Employee Spotlight – Juan Umerez

Growing up in Caracas, Venezuela, Juan has memories of often looking at the Cerro El Ávalia mountain range which frames the North of the city. As a young child, he was constantly impressed by the large mountains and by the age of 10 he had decided he wanted to understand why the mountain was the way it was. At that time there was no internet, so Juan referenced his encyclopedia at home which didn’t provide much in the way of answers. It wasn’t too long after this that he discovered that his grandfather was a geologist and actually had all the answers he was looking for. His grandfather became a mentor for him while he was in his formative years. This began Juan’s journey towards his current career.

Juan is a long-time BGCer and has been with the company for over 17 years. Having started working with BGC as a contractor in Argentina and shortly after, joining the team full-time to help establish our Santiago, Chile office. He feels as though he’s grown a considerable amount with BGC and has built many friendships which, he will tell you, is a result of the way we work. Collaboration is so key to producing consistently exceptional technical results that forming good friendships is truly one of the unexpected benefits of our approach to our projects.

Juan has two young daughters with his wife, and you’ll often find them out exploring and hiking in Santiago. As his grandfather did for him, he often will explain the geoscience behind what they see when they’re out on adventures. His wife will probably tell you that his explanations are too detailed and technical for their young girls, but to him, it’s just everyday knowledge.

How long have you been with BGC and what do you do here?

I started in 2005 in Argentina as a contractor and the following year I joined as a full-time employee to start growing the Chile office. I am a Geologist by background.

How would you describe your job to a class of Kindergartners?

I go out to find the clues to put together the pieces to find out how mountains are the way they are.

What is your favourite thing about working at BGC?

There is such a diversity of projects here that are always providing new challenges. That partnered with the incredibly smart team we have here make this a great place to work.

What is the one piece of advice you’d give to new hires at BGC?

Never be quiet, be curious, and never be afraid to ask. Don’t wait for someone to tell you what to do. It’s really part of the way we work here, it’s part of the culture.

If you could switch jobs with someone in BGC, who would it be and why?

When I worked on the Pueblo Viejo project I had a great time with the Construction Monitoring team. I wouldn’t say I would switch jobs with someone, but I’d love to go back to that time when I was working on that project because it was such a great time.

If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing, what would it be?

Time. Everybody wants more time.

What is the most interesting food you’ve ever eaten?

Probably a piranha fish, it was full of bones.

What fictional place would you like to visit?

I can’t think of a fictional place but rather I’d like to travel in time. Go back through human history to understand why we are the way we are.

If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

If you’re going to talk about someone, do it only if it’s a good thing you have to say. If not, just say nothing.

Employee Spotlight – Madison Bowen

Madison’s first full-time job out of college was here at BGC. When she was attending school in Missouri, she was researching companies that were hiring Geological Engineers and she came across BGC. She applied and was offered an internship but with the onset of COVID-19, her internship was unfortunately cancelled but upon graduating, BGC offered her a full-time position, so she packed her belongs and made the move to Golden, CO where our US office is located.

Madison was born and raised in St. Charles, just outside of St. Louis, MO. In high school she was a self-described “art kid” with aspirations to be a tattoo artist, but her interest in physics pushed her to attend an engineering school instead. When she started university, she didn’t have a career in geological engineering in mind, she didn’t even know it was an option as a major, but she took a geology course and it piqued her interested. The rest, as they say, is history.

Prior to starting here at BGC, Madison had never been to Colorado. Her move out west was a leap of faith, and she now happily calls Golden home. When she’s not at work, you’ll find her doting on her adopt senior cat, Austin.

How long have you been with BGC and what do you do here?

I’ve been at BGC for one and a half years and I’m a Geological Engineer working with geohazards mostly for Enbridge.

How would you describe your job to a class of Kindergartners?

I stare at the ground and wait for it to move.

What is your favourite thing about working at BGC?

The people, the travel, and the food. Admin keeps us pretty stocked around here (shout out Sue and Jacklyn).

What is the one piece of advice you’d give to new hires at BGC?

Don’t be afraid to be uncomfortable.

If you could switch jobs with someone in BGC, who would it be and why?

Someone in our Soils Lab. I worked in a soils lab during my internship and found it really fascinating. I know we do a lot of advanced testing in our Lab that I’d like to learn more about, and I love doing hands on work.

If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing, what would it be?

Plants. I have an unhealthy number of plants in my place.

What is the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?

Whale. I went to Norway after graduating high school and it was a relatively common dish there, so I figured ‘why not?’. It pretty much tasted like steak.

What fictional place would you like to visit?

Stardew Valley! There’s no better place than a pixelated farm town- and not to brag, but my farm in my current game is phenomenal so I’m ready to move in.

If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life what would it be?

(Wanna See Me Do A) Cancrush? by Damager. This is a shameless plug for my friend’s band, if you listen to their whole discography you just might hear me signing on one of their tracks too.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

It’s not that serious.

Employee Spotlight – Mike Davies

When Mike Davies started with BGC the entire company had the same headcount as the current Calgary office. Mike Davies joined just after the opening of BGC’s Edmonton office and has been based there ever since. Over Mike’s 16 years with BGC he has had the opportunity to wear many hats including as Safety Manager, Edmonton’s Office Manager, and now along with his project roles, he is part of our management team focused on operations and the people side of our business

Mike grew up in Terrace, British Columbia, surrounded by nature which stoked his love for outdoor adventures. After completing his undergraduate studies at the University of Victoria, he decided to “temporarily” move to Edmonton to get some experience and ended up completing his Masters studies at the University of Alberta. His path to becoming an Engineering Geologist wasn’t something that was clear in his mind from the start. He knew he loved being outside and was also always enjoyed sciences and he considers himself lucky to have found his way to a job that combines both.

How long have you been with BGC and what do you do here?

I started with BGC in September of 2006 and I am a Geoscientist as well as part of the leadership team focused on recruiting and supporting our Administration Team.

How would you describe your job to a class of Kindergartners?

My 6 year old saw me working from home a lot over the last 2 years and will pretend to be me. She’ll type on an imaginary keyboard and will say “I’m talking to my friends”. I think it is hilarious and also pretty accurate.

What is your favourite thing about working at BGC?

It is “talking to my friends”. I have the opportunity to work with a great group of people, some of whom I’ve worked with since I started with the company and others who have started more recently. Over my time here I’ve noticed that whether or not you’ve been her 1 month or 16 years, you’re part of the team. I also think I’m lucky that we get to work on stuff that interests us, we are driven by working on things we find challenging or interesting.

What is the one piece of advice you’d give to new hires at BGC?

You’ll learn pretty quickly that we’re in a people business. You’ve got to connect with people that includes your coworkers and clients.

If you could switch jobs with someone in BGC, who would it be and why?

Some of the Steep Creek Geohazards folks. I grew up in a mountain town and started in mountain geomorphology. I think it would be fun to spend some time working on those projects, including the field work part.   

If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing, what would it be?

Bikes, or maybe time. With a family, a job that challenges me, and many things I want to do in my free time, I think some extra hours in each day would be great.

What fictional place would you like to visit?

The galaxy far far away. Big Star Wars fan. I’d love to be able to go to all the different plants in the Star Wars universe.

If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life what would it be?

Anything from the mid-90s grunge era.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Be involved, take opportunities when they come. The only way to know if you like something or if you have strengths in a particular area is just to get involved. That’s the way to be successful. You don’t learn by being stagnant.

BGC celebrates International Women in Engineering Day

International Women in Engineering Day has been celebrated over the past nine years annually on June 23rd. This day is dedicated to recognizing the achievements, hard work, and perseverance of female engineers, as well as to encourage more young women to take up engineering careers. Engineering, as with other branches of STEM, is a historically male-dominated profession with women accounting for only 20% of engineers, and even less of those women being visible minorities.

Here at BGC we are committed to building an environment where women can thrive in engineering and the geosciences. Today we wanted highlight the stories and experiences of just a few of our many incredible female engineers as well as projects that BGC works on to help encourage young women to explore careers in engineering.

Renata W., M.Sc. P.Eng.
Senior Geotechnical Engineer
Vancouver, BC

Renata is a Senior Geotechnical Engineer based out of our Vancouver office who has worked in mining and civil projects and jobsites since the late 90’s.

“I got into engineering because I liked building things and because my parents encouraged my sisters and I to do anything we wanted; gender had no impact on what we were expected to do around the house, at school, or out in the world. Although there is still work to be done with respect to inclusion and equity, I do think there has been positive change and have seen workplaces evolve from surprise or confusion at having a woman on site or in camp to having women in senior engineering roles and in positions of authority. I think it is important to acknowledge and celebrate the women who have paved the way and who worked hard to prove women can contribute and succeed in the field of engineering. My advice to young women is to take advantage of this and know that you can pursue whatever interests you; you can define how high you want to go and what kind of a difference you will make. Building a successful career will take hard work, you will need to bring passion and knowledge and there will certainly be bumps along the way but as long as you stay confident in your abilities and your right to pursue your dreams you can choose to do anything you want.”


Lauren H., M.Sc., P.Eng.
Geotechnical Engineer
Vancouver, BC

Lauren has over 10 years of experience as a Geotechnical Engineer based out of our Vancouver office. She has worked on hazard and risk mitigation projects to support local governments, developers, mining, and pipeline clients across North America

“My interest in engineering and the environment started from a young age. I was fortunate to have great female and male role models in the industry throughout my childhood and schooling. What really drew me to the profession was the opportunity to work together in teams to understand and contribute to solving problems.

The women and men who inspire me most are those who are great friends, mentors, parents, and also deeply engaged in their work. The mentor who always has their door open for a chat; the technical expert who makes time to help the next generation learn new concepts; the young parent who shows that their child’s sports game is just as important to them as their report deadline. I truly believe we are all our best selves, and the best engineers, when we put people first.”


Beatrice C-P., B.A.Sc., EIT.
Geological Engineer In-Training
Vancouver, BC

Beatrice is a Geological Engineer-in-Training based out of our Vancouver office who works on geohazard assessments and mitigation, and is currently researching shoreline erosion prediction on a hydroelectric reservoir at the University of British Columbia.

“I chose geological engineering at UBC because it was a field of engineering where I could combine my love of the natural world with science. Since beginning my career, I have discovered the exciting challenges that come with working with natural materials that are complex and different for every project. Although being a woman in a STEM field can sometimes be challenging and intimidating, I am heartened by the progress that has been made and is still being pushed for, and I am inspired by the other woman engineers and geoscientists I work with every day.”


Megan V., M.A.Sc., P.Eng.
Geotechnical Engineer
Ottawa, ON

Megan is a Geotechnical Engineer based out of our Ottawa office. She helps lead BGC’s remote sensing team, working with clients to understand the impact of geohazards on their assets, and with BGC’s software team to develop and incorporate remote sensing tools into BGC’s software projects.

“I chose a career in geotechnical engineering because of the opportunity to work on challenging projects in all parts of the world. It is a very exciting time in our industry, with new research and tools being developed at a rapid pace, and topics such as climate change and the global energy transition at the forefront of our work. In order to tackle some of the world’s most critical applied earth science challenges, we need creativity and a diverse set of skills and experiences within our teams – not only from females, but other groups that have traditionally been underrepresented in our industry. I’ve been incredibly lucky to work with some great female leaders at BGC and I hope to pass what I’ve learned from them onto those around me. “


Catherine Schmid, M.Sc., P.Eng.
Senior Geotechnical Engineer
Kamloops, BC

Catherine is a Senior Geotechnical Engineer based out of our Kamloops office who specializes in rock mechanics for the mining and transportation sectors.

“I chose this career because I have an aptitude for math and science, and love the outdoors. I knew I couldn’t spend my working life in a lab, and I was attracted to all of hands-on outdoor opportunities in geological engineering. International Women in Engineering Day is important to me because it is a time to reflect on the successes of the past, the present conditions, and the opportunities for improvement towards a more inclusive profession. I have been fortunate in my career and in my personal life to be surrounded by hard-working engineers of all genders who provided leadership and mentorship for success in this male-dominated profession. My proudest achievement was sitting on a teleconference with a client and our more senior project team planning for a second year of site investigations at a very remote project site. We had done a similar program the previous year, and I had been the field coordinator the year prior as well as the planned field coordinator for the coming season. We were brainstorming a key logistical component, and after about 10 minutes of discussion there was silence and then the camp manager asked whether I agreed. I said we had struggled last year with a similar setup, and that I felt real step-change was needed to avoid similar problems. His willingness to ask for my opinion, and the project team’s openness to listen and value my opinion, led to a significant change in operations and resulting improvements in efficiency that field season. To this day, I believe strongly that we need to open doors to all members of our teams to let them know that their opinions and contributions add value. I would advise any young woman interested in pursuing a career in engineering say ‘yes!’ to as many opportunities as possible, to lean on the advice and mentorship of family, friends, professors, and co-workers, and to find the people who build you up and take the high road against the ones who try to bring you down. This profession is full of smart, friendly, funny, and supportive people, who are looking for like-minded people to help them solve technically challenging projects. So while I chose this profession for the math, science, and outdoor opportunities, I stay because I love the people I work with and the people I work for. Come join us!”

Employee Spotlight – Wesley Tibbet

When Wesley was growing up in Saint John, New Brunswick, he didn’t think that he might end up in the geotechnical field. He just knew that he eventually wanted a family and a good job to support them. When it came time for him to choose a direction at the University of New Brunswick, he knew he was good at math and felt that Civil Engineering would provide a good balance of technical skills and employment opportunities.

BGC wasn’t originally on his radar, and there was a bit of luck involved in how he ended up applying.

He began his career at TerrAtlantic Engineering Limited, who were already in the process of merging with BGC, as a summer student in the Fredericton office in 2013. He later joined our one team in 2015 after completing another summer term and his undergrad. He returned to the University of New Brunswick and completed a M.Eng. in hydrogeology in 2017 and has been with us in our Fredericton office ever since.

Wesley considers himself fortunate that he’s ended up working at BGC and that he’s had a chance to work on some really interesting projects across Canada, while still being based close to home.

How long have you been with BGC and what do you do here?

I’ve been at BGC technically since 2013, but full time since 2017. Currently I am an Intermediate Geotechnical Engineer and I work on advanced soil testing in our Fredericton Lab.

How would you describe your job to a class of Kindergartners?

I crush dirt to see how strong it is.

What is your favourite thing about working at BGC?

I don’t think I can pinpoint one thing that is my favourite, it’s really the combination of the things that we do well and our desire to continually improve that makes us special. BGC’s unique way of operating as a business (our flat management structure and lack of profit centres), combined with our clear focus on high quality work and technical excellence and the fact that we are employee owned, makes this a great place to work. This kind of environment breaks down a lot of the traditional barriers you see in other companies.

What is the one piece of advice you’d give to new hires at BGC?

I couldn’t narrow this down to one piece of advice. So here are a few:

Anybody can be a leader. You don’t need to have a specific personality to do high quality work or influence change.

Don’t try to fake it until you make it. I personally hate that saying. I think it’s more valuable to be honest with yourself and set realistic expectations.

Don’t be a workaholic, and if you are you going to be a workaholic, don’t expect everyone else to be one.

If you could switch jobs with someone in BGC, who would it be and why?

It’s funny, but I think I’ve already done this. Early in 2020, due to a few different factors, I was ready for a bit of a change. After a fair bit of brainstorming and exploring different options, I realized that I was interested in soil mechanics and that I happened to work in an office with a work class soil testing facility. It’s been really fulfilling to work in the lab over the past couple of years and it’s given me lots of opportunity to continue to learn and grow.

If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing, what would it be?

Lego. I’ve liked Lego from a young age and I now share that hobby with my kids, which has been a lot of fun. The problem is that you always need more, so LEGO is an easy answer for me.

What is the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?

I’m not very adventurous, so I think it has to be Heinz purple ketchup. It just seems unnatural.

What fictional place would you like to visit?

As a huge fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Wakanda, which is the fictional country where Black Panther takes place.

If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life what would it be?

With some hesitancy to admit this, Taylor Swift is my favourite artist and I can’t narrow it down to one song.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Trust your gut and believe in yourself. I was lucky to have engineers I’ve worked with tell me this right out of school. Hard work beats skill. Even if you aren’t the smartest or most naturally skilled, you can still work hard and end up being great at whatever you choose to do.

Employee Spotlight – Kristy Ivanic

When Kristy Ivanic was looking at post-secondary education, she was originally thinking she would study to become an architect, but she decided that would be boring. She wanted something challenging so she picked civil engineering because she thought it seemed like it would be hard, she was right. After finishing her Diploma at SAIT she has spent over 20 years doing civil and structural inspections in the construction industry.

At a certain point in Kristy’s career she decided she wanted a change. She had once worked with Heather Thomas, a member of BGC’s Health & Safety Team, and Heather had previously suggested that she should consider joining BGC.

Heather thought Kristy would be a great fit here and would really enjoy working with the team. Kristy had previously dismissed this, thinking it didn’t make sense because she’s not a Geotech. But now, looking for a change, she decided to explore openings at BGC and has since discovered that Heather was right.

Outside of work Kristy enjoys travelling, fishing and spending time outdoors, and singing with a local community choir. Fun fact, she was a performing arts vocal major before pursuing engineering and is a formally trained opera singer. After years of singing in Latin she prefers to sing pop songs with her choir.

How long have you been with BGC and what do you do here?

I have been at BGC just over 2 years and I’m a Lead CQA in the Tailings Group.

How would you describe your job to a class of Kindergartners?

I work on construction sites making sure people build what they ask them to build. Or, as I told my husband the other day, I watch big trucks drive back and forth.

What is your favourite thing about working at BGC?

I like working here because of the ‘one team’ model. BGCers just embrace everybody and you have the opportunity to learn from everyone. It’s a really supportive and friendly environment.

What is the one piece of advice you’d give to new hires at BGC?

Don’t let the initials behind people’s names intimidate you. There are a lot of incredibly smart and experienced people here, those with Master’s degrees and Ph.D.’s and a host of other initials that follow their names, but that doesn’t mean they are any different than anybody else. They genuinely just want to see BGC and every individual that works here, succeed regardless of background or experience level.

If you could switch jobs with someone in BGC, who would it be and why?

Lindi Braund because she does so many different things across BGC and gets to talk to everybody and learn their stories. I wouldn’t mind a week at her desk.

If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing, what would it be?

Coffee, particularly Costa Rican coffee which I became addicted to when I traveled to Costa Rica many years ago. Or maybe time, but you really need coffee to do all the things you could do if you have more time.

What is the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?

I do a lot of international travel and I try to eat something weird everywhere I go. In the Northwest Territories while working in Inuvik I ate smoked beluga whale. The part with the meat was ok but the blubber was not the best tasting.

What fictional place would you like to visit?

Hogwarts, the school in Harry Potter or the moon planet of Endor, who wouldn’t want to hang out with Ewoks?

If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life what would it be?

It’s hard to think of just one song but generally I could listen to classical music for the rest of my life. Or the original hard rock bands from the 80’s/90’s (GnR, Metallica, etc).

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Trust your gut and believe in yourself. I was lucky to have engineers I’ve worked with tell me this right out of school. Self-doubt can be really destroying.