As a high school student in small town BC, Senior Project Manager, Heather Robertson, remembers being interested in physics. But it was the creativity and hands-on approach offered by drafting and building stage sets that inspired her career. Heather recalls, “I loved drawing houses; I also wanted to go to the national art school in Montreal for stagecraft.” Due to circumstances, Heather elected to enroll in the BCIT Building Technology program after learning that she could develop her drafting skills in this program.
Heather recollects that, early in her career, her work days were spent at large drafting tables using analog tools. She credits two colleagues in a small Yellowknife office who provided mentorship and guidance, and encouraged her to take part in all areas of projects.
“I learned to write proposals, draft designs, prepare correspondence, and take part in the financial management of projects.”
Later, she learned computer-aided design drafting, which was state-of-the-art at the time. She shares, “I developed master standards for the office, developed the symbols (blocks) for architectural, electrical, mechanical, and civil disciplines, and gained design experience in these disciplines.”
Her career evolved from drafting and design to construction inspection and contract administrator to her current role as a project manager. She says, “I have enjoyed working on projects that improve our infrastructure and benefit the quality of life for communities, businesses, and residents.”
Heather’s first encounter with the Associated Engineering team was in 2007, when she was working with the City of Prince George as their project manager on the Cameron Street Bridge and North Nechako Roundabout.
“The Associated team impressed me with their professionalism and thoroughness on a very challenging project. I built a good relationship with the team. When I decided I wanted a change, I reached out to see if there may be an opportunity to join their team.”
As a Senior Project Manager in our Kelowna office, Heather’s philosophy is to recognize every member of a project team, as everyone brings unique skill sets and experiences. “I foster a collaborative approach on projects. I think it’s important to get everyone’s input, based on their experience and expertise. This approach contributes to better project outcomes.”
Heather believes mentoring is important at all ages and at all stages in one’s career.
“I have always been learning from others and believe this should start and continue throughout one’s career."
Heather advises junior professionals to approach their career as a journey, continue to learn and be willing to share knowledge and advice in constructive ways. She acknowledges that there will be many times that opportunities will inspire you and there will be many tasks that just need to get done. She stresses, “Look for the positive in all that you do”.
Away from the office, Heather enjoys reading, hiking, skiing, kayaking, cycling, and sailing.