Director – Infrastructure, Turner & Townsend
As technology advances and Canada’s population continues to grow, the infrastructure deficit grows ever larger. Billions of dollars are earmarked for infrastructure investments in the coming years, but if these investments aren’t made with an eye to the future, no amount of money can keep us from falling into the same cycle.
“When infrastructure is built in one big push every 20 to 30 years, it becomes outdated almost immediately,” says Stephane Chapuis, Director of Infrastructure at Turner & Townsend. “Instead, we must be consistently building and upgrading with the most up-to-date technology.”
Canada-wide, the biggest immediate return on investment will be seen in transportation projects first and foremost.Stephane Chapuis, Turner & Townsend
“Canada-wide, the biggest immediate return on investment will be seen in transportation projects first and foremost,” continues Chapuis. “Wherever you build infrastructure, it generates economic growth and brings in more people, which in turn generates the need for more infrastructure. It’s a positive cycle that can continuously grow the economy and allow you to constantly be accessing the most up-to-date technology. It also allows you to maintain a healthy infrastructure industry that’s able to build out to the current needs at any point in time.”
Infrastructure education in the classroom and beyond
We can’t talk about maintaining a healthy infrastructure workforce without also talking about education. Recognizing that, Turner & Townsend has invested in a mentorship program which encourages students to consider STEM and infrastructure careers, and provides funding, direction, and support along the way.
But the need for infrastructure education reaches beyond the classroom into the community. “We should’nt hide the great work that we’re doing,” says Chapuis. “When the people living in the community close to a project site can see for themselves what’s happening behind the fence, buy-in always increases.”
Finally, there’s an ongoing need for educational dialogue between the industry and its clients. Only when the decision-makers are well-informed can they make the best decisions and choose the infrastructure partners that share their vision and values.
To safeguard Canada’s future, it’s essential that our vision not end at closing the infrastructure gap that exists today. Our vision must also ensure that our infrastructure can grow and evolve continuously.