Presidential Candidate

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L. (Lianna) Mah, P.Eng., FEC | Burnaby, BC

 

 

I am seeking election as President of Engineers and Geoscientists BC because I am passionate about the work our association does. I believe that as members of our self-governing professions, we have a unique opportunity to contribute and make a difference to the governance and ongoing improvement of our professions.

With the new Professional Governance Act, Engineers and Geoscientists BC is facing a critical time in our history. The new Act provides opportunities to enact changes such as corporate regulation, but also sets out stringent requirements, such as competency and conflict of interest declarations. We need to collaborate with Government to develop the appropriate regulations that protect the public interest, safeguard our environment, manage risks, consider members’ input, respect EGBC values, and minimize bureaucracy and administration for EGBC and our members.

As an active volunteer with EGBC and having worked as a consulting engineer for over 30 years, I understand first-hand the impacts the Act has on our professions. If elected as President, I will bring these insights to discussions with the BC Government.

I have been an active volunteer with Engineers and Geoscientists BC for more than 25 years. I have had the opportunity to contribute to the development of programs such as Organizational Quality Management, the Member-in-Training Competency Program, as well as our Professional Practice Guidelines and student awards through the EGBC Foundation. I am proud of the work than our association does to protect the public interest and raise awareness of our professions.

I am currently in the second year of my term as Councillor. I ran for Council in 2017 because I wanted to take a more active role in the governance of our professions, in particular, for more transparent governance, increased diversity, and improved member engagement. We have made improvements in these areas in my first term as Councillor, but we have more work to do.

I want to work with staff and Council to identify ways to continually improve member engagement and communication. We need to hear from our membership, including, our Young Professionals and Members-in-Training. Your concerns, ideas, and input will help us improve as a regulator.

I believe that diversity fosters creativity and innovation. Throughout my career, I have advocated for the recruitment, advancement, and promotion of women in engineering. That’s why I support EGBC’s 30 by 30 initiative to increase the percentage of women entering engineering by 2030. I will continue to promote and support increasing the percentage of women in our professions and to create a culture that respects all types of diversity.

From floods to wildfires to earthquakes—we have all seen the devastating impacts of these disasters. Engineers and geoscientists play a crucial role in planning and developing sustainable and resilient designs to protect the public and our environment from the potentially devastating impacts of earthquakes and climate change. We need to work with municipalities and regulators to improve understanding, identify funding, create plans, and develop adaptation measures to improve resilience.

As a leader, I bring experience in governance and management from my role as Vice President of Business Development and as a member of the Board of Directors of Associated Engineering. As shown by my long history as a volunteer with Engineers and Geoscientists BC, I am passionate about the work that our association has done that has made us a respected regulator. I bring a collaborative, consensus-building approach to contribute to the continuous improvement of Engineers and Geoscientists BC as a progressive, self-governing regulator.

Thank you to the Nominating Committee for supporting my nomination as President. I am honoured by your confidence in me.

I look forward to the opportunity to serve our members, to work with Council, members, Government and stakeholders, and to make a positive difference to Engineers and Geoscientists BC and our professions.

EDUCATION

M.Eng. (Environmental Engineering), University of British Columbia, 1987
B.A.Sc. (Civil Engineering), University of British Columbia, 1986

PROFESSIONAL HISTORY

Vice President, Business Development, Associated Engineering, 2009–present
Various roles, Associated Engineering, 1990–2009
Project Engineer, M. M. Dillon Ltd., 1987–1990

ENGINEERS AND GEOSCIENTISTS BC ACTIVITIES

Member of Council, 2017–present
Member, Governance Committee, 2017–present
Member, Professional Practice Committee, 2017–present
Director, EGBC Foundation, 2010–2016 (Chair, 2012–2016)
Member, Women in Engineering and Geoscience Task Force, 2012–2013
Member, Professional Renewal Committee, 2007–2010
Member and Executive Member, DAWEG, 1991-2010
Member, Member-In-Training Program, 2004–2005
Member, Investigation Committee, 1999–2003
Member, Editorial Board, 1995–2003 (Chair, 2001–2003)
Member, Registration Committee, 1997–1999

RELATED PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES

Advisor, Master of Engineering Leadership, Urban Systems, UBC, 2014–present
Advisor, Women in Science and Engineering BC/Yukon Chair, NSERC, 2010–present
Guest Lecturer, Civil Engineering, UBC, 2007–present
Member, Integrating Foreign-Trained Engineers Committee, Engineers Canada, 2003–2004
Member, Communications Committee, ACEC-BC, 1998–2003
Member, Civil and Structural Advisory Committee, BCIT, 1995–1999

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

President, Seaforth Chinese School, 2003–2013
Member, Scholarship Committee, Science Council of BC, 1994–1995

AWARDS AND HONOURS

Support of Women in the Engineering Profession Award, Engineers Canada, 2016
Professional Service Award, APEGBC, 2002

Q&A with Candidates

Engineers and Geoscientists BC is the regulatory authority charged with protecting the public interest with respect to the practice of engineering and geoscience in the province of BC. What is the key challenge facing the association?

The new Professional Governance Act includes requirements, such as competence and conflict of interest declarations, that can potentially create undue bureaucracy. We must work collaboratively and constructively with Government to develop regulations that protect public interest and do not create unnecessary administration and bureaucracy.

As a regulator, our challenge is to stay up-to-date and understand the issues that impact the regulation and governance of our professions, such as technology, climate change, sustainability, and globalization. To this end, communicating and connecting with members and maintaining our volunteers is increasingly important so we understand the work our members are doing, hear about grassroots issues and continue to be at the forefront of developing professional practice guidelines for engineers and geoscientists to protect public interests. We must adapt and improve governance to meet the changing needs of society.

Engaging governments at all levels is essential to help identify priorities for safeguarding public safety, such as replacing or upgrading aging infrastructure, managing assets, and improving infrastructure resilience to earthquakes and climate change.

While EGBC’s primary role is to regulate the engineering and geoscience professions, we need to raise the profile of engineers and geoscientists as dynamic and innovative professionals who bring value to society and improve the daily lives of the public so that we can maintain public confidence, as well as attract people to our profession. 

What are the key issues facing the engineering and/or geoscience professions?

The key priority for engineers and geoscientists is to work collaboratively with Government to implement the new Professional Governance Act. Regulations need to be developed to support implementation of the Act, with a focus on protecting public interest, while not creating unnecessary bureaucracy.

Technology, such as building information management systems and 3D visualization, has transformed design and construction. Artificial intelligence offers opportunities to improve systems and processes. In this environment, cyberattacks have become a major issue that threatens businesses and individuals.

Globalization has increased competition and commoditized some of our work; however, it has also created opportunities for BC engineers and geoscientists. BC engineers and geoscientists are known for our excellence and innovation. We must continually adapt, develop new skills, and hone the soft skills required to deliver today’s complex projects and remain competitive.

Climate change, associated extreme weather events such as storms and wildfires, sea level rise, and increasing temperatures impact the built and natural infrastructure and public safety. Engineers and geoscientists have a responsibility to understand the potential impacts of climate change and implement adaptive measures to protect the public. We must also consider mitigation measures that will curb the pace of climate change.

While numbers of female engineers and geoscientists have increased, there are still few women in management and executive roles and on Boards. We need to understand the implicit biases that act as barriers to retention and advancement of women. A diverse workforce fosters innovation and holistic solutions, which benefits the public we serve.

Looking five years ahead, what is your vision for Engineers and Geoscientists BC as a professional regulatory body in BC?

Looking ahead five years, my vision for Engineers and Geoscientists BC is as follows:

  • Engineers and Geoscientists BC is working collaboratively with the Government of BC to implement the new Professional Governance Act. The Government of BC respects and values the leadership and contributions of Engineers and Geoscientists BC in implementing its new Professional Governance Act.
  • Engineers and Geoscientists BC is respected as a progressive association which sets the standard for self-regulating, professional bodies and protection of public interests, in Canada and abroad. 
  • Engineers and Geoscientists BC represents a diverse, active, and engaged membership, and is considered a model for efficient and transparent governance.
  • BC engineers and geoscientists are respected locally and globally for developing innovative, sustainable, and resilient systems that improve our built and natural environment.
  • In collaboration with academia and industry, Engineers and Geoscientists BC is contributing to developing academic programs for engineering and geoscience that meet the needs of society today and in the future and is attracting bright young people into our professions.

For Council to achieve its goals and meet its fiduciary responsibilities, Council has identified the need for diverse voices on Council, with a blend of the following skills and competences: leadership, financial literacy, risk management, human resources, strategy, regulatory understanding, governance and technical proficiency. Please highlight the areas of strength you bring to the role.

My experience in leadership, risk management, human resources, strategy and governance, financial literacy, regulatory understanding, and technical proficiency come from my role as Vice President, Business Development and a Member of the Board of Directors of Associated Engineering (a Canadian consulting firm) as well as my service as Councillor and long-term volunteer for Engineers and Geoscientists BC.

I have participated in developing risk management plans, identifying risks, and developing risk mitigation strategies. I have facilitated and contributed to developing and implementing strategic plans. My knowledge and understanding of human resources policies comes from my previous position leading corporate human resources for Associated Engineering. I led the development of HR policies and programs, including mentoring, performance management, and training.

As a Councillor, I understand EGBC’s role as a regulator, and the work required in the coming years to collaborate with Government to implement the new Professional Governance Act.

My knowledge of governance comes from my experience on Associated Engineering’s Board of Directors, EGBC Council, and the EGBC Foundation Board. I have provided oversight, advice, and informed strategy, governance, financial management, succession planning, and risk management to the management teams to help these organizations meet their goals and visions.

I have a Master’s degree in environmental engineering, and bring technical proficiency in planning, design, and construction of civil, water, and wastewater infrastructure projects. 

I bring a collaborative, consensus-building approach to team leadership, listening and respecting the knowledge and experience of my colleagues.

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