Q&A WITH engHERO: Laura Paul
Laura Paul is a field engineer, and sustainability analyst working for Morrison Hershfield. Every day, Laura helps minimize the negative impacts buildings have on the environment and optimize the positive ones.
What’s one thing you wish you knew about engineering back when you were in high school?
There are so many related fields you can work it rather than just typical design streams. There are lots of social sides to Engineering as well, rather than just purely technical work.
What’s your proudest accomplishment as an engineer?
One of my proudest moments as an Engineer was getting my iron ring presented to me by my Grandfather, Malcolm Paul, who also was a Civil Engineer. The iron ring is worn by Engineers as a reminder of the ethical obligations associated with our work.
Tell me about a time in your career when your work has been about discovery or curiosity?
When I first go out on a construction site as field engineer it was a time when everything was new, and I was learning a huge amount. I was able to take the theory I learned in school and put it into practice. I learned a lot about materials, and constructability, and how each individual component worked with others in a system. I would highly suggest for all Engineers to have experience in the field on a construction site.
What are you doing these days?
Sustainability Analyst, Morrison Hershfield, I work doing LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) consultancy and assessments, which includes helping designers reducing energy and water, choose less impactful materials, and improve the indoor environment for occupants (such as access to daylight and views).
I got here through experience on LEED projects, obtaining LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) accreditation with specialties in: Building Design and Construction, Existing Building Operations and Maintenance, and Neighbourhood Design
I didn’t really know where I was going when I started, but I was hired by a General Contractor, so if I hadn’t learned more about sustainability I likely would have been headed towards general Project Management on Building projects.
Do you feel your work contributes to society? How so?
Absolutely. I think that the buildings we live and work in affect us immensely – from the way we feel, to how healthy we are, to how they impact nature and the environment. Working as a Sustainable Building Specialist allows me to minimize the negative impacts buildings have and optimize the positive ones.
Why do we need more female engineers?
I think the perspective of women is unique from the perspective of men (not better or worse, just different) – and encouraging many different perspectives always enhances decision making.
What does a typical day on the job look like?
A typical day on the job involves working and coordinating with a team.