Ross Tuck, Partner at JE Anderson & Associates
|For our February 2020 Newsletter, we asked Ross about his company, Engineering in Victoria, and a bit about him outside of work.
Browse all our Member Spotlights here.
Can you briefly introduce yourself and J.E. Anderson?
I’m a Professional Engineer with 17 years of experience working on projects throughout the Capital Regional District and Vancouver Island. I have worked for three Engineering firms in Victoria and have been a partner with JE Anderson & Associates (JEA) for the past 10 years.
JEA is a small engineering and legal survey firm that was founded in Victoria and recently celebrated is 60th anniversary. Since JEA’s inception, it has grown to four offices on Vancouver Island. The combination of engineering and legal survey expertise allow JEA to focus primarily on Land Development Consultation. Typical JEA clients are either looking to subdivide land into fee-simple or bare-land strata lots, or they are looking to redevelop property into high-density units.
With so many engineering firms active in Victoria, what do you believe is J.E. Anderson’s competitive advantage?
Great question. There are many engineering firms in Victoria; However, relatively few firms in Victoria have the same combination of Engineering and Legal Survey skill sets with a focus on Land development consultation. Like any other job, I believe that you get more proficient by doing it more often. I believe that JEA understands the full spectrum of the land development process and can help its clients from the initial planning stages through Detailed Design, Construction and final documentation.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
The hardest part of my job is managing client expectations. Though JEA is well versed in Land Development consulting, there is no easy button. All of our projects, whether there are large or small, require a lot of project management to coordinate the different stakeholders. With all the different stakeholders each honoring different priorities (Say the local Jurisdiction and the Utilities), it feels more like herding cats. None of this is made easier with the 13 different municipalities that comprise the Greater Victoria area.
What projects do you get most excited to work on?
Generally, I am most excited to work on quality projects that will be a benefit to the community and compliment the natural beauty of the area. Though land development seems to have a bad connotation in the media right now, there are a lot of quality projects throughout the region which I believe will stand the test of time.
How is the Engineering Field changing in Victoria?
For the most part, engineering and legal survey procedures have not changed that much in the past 30 years. However, it feels like we are on the verge of a paradigm shift. The technological improvements and cost reductions associated with hardware such as GPS/robotic total stations, laser scanners and drones has significantly changed – even in the past five years. With that, there is a perception that there is an easy button. What we’ve encountered most recently is the number of companies that are providing terrain scanning as a side business. However, these companies don’t necessarily have a full understanding of geomatics and/or standardized checking procedures. Much like the plumber who has to repair the home-handy man’s repair, it can sometime require a lot effort to first figure what has been done and then rectify the problem.
What advice would you give to young engineers just starting out in Victoria?
My advice is to get out and meet as many people in the industry as you can. I am surprised that the people I first met nearly 20 years ago are now in senior positions for contractors, local municipalities, utilities, clients, etc. At the end of the day, people like to work with the people that they know. Being able to put a face to a name make it is easier to communicate and in consulting, communication is key.
What do you love most about living in Victoria?
I love that Victoria is a relatively small city but has fantastic proximity to so many things. There are few places that I can think of that you have to decide each weekend whether or not you want to go skiing, golfing, surfing, fishing or hiking, etc. Its interesting how many people come from across the world to experience what we sometimes take for granted.
When you’re not working, what are your favourite activities?
My favourite activities would be either hiking or mountain biking. As I previously mentioned, I love Victoria’s proximity to the outdoors and there are so many fantastic day hikes and rides within an hour.
Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
I went to the The Ohio State University in Columbus Ohio and played on their rugby team. Though rugby does not have anywhere near the cache that football has in that part of the world, it still has a strong community and gave me a great opportunity to travel the Midwest to the other various Midwestern Universities/towns.