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Spotlight: Osman Muaz, EIT

Osman joined Gray & Fick in February of 2020 in a combined drafting/design role. He has been the designer or drafter on numerous projects over the past 18 months, including a 68,000 sq ft retirement home and a 58,000 sq ft retirement home!

Osman completed both his Diploma in Architectural Technology (Algonquin College) and Bachelor of Engineering (Carleton University) in 2014 and 2018, respectively, and is now working on his Master of Engineering (Western University). Osman worked in Saskatchewan for 16 months after completing his Bachelor's degree before moving to London, Ontario to work at Gray & Fick as a structural engineer-in-training. He now works as the designer and drafter on structures ranging from small decks to multi-storey concrete, masonry, and timber buildings!

What drove you to enter structural engineering?

In my last year in Architectural Technology at Algonquin College, I was taking a working drawings course that contained a structural working drawings module. I had the opportunity to work under a part-time professional structural engineer in the class. Although he might not be aware of it, he truly opened my mind to the field of structural engineering and he was kind enough to give me some pointers on what I needed to do to continue down that path. I wanted to get into the structural field and work on projects that will have my fingerprints on them for many years to come. The structural field presented itself to me as an option because I will have the ability to work with amazing designers, homeowners, and developers to bring their vision into existence.

Why did you join Gray & Fick?

I was searching for a structural EIT position and came across a posting at Gray & Fick Ltd. for a structural technologist. I further examined the position and the firm on their website and LinkedIn. I discovered that the firm worked on various projects such as residential, commercial, institutional, and educational and regularly took part in supporting the community it serves through blood donations and charity work. Throughout the search process, I knew that my background on a professional and a personal level matched the position and the direction in which I wanted to pursue to become a competent structural engineer. Completing an architectural technology diploma and a civil engineering degree with a focus on structural courses gave me the ability to utilize my skills to contribute towards the drafting and design aspects of the projects. I felt that I could fit seamlessly into what the firm was looking for, and I am very glad I chose to join Gray & Fick.

What were your first few months like?

My first few months were very interesting because we went into a complete lockdown due to COVID-19 shortly after I joined the firm. I had to adapt and manage the challenge of moving into a new city and working remotely. However, I am grateful for the support and guidance I got and continue to get.

What has been the biggest change since then?

Well, the biggest change is having everyone back to the office and experiencing some form of normalcy. On the professional side of things, I believe the professional growth I have experienced in the last 18 months has been tremendous; I am looking forward to continuing that path. I've worked on multiple projects ranging from a timber framed deck, to a two-storey, 68,000 sq ft retirement home in Mitchell, Ontario that utilized masonry and timber framing. For this project I was the secondary designer but the main Revit modeler. This experience enhanced my understanding of both the analysis and drafting, and has helped me a lot along the way.

What has been your favourite project so far?

I believe my favorite project thus far is the one-storey, 58,000 sq ft New Brouillette Manor, which is a retirement home in Windsor, ON. I was the main designer on this project and the secondary Revit modeler. I learned a lot from this project on the design side, but also quite a bit on the construction admin side where I was heavily involved in reviewing shop drawings. The building consisted of many structural elements such as concrete footings, foundations, masonry load-bearing walls, steel stud load-bearing walls, steel beams, steel columns, and wood trusses, all of which had to work together to provide a safe and effective structure!

What skills are you looking to improve next?

There are four main areas that I want to continue working on and improving:

  1. Further develop interpersonal skills

  2. Continue to improve on my knowledge of design codes

  3. Continue to improve on my knowledge of the commonly used structural analysis software and how I can leverage it in our day-to-day operations

  4. Continuing to deliver work that I am proud of

All of these goals are currently in progress, such as learning RISA3D and RISA Floor and regularly working with unfamiliar materials to develop my design code knowledge.

What is a small thing that you like about the company?

At Gray and Fick there are many things that I enjoy. My favorite thing at the professional level is the adaptation of the Trello board and using the system to organize project tasks as needed. Gray & Fick's approach made it easy and manageable to get timely feedback and improve coordination with the other disciplines at an early stage. On the social level, I enjoy the social activities that we hold in the office, which range from virtual trivia to golf activities.

What activities are you looking forward to next year?

There are three upcoming events that I'm really looking forward to! They are:

  1. Completing my master’s degree

  2. Submitting my application for P.Eng

  3. Booking a trip to Egypt

Where in the world would you travel if you could go anywhere?

My favorite place in the world is Cairo, Egypt. I spent most of my youth there and I would like to visit soon!

What motivates you to work each day?

My biggest motivation to work each day is knowing that I am simply doing what I love and that there is something to learn and challenge me everyday.

If you could be anything other than an engineer, what would you be?

If I didn’t pursue engineering, I would have pursued political science to work in the political field. I remember from a young age that I enjoyed the news in all its forms, as well as geography and history.


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