Alex Thompson on Challenges of High Arctic Engineering

On October 21st 2016, the UBC CSCE Student Chapter invited Alex Thompson to give a presentation on the Challenges of Design and Construction in the High Arctic. In 2015, Alex spent most of the summer on a construction site in Nanisivik located on the northern tip of Baffin Island in Nunavut. While he was there, he witnessed many of the challenges associated with having a project site located so far north. Project equipment and materials had to be shipped in by boat and required over two months of travel time to arrive on site. This meant the contractor had to plan well ahead of time in order to meet project deadlines. The project required on-site mechanics and several spare parts for their machinery in order to quickly repair any equipment malfunctions instead of having replacement parts shipped. Due to permafrost conditions, the foundation designs required that the top layers of soil be removed until a layer of soil that would remain permanently frozen was reached. The excavation was then backfilled with non-frost susceptible soil to achieve a firm foundation to build upon. In addition, the project had to generate all their own power using diesel generators.

Alex Thompson on the Challenges of High Arctic Engineering

Alex Thompson on the Challenges of High Arctic Engineering

Event Coordinator: Howard Wong

Co hosted by:
UBC-CSCE-Brand-Identity-Colour   UBCITE

IMG_0142On March 11, 2015, the UBC CSCE and UBC ITE Student Chapter’s co-hosted an event titled “Binnie: The Project Manager” that was given by two representatives from Binnie, Jeff van den Eerenbeemt and Scott Campbell. Both representatives are UBC Alumni and are current project managers at Binnie. Binnie is a reputable, Western Canadian civil engineering company providing services in engineering infrastructure growth and development.

This particular event was given at Neville Scarfe Room 100 with an estimated total attendance of 80 people. The objective of the lecture that Jeff and Scott gave was to give students an overview of what it is like to be a Project Manager using specific projects that Jeff and Scott worked on. In addition professional advice was given to students in regards to obtaining a Professional Engineer title as a project manager.

IMG_0145This lecture gave students a lot of insight on the challenges with project management with examples from Jeff and Scott on noted projects such as the Port Mann Bridge, the Bridgeport Skytrain Station and the King George Boulevard project. Exceptional descriptions and roles of each project gave students a different perspective away from applied technical theory learnt in school.

The UBC CSCE and UBC ITE Student Chapter’s would like to thank Jeff and Scott for taking time to come and give a talk about project management and answering all of our questions. The presentation was thoroughly enjoyed and the UBC CSCE Student Chapter looks forward to working with Binnie again in the near future.

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Event Coordinators: Antonio Castro and Kevin Parrish

DSC_0693On March 5, 2015 the UBC CSCE Student Chapter invited Dr. Tom Culham to provide a two hour seminar on the role of emotional intelligence and personal ethics in the business world. Tom has 30 years of engineering experience and completed his Ph. D in 2012 at Simon Fraser University. His thesis, Ethics Education of Business Leaders, drew on neuroscience, psychology, virtue ethics, and leadership education emphasizing emotional intelligence.

The two part seminar provided CSCE members with an introduction to the concept of emotional intelligence (EI) and its role in business success. The lecture’s first half emphasized the ties between EI, personal virtue ethics, and decision making, focusing on the following points:

  • Mindfulness helps people
    • Become fully present, aware, and effective leaders;
    • Develop authenticity and compassion for oneself;
    • Clarify personal values;
    • Increase their awareness of the emotional dimension;
    • Improve decision making by accessing emotional knowledge,
    • Reduce emotional stress
  • Low emotional intelligence often corresponds to a lack of self-awareness, low self-compassion, and may lead to little self-regulation and poor leadership

DSC_0689The latter half of the seminar comprised of a situational exercise where groups were given a hypothetical business setting demonstrating ethics in action. This was followed by a discussion on the origins of ethical decision making.

We would like to thank Dr. Culham for this informative and engaging seminar. For more information, Dr. Culham’s book “Ethics Education of Business Leaders” is available for sale at the UBC Bookstore or electronically at the library, and he also recommends “The Power of Positive Emotions”. The slides from the seminar can found here.

Event Coordinators: Meghan Grant and Madison Klettke

DSC_0586The UBC CSCE Student Chapter invited UBC alumni George Toews and Don Jacobsen from Kiewit to present an overview of the demolition of what was once the longest arch bridge in Canada, the old Port Mann Bridge.  George is a 2014 IGEN graduate who completed 16 months of co-op work terms with Kiewit, while Don is a 1987 Civil graduate who has been with Kiewit for 28 years in positions ranging from field engineer to project sponsor.
Don explained the project background, detailing the general layout of the site and specific differences about the Port Mann site that made it a more challenging project to work on. George presented a step-by-step breakdown of the demolition process, explaining the reverse engineering that was required along the way.  He described how the main arch was removed by cutting it into segments and bracing the structure as pieces were removed first from the middle and then working out towards the supports.  Don and George concluded the presentation by answering questions about the project, and providing career advice based on their own experiences.
DSC_0613The UBC CSCE Student Chapter would like to thank George Toews and Don Jacobsen for taking the time   to share their knowledge and experience on this project. We would also like to thank Jason Block for his help in making this event possible as well as for his continued support of the Chapter.

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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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.



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.