Engineering Your Career: Alex McGaw
May 4, 2021
Alex McGaw, a third year Mechanical Engineering student at Dalhousie University, stuck close to home when he started looking for co-op placements. Originally from St. Stephen, NB, he's now on his third Build Your Career co-op placement with a J.D. Irving, Limited company. He has worked with CFM and Irving Equipment's Engineering group.
When asked about coming back to JDI he knew that changing up businesses and roles would benefit him in the long run. "For this term, I felt it would be beneficial to take the opportunity to learn a new and unique industry while continuing to grow my knowledge and understanding of construction projects. I believe this will give me a more well rounded and diverse understanding of the construction world as a whole which will prove to be an asset," says Alex.
This is your third co-op term with JDI’s Construction and Equipment Division what made you decide to come back, and with a new company?
AM: My pervious co-op roles with JDI's Construction & Equipment Division at CFM were excellent. I gained a lot of exposure and experience which I believe will be essential to a successful career following graduation. I felt it would be beneficial to take the opportunity to learn a new, unique industry while continuing to grow my knowledge and understanding of the construction industry. I believe this will give me a well rounded and diverse understanding of the construction world as a whole which will prove to be an asset.
So you’re now in a whole new industry – tell me how that’s going?
AM: I've been told that the equipment/crane equipment industry is unique. So far I find this to be true as I've been exposed to new terminology and ways of thinking. This will add to my experience here as well as give me some unique experience in an industry that can typically be found at any major construction site.
It's great to hear that you're learning on the job! Was there anything you came into this co-op role wanting to learn?
AM: I'm hoping to further my experience in project coordination and management as well as develop a thorough understanding of this new industry. I'd also like to gain a strong understanding of how to safely and efficiently plan lifts and moves so that potential challenges can be addressed prior to the execution.
What are you most excited about during this term?
AM: This term I am most excited about getting out in the field to see the construction sites and be a part of the lifts while helping to navigate some of the challenges that may arise during their planning. Cranes are so neat, and being able to watch them in action is fascinating.
COVID has had a big impact on most operations around the world, I'm sure you're noticing a big difference from your first co-op experience with JDI.
AM: During this difficult time JDI/IEQ are doing a great job of remaining safe yet functional and as close to normal as possible. This is done by ensuring everyone has proper personal protective equipment both in the office and on job sites. The required sanitization procedures also help keep everyone at ease.
The Construction and Equipment Division is always looking for hard working and motivated students to join the Build Your Career program. Keep an eye out for student opportunities here and all opportunities at careers.jdirving.com.
The Construction and Equipment Division, a part of the J.D. Irving, Limited’s group of companies, is a key player in the North American construction industry. Our core businesses are Irving Equipment, Gulf Operators, CFM, Irving Wallboard, and Kent Homes providing heavy equipment and crane services, civil construction, modular home and commercial buildings, and machining, technical services, repair and overhaul to its customers.