Charles Allen

Assistant Director of Facilities, Region of Waterloo

What does your job or volunteer work consist of?  

I get all the managers of our facilities management group report to me. We have a very broad portfolio over 2000 facilities in the region, including affordable housing. My team is responsible for long term planning, design and construction, asset management, anything that has to do with the renewal of buildings, operations of building system and energy management. I oversee a large team of people who are responsible for those aspects of building asset management. 

How do you apply engineering knowledge and principles to your job or volunteer work?  

It comes into account in a lot of different ways, when we are looking at energy management, especially understanding the operations of building systems and building themselves, looking at their structure, designs, and construction. We oversee the design and construction of any new buildings. Understanding the knowledge of how buildings are designed, costing of work, the process that needs to take place when designing or construction a building. A lot of analysis, we try to optimize the buildings and building system, we make sure that we are doing the right work at the right time. That way we are being efficient and effective as we can. A lot of data analysis of the work that we do which includes the performance of our buildings or building system performance, data analysis and forecasting based on current conditions and what are things we can do to mitigate risks. 

Why are you an OSPE member/why do you think the work OSPE does is important?

Personally, I completed my degree outside of Canada. I first became an OSPE member when I was doing training and examinations for PEO to recognize my degree as equivalent to Canadian degree. I never proceeded with the professional engineer status which is why I am an associate member because of the work that I am doing in Canada. I quickly moved to management and wanted to get design experience in Ontario. Having the OSPE membership, there is recognition, it is helpful for people to understand that I have knowledge and experience within the engineering community.  

What issues in the profession are most important to you?

Education is important to me; professional development, training and ongoing education is significant within the community. Advocacy of the group, so people understand what role that we play in the profession. I encourage networking, I am in a lot of networking groups federally, provincially, and locally. We should be sharing information with one another.  

What advice would you give your younger self?  

I followed an unusual career path, worked in a few different countries, which presented some challenges. When I finally moved back to Canada there were challenges, it would have been easier to complete my degree and engineering qualification in Canada prior to doing that. I certainly enjoyed the experience of travel, to experience other culture and organizations. I would encourage others to take opportunities, to experience work, life and cultures in other parts of the world.