How would you like to be a government relations expert, a client liaison leader, a financial whiz, and a health and safety guru? A land development career lets you do it all.
Just ask Emily Zon. As Alberta prepares to add close to 1.8 million residents over the next 25 years in regions with large urban centres like the Edmonton-Calgary Corridor, the Edmonton-based project manager and her team are
paving the way to sustainable community development. There are plenty of land development career opportunities across the country at WSP.
Emily is currently leading WSP’s land development project for real estate developer Mattamy Homes in Stillwater—a future neighbourhood in west Edmonton. We caught up with her to discuss the importance of mentorship for young professionals, why we need more women in the engineering profession, and how she gets to work on high-profile projects as part of WSP’s land development team.
In the video, you talk about the ability to pave your career path with the support of the management team. Why is this important to a young professional?
Emily Zon: A career development framework lets you know what steps to take in order to go where you want in your career. Career pathing is especially useful for young professionals as it not only offers clarity but helps us get a taste of everything before pursuing one path that we feel most attached to. Having the management team engaged in your career development is extremely valuable because they can then support you by exposing you to experiences and learning opportunities that you will need to close any skill gaps.
Is there an opportunity to receive mentorship as part of your career development framework?
Emily Zon: The idea of helping a teammate and exchanging insights is deeply ingrained in how we operate as a team. Managers and teammates across WSP are always very willing to provide opportunities for you to learn and succeed. We understand that our individual success is the success of the team and vice versa. To give you an example, whenever I urgently need to bounce ideas off my manager but he isn’t available, I can trust other managers on the team or peers to help out. This type of collaboration and dynamic is commonplace at WSP. I definitely feel lucky to be part of such a great team.
Although the number of registered and licensed professional female engineers has grown steadily in the past few years in Canada, women remain underrepresented in the industry. Do you think we need more women in engineering? If so, why?
Emily Zon: First, I would say that we need more engineers, period. Engineers Canada predicts a skill shortage of almost 100,000 engineers in the next decade. From a business perspective, diversity is always a good thing, as it has been shown to produce better project outcomes, and increased innovation and profitability.
Can you tell us about a project that you’re proud of?
Emily Zon: I am proud of the current project that I am leading for Mattamy Homes, an industry-leading home builder and developer. Together, we are developing a community in the future neighbourhood of Stillwater in west Edmonton. The unique and challenging thing about this project is that it contains a wetland which we have incorporated into the design of the neighbourhood. We needed to find a solution to mimic the natural flooding of the environment so that the wetland can continue to flourish. Working at WSP provides opportunities to work on projects that only a national company of our size can attract. The Stillwater community development project is one of them. I look forward to continuing to work on rewarding projects and growing my career with WSP.