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International Women’s Day Spotlight: Belinda Wong

Written on Mar 07, 2019

How to Build the Best World?
More Women Engineers.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, which is also during National Engineering Month, we had a great time interviewing Belinda Wong, Senior Engineer at Entuitive, about her multiple roles on the Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital project.

Set to open in 2020, the Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital will service patients and families in York Region. Housing the most technologically advanced learning centre in a Canadian community hospital, the 1.2 million ft², 11-storey Mackenzie Vaughan will complement the care provided at Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital.

The new facility will include a modern emergency department, surgical services, operating rooms, advanced diagnostic imaging, and more, with capacity for 75,000 annual emergency visits.
In addition, the hospital has been named Most Wired by the 2018 College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) for its leadership and innovation in high quality healthcare through IT systems.

It’s not often one person serves in multiple roles on a project, but the opportunity for Belinda to do so on Mackenzie Vaughan meant she pushed her career forward and provided exceptional service to Entuitive’s client.

“Belinda was very impressive in her range of roles on Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital,” says Sean Smith, Principal at Entuitive. “As a Designer, Project Manager, Client Representative, and Contract Administrator, she fulfilled and succeeded in every role along the way. The consistent and positive feedback from so many people on the project is a testament to the results she achieved and also to the positive experience of working with her from start to finish.”

Belinda attended the University of Waterloo, and received her professional designation in 2013. She joined Entuitive that same year as an Intermediate Engineer.

Below, our interview with Belinda.

Entuitive: Tell us about your roles on Mackenzie Vaughan.

Belinda: I started on the bid phase of the project, serving as a Design Engineer. I was responsible for designing different elements of the structure, such as concrete slab and foundation wall design. The goal was to provide a competitive design that would help our P3 team win the project bid. It was a quick and aggressive process. We had to submit a bid in a very short time frame. When I found out we won, I was overjoyed that our team’s hard work paid off!

During the design phase, I transitioned to Project Engineer while still taking a strong role in the design of the project. This worked very well, as I was the first point of contact for our client as well as the lead designer of the hospital’s structure.

I’m so grateful that Sean Smith and David Fox, the project leads, took a risk by letting me take on such a big role for such an important project. I learned a lot, and definitely grew and developed as an engineer.

Entuitive: What was it like being on the front lines with the client?

Belinda: I loved it. It was a great learning process. We were very proactive on this job. I think PCL, our client, really appreciated that. They knew they could count on us for quick turn around times on problems. We were always working aggressively for the client’s benefit.

Entuitive: What were your other roles on Mackenzie Vaughan?

Belinda: Once the design phase was almost complete and construction had begun, Sean and David asked me again if I’d like to stay on the project. I told them that the biggest hole in my career right now was the lack of site experience. I knew it would be beneficial for me to gain that experience, and they were very supportive. I continued on the project as a Contract Administrator, with Paul Tomasik supporting me in that role.

Entuitive: And how did you like the site visits?

Belinda: It was a really different experience. I had the opportunity to work with the construction team at PCL and create new working relationships, which I really value. Those relationships are what motivate me to do my best.

Entuitive: What was the most nerve-wracking or challenging part of this experience for you?

Belinda: The first nerve-wracking thing was to ask for the opportunity, to step up to roles I have never been in before. Luckily, I have a great support system here at Entuitive. Sean and David were completely onboard with offering me this learning experience and thought it was a worthwhile investment. They did everything they could to help me succeed in my roles, which I am grateful for.

The second challenging part of the experience for me was earning the trust of the other consultant and contractor teams. I came into this project with no previous working relationships with any of the people on the team. However, by being proactive with coordination and any problems that were raised, I found that more and more my opinion was consulted by other consultant leads and the client on any item related to structure.

Entuitive: What was your favourite part of the experience?

Belinda: I’d say working directly with the client and the site visits. I’m a people person; there’s so much on the line when you have a personal relationship with your clients, and you know they’re depending on you. Once you establish that working relationship, there’s much more motivation to continually do better and better.

As for the site visits, they just made the project that much more real. It was awesome to see the construction of this hospital that we’d only seen on paper in the office.

Entuitive: Any other takeaways?

Belinda: Mackenzie Vaughan was certainly a defining project for my portfolio. This experience has given me a lot more clarity on the future of my career. In the past, many times when I saw an opportunity I didn’t go for it because I doubted myself. But no matter how big the role is, if you do your best, you will succeed, especially at Entuitive. It’s just a matter of getting past that initial fear.

Entuitive: That’s an important insight for anyone with big dreams. Thank you, Belinda, for sharing your story with us.

A balanced world is a better world, and that applies to all industries, not only engineering.
Happy International Women’s Day!