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Lisa Vespi, BEng Scty '08

Civil Engineering & Society | Find a Mentor, Be a Mentor

Ask Lisa Vespi about the highlights of the first decade of her career, and she remembers the pride and excitement of her first job as a new graduate, working on the consulting team planning a new highway extension and international bridge crossing in Windsor.

“I quickly learned the value of teamwork, communication, public engagement, long hours (even during Christmas holidays), good coffee (I had only drunk tea until that point), a good office chair, the pride of submitting a complex, 300 page deliverable to the government …  and a paycheque,” she says, with emphasis on the last word.

Now a senior project manager in water and wastewater engineering with the Niagara Region municipal government, Vespi includes earning her P.Eng. and Project Management Professional (PMP) designations, and juggling engineering with motherhood, on her list of career highlights.

Oh yes, and the first time a sewage pump was fired up on one of her construction sites.

Most recently, the 2008 Engineering and Society graduate has added the joy of people management to her highlight list.

“I have three direct reports and being able to coach your team so that they learn, begin to understand, and implement on their own is so very rewarding,” Vespi says.

As someone whose high school ambition was to be a psychologist, Vespi recognizes the value of relationships in the work world and encourages students to nurture those connections.

“Find a mentor and become a mentor - mentorship and coaching is an essential part of your career,” she says. “I have a few key people who I know I can always rely on for professional or personal advice.

Mentors are pivotal in keeping (or getting you) on track. Also, even though you may not know it, someone may be looking to you as a mentor starting from very early on in your career. Understand these opportunities and take the time to coach, grow and support people around you.”