9 November 2018
Engineer, Civil Engineering
Graduate of McGill University and ÉTS
Her journey: Marie-Michèle received her bachelor’s in civil engineering in December 2007 and started working for the traffic maintenance team at CIMA+ in February 2008. At the same time, she worked on her graduate diploma in construction engineering (project design and rehabilitation). In 2012, she was hired as a traffic management consultant for JCCBI’s Operations and Maintenance Directorate. She officially joined the JCCBI team in 2014.
Her role at JCCBI: Traffic Lead in the Work Planning Department. Coordinates with mobility partners to manage traffic for the entire road network in the Montreal region. Helps the engineering team design traffic management plans for each contract and helps with the ten-year planning of major work.
Honestly, I got into this specialization by being in the right place at the right time. For my first university internship, I did marking and signage work for the city of Montreal. Since every engineering graduate looks the same, internship experiences are often the only thing that makes you stand out. They have a big impact on the job offers you get after university.
When I graduated, the first job I found was in traffic (at CIMA+), since my internships had been in this area. Over time, I realized that this specialization was perfect for me, as the skills involved are totally suited to my personality. To work in traffic management, you have to love working with many people to coordinate many types of work. Unlike a more typical civil engineering position, which consists mainly of precise calculations and analyses, we traffic engineers spend most of our time talking to people, working under pressure, and reacting very quickly to anything that comes up. I really thrive in these situations, which means this field really is the best one for me.
It’s hard to say, as I’ve been involved in the planning stage of pretty much every project. But if I had to choose, I would say the deck joint replacements on the Champlain Bridge as well as the Île des Sœurs bypass bridge connection in 2014, which were two very large-scale projects that involved major work. To minimize the impact on users, we decided to group all work into weekend “blitzes.” By completely closing the Champlain Bridge on the weekend, we had all partners working at the same place and same time outside of weekday rush hours. JCCBI was the first manager of major infrastructure to implement this idea. Now, the practice is common in traffic management. This is a great example of JCCBI’s recent engineering innovations, and I’m proud to have worked on this project!
I’ll say it again: Internships are much more important than you may think when it comes to your career. My best advice is to diversify your internships! Discover different fields, get experience in many areas, and explore all your options. Civil engineering is a very broad sector, and you need to experiment during your university years. My advice would also be to get experience in the field with a contractor. If you only see one side of the industry, you’ll never understand the impact of your decisions. Design is great, but it’s just as interesting to see how your design is brought to life.