With a lifelong interest in physical fitness, Andrew Wiens, Discipline Lead, Water Resources in our Calgary office, remembers his high school sports coach's mantra of ‘mental toughness’. Today, he applies this approach everyday at work and at home by not giving up easily on any tasks, stretching his capabilities, and developing new skills.
While attending the University of British Columbia for his civil engineering degree, Andrew worked for the City of Vancouver as a co-op student on the drainage design for Vancouver’s first sustainable street. The experience led to his decision to focus on water resources as a career path. Andrew says, "Developing the stormwater management design on the project and learning about the analytical tools was a very interesting challenge."
Later, he worked with Radloff & Associates in Prince George, BC as a co-op student. Andrew credits the owner, Bob Radloff, with providing him with great advice, including to get experience working in the field on construction projects early in his career.
As a Water Resources Engineer, Andrew tells us, "I’ve enjoyed the wide variety of work and the opportunity to collaborate with many subject matter experts. Their guidance has helped me to grow my skills, improve my industry knowledge, and build my problem-solving abilities."
In the early part of his career, Andrew notes the Urgent Mitigative Flood Works project and the City of Calgary Northwest Inner-City storm drainage project, as being especially memorable. The former was an emergency project to improve existing flood protection infrastructure in advance of the 2007 flood season. Andrew recalls the work was delivered as a fast-track, design-build project and successfully raised 15 kilometres of flood protection berms in just two months.
Andrew says, "The Calgary drainage project was technically challenging, as we were asked to build a large, highly detailed model of the urban drainage system – something that hadn’t been completed on a large scale before." Andrew shares that he wanted to find a systematic way of developing these models to make development more cost-efficient. Andrew's efforts resulted in Associated later receiving an invitation to present our work in Copenhagen at an International Water Resources Conference.
Following the 2013 flood in Calgary, Associated was engaged to expand the model along the Bow River and identify drainage solutions to mitigate flood risks within several communities, including the Sunnyside neighborbood.
When asked what attracted him to join Associated Engineering 17 years ago, Andrew tells us, "I was attracted to the breadth of work that Associated Engineering's Water Resources team undertakes. I've worked on a variety of projects, from planning to field assignments. I've had the opportunity to carry a project from concept through design and construction, such as the Pitt River Intertidal project in Coquitlam, BC."
Andrew tells us that his work philosophy is based on working collaboratively with colleagues, as a team. Andrew also finds that engaging the right subject matter experts early in projects helps them go smoother.
Today, Andrew enjoys sharing his expertise and mentoring young staff. For young people thinking of consulting engineering as a career, he advises, "I found the university co-op programs to be very useful. I was able to get a wide variety of experience in both the municipal government and consulting sectors. This really simplified the process for me in selecting my career path in the consulting industry as a water resources engineer."
Andrew volunteers with the Canadian Water Resources Association, and is also a member of Natural Resources Canada's Climate Change and Floodplain Mapping Technical Working Group.
Outside of work, Andrew enjoys going to the gym, as well as cooking, especially BBQ'ing or smoking meats; his favourites are pulled pork, brisket, and chicken!