Company Profiles

Consulting Engineering in Canada – Working with McElhanney

May 8, 2014

McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd, the oldest combined civil engineering, surveying and mapping company in Western Canada, is looking for well-rounded engineering talent.

Colin Adam, P.Eng., Vice President, Northern & Interior BC at McElhanney explains, “We’re not intentionally growing… we’re intentionally diversifying.” This geographic and discipline diversification is fueling McElhanney’s growth –  and their need to find more of the right engineers and surveyors.

Who McElhanney is Hiring

Regardless of discipline or experience level, being a self-starter is a must-have quality among their engineers. “We’re not looking for passengers, drones or worker bees that just crank out a product,” Adam discloses.

So what does an ideal engineering candidate look like?

“They’re typically self-starter, ambitious, self-confident types that have a track record of high performance. I guess that’s a pretty high set of objectives for an employee. That’s, I think, the type we’re looking for and the type that we have in our midst.”

McElhanney has 3 specific, ongoing hiring needs:

McElhanney Road Engineering


“McElhanney is always on the lookout for the ‘rainmakers,’ the talented and creative leaders in municipal, transportation, and geotechnical engineering — it is an ongoing need as part of its strategy of diversification and strength throughout the entire organization,” says Becky Milos, CHRP, Human Resources & Recruitment Advisor at McElhanney.

McElhanney Engineering Jobs

Mid-Career Engineers

McElhanney has a continued need for mid-career Civil, Geotechnical, Materials and Project Engineers who have already obtained their professional designation- a P.Eng. in Canada or a P.E. in the U.S.

Because they don’t have a separate sales team that pitches and sells to clients, it’s also critical that McElhanney’s engineers are well-rounded professionals.

Milos describes the engineers they’re looking for as “somebody who is strong technically – who has strong design skills, is able to actually do the design on a project – but also has project management capability, good client relation skills and business development capabilities.”

McElhanney Surveying Jobs

Land Surveyors

McElhanney’s Northern B.C. branches are, to quote Milos, “really, really busy.”

Compounding the problem, there are relatively few commissioned land surveyors in Canada. According to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada’s Working in Canada Report, there will be a shortage of workers in this occupation between 2009-2018. In Alberta alone, Calgary Economic Development expects demand for these workers to grow by about 45% between 2010 and 2020.

To meet demand, Milos says McElhanney hires “quite a lot of people from the U.S. as senior Survey Technologists and Party Chiefs.”

So if you know you are the kind of candidate McElhanney is looking for, why start or pivot your career here?


4 Reasons to Consider a Career with McElhanney

McElhanney Bridge Engineering

1 – McElhanney is Employee Owned

McElhanney is an employee-owned and employee-led company. Per Adam, “We’ve got a finely tuned employee ownership model that allows a broad spectrum of the professionals in the company to be active participants in the management, the success, and the strategic direction of the company.”

2 – Ample (and Early) Leadership Opportunities

Leadership opportunities are not limited to the top of the chain at McElhanney.

According to Adam, “Typically a young engineer gets the chance to become an owner or shareholder in McElhanney fairly young… we want them to embrace that spirit and take an active role in shaping their career in the company.”

And their management track gives young engineers “as much responsibility as they can successfully handle early in their career because it builds confidence and experience early on.”

3 – Stability and Longevity

McElhanney Consulting is 104 years old and still growing.  But as Adam points out, “You can be old but ineffective… the fact is we’re old, and we’re vibrant.”

“We’re sustainable and finely tuned, and I think that’s important. Other companies are successful, but when they go through the first and second levels of ownership change, that’s a critical time that many struggle with; we’re past that.”

Moreover – employees at McElhanney tend to stick around.

“It’s remarkable the number of people that we have that have spent their entire careers at McElhanney, and they’re 30-, 40-year career type people, so we’re very proud of that.”

4 – Collaborative Environment

Adam explains, “We’ve got a bunch of self-starting, empowered people [which] means that they can get the big picture quite early on, and learn to perform in a very collaborative manner within a team that might be discipline and geographically diverse.

So if we were just thinking small and we were all operating inside our own discipline, we would attract the type of projects that fit that small-minded model.

Instead, we see ourselves as a bigger, collaborative, single entity – we share resources seamlessly and have a great team spirit to deliver projects, and take great pride in the high performance of the projects we deliver. So, it’s high morale and high performance… that’s common throughout our company.”


How McElhanney Hires Engineers

McElhanney Transportation Engineering

“It is always fit over volume, that’s what it comes down to,” says Becky Milos.

McElhanney is keen to find and hire the right candidate but, “we always make sure we hire the right person instead of the first person, so it’s not uncommon for a job listing to be up for quite a while, even a few months.

If the right person doesn’t come around we won’t [fill the position] because that’s just not in our long-term interest. It shows in the longevity of our employees.

It’s better to hire the right person and have them stick with the company for as long as we can rather than have somebody come onboard who might be able to do the job in the short term, but they’re not going to work out longer than a few months or a couple years. We’re really into ‘right fit’ candidates.

US Engineers and Surveyors are Welcome to Apply. But…

First you must be eligible to work in Canada.

Milos summarizes, “Be aware that in order to work in Canada, if you are not currently a citizen or Permanent Resident of Canada, you must be eligible for a Canadian work permit and meet the requirements for admissibility to Canada.”

You can find information on working in Canada here:

Eligibility and Admissibility in Canada

More information on NAFTA Professional Work Permits

You can also visit your local Canadian Consulate office to speak to a representative about working in Canada.”


McElhanney’s Career Opportunities

McElhanney Civil Engineering

When asked what advice she would give a mid-career engineer on the fence about leaving a comfortable (but stagnant) job, Milos encourages engineers to “consider the long-term.”

“Take a good, hard look at what company you’re at right now, and if you can realistically see yourself there until retirement. If you can’t then maybe that’s a sign that you should start looking toward something else. Consider what your developmental needs are going to be, what your professional needs are going to be, and if the company you’re at right now is going to help you achieve that.”

McElhanney’s current openings can be found here: McElhanney Engineering Jobs

For more information on McElhanney visit:


All images supplied by McElhanney Consulting