Katie Au head shot

Katie Au

Project Manager and Partner

BBA Inc.

Sector: Architecture and Construction, Engineering

Location: BC

Education: University

Type: Career Profile

Subjects:

English & Language Arts, Industrial Arts, Math, Physics, Science, Technology & Engineering

Katie Au head shot
Katie AuProject Manager and Partner
I am motivated by

I enjoy the variety in my duties. I like having different problems to solve and to learn from everyday. I especially enjoy bringing together a team of individuals, with different strengths, to work on projects. A diverse team can bring new perspectives and fresh ideas in order to find the best solution for the client based on the technical, schedule and budgetary constraints.

I am motivated by
My career path is

In high school, I had planned on going into nursing. But I was inspired to learn about electricity because that was my worst subject. I had difficulty understanding something that I couldn’t visualize. This led to me studying electrical engineering in university. I did not realize that engineering was still such a male dominated sector until I entered university. However, the gender gap didn’t affect me. I was treated as an equal to male students.

While in university, I enrolled in the co-op program. This gave me on-the-job experiences both locally and internationally. Through my co-op work terms, I tried out various career options such as laser welding research and biomedical product development. After completing my degree, I worked at various companies including small, medium and large firms in both private and public sectors. Eventually I ended up at a company with a culture that shares my values and vision. I would have been happy sitting behind a desk designing and programming everyday. However, I was fortunate to have managers that recognize potential in me. Along the way, I got some technical and soft skill professional development training. This eventually led to the people management, project management and business development responsibilities in my current role.  For more details, see my LinkedIn profile.

My career path is
My advice to others

Engineering is a challenging, yet rewarding career. There are many opportunities to explore within engineering. Find a field and industry that best suits your personality and interests.

My advice to others
How I affect people's livesI’ve worked on projects in different industries: utility, mining and industrial. Although the people that are affected by the projects may vary widely from one project to another, they all have one thing in common. This is the concern for safety and environmental impact. In my work I help address both these concerns. Potential safety hazards are assessed to ensure that the design can be constructed, operated and maintained safely by the crews. Potential safety hazards to the public are also assessed. Environmental impact is assessed to minimize or avoid negative environmental effects.
How I affect people's lives
Outside of work I

I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I like baking with my kids, walking my dog, and jogging.

Outside of work I
What I do at work

I work in the electrical department of a consulting firm where we work on various types of projects for different clients. Here I wear multiple hats and have several roles:

Project engineer: I coordinate, review and mentor other engineers/designers. This includes drawings, lists, specifications, reports, programming, etc. Project manager: I make sure projects meet client expectations and are delivered on time and on budget. Proposal lead: I work with others to make sure the proposals we make for future projects meet client needs.

Most of my day is spent in meetings coordinating, leading discussions and collaborating with others. I work with engineers in offices across the country! The rest of my day is then spent head-down at a desk, working on engineering deliverables and answering emails.

Fieldwork is also part of my job, although I don’t do as much of it anymore in my current roles. Fieldwork can range in the amount of time required. For example, it could be a daytime trip a local panel shop to perform equipment factory acceptance testing. Or it might be a short site trip for information gathering as part of design work. Sometimes it is a much longer (weeks or months!) site trip for commissioning work. This takes place when we oversee the installation of systems, plant and/or equipment at a client's site.

Sometimes I work on only one large or complex project. At other times I juggle my time between several smaller projects. No two days are alike; every day brings a new challenge and learning opportunity!

What I do at work
About me

I was born/grew up in: Hong Kong

I now live in: New Westminster, BC

I completed my training/education at: I completed a degree in Applied Science - Electrical Engineering at the University of British Columbia

About me

When I was

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Art
  • Computer Science
  • Foreign Languages
  • Geography
  • Home Economics/ Family Studies
  • Literature and English Language Arts
  • Math
  • Music
  • Science
  • Technology
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Enjoyed doing things on my own
  • Liked helping people
  • Enjoyed working with my hands
  • Was motivated by success
  • Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
  • Liked reading
  • Engaged in volunteer activities
  • Never wanted to be in the classroom
  • Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades
  • Liked to take things apart to see how they worked
  • Liked to design or build things

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Partners

Advancing Women in Engineering and Technology

Let's Talk Science would like to thank the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC) for connecting us with the individual profiled above.

Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC) is leading the Advancing Women in Engineering and Technology Project, a Sector Labour Market Partnership project, funded through the Canada-BC Workforce Development Agreement. The project’s goal is to increase the participation of women in the engineering, geoscience, technology and technician occupations through the implementation of diversity and inclusion strategies to recruit, retain and support career development of women to lead a system level cultural shift within these professions.

ASTTBC Technology ProfessionalsFunding provided by the Government of Canada through the Canada-British Columbia Workforce Development Agreement