Isabelle Jodoin, ing.
Vice-présidente principale (Senior Vice President), Stantec
Arliss Szysky, P.Eng.
Vice President, Regional Leader, Alberta South, Stantec
As vice presidents at one of Canada’s leading consulting engineering firms, Isabelle Jodoin and Arliss Szysky have witnessed first-hand how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected engineers and their work, and they have applied their own engineering background to help the company navigate these uncertain times.
“As our people are our most important asset, our first priority was focusing on supporting our employees, ensuring they were healthy and safe, and enabling them to work remotely,” describes Szysky, Stantec’s Vice President, Regional Leader, Alberta. “I’m really proud of how quickly we were able to pivot and adapt.”
“Luckily, our industry and our company had already initiated a digital transformation a few years ago through the use of online collaboration tools and platforms and by adapting our technological infrastructure,” explains Jodoin, Stantec’s Senior Vice President. “At Stantec, we fast-tracked this transformation so that our employees would have the tools they needed to efficiently work from home.”
As they focused on business continuity and enabling their employees to work from home, they also ensured that they were meeting their clients’ needs, continuing to build strong relationships, and helping them find solutions for their current and post-pandemic needs, and ongoing and future projects.
Now they’re planning for the eventual reopening of their offices, adopting a gradual approach, following directives from government and public health agencies, and putting the focus on the safety of their employees, clients, and partners.
Through it all, both Szysky and Jodoin have relied on their engineering background to guide them through the challenges of the COVID-19 world.
“Engineering taught me problem-solving skills, the ability to be resilient, and nurtured my analytical thinking,” Szysky says. “This situation is one giant puzzle that we need to navigate through and solve. These skills have never been more valuable. In a time where there is so much unknown, my engineering background has equipped me to get through the pandemic in my job, and in my life.”
“Managing this crisis has been quite similar to managing an engineering project,” Jodoin adds. “Every day, we must resolve issues, adapt to unforeseen circumstances, listen to others’ needs, deal with new timelines, and coordinate many stakeholders.”
Both point out that despite the challenges COVID-19 has presented for their work, theyare motivated to persevere because the work remains rewarding, and because they can see the impact that they and their teams continue to have in their communities.
“Engineers will play a key role, both during and after the pandemic,” Jodoin explains. “They design the infrastructure that provides health care to the population, moves goods from point A to point B, supplies water and power to families and essential services, and keeps millions of people working from home connected. We are so proud to be in an industry that contributes to our society and its well-being. Our multidisciplinary and versatile engineering teams are among the first to take part in regional economic relaunch efforts. Whether the needs involve designing new infrastructure, adapting hospitals, redeveloping cities, or supporting new mobility initiatives, engineers will be part of the solution.”
Szysky echoes that same thought. “We are not just technical people developing technical solutions. Our skills, our expertise has a larger contribution than most people realize, and our industry makes a real difference in everyone’s day to day lives—even if they don’t see it.”