Entuitive Co-op Diaries: Herry Chen
At Entuitive, we have a great team of creative, collaborative, and advanced people, and that includes our talented co-op students. In this post by Herry Chen, Junior Designer, we hear about which projects he worked on and what he learned this fall in our Calgary office. Take it away, Herry!
I knew I wanted to work here ever since my first encounter with Entuitive in my first year of Architectural Engineering at the University of Waterloo. The term had just started, and a speaker from the Entuitive Toronto office had come to our class to present on the power of parametric design, specifically, how Entuitive used it to generate the helical structure of the CF Toronto Eaton Centre Pedestrian Bridge. I was filled with awe and amazement, inspired to become a structural designer who could not only design such an intricate structure but also understand how it works.
Beyond the bridge project, I learned about the Ennovation team and the Entuitive U Activity Portal where students could be challenged to solve common problems in the AEC industry while showcasing who we were beyond the common resume. I knew I had to somehow get involved with this forward-thinking company and finally, for my sixth and final internship, I flew out of Ontario, landing a junior designer role on the structural team in the Calgary office with Greg Riewe. I was excited and nervous to live in a new city at a new company, taking my first step into engineering consulting.
The first week flew by quickly as I completed the necessary orientation, put names to faces, and got briefed on the projects I would be assisting on, including a hotel development in Whitehorse, Yukon. Whenever I felt lost or confused, I found that I could always go to Brenna Loch, my assigned Entuitive buddy, or Bryden Dyck, my Senior Engineer to get answers for my bajillion questions and receive guidance. It was not long before I found myself at home in Calgary, working in the office daily, designing concrete columns, grade beams, foundations, and pile caps. In my spare time, I had the opportunity to dive into the Contract Administrator role, reviewing shop drawings for existing construction projects, conducting site visits to spot deficiencies, and talking to the site trades to learn about their role.
Entuitive’s One Company Culture meant that I could hop on a project from any of the offices and work with people halfway across the country. The mixed desk arrangements in the office meant you were working right next to different teams or even members of the leadership team. Over a short span of 4 months, I had the wonderful opportunity to:
- Build a sustainability code database for the Sustainable Performance Group and Marketing Team with help from Emily King, Lindsey Kindrat, Salah Imam, and Powell Draper,
- Perform quantity takeoffs for projects located in Toronto and Vancouver,
- Present on new cloud-based engineering software for the Technical Committee and Ennovation,
- Complete post-tension restoration work on Sulphur Mountain in Banff, and
- Investigate and lead the design of various small structural projects.
My advice to future co-ops: Take the (EN)itiative to find hidden opportunities within the work environment. Making yourself available to take on new responsibilities while receiving guidance from experts will quickly expand your comfort zone and knowledge base. There is a wealth of accumulated experience here for you to absorb.
As I head back to school to finish up my degree, I’m proud to say I feel like I’ve grown and learned a lot as a future engineer and a professional in the industry. The leaders in the company are successful because of their ability to calmly boil down a problem to the most salient factors that are key to navigating to a complete solution. I was surprised to find that project management and human relationships can often be the most challenging parts of projects compared to the technical component.
Being in the Calgary office, I truly felt the human value of engineering and the importance of culture within a company. I would like to especially thank Blaine Jansen and Gary Twomey, for the countless great memories over lunch, and Greg Riewe, for the warm welcome to living in the cold city of Calgary. It has been a pleasure to work here, and I hope to be back soon!