Visit career profiles of individual women in engineering and technology careers in the Thompson-Okanagan region:


Robertson Heather image profile

Heather Robertson

Senior Project Manager

My workday filled with a lot of communication. Project managing...

Melony Catana profile image

Melony Catana

Environmental Technologist & CEO

I run my own environmental consulting company. I help the...

Brittany_Tuttle

Brittany Tuttle

Planner

I work with communities to develop policy that will guide...

Rachel Driedger image

Rachel Driedger

Principal and Project Manager

I run my own business specializing in project management in...

Robertson Heather image profile

Heather Robertson

Position: Senior Project Manager

Job title and employer:

Senior Project Manager, Associated Engineering (B.C.) Ltd.

 

What does your job title mean?

My role and responsibilities are to manage a variety of multi-disciplined infrastructure projects from inception to close out. Extending from the conceptual stage to the detailed design and construction, project & contract administration, stakeholder collaboration, financial management, procurement services and asset management.


Background information:

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

Born in Kimberley, BC – grew up in the East Kootenay

Where do you live now?

Kelowna

Where did you complete your training or education?

 BCIT – Building Technology

Capilano University –  Public Administration Leadership Certificate

I have also taken many other continuing education courses; many related to Project Management to learn more and to keep up to date with changes in this area.

 


What you do at work?

My workday filled with a lot of communication. Project managing is really the art of communication and bringing all the pieces together at every step.

In the early days of my career, I was on the technical and production side of designing. I used computer software programs to assist with the preparation of design packages. Checking in with the engineers or architects regularly was required so I could get their feedback on the design criteria and intent of the design. Interpreting what they said or provided required careful attention to detail.

Software has advanced in significant ways over the course of my career. Using these tools to the best of my ability has allowed me to keep current. I expect the impact of technology in design will only increase in the coming years.


How does what you do affect people’s lives?

Every project we work on has a benefit to the public. Sometimes, the outcome is an improvement on an existing piece of infrastructure. At other times, it is planning to improve or find a better a way of providing services to the public. This includes providing clean water, managing wastewater, providing environmental improvements, improving transportation facilities, etc.

 


What motivates you in your career?

I enjoy the process of bringing a team together to work on a project! Then I like following that project through the steps to deliver an outcome to the client’s satisfaction. It is rewarding to understand the complexities in providing community infrastructure services and systems to allow us to have the kind lives we live in our communities.


How did you get to where you are today?

I had no idea of where I was going when I was high school age. The country was in the middle of a downturn in the economy and there was no/little money for student education. I decided to pursue construction technology because I enjoyed drafting in high school. I completed a 2-year diploma program in Building Technology at BCIT. This has been the foundation of my learning and my career. I continued to take courses throughout my career to keep my learning up to date and to take on new roles and responsibilities.

I have worked in private consulting, public employee for a City, and a part-time post-secondary instructor at a college. I did this while raising my family. In addition, I have sat on a provincial board of my professions association and volunteered at many opportunities. I have also chaired two committees, and am past president of the Northern Technology and Engineering Society.

Each role I have taken on has been a twist or turn for me.  During my career, I have never written myself into a specific role. I have adapted with what is at hand and made this career what it is. I would describe myself as a generalist, willing to learn and adapt to the current situation.

I have had many role models in my career. The people that have influenced me the most are the ones that I have learned from their actions and professionalism. Some of my biggest challenges have been significant growth moments for me.


What activities do you enjoy outside of work?

I have volunteered in many capacities over the past 40 years. Some of these roles relate to my professional life (e.g., sitting on an association boards or being a member of a committee), attending career fairs and volunteering at trade shows. In my personal life, I have been a soccer coach and team manager, cross country skiing timekeeper, science fair judge, and of course, school fundraiser.

 


What advice would you give to a young person interested in a similar career?

I recommend keeping current with technology and seek out information for what you do not know. Always, push a little harder to get you through a challenge; you can and will do it. Also, develop a keen sense of trusting your instinct, which will help for decision-making.

If you feel your confidence waiver, seek a resource (trusted colleague, friend, family or other) to work through that and reset.

 


As a female professional, how can you influence the advancement of women in engineering and technology?

Take the time to listen intently and actively. Exercise your opportunity to have a say. This can be a simple dinner conversation or at a meeting.


 

When I was in high school, I enjoyed…

Art

Business & Economics

Computer Science

Math

Science

Drafting

 

When I was in high school, I was someone who…

Liked helping people

Enjoyed working with my hands

Was motivated by success

Liked reading

Felt at home in the outside, natural environment

Wasn’t sure what I wanted to do

Learned best “by doing”

Enjoyed outdoor activities such as skiing, kayaking, swimming

Liked to design or build things


 

ASTTBC thanks Let’s Talk Science for their partnership in developing this career profile.  Let’s Talk Science – a leading partner in Canadian education – is a national charitable organization committed to inspiring and empowering Canadian youth to develop the skills they need to participate and thrive in an ever-changing world. To accomplish this, Let’s Talk Science offers a comprehensive suite of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) based programs to support youth, educators, and volunteers across Canada. For more information about Let’s Talk Science, visit letstalkscience.ca.

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#CareerDiscovery #LetsTalkScience

Melony Catana profile image

Melony Catana

Position: Environmental Technologist & CEO

Job title and employer:

Environmental Technologist, CEO, Elevate Environmental Inc

 

What does your job title mean?

People and companies hire me to help them prevent their construction projects from causing impacts to animals and the environment. I determine what animals and habitats could be harmed by the work and then develop plans that the people doing the work follow. My work helps them get their environmental permits.


Background information:

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

Kemptille, Ontario, Canada

Where do you live now?

Kelowna, BC, Canada

Where did you complete your training or education?

I have a Diploma in Ecosystem Management from Sir Sanford Fleming College and a Diploma in Integrated Resource Management from Sault College of Applied Arts and Sciences

 


What you do at work?

I run my own environmental consulting company. I help the people who hire me keep their construction projects from causing negative impacts on the environment. My work helps them get their environmental permits so they can get their work done.

I travel to job sites make an inventory of the animals, plants and habitats located there.  I search online GIS resources for historical mapping records of endangered plants and animals near project sites. I write scientific technical reports about what I find and how it can be protected. I teach people doing construction work how to work in a way that will cause the least amount of harm to the environment. I also watch them working and report the results to the people in charge and regulatory agencies. I work as part of a team. I communicate a lot throughout the day with regulators, engineers, government agencies, contractors and other project stakeholders.

Sometimes the projects are set to take place in a lake or stream. For these projects, I have to remove the fish from the work area. I use fishnets and a backpack electro shocker (electrofisher) to catch the fish. Then I release them to a safe area, alive. This job means I have to have a strong knowledge of species and their habitats (especially aquatic ones). I also need to know the environmental legislation and region-specific best management documents.

Mastering technical writing is vital for this and any engineering job. I often have to make important decisions about protecting the environment. To do that I collect all the background information I can get to help me make those decisions.  Often, I refer what the law and what other experts say.  When there is no background information, I find my own information by doing field research.  When there is no established method, I invent and develop methods to get the information I need.

I rely on a team of biologists, technologists, engineers, contractors, and construction workers to work with me to develop design solutions for projects.  I use math every day. This can be for calculating habitat areas, figuring out seed and plant requirements for restoring an area, analyzing field data, or for calibrating equipment.


How does what you do affect people’s lives?

My work is important because I help people, animals and the environment.  I help stop pollution so that people can have clean water for drinking and recreation. I help protect fish and fish habitat, and endangered species. I help minimize the impacts of construction projects and restore environmental damage to keep habitats healthy and beneficial for people and the environment.

 


What motivates you in your career?

I like solving problems and thinking of new ways to do that. I like working with people that are like me. I find it very exciting to work with threatened and endangered species such as bats, turtles or amphibians. This is because the animals are very interesting and what I recommend can make a big difference to their survival.  I have always loved nature and now I get to work in nature and help protect it.


How did you get to where you are today?

I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was in high school. I was interested in plants, wildlife and the environment. I went to schools that gave me a chance to develop and explore my interests.  I have two technical college diplomas. I have taken courses including Riparian Areas Regulation Assessment, Erosion and Sediment Control, Wildlife danger tree assessment, electrofishing, and bioengineering. During my training, I had two coop placements with the Canadian Forest Service. One was for forest fire research and the other was for biological insecticide research.

When I graduated, I had several job options in Ontario but I moved to Kelowna to check it out. Unfortunately, there were fewer options here. For a while, I worked in landscaping and horticulture because I couldn’t find a job in my field. However, this experience turned out to be the reason I was hired for what I do now. My landscape design experience meant that I could easily do habitat restoration designs. It was by word of mouth that I was hired for my first long-term environmental consulting job.

There were challenges entering a male-dominated environment because some old-fashioned work culture remained.  I had a few good bosses and a few worse than bad bosses. I was 7 years into my career when I realized that, under the boss that I had, there was no opportunity for innovation, growth, or career advancement. That was when I decided to start my own company. It was one of the most challenging things I have ever done but I’ve never been happier at work! It has led me to working with really good people on very interesting and important projects.  Check my LinkedIn profile for more information.

 


What activities do you enjoy outside of work?

I snowboard, camp, bike, hike and dance. I volunteer to lead stream clean ups.

 


What advice would you give to a young person interested in a similar career?

Take technical writing training.  Work on your communication skills. Grow a thick skin. Everyone and anyone can teach you something.  Be open to any type of work to get experience – all work broadens your capabilities.

 


As a female professional, how can you influence the advancement of women in engineering and technology?

I can be an example for and encourage the young women in my life.


 

When I was in high school, I enjoyed…

Art

Drama

Industrial Arts / Shop Programs

Literature and English language arts

Math

Music

Physical Education / Health

Science

Technology

 

When I was in high school, I was someone who…

Always wanted to be outside

Played on a sports team

Enjoyed working with my hands

Was motivated by success

Liked being given specific instructions

Liked being given free range to explore my ideas

Engaged in volunteer activities

Felt at home in the outside, natural environment

Was really creative

Never wanted to be in the classroom

Always threw the best parties

Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades

Wasn’t sure what I wanted to do

Learned best “by doing”

Liked to take things apart to see how they worked

Liked to design or build things

Engaged in activities such as fishing, berry picking and hunting


 

ASTTBC thanks Let’s Talk Science for their partnership in developing this career profile.  Let’s Talk Science – a leading partner in Canadian education – is a national charitable organization committed to inspiring and empowering Canadian youth to develop the skills they need to participate and thrive in an ever-changing world. To accomplish this, Let’s Talk Science offers a comprehensive suite of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) based programs to support youth, educators, and volunteers across Canada. For more information about Let’s Talk Science, visit letstalkscience.ca.

Lets Talk Science logo


#CareerDiscovery #LetsTalkScience

Brittany_Tuttle

Brittany Tuttle

Position: Planner

Job title and employer:

Planner, Urban Systems Ltd.

 

What does your job title mean?

I generate land use policy and regulations for communities in British Columbia


Background information:

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

 Picton, Ontario, Canada

Where do you live now?

Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada

Where did you complete your training or education?

  1. Bachelor of Environmental Studies – Honours Planning, Co-operative Education with Minors in Geography & Environmental Studies and French at University of Waterloo
  2. Master of Management at Sauder School of Business – University of British Columbia

 


What you do at work?

I work with communities to develop policy that will guide the future land use and growth of their community. To do this, I work with civil engineers, biologists, landscape architects, GIS technicians, local residents, and politicians. My goal is to make sure that all parts of land use are addressed in our policies. We talk to local residents to see what they like about where they live. We also check to see how they would like it to change for the better in the future. Then we write policy to help reach that vision and goals. We write policy to address a range of topics related to land use. This includes such things as the infrastructure and land use needs. Land use needs looks at how much land a community may need in the future. This could be for industrial, commercial, and institutional activities, as well as housing. It also describes how these can be reached both through the use of policy and maps. We also check to see if the area is under any environmental protection guidelines. We also consider the urban design and transportation needs as well as if there is agriculture or parks and trails in the area.


How does what you do affect people’s lives?

Planning effects how our communities function and grow in the future. Every community has a plan with a 15- to 20-year timeframe. This outlines the changes it will experience and how challenges will be addressed. I love my career because it makes me a fortune teller for communities across British Columbia!

 


What motivates you in your career?

I love the planning profession because it requires a different way of thinking – there is no black and white or right and wrong. Planners must think about all aspects of a community from a higher-level viewpoint. We also have to know how all of these different parts work together. It involves a lot of working together and big picture thinking. These are the two elements that I love about it most! I enjoy working with other people and understanding how people choose to live. As someone who enjoyed geography, art & architecture, and the social sciences in high school, planning is a great career for me because it combines all of these subjects into one.

 


How did you get to where you are today?

My undergrad program gave me the skills and knowledge that I needed to be a Planner. The co-op part of my degree was really helpful. This is because it allowed me to work for four different municipalities (3 in Ontario, 1 in BC) and a provincial non-profit organization. In total, this gave me almost 2 years of work experience before I graduated! Having real-world experience before starting my career was fantastic! When I officially entered the workforce I already had a solid understanding of how planning legislation and theory are applied. In addition, as a consultant whose main clients are municipalities, I am able to better understand my client’s needs because I have been in their shoes once before implementing the bylaws and policies that consultants write.

 


What activities do you enjoy outside of work?

Hiking, painting/drawing, reading, spending time with friends and family, cooking.

 


What advice would you give to a young person interested in a similar career?

Read as much as you can about the profession and meet with a Planner for coffee to find out more!

 


As a female professional, how can you influence the advancement of women in engineering and technology?

Speaking with young women who are interested in STEM careers is the first step. Sometimes the interest is there, they just need encouragement and an opportunity to speak to someone who has been through the process before to inspire them to pursue it! I would love to chat with young women interested in my profession.

 


 

When I was in high school, I enjoyed…

Art

Foreign languages

Geography

History

Literature and English language arts

Music

Global Studies

Sociology

Psychology

 

 

When I was in high school, I was someone who…

Enjoyed doing things on my own

Liked helping people

Organized activities for my friends

Was motivated by success

Liked being given specific instructions

Wanted to be in charge

Liked being given free range to explore my ideas

Liked reading

Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades


 

ASTTBC thanks Let’s Talk Science for their partnership in developing this career profile.  Let’s Talk Science – a leading partner in Canadian education – is a national charitable organization committed to inspiring and empowering Canadian youth to develop the skills they need to participate and thrive in an ever-changing world. To accomplish this, Let’s Talk Science offers a comprehensive suite of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) based programs to support youth, educators, and volunteers across Canada. For more information about Let’s Talk Science, visit letstalkscience.ca.

Lets Talk Science logo


#CareerDiscovery #LetsTalkScience

Rachel Driedger image

Rachel Driedger

Position: Principal and Project Manager

Job title and employer:

Founder and Principal – Causeway Consulting Inc.

 

What does your job title mean?

I run my own business specializing in project management in engineering and residential/commercial construction

 


Background information:

Where were you born?

I was born and grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland

Where do you live now?

I moved to Kamloops, BC over 12 years ago

Where did you complete your training or education?

I completed my Masters degree in Civil Engineering at Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I also completed an Architectural Engineering Technician program at Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, BC

 


What you do at work?

I run my own business specializing in project management. We manage a variety of projects including engineering and residential/commercial projects. As a Project Manager, I am involved in all parts of the project. At the start of the start of the project I will work with the project sponsor make sure everyone understands what needs to be done and how long it will take. We identify the different activities and steps that will be taken. After this, we form a project team.

The project team members lay out their activities like pieces of the puzzle. Then we all work together to create an overall project management plan. This plan states the project scope, schedule, budget, resources and risks. The project plan also states how the different parts will be monitored and controlled during the project. My job is to monitor and control all parts of the project as stated in the project management plan. If any concerns come up, I share this with the project sponsor and work with the team to resolve any issues.

A project manager has to be a strong leader. Project managers also have to be very organized and be able to communicate effectively to the team. They must also be great problem solvers and decision makers.

 


How does what you do affect people’s lives?

I work on such a variety of projects, each one affecting different people differently.  For the project sponsor, I make sure they get good value for the money they are spending. For the public, I make sure the projects we work on are done properly.

 


What motivates you in your career?

I have always loved problem solving and working through issues to find the solution.  I also get a great amount of satisfaction in getting things built, projects completed and having happy clients.  The variety of projects I get to work on is something that always interested me in my career and motivates me to seek out new work.  I have been fortunate that my career has allowed be to move around the world working of a wide range of projects for a number of different clients.

 


How did you get to where you are today?

When I was in high school, I loved math and technology. In my technology program, I did a course on structural design, which lead me to take civil engineering in university.  The chance to work outside on projects all over the world was something that really appealed to me. My family always encouraged me to follow my interests. The fact that engineering was typically a male dominated sector never occurred to me until I went to university and was one of seven women in a class of seventy. I have always felt very fortunate in my career to have the opportunities I have had. Nevertheless, I would love to go back and tell my younger self to speak up more, take risks and have more confidence in my abilities and myself.

I worked for a number of years as a roadway design and municipal engineer. As I gained more experience, I became a project manager. I believe this experience provided me with a great foundation of technical knowledge to understand the issues that could come up in the projects I manage today.

I built on my project management in civil engineering projects by becoming certified as an Architectural Engineering Technician. This gave me the ability to work on projects that include the construction of residential and commercial buildings. After I had this certification and experience, I took the chance and started Causeway Consulting Inc. This has allowed me to follow my passion of getting things built and creating from just an idea. Check my LinkedIn profile for more details.

 


What activities do you enjoy outside of work?

I love skiing! This was one of the reasons I moved to Canada.  My move to Canada landed me in the interior of British Columbia, which has been wonderful as it allows me to enjoy the lakes in the summer and the mountains in the winter.

 


What advice would you give to a young person interested in a similar career?

My advice would be to keep learning and seek out opportunities that interest you. You never know where your career will take you.  Don’t let any internal fears hold you back. If you speak up and go after what you want, you will be surprised at the doors that open up.

 


As a female professional, how can you influence the advancement of women in engineering and technology?

I would love to become a mentor to someone starting on their career.  I think finding a mentor is really important for everyone at all stages of their career to get support, chat through concerns and seek advise and guidance when needed.

 


 

When I was in high school, I enjoyed…

Art

Business & Economics

Math

Science

Technology

 

 

When I was in high school, I was someone who…

Always wanted to be outside

Enjoyed working with my hands

Was motivated by success

Wanted to be in charge

Liked being given free range to explore my ideas

Was really creative

Liked to design or build things


 

ASTTBC thanks Let’s Talk Science for their partnership in developing this career profile.  Let’s Talk Science – a leading partner in Canadian education – is a national charitable organization committed to inspiring and empowering Canadian youth to develop the skills they need to participate and thrive in an ever-changing world. To accomplish this, Let’s Talk Science offers a comprehensive suite of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) based programs to support youth, educators, and volunteers across Canada. For more information about Let’s Talk Science, visit letstalkscience.ca.

Lets Talk Science logo


#CareerDiscovery #LetsTalkScience

 

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