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Jill Hass

What is your current job?

I am the Head of Engineering for Engineering Services, in the GTA (Mississauga) branch of Urban & Environmental Management (UEM) consultants, and branch manager. My work is to manage predominantly municipal infrastructure projects for municipal clients in the GTA and surrounding regions, as well as business development, staff relations (hiring, mentoring, management, etc.), and acting as a liaison with other UEM branches as part of the Management Team.

What made you want to pursue a career in engineering?

When I was around 12 years old, a family friend asked me what inspired me and what I was good at. He then explained to me what topics he was studying in a civil engineering program at a university and I knew then that I wanted to learn all about how the world worked. My curiosity is insatiable and I have always wanted to be an engineer.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

In working on any project, ranging from a simple on-site installation to a large community project, I thoroughly love working with all the various technicians and engineers from different disciplines collaborating together, but what I find also vital is listening to the inputs of various stakeholders in the community. I find it especially energizing to experience the cooperation and mutual respect that is passed amongst the team members during project meetings and to witness brilliant ideas that can flourish in a great team collaboration.

How do you celebrate National Engineering Month?

I celebrate National Engineering Month with two groups of individuals: my old classmates and colleagues; and students. Surrounded by colleagues, we meet several times to reminisce about the glory days of all night engineering school projects, then compare them to current projects and eventually discuss career goals in the comfort of our peers’ knowledge and understanding being in such a truly unique profession. Many times, my friends who are teachers have asked me to present my engineering experiences to their students, and several of these occasions have provided me with the opportunity to meet people whom I can mentor, including numerous engineering students, recent engineering graduates and recently immigrated engineers.

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

Get as much practical experience as you can – the best time to gain this “hands on” education is early on in your career through experiential learning, as once you advance to a senior engineer position you will typically no longer work in the field. The engineering industry is soon losing a generation of retiring engineers with great practical experience – this information and these abilities need to be passed on, and as such I recommend talking to the older engineers at your work to gain their knowledge and learn practical skills._______________________________________________________________________________

Jill Lauren Hass is an enthusiastic entrepreneur who brings innovative ideas to the wet infrastructure industry. Jill currently manages the Engineering Services sector of Urban & Environmental Management’s (UEM) GTA office.

Prior to working in the private sector, Jill worked in the not-for-profit and international non-governmental organization (NGO) sectors – an experience which provided her with a wide breadth of practical engineering knowledge and proven leadership experience. Her international development work in Central and South America focused on simple infrastructure installations in underdeveloped regions with limited financial resources, in varying cultural contexts and in remote areas.

Jill first studied Bio-Resource Engineering at the University of British Columbia, before the call of humanitarian work drew her overseas. Eventually returning back to Canada, she arrived back in academia 10 years later to the University of Ottawa. She holds an undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering and a Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering, with a focus on waste management (both water/wastewater and solid waste management). In the private sector, she worked during her Master’s degree for a technology firm and now works as in the environmental engineering consulting industry. She designs, tenders and inspects the installation of innovative “green” wet infrastructure systems and some conventional wastewater collection and potable water distribution system, with completed projects in Ontario, Alberta and BC, and in many countries internationally. As a ‘hands on’ researcher, often she could be found creating new product prototypes late into the night in her garage and then personally testing each idea at a full scale installation located at a research institution.

Ms. Hass is a Professional Engineer licensed in Ontario and is recognized as a LEED® Accredited Professional. She carries a wide range of skill sets, including: research and product development, design, implementation and project/program management.

In addition to her various memberships in a number of water resource and environmental organizations, Jill volunteered as an Executive of the Ottawa chapter of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) and is a past WISE President. She has volunteer on many Water For People Canada projects at home and in Africa. A lifetime environmentalist, Jill works in the Toronto region but can often be found in the warmer seasons spending her spare time paddling the Madawaska River or traveling in a canoe on multi-week trips in some of Canada’s great rivers and lakes.

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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