Grant Thery, Supervisor engineering services, Alberta

Grant Thery heads a 10-person team, including six project managers. He supervises infrastructure works. He banks on the complementarity of the project managers he coordinates, who each have a particular field of expertise.

WHAT KINDS OF ASSIGNMENTS DO ENGINEERING PROJECT MANAGER WORK ON?

Whether it be repairing roads or sidewalks, building bridges or installing traffic lights, project managers are responsible for planning the delivery. They therefore need to know the state of the infrastructure at all times, as well as know the budget for carrying out the work. They then determine the priorities based on these various factors.

HOW IS THE WORK ORGANIZED?

We adapt our approach. Most of the time, project managers coordinate their activities from the office. But during the construction season, between May and October, they may have to go out in the field to check on the quality of the work done. This is quite rare, though, since we always work with consulting engineers, who are responsible for the checking of construction sites. The main objective of project managers is to see to it that contracts are carried out as per the conditions specified at the outset. They consider what needs to be done and what to avoid, and also specifically identify the terms of settlement so as not to jeopardize his position.

WHAT ARE THE SPECIFIC ADVANTAGES OF THE JOB?

I think that there are three factors in particular that are stimulating in this branch at this level of position. First, team and project management—the clearest aspect—confers a fulfilling sense of responsibility. Then, there is the omnipresent technical side, which involves carrying out numerous studies and producing reports. Finally, the inherent differences between doing a sidewalk and a traffic light installation eliminate any possibility of boredom from this occupation. You are not stuck working on a single thing your entire career. We never have a dull day!

DO THE VARIOUS PROJECT MANAGERS WORK INDEPENDENTLY?

Internally, we work on teams. We arrange things so that each project manager builds up competence in a certain area. Some may be more comfortable with the legal side and drawing up contracts, while others will have greater technical strengths. We are also looking for specific profiles, for example a project manager specializing in hydraulics; these new technical skills will facilitate interactions with our consulting engineers.

WHO DO THE PROJECT MANAGERS WORK WITH?

We work with field engineers who assist project managers on their projects. We know the strengths and abilities of the project managers based on the project. During the winter months, the engineers prepare the studies, compile reports and do the drawings, with a view to the construction phase in the second half of the year.

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