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Engineering Success: Advice for Aspiring Engineers


Today is Professional Engineers Day. To earn a P.Eng designation in Canada, engineering graduates must reach a provincially designated minimum of on-the-job work experience under the supervision of a licensed engineer, as well as pass a professional ethics exam. So, who better to pass on some words of wisdom to up-and-coming engineers than some of JDI’s finest? We sat down with four Professional Engineers from our Transportation and Logistics Division to see what advice they’d pass on to their younger selves:

"As a young engineer, early work place experience is the foundation of your career. Ask a senior engineer about their first projects, they’ll recall even the fine details. Your career is built on your day to day projects, through the people you meet and the colleagues you work with.” - Luke Foster, Reliability Engineer, NBM Railways.


"In university we are heavily equipped with technical solutions and a technical mind set which will serve you well. I encourage you to sharpen all tools in your skill set and gain exposure to alternate view points and lines of thinking. This will aid you in early/future career to not underestimate the complexities of problems. Gaining multiple perspectives before charging down the path to a solution will save you and the company rework and complications.” - Jeff Allen, Director, Asset Management and Maintenance, RST Sunbury.

 Jeff Allen


“Be humble. Work hard. Learn quickly. When you’re just starting out your goal should be to be on the shop floor, or in the field, or in the plant – wherever the point of execution is – as much as possible. Learn to distill problems (and solutions!) down to the simplest version possible. My rule of thumb has always been a twist on Einstein’s classic: if you can’t explain something to your grandmother, you don’t understand it well enough yourself." - David Kerry, Director, Maintenance, NB Southern Railway.

 David Kerry

“Engineering is always the first step of any project, so there will always be tremendous scheduling and budget pressure on you. Focus on the technical accuracy of your work; check your drawings, calculations and reports before submitting them to your supervisor and resist the natural urge to quickly produce work to your supervisor. You and your company will be much better off if you have thoroughly double checked your work. Don’t hesitate to consult other professional engineers or subject matter experts with more experience than yourself on any matter you are unfamiliar with. Identify all technical challenges, uncertainties and your regulatory framework as early as possible in a project. Flag any risk you identify on a project as quickly as you can, and ensure an owner of that risk is identified. Learn from your experiences and seek out new challenges as often as you can, particularly early in your career." - Dan Vyselaar, Director of Technology & Development, Atlantic Towing Limited.