As we continue to celebrate National Engineering Month, we’re asking some of our engineers about their career, their goals, and their opinion on the importance of engineering to society. Next up is our interview with Cristina Iliescu, Civil Engineer and Project Manager from our Civil Practice Area.
Read Cristina’s thoughts and opinions on engineering below:
Why did you decide to pursue engineering as a career?
When I had to choose my post-secondary education, my older sister was already a happy engineering graduate and she continued her career for a while teaching at the University. G
etting to know her challenges and the people that she worked with, made me more aware of the engineering world. Also, my father was very involved in the subway construction in my home country and it was always fascinating to hear his stories from different construction sites.
However, as life in university was very demanding, at the end of my first year I wasn’t sure I chose the right career path, but once I started to study more about water resources I was very passionate about the field. During my studies in Canada, I was captivated by the concept of stormwater management that did not have much attention in my home country and it was fulfilling to learn more about this field as well.
What do you hope to accomplish in your career?
I look forward to use and improve my engineering skills and contribute to the development of our society, continue to acquire new skills and also transfer my knowledge to the people around me. I would like to grow a team of very passionate engineers, contribute to their career growth and guide their steps to achieve their own goals. I had great mentors over the years and I always looked up to them since they shaped who I am as a professional and how I evolved. I hope I can have the same impact on the people around me!
I love seeing the outcome of our projects and knowing that I am part of a team that helped improve our everyday lives, while keeping people safety in mind, client’s satisfaction and adhering to good engineering practices.
In your opinion, how does engineering impact the development of our society?
With tremendous growth around us, with more and more infrastructure needs, starting from roads, buildings and thinking about the surrounding environment, our work is shaping the way we live as a society. We need to provide sound designs that make use of latest technologies in the industry, keeping in mind the cost, impact on the environment along with the community aspect and be able to integrate all elements in a positive way.
What is the importance of innovation and technology in the engineering space?
Being innovative and using the most up-to-date technologies require keeping abreast with latest trends in the industry. These latest technologies can help reduce construction duration, therefore impact on communities, reduce footprint and lower the impact on the environment.
How do you foresee the future of engineering? What challenges and/or opportunities do you think you will face throughout your career?
The future of engineering will evolve around society needs which also fluctuate, with a high demand for new infrastructure, or ways to rehabilitate the existing aging infrastructure,
better transportation means, or making better use of renewable sources of energy to name just a few. Some of the challenges will be to find creative ways to reduce the impacts of new urban areas and their growing needs on the surrounding environment while maintaining public safety.
Among opportunities that we noticed in recent years are capabilities of various software to provide the 3D view of a complete design by multiple disciplines and being able to bring them into a virtual world that would allow solving various conflicts before construction starts. More collaboration between multiple disciplines will become a must for all projects. While opportunities exist to make good use of software capabilities, the challenge would be to adapt and embrace these new technologies while continuously learning new skills. Above all, the engineers will need to understand the basics of any design, to ensure the software produces good outcomes and they would not rely blindly on a software.
What advice would you give to young aspiring engineers?
Take the time to plan your work before you proceed with your tasks, understand the “why” and “how” of the design you’re about to proceed with and be passionate about what you do! Ask questions, learn as much as you can and take criticism well since the engineering world and our culture here at LEA encourages us to develop our full potential and be involved in so many different projects. Last but not least, do your best to be a good team member, respect others and value their input!