The Future of Engineering – Bright, Bold, and Now Hiring

WATT Consulting Group
Written by Pauline Müller

For engineers who love a dynamic, interdisciplinary work environment, WATT Consulting Group may just be Canada’s most exciting employee-owned engineering outfit for a bright, ambitious candidate to consider joining…

Over the past four decades, WATT Consulting Group has built a reputation for sterling engineering services across multiple disciplines, making it the team of choice in Western Canada—not only for project owners but also for quality engineering staff, technicians, land surveyors, and planners looking to spread their wings in this region’s engineering industry.

With a head office in Calgary and additional locations across Alberta and British Columbia, WATT Consulting Group takes the guesswork—and the pressure—out of selecting quality engineering experts. With its focus on excellence, this team is dedicated to completing every project with integrity and finesse.

For this reason, a wide range of industries in both the private and public arenas trust the team to provide them with the best civil engineering, transportation engineering and planning, geotechnical engineering, and geomatics and land surveying services.

By upholding the core values of honesty, excellence, accountability, respect, and teamwork throughout all the facets of this work, the company provides its customers with the outstanding quality they need.

Here, solid relationships and longevity matter, and the company’s roster of longstanding customers reflects this. “At WATT Consulting Group, we go out of our way to build and maintain good, authentic relationships with our customers. Without them, WATT would not be what it is today,” says Bruce Nelligan, President and CEO. For all these customers, the WATT name is synonymous with setting a high bar and maintaining the highest of standards.

Here, cultivating healthy relationships is not only reserved for customers. The company truly values its staff. It ensures that its people know how appreciated they are. Employees receive everything they need to thrive, from technology and opportunity to recognition and reward. “WATT is a great place to work; it’s exciting. And with the diverse range of projects we work on, there’s never a dull moment,” says Tania Wegwitz, Vice President of Transportation.

The scope of its projects is not the only area in which the company celebrates diversity. It’s proud to be an employer that sees the power of multi-dimensional human creativity, welcoming professionals from all backgrounds to this dynamic, solutions-driven team.

While its services cover a spectrum of fields, WATT has a tremendously lateral, comprehensive understanding of transportation planning and road-related engineering services such as safety, public transit, active transportation, streetscape design, parking consulting, and the like.

There is also the exciting new field of “new mobility,” which the company embraces with enthusiasm.

This growing segment of transportation comprises a spectrum of new micro-mobility vehicles like e-bikes, e-scooters, and electric vehicles at the larger end of the market. To help its customers accommodate these modern transportation solutions, WATT offers shared micro-mobility assessments, policy development, gap analyses on charging infrastructure, curbside management consultations, and engineering.

Founded by David Watt, senior principal, in 1983 as D. A. Watt Consulting Group Ltd., the company has successfully signed off on an impressive collection of property developments over the years, many of these master-planned communities and urban mixed-use developments.

With its President and CEO inspiring a healthy approach to entrepreneurial spirit throughout the company, people are encouraged to take ownership of their work. The result is customer service that goes above and beyond. In this way, WATT is forever pushing the boundaries of its capabilities. As such, its on-the-ground innovation is changing the face of engineering in the region while making cities and towns safer places to move around in.

This is exactly what occurred when the company was appointed to guide the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) Transit Redevelopment Strategy (TRS) in establishing a practical plan for implementing a rapid transit corridor to be executed over the coming years. In-depth data analyses, modelling, public engagement, and stakeholder considerations all helped shape the project, which promises to transform the transit landscape of the city on the east coast of Vancouver Island, BC.

Another example of the team’s ingenuity is its “quick-build” innovation for Active Transportation infrastructure. By using occasionally surprising and sometimes relatively lightweight, readily available materials to divert and manage all street users, for instance, the team has managed to provide a comfortable and safe active transportation connection to areas like beach fronts and around hospitals. A successful example is the Abbott Active Transportation Corridor in Kelowna, BC.

The project was earmarked to start in 2030; the cost to build the long-term vision was only partially funded, but with increasing demand for the extension of the waterfront corridor, the City decided that a solution to the peaking active transportation demand could be found much sooner than the projected 2030 timeline. The result? Around 1200 meters or so of two-way cycle track was installed to protect cyclists and pedestrians from vehicle traffic, using WATT’s quick-build approach.

To achieve this fast and cost-effectively, concrete plant containers and similar buffers were used to divide a dedicated lane parallel to the main asphalt roadway. This was all to be achieved within the spatial constraints that existing infrastructure allowed, using safe yet temporary elements where possible in combination with minimal construction—all while sacrificing as few parking spaces as possible. On its completion, regular users welcomed the improvement and in an opinion poll expressed high satisfaction.

On another occasion, in a minor emergency caused by around half a million visitors flocking to a local beach during the summer months of 2020, the team resorted to natural logs for a quick-build retrofit at Iona Beach Regional Park in Richmond, BC. That quick thinking immediately and vastly improved traffic flow and pedestrian and cyclist safety, and delivered a much-improved experience to all visitors.

Beyond the obvious satisfactions that come with making traffic safer, developing property, and modernizing older areas, the local communities that WATT Consulting serves mean a lot to the team, and the company gives back in turn. Team members are encouraged to get involved by giving of themselves and their time to programs they support. As is typical of his leadership style, Nelligan sets an example through his volunteer work with the Westside Recreation Centre Board, Scouts Canada, Income Tax Volunteer Program and as a former member of Calgary’s Urban Design Review Panel.

The company sponsors several aspirational annual prizes and bursaries for engineering students including the “Transportation in a Sustainable World Student Award”. The award is worth well over $1000, and the winners receive significant publicity and recognition for their winning papers.

Qualifying students include Canadian citizens or landed immigrants who are also members of the Institute of Transportation Engineers. The award aims to invite future professionals to explore the deeper, more sophisticated aspects of working in the transportation planning and engineering field while also exploring the scientific and human aspects of this facet of engineering.

As a dedicated market leader, WATT is committed to its drive for excellence and its footprint across western Canada. As the company moves ever further into Western Canada, strategic expansion plans are being mapped and executed with the precision and vision that goes into its engineering projects.

Whatever the outcome of these efforts, the company continues to set itself apart by truly listening to its clients and delivering projects in resourceful ways to meet their expectations. With agility, innovation, and service in its corner, the WATT Consulting Group team will no doubt keep serving up the quality and dependability they have built their name on, energizing the future of multi-disciplinary engineering.

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