Steven Bartsch credits his early summer jobs for cultivating his passion for engineering and the natural environment. Summer jobs at the Kluane Lake Research Base in the Yukon and working on highway construction led Steven to the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) to train in civil drafting and design. While at SAIT, he realized he wanted to pursue a degree in civil engineering, which he completed at the University of Calgary after he received his diploma.
Steven’s summer job with a consulting firm while at university drew him to a career in consulting engineering. He says, “[Consulting engineering] seemed to have the most exciting projects and the best mix of office and field work.”
Steven began his professional career with Associated Engineering almost by accident. He tells us, “When I graduated, I saw that Associated Engineering won a large highway design project with two other partner firms. I applied to all three firms, and Associated brought me in for an interview, and then hired me. As fate would have it, I never did work on that highway project...”
Instead, Steven found himself inspecting the new apron development at the Calgary International Airport. This was a challenging project for a young civil engineer, who had no experience with airport operations.
“I spent a lot of time before construction talking with airport operations management, air traffic controllers, and the engineering department learning about the logistics of construction at airports. I had an excellent client and supportive network at Associated, which resulted in a successful project.”
Steven spent another four years at the Calgary International Airport working on airside projects, becoming Associated’s Aviation Practice Leader in Alberta, and helping to expand Associated’s aviation practice.
Drawn to the North, Steven left Associated Engineering for a short time, returning to the company in 2010 to open our Whitehorse office. Despite the early days when the office bore a striking resemblance to the front cab of his truck, the Whitehorse office is a success, with an energetic group of engineers, technologists, and environmental scientists, and many great clients and successful projects.
Steven is most passionate about the relationships that he has built with his clients. Steven says, “I like to really get to know the client and the project. Understanding the client’s project and goals helps me to predict potential problems and risks, and mitigate them before they disrupt the project.”
Steven and his partner Lindsay have two young sons. The family enjoys the outdoors and the connection to nature that living in Whitehorse offers them.
While busy with work and his young family, Steven makes time to volunteer on the board of the Yukon Hospital Foundation, and is currently president of the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies – Yukon.
Throughout his career, Steven has relied on a strong network of peers for advice and support. Now he pays that back by mentoring young staff. His approach is to guide them to find the right solution themselves. “Anyone can implement a direction provided to them; however, mentorship assists young professionals to develop the skills they need to be successful as individuals and in teams.”
To Young Professionals, Steven says, “Consulting engineering is a very exciting and rewarding career. The sky is really the limit as you’ll be working on whatever project comes through the door.” He recommends, “Put your hand up for the tough assignments, be willing to take risks, be ready to move, and enjoy the rewards you’ll obtain by pushing yourself and projects forward.”