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Investment in Young Professionals Critical: Clavelle

Allison Clavelle honoured with young professional award for commitment to consulting engineering

As baby boomers retire, the engineering consulting industry needs to invest in young professionals’ skills development, says Allison Clavelle.

The Urban Systems transportation engineer was recently honoured with the young professionals award by the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies British Columbia(ACEC-BC).

“Engineers come out of school with strong technical skills, but to really be a great consultant, you also need communication skills, interpersonal skills and business skills,” Allison says.

“That is especially important because there is a bit of a gap in the industry in experience as baby boomers retire. We’re losing a lot of corporate knowledge out of our industry.”

In order to support young professionals, ACEC-BC hosts breakfast seminars about six times per year on topic areas like project management, financial and legal and communications. The association also hosts a professional development program with more in-depth training for professionals approaching 10 years of experience.

ACEC-BC also presents an award to a young professional in their first 10 years of experience who contributes to the consulting engineering industry with an exceptional commitment to quality projects and demonstrated leadership.

Allison’s colleagues kept her nomination a secret until they got word of her award. She was very grateful and appreciative to officially receive the prize at a gala ceremony on April 12.

“It’s nice to be recognized — not only personally for the work I’ve done with this group, but it’s nice to know what young professionals are doing is being appreciated,” she says. “Also to know that there were clients willing to step up and say I provided good service. That means a lot to me. I really value those relationships.”

Allison has worked as a professional engineer for eight years and at Urban Systems for two. She was attracted to the company because of its readiness to enable young people, its motto of spirit in service and its commitment to vibrant communities.

“I feel like I really contribute something in my day-to-day work and that is really motivating,” she says. “There are a lot of things we do that I feel do make the world a better place.

“With transportation, we’re trying to make it easier and safer for people to travel and to look at the long-term — what some of the changes might be and to make sure that the transportation network is developed appropriately to respond to those changes,” she says.

Each year the ACEC-BC Young Professionals Group hosts a public “consultants contraption” event to raise awareness about what engineers do and raise funds for UBC’s GEERing Up! Engineering & Science for Kids summer camp programming. As a symbol of the necessary collaboration among companies in the field, various Vancouver engineering consulting companies each contribute their piece to a large Rube Goldberg machine, a machine that accomplishes a simple task in a complicated way.

The next Consultants Contraption event will take place at Gilford Town Centre in Surrey on April 26, 2014.

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