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Technology professionals seed positive change for vibrant communities

Association honours Urban Systems for career enhancement

Technology professionals like Grant Lachmuth find career success and personal fulfilment in the lasting, positive impact they can make in the lives of people and the communities where they live, work and play.

Grant, for instance, recalls the effect of a new pontoon bridge connecting Kelowna and West Kelowna across Okanagan Lake. The public-private partnership (P3) project replaced the congested three-lane structure with a five-lane floating bridge known as the William R. Bennett Bridge.

The initiative transformed the socio-economic landscape in the area, Grant says, noting home prices in West Kelowna jumped 15-20 per cent or about $75,000 to $100,000 per home. It made living in West Kelowna more amiable and attractive because the apprehension that had surrounded the traffic delays and snarls related to crossing the bridge disappeared.

“As a technology professional, whether it’s in civil engineering, planning, landscape architecture, water or wastewater, you’re helping to contribute to a tangible end product,” says Grant, who worked on the bridge project and is now a senior government adviser with Urban Systems.

“The personal career satisfaction you get, whether it involves building a stretch of road, a bridge, a waste water facility or a landscaped area within a community, comes from knowing that you’re contributing to making a positive difference in the community.”

Grant says the social and economic benefits that technology professionals can help to catalyze through their work exemplifies the best part of these people and their profession. The floating bridge, for instance, changed how people commute and the potential of the residential market in West Kelowna.

“It opened up both socially and economically to make it a much more vibrant community on the west side,” Grant says. “If we want to help create vibrant and thriving communities, to me, that project epitomizes that.”

Such professional and personal success and fulfillment flourishes when technicians and technologists are supported in their work and relationships, which is why Urban Systems received the 2013 Employer Award for Career Enhancement of Technology Professionals from the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC) in Vancouver on November 2, 2013.

“If you provide that level of support both for their career and their day-to-day work, there’s greater opportunity for that individual to be successful, to be engaged with their work, and to know how useful they are in fulfilling the mandate of providing support to local communities and to clients,” Grant says.

Among the keys to creating an environment that nurtures career success is a hiring process that engages well rounded individuals who will fit and be part of a team, and then mentoring and coaching them so they grow their confidence and skills not only in their day-to-day contributions but also in their future development.

“That’s really the crux of what the ASTTBC was recognizing with the award – that there is whole support for the individual – for their career, the team they are a part of, for their personal lives and families, and being cognizant of all that in working with the individual,” Grant says, adding the award also recognizes the support that ASTTBC members at Urban receive in participating in the ASTTBC’s professional development activities and other endeavours.

Grant notes that Urban provides the same encouragement and support for all of its team members, which is then reflected in the circle of trust they build with each other inside the organization and outside in the community with clients.

“Relationship building starts in the workplace with the selection of individuals, the support and mentorship of individuals, and how they then go out and engage people,” Grant says.

“They know they have so many colleagues within the networked organization that they can look to for advice and support and help as they go out and lead their own assignment with the community.”

With many technology professionals on the front lines of planning and consulting, Grant says it is vital they be supported to be the best trusted advisers and stewards of the future they can be.

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