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Jordan Vandervelde, B.Eng.Mgt. '07

(Civil Engineering) | Making everything old new again

When they first go up, condo towers, shopping malls and office buildings are shiny and new. But eventually windows need to be replaced, cladding needs to be repaired and the concrete in the underground parking garage deteriorates.

That’s when property managers, condo corporations and building owners look for restoration expertise.

It’s an engineering niche that Jordan Vandervelde and his Dundas-based company Edison Engineers are happy to fill.

A professional engineering and project management firm, Edison Engineers specializes in addressing complex challenges related to the repair and restoration of existing buildings.

But a big part of the job is communication and education, says Vandervelde (M.A.Sc. ’09, Civil, B.Eng. ’07, Structural Eng. & Mgmt.).

While new construction largely involves professionals, restoration work requires engaging and educating decision-makers who are less likely to be familiar with the building world.

“We have to present complex engineering problems in a clear and easy-to-understand format so our clients can explore the pros and cons of the repair options and make a confident decision about their project,” Vandervelde says.

That human side of the work – interacting with people from all walks of life -- adds satisfaction and balance to his engineering work.

“Many engineers are not even aware that restoration engineering exists, let alone how great a career path it can be,” he says.

“My advice to aspiring engineers is to carefully consider the choices you make when planning your career. Sometimes your path isn’t entirely clear, but consciously take the time each year to assess where you want to be five years down the road.

Next thing you know, it’ll be 10 years since you finished your degree and you’ll be chatting with the alumni department!”