2020 YEAR IN REVIEW – WHAT WE ACCOMPLISHED
Throughout the past year, ACEC-NB continued to speak out on several issues to create a stronger business climate for our members. We are proud of the important work we have accomplished over the past year on behalf of you, our members. Below is a snapshot of what we achieved.
COMMUNICATIONS AND ACTIVITIES IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged our people and our businesses in ways many of us had not planned. Managing a business through a pandemic crisis is a significant challenge. For this reason, ACEC -NB obtained feedback from our firms, the last week of March, which in turn helped us focus our initial advocacy efforts with elected officials and clients. Here is what you said:
- 72% of firms are “somewhat or very” concerned about the short-term stability of your firm;
- Over half are “extremely or very” concerned about the long-term stability of your firm;
- Under current conditions firms could stay financially viable 3-12 months, with the majority answering 6 months;
- 63% anticipate they will need to lay off employees in the next 3 months;
- 81% said they already have or plan to take advantage of government programs.
When asked what can ACEC-NB be doing to help your business: the main message was to advocate to government that firms are open for business and that we need the government to be open for business.
Feedback from the survey indicated member firms were looking to stay informed about government and other financial programs, in response ACEC-NB added a link to their webpage with the most up to date financial and assistance programs at https://www.acec-nb.ca/project/acec-nb-response-to-covid-19/
ACEC-NB was in contact with several government departments to ensure that the government was open and operating and that permitting and tendering would continue during this time. All government departments we spoke to understood the importance of keeping business flowing during this time and indicated they were available although in some cases at a reduced capacity. ACEC-NB always relayed the message to government and all clients that our firms were still open for business. In addition, the following actions were taken:
- March 27 – we sent a letter to the Premier requesting engineering be designated as an essential service.
- May 5 – we sent a letter together with AANB, CANB, and Road Builders NB to discuss how our industry can aid in the economic recovery of our province.
- ACEC-NB met weekly with CANB, AANB and NBDTI (Infrastructure) to discuss on-going issues related to covid-19 on our businesses.
- ACEC-NB was in contact with the office of the Fire Marshal to relay member concerns that the office was no not providing pan review services.
PROMOTING THE RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT OF INFRASTRUCTURE DOLLARS
On the advocacy front we continue to spread the message that infrastructure is a core business of government and an investment in our social, economic and environmental quality of life, not a cost to be minimized. Priority should be given to core infrastructure that grows the economy, creates jobs and expands the tax base. Growing the economy is essential to making further investments in community and social infrastructure viable and sustainable in the long term. We promote a 10-year spending plan which will de-politicize infrastructure planning and create stability.
Over the course of 2020 we met with not only the Premier to discuss this message but also the Honourable David Coon, leader of the Green Party and Kevin Vickers, former leader of the Official Opposition and the leader of the Liberal Party of New Brunswick.
During the election, in August 2020 we sent the following letter to all political leaders.
Women in Consulting Engineering in New Brunswick: Career Satisfaction & Workplace Experiences Report
With a view towards the future and our ongoing competitiveness, in 2018 the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies of New Brunswick (ACEC-NB) created a diversity and inclusion committee. This group, with representation from several member firms, decided to tackle gender diversity and inclusion as its first priority. Our research was geared towards understanding specific career experiences and preferences that impact long-term retention of women in the profession.
Research was conducted over the course of 2019 and this report contains the insights gained from that process. We probed on what types of benefits are most meaningful to women in consulting engineering, drivers of career satisfaction, perception of career advancement opportunities, and work culture.
In addition, we have created a series of recommendations to support our member firms, there are recommendations for individuals, member firms and ACEC-NB.
Recommendations fall into the following themes:
- Tips to Create Diversity & Inclusion Strategies
- Tackling Flexibility, which surfaced as a top desired benefit and key driver of satisfaction
- Create transparent career tracks for recruitment, retention and advancement opportunities
- Developing onboarding strategies after parental leave
- Specific steps ACEC-NB will implement over the coming year to support member firms and their employees
Why did the ACEC-NB complete this work?
- For consulting engineering to thrive, we must all possess a foundational understanding of the issues facing our workforce and our economy. We hope that this research offers greater insight as to the opportunities that exist for our member organizations to create workplaces that support diversity and inclusion, and where women can pursue meaningful careers and advance into leadership in greater numbers.
- Member organizations in New Brunswick are at risk of losing significant investment if trends continue, and if highly skilled female employees choose to leave the profession. Recruitment costs go up, training and orientation costs go up, productivity is lost and customers are always dealing with someone on a learning curve, these translate into significant costs.
- There is a strong business case for offering clients a diverse project team with individuals who challenge ‘group think’ and bring different lived experiences and perspectives, and who can relate to an increasingly more gender-diverse client base.
- At the end of the day consulting engineering is at a clear disadvantage if women cannot be retained in the profession.
If you have not already read this report we encourage you to do so at https://www.acec-nb.ca/best-business-practices/diversity-inclusion/
2020 Engineering Excellence Awards
Awards were presented to 5 New Brunswick Consulting Engineering firms. The firms and projects range in size, discipline and location, one of the five projects was honoured with The Pinnacle Award which is the top ranked entry deemed to demonstrate consulting engineering excellence by the judging panel.
The Pinnacle Award was presented to Dillon Consulting Limited for their project entitled: Determining the Likelihood of Ship-source Hazardous and Noxious Substance Releases in Canada. Other awards were presented to:
- Wood Environment and Infrastructure Solutions for the TRACC Tire Fire Emergency Response in the Minto Industrial Park, Minto, New Brunswick.
- Hive Engineering for their project Saint Edouard-de-Kent Harbour Boat Fire in Saint-Edouard-de-Kent, New Brunswick
- Dillon Consulting for the Billy Weston Brook Flood Mitigation project in Saint Stephen, New Brunswick; and
- Fundy Engineering & Consulting Limited for the “Violet” Solar Farm, Utility Scale Solar Project located in Brunswick Mills, NB.
To learn more about all of the winning projects and the view the videos of the award-winning projects please visit https://www.acec-nb.ca/awards/2020-engineering-awards-gala/
Thank you to the board of ACEC-NB:
Tim Ryan, P.Eng.- President Jaclyn Currie, P.Eng. – Director
Charles Goguen, P.Eng. – Past President Christine Plourde, P.Eng. – Director
Andrea Kalafut, P.Eng. – Vice-President Tim Dulenty, P.Eng. – Director
Kim Gaudet, P.Eng. – Secretary Philippe Landry, P.Eng. – Director
Jessica Fredericks, P. Eng. – Treasurer Denis Gallant, Ex-officio Director
Martin Gordon, P.Eng. – ACEC Canada Representative
Lucas Storey P.Eng. – Young Professionals Representative
Finally, we want to recognize that we are a member supported association, we want to thank all our members for their support which makes all that ACEC-NB does possible!