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Jonathan Atkins, BEng '87

Civil Engineering | The Business of Buildings

As co-founder and managing partner of Atkins + Van Groll Consulting Engineers, Jonathan Atkins (BSc ’77, BEng ‘87) is exactly where he knew he wanted to end up.

“Having watched my father create and manage his architectural firm growing up, I knew I wanted to run my own company one day,” he says.

Today, he and partner Raymond van Groll head up a full-service structural engineering consulting firm that’s nearly two decades old and boasts experience with more than 10,000 projects.

But Atkins’s route into engineering was somewhat circuitous. He initially graduated from McMaster with a degree in biology. Experience working in the construction industry for several years led him back to McMaster for a degree in civil engineering.

“I chose structural engineering because I've always enjoyed seeing things built,” says Atkins. “From planning right through to construction, I enjoy the entire process.”

With a focus on commercial, industrial, and self-storage facility projects, he’s had the opportunity to work on projects around the world, including Kuwait City and Beirut.

Atkins has also developed a national reputation for his expertise with self-storage facilities. Along with serving as an official consultant to the Canadian Self Storage Association, he is responsible for working with them to make changes to the National Building Code for self-storage facilities in Canada.

Among the “tightly-knit team” at Atkins + Van Groll are several other Mac engineering graduates. VP of engineering Shahid Shaikh graduated with Atkins in 1987, while project engineer Mike Criscione earned his degree in 2003.

Along with building his company, Atkins enjoys cycling, skiing, sailing, and adventure travel. Among his most memorable trips were trekking to Mount Everest base camp and cycling through Israel and India. He also enjoys spending time with his wife Ghislaine and two grown children Stevie and Gavin.