Name: Ryan Tannahill
Program: Civil Engineering
University(s) / College(s) Attended: Carleton University
Education / Degree(s): Bachelor of Engineering
Current Job Title: Quality Coordinator
Current Employer: EllisDon
Email: Send Email
Fun Facts About Me
Share one fun fact about yourself: I’m a certified scuba diver and have been diving in Bali and Belize.
The most inspiring engineer I know is ....... Because ........ ?: The most inspiring engineer I know is my former supervisor, Lica. She is a professional engineer and played an integral role in developing the EllisDon quality group in Ottawa. She’s always encouraged me to do my best and attain my goals. She’s living proof that your career is what you make it and has recently relocated to Detroit in order to work on the Gordie Howe International Bridge project – a once in a lifetime opportunity. She inspires me to push my limits and get out of my comfort zone.
Why did you choose to study engineering?: I wanted to be an architect when I was younger but lacked the artistic capabilities. In high school I enjoyed my math and science courses the most, and when I realized I could merge my two interests, I was sold. Engineering was the perfect choice for me as it involved technical analysis and design. Engineers have also consistently been in demand therefore it was a sensible choice in terms of job opportunity and security.
What are your best memories of your engineering education?: My best memory was working on and successfully completing my fourth year design project with my team. It was challenging, but collaborating with like minded people on a project that you're interested in is very satisfying.
I also have fond memories of going to Ollie's (the campus bar) and studying in the library until all hours of the night with all of the amazing people I met at Carleton.
How do you apply your engineering degree to your current career?: Working as a Quality Coordinator for a general contractor, I apply my engineering degree every single day by overseeing the design and construction of our projects. My role requires me to work on our more complex projects ranging from pharmaceutical to passive house. I get to collaborate with architects, engineers and subcontractors to ensure a successful outcome.
What do you love most about your career?: The thing I love most about my career is that I get to watch projects come to life. It’s one thing to draw up a plan or calculate loads but watching a building rise up into the sky brings a whole new level of accomplishment. I love the city of Ottawa and I feel very fortunate to be able to contribute to it’s landscape.
Having a combination of field and office work is also great for me as I am very hands on. In a world that’s becoming more and more digital it’s nice to get a break from a computer screen.
What advice would you give to someone hoping to pursue a career in engineering?: My advice would be to network. It's all about who you know, not what you know. That being said it's still essential to do well in your classes and have a good grasp of the fundamental principles, but knowing the right people will get you where you want to be. Having a mentor is also a great way to navigate the early stages of your career and they can help you get in touch with industry professionals.