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Friday, Jan 15, 2021

Amy McClintock fulfills her dream of a career in engineering, a desire to serve, and living in the North

A couple and their dog on a mountain hike

Hiking on the Yukon-Alaska border

At an early age, Water & Wastewater Engineer, Amy McClintock was influenced by her father to pursue engineering, but did not take the plunge until her third year of university. Amy tells us, “My earliest influence and biggest role model is my father, who is a mechanical engineer. He encouraged me to become an engineer. His integrity and positive attitude continues to inspire me today.” 

As a graduate student, Amy took a work position as a field assistant studying northern wastewater lagoon systems in Pond Inlet, Baffin Island. Amy was drawn to the northern natural environment. She also wanted a career that would allow her to help people and communities. So when a position arose in Associated Engineering’s Whitehorse office, she jumped at the opportunity.

Amy has now been with Associated for seven years, starting in the Calgary office and now in Whitehorse. Amy says, “To me, what stands out is Associated’s commitment to mentorship and access to experts across the company. That has made a big difference for me, especially since I work in a small, remote office.”

Amy specializes in designing small water and wastewater systems. Amy shares she recently heard a story on a local radio station about a new reservoir that she designed for a Yukon community. “This story reminded me of our duty, as engineers, to provide safe water and wastewater infrastructure that serves and protects the public.” She adds, “Providing water treatment solutions for small communities is an important job and I’m proud of it.”

She reflects on some of the challenges she has encountered on projects, such as public resistance to disinfection technology. She advises, “It’s really important to listen to people and their concerns, and to communicate the health and safety benefits of disinfection to delivering safe drinking water.” 

Amy enjoys being part of multi-disciplinary teams designing water treatment facilities. She says, “Communication and planning are absolutely key on a multi-disciplinary project. I enjoy coordinating work with and learning from the discipline experts on projects.” 

Her approach to teamwork and client relationships is to get to know people and be honest. She believes trust is essential to a productive team. Amy says, “Our office relies on team members in multiple offices in Western Canada. Getting to know people on a personal level has helped me to build trusting and reliable working relationships.”

She extends the same honest and open communication style to her clients. Amy explains, “Whitehorse is a small city and I often run into our clients in town, so we get to know each other on a personal level.”

Amy is a huge advocate for mentoring as it has played a critical role in her career. She tells us, “My mentors have helped me overcome challenges and pursue my career and personal goals.” Amy says, “I now want to help others find their way in consulting. I currently mentor a student in Eastern Canada.” 

She advises young professionals that their most marketable skill is their attitude. She says, “Be the person everyone enjoys working with because you’re positive, keen, and hardworking.” She adds, “Being a good engineer and project manager means anticipating the problem before it happens. Be curious, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

A woman mountain biking in the desert

Mountain biking adventures while on vacation

The lifestyle in Whitehorse contributed to Amy’s decision to move north. She loves biking on the local trails and teaches indoor cycling. Amy also enjoys cooking and is learning Spanish.

Amy is passionate about diversity and increasing the number of women in engineering. She volunteers on Engineers Yukon 30-by-30 committee which aims to raise the percentage of newly licensed female engineers to 30 percent by the year 2030. Amy has volunteered at outreach activities for young girls and boys, was part of a team that recommended changes to Engineers Yukon professional development structure to promote diversity, and organizes social events for female engineers in the territory.

A women teaching children in a classroom

Sharing knowledge with local school children

Amy is living her dream of working in the Canadian North as a Water & Wastewater Engineer. She is making a difference, shaping a better future for the communities where her projects take her, and inspiring a future generation of engineers through her volunteer efforts.