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Matt Pinder, BENGM '14

(Mechanical Engineering)

Imagining a bike-friendly world

Matthew Pinder isn’t just dreaming of a better world; he’s actually helping to build it.

An engineer-in-training with Alta Planning + Design, a small consulting firm specializing in the planning and design of infrastructure for walking and cycling, Pinder describes himself as a “bicycle infrastructure design consultant.”

“I have what I genuinely consider to be my dream job,” he says. “On a daily basis, I get to reimagine city streets and intersections to be more friendly towards people walking and cycling.”

Working toward his professional engineering designation, he leads conceptual and detailed design development for bikeway design projects across Canada.

It’s a role the 2014 Engineering & Management grad and cycling advocate has been working toward since earning his degree.

A research project relating to sustainable transportation led to a position with Metrolinx as a mobility management advisor.

Pinder then added a master’s degree in civil engineering to his resume, with a focus on transportation planning.

While earning that degree, he explored urban cycling through a three-week multi-disciplinary course at the University of Amsterdam. The experience led him to re-think how North Americans look at cycling and resulted in a blog post that landed him as a guest on CBC’s Metro Morning radio show.

He says the value of interdisciplinary learning and relationships is clear and urges students to seek opportunities to work with others.

“Go beyond your bubble,” he says. “It's easy to develop relationships with your engineering classmates who you spend most of your time with, but innovation happens when you collaborate with people from different backgrounds with different ideas.

“Take electives not based on what your friends are taking or what is ‘easy’ but based on what you are actually interested in.”