Section Leader, Engineering

Since taking up her position as Section Leader, Engineering, Nancy Plante has helped to promote the projects in the section under her responsibility. Through her position, she keeps the projects on track and plays a key role in managing human and material resources.

Different career paths lead to the position of Section Leader, from building relevant experience within the company to working at a firm or in the industry.

What are your responsibilities?

All plants are organised into sections, and section leaders are responsible for the projects in their section. Through my position, I have a full overview of the team’s current and upcoming projects. I am also responsible for managing the budget. Once a project is accepted, I assign it to a member of my team who carries it out according to our client’s needs. I build work teams, establish how to prioritise the project, then share the information. I monitor spending and keep the projects on schedule, while meeting health and safety standards. I serve as a link between our teams and the clients I support and ensure that our practices are in line with our corporate standards.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

I begin each day by meeting with the members of my team to see how their projects are going and to answer any questions they may have. What happens next depends on the progress of the projects under my responsibility, so my schedule may vary. I might meet with clients, visit a worksite to check on the progress of a project, or coach an employee.

Human interaction is a big part of the job for section leaders. I deal with clients and contractors on site. I am there to make sure that discussions are constructive so that the projects run smoothly.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The projects are very diverse, both technically and strategically. At any time, I may be responsible for several projects that are all different. I enjoy being able to get involved in different client and employee issues. I can also use my professional experience to provide recommendations, offer advice, and make a difference.

There is so much to be gained from sharing knowledge and helping each other. I like being able to go to the plants and meet with my clients—seeing first-hand what they deal with gives me a better understanding of their issues.

What makes you proud?

It’s finding the right people to build a team, getting everyone on board and working together towards a common goal, regardless of the obstacles. I’m pleased when I see my team working as one, with people helping and supporting each other at difficult times and celebrating each other’s achievements. This is the kind of synergy that makes me really proud of my team.

What qualities would you say are needed to take on a role like yours?

I would say that, in this role, you need to be able to adapt to change. You have to be able to respond to situations while keeping a cool head, show a good sense of humour, and treat everyone with respect. You also need to be resilient and open to other people’s ideas.

Besides project management skills, this position requires leadership skills and the ability to make timely decisions in the best interest of the project and our resources. You also need to have good interpersonal and communication skills, since you have to work with many different groups of people.