Engineering Newsletter – April 2024

Here is your monthly dose of my Canadian engineering news created for licensed and aspiring engineers, geoscientists and technicians in Canada.

Thanks for reading, and have a great month!

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Gavin Simone, P.Eng. (AB), LEED AP

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15 thoughts on “Engineering Newsletter – April 2024”

  1. Thank you for reading. This month, I would like to ask you: Q1. How does the change in seasons/weather impact your engineering work?  OR  Q2. How do you approach problem-solving when you hit roadblocks?

    1. Regarding the impact of seasons and weather, they can significantly affect our operations. For instance, harsh winter conditions in Manitoba can make roads slippery and visibility poor, which can increase response times. Therefore, we always stay prepared and adapt our strategies according to the weather conditions to ensure we can provide the best possible response. Every decision I make can have a significant impact on people’s lives. Therefore, continuous learning, training, and staying updated with the latest protocols and procedures are crucial parts of my role.

      My primary role is to ensure the safety and well-being of all individuals involved in an incident. This involves quickly assessing the situation, providing immediate medical care if necessary, and coordinating with other emergency services to manage the incident effectively. When it comes to problem-solving, I approach roadblocks by staying calm and focused, even under pressure. I rely on my training and experience to make quick decisions. If a particular approach isn’t working, I reassess the situation and consider alternative strategies. Collaboration and communication with my team are also crucial in overcoming challenges.

    2. Regarding problem-solving when I hit a road block is see it as a puzzle. Identifying at least 3 different ways of solving the puzzle I can then prioritize the solutions in order of most likely to succeed.

      After I’ve tried the first way and it doesn’t work then I move on to the next.

      That way failure also isn’t failure, but just a learning curve and finding the best solution.

    3. When hitting roadblocks I switch to a different task and then come back to it with a fresh mind. Explaining the issue to someone, even though they are not familiar with the topic, helps to answer your own questions.

    4. In the engineering field, hitting roadblocks is inevitable, but it’s also an opportunity learn from them. My approach is firstly analyze the problem, then try to find potential solutions, seeking for different approaches as well. For this, I look for inputs from my colleagues to have ideas different from my own. Once I have all these options in hand, I chose one considering the whole scenario and take action with it. It is important to keep in mind that the plan might change along the way, so adapting is also important when I hit obstacles.

    5. we take the daylight into consideration every time there is work on site and requires lot of hours to be put in.
      A simple example would be to finish off a little late in the November and early December, before 5pm so that we are not stuck in sudden darkness. that also allows the people to start their commute back home early. Might well stretch the work till 7pm on a summer night but not during early winter solstice days.

  2. Mostly extreme weather like heavy rain / snow has an impact on site visits. To avoid this, site visits are usually planned keeping in view the weather forecast.

  3. As a Project Manager, one of my tasks is problem-solving. When solutions don’t quite seem clear, I find that the problem has not been explored fully. So it’s a good idea to come with a fresh mind when thinking of solutions, even if there are multiple options available for solving a problem.

  4. Well! I follow various methods of problem solving (All techincal related issues). I write the problem and list the possibilities to resolve it. Then find the consequences to each possibilities. This gives me clear idea as what is the issue, how to approach and which method is the best. Another method, I google and use various forums. I find many outstanding ideas that never cross my mind.

  5. Humayun Kathuria

    Ans to Q1. For the Outside Plant, the build work takes a great impact from the change in seasons/weather. In winter, the build cost is considerably higher due to many factors.
    And to Q2. We approach the problems using the Six Hats process to problem-solving.

  6. Sadly in Alberta here the summer months have been extremely smokey with forest fires. I have asthma so I have engineered a home with all fresh air intake that gets hepa and voc filtered.

  7. Ans to Q1. As I conduct site visits, I must monitor the weather forecast and road conditions for safety reasons, which significantly affects my work.

  8. Q1 : Site visits and testing activities certainly affected due to changing seasons, I vividly remember my expereince when Train required to stop during testing due to track power drop due to heavy snow. Needed to wait two hrs inside train in cold.
    Q2 : I usually perform RCA starting looking at high-level overview of cause and going further in detail step by step, identify alternatives, measure pros cons and choose the best outcome.

  9. A2: When I encounter roadblocks in problem-solving, I step back to reassess the problem, brainstorm alternative approaches, seek help from colleagues or mentors, and learn from any mistakes. If this doesn’t work, I take a walking/stretching break and then try again.

  10. Changes in season and weather impacts field and site visits. Summer and warmer months call for more field work than winter months. There is also more project work in the summer compared to winter.
    When hit by roadblocks, I usually take a break from it and come back to look at it from a fresh perspective.

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