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Steve Jacobs, BEng '85

(Civil Engineering)

Building success, one roadway at a time

For the first decade or so of his career, Steve Jacobs was immersed in the world of road construction as a project manager with Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation.

Over the last 20 years, he’s leveraged that knowledge into private sector success.

A rapid ascent in the world of engineering consulting brought the 1985 civil engineering grad to the role of senior vice president with consulting giant AECOM.

In 2018, Jacobs moved to a vice president position with EllisDon, leaving behind consulting for the world of construction.

“Over the last three years, I’ve been involved in solving technically challenging project issues and working with clients to achieve project completion,” he says.

“I envision creative solutions to complex civil issues, focus on developing cost effective solutions that are constructable, and take them as far as proof of concept.”

In his current role overseeing construction of the Edmonton Valley Line LRT, Jacobs says his experience with the design and construction of heavy civil projects is instrumental, but he’s also enjoying some of the less familiar elements of the job.

“LRT projects have big maintenance and storage facilities, as well as stations requiring more of an architectural understanding, allowing me to circle back to work with building structures,” he says. “I also enjoy the opportunity to work nationwide, travelling to various provinces and meeting new and interesting people.”

While passion is often suggested as the best career guide for today’s students, it’s an idea that Jacobs cautions against.

“Do some honest self-assessment, find something you are reasonably good at and interested in, that has some hope of a decent and long-term paycheque,” he suggests.

“Dreams are great, but reality has a way of overtaking everything. Make your dream to simply be happy. Your career is just a means to an end, and one day, when it finishes, you don’t want your happiness to end with it.”


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