ACEC Canada names Anne Poschmann as new chair

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by Warren Frey

Canada's consulting engineers have a new leader.
Anne Poschmann
Anne Poschmann

Canada's consulting engineers have a new leader.

Anne Poschmann formally took on her role as chair of the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies at the Chairman’s Gala dinner which capped off the organizations 2014 Leadership Summit in Winnipeg, Man. 

Poschmann was elected to the board of directors in 2010 and is the first woman elected to the role in the 89-year history of the ACEC. 

She takes over from Jason Mewis of ENGCOMP Engineering & Computing Professionals Inc., who served as chair for the past year.

Poschmann said the top goals for the ACEC in the next year include member engagement and raising awareness of the association’s value within the consulting engineering industry.

“It’s also important to build membership within member firms who are working in the resource sector. That initiative started last year and is an ongoing focus for this year,” she said.

Other issues on the table include tackling contract language, which she said members are currently finding “impossible to deal with.”

Poschmann also said in her first speech to the membership as chair that the ACEC will review the association’s organization structure to identify opportunities for membership growth and retention. She also stressed the importance of diversity within the industry.

“By embracing diversity, we are bettering society and hence our contribution to society,” she said.

Poschmann singled out the business program of the summit, which focused on innovation, as a key part of the event. Over two days the delegates listened to and debated with panels and speakers on how to innovate in the consulting engineering industry, in terms of not only technology but new procurement models and changing work demographics. 

“How we help position our member firms and organizations to deal with this coming ‘age of innovation’ is going to be fascinating,” she said. Poschmann also pointed to high levels of engagement amongst delegates and the key role of the Young Professionals program at the summit.

“The highlight of the summit was the number of young professionals here, their enthusiasm, and how they changed the whole environment of the summit,” Poschmann said 

The ACEC has in the past been able to improve linkages between the national organization to the member organizations, Poschmann said.

“Communication at both the board and staff level has gotten better, and I think that helps us all to achieve our future vision,” she said. 

“I think the first step was to have this successful summit, and going forward the preparation is to ensure we stay on top of our goals, our mission and vision,” she said.

“We’ve got a good strategic plan, which we’ll take a look at in the next little while to see how we can better the association and meet our goals,” she added. Poschmann is a senior geotechnical engineer with Mississauga, Ont. based Golder Associates and has been with the company for the past 33 years, specializing in foundation design, slope stability, tunnelling, excavations, dewatering, and construction works in difficult ground conditions. 

Poschman has also been on the board and served as the chair of the Consulting Engineers of Ontario before joining the ACEC board

She graduated from Queen’s University in 1978 as a geotechnical engineer.

Poschmann works with Golder Associates primarily in the transportation sector, but has recently widened her focus to other areas. 

“I’m really keen on getting more involved with the resource sector,” she said.

Poschmann’s hobbies are gardening and sailing, both of which she noted occur in the summer months.

“So I’ve got a busy summer and a relaxing winter,” she said.

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