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The Student Co-op Difference

Over the past decade, more than 30 co-op students have completed one or more work terms at our firm, with a third of them returning to full time positions with us on graduation. Mentorship has contributed to the culture of our firm in ways that we truly value.

The talent, fresh perspectives and hard work of co-op students have made a difference at Crozier & Associates.  These are some of their recent stories…

Parting Thoughts from 2016 Students …

This year’s co-ops, interns and summer students have exceeded our expectations … but then we say that EVERY year!!

We counted on them to conduct traffic counts at a local business, complete a benchmark loop survey at a local golf course, ensure a large submission got out the door, assist our admin or accounting staff with invoicing or arranging a staff event … or simply run an errand around town.

A number of our 2016 students have left us to re-boot their fall school terms. By way of a small tribute and thank you, we’ve asked them to provide some parting thoughts on their time at Crozier & Associates.

COLLINGWOOD Co-ops, Interns and Students ….

Standing: Brad Dickieson, Jake Baxter, Ty Sawyers Sitting: John MacKenzie, Kurt Vendrig, Olivia Wojcieszynski, Paul Madden

Standing: Brad Dickieson, Jake Baxter, Ty Sawyers
Sitting: John MacKenzie, Kurt Vendrig, Olivia Wojcieszynski, Paul Madden

Brad Dickieson – 4th year Civil Engineering, University of Western Ontario

Internship: May 2015 to August 2016

During my internship at Crozier, I had the opportunity to work in many disciplines within Civil Engineering, including Structural/Building Sciences, Construction Management and Field Services, Transportation, and Land Development. These varied experiences have assisted me in developing my communication and time management skills while coordinating with contractors, municipal representatives, and other consultants. These experiences have also revealed the important link between interdisciplinary teams within civil engineering, as many land development projects have structural aspects, and vice-versa.

Crozier & Associates has an exceptional philosophy surrounding their co-op students and how they are utilized. It’s very clear that mentorship is an important element within their business vision. Over the summer months, there were a total of six engineering and technology students completing co-ops at the Collingwood office alone, in addition to six students and co-ops in the Milton office.

I found Crozier to be a very people-oriented and comfortable environment. There are many opportunities to socialize with colleagues by joining organized sports leagues together, participating in ski and snowboard nights in the winter, or playing a game of pool or darts at the office at the end of a hard worked week.

I am grateful for the relationships developed while working with the Collingwood team. Crozier provides a great learning environment where students are challenged, trusted, and given ample opportunity to take on more responsibilities. The internship program was one of the most enlightening and rewarding experiences so far in my academic and professional career. I would recommend Crozier & Associates for a co-op or internship term to everyone interested in pursuing structural or land development engineering.

John MacKenzie – 3rd year Civil Engineering, Waterloo University

 Co-op Terms:  September to December 2015; May to August 2016

 I had an great co-op experience at Crozier last fall, and I jumped at the chance to come back for a second term this summer – and, I enjoyed my second co-op term even more than the first one! I gained invaluable engineering experience and was given an entirely new perspective into the engineering world this summer.

During my first co-op term, my work focused mainly on water resources and land development. I completed hydrologic modeling, stormwater management design and reports. I had the opportunity to assist with in-stream flow monitoring of rivers and creeks for floodplain assessments as well as field inspections and surveying for municipal and private servicing projects. I also became familiar with detailed servicing design (sewer/water/grading). In my second co-op term, I worked in the transportation engineering division where I focused on the impacts of different development projects on traffic. I assisted in the preparation of traffic impact studies, parking studies, engineering services proposals, pedestrian circulation plans, and transportation demand management plans for various projects in Southern Ontario. 

 Because my two terms at Crozier covered a wide variety of engineering services, I’ve been able to identify some areas I’d like to pursue in more depth as I continue my education and career. On a personal level, I’ve made a lot of great friends, through both work and many teambuilding activities with co-workers outside work. And, I was lucky enough to have friendly supervisors, who taught me so much.  

Kurt Vendrig – 3rd year Environmental Engineering, University of Guelph

 Co-op Term:  January to August 2016

 I can’t believe how my eight-month co-op assignment just flew by. I recall my first day – feeling nervous, but I was fortunate to have a great supervisor, who was always willing to answer questions or direct me. As I began working with others around the office, it really began to feel more like a small family. It definitely made for an awesome learning environment, from a student’s perspective.

I was directly involved with “real” projects, which pushed me to do my best and to learn as much as I could about each one. I was also given the opportunity to tackle a few smaller projects on my own. I really enjoyed working on some of the smaller Site Plans, including the FSRs, because I was able work on the reports from beginning stages to finished report. I also enjoyed the Land Development work, including attending council meetings and working on projects through the detailed design stage. All of this definitely gave me an insight into the communication and coordination required between all parties in order to move a project forward.

This was my first engineering work experience.   I have always enjoyed the challenge of the classroom, but I was still unsure if it would be the same in the workplace. I now know that engineering is the definitely the career for me.  This is something I can see myself doing for years to come.

Outside of the engineering work, there were many activities and events made the 8 month experience that much more exciting … such as going to a Jays game, euchre play and tournaments, the polar bear jump, Bowl for Kids Sake, the Crozier ball hockey team.

I had an absolutely amazing experience at Crozier and am excited to be coming back next spring.

Olivia Wojcieszynski – 3rd year Structural Engineering, Queens University

Summer Term:  May to August 2016

I choose engineering as a career because I like analyzing real-life problems, and finding practical ways to resolve them. I’ve enjoyed having the chance to see the consulting side of engineering at Crozier, and to work with clients to make their design concepts become a reality.

During my summer assignment, I was primarily exposed to field work associated with civil engineering. I had the opportunity to go on site and deal first-hand with engineering issues associated with construction of new developments. It was great to see engineering designs come to life in the field. I also was exposed to work on a drainage investigation study for an existing condo corporation.

A favourite moment for me, outside of the office, was participating in the first annual Crozier canoe trip in Algonquin Park. This trip showed me how much of a different experience it is working when you enjoy what you do and the people you work with.

At Crozier, I’ve seen a great example of how the work environment plays an essential role in the productivity in the office. I met many incredible individuals who have greatly impacted me, not just in a career sense, but in a life sense. I benefited from the opportunities to work with various teams, depending on the tasks at hand. Everyone at Crozier was incredibly friendly and always willing to help.

Paul Madden – 1st year Engineering, University of Western Ontario

Student Term:     October 2015 to August 2016

I spent 12 months at Crozier, following high school graduation. Given that I hadn’t taking any engineering classes yet, my work assignments gave me a limited exposure to the more technical aspects of engineering, but I got a good understanding of how an consulting firm works and how the engineering side fits together with the admin and accounting sides of the business. I was pleased to have some exposure, particularly over the last several months to different types of engineering work, in addition to administrative assignments.

A big take-away for me was the discovery that even a disciplined, professional setting like Crozier can still be a really great place to work.   My time at Crozier helped reinforce my decision to pursue engineering studies at the University of Western Ontario, and I feel that I’m already a step ahead in terms of having an understanding of how an engineering firm works on a day-to-day basis.

I have chosen to pursue engineering as a career because throughout high school I always excelled at math and science. Engineering is an ideal for me, because it entails math and science applied to the real world.

My experience at Crozier was an amazing. I got to meet a lot of really good group of people. I enjoyed the work that I was doing, and it was nice to be able to walk into the office each and every day, ready and excited for the day.

MILTON Co-ops, Interns and Students ….

Left to right: Kathryn Morris, Ian Ryter, Rachael Vanderlee, Katherine O’Hearn

Left to right: Kathryn Morris, Ian Ryter, Rachael Vanderlee, Katherine O’Hearn

Katherine O’Hearn – 4th Year Geography Student, University of Guelph

Summer Work Terms:  May to August 2015; May to August 2016

Over the past two summers at Crozier, I have learned a great deal about consulting engineering. It is surprisingly busy “behind the scenes” in the administration department, and it’s a challenge keeping everything running smoothly to ensure the clients’ need are met.

Whether covering reception, tracking and documenting project progress, or improving templates for reports and proposals, it has truly been a pleasure to help out and contribute to the office organization.

The work environment here is high-energy but welcoming at the same time, and I am grateful to have had this opportunity.

Kathryn Morris – 3rd Year Environmental Engineering Student, University of Guelph

Co-op Work Term:  January to August 2016

Since the beginning of my eight month co-op work term to the very end, Crozier has provided me with an exceptional learning experience.

During my first week, I was already conducting background research for project sites and drafting up proposals for new project opportunities. Later on in my work term I was given the opportunity to lead two presentations in front of my colleagues during our regular “lunch ‘n learn” sessions. Perhaps the best experience at Crozier was my involvement with the overall municipal servicing analysis associated with the Bolton Region Expansion Study on behalf of our clients, the landowners group. Early on in the term, it became clear to me that the consulting industry is a fast-paced environment. On a day-to-day basis, I was always doing something different, whether helping with design calculations, conducting floodplain and stormwater management modelling simulations, or assisting with report preparation. Overall, it was an incredible learning experience and I enjoyed working with such fun and hardworking people.

Ian Ryter – 3rd Year Water Resources Engineering Student, University of Guelph

Co-op Term:   January to August 2016

During my eight months working at Crozier & Associates as a co-op student, I had the opportunity to gain practical experience with various aspects of civil engineering including servicing and stormwater calculations, septic system design, as well as proposal and technical report writing. I was also been fortunate enough to be involved in projects at every stage, from initial concept to submission for approval, and finally construction.

Beyond the practical experience, I have learned a lot about the consulting industry and what it means to be professional.  At Crozier, the employees work very hard to deliver excellence to their clients, while also keeping a fun, easy-going atmosphere in the office. That is what made Crozier a great place to work and learn.

Rachael Vanderlee – 3rd Year Environmental Engineering Student, University of Guelph

Co-op Term: March to August 2016

My co-op work term at Crozier offered a perfect balance of training and execution. I was given enough responsibility so as to learn how to accomplish engineering tasks, while also being continuously guided and mentored by more experienced staff. As soon as I began my work term, I was immediately entrusted with background research and proposal writing, which then led to assistance with technical reports and detailed civil design calculations. Working in a consulting firm that offers a range of engineering services, I was able to gain exposure to various engineering disciplines and better understand how they all fit together. Being that this was my first co-op placement, I was an anxious student coming in – but the Crozier staff and environment made it easy to settle in and immerse myself in the work. It has been an outstanding company for me to begin my co-op work experience.

Former Collingwood & Milton Students …

John Dony

Co-op Term: May – December 2015

John Dony_crop vertSaying “Yes” seems to come easily to John Dony. In fact, you get the sense pretty fast that it’s as much a part of his full-throttle DNA, as his ability to think on his feet and get things done. Which is why his mentors at our Milton office tell us that John became a valuable “go-to” team member shortly after he joined us in May of this year from the University of Guelph’s Environmental Engineering Co-op program.

As a fourth year student with strong academic credentials and two previous co-op placements in different work settings, John is no stranger to channeling his enthusiasm for new experiences into achievements. He is equally keen about what he learned in his co-op term wiring custom control panels for environmental systems, (“What’s not to like about having your own electronic tool kit!” he laughs) as he is about his work on a forecasting model with the Canada Centre for Inland Waters that culminated in a presentation to directors and research scientists.

He speaks about his work here at Crozier & Associates with the same relish. From servicing and stormwater calculations, septic design, hydraulic analysis and grading design to proposals and report writing, he has welcomed it all. He also likes the fact that his 8 month term allowed him to be involved in many projects from preliminary design, agency submission and comments to construction completion.

John Dony_in field_vertJohn compares his experience here on infill developments with the more controlled Urban Water Design learning model in the classroom. “It’s an idealized model in school but on a project there are so many site specific issues to resolve like grading conflicts and gas line intersections.” Knowing that his designs had to mitigate potential impacts on built-out areas as well as green spaces and still make economic sense for the client, he acknowledges that it was sometimes hard to know where to start.  From his experience with other challenges, he tells us, “You have to admit to what you don’t know but at the same time you don’t just walk away from it. You have to offer something towards a solution before asking for advice”.

He credits his perseverance, in part, to the self-discipline he honed as a piano student in provincial competitions. But coming from a family steeped in engineering, he may also have picked up a lesson or two around the dinner table. John’s father is a Bio Medical engineer and U of G professor; his sister is completing her Masters in the same field; his brother is studying mechanical engineering and his mother’s specialty is computer sciences and software development. John chose environmental engineering as a discipline of emerging importance that he wanted to be a part of.  He also liked the diverse range of career opportunities.

John’s energy and openness is contagious. In fact, he may very well have been the easiest student so far to interview – veering from an articulate pride in his work to a sudden pause and introspection. “You also pick up a lot of experience with failure” he reflects, “so I try to look at it as a pre-nup for the next time.”

As John approaches graduation he’s looking into a number of options including pursuing a masters, working for a time before graduate studies and perhaps even a move into environmental law. He’s not daunted by the extra years of schooling that would entail, telling us, “I’m pretty good when it comes to school and if it means staying at it longer –I’m OK with that.”

Regardless of which path he takes, we all win when bright, “can-do” students like John invest their careers in the future of our environment.

Nicole McEwan

Co-op Term: January – August 2015

Nicole M in front of signAlthough most students would see the transition from home to university as a big step in itself, Nicole’s decision to attend the University of Guelph, was comparatively more like a leap. She had been living in Germany since her father’s job transfer to Frankfurt five years previously and although she is quick to point out that she has extended family here, we’d suggest that it takes a bit of independence and confidence to make that kind of transition.

Since Nicole joined us for an 8 month co-op placement in our Milton office, we’ve seen that self-reliance and aren’t surprised that it not only revealed itself early in her life but led to her choice of environmental engineering as a career.

I was the one in the family and at school always pushing the environment’, she admits. From conservation to composting she was the kid ahead of the curve and on the recycling team early. “A bit dorky, right?” she laughs. But the fact remains, she got her family and school to compost and recycle before blue and green bins became familiar curbside fixtures. Not bad.

Nicole likes the practical opportunities in engineering to positively impact the environment – a rational leaning she credits to her father who is an engineer. And as a female she had some wonderful examples in her high school biology, chemistry and physics teachers, of women excelling in math and sciences. Of course, she is outdoorsy and likes to hike and even her choice of a university was influenced by Guelph’s green campus as much as their program. It seems only right that Nicole arrived for her first day in Milton on our Milton team’s first day in their new offices with their mountain of move-in recyclables!

Nicole M at deskAnd if timing is everything, she also arrived near the start of a major warehousing project being managed by her co-op supervisor. And so began the learning curve and the opportunity to be involved from first submission comments through to construction start on a project with escalated timelines. As Nicole puts it, “I didn’t know what I was getting into with a consulting engineering firm.” but with her calm approach and focus on communication and organization, she quickly became a valued team member.

With Crozier & Associates in lead position on the project team, her coordination skills were put to the test. From site plan approvals through minor variance applications she was mentored in building working relationships with Town staff and other consulting team members. She was kept busy handling calculations, SWM elements and hydraulic grade line analysis among other assignments on this and other projects. Nicole additionally had the opportunity to be exposed to the marketing of our services through research and assistance with proposal writing (and lots of it!) and pitching in to help with a large Open House event at our offices to introduce the community to our new premises.

In Nicole’s environmental field, she’ll be faced with bridging the distance between “intention” and “action”. But it is clear, in how she stepped into new territory and got down to work, that she’s up to the challenge. For now, she wants to widen her horizons and is already thinking about moving beyond Ontario on graduation.

We were fortunate to have been a stop-along-the-way to Nicole’s bright green future.


Collingwood office co-op students from left to right: Shannon Wilson, Aphrodite Moutavelis and Felix Kwan

Collingwood office co-op students from left to right: Shannon Wilson, Aphrodite Moutavelis and Felix Kwan

Shannon Wilson

Co-op Term: January – August 2015

Shannon head shotSciences or the Humanities was the question for Shannon when it was time to submit her university applications. She knew she wanted a career with purpose and an opportunity to make a difference. And on the practical side, the best chance of actually getting a job. She had two going most of the time through high school and still managed marks in the 90’s, so there was also scholarship possibilities to think of.

There was no shortage of advice with relatives in criminology, education, engineering and sports – and she talked to all of them. But finally, that extra charge she got out of subjects like math, chemistry, biology and physics tipped the balance in favour of an environmental engineering program. That would be a “check” for good job prospects in engineering, a “check” for a field of study with opportunities to do-good, and a “check” for scholarship offers, one of which she accepted at the University of Guelph (after taking all the university student tours she could). And make that a co-op program because, as she puts it, “It’s better to always go for the harder thing”. And it was hard at first, forcing her, she tells us, to “relearn how to learn” versus just “getting it” in high school.

Shannon in planningThe process itself tells you something we’ve come to learn about Shannon over her 8 month co-op term with us (which, by the way, she single-mindedly pursued with us from job fairs to advance applications and follow-ups) and that is, she will gladly tackle anything! Which for someone who describes herself as once being extremely shy, that would be another “check” for the resolve of introverts.

In addition to fitting right in with the active lifestyle here in Collingwood from hiking (up the mountain) to ball hockey (just to give it a try), Shannon picked up an on-line elective during her co-op term to reduce her course load when she returned for her final semester. That “go for it” attitude and her conviction that the best way to learn is to fail (which, frankly, we haven’t seen her do with us!) meant everyone was comfortable enlisting her help.

Shannon said “yes” to it all from round-about grading, structural schedules, field surveying, utility coordination and electrical design support, to traffic impact and parking studies, stream flow monitoring, community energy plans and administrative and project management assistance. As well, she had the opportunity to research and be involved in the design of green technologies like rainwater harvesting, solar panels, solar water heaters and trombe walls. And just in case she missed out on anything, Shannon tells us that she tried to read through all the project-related emails she printed out for filing when filling in on the front desk and the invoices she sorted to help out at month end!

The structure and level of communication in a consulting engineering firm is a big take-away for her as well as the focus on mentoring. Things like hydrology just “clicked” she says, when it was explained by her co-op supervisor. We’re sad to see Shannon leave us – but she is already working out the best way of securing her next co-op term overseas. France she thinks, or maybe Australia.

There is no doubt there will be many more things that just “click” or get checked out in Shannon’s future!

Felix Kwan

Co-op Term: September 2014 – August 2015

Felix head shotIs there is anything I can help you with?” It’s a phrase we’ve heard often since Felix joined us last September from McMaster University on a 12 month engineering co-op term. It’s notable, not because other students don’t ask, but for how often he makes the rounds before he leaves for the day, regardless of how late, to offer a hand to anyone still trying to wrap up their work.

Typically it doesn’t strike him as unusual. Any more than his high-energy way of taking on any and all projects directed to him during work hours, or after work for that matter. A shortlist of community involvements he has helped staff members with include junior soccer, scouting events, Big Brothers Boys Club sports, and charitable fund-raising events from Polar Dips to Bonspiels and Bowl for Kids. And then, of course, there’s the “down-time” to connect with colleagues including gym workouts, boarding, ultimate frisbee, pick-up hockey and volleyball (big breath!).

Felix lunch n learn_LIDThe real story here is that Felix admits to relatively quiet stay-at-home-years in high school. His deliberate decision to challenge himself in university began with a 5 year co-op program, student orientation tours and a not so typical boots-on-the-ground launch into the Military Reservists. It called for a commitment of time and travel that meant working through what he describes as some “rocky times” to balance a demanding work load of civil engineering studies and training. But skills from both learning opportunities are evident. As is his willingness to “stretch” a little through new experiences.

Felix chose a 12 month placement to give himself an extended exposure to a range of projects and narrowed his choices for a co-op firm through website research into companies whose size and culture promoted cross-training.

A sampling of the variety of projects he assisted with over his work term includes construction specifications for civil projects, (some, fittingly, for Base Borden), community energy plans for First Nation communities, stream flow monitoring, traffic impact and parking studies, stormwater quantity and quality control designs and hydraulic grade line analysis and sewer design, along with proposal and report writing for various disciplines. He also participated in a range of staff and supplier Lunch ‘n Learn sessions and researched and delivered his own (pictured above) on Low Impact Development (LID) practices. And we won’t go into all the help with organization and office shuffles, given the happy coincidence (for us) of his term landing during an office expansion.

To say Felix will be missed around the Collingwood office is an understatement.

Aphrodite Moutavelis

Co-op Term: May – August 2015

Aphrodite head shotAphrodite Moutavelis had an unexpected choice to make when she went on-line to enroll for a planned 2 year Ontario Certificate Course at Georgian College in her hometown of Barrie, Ontario. She had always had her eyes on an Opticianry course but before signing on she was drawn to a new Architectural Technician program which was being introduced for the fall 2014 semester.

It may seem like a stretch (or should I say “span”?) for others, but when you grow up with an uncle in engineering, a family friend in carpentry and a father with a passion for renovating the family home – well, it was reason enough to step back and consider her career options.

It’s telling that she took a systematic and detailed approach to the exercise (something we like about our technicians and technologists here!) which culminated in what she tells us, with a laugh, was a very, very, long list of pros and cons. Needless to say the “pros” won the day and Aphrodite’s summer co-op term in our structural department wraps up her first successful year in the program.

Over the past four months Aphrodite has been redlining drawings and updating structural note templates under the watch and direction of what she calls her “pod” of mentors. Not to mention picking up valuable lessons on the intricacies of engineering designs on CAD. And just to give her a taste for the magic of teamwork when deadlines loom, she was recruited into the production fray to help with the assembly of plans and reports on what must have felt like back-to-back submissions this summer. To her credit, her smile never faltered!

Aphrodite tells us that she is also taking some great career advice to heart – like considering adding another year to her studies to secure a Technologist’s certificate. Not bad for her first co-op experience and our first experience with a co-op technician.

Having Aphrodite with us was a win-win on all counts!

Spencer Roberton

Co-op Term: January – August, 2014

Spencer Roberton, University of Guelph Co-opThe phrase “Go West, young man…” may have been coined over a century ago but it still resonates today – particularly for Spencer, whose enthusiasm for environmental engineering is matched only by his love for the outdoors and all things “mountain-related” from snowboarding to mountain biking.

Although Milton is only due “west” of Toronto and a little light on “mountains”, its access to the Bruce Trail on the Niagara Escarpment and its far-from-the-city feel, turned out to be a good choice, Spencer tells us, to get a taste for living on his own. Just as he knew early in his life that engineering was a path he wanted to take, like his grandfather before him, finding a “career/quality-of-life” balance has always been the other half of the equation for him.

It’s something he’s willing to work hard at – whether tackling a tough exam, a learning curve on-the-job or a challenging sport. “There’s no second thoughts.” he says, ”When you know it’s what you want to do, it’s never too hard to work through”. With marks that reflect his efforts and his focus on new experiences – pursuing an 8 month term at Crozier & Associates was an easy choice. Made easier he tells us, given the “word-of-mouth” about Crozier around U of G with the number of graduates on career paths with the firm.

Now just days away from returning to school to complete his final year, Spencer rhymes off practical and technical skills that would have been hard to learn, in the classroom alone. Topping off his list is stream-flow monitoring in the field. Not only because, in Spencer’s world, a day isn’t complete without a little mud on your boots, but also for the chance to be involved in the full project cycle. From data analysis to report submissions and exchanges with regulatory agencies such as MOE, NVCA, and Town staff to address comments, you have to, as he puts it, “find a way to keep everyone happy”. And then there was the opportunity to work with Hydrologic and Hydraulic modeling programs – an activity that sounds a bit like a “gaming” rush to hear him talk about it, considering classroom models are calculated by hand.

Working with E.I.T.s, designers and project managers over the past 8 months, has confirmed for Spencer the value of being involved with a mix of people, career perspectives and projects, as well as being exposed to aspects of land development engineering that were not specifically in his curriculum, such as lot grading and infrastructure. But it was the emphasis on organizational skills and time management that was a big take-away for him. “It’s easy at school to lose track of time”, he explains. “In an office you learn that it’s not just about engineering”. Client accountability and good work habits go hand-in-hand with good engineering and it’s something he looks forward to applying back in the classroom.

When asked about his plans on graduation, you can almost see him scanning the horizon for wide open spaces and rocky peaks. “I can’t wait to go West” are the first words out of his mouth. Spencer knows he chose the right branch of civil engineering and he feels that project management lessons learned through on-the-job co-op experiences will help to open any number of career doors from commercial and private industry to government. As long as those doors also open to a mountain landscape and lots of field work, his bags are packed and ready to go.


Co-op Term: January – December, 2014

Daniel_at deskGoing the extra mile, or in the case of Daniel Dickinson, the extra year, to complete his 5 year Civil Engineering & Management degree is worth it, to get the kind of experience he thinks is important. Now 8 months into his 12 month co-op term at Crozier & Associates, he doesn’t regret the decision, even though it delays his graduation.

For someone who admits that he has always been fascinated by buildings and just about everything to do with how they function, it’s not surprising that his approach to a career includes a solid foundation. In many ways, he is breaking new ground in his family with his choice to study engineering, but his facility for math and sciences together with what he describes as a passion for ”tearing things apart and figuring out how they work” made engineering, rather than architecture, a natural career focus.

Daniel heard about Crozier & Associates at a McMaster career fair where he spoke with one of our E.I.Ts and McMaster alumni grads, Brittany Robertson who works in both our structural and traffic engineering departments. The university has a number of alumni connections to Crozier & Associates beginning with our Principal, Christopher Crozier who graduated from this Hamilton university in 1990.

When a 12 month co-op placement became available, Daniel had his application ready. Although the “horizontal” aspects of engineering such as grading, stormwater management and pipe design have been a big part of his co-op term to-date, he sees it as a valuable perspective on his structural speciality. The refurbishing of a factory, for instance, under the mentorship of senior project managers with the firm, took him from on-site assessments and client meetings through blueprint design and costings to field implementation. It gave him, he tells us, a new appreciation for the processes and municipal infrastructure that supports the stability and function of buildings.

After successive 4 month summer placements in the construction and concrete casting industry, the switch-over to an office environment with a consulting engineering firm was important to Daniel. Although the “management” aspect of his civil engineering degree had introduced him to general business practices like accounting and finance, he likes being able to see, first-hand, how it links, in a busy work environment, to time and project management from budgeting and invoicing to best administrative practices. Just observing how Nick and Jim (both Associates and senior engineers with the firm) are always planning and selling our particular engineering “product” has been an eye-opener in his books.

All of which brings him to another shared insight. “In the classroom” he says, “you are surrounded by other engineering students who basically think and talk like you do”. In a consulting engineering office it’s completely different”. From contact with engineers, designers, field and administrative staff to Town, conservation and agency staff, it has brought home the practical realization for Daniel that how well you learn to express yourself in different circumstances can have a real impact on the relationships you build and your productivity as an engineer.

So what lies ahead for Daniel? In short, he’s enthusiastic about both the business end of engineering and the project variety he’s been exposed to in his co-op placement at Crozier. A factory environment is not for him. Like the framework and trusses that will hold his future buildings in place, he’s honing in on a career that supports both his interests. When Daniel looks “up”, it’s buildings he sees and the opportunities to frame a career on his home turf in consulting engineering.