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Sukhleen Chahal

Proposal Specialist
Seaspan Shipyards
Sukhleen Chahal
Sukhleen Chahal

I write contract change proposals for work to be done that was not part of the original work plan.

About me

I was born/grew up in: I was born in Punjab, India and grew up in Surrey, BC

I now live in: North Vancouver, BC

I completed my training/education at: I achieved a Bachelor of Commerce (specializing in Business Technology) from the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia

What I do at work

I usually spend my days gathering information about a specific change we’re doing on the ship. This involves working with many departments. This includes people working in engineering, contracts, supply chain, estimating, and production. From them I get the technical information, the costs, and the supplier impacts. I also get information on any production work that is affected and the contracts that may need to be changed.

While at work, it’s my job to dig up information that I think might be relevant. Then I use this information to justify why a change to the ship is necessary or what the costs may be for making those changes. Each change is unique and involves quite a lot of detective work before it’s submitted and approved by everyone. I’ve found it helpful to take on the viewpoint of each person who will be looking at my proposals and address their questions beforehand.

My career path is

Shipbuilding was definitely not what I thought I’d be doing when I was younger. I went to university for business technology. I started with Seaspan Shipyards as a technical intern. I enjoyed that role but found it a bit boring. I decided to apply for another internship with Seaspan Shipyards in the project management department. I didn’t know what to expect but I loved being able to work on complex projects. I also loved being able to work together with other departments. I learned quite a lot in those few months. As a result, I decided to apply for a full-time role after I graduated and here I am!

I am motivated by

My work is very self-managed and fast paced. I get to handle projects entirely on my own as I see fit while achieving results for the company. There aren’t a lot of people telling me what to do and I love that! I also get to play detective when I research changes and their costs. I’m an extrovert so I also love that my job needs me to be a people person.

How I affect people’s lives

I work in the shipbuilding industry in Canada. There is major economic value to this as shipbuilding creates a lot of jobs. These jobs are not only at the shipyard but across Canada with our suppliers. I also believe it’s important for a nation to be able to manufacture and repair its own vessels. I’m proud that I get to be a part of it! The work I do on the commercial side helps our company build vessels for navy operations around the world.

Outside of work I

Outside of work I really enjoy being outdoors (hiking, camping, and travelling). I also enjoy spending time with my friends and exploring new food spots.

My advice to others

If you’re interested in a similar career, I would highly recommend starting off with an internship or a co-op term in university. It’s a great way to explore the industry and make connections.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Foods and Nutrition
  • Foreign languages
  • Literature & Language Arts
  • Math
  • Physical Education/Health
  • Science
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Enjoyed doing things on my own
  • Organized activities for my friends
  • Played on a sports team
  • Was motivated by success
  • Engaged in volunteer activities
  • Liked being given specific instructions
  • Was really creative
  • Liked reading
  • Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades
  • Wasn’t sure what I wanted to do
  • Learned best “by doing”
  • Liked to design or build things


Seaspan Shipyards

Let’s Talk Science appreciates the support of Seaspan Shipyards in connecting us with this individual.

Seaspan Shipyards is a leader in Canada’s shipbuilding and ship repair industry. With modern facilities and a dedicated workforce of 2,700 in North Vancouver and Victoria, Seaspan Shipyards has proven itself to be a trusted partner on a range of complex projects for both government and the private sector. Seaspan Shipyards is proud to be Canada’s chosen non-combat shipbuilder under the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS). In this capacity, the company is building state-of-the-art ships in Canada for the Canadian Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy. Through its NSS-related work, Seaspan Shipyards is creating jobs, generating economic benefits and rebuilding Canada’s shipbuilding and marine industries.

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