Philip joined HH Angus in 2006 and is currently a Senior Electric Engineer and Project Manager in our Technology Division. 

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

I like the diverse projects and diverse clients. I enjoy the work. It is satisfying to see things get built. I enjoy the travel aspect – working all over the place, different clients, different things.

Where do you travel for work?

So far, I’ve traveled around North America.

How do you personally contribute to design and construction?

I am the Lead Electrical Engineer on a number of projects, responsible for design, project management, and delivery of our design to our clients. We are often the prime consultant on projects, the head consultant. We retain an architect or a structural engineer directly,  or select them on behalf of the client. In those cases, the client retains them but we manage overall the process. We also manage the procurement of equipment and services for the client.

How has working here helped you grow in your career?

It was the first job I had out of school, so I’ve grown quite a bit in my career.

“I've enjoyed diverse opportunities being able to work on multiple projects, with multiple clients, with multiple diverse models.”


Why did you want to become an engineer?

I was interested in technology and, I thought it would be interesting to have a career at that field.

What project are you most proud of?

I really felt good about the Sunnybrook High Voltage Emergency Project. That was one I designed and was the Electrical Lead. It was a project where we took a completely functional hospital and rebuilt their emergency power plant without compromising emergency power to the hospital the bew plant was built within the footprint of the exisiting plant. It was a very challenging project, which involved multiple phases of construction. 

What are some of the things about the company that you really like?

I like the dedication over the years to the library collection. I thought that was pretty great. Some of the people who work in Records Management have a background in library science. The company has been dedicated to the knowledge behind engineering we have books from 20s. It speaks to the longevity of the company. Over the years, people have accumulated technical standards, books, journals and things pertinent to older systems and technologies. A lot of places don’t have a comparable knowledge base.

When you started with the company, did you have a time when a senior staff member helped you along? 

When I started, they used to pair the new grads with an inspector and send them to construction projects. I spent probably 2 to 3 weeks doing that. You got to see the practical aspects of construction which puts a lot of things in perspective when you are designing. For me, that had a lasting impact. Additionally, I was fortunate that I had some projects that went into construction when I started. They had already been designed and I was tasked with looking after the contract administration. Seeing other people’s designs, how they were being built, some of the issues that come up, was very useful.

What inspires you?

Family, friends and doing good work. 

What trends or technologies on the horizon excite you most?

I always tell younger staff, one of the best things ever invented was the digital camera. It may not seem all that great now because it is so prevalent. Also PDFs. When I started, the majority of submittals were paper. We would receive paper submittals, we would do our reviews, we would staple our reviews to them and courier it out. You’d do a large project with a wealth of information, and you would no longer have it at your fingertips because it was all on paper, which is now stored off site. But, nowadays, it’s all PDFs. You can keep a copy and everything is readily available. Same with digital cameras. Somebody can go to site and take photos of what they are working on. You’ll always have that reference to go back to later: “oh, this is what I did on the last job. Maybe it didn’t go exactly as planned – let’s do it a bit differently this time”. Today, the technology gives you accessibility that you didn’t have in the past.

What skills or traits helped you advance in your career from the new grad stage?

I always believed in making the product you are selling better in order to be more competitive. Have diverse experience. Obviously, getting licenses and certifications speak to a broader experience and broader knowledge base. When you are selling services, you want to make sure the clients understand they are paying for experience, for somebody who does this for a living. They don’t have people on staff to do the work, so they are hiring us. 


“Twenty metres below Eglinton Ave., dozens of workers wielding huge machines are building what looks like an underground cathedral. In fact, it’s the future site of Laird Station, one of 25 planned stops on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT.” (Toronto Star, April 30, 2018)

The unique mining excavation approach to building the ECLRT’s Laird Station was featured in yesterday’s Toronto Star.  HH Angus is designing and engineering the mechanical and electrical systems for three of the ECLRT’s underground stations – Laird, Mt. Pleasant and Leaside (Bayview).

The Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit project is the largest transit expansion in Toronto’s history and one of the largest P3 projects in North America.

*For the Toronto Star video report and article, click here.


Casino Rama recently hired H.H. Angus & Associates Consulting Engineers (HHA) to help them overhaul their existing power infrastructure. Today’s digital Casino offers a wide variety of electronic gaming machines that provide patrons with an unlimited amount of choice, thrilling graphics and an overall interactive playing experience.

With over 2,500 of the latest state of the art electronic gaming machines, Casino Rama is located just north of Toronto, on land belonging to the Chippewa’s of Rama First Nation, over 3 million patrons visit this popular entertainment destination annually. Concerned that power quality issues occasionally damaged the sensitive electronics in their gaming machines, Casino Rama gave HHA the mandate to find a solution that protected their equipment while minimizing the games downtime as well as the shutdowns required to implement the selected solution.

These machines offer visually stunning touch screen LCD monitors with color changing LED lighting, crisp audio systems and onboard computer systems with state of the art software. While Casino operators have a multitude of choices that are available with respect to gaming machines and the choice of games available, they are often left with little choice on the incoming power quality of their casino’s utility service. Power quality issues were increasingly adversely affecting these gaming machines and interrupting a pleasurable entertainment experience, especially during adverse weather conditions which often resulted in power disruptions. It should be noted that at no time are the security or integrity of the games affected by the power quality.

Power quality is a term that is used to determine the compatibility of an electrical power supply (voltage) to the connected consumer devices. In this case, the devices are electronic gaming machines. Issues affecting power quality can be divided into two groups: steady-state disturbances that are periodic and/or of lasting duration and event-based disturbances which are momentary in nature. Both groups are further defined by categories that pertain to voltage levels above expected tolerances, voltage levels that are below expected tolerances and momentary fluctuations in voltage. Specific examples of each type of phenomena include:

•    Failures/Blackouts/Brownouts – system outages where utility power is unavailable or operating at a reduced level.
•    Surges/Overvoltages – increased voltage magnitude for short durations or prolonged durations.
•    Sags/Undervoltages – reduced voltage magnitude for short durations or prolonged durations.
•    Frequency variations – deviation from the standard 60Hz voltage supply.
•    Switching Transients – very brief fluctuation in the magnitude of voltage, usually in the nanosecond duration.
•    Harmonic Distortions – distortion of the voltage waveform caused by non-linear loads.

HHA started the process of finding a power quality solution by analyzing Casino Rama’s existing power distribution systems, existing critical loads and plans for future electrical load growth. Existing building infrastructure was reviewed including available service space and mechanical infrastructure. A number of recommendations were put forth to Casino Rama with varying degrees of risk mitigation and budgetary requirements. Casino Rama opted to incorporate a 1.2 MW centralized uninterruptible power supply (UPS) into the portion of the existing emergency generator powered distribution system dedicated for their electronic gaming machines. In simplistic terms, UPS systems operate by converting an incoming utility power supply from AC to DC and using that power to feed a rechargeable bank of batteries. The battery bank subsequently feeds an inverter which converts DC to AC and feeds the critical loads – the casino’s electronic gaming machines. Power quality disturbances on the incoming AC supply are filtered out and there is no possibility of having any disturbances transferred through the AC-DC/DC-AC conversion process. In addition to providing protection against power quality disturbances, the centralized UPS can provide gamer’s with an uninterrupted playing experience during a utility power outage, as the UPS will bridge the gap between the onset of a utility power outage and the time it takes the Casino’s onsite 3 MW emergency generators to come online and support the critical loads. 

Implementing the centralized UPS system at Casino Rama had its own unique challenges. Available service space had to be sourced. The system had to be integrated within the facility’s electrical system, in a way that minimized the duration of machine shut-downs and tie-ins. Additional air conditioning units had to be provided to ensure that the requisite ambient temperatures are maintained for the system.  Structural reinforcement was required to ensure the floor slab was able to support the added weight of the battery banks. All of these requirements had to be taken into account when designing the project that would install the centralized UPS system. Construction documents were prepared for all of the various trades and the project was tendered to electrical contractors. The competitive bidding process resulted in a project that ensured a prescribed level of quality, with respect to construction materials and methods, at fair market value.

Since the installation of the centralized UPS system, Casino Rama has had zero power quality incidents affecting their sensitive electronic gaming machines. In addition, electrical distribution fault related downtime has been eliminated resulting in a substantial reduction in annual maintenance costs. John Haley, the Director of Engineering and EVS at Casino Rama states “The installation of protective electric equipment designed and specified by H. H. Angus and Associates Ltd. is working amazingly and has afforded us the confidence that we no longer need to pre-start all three of our 1 MW generators during every looming lightening storm”. Given the growing trends towards electronic gaming, today’s digital casino can learn an important lesson from Casino Rama and take the proactive approach towards removing power quality issues from their facility. Removing the adverse of effects of power quality issues at your casino can maximize a gaming experience that can be enjoyed by all.

Steve Smith, C.E.T. and Philip Chow, P.Eng., PE, are senior members at H.H. Angus & Associates Consulting Engineers Ltd., and specialize in critical power solutions for the gaming industry. As independent service providers, they bring a wealth of experience in electrical systems, building infrastructure and construction. H.H. Angus and Associates Ltd. is a privately held engineering firm headquartered out of Toronto, Canada, with offices in Chicago and Dallas.

Originally published in Canadian gaming business