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Kealy Dedman

Understanding the impact that engineers have on the quality of life in society was what convinced me to complete my first degree in biology in three years and apply to a Civil Engineering program.

Kealy Dedman leads effective engineering teams and innovative projects that result in sustainable infrastructure for communities. With almost 20 years of engineering experience, Kealy is well suited for her current role as General Manager, Engineering Services/City Engineer with the City of Guelph. Previously, she held several different positions with the City of Mississauga in the Transportation and Works Department. She also spent a year with the Credit Valley Conservation Authority to provide expertise in the design and development of key environmental initiatives. Prior to joining Mississauga, Kealy was a Water Resources Design Engineer in the private sector.

Also a Dean’s Scholar, Kealy holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, along with Bachelor of Science in Biology from Queens University. In addition, she recently received her Masters of Public Administration degree from the University of Western Ontario.

Kealy is highly involved in many professional engineering and public works areas. She is currently appointed to the Board of Directors of the Canadian Public Works Association (CPWA). The eight‐member national Board represents public works professionals across the country and provides a forum for Canadians to promote investment in infrastructure, exchange information, and share public works skills, knowledge and technologies unique to Canada. Kealy is also a Past President of Ontario Public Works Association and is Chair, Ceremonies and Celebrations Committee for the American Public Works Association Congress in 2014. In addition, she is a past instructor of the Road Design and Construction (Contract Administration) course for the Ontario Good Roads Association.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, what is your current job?

In early 2014, I was recruited to the position of General Manager, Engineering Services/City Engineer for the City of Guelph. In this role, I provide long term direction and strategic orientation for the Engineering Department that is consistent with Guelph’s Corporate Strategic Plan. On a day to day basis, I demonstrate a positive leadership example and make recommendations for continuous improvement to position the department at the leading edge of design and construction of municipal infrastructure and facilities, infrastructure planning, transportation planning, development engineering and technical support services.

What made you want to pursue a career in engineering?

I took a detour route to eventually get to engineering, mostly because I didn’t know much about the profession before arriving at university. In my high school, any girls who excelled in math and science were encouraged to pursue a career in the medical field. As a result, I started university in a Science program. Once at university, I became fascinated by the projects in which my engineering friends were involved and by their future career opportunities. Understanding the impact that engineers have on the quality of life in society was what convinced me to complete my first degree in biology in three years and apply to a Civil Engineering program. It was a long road but, in my opinion, well worth the effort. Initially, I was able to combine my environmental and engineering background in the position of Water Resources Engineer. Over time however, my knowledge base expanded to include all aspects of municipal engineering.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

My career today in the public sector is challenging and very rewarding. As City Engineer, I oversee the design and construction of the infrastructure that my community is built upon and our engineering team takes great pride in the quality of work we do. I love solving complex challenges as they arise.

How do you celebrate National Engineering Month?

I strongly support efforts to engage future generations about the possibilities of engineering order to build awareness and excitement about the profession. In past years, I have celebrated national Engineering Month by participating in school visits that introduce children to the wonders of engineering. As a mom to a school aged son, I am hoping to visit his classroom over the next few years as well.

What advice do you have for young women who hope to pursue a career in your field?

In the municipal world, communication is paramount. Both learning and practicing excellent communication skills is essential to success in municipal engineering since you will have to translate technical thoughts into everyday language.

How would you describe the relationship with your mentor/mentee?

Although I have never been involved in a formal mentor/mentee relationship, I have had many informal mentors during my career. The informal mentors have always been someone that I respected and trusted, and did not appear to mind discussing issues with me. Typically, I attempted to work collaboratively with a mentor to solve a problem such that I approached them with a problem and potential solution for discussion. After talking through the problem and possible solutions, we would together select the preferred solution. I feel fortunate to have worked with supportive and encouraging people that have allowed me to grow professionally.

Through outreach and professional development activities, research, partnerships, thought leadership and online initiatives, we work with industry and academia to educate on the value of diversity for innovation, to inspire women to thrive and to celebrate the contributions of women in science and engineering.
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