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Alexander Sharif

Structural Designer
Fluor Canada Ltd.
Alexander Sharif hiking in mountains.
Alexander Sharif hiking in mountains.
Sector
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Education Pathway

As principal engineer I work with a team of engineering and designers to carry out mega-sized projects.

About me

I was born/grew up in: I was born in Tehran. I was raised in the UK until I graduated with my bachelor’s degree. Then moved to the US. Here I received my master’s degree and started working for Fluor. I moved to Canada permanently in 2002.

I now live in: Calgary, Alberta.

I completed my training/education at: 

I completed a Bachelor of Science (Civil Engineering) at the University of Birmingham, UK.

I also completed a Master of Science (Structural Engineering) at the University of California, USA.

What I do at work

I am a principal engineer, a technical specialist and a subject matter expert. I help set up mega projects from the engineering side. In particular, I work on the civil-structural types of activities. I then execute the project plans with a large team of engineers and designers.

At work, I review emails, give guidance to my team, and hold meetings with other disciplines. I also review design documents and mentor as many young engineers as I can. My mentoring is from both a technical standpoint as well as giving them life skills. I often have to make extremely important decisions when I start a project (& throughout). These are decisions that will affect the cost, schedule, safety and the quality of our end product.

I do speak Spanish or French when I encounter members on my team who can do the same. However, 95% of the time, my communication is in English. I also enjoy tackling difficult technical challenges. Each challenge becomes a learning opportunity.

My career path is

Yes, this is how I saw myself to be when I started my career in 1985. I completed my bachelor’s degree in the UK. Then I moved to the US. I received my master’s degree from the University of California and started working for Fluor. I moved to Canada permanently in 2002. There has been a lot of twists and turns but I have always emerged more mature and have learned immensely.

I am motivated by

As I said, I enjoy technical challenges. My other source of enjoyment comes from transfer of my knowledge and experience to the upcoming generation of engineers. I enjoy being involved in the planning stages of a project (FEED) then into the detailed engineering and finally construction. It is extremely rewarding to see your designs get built and produce products.

How I affect people’s lives

At Fluor we design and build very complex industrial plants. These plants offer products and technologies in many sectors. This includes oil & gas, industrial, nuclear, infrastructure and power. I try my best to make sure we never compromise safety, schedule and cost over runs. My goal is to make sure we are delivering quality products to our clients.

Outside of work I

I do volunteer work outside of my work hours with Fluor. One group is the St. Vincent de Paul society. I also volunteer my time mentoring new sportsmen/women through AHEIA. I do many types of outdoors type sports. This includes: Hiking, climbing, scrambling, back country and cross-country skiing. I also enjoy archery, swimming, hunting, fly and ice fishing and travel.

My advice to others

Choose your career carefully. Put in the effort, be flexible, stay open minded, and work hard. Good things will come your way!

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Art
  • Business & Economics
  • Computer Science
  • Drama
  • Foods & Nutrition
  • Foreign languages
  • Geography
  • History
  • Industrial Arts
  • Literature and Language Arts
  • Science
  • Physical Education / Health
  • Technology
  • Math
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Brought people together
  • Enjoyed doing things on my own
  • Liked helping people
  • Organized activities for my friends
  • Played on a sports team
  • Enjoyed working with my hands
  • Was motivated by success
  • Wanted to be in charge
  • Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
  • Liked being given specific instructions
  • Liked reading
  • Was really creative
  • Felt at home in the outside environment
  • Learned best "by doing"
  • Engaged in activities such as fishing
  • Always knew exactly what I wanted to do
  • Liked to take things apart to see how they worked
  • Always threw the best parties
  • Liked to design or build things

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