I was born/grew up in: Born in Burns Lake, BC. Grew up in Fraser Lake, BC
I now live in: Cranbrook, BC
I completed my training/education at: Engineering Design and Drafting Technology, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, BC, Canada
What I do at work
As a Mechanical Designer, I complete calculations, design, and create detailed drawings for commercial and residential buildings. Most of this work is on heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), plumbing and fire protection systems. I decide which system is best for the situation. I coordinate with other professionals to make sure the design works. When the building is being built, I go to site to make sure the building is being build as outlined in the drawings and specifications.
My typical day to day looks like this:
- Receiving a new project. Completing a schematic design to present to the client / owner. I use a PDF maker to color on the drawings. It makes the drawings look beautiful and presentable. This is where loving art is helpful.
- Running calculations using a software program. This is where math is important. Converting units, double checking areas and heights, solving for the right variable, all particularly important in sizing the right equipment.
- Layout and design the systems using software programs. Currently using a 3D program. It is like building a puzzle, problem solve each component to ensure it will fit in the building. Coordinate with other disciplines (architectural, structural, electrical, civil etc.) and members of each team. We must make sure current codes and rules are being followed. We read a lot of different books. We typically email but I like talking on the phone the most. We share drawings and models and make great friendships. Once we are coordinated, we issue drawing sets for contractors to build.
- Once the building has started being built, we work with the contractors to make sure the building is built the way we designed it. We go to site a few times and lately we have been face timing with the contractors on site. It is nice to see the progress more often.
- Once the building is completed the job is done. And we start the next one all over again!
My career path is
My dreams of becoming a figure skater never did come true… neither did learning to speak Russian or master Chemistry. After a few rough years, my mom gave me some tough love. I went to speak to a counselor at TRU in Kamloops, and she recommended Engineering Design and Drafting Technology Program. I had a few challenges as expected, we moved and finding work was difficult. I worked temporary jobs and drafted in the evenings and weekends. I stuck to it and am incredibly grateful for all the opportunities and people I have met.
As a woman, I never thought to myself that I was going into a male dominated sector. I have always worked with more men. I am fortunate to have worked with many great individuals (men and women) who have always accepted me for who I am!
I am motivated by
I like what I do because the work is always different, but the same. So, although I am challenged, I still have comfort. I am familiar with the pieces, but I must figure out how they go together in each situation.
I enjoy being the main point of contact - the person you call when help is needed. I have the knowledge and experience and prove to be an important part of the team. I am constantly learning and growing.
My proudest accomplishments are receiving my P.L.Eng in Alberta and my Eng.L. in British Columbia. This allows me to stamp my own work within my approved scope.
How I affect peoples’ lives
I like driving from town to town and seeing all the buildings I have worked on. So many people use these buildings daily and it is fulfilling to know I had a part in it. Although most of our designs are hidden, people always feel warm in the winter or cool in the summer. They always have a hot showers and water in their sinks. We make sure we put fresh air in, and we take all the bad air out. We also design sprinklers in case of fires, which can help save lives! Next time you are in a building look up; you might see something interesting.
Outside of work I
I like to camp with my family, garden, grow flowers, bake with my son and I am learning to paint. I love animals. We have dogs, a cat, chickens, and a duck who thinks he is a chicken. I have been volunteering locally with the annual popsicle bridge building contests at the college and did a presentation about the popsicle bridges at my son’s school.
My advice to others
This is a deadline driven industry and things change quickly and can be stressful. Be strong, be confident but not rude. Ask how people are doing and wait to hear their response. Learn from your experienced peers, regardless of their credentials. Be kind; most people are under pressure and laughter always makes things better ?