsical architectural landmark incorporating a unique subway entrance hall clad in weathered steel and red porcelain enamel. The adjacent bus terminal features a cantilevered Corten canopy.

Learn more…

 

IBI Group, aLL Design | Toronto, ON

*Work performed prior to joining Aspect

 

ASPECT couldn’t be happier to have Eva as a key member of our team. Our Associates are some of the best in the structural engineering business, learn more about our Associates.

 


International Women in Engineering Day 2021

In celebration of International Women In Engineering Day on June 23, this year we are sharing the accomplishments of the incredible women on our team: what they are most proud of so far in their careers, and what they are most looking forward to as they progress in the world of Engineering. Read more below about our Trailblazers, Collaborators and Thinkers.

Lucía Delacoste Griñó

Project Engineer | M.Eng.


What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of at this point in your career, and why?
I feel very lucky for the opportunities I’ve had so far working in this field. I have had the chance to work on very varied projects that range from single family homes to museums to art pieces, across three different continents. In this journey, what gives me greatest pride is the fact that I have been able to adapt to the different situations and environments that have been presented to me and managed to quickly understand the key issues within the context I was in.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in future?
I am very excited about working with mass timber at the moment. I feel like wood is the construction material of the future and I am eager to take part in this process. Humanity has enormous challenges ahead regarding the environment and as engineers we have a mandate to manage resources in a responsible way; advocating for efficient, elegant and economical wood buildings is certainly a way to do so.

Lucía Delacoste Griñó

Project Engineer | M.Eng.


What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of at this point in your career, and why?
I feel very lucky for the opportunities I’ve had so far working in this field. I have had the chance to work on very varied projects that range from single family homes to museums to art pieces, across three different continents. In this journey, what gives me greatest pride is the fact that I have been able to adapt to the different situations and environments that have been presented to me and managed to quickly understand the key issues within the context I was in.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in future?
I am very excited about working with mass timber at the moment. I feel like wood is the construction material of the future and I am eager to take part in this process. Humanity has enormous challenges ahead regarding the environment and as engineers we have a mandate to manage resources in a responsible way; advocating for efficient, elegant and economical wood buildings is certainly a way to do so.

Aishling Browne

Project Engineer | M.Eng., E.I.T.


What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of at this point in your career, and why?
I’m quite proud of my accomplishments while working in different countries. While based in Paris at the start of my career, I had to learn to work in French, which was quite an achievement considering I could barely hold a conversation! In the UK, during the construction stage I briefly contributed to the Wimbledon Court No.1 redevelopment. It was exciting to be on site for such an iconic sports venue. And now in Canada, after two years, my first completed project is about to open to the public – the Malahat Skywalk on Vancouver Island.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in future?
I’m looking forward to the construction and completion of my first bridge project – the SeaAndSky Pedestrian Bridge in Squamish.

Aishling Browne

Project Engineer | M.Eng, E.I.T.


What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of at this point in your career, and why?
I’m quite proud of my accomplishments while working in different countries. While based in Paris at the start of my career, I had to learn to work in French, which was quite an achievement considering I could barely hold a conversation! In the UK, during the construction stage I briefly contributed to the Wimbledon Court No.1 redevelopment. It was exciting to be on site for such an iconic sports venue. And now in Canada, after two years, my first completed project is about to open to the public – the Malahat Skywalk on Vancouver Island.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in future?
I’m looking forward to the construction and completion of my first bridge project – the SeaAndSky Pedestrian Bridge in Squamish.

Ilana Danzig

Associate | P.Eng., Struct. Eng., M.Eng., PE, SE


What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of at this point in your career, and why?
When I think about my accomplishments, I see flashes of images from throughout my career: I remember speaking in Germany at an international timber conference when I was relatively new to the field and on an otherwise all male panel with experts, rising to the challenge and crushing it, and feeling that first spark of passion kickstarting my love of public speaking. I think about getting feedback from my fellow Aspectians about a really nicely detailed connection, feeling in those moments like the effort I put in has really been seen by a group of people who share my values. I think about all the engineers I have gotten to mentor along the way, helping them learn the craft, and feeling like I am making an impact. I think about the projects I have worked on, large and small, where all the analysis and theory and work have contributed into these solid tangible buildings. And I think about when my 5 year old daughter told me that boys can ALSO be engineers and I know that I am a role model in what I do.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in future?
Setting aside, for a moment, all of the post-pandemic goals I have, like greeting people with hugs and hand shakes, in many ways, I am looking forward to more of the same. The challenge of this work and why it keeps me going is that each new project is a brand new clean slate and an opportunity for accomplishments, growth, and impact. I look forward to rising to these challenges, and facing them with curiosity. This is equally true for supporting and mentoring those I work with in meeting their own challenges.

Ilana Danzig

Associate | P.Eng., Struct. Eng., M.Eng., PE, SE


What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of at this point in your career, and why?
When I think about my accomplishments, I see flashes of images from throughout my career: I remember speaking in Germany at an international timber conference when I was relatively new to the field and on an otherwise all male panel with experts, rising to the challenge and crushing it, and feeling that first spark of passion kickstarting my love of public speaking. I think about getting feedback from my fellow Aspectians about a really nicely detailed connection, feeling in those moments like the effort I put in has really been seen by a group of people who share my values. I think about all the engineers I have gotten to mentor along the way, helping them learn the craft, and feeling like I am making an impact. I think about the projects I have worked on, large and small, where all the analysis and theory and work have contributed into these solid tangible buildings. And I think about when my 5 year old daughter told me that boys can ALSO be engineers and I know that I am a role model in what I do.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in future?
Setting aside, for a moment, all of the post-pandemic goals I have, like greeting people with hugs and hand shakes, in many ways, I am looking forward to more of the same. The challenge of this work and why it keeps me going is that each new project is a brand new clean slate and an opportunity for accomplishments, growth, and impact. I look forward to rising to these challenges, and facing them with curiosity. This is equally true for supporting and mentoring those I work with in meeting their own challenges.

Briana Rogers

BIM Technician | Architectural Technologist


What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of at this point in your career, and why?
I’m most proud of the growth I’ve made in my career since moving to Switzerland 5 years ago. Creating drawings in a new language and adapting to a new country’s building standards has definitely presented challenges, but I’ve adapted and learned so much more than I could have expected.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in future?
I look forward to expanding my knowledge and really focusing on the timber side of the industry. Building with timber is something I have always been interested in and it’s a material I want to be able to advocate for with as much information as possible.

Briana Rogers

BIM Technician | Architectural Technologist


What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of at this point in your career, and why?
I’m most proud of the growth I’ve made in my career since moving to Switzerland 5 years ago. Creating drawings in a new language and adapting to a new country’s building standards has definitely presented challenges, but I’ve adapted and learned so much more than I could have expected.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in future?
I look forward to expanding my knowledge and really focusing on the timber side of the industry. Building with timber is something I have always been interested in and it’s a material I want to be able to advocate for with as much information as possible.

Tanya Lee

Proposal Coordinator | B.A. Psychology & Commerce


What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of at this point in your career, and why?
I had started my career in Hong Kong as an advertising and marketing communications professional. Around 4 years in, I realised that I had a passion in understanding how places came to be. Hong Kong and Asia Pacific in general are very susceptible to climate changes such as monsoons, tsunamis, typhoons, and earthquakes. While I was l living there, there were always talk about building resilience into structures. It was then that I decided that I wanted to be part of the conversation and that meant I needed to pivot my career. A lot of sleepless nights before the big step, but I am happy where I am today learning all there is about structural innovation.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in future?
I have just only started my career in the AEC industry. As a proposal coordinator, my responsibility is to help the company bid for projects. What I am looking forward to most is seeing my first ever successful bid complete construction, and to know that I have been a part of the process. In the future, I am also looking forward to being able to pass by construction sites around the City and be able to recognize the structural system used.

Tanya Lee

Proposal Coordinator | B.A. Psychology & Commerce


What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of at this point in your career, and why?
I had started my career in Hong Kong as an advertising and marketing communications professional. Around 4 years in, I realised that I had a passion in understanding how places came to be. Hong Kong and Asia Pacific in general are very susceptible to climate changes such as monsoons, tsunamis, typhoons, and earthquakes. While I was l living there, there were always talk about building resilience into structures. It was then that I decided that I wanted to be part of the conversation and that meant I needed to pivot my career. A lot of sleepless nights before the big step, but I am happy where I am today learning all there is about structural innovation.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in future?
I have just only started my career in the AEC industry. As a proposal coordinator, my responsibility is to help the company bid for projects. What I am looking forward to most is seeing my first ever successful bid complete construction, and to know that I have been a part of the process. In the future, I am also looking forward to being able to pass by construction sites around the City and be able to recognize the structural system used.

Eva Chau

Project Manager | P.Eng., M.Eng.


What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of at this point in your career, and why?
I have been very fortunate to have been able to work on a variety of projects throughout my career. More recently, I am very excited about working on mass timber projects which is something that has always been a passion for me. There have been many moments that I am proud of recently such as being the Engineer of Record for the first time for a mass timber restaurant, getting involved with managerial duties for our Toronto office, and helping to mentor others in the office. These achievements demonstrate the confidence that the company has in me and the confidence that I have in myself and shows major progression in my career.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in future?
I am most looking forward to being able to look around me and continue to see the impacts that my work has on the cities we live in. This could be accomplished in many ways such as designing buildings that have a lower carbon footprint, involvement in projects that directly benefit a community such as community centers, affordable housing, and schools, and continued mentorship of younger engineers to become successful in their work.

Eva Chau

Project Manager | P.Eng., M.Eng.


What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of at this point in your career, and why?
I have been very fortunate to have been able to work on a variety of projects throughout my career. More recently, I am very excited about working on mass timber projects which is something that has always been a passion for me. There have been many moments that I am proud of recently such as being the Engineer of Record for the first time for a mass timber restaurant, getting involved with managerial duties for our Toronto office, and helping to mentor others in the office. These achievements demonstrate the confidence that the company has in me and the confidence that I have in myself and shows major progression in my career.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in future?
I am most looking forward to being able to look around me and continue to see the impacts that my work has on the cities we live in. This could be accomplished in many ways such as designing buildings that have a lower carbon footprint, involvement in projects that directly benefit a community such as community centers, affordable housing, and schools, and continued mentorship of younger engineers to become successful in their work.

Julia Fatkullina

Human Resources


What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of at this point in your career, and why?
I’m happy and proud that I followed my long-term passion for working with people and made a transition to the Human Resources department (from the Accounts Management side). I feel very blessed to do what I love and work alongside so many talented, intelligent, and unique people!

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in future?
I have a vision of our company being one of the best workplaces in the industry: a flourishing inclusive culture, great work-life balance, and outstanding performance in every project-related and non-project-related aspect. And even though we are very close to this vision already 😉 there is always room for good HR work to keep our people happy, fulfilled, and productive. On a personal side, I’m looking forward to completing my Human Resources Certificate with Simon Fraser University and getting my CPHR Designation.

Julia Fatkullina

Human Resources


What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of at this point in your career, and why?
I’m happy and proud that I followed my long-term passion for working with people and made a transition to the Human Resources department (from the Accounts Management side). I feel very blessed to do what I love and work alongside so many talented, intelligent, and unique people!

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in future?
I have a vision of our company being one of the best workplaces in the industry: a flourishing inclusive culture, great work-life balance, and outstanding performance in every project-related and non-project-related aspect. And even though we are very close to this vision already 😉 there is always room for good HR work to keep our people happy, fulfilled, and productive. On a personal side, I’m looking forward to completing my Human Resources Certificate with Simon Fraser University and getting my CPHR Designation.

Meike Engel

Project Engineer | B.Eng., E.I.T.


What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of at this point in your career, and why?
So far in the early stages of my career, I am most proud of the work I have done to help start up our erection engineering tools and standards for mass timber projects. This is a relatively new scope for Aspect and it has been exciting to dive into the world of construction engineering, element sequencing, and all of the aspects that help to create a safe, efficient, and successful project for contractors. This work has been extremely collaborative with different stakeholders of the project and has taught me a lot about what to consider in the design of structures, both in the temporary and permanent state and in terms of constructability. In the past year, I have been able to contribute to this scope in various different scales and complexities, including at an elementary school in Vancouver constructed using mainly CLT, an architecturally complex boathouse constructed using glulam frames, and several high profile mass timber office buildings in California.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in future?
In the future, I am looking forward to learning more about mass timber construction and design. I am particularly interested in mass timber construction since I am inspired by it’s environmental benefits in comparison to other more conventional building materials used today. I also believe that it will contribute significantly to building happier, healthier, and more sustainable communities in the future; a goal which we should all be striving towards in our industry.

Meike Engel

Project Engineer | B.Eng, E.I.T.


What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of at this point in your career, and why?
So far in the early stages of my career, I am most proud of the work I have done to help start up our erection engineering tools and standards for mass timber projects. This is a relatively new scope for Aspect and it has been exciting to dive into the world of construction engineering, element sequencing, and all of the aspects that help to create a safe, efficient, and successful project for contractors. This work has been extremely collaborative with different stakeholders of the project and has taught me a lot about what to consider in the design of structures, both in the temporary and permanent state and in terms of constructability. In the past year, I have been able to contribute to this scope in various different scales and complexities, including at an elementary school in Vancouver constructed using mainly CLT, an architecturally complex boathouse constructed using glulam frames, and several high profile mass timber office buildings in California.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in future?
In the future, I am looking forward to learning more about mass timber construction and design. I am particularly interested in mass timber construction since I am inspired by it’s environmental benefits in comparison to other more conventional building materials used today. I also believe that it will contribute significantly to building happier, healthier, and more sustainable communities in the future; a goal which we should all be striving towards in our industry.

AnnaLiza Rivero

Administrative Assistant


What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of at this point in your career, and why?
I’m proud of my ability to adapt, maintain a positive attitude, stay open to learning and build on my experiences.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in future?
I am looking forward to gaining continued understanding of the industry in order to support to the best of my abilities.

AnnaLiza Rivero

Administrative Assistant


What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of at this point in your career, and why?
I’m proud of my ability to adapt, maintain a positive attitude, stay open to learning and build on my experiences.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in future?
I am looking forward to gaining continued understanding of the industry in order to support to the best of my abilities.

Ornagh Higgins

Project Engineer | M.Eng., E.I.T.


What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of at this point in your career, and why?
To date, I am most proud of a project I worked on while living in the UK, Harpenden Leisure Centre. This was one of the first large projects I acted as lead designer on. As well as the construction of a new sports and leisure centre, the project included the refurbishment of an existing community centre into a theatre, and this change of use presented many design challenges.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in future?
I am most looking forward to completing the project I am currently working on which uses CLT modular construction for the gravity portion of the structure and EBFs for the lateral system. This is my first project working with mass timber, and one of my first experiences designing for seismic loads, which is still relatively new to me having just moved to Canada last year. The use of CLT walls combined with EBFs has presented many challenges, and I have learnt a lot while looking at solutions for this with the senior engineers on the team. I am looking forward to progressing this design further and seeing it be constructed in the coming years.

Ornagh Higgins

Project Engineer | M.Eng, E.I.T.


What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of at this point in your career, and why?
To date, I am most proud of a project I worked on while living in the UK, Harpenden Leisure Centre. This was one of the first large projects I acted as lead designer on. As well as the construction of a new sports and leisure centre, the project included the refurbishment of an existing community centre into a theatre, and this change of use presented many design challenges.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in future?
I am most looking forward to completing the project I am currently working on which uses CLT modular construction for the gravity portion of the structure and EBFs for the lateral system. This is my first project working with mass timber, and one of my first experiences designing for seismic loads, which is still relatively new to me having just moved to Canada last year. The use of CLT walls combined with EBFs has presented many challenges, and I have learnt a lot while looking at solutions for this with the senior engineers on the team. I am looking forward to progressing this design further and seeing it be constructed in the coming years.

Marta Cygan

Director of Finance Systems & Business Analytics | CPA, CMA; B.Comm


What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of at this point in your career, and why?
Reaching a point in my career where I am providing a solid, tangible impact for the organizations that I work with. For myself, it is more of a reflection on the various wins I have had over the years and how they have compounded into the value I am able to provide today. It is the journey that I am most proud of.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in future?
I look forward to continuing to push the envelope within the Finance and Analytics function in a leadership capacity. Leading the charge to find ways to make things easier, create more time for value-added activities, as well as highlight trends and provide visibility into areas that have not been considered.

Marta Cygan

Director of Finance Systems & Business Analytics | CPA, CMA; B.Comm


What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of at this point in your career, and why?
Reaching a point in my career where I am providing a solid, tangible impact for the organizations that I work with. For myself, it is more of a reflection on the various wins I have had over the years and how they have compounded into the value I am able to provide today. It is the journey that I am most proud of.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in future?
I look forward to continuing to push the envelope within the Finance and Analytics function in a leadership capacity. Leading the charge to find ways to make things easier, create more time for value-added activities, as well as highlight trends and provide visibility into areas that have not been considered.

Natalie Kosikowsky

Marketing Manager | Bachelor of Applied Arts, Interior Design


What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of at this point in your career, and why?
Though there are many moments and projects that I’ve been proud of throughout my career, I’m most proud that I have let my curiosity guide me and have been flexible in my path, rather than stick to a rigid plan. I have been presented with opportunities which pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I was brave enough to take those leaps and expand my knowledge throughout various industries, despite sometimes feeling that I wasn’t qualified. I think in general women struggle with confidence and imposter syndrome in the workplace, and so to really push through that and be rewarded with continued learning and growth is a big accomplishment. I’m also proud that I followed my heart back to my passion for architecture after working my whole career in other fields, and I’m proud of all I’ve learned so far as part of the Aspect team.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in future?
I’m honestly really looking forward to the continued growth and accomplishments of our team as a whole, and then (hopefully) taking some fun and unconventional approaches to how we tell the Aspect story.

Natalie Kosikowsky

Marketing Manager | Bachelor of Applied Arts, Interior Design


What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of at this point in your career, and why?
Though there are many moments and projects that I’ve been proud of throughout my career, I’m most proud that I have let my curiosity guide me and have been flexible in my path, rather than stick to a rigid plan. I have been presented with opportunities which pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I was brave enough to take those leaps and expand my knowledge throughout various industries, despite sometimes feeling that I wasn’t qualified. I think in general women struggle with confidence and imposter syndrome in the workplace, and so to really push through that and be rewarded with continued learning and growth is a big accomplishment. I’m also proud that I followed my heart back to my passion for architecture after working my whole career in other fields, and I’m proud of all I’ve learned so far as part of the Aspect team.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in future?
I’m honestly really looking forward to the continued growth and accomplishments of our team as a whole, and then (hopefully) taking some fun and unconventional approaches to how we tell the Aspect story.

Gina Sheppard

Principal


What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of at this point in your career, and why?
While maybe a “small” thing, one that stands out for me was the first time someone told me they specifically wanted to work at Aspect because of our diversity and female representation across the team. I felt like it was a very affirming moment for our team and our values.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in future?
Hitting and exceeding the 30 by 30 goal set by Engineers Canada. That number represents a major positive shift in the industry, and a healthy(ier), strong(er) team.

Gina Sheppard

Principal


What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of at this point in your career, and why?
While maybe a “small” thing, one that stands out for me was the first time someone told me they specifically wanted to work at Aspect because of our diversity and female representation across the team. I felt like it was a very affirming moment for our team and our values.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in future?
Hitting and exceeding the 30 by 30 goal set by Engineers Canada. That number represents a major positive shift in the industry, and a healthy(ier), strong(er) team.


Sidewalk Talk: Introducing PMX 15

We’re proud to be able to finally share more of our work with Sidewalk Labs: introducing…PMX 15! Building on our learnings from PMX 35, we’ve set out to further define and refine mass timber construction using a prefabricated, factory-built, "Kit of Parts" approach. This time we took the design up to construction level documents for a 15-storey mass timber building based in Seattle:

"Next, we wanted to test our ability to design a safe wooden structure in a seismic region. We decided to do that with a mid-rise building 15 stories tall, for a couple reasons. Many cities have a greater market demand for mid-rise buildings, and U.S. states and cities are also starting to adopt the 2021 International Building Code, which grants regulatory approval for timber structures up to 18 stories tall."

This 2-part Sidewalk Labs blog will take you through the project and the choices, implications and learnings behind it:

  • Introducing PMX 15: Our model for a mid-rise timber building (Introduction)
  • Designing for a high seismic zone while meeting latest building code (Part 1)
  • Improving the factory kit of parts to achieve low-carbon, high-quality design (Part 2)

We also invite you to explore Sidewalk Talk, a blog where technologists and urbanists discuss the future of cities.

(Image: Sidewalk Labs)

Adam Gerber Wins Inaugural SEABC Young Meritorious Achievement Award

We are thrilled to announce that our very own Adam Gerber has won the inaugural SEABC Young Meritorious Achievement Award! This award is granted to an engineer who demonstrates significant professional achievements early in their career.

Adam is recognized for his outstanding contribution to the field of Engineering. He is a teacher, mentor, and an exceptional Engineer. He’s a problem solver, always thinking outside the box and not afraid to use sound judgement in tackling engineering challenges. He enthusiastically trains and mentors those starting out in the field. And finally, he is a consummate professional – extremely well respected by his peers and those he works with throughout the industry.

Adam has a breadth of hands-on and technical experience, which is largely unique in the field of Structural Engineering. Prior to and throughout his Bachelor degree in Civil Engineering from the University of British Columbia, he gained experience in the design and construction of timber structures as a carpenter, foreman, estimator, and structural EIT. This enables him to view projects from the perspective of designers, builders, and managers, assisting him in creating cost-effective, constructible, and efficient solutions. Adam is also a certified Passive House Consultant.

Adam returned to the University of British Columbia where he earned his Master’s degree in Structural and Earthquake Engineering. His research focused on the development of timber-concrete composite technology and vibration performance of floors. His work in this area sought to identify high-performance and low-cost connection technology, and compare their performance across several mass timber products. The test program, widely cited throughout the industry, was the largest of its kind and demonstrated the safety, viability, and opportunity for the further implementation of the technology in Canada and around the world.

Adam joined Aspect Structural Engineers at its inception in 2016, and became a Principal in 2018. His leadership and influence has been pivotal in both laying the foundations for the business and in championing the positive growth trajectory of the firm.

Adam currently acts as one of the Managing Principals, as well as the Toronto office lead. Most recently, Adam completed his MBA in December, 2020, which has further enabled him to deepen the firm’s business management and strategic planning functionality.

Big congrats, Adam - well deserved!

 


Meet the Associates – Shawn Kennedy

We are thrilled to announce that Shawn Kennedy (P.Eng., PE, M.A.Sc.) has joined the ASPECT team as an Associate in our Toronto office. Shawn graduated from the University of Sherbrooke in 2011 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering, and began his career in Vancouver working mainly on Institutional, Commercial, Residential and Mass Timber projects. He completed his Master’s in Civil Engineering in 2014 from the University of Laval in Quebec City, where his research focused on connections for Mass Timber products.

Shawn has worked on several high-profile and award-winning projects in Canada and Internationally, including the Ashram Temple of Light in Kootenay Bay, BC; NLC Heavy Mechanical Trade Building in Dawson Creek, BC;  Terrace House in Vancouver, BC; OSU Forest Science Complex in Corvallis, OR; and Créteil Office Building in Paris, France.

Shawn is passionate about Mass Timber, and his Master’s research focused on fastener capacity in timber engineered products, which served as the basis for the development of design equations on the latest CSA 086 standard.

 

SELECTED PROJECTS

2019
2019

ASHRAM TEMPLE OF LIGHT*

ASHRAM TEMPLE OF LIGHT*

This remote temple for the Yasodhara Ashram is on the forest’s edge overlooking Kootenay Lake. The structure consists of 8 large glulam arches connected by an innovative ring moment connection. Prefab light frame panels are laid across the arches to create the 3D flower shape of the temple. Learn more…

 

Patkau Architects | Kootenay Bay, BC
2019

NLC TRADE CENTRE*

NLC TRADE CENTRE*

This building at the Northern Lights College in Dawson Creek provides workshops for carpentry, welding, plumbing, millwright, wind turbine technology, as well as student commons, classrooms, and offices. The building includes several skylights and long perimeter clerestories. The efficient mass timber structure includes prefabricated edge laminated veneer lumber (LVL) roof panels, LVL posts & beams, and cross laminated timber (CLT) walls. Learn More…

 

McFarland Marceau Architects | Dawson Creek, BC
2018
2018

COLLEGE OF NEW CALEDONIA HMTF TRADE CENTRE*

COLLEGE OF NEW CALEDONIA HMTF TRADE CENTRE*

A training facility for the students of heavy machinery, this building includes a large multifunctional workshop and several dedicated technology laboratories. Designed to offer much natural light, this two storey facility aims for an industrial yet elegant look, with structure including concrete, steel, masonry, and mass timber. Learn more…

 

OMB Architects  | Dawson Creek, BC
2017
2017

HILLCREST RESIDENCE*

HILLCREST RESIDENCE*

An exceptional private home in Whistler, perched above Alta Lake. The finished product demonstrates a distinct attention to detail. Steel framing was utilized to achieve impressive cantilevers and wood construction was opted for at the upper levels. The residence is Passivhaus intent using specialized connectors to minimize the effect of heat bridges.

 

Gort Scott Architect | Whistler, BC

*Work performed prior to joining Aspect

 

PUBLICATIONS / PRESENTATIONS

Aside from engineering many state-of-the-art buildings, Shawn is also engaged with the engineering community through publications and talks such as:

ISM & SCGC Montreal & Quebec CityOregon State University Peavy Hall Project2020
Cecobois (Montreal & Quebec City)Innovations in Mass Timber Design2018
Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA)Mass Timber Structural Innovations2017
WCTE Quebec CityDesign Equations for Dowel Embedment Strength and Withdrawal Resistance for Threaded Fasteners in CLT2014
Publication (WCTE)Design Equations for Embedment Strength of Wood for Threaded Fasteners in the Canadian Timber Design Code2014
Publication (WCTE)Design Equation for Withdrawal Resistance of Threaded Fasteners in the Canadian Timber Design Code2014
Publication (WCTE)Design Equations for Dowel Embedment Strength and Withdrawal Resistance for Threaded Fasteners in CLT2014

 

ASPECT couldn’t be happier to have Shawn as a key member of our team. Our Associates are some of the best in the structural engineering business, learn more about our Associates.

 


International Women in Engineering Day

In celebration of International Women In Engineering Day on June 23, we are celebrating the incredible women on our team and sharing their experiences in the world of Engineering. Read more below about our Trailblazers, Collaborators and Thinkers.

Aishling Browne

Project Engineer | M.Eng, E.I.T.


How did you get into Engineering?
My decision to pursue a degree in Structural Engineering was down to a fascination with Architecture and an innate curiosity about how things are constructed. It was also a result of watching too much Grand Designs growing up. An internship eight years ago cemented my passion about the built environment and kick-started my career.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
I was the only girl in my class for several subjects in high school – so working in a male-dominated environment was not an intimidating prospect. My experience in the industry has had minor challenges but learning to trust your instincts and use your voice are key to overcoming them.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
If you’re looking for a career that is both challenging and rewarding, Engineering is the way to go. It can be very varied – different types of projects, structural systems, materials – which keep it interesting. There is always something new to learn no matter how long you’ve worked in the industry.

Aishling Browne

Project Engineer | M.Eng, E.I.T.


How did you get into Engineering?
My decision to pursue a degree in Structural Engineering was down to a fascination with Architecture and an innate curiosity about how things are constructed. It was also a result of watching too much Grand Designs growing up. An internship eight years ago cemented my passion about the built environment and kick-started my career.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
I was the only girl in my class for several subjects in high school – so working in a male-dominated environment was not an intimidating prospect. My experience in the industry has had minor challenges but learning to trust your instincts and use your voice are key to overcoming them.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
If you’re looking for a career that is both challenging and rewarding, Engineering is the way to go. It can be very varied – different types of projects, structural systems, materials – which keep it interesting. There is always something new to learn no matter how long you’ve worked in the industry.

Ilana Danzig

Associate | P.Eng., Struct. Eng., M.Eng., PE, SE


How did you get into Engineering?
Growing up, I had an affinity for math and physics. The rules and language just made sense to me. It’s obvious to me now that I was an Engineer-to-be, but I didn’t have any Engineer role models in my life and had no idea what Engineers “did.” In high school I received a scholarship that was offered to women to entice them to Engineering and I think that was the first time I ever considered the field. With a “why not” attitude, and still no clue what Engineering was, I took a leap into the field and I have never once looked back. By now I think I have figured out what (some) Engineers do.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
Being the only woman on a construction site used to be really awful. One of my university summer jobs was working on a site doing construction management, and the blatant and subtle sexism left me feeling as if I didn’t belong in Engineering. I hated that I had to develop a thick skin, laugh along with the jokes, and feel alone in my struggle and self-consciousness about my age and gender. Time has been kind to the industry though, and over the years, at least here in BC, I’ve seen a much better culture emerge on most construction sites.

Representation was another challenge. I can count on one hand the number of female senior Engineers who I’ve worked with in my career. Amongst Engineers, Technicians, and Architects, examples of women who were senior in their field were rare. Women who were senior in their field AND had kids were almost nonexistent. Representation matters so much more than people who’ve never lacked for it understand. I couldn’t see myself in senior roles, especially if I was a parent, and I worried that I would hinder my career by having a child. Today, I see so many more examples of women who are senior in their field, women in Engineering with kids and, so importantly, Dads taking on the kind of active parenting that traditionally used to be left to Mom.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
I have three messages to the girls/women entering the field:
1.  Know that the field of Engineering is stronger with you than without you. Engineering is primarily a field of creativity that happens to use the language of math and physics. Uniformity is the death of creativity, whereas creativity benefits enormously from diversity, broad perspectives, and people coming at problems in different ways.
2.  Seek out role models and mentors. Regardless of gender, seek out people you admire, can learn from, and you can draw inspiration from.
3.  You have power in your choices. When you choose a school, a job, or even a study group that explicitly recognizes the inherent value in diversity, you are casting a vote.

Ilana Danzig

Associate | P.Eng., Struct. Eng., M.Eng., PE, SE


How did you get into Engineering?
Growing up, I had an affinity for math and physics. The rules and language just made sense to me. It’s obvious to me now that I was an Engineer-to-be, but I didn’t have any Engineer role models in my life and had no idea what Engineers “did.” In high school I received a scholarship that was offered to women to entice them to Engineering and I think that was the first time I ever considered the field. With a “why not” attitude, and still no clue what Engineering was, I took a leap into the field and I have never once looked back. By now I think I have figured out what (some) Engineers do.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
Being the only woman on a construction site used to be really awful. One of my university summer jobs was working on a site doing construction management, and the blatant and subtle sexism left me feeling as if I didn’t belong in Engineering. I hated that I had to develop a thick skin, laugh along with the jokes, and feel alone in my struggle and self-consciousness about my age and gender. Time has been kind to the industry though, and over the years, at least here in BC, I’ve seen a much better culture emerge on most construction sites.

Representation was another challenge. I can count on one hand the number of female senior Engineers who I’ve worked with in my career. Amongst Engineers, Technicians, and Architects, examples of women who were senior in their field were rare. Women who were senior in their field AND had kids were almost nonexistent. Representation matters so much more than people who’ve never lacked for it understand. I couldn’t see myself in senior roles, especially if I was a parent, and I worried that I would hinder my career by having a child. Today, I see so many more examples of women who are senior in their field, women in Engineering with kids and, so importantly, Dads taking on the kind of active parenting that traditionally used to be left to Mom.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
I have three messages to the girls/women entering the field:
1.  Know that the field of Engineering is stronger with you than without you. Engineering is primarily a field of creativity that happens to use the language of math and physics. Uniformity is the death of creativity, whereas creativity benefits enormously from diversity, broad perspectives, and people coming at problems in different ways.
2.  Seek out role models and mentors. Regardless of gender, seek out people you admire, can learn from, and you can draw inspiration from.
3.  You have power in your choices. When you choose a school, a job, or even a study group that explicitly recognizes the inherent value in diversity, you are casting a vote.

Ellie Clark

Project Engineer | M.Eng., E.I.T.


How did you get into Engineering?
Whilst trying to decide which degree to study at university, I was torn between taking a creative subject as I loved design, or a mathematical degree as this is where I was academically stronger. A friend suggested that I look into studying engineering, as the skills required combine science, design and maths.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
As a female engineer, you will often find yourself as the only woman on site and in meetings. Having the confidence to speak up and get your point across can sometimes be challenging, especially when you are starting out.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
I have been lucky to have been taught by and worked with some great female engineers who have been wonderful role models for me.  I would advise young female engineers to seek out the same support as it is can be difficult to believe you can do something when you don’t see people similar to you achieving it.

Ellie Clark

Project Engineer | M.Eng., E.I.T.


How did you get into Engineering?
Whilst trying to decide which degree to study at university, I was torn between taking a creative subject as I loved design, or a mathematical degree as this is where I was academically stronger. A friend suggested that I look into studying engineering, as the skills required combine science, design and maths.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
As a female engineer, you will often find yourself as the only woman on site and in meetings. Having the confidence to speak up and get your point across can sometimes be challenging, especially when you are starting out.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
I have been lucky to have been taught by and worked with some great female engineers who have been wonderful role models for me.  I would advise young female engineers to seek out the same support as it is can be difficult to believe you can do something when you don’t see people similar to you achieving it.

Julia Fatkullina

Project Accountant


What do you enjoy most about working as a Project Accountant in Engineering?
Throughout my career I’ve worked in a variety of industries, and I am relatively new to Engineering. My favourite part from day one was the idea of being a part of something big – big projects that benefit so many people. It starts as an idea, drawing or a model, and then I can see it coming to life phase-by-phase. The whole process is transpiring in front of my eyes. After some time when I see pictures of the final result, it just blows my mind! Thinking that I was a part of this process, supporting the team of Engineers on the financial side of business, thinking of all these people that have new homes, schools, bridges, etc. makes me feel happy and fulfilled. I’m very proud to be a part of the team that makes the world a better place, one building at a time. And I truly admire women who choose this complex profession as their career.

Julia Fatkullina

Project Accountant


What do you enjoy most about working as a Project Accountant in Engineering?
Throughout my career I’ve worked in a variety of industries, and I am relatively new to Engineering. My favourite part from day one was the idea of being a part of something big – big projects that benefit so many people. It starts as an idea, drawing or a model, and then I can see it coming to life phase-by-phase. The whole process is transpiring in front of my eyes. After some time when I see pictures of the final result, it just blows my mind! Thinking that I was a part of this process, supporting the team of Engineers on the financial side of business, thinking of all these people that have new homes, schools, bridges, etc. makes me feel happy and fulfilled. I’m very proud to be a part of the team that makes the world a better place, one building at a time. And I truly admire women who choose this complex profession as their career.

Ornagh Higgins

Project Engineer | M.Eng., E.I.T.


How did you get into Engineering?
I really enjoyed studying Maths and Science in school and I was looking for a career that involved these subjects. After completing a work experience placement in Engineering I knew it was what I wanted to do. I loved the problem-solving aspects and working within multi-disciplinary teams on the same project.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
I started my career during the recession in Ireland so I struggled to find a graduate position and had to look further afield. While moving abroad for work was initially a challenge it opened up lots of opportunities and enhanced my career. I’ve been fortunate to work in the U.K., Austria and Canada.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
If you find an area that interests you, go for it! It’s an extremely rewarding and stimulating job. What I love most about Engineering is being involved in projects from the initial design sketches through to the built structure. Also, the industry is constantly evolving so you’ll never run out of new things to learn.

Ornagh Higgins

Project Engineer | M.Eng., E.I.T.


How did you get into Engineering?
I really enjoyed studying Maths and Science in school and I was looking for a career that involved these subjects. After completing a work experience placement in Engineering I knew it was what I wanted to do. I loved the problem-solving aspects and working within multi-disciplinary teams on the same project.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
I started my career during the recession in Ireland so I struggled to find a graduate position and had to look further afield. While moving abroad for work was initially a challenge it opened up lots of opportunities and enhanced my career. I’ve been fortunate to work in the U.K., Austria and Canada.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
If you find an area that interests you, go for it! It’s an extremely rewarding and stimulating job. What I love most about Engineering is being involved in projects from the initial design sketches through to the built structure. Also, the industry is constantly evolving so you’ll never run out of new things to learn.

Raquel Fernandez

BIM Technician


How did you get into Engineering?
I got into Engineering thanks to my obsession with pretty drawings and inspiring architectural structures.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
Surprisingly, it is a constant challenge to keep communication skills up to par with technical skills, which we were not trained for in school and seems to be at the root behind most work problems. It is also a challenge to be singled out frequently based on my gender in this field, both for better and for worse, although it is improving with time.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
Associate yourself with great people who will stand by you. Work with people who you have fun with and share plenty of values with. Be stubborn enough to persevere through challenging problems, some of them systemic, which may be overwhelming at times. But whatever happens, don’t give up on being a girl.

Raquel Fernandez

BIM Technician


How did you get into Engineering?
I got into Engineering thanks to my obsession with pretty drawings and inspiring architectural structures.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
Surprisingly, it is a constant challenge to keep communication skills up to par with technical skills, which we were not trained for in school and seems to be at the root behind most work problems. It is also a challenge to be singled out frequently based on my gender in this field, both for better and for worse, although it is improving with time.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
Associate yourself with great people who will stand by you. Work with people who you have fun with and share plenty of values with. Be stubborn enough to persevere through challenging problems, some of them systemic, which may be overwhelming at times. But whatever happens, don’t give up on being a girl.

Eva Chau

Project Manager | P.Eng., M.Eng.


How did you get into Engineering?
Growing up, I was always interested in the built environment. Structural Engineering was a field that aligned well my interest and suited my skills in math and science. It is a choice that I have been very happy with.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
There have been times when some clients or contractors would look to a male colleague to corroborate a statement I made in order to trust what I have said. And, as I have recently become a mother, it is challenging me to think about how I can achieve my career goals and meet my goals within my family.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
Trust in yourself and be confident with your abilities.

Eva Chau

Project Manager | P.Eng., M.Eng.


How did you get into Engineering?
Growing up, I was always interested in the built environment. Structural Engineering was a field that aligned well my interest and suited my skills in math and science. It is a choice that I have been very happy with.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
There have been times when some clients or contractors would look to a male colleague to corroborate a statement I made in order to trust what I have said. And, as I have recently become a mother, it is challenging me to think about how I can achieve my career goals and meet my goals within my family.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
Trust in yourself and be confident with your abilities.

Meike Engel

Project Engineer | B.Eng., E.I.T.


How did you get into Engineering?
I chose to study Engineering simply because I was passionate about Math and Physics in high school. From a young age, I was always curious, and loved problem solving and so Engineering seemed like a naturally good fit for me.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
I suppose confidence is a main challenge which I have faced early on. Thankfully, I have always been surrounded by amazing mentors, teachers, and colleagues who have helped and encouraged me to stand up and ask lots and lots of questions! The number of women entering STEM fields is increasing significantly and more and more businesses seem to be excited about seeing more female representation within their team. My Civil Engineering class was made up of nearly 40% women which was very exciting and encouraging to be a part of!

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
Engineering is an amazing field to be a part of! It is dynamic, exciting, and there will always be something new to learn. My advice to young women entering the field would be to never stop asking questions and to always stay curious! I would also recommend doing as many internships as you can during your degree to help guide you and find your passion within the field!

Meike Engel

Project Engineer | B.Eng., E.I.T.


How did you get into Engineering?
I chose to study Engineering simply because I was passionate about Math and Physics in high school. From a young age, I was always curious, and loved problem solving and so Engineering seemed like a naturally good fit for me.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
I suppose confidence is a main challenge which I have faced early on. Thankfully, I have always been surrounded by amazing mentors, teachers, and colleagues who have helped and encouraged me to stand up and ask lots and lots of questions! The number of women entering STEM fields is increasing significantly and more and more businesses seem to be excited about seeing more female representation within their team. My Civil Engineering class was made up of nearly 40% women which was very exciting and encouraging to be a part of!

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
Engineering is an amazing field to be a part of! It is dynamic, exciting, and there will always be something new to learn. My advice to young women entering the field would be to never stop asking questions and to always stay curious! I would also recommend doing as many internships as you can during your degree to help guide you and find your passion within the field!

Julia Pham

BIM Technician


How did you get into Engineering?
I got into this AEC industry because I saw the work that my Dad and brother did in this field and wanted to be a part of the excitement too! I took a Structural CAD and Graphics program and started working part time at the company I had my practicum with, and transitioned to full time when I finished the bulk of the program. I love how I get to be a part of the built environment in my city and beyond, and learn how challenges are overcome to make structures stand and function.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
I started out working in an office with little female mentorship or example. I didn’t know how to approach my career when I faced jokes or was treated differently than my male peers. The industry is changing a lot and I keep having more and more positive experiences as I blend in for being the person that I am and not the token female in the room. The other is balancing the desire to spend time innovating with the realities of time!

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
First, what a great field to be interested in! This is an amazing field to be in if you love solving puzzles! Know that exploring the “why’s” of the problems helps with the “how”. Know that the joy that comes from teamwork and the effort that goes into a well-done project is beyond calculation. If you are in anyway concerned that this has traditionally been a male-dominated industry – do not fear! Know that if you work hard and speak up, your work will be seen for the results and effort you put in. Some things that have helped me along my way have been getting to know my coworkers and finding commonalities vs. focusing on the differences (ie. they’re so much older, they’re all men etc.), joking back, speaking up, and finding great mentors within and outside of the workplace. If you are looking for resources, Girls in Tech and Holly Burton from Women in Male-Dominated Industries are great places to start. The industry as a whole is getting much better. This truly is an exciting time to be in the field!

Julia Pham

BIM Technician


How did you get into Engineering?
I got into this AEC industry because I saw the work that my Dad and brother did in this field and wanted to be a part of the excitement too! I took a Structural CAD and Graphics program and started working part time at the company I had my practicum with, and transitioned to full time when I finished the bulk of the program. I love how I get to be a part of the built environment in my city and beyond, and learn how challenges are overcome to make structures stand and function.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
I started out working in an office with little female mentorship or example. I didn’t know how to approach my career when I faced jokes or was treated differently than my male peers. The industry is changing a lot and I keep having more and more positive experiences as I blend in for being the person that I am and not the token female in the room. The other is balancing the desire to spend time innovating with the realities of time!

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
First, what a great field to be interested in! This is an amazing field to be in if you love solving puzzles! Know that exploring the “why’s” of the problems helps with the “how”. Know that the joy that comes from teamwork and the effort that goes into a well-done project is beyond calculation. If you are in anyway concerned that this has traditionally been a male-dominated industry – do not fear! Know that if you work hard and speak up, your work will be seen for the results and effort you put in. Some things that have helped me along my way have been getting to know my coworkers and finding commonalities vs. focusing on the differences (ie. they’re so much older, they’re all men etc.), joking back, speaking up, and finding great mentors within and outside of the workplace. If you are looking for resources, Girls in Tech and Holly Burton from Women in Male-Dominated Industries are great places to start. The industry as a whole is getting much better. This truly is an exciting time to be in the field!

Gina Sheppard

Principal


How did you get into Engineering?
The truthful answer is: randomly – I picked a CAD Program and got “stuck” with the structural option. The real question is why did I stay? I’ve always enjoyed both math and visuals, and the field is the perfect blend of numbers and creativity – using rules to effect aesthetics. My passion for beautiful, well-communicated designs was sparked the day I got out of school and it just keeps getting stronger with every project I see come to life. One defining moment was when an engineer explained how he had used the golden ratio to layout the tight fit pins on an exposed glulam brace – I was hooked! The subfield of drafting, as well, has evolved so much – gone are the days when the technicians were locked in the closet and worked in a silo. I saw how different people on the team contributed in a collaborative way, found my place in that team, and never looked back.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
I’ve been in meetings where there is that awkward pause when people wonder if they should shake hands with the one female in the room.  I’ve had to learn to navigate the very unfamiliar territory of being an advocate for myself, which I think many young women find unintuitive.  I believe imposter syndrome is something many women struggle with and it’s definitely been a theme for me over the years.  Thankfully, throughout my entire career I’ve worked with people who were constant allies for me, and women in the field in general.  I feel particularly lucky to say that it was rare to feel isolated due to my gender within the office, and am so proud to see that it is becoming less and less of an issue future generations will face.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
It’s not as scary as you think!  Yes, women are still underrepresented, but that is constantly changing for the good.  Diversity is the secret ingredient that makes a good team into a strong team.

It’s um, like, super fun.  It’s a path that allows you to flex both sides of the brain. It continually offers new challenges and learning opportunities and is full of rewarding experiences as you work through the design and construction process – from concept to finished structure.  The field never gets boring as there are always new problems to investigate and solve.

Finally, and importantly, individual success is the product of exposure, encouragement, advice, and instruction from a variety of perspectives so draw on mentorship and community from a diverse range of people both in out of the field.

Gina Sheppard

Principal


How did you get into Engineering?
The truthful answer is: randomly – I picked a CAD Program and got “stuck” with the structural option. The real question is why did I stay? I’ve always enjoyed both math and visuals, and the field is the perfect blend of numbers and creativity – using rules to effect aesthetics. My passion for beautiful, well-communicated designs was sparked the day I got out of school and it just keeps getting stronger with every project I see come to life. One defining moment was when an engineer explained how he had used the golden ratio to layout the tight fit pins on an exposed glulam brace – I was hooked! The subfield of drafting, as well, has evolved so much – gone are the days when the technicians were locked in the closet and worked in a silo. I saw how different people on the team contributed in a collaborative way, found my place in that team, and never looked back.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, and now?
I’ve been in meetings where there is that awkward pause when people wonder if they should shake hands with the one female in the room.  I’ve had to learn to navigate the very unfamiliar territory of being an advocate for myself, which I think many young women find unintuitive.  I believe imposter syndrome is something many women struggle with and it’s definitely been a theme for me over the years.  Thankfully, throughout my entire career I’ve worked with people who were constant allies for me, and women in the field in general.  I feel particularly lucky to say that it was rare to feel isolated due to my gender within the office, and am so proud to see that it is becoming less and less of an issue future generations will face.

What advice would you give to girls/women thinking of entering the field?
It’s not as scary as you think!  Yes, women are still underrepresented, but that is constantly changing for the good.  Diversity is the secret ingredient that makes a good team into a great team.

It’s um, like, super fun.  It’s a path that allows you to flex both sides of the brain. It continually offers new challenges and learning opportunities and is full of rewarding experiences as you work through the design and construction process – from concept to finished structure.  The field never gets boring as there are always new problems to investigate and solve.

Finally, and importantly, individual success is the product of exposure, encouragement, advice, and instruction from a variety of perspectives so draw on mentorship and community from a diverse range of people both in out of the field