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There’s always a story behind how people choose their careers. For Brian Verspagen, Water Resources Engineer, it was a love of cars. A motorhead at heart, his enthusiasm for vehicles originally steered him toward mechanical engineering. After further research, his eyes were opened to the many options in engineering and he found himself gravitating to the water resources specialty at the University of Waterloo.

 

What was it that drew him in? “The water resources principles really clicked for me,” he explains. “The fluid hydraulics, hydrology, and the calculus behind it were all things I understood, and I thought I would enjoy the practice.”

 

After graduation, he furthered his education with a Master of Applied Science in Environmental Engineering from the University of Guelph. His studies, including his thesis on thermal enrichment of stormwater runoff from pavement surfaces, only furthered his passion for the field.

 

With his Masters in hand, Brian’s career path took him down south to Florida and Texas to try his hand at work in a warmer climate. As much as the warm weather was great for cruising, Brian was drawn back to the Waterloo Region in 2000 and in 2009 he joined WalterFedy to establish the Water Resources Team. He is now a Senior Project Manager and Team Leader for the group, in addition to being a Partner with the firm.

 

In the last 10 years, the Water Resources Team has grown to five professionals dedicated to designing water resource solutions for a variety of project types. Brian and his team have worked on several projects using Low Impact Development (LID) measures to enhance groundwater recharge, including monitoring the sites to prove that the implemented measures have a positive impact.

 

“Early in my career, I saw more projects focused on designing to the minimum standard for development than I do now,” says Brian. “The shift to doing more projects using LID measures is more environmentally responsible and allows us to do design work that really enhances the natural environment. It represents client demand for development in our growing communities without sacrificing the environment.”

 

Brian has seen the importance of water resources grow exponentially in the last decade. “Every project needs water resources in some capacity,” says Brian. “It’s not possible to construct a new road, develop a site, or build a subdivision without having an aspect of water resources involved. This means we have to have a good understanding of every sector’s needs and challenges to design the best solution for each client.”

 

It is that client-centred approach that makes all the difference for our team. Every new project is an opportunity to be creative when designing the perfect solution. “We look at each client’s goal and develop the best approach to fulfil it,” says Brian. “We have a team dynamic that allows us to look at a problem from a number of different angles to ensure we are choosing the solution that best balances client needs with an optimal approach.”

 

What’s in store for the future of water resources? A lot according to Brian. “The potential that our rivers, streams, and creeks offer as spaces for people to reconnect with nature will continue to gain importance, along with the need to preserve and enhance the quality of these natural systems as functioning ecosystems,” he says. “The role of water resources engineering will evolve to ensure these natural systems continue to function and are seamlessly incorporated into our landscape.”

 

If you’re looking for a new place to explore your passion for water resources, WalterFedy is expanding our team to include another Water Resources Engineer and a Junior Water Resources Engineer and we’d love to hear from you! You can also visit walterfedy.com/careers to see all the available opportunities to join our team.

 

 

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Combing through job boards, searching for valuable connections in your existing network, and fine tuning your social profiles can make hunting for a new job feel like a grind. But after hours of slugging away, you’re bound to see a role so perfect you can already picture yourself at your new desk drinking coffee with a collection of grade-A industry pros. When the thrill of the discovery settles, and the daydream fog lifts, reality sets in. To nab an interview, you’re going to need a standout resume.

 

Natalya Smith is a Human Resources Generalist at WalterFedy and spearheads the bulk of our recruitment efforts. Every week she reviews hundreds of resumes, looking for the next great addition to our team. What makes an application stand out from the stacks? Natalya offered us some insight into five things you can do to help bring your CV to the top of the pile.

 

  1. Pay close attention to the organization and editing of your resume
    Resumes that stand out are clearly organized with consistent spacing and text styles. Overcrowded text can be challenging to read, while too much white space can leave your application looking sparse. When a page is clearly organized, it’s easier to spot the keywords relevant to the position (make sure you add them!). Before you submit anything to a hiring manager, be sure to give your document a thorough edit for typos and clarity; for some hiring managers, glaring mistakes may take you out of the running.

  2. Show us why your experience is relevant
    We want to see you have the skills and experience needed to excel in this role. Tailor your resume to complement the expectations of the position. We can tell when you’ve put in the effort to draw parallels and it goes a long way. If you are trying to break into the field, show us experience that is relatable and take the time to explain why.

  3. Education and training are important
    Whether you are a new grad or an experienced applicant, we are interested to learn about your academic qualifications and personal commitment to continuous improvement. Don’t be afraid to point to a couple of courses that are relevant or distinguish you as a strong leader. This section is particularly useful for applicants coming right out of school who may not have industry experience.

  4. Call out any special skills
    No, we don’t mean your aptitude in Microsoft Word—these days that’s a given. Show us that you are familiar with the special applications, tools, technologies, and emerging platforms that are sought after in your role. Sometimes we look for these skills first.

  5. Take some time to write a cover letter
    Do you ever wonder if people actually read your cover letter? Natalya does. A cover letter is your opportunity to tell your story. It doesn’t have to be long, but it should be tailored to the position. We should know within the first few sentences what you are applying for and why you will be a great fit. While a cover letter is not mandatory, it is one additional way to show us you are truly interested in the position.

 

Bonus tip: We love to see a commitment to our core values

Quality, Integrity, Client Focus, Community Building, and Environmental Sustainability are important values at WalterFedy and demonstrating how you live out these values will go a long way. For example, because we care about giving back to our community, we would be happy to hear about your volunteer experience. While this is not a deal breaker, it certainly shows us that you share one of the values we hold dear.

 

If there is one key takeaway, it is this: if the opportunity feels right, take a little extra time. Not only will it help elevate your application, it also goes a long way with hiring managers, who can spot when you have invested your time and care.

If you are interested in a career at WalterFedy, check out our current opportunities at walterfedy.com/careers/.

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