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.
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!