Welcome to the fun, exciting, and often challenging world of engineering as seen through the eyes of Olivia Charlebois, Instrumentation Team Lead at Englobe. Every day, Olivia navigates the interesting landscape of the instrumentation field where she balances her time between building client and team relationships and designing the best project solutions.
Olivia has been with the company for five years and has grown from a technician, spending most of her time in the field, to now leading her own project team as a recently minted Professional Engineer. Here's a look into her day: from morning emails and scheduling to site visits and safety meetings.
Typical Morning: coffee and emails
On a typical morning, Olivia arrives at her office and kicks her day off with, like many in the corporate world, checking and responding to her emails. Moving beyond this task she shares updated schedules with the team as needed and spends some time searching through tender sites to identify new project opportunities. She usually uses the morning to continue work on active proposals and to set up calls with clients, current and potential, to talk about their unique project needs or review deliverables as required. She also reviews noise and vibration reports put together by the Engineers in Training on her team before finalizing and sending them to the client. One of the big projects Olivia’s team is working on is the Confederation Light Rail Transit (LRT) in Ottawa, Ontario where they have 22 noise and vibration monitoring stations installed onsite. In their reporting, it’s important to make sure that the contractor meets the project specifications and the City’s noise by-law standards.
Not every report is an easy one. Olivia enjoys the challenge of finding solutions to tough problems and loves being able to find the best answer to a tricky situation. "Although it's sometimes stressful," she says, "the most exciting part of my job is finding and troubleshooting solutions. Whether that is optimizing a schedule, finding a trick to make a task easier, or some new process for something we do regularly, I really like being able to 'crack' something."
Afternoons: Learning and leading by example
On her lunch break, Olivia attends a team lunch-and-learn to stay up to date on new techniques and services Englobe offers, while also supporting her colleagues. After lunch, she sets up interviews with potential candidates for an open position on her team.
In the late afternoon, she visits a site with a contractor to review installation solutions for a settlement monitoring job on a local Ottawa highway. Olivia’s team is suggesting a few different options (automated monitoring or traditional manual monitoring) and takes the time to demonstrate how both systems will work. After discussing the pros and cons of each option, she helps the client come up with the plan that fits their budget and timeline.
Knowing how to propose the best solution to a client was not always intuitive, and Olivia remains grateful for the mentorship she’s experienced in her career so far. She credits both her previous supervisor Shady Gebara, P.Eng. and current senior director Andrew Naoum, P. Eng, for helping her succeed. "They’ve both been really great mentors " Olivia says and "from my first day my time here has been full of ‘yeses’ and encouragement. Their confidence in my capabilities has helped me grow into a better manager and their advice has always been spot on."
That’s a wrap: final team check-in to talk health and safety
After her site visit is complete, she heads back to the office and has a bi-weekly meeting with her team. These check-ins act as a crucial part of Englobe's commitment to the wellbeing of their teams. Olivia and her team members discuss health and safety concerns, upcoming resource needs, and take time to have an open conversation about interesting things they might have learned in the past week or two.
Although each day is different and can come with a variety of challenges, Olivia wouldn’t change it for the world. She has always had a passion for innovation, something she credits to her jack of all trade's dad, “a lot of the projects we did together helped me build confidence in creating, maybe sometimes unorthodox, solutions for some of the issues we run into at work. I am very grateful for growing up with the chance to learn and experiment with woodworking as a kid, I think it helped me develop that imaginative, problem-solving part of my brain.”
Olivia plays a vital role as a project manager and team lead at Englobe and has a passion for navigating the challenging field of engineering. From vibration monitoring to construction surveying, Olivia's dedication to excellence, innovation, and mentorship positively impacts the experience of her team and clients. Her commitment to continuous learning and growth is evident in her advice to new graduates: "Just get as much experience as you can. Sometimes it can be scary doing new things or you might be worried about looking dumb (I know I was, and maybe still am), but neither are worth missing out on new skills, knowledge, or experiences for."
Interested in working with Olivia and joining her team? Visit our Careers page today.