WCW Member Profile – Klas Ohman

Working-in-Water-logoWCW Member Profile – Klas Ohman Senior Water and Environment Engineer at Associated Engineering in Calgary, Alberta. 

Klas OhmanName: Klas Ohman
Company/City: Associated Engineering – Calgary, AB
Position: Senior Water and Environment Engineer

Core Function:

I provide Associated Engineering staff and clients with technical expertise in the areas of water resources, wastewater collection and treatment, and solid waste management.

Born and raised:

I was born in Stockholm, Sweden, and raised in Ottawa, Ontario.

Education/Training:

U. of Ottawa undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering; Masters degree in Environmental Engineering from the U. of Alberta; and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the U. of Calgary.

Job Satisfaction:

I like everything about it. It’s very rewarding, because I am doing everything I was hoping and dreaming of doing when I was in university.

History in the industry:

I specialize in water, wastewater and solid waste management, and have worked in municipal government, academia, and the consulting industry for over 30 years. I’ve had worked in locations as diverse as Kashechewan
First Nation, Ontario; Colombo, Sri Lanka; and Calgary, Alberta. I joined WCW in 2001 and served as Treasurer. I also served its constituent organization, the WEA as Treasurer, Provincial Trustee, and Chair. Currently I participate on Alberta Provincial Council and will be helping organize a Water Reuse seminar for the Council in the fall.

Career highlights:

Highlights include simply having been able to work in this industry.

Being nominated to serve on boards like the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation and being asked to teach courses at universities, technical institutes, and occasionally local schools is an honour. This has
allowed me to feel valued, and able to share the knowledge I’ve gained.

I’ve also had the opportunity to speak to very young students (Grade 1 level), and to the general public about our industry. I’m comforted knowing there is interest in water and environmental engineering from the public
and from young children in particular – our future leaders in the field.

Typical Day

I’m always learning new and interesting aspects related to the water industry, including the larger environmental issues surrounding it.

My typical day is spent meeting client needs – addressing technical aspects of projects, writing memos and reports, coordinating with project teams, and attending meetings. It is also spent researching new and innovative technologies or ways to provide value to our clients and potential future clients. I also help to write proposals to pursue additional work, which helps enhance my own education towards serving our clients in better ways.

Lastly, I give back to the industry and learn something at the same time by helping organize seminars and volunteering with industry associations as well as universities and technical institutes.

Challenges

Ensuring a proper work life balance. Since I find the work I do very rewarding and valuable, I have to ensure it doesn’t interfere with my family life, or when it does, to a minimum degree.

Mentors

There are many people who have influenced me a great deal (and continue to do so), although likely quite unaware they did. Some of these are from academia since they helped develop my passion for my work.

These included professors like Andrew Middleton, Paul Wisner and Eric Schiller at the U. of Ottawa; Steve Hrudey, Dan Smith, and Peter Huck at the U. of Alberta; and Patrick Hettiaratchi, Gopal Achari, Janaka Ruwanpura, and Jaydeep Balakrishnan at the U. of Calgary.

Probably the largest influences have come from the hundreds of excellent individuals I’ve come to know throughout my career. They’ve helped me to learn, grow, adapt to, and resolve new challenges and issues. I owe all of them a tremendous debt of gratitude.

Advice for a Successful Career

There are three elements to this and all are interrelated. Our attitude towards our career and life in general, and how we react to our experiences are extremely important. Always pursue your passion – it will help you maintain your motivation through the rough spots, which we all encounter. Also, look after the interests of those individuals who report to you and work with you. If you look after them, it will make your job much easier, and you’ll be rewarded in many ways – the most rewarding of which is their growth and success.

Life away from work:

This time is spent exclusively with family and church activities.

Our Partners AWWOA MWWA NTWWA SWWA WCSAWWA WCWEA WCMSSA