Breanna Dahlby, AScT is a Designer in our Burnaby office who attained her Civil Engineering Technology Diploma from Okanagan College in Kelowna. She describes herself as a home-body who loves the outdoors (and yes, she recognizes the contradiction!). Her perfectionism, pride, and ownership of her work are what drive her every day as she contributes to projects.
One of her longest-standing projects is Southgate City, which she began at the start of her career with Binnie in 2014 as a co-op student. When she returned to Binnie in 2016 as a full-time technologist, she became the lead designer on the project.
The Southgate project involves a master plan—which Breanna helped develop—that encompasses a multi-phase subdivision and redevelopment of about 17 hectares in South Burnaby, near Edmonds Station. The design includes updating existing local roads to the approved typical sections and latest City standards, as well as improving existing sanitary, storm, and water main pipes for the increased density.
As a visual learner, Breanna chose this field of work because of her interest in drawing maps and plans as a child. Although she initially pursued filmmaking after high school, she quickly discovered the long hours and pay were not something she could see being sustainable for her future goals. Because of this, she decided to pursue Civil Engineering Technology for a more traditional work schedule and more financial stability. It turned out that the practical and technical nature of the program aligned more closely with her goals and interests.
Now, she gets to spend her days completing design work. Her work varies from storm and sanitary analysis to roadworks corridor design, to onsite grading and servicing, to stormwater management, and more. If you were to walk up to her desk, you would most likely see CAD open as she works diligently drafting and designing to meet her deadlines for the review engineer.
For our non-CAD users, Breanna explains just what it is:
“CAD helps to visual how a proposed design can be implemented based on the real-world scale of existing infrastructure.”
In any job, you’ll find your own unique set of experiences. For Breanna in particular, she felt a lot of self-doubt and stress when she took on multiple projects at once. On dealing with this, she says:
“I often felt that as a woman and as a technologist that I wasn’t capable of doing the work I was doing (we all know that is not true). In my first year, it was mentally challenging to show up at work, but I think it can be normal to go through that phase when you’re new to the industry. I’ve gained enough experience over time to create the kind of confidence I felt I needed at the beginning. In hindsight, those opportunities helped progress my career more than I realized.”
On what she recommends to other others starting in their career, she says:
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions and take on the extra work that’s given to you. Seek out the right people that are willing to put effort in to support you and your growth. Give them back the same effort that they give to you, then pay it forward. I would say the biggest impact on my career would be my working relationships and the trust I’ve built with the people I work with regularly.”
For Breanna, the people are what make a company so special. She considers this to be one of the top reasons she has been at Binnie for so long. With six years under her belt, I think we can safely say Breanna enjoys the people and culture at Binnie.