March is National Engineering Month – an opportunity to showcase the exciting opportunities that a career in engineering has to offer. We at McIntosh Perry always celebrate our employees, their work, and the significant role they play in the society.  

To celebrate National Engineering Month, some of our employees shared their story on ‘What inspired them to pursue an Engineering career, and what they love most about it! Let’s check out some of the highlights: 

Graham Lancaster (Executive Vice President, Infrastructure) : My father was a draftsperson, and my uncle Ed was an Ontario Land Surveyor. I grew up with a “borrowed” copy of AutoCAD 10. I always enjoyed drawing, drafting – thought about Architecture – but really liked math, science, and physics. Another uncle was a developer, and I was always impressed by his subdivision projects. I wanted to do something similar - a real SimCity! However, having grown up in a rural setting on a hobby farm – I was most interested in the balance between development and the natural environment. Hence my degree in Bachelor of Engineering Science – Civil Environmental. 

Steven Pilgrim (Vice President, Public Infrastructure (Transportation and Municipal): I spent many summers working as a general labourer on various construction projects. The work and the design behind everything that we built intrigued me. This experience helped push me into an engineering career. 

Mathew Koprash (Manager, Highway (North Bay)) : I wanted to become a framer and build homes out of high school. My parents guided me into the Construction Technician course which lead me to a dual diploma when I got a taste of Civil Technician in first year. A summer job completing site inspections at a Wind Farm furthered the interest and continued my education to complete my Civil Technology diploma. I then took a year off completing Contract Administration for the Hwy 69 four lane expansion project which sealed the deal and helped make the decision to continue my education towards becoming an Engineer. If it wasn’t for the guidance and encouragement I received along with the exposure to some incredible Construction Projects who knows where I would have ended up! 

Meredith Irwin (Engineering Intern) : I was really good at math and science in school. My math teacher suggested I become either an Accountant or an Engineer. I’m glad I chose Engineering. 

Michael Miller (Project Manager): The movie Office Space. I watched this movie when I was ready to graduate high school and had to decide what I wanted to do in university. Originally, I wanted to be a software engineer – which is what the characters in this movie do. I thought it was hilarious and really identified with it. I ended up switching to mechanical engineering and the rest is history. Engineering always felt like the right choice for me! 

Christine Shillinglaw (Manager, Transportation Structures Division): I took off in math and science in high school and my aunt was an engineer – I decided to give it a go and never looked back. 

Andrew Matwe (Vice President, Infrastructure Operations): I’ve always been mechanically inclined and interested in how mechanical things were put together; as a kid I took apart small old appliances and tools to see how they worked. My father was also a structural draftsperson and so I’d tag along on project inspections to see commercial building projects in the Calgary area. I was always fascinated how he could size footings and steel framing by experience and when the engineer returned the check set; there was little revision required. When I was older I used to help run blueprints in the office and also shade the backside of velum drawings – he never touched a computer before he retired in 1995 and prepared everything by hand. All those experiences made it natural for me to go into engineering. 

Samantha Fawson (Contract Administrator): Growing up watching Star Trek TNG, DS9, and Voyager showed me that women can be respected and even leaders in science and engineering. I’m the first engineer in my family and I wouldn’t have even considered nor have the confidence to pursue the profession if it wasn’t for Star Trek. 

Are you curious about a career in engineering industry? Check out our Careers page: 

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