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Maria Skyers

Development Services Project Supervisor
City of Surrey
Maria Skyers
Maria Skyers

Maria Skyers is a Development Services Project Supervisor for the City of Surrey.

About me

I was born/grew up in:  

I was born in Williams Lake, British Columbia.

I grew up in 100 Mile House, British Columbia, Canada, and completed most of my post-secondary schooling in Kamloops, British Columbia.

I now live in: I live in Surrey, British Columbia.

I completed my training/education at:  I completed my post-secondary education at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. The programs I completed include a diploma in Engineering Design and Drafting Technology, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Technology Management. I am currently enrolled in the GDBA Program (Graduate Diploma of Business Administration) at Simon Fraser University, with a future goal of completing my MBA (Master of Business Administration).

What I do at work

I perform detailed reviews for proposed construction project sites. This includes the design drawings, specifications and project cost estimates.  I coordinate with people in various departments at my workplace. As a result, strong organizational and teamwork skills are important.

I work as part of team and I often engage with my colleagues on various design issues. When a problem situation is familiar, our team collaborates to look at how it was resolved previously, and how to best resolve it moving forward. We discuss project success stories and share what has worked well. We also discuss what we did well and how we can improve future projects. My background in STEM improves my confidence engaging in technical team conversations. It also forms a solid base and deeper understanding of the topics I encounter daily in my career.

Some specific STEM skills I use are:

•            completing analysis of areas or quantities of volume to determine accurate cost estimates;

•            completing calculations to determine accurate grade of slopes for design coordination;

•            using computer software to complete detailed design reviews;

•            using data management software to assist in project tracking and milestone achievements to keep projects on task and on time; and

•            solving problems to resolve design conflicts and unexpected design constraints as they are revealed throughout the design and construction process.

My career path is

I knew that I wanted a career in a technical field since my late high school years. It was my grade 11 year that I really started exploring courses in drafting and design, and really enjoyed it! I ended up taking every drafting course that my high school had to offer. I really thrived and excelled in this area. I decided to pursue my education following that path. I received a diploma in Engineering Design and Drafting Technology and a Bachelor’s degree in Technology Management.

There has been one unusual turn in my career. This was when I made the unexpected career change from the private to the public sector. There are definitely benefits of each sector. However, I prefer what I am doing now (public sector). The real twist is that I am now managing the types of projects that I used to design in my previous role. I find it very useful that I had exposure to both sides of design (the creative design side, as well as the more structured management side), since they both play an important role in the quality of the finished product. Check my LinkedIn profile for more information.

I am motivated by

I get excited about the variety of projects I have the opportunity to work on! Each project has its own challenges.  I enjoy taking on new projects and finding better ways to solve problems. I also really enjoy the team of people I work with.  I think it is so important to get along with your colleagues and feel you can really thrive in your work environment with like-minded individuals.

This career is right for me because I truly enjoy going to work every day and performing well at my job.  I feel a sense of responsibility and accomplishment, but I am also challenged and rewarded often. The personal reward really comes down to the customer service aspect and helping people. At the end of the day, we are helping to build infrastructure that is needed by residents in the community. It feels good to be able to provide for people’s needs.

I have received many compliments on various projects I have managed over the years. Each project gives me new opportunities to learn and grow. Every completed project is another accomplishment for me. It is great to be able to continue to apply my skills and improve my technique.

In my STEM career, I have received specific software training to help lead our team through the transition towards a digital workflow. I have also received my BC CESCL credential (British Columbia Certified Erosion & Sediment Control Lead) as well as most recently my professional designation with ASTTBC as an Applied Science Technologist (AScT).

How I affect people’s lives

My career is very fulfilling! It is not only rewarding for myself when a project is completed successfully, but also for all of those in the community who are positively affected by the project. They will benefit from the result for years to come. The infrastructure and buildings being constructed effect the quality of life for the community. This is very important as the population grows and the need for resources expand. Some of the most fulfilling projects I have worked on are those that provide much needed affordable housing for our growing and diverse community.

Outside of work I

Outside of my career, I enjoy keeping active with activities like yoga/meditation, hiking, and biking. I also like to play some organized sports in my community like softball and indoor soccer.

I am enthusiastic about volunteering and have been involved in many volunteer roles with various organizations such as cultural associations, activity groups, and other organized events. I am particularly passionate about volunteering with groups that encourage women to pursue careers in skilled trades and technologies. It was one of these group events that helped me really boost my confidence and gave me the courage to make the decisions I made about my career. Giving back in this way by sharing my experience is important to me.

My advice to others

I would absolutely encourage a career in STEM to a young person, as it has so many wonderful benefits. I feel that the industry is very stable and reliable. In addition, the types of careers can provide a lot of opportunities and options that could suit many different skill sets. As with any career, it may feel intimidating or overwhelming at times especially as a woman in a typically male dominated industry. Nevertheless, I have seen things changing for the better – there is no better time to be a part of this positive change!

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Computer Science
  • Home Economics/Family Studies
  • Literature and English language arts
  • Math
  • 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 specific instructions
  • Engaged in volunteer activities
  • Liked reading
  • Was really creative
  • Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades
  • Liked to design or build things

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

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