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Margot Smeenk, BEng '85

Civil engineering | Getting from here to there

Getting from here to there

When transportation engineers are at their best, you don’t notice them.

You stroll down the street, hop on the bus or your bike, or drive across town without difficulty, delay or collision. Your trip is safe, efficient and convenient.

The behind-the-scenes work may sometimes be invisible, but that doesn’t make it any less vital.

“Transportation engineering is one of those great fields which impact many people’s daily lives,” says Margot Smeenk, who has spent three decades making it easier to travel around Ontario.

“I particularly love improving safety for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, even through ‘boring’ projects like updating standards.”

As senior director with the engineering consulting firm EXP, Smeenk built the company’s new transportation group to annual revenues of $1.7 million over four years.

“Right now I am leading road design efforts for the Hurontario LRT, an 18-km $1.2B Design-Build project,” she says. “My role involves securing design approvals, coordinating with a dozen other disciplines, finding and scheduling team resources, and generally ensuring that our client is happy with the quality and timeliness of our work.”

The 1985 civil engineering grad says she discovered her love for transportation engineering early in her days at Mac, and eventually went on to add a master’s in transportation engineering to her resume.

Smeenk has worked in both public and private sector roles throughout her career. During the last five years with EXP she has been involved with large multi-disciplinary projects that have expanded her expertise, she adds.

She urges students to pay attention to sparks of interest.

“If a project or a lecture really grabs your interest, make sure you take the time to chat with the prof,” she says.

“And if you get the opportunity to work on a construction site, take it – your designs will be so much better for knowing the practicalities of building them.”


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