Headshot of Noah Suissa

Noah joined HH Angus in 2018, and works with our Health Division.

What was your first role at HH Angus?

I arrived as a co-op student in 2017 for eight months, and came back full-time as a Mechanical Designer when I graduated. At the end of 2020, I was promoted to Senior Mechanical Designer.

Tell us your favourite thing about working at HH Angus. 

HH Angus’ culture and people. It is a great organization – it is a friendly, laid-back work environment, but you work hard and are surrounded by people with a wealth of technical expertise. I enjoy the social activities – the Angus soccer team, Friday afternoon hockey, etc.

What drew you to HH Angus and consulting, coming out of school?

I had worked a few co-op terms, initially in manufacturing, and found Consulting to be more rewarding. It allows me to work on projects from the beginning and see them through to completion. My current role is client facing, which I enjoy, particularly developing soft skills and working with clients to meet their needs.

How has working at HH Angus helped you grow in your career? 

HH Angus provides a lot of support in helping employees develop the skills to become independent. There is a strong foundation of knowledge and a lot of advanced technical insight. Another benefit is the wide range of projects undertaken at the company… I’m always learning something new. Plus the resources that back up all team members are amazing.

What made you want to work in engineering? 

Growing up, I was always good at math, and I enjoyed Physics. In university, I was drawn to engineering since most of those courses are math or physics-based. I’ve always preferred STEM courses to business or arts. I started learning various software programs in school and realized I had a passion for design.

What are some of the projects that you are most proud to be involved in at HH Angus? 

The renovation of Royal Columbian Hospital in BC was the first project I worked on independently – I worked on it for almost 2 years, from initial concept to project close out. When I walked through the site to see the project fully built, that was very rewarding!

Rendering of Royal Columbian Hospital Redevelopment
Royal Columbian Hospital Redevelopment. Rendering credits: Fraser Health

Describe a typical day. 

There aren’t any typical days! That’s the beauty of my role. There’s always something new. When you’re working in the AEC sector as a consultant, you never know what challenges you’ll encounter on any given day. It’s definitely not  a 9-5 desk job; there are always opportunities to go on site and do project walk throughs. 

During COVID, admittedly there are fewer on-site reviews; it’s more of an online experience. However, the technical designs don’t change – just your location is different.

What advice would you give someone just starting with HH Angus? 

Continue to reach out for help. Use every resource at your disposal. Build strong relationships with colleagues. Learn how to use the fancy cappuccino machines – they may be intimidating at first but they’re so worth it!

My technical skills have developed with the software available to us - HH Angus offers extensive training in this area – eg, Autocad, Revit, all mechanical disciplines, plumbing, HVAC, fire protection, medical gas and so on.

What skills or traits have helped you most to advance in your career? 

First, my technical skills have developed with the software available to us - HH Angus offers extensive training in this area – eg, Autocad, Revit, all mechanical disciplines, plumbing, HVAC, fire protection, medical gas and so on.  Next would be Project Management – these are the soft skills that I’ve been able to develop by meeting with clients. And I’d also include management skills; I’ve been able to improve and practice with colleagues while working with them on other projects.

What technology trends excite you?  

In the AEC industry, there’s been a lot of change in last 30 years around the importance of sustainable design for energy efficient buildings. Many big projects require you to design for the future; for example, on one project I had to design for 2080 outdoor conditions, keeping in mind climate change trends and how these would affect buildings in 2080.

What would be something that people would be surprised to know about you?  

My life is full of sports – watching sports as a die-hard Leafs and Blue Jays fan, playing golf and soccer - all of these are offered at the company, including fantasy sports leagues.

 

 

Head shot of Hector Lopez

Hector started working at HH Angus in March 2020, one week after the Work from Home directive began in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

What was it like to start working at a new company at the beginning of the pandemic, and not being able to meet your new colleagues in person?

I was actually quite apprehensive, because I was almost expecting a call before my start date saying the hiring would be postponed while everyone was figuring out how to move forward. However, I started as planned and the onboarding process, which was completely virtual, went very smoothly. It helped me get a good sense of how the firm works and who does what. I met a lot of people in different roles, which helped me to get settled, and I was able to talk to someone whenever I needed to. I also had the right tools and technology to start working right away. Considering the circumstances we're in, the process has worked out quite well in making me feel welcome and integrated into the firm.   

What is your favourite thing about working at HH Angus? 

It’s the work that we do, helping create a building that will be used by the public. I also like that the company has a structure to help everyone choose their career paths. 

What drew you to Consulting Engineering coming out of school, and to HH Angus later? 

When I graduated, I thought I was going to work on electronics and actually started creating prototypes and debugging printed circuit boards. It was by chance that I got into the AEC sector; a friend mentioned that his company was hiring, and I submitted my resume.

I was drawn to HH Angus because of the type of design that we do here. I want to be part of a team that makes a positive impact on society.  I was also intrigued by the talented individuals who are part of HH Angus, and I thought that this would be a great place to learn.

“Expect the unexpected.” I plan every week to ensure I am making progress on each project; however, plans are made so that I can easily adapt and adjust.

How do you personally contribute to design and construction? 

Within three months of joining HH Angus, I was involved in a number of different projects, directly contributing by designing the projects that I work on and attending site regularly to see our drawings come to life. With the exposure to all of our projects in BC, I feel like I learn something new every day.

What made you want to go into engineering?   

In university, I started as a Physics major. I loved Physics, thought it was amazing how we could calculate everything and then it got crazy with quantum theory. But, I also realized that my future career was going to be in Research or PH.D. After an internship in a fuel cell lab, I realized that I did not want to sit in a lab all day changing one variable at a time. And since I had already completed my math and science courses, engineering was the obvious choice. I love engineering now, because it means I get to solve problems. 

What are some of the projects that you are most proud to be involved in at HH Angus? 

Because I’ve only been here a little over a year, none of my projects are in construction yet so it’s hard to choose. I’m proud of Royal Inland Hospital Ph2. I like the challenge of creating something new while keeping the existing working.

Hector on site at Royal Inland Hospital Phase 2
Hector on site at Royal Inland Hospital Phase 2

Describe a typical day for you. 

“Expect the unexpected.” I plan every week to ensure I am making progress on each project; however, plans are made so that I can easily adapt and adjust.  A good day for me consists of design/calculations in the morning followed by meetings with the construction team.

What are some of the things that you like about HH Angus, apart from the work itself? 

I appreciate the virtual tools and our reliable Working from Home set up —it’s so easy to call via Skype or Teams to talk to my colleagues. I like that, when I have an idea to discuss, there are people I can talk to, even though we can’t just grab a coffee in the kitchen and chat about some interesting idea.

I also enjoy simply the idea of what we’re doing. We have lots of new, interesting work.  HH Angus is well known for its strong healthcare portfolio, but we’re also pursuing how to incorporate tech into our jobs – making buildings smarter, using 3D scanning.  HH Angus thinks about the future – how we will survive and thrive for our second 100 years.

What is your proudest moment to date? 

It would have to be when I realized that I have answers. I was on site with a contractor and we talked through a solution.

Tell us about an experience when a senior employee helped you, perhaps early in your career. 

“You need to be a sponge.” That advice really helped me to understand that I don’t know everything but I have the capability to absorb and learn.

If someone were to ask you if they should apply to work at HH Angus, what would you tell them? 

It is the place to be! You have the opportunity to learn from talented individuals and grow your career. Mentors have given me the opportunity to grow and expand my skills. And because HH Angus works on many different types of projects, this helps me to step out of my comfort zone and grow.

What are some of the trends and technology that excite you the most?  

Data and self-driving cars. I think our industry always needs more tech!

What skills or traits have helped you the most to advance in your career?  

I’d say being versatile and adaptable. I also like talking to people, which definitely has helped me interact with others. I think every person out there is good at something, and I can learn from them.

Do you have any secret talents? 

My ability to finish a Netflix season in a weekend! Just kidding, no secret talents.   

What would be something that people would be surprised to kow about you? 

I have lived in all three North American countries - maybe I should get a North America Passport or something.  I love playing sports; I started playing club volleyball in college but had to stop due to an injury. I then joined the boxing team at Santa Clara and actually had an amateur fight in Reno, Nevada (the smaller Vegas). I didn’t win, but it was fun!

Headshot of Kim Osborne

Kim joined HH Angus in 2011.

Where did you start your career at HH Angus?

I initially worked in our Health Division as an electrical designer, and then transferred to our Angus Connect Division in 2013. I’m now a manager with Angus Connect, leading a range of digital strategy, IT planning and design projects.

What's your favourite thing about working at HH Angus?

I really appreciate the opportunity to work on some incredibly interesting and innovative projects. HH Angus is an industry leader in so many areas including digital strategy, smart buildings, P3 and AFP project delivery, and the use of technology to enhance engineering – we really have a great culture around innovation and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. At the same time, the actual work we do is so rewarding; one of my core values is having a positive impact on the world, and the projects I work on here actually improve the lives of people and the planet. Making this my career is a dream come true.

What drew you to HH Angus and consulting, coming out of school?

During my degree, I was able to work in a range of jobs as a coop student, and this work experience was key in helping me figure out what work I enjoyed. My early terms were in automotive and chemical manufacturing industries and, while it was interesting to see the processes behind the scenes, I found myself drawn to the technical design work that was the domain of the consultants. I did several coop jobs with a consulting firm in the nuclear industry, and found I really enjoyed the variety of working on different projects and interfacing with clients. As for what drew me to HH Angus – well, I have never had so much fun interviewing anywhere else, and figured if the interviewers were this great, then it must be a great place to work! (Spoiler alert: it definitely is!)

How has working at HH Angus helped you grow your career? 

In my opinion, HH Angus is the perfect size for career growth – small enough to provide a variety of responsibilities and roles within the team, but big enough that we are able to take on large and exciting projects. Being part of a quickly growing division within HH Angus has allowed me to combine my interest in design, project management, strategy, innovation, and business development in a way that’s really rewarding.

What drew you to an engineering career? 

I have always had an intense curiosity about the world and how things work. As a child, I loved designing things – from coming up with ideas on how to use electromagnets to run mag-lev trains, to sketching out designs for renovations on our house. Math and science gave me the tools to better understand how to optimize my designs, and engineering specifically was the perfect blend of theoretical and practical knowledge. And I still bring that curiosity and creativity to my everyday work.

I am so lucky to work with a great team of people who are always ready to take on complex and challenging projects. 

What's the best thing that you have learned on the job? 

Communication is such an important skill for everyone to have, regardless of the work you do – most of our clients and partners are not technical experts, which is why they rely on our trusted advice. Learning how to distill complex technical information down to the relevant concepts and then communicate these concisely to decision-makers is at the core of what it means to be a consultant, and what differentiates us from others who have the same knowledge.

What is your proudest moment here? 

There are a lot, but I think all of my proudest moments come back to clients appreciating the great work we do. I am so lucky to work with a great team of people who are always ready to take on complex and challenging projects, and we work hard to deliver incredible results; for example, when a client stops in the middle of a regular touchpoint and says “I just want to say how much I enjoy working with you and the team at HH Angus. You do such great work and I really appreciate it,” it just makes my day. Sometimes the best recognition is a heartfelt thank you and the knowledge you made someone else’s life a little easier.

What are some of the trends and technology that excite you the most? 

I have always been passionate about data analysis and visualization, which is why I think it’s so exciting to see some really innovative technologies enhancing our abilities to gather, process and understand the data that is constantly being created around us. Big Data was a bit of a buzzword several years ago, but the technology has matured considerably and is now generating real value for those who own it – particularly since data processing capabilities have evolved and now use artificial intelligence and machine learning to expand our ability to process and understand large unstructured data sets. Sophisticated data visualization tools, including dynamic dashboards and extended reality have made understanding this data more intuitive and accessible, creating an incredible opportunity to leverage data to drive personalized insights and evidence-based decisions. There is immense potential in this area, and I can’t wait to see how this shapes our understanding of ourselves and the world we live in.

What is something that people would be surprised to know about you?  

I don’t know how to snap my fingers! Honestly though, I am not sure that there are any real surprises – I am generally a pretty open person, and truly enjoy building honest and authentic connections with people. I bring my whole self to my work, and I hope that others feel comfortable being themselves with me as well.

What skills or traits have helped you to advance your career? 

I am incredibly organized! I think this is really a skill that helps everywhere – not only in the obvious places like project management, but also in areas like performance management, business development and especially design. Often, I work on projects that last multiple years, and having the decisions and analysis properly documented makes things so much easier when five years on someone asks “why did we make that decision again?”

Kim with Megan Angus at Niagara Health conference
Kim with Megan Angus at Niagara Health conference
Kim at Health Achieve booth at MTCC
Kim at Health Achieve booth at MTCC
Internet of things low poly smart city 3D wire mesh.

The world continues to embrace the Internet of Things (IoT), and emerging technologies are taking on a growing importance within built environments.

A confluence of innovation in big data processing, ultra-low power wireless networks, embedded sensor technology, and energy management has accelerated the emergence of smart buildings. As these become widespread, we have witnessed a reciprocal, or better yet, exponential growth in the planning activities to successfully introduce the sophisticated automation and enhanced user experiences they promise. In particular, hospitals, commercial offices, entertainment, retail, airports and education facilities all have clients who will be directly impacted by these advances in technology. This paper highlights the opportunities to provide a proactive change management plan for a redevelopment or capital project.

A redevelopment project provides an opportunity to introduce a large range of new technologies; however, the ‘big bang’ approach that is associated with the opening of a new facility can hinder the adoption. The role of technology should be understood from a functional perspective long before the walls and bricks are in place, so that proper infrastructure exists to support the smart building.

Any successful Digital Strategy and Transformation Project must consider aligning a change management approach to engage users to be prepared for opening day. The vast amounts of change can overwhelm staff when they move into a new building with new technologies, from new floor layouts and different staffing models, to the introduction of more mobile technology, more paperless systems, and automation of tasks that staff previously performed manually. It is imperative to address the capacity for change well in advance of the Opening Day.

The principles of Change Management and what is unique about a redevelopment project

Change really occurs when it is done at scale – throughout the organization - across all levels and stakeholder groups. There are several industry-recognized principles listed below for adopting change in large organizations. However, given the degree of complexity, number of stakeholders and length of project, there are unique factors that need to be considered with redevelopment.

The Principles

Change is Rolled Out

Redevelopment Project Considerations

Redevelopment projects have many external stakeholders as well as internal stakeholders; employees and project delivery teams have creative authority that can turn into resistance

Change Starts at the Top

The redevelopment project cycle covers many years and the leaders may change; executives are often insulated from the reality of day-to-day operations by layers of the organization

Change is Engineered

A change management program can be planned, coordinated and monitored; however, it is not like a construction project in that it involves breaking new ground and cannot be predetermined fully in advance

With So Many Stakeholders, What Matters Most?

With the variety of stakeholders involved in a capital project, such as end-users, executive team, information technology department, facilities/operations teams, government oversight and taxpayers, there are differing and opposing drivers for each of these groups, which include expected benefits, cost containment and scope definition. There is a need for a framework to define a course of action and for leadership to remain committed to it. Finding the common goals between all the stakeholders will be critical to the long-term success.

In a redevelopment project, the ideas and inspiration for change often come from parties outside the end-user stakeholder groups, such as the design team, the information technology department, facilities engineers, or other support services. Ideally, these ideas are then sponsored by the executive leadership with input from users; however, this is not always the case. It often happens that use cases for the functionality of technology are brainstormed by someone “higher up” or by the IT department, and then rushed straight into design. There is no wrong party to support idea generation; however, the important component is to ensure that end-users have been engaged and have faith that the new technologies will create a better environment. One method of engaging these users is to visualize the changes, and to write and approve the use cases for their workflows. This approach uses Lean thinking and iterative cycles to build consensus. It is critical that time be set aside to ensure that these use cases are considered by end users and validated.

It is important to note that not all parties will see the changes as necessary, especially if they don’t belong to the organization or share the same vision. To address this, create a cross-functional project team, map out the impacted stakeholders and address their unique needs. You will likely appreciate that some people are not able to easily adapt to new technologies. Doing so requires both willingness and capability; mindsets get in the way of actually making use of the technology. Therefore, it helps to have champions and support available. There will also be employees in the organization who are very keen to embrace change that results in a more automated and sophisticated building. Support these individuals in advance of the redevelopment projects by leading change on a smaller scale; for example, by introducing new mobile technologies or smart boards in meeting rooms.

Engineer standing in front of a presentation screen and pointing to it while explaining details to the audience.

Change Starts at Every Level

IT IS IMPORTANT THAT EMPLOYEES
CONTINUE TO SEE AN IMPACT AND BE
INVOLVED IN KEEPING UP THE MOMENTUM.

Long before shovels are in the ground, the organization’s leaders are visioning what the new facility will look like and how it will operate. However, project cycles of up to 10 years can be a significant deterrent for senior leaders seeing their vision through to completion. On one hand, they may perceive what seems to be ample time to prepare for the coming changes; on the other hand, they may also feel that getting ready for a change so far in the future is futile. Therefore, it is important that employees continue to see an impact and be involved in keeping up the momentum.

Communication and setting the stage for the ultimate change may be the most critical factor in successful deployments. This requires an engineered approach to obtaining buy-in. To ensure the cultural ‘soil’ is ready before planting the seeds of change, develop a bi-directional communications plan that allows questions to be addressed. The objective is to prepare employees to understand the benefits of the change, as well as the necessity of the change, and for them to be emotionally ready to execute the change. This requires a two-way dialogue to give staff sufficient time to provide feedback. Employees who fully support the change can be invited to co-develop a plan to describe the benefits and address concerns with sufficient support and training.

Conclusion

FACILITATING CHANGE DOESN’T NEED TO
BE DIFFICULT OR ONEROUS.

As a final consideration, recognize that silos in your organization may create barriers to disseminating your plans. I have often seen change initiatives fall apart when different groups that are equally impacted refuse to take ownership for action. They wait for the other department to come up with a plan and take the lead, while their own group sits back and provides “constructive criticism”. This reveals a culture that is resistant to change. It is important as a leader to break down these barriers. Bring employee groups together to understand the shared objectives and then identify what barriers may get in the way. It may be that both departments are experiencing the strain of increased workload from a large volume of change. However, facilitating change doesn’t need to be difficult or onerous. Following Lean principles, create small batches of work, and plan to stretch these batches out over time.

6 Steps to Successful Technology Change Management

As a strong leader, you can set the stage for successful technology change by adopting these six Change Management steps:

  1. Identify the common goals between all stakeholder parties
  2. Engage end users in depicting the use cases for technology
  3. Communicate the benefits of these use cases
  4. Recognize change champions and providing them with support and training
  5. Test technologies in advance by using pilot studies
  6. Bring together stakeholders to voice their concerns

A change management program needs to be adapted to its unique situational factors. Multiple stakeholders - from financiers, end users, IT, facilities, architects and engineers - can make implementation of your plan more challenging, but by following the steps above, you can ease the process.

If you have questions or would like to learn more about change management, we are happy to start a conversation to see how we could help.

Megan Angus

Megan Angus, RN, Lean, EDAC
Division Director, Angus Connect

megan.angus@hhangus.com

Blue umbrella in a row of white ones

We are honoured to be named among Canada’s Best Managed Companies for 2021, our third consecutive year of being recognized. 

The award has heightened importance for us as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. It reinforces the importance of a strong company culture together with a strategic focus on managing day-to-day operations, planning for the future and finding growth opportunities in uncertain times.

Head shot of Paul Keenan

“Over the past year, the pandemic has called on us to be nimble and adapt to a constantly changing corporate landscape. Our management team had been focusing on growth and enabling innovation and technology to enhance existing services and offer new ones. Looking back, this strategic focus allowed us to shift seamlessly overnight to working from home without skipping a beat”, said Paul Keenan, President. “And while it isn’t clear yet what the post-pandemic economy will look like, I am confident that our firm is better positioned to anticipate and address both the challenges and the opportunities because of our management rigour.”

Head shot of Sameer Dhargalkar

“Despite the upheaval of the past year, we’ve continued to invest in growing our capabilities in areas such as digital strategy consulting, low-carbon energy solutions, reality capture, smart buildings solutions and robotics – areas which are driving our clients’ business  goals,” commented Sameer Dhargalkar, VP Business Development & Marketing, “At the same time, we’ve been able to expand our presence in British Columbia and Quebec through growth of staff and new projects.”

Of course, we wouldn’t have been able to do this without the dedication of our employees and the support of our clients – we thank you for the important role you play.

The Canada’s Best Managed Companies award, now in its 29th year, distinguishes overall business performance and growth of best in-class, Canadian-owned companies with revenues of $15 million or more. To learn more about the award, click here


HH Angus contact:

Sameer Dhargalkar, Vice President, Marketing & Business Development
sameer.dhargalkar@hhangus.com
hhangus.com