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Elaine Lau – A certified PTOE, only 3,000 worldwide

Elaine Lau – Transportation Engineer
Transportation Engineer Elaine Lau, who has been with Urban Systems for five and a half years, just achieved a milestone—her Professional Traffic Operations Engineer (PTOE) certification from the Institute of Transportation Engineers in Washington, DC.

PTOE-DesignationAlmost 3,000 professionals (2,983 as of March 2015) in the world are currently PTOE certified, and Elaine jokes that the gruelling test and intense studying required could be part of the reason for that—though she does point out that her real life experience gained at Urban gave her a definite advantage when learning the materials.

Elaine’s primary work has been in transportation planning and traffic engineering. She provides technical support in planning and design projects and when asked what her favourite part of the job is, she says it’s hard to sum up.

“We have really interesting projects here and I love the work. I also really value the people I work with. There’s so much positive energy around here. It’ a great place to work. The teamwork aspect makes you enjoy your work so much more; everyone is so passionate about what they do.”

At the moment Elaine (who is based in our Surrey office) is working on several projects with the Ministry of Transportation as well as providing technical support on other projects as needed. Although she says that as a young child she wanted to be an architect, it was a happy accident that her university of choice (the University of Alberta) didn’t have an architecture program, but did offer Civil Engineering. “It seemed like the closest thing,” she laughs. “I eventually got into the transportation side of things and really enjoyed it—the rest is history. I find this to be such a relateable profession—there are always challenges in moving people and goods efficiently, and always solutions we can provide to make things better.”

And as for what the future holds? Elaine says this designation has been a big goal, and now that she’s achieved it, her focus is on doing more project management and continuing to grow and expand her skills. The future looks bright, congratulations Elaine!

Learn more about PTOE: www.tpcb.org/ptoe/

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