Lindsay Austrom, P.Eng., CEM, LEED® AP BD+C – International Women’s Day

Posted: March 8, 2021

How many years of experience do you have?

I have worked as an engineering consultant since I finished university in 2002.

What did your career progression leading up to today look like?

I started as an engineer-in-training assisting with mechanical design projects, but I was also exposed to sustainable design very early in my career.  My first position was with Keen Engineering here in Edmonton, when the firm was right in the middle of the green building boom that saw widespread adoption of the LEED green building rating system as well as energy modelling. 

After earning my P.Eng. in 2006, I continued to split my role between mechanical design and LEED certifications.  I focused on the related standards and calculations – heating and cooling loads, ventilation, thermal comfort, stormwater management – and I became the LEED specialist to assist design teams in solving technical issues. 

Once I had about ten years of project experience, I started taking on project management to expand my skills and work more directly with clients.  It was also around this time that my team started expanding our sustainability focus to existing buildings, so I got involved with LEED and BOMA BEST certifications for building operations as well as with energy management.  I started conducting energy and water audits, and I earned my Certified Energy Manager credential in 2018.  I then joined WEC shortly afterwards as the Sustainability Team Lead in Edmonton, to finally take on a full-time role in sustainability and step away from the mechanical design.

Describe the 3 characteristics about yourself that you believe led you to your success in business.

Lifelong learner: Sustainability is still an emerging field, so I try to keep up with the latest issues and developments.  A recent topic of interest is embodied carbon in construction materials!

Process-oriented: I often focus on the how of our engineering work, not just the what and why.  Although every project is different, we can apply lessons from past processes.

Public speaker: Although I would say I’m socially awkward at times, I’m not shy about standing up in front of a crowd.  Many of my professional and business development opportunities originated from presentations I gave at events or from being a committee member at local ASHRAE chapter meetings, for example.

How does your work positively impact women in Edmonton and/or women of the world?

I hope my work encourages more women to consider engineering and the buildings industry as a career.  In the sustainability field, the focus on environmental performance and our building occupants’ wellbeing seems to attract more interest from women than more conventional design and construction roles, which are often viewed as traditionally “male.”

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