At just 19, Chelsea applied for a job at Binnie. She was hired before the ink had dried on her diploma. Eleven years later Chelsea has helped deliver a long list of municipal engineering projects.
Chelsea Skalsvik is the Division Manager in Binnie’s Development & Infrastructure Division. She leads a raft of municipal engineering projects and pitches in on design when needed. Chelsea was mentored under Binnie’s Vice President, James Martens. James is well known by many city managers and he has taught Chelsea the ins and outs of working with BC municipalities.
Chelsea decided she wanted to pursue work in the engineering field while still in high school.
I was only 17. I was good at math. My Grade 12 personality tests pointed to engineering.
Upon graduating high school, Chelsea enrolled at the British Columbia Institute of Technology in Burnaby and registered in the two-year civil engineering technology diploma. One of the requirements of the program is to complete a project with a civil engineering firm. Being new to the industry, Chelsea took a chance and started calling engineering companies listed in the phone book. Serendipitously, she found herself talking to a manager at Binnie, who then agreed to sponsor her on an industry project. A Binnie engineer proposed a project topic for Chelsea and she designed it under their guidance. Though she hadn’t realized it, Chelsea was beginning what is now almost 15 years of busy and productive work at Binnie.
At just 19 years of age, and eager to start her new career, Chelsea applied to work at Binnie a few months before her graduation from BCIT. James Martens hired Chelsea and she has been working full-time at Binnie ever since.
When I started the person closest in age to me was 10 years older. Now it has changed – we have so many young people, and they have peers at work.
Chelsea leads multi-disciplinary teams in delivering road and utility projects. As part of her day to day role, she helps new staff at Binnie learn the ropes in design, inspection, and contract administration. Chelsea spent many years at Binnie’s Squamish office before moving her family of three to Surrey.
Part of the reason I moved from Binnie’s Squamish office to our office in Surrey was because I wanted to build a stronger team in the Lower Mainland and offer my clients local service. I wanted to work closely with staff so I could pass on my knowledge in person. It has felt really good to be able to pass on my knowledge being here.
In her time at Binnie, Chelsea enjoys working with her public sector clients and finds the work is a good fit for her.
I like servicing the municipal sector – you’re servicing the municipality who is trying to service their residents and taxpayers in the best way possible. You are servicing people you can relate to. You feel good about it because you know they are working with limited budgets and they’re trying to do their best. So you feel like you are helping. Binnie has a great work life balance, if you’re willing to stand up for what that means to you. To me, it means that if my daycare calls at 11 am I can drop anything and go. I can always come back in the evening and finish up or work on the weekend.
Chelsea became a shareholder in the company in May 2016.
It feels somewhat different. I feel like I’ve always been interested in the business side of things. Management has always respected me and my opinions. I think that was why I was invited – I’ve always shown that interest.
Current favourite movie
Do the Kardashians count?!
Current favourite hobby
I have kids so I like to sleep!