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Event Coordinator: Justin Brown

On November 24, 2014 the UBC CSCE Student Chapter welcomed Greg Nichvalodoff to provide a professional development seminar titled “Leadership and Teamwork Development”. Greg is an executive coach and is the founder and president of Inscape Consulting Group where he travels the world providing coaching in organizational development, executive performance coaching, business diagnostics and strategic planning for all types of businesses.

Greg’s two hour seminar provided UBC CSCE members with great insight in becoming a leader and working more effectively as a team. To become an effective leader, Greg highlighted the importance of focussing on your own strengths, modelling the way, encouraging the heart and believing that becoming a great leader takes lifelong learning. When Greg first spoke about teamwork development, a distinction was immediately made between a team, which is held mutually accountable, and a group that assembles to help each other perform. Deciding to work as an effective team begins with the triangle of trust, and can foster to a performing team that will outperform the sum of its individual parts.

From the beginning, Greg made it clear that he was thrilled to pass on his knowledge to UBC CSCE members and we could not be more grateful for the opportunity to learn. Greg has graciously provided us with numerous slide decks that can be found at the following links:

UBC CSCE Professional Development Seminar – Leadership and Teamwork Development

Effective Leadership and Communication

When Generations Collide

Furthermore, here is Greg’s recommended reading list with comments:

  1. Leadership Challenge – This book is a must for your leadership journey
  2. It’s OK to Manage Your Boss – Yes, there are books on managing up
  3. Quiet – The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking – Great insight into introverts and leadership
  4. Work Types – If you are serious about understanding individuals that are not your MBTI type – this one is simple and easy to read
  5. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – The pyramid discussed during the UBC CSCE seminar
  6. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Likely one of the best books on becoming effective as a leader
  7. Clear Leadership – Sustaining Real Collaboration and Partnership at Work – dealing with difficult conversations in the workplace
  8. Co-active Coaching – Sharpen your coaching skills
  9. Fierce Conversations
  10. How to Win Friends and Influence People – In my opinion, the best book on teaching us how to build relationships
  11. Who – Are you hiring the right people? This book will help you with it
  12. Top Grading – Recruiting and promoting your hires need not be complicated

The UBC CSCE Student Chapter would like to thank Greg and Inscape Consulting Group for hosting a fantastic professional development seminar for our members. For further information about Greg and Inscape Consulting Group, visit the webpage or follow him LinkedIn.

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Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 5.16.58 PMEvent Coordinator: Peggy Shen

On November 19, 2014 the UBC CSCE Student Chapter welcomed Paul Fast to provide a guest lecture titled “Architects and Engineers in Collaboration: Risks and Rewards.” As co-founder and managing partner of Fast + Epp, Paul enjoys working closely with architects, exploring innovative design solutions for economical material combinations. Often pushing the design envelope to create hybrids of timber, concrete, and steel, Paul has been recognized for his unconventional use of timber and has emerged a leader in architecturally exposed structures. On November 19th, we welcomed Paul to speak for fellow civil engineering and architecture students about “Architects and Engineers in Collaboration: Risks and Rewards”.

As a junior structural engineer, Paul and his friends travelled to Germany looking for inspirations. In particular, He noted the Kempinski Hotel in Munich. This hotel has a transparent lobby wall which was made by cable net system with extensive amount of glass. After the construction was finished, the wall could move up to 1.5m under heavy wind load, but the engineers proved to the city that it was safe.

After Paul had established his own consulting firm, he often worked closely with Perkins + Will, a world-renowned architecture firm, and accomplished a lot of innovative and award-winning projects together in Vancouver. Fast + Epp focuses on introducing wood into their designs to give a warm ambiance to the users and the environment. For example, the Brentwood Skystrian Station has ceilings covered with wood panels. Moreover, the Kingsway Pedestrian Bridge is mainly supported by an arch with eight wood beams. With the collaboration of engineers and architects, this arch was built to have a beautiful silhouette but light and flexible at the same time.

After many fascinating stories, Paul summarized three keys to a successful collaboration. As engineers, we should get involved at outset of design, be good listeners and be willing to accept risks. With those advices in mind, we shall be able to work with architects more efficiently and push the limits beyond our comfort zone together. The UBC CSCE Student Chapter would like to thank Paul Fast and Fast + Epp for presenting to our members.

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Event Coordinator: Joshua Baylis

The CSCE student chapter facilitated an industry tour of the Armtec precast concrete facilities. We set a cap on attendance at 25 people and we had 27 signed up for the tour. We worked closely with Jim McKay from Armtec and he was extremely helpful and accommodating. We ended up organizing a two-hour tour broken up into two parts. The first part would be a tour of the yard and warehouse, and then we had a 45-minute presentation about precast concrete.

On the Day of the tour, all of the attendees met in the Design Studio at 12:25 pm. We then boarded the bus at 12:30 and left for Armtec. We arrived and met up with Jim at Armtec at 1:00 pm. He put on a brief safety orientation for the group then we broke into two groups of 12 and began the tour. Jim and Med lead one group and went one way around and the other group went the other. By reducing the size of the groups we were able to hear more of what Jim was saying throughout the tour. We saw all kinds of precast concrete. Some pieces were for the new Ponderosa building at UBC, which Jim described as architectural pieces. We also saw some pieces for a project in Kitimat where confidentiality agreements prevented us from taking any photographs. There were also pieces described as “matchcast” which were basically precast guideway segments for the new light rail transit system being built in Port Moody and Coquitlam. These are the major things we saw and with all of these we saw how they were formed, reinforced, poured, cured and stored. It was fascinating to see the entire process from start to finish all in one tour.

The last portion of the tour was a Power Point presentation put on by Jim but aided by their lead engineer. Jim highlighted some of Armtec’s larger and more prominent projects. He also talked about the precast industry as a whole and its place in the construction industry. The final slide of Jim’s presentation was in regards to students getting involved with the CPCI (Canadian Precast Prestressed Concrete Institute) and how we can all get free memberships and what information would be available to us.

All in all this was a great tour, which was extremely applicable to our degrees in civil engineering. Our host, Armtec, was exceedingly accommodating as well as knowledgeable. On behalf of the UBC CSCE Student Chapter, I would like to thank Jim and Armtec for taking the time to host our members.

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photo 2Event Coordinator: Fahmid Islam

In order to give an introduction and educate the Civil Engineering student body on Solid Waste Management, the UBC CSCE Student Chapter invited Andrew Marr to present an overview of the Solid Waste Services. Andrew Marr is a senior professional engineer and the Acting Director of Solid Waste Planning at Metro Vancouver, as well as an instructor in the School of Construction and Environment at BCIT.

Andrew presented an overview of the life cycle of solid waste, and emphasized the 4 goals of Metro Vancouver: Minimize Waste, Maximize Reuse, Recover Energy, and Disposal. He provided statistics on the rate of recycling and garbage disposal in Metro Vancouver, and the financial and political aspects that can affect this. He talked about the complete life cycle of waste, and the different types of approaches to recycle the waste. Andrew concluded the presentation by suggesting that we set realistic goals for waste management to ensure that the goals are achievable.

The UBC CSCE Student Chapter would like to thank Andrew Marr for taking the time to present his ideas and experience in Solid Waste Management.


Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 1.43.52 AMEvent Coordinator: David Tran

The Ruskin Dam tour was a success; representatives from BC Hydro and Flatrion both gave a group of UBC CSCE students a memorable and eventful tour. The tour was 3 hours long, but the time passed quickly and the tour can only be described as magnificent. When we arrived, a representative from Flatiron and BC Hydro was at hand to welcome a bunch of enthusiastic UBC CSCE students to their work site. They provided a brief overview of the big construction project (BC Hydro’s Upgrade Project of The Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse), and some tips about wearing proper PPE while on a construction site. On the tour we were joined by two of Flatiron field engineers who are both UBC alumni and they showed us the project from a construction standpoint. We were fascinated by the construction methods that Flatiron employed, as well as the daily tasks that field engineers’ take on to manage the site. The group was lead into the midst of the dam where we had to be very cautious of our footings. While we were touring the site construction did not stop, cranes were moving equipment and material and workers were scattered across the site. Afterwards we toured the powerhouse, and this was where we were able to marvel at “the world oldest running light bulb dated back to the 1930s” as advised by one of the tour guides. The Ruskin Dam tour was a well-received trip for a group of young ambitious UBC CSCE students ranging from second year to fourth years and we are very thankful that both Flatiron and BC Hydro accommodated us.

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IMG_0105Event Coordinator: Howard Wong

As part of the UBC CSCE Student Chapter’s sustainability theme for the month of October, we toured the Harvest Power Energy Garden, a waste to-energy facility in Richmond, on October 15th. The tour was led by Greg Miles, the Harvest Power Customer Relations and Outbound Sales Representative. Harvest Power is a waste-to-energy facility that has two main components: anaerobic digestion and gas-to-energy conversion, and compost creation.

First, our group was told us about how they use anaerobic digestion technology to produce power from the region’s food scraps and yard debris. This facility is the first commercial-scale high solids anaerobic digester facility in Canada. The Energy Garden reduces greenhouse gas emissions by about 9,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent each year and produces enough energy to power more than 900 homes in the region.

The next part of our tour focused on the compost manufacturing operation, which is a unique form of aerobic composting. Unique features include reduced energy costs, higher throughput, year-round production and high-quality, high-value compost. The system also features exceptional odour control due to a variety of carefully engineered processes.

The tour showed not only how the facility helps the environment, but how a facility such as this can become an integral part of a city’s waste management program. Students also noted the remarkable business opportunity that stems from being paid for the facilities inputs (receiving garbage) and outputs (compost and energy).

The UBC CSCE Student Chapter would like to thank Greg and his team at Harvest Power’s Energy Garden for taking the time to lead us on this tour, answering all of our questions and educating us on this remarkable method of waste reduction.



Event Coordinators: Peggy Shen, Wendy Pan, Amber Xue

To promote sustainability in our campus, the UBC CSCE Student Chapter invited Esther Bérubé, a senior project engineer from Metro Vancouver, to give a lecture about the Zero Waste Committee. This Committee is created to challenge Metro Vancouver to increase awareness that reducing and reusing waste is a priority to managing waste sustainability. Working with governments, they advocate policies and initiatives; also, they have been actively interacting and providing information for the citizens of Vancouver.

In this lecture, she described the history and purpose of the Zero Waste Committee in Vancouver, and the development and future targets of the solid waste management plan. She discussed Recycling Storage Space Consultation by providing an example of how she noticed a lack of space for recycling storage in a neighborhood and helped address it. She illustrated what the Committee has done on promoting the upcoming Organics Disposal Ban. She also presented several ways to promote the behavioral change of the public on dealing with garbage: by custom education flyers, by food donation guidelines, and by communication campaigns.

The UBC CSCE Student Chapter would like to thank Esther for taking her time to give this lecture and answer any questions raised by students.


International Steel Day Tour 1Event Coordinator: Justin Brown

To celebrate International Steel Day, the UBC CSCE Student Chapter toured the George Third & Son steel fabrication facility in Burnaby, BC. Before the tour, the chapter was treated to a brief lecture by Rob Third, Director of George Third & Son, and he focused on the problem-solving process that teams face on construction projects. Rob also spoke about the long history of the company, and what it has taken to grow a small operation into one of the Lower Mainland’s premier steel manufacturing facilities. The tour itself focused on the various processes that GTS completes on a regular basis, including blacksmithing, rolling, welding and fine-fabrication.

International Steel Day Tour 2014 2George Third & Son prides itself on accepting and successfully completing challenging steel projects. As Rob puts it, the challenging and complex jobs that scare most steel fabrication companies away are the jobs that George Third & Son pursue. One such challenging job that George Third & Son is currently working on is the Telus Gardens Office Tower. Rob was able to show us pieces of this project that are currently in the facility and highlight the project’s unique challenges. The UBC CSCE Student Chapter would like to thank Rob and the team at George Third & Son for taking the time to host our members on International Steel Day.


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