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Engineers Without Borders in 2020

January 05, 2021

Stantec engineers are volunteering their skills to help Engineers Without Borders in building a better world

Engineers Without Borders (EWB) is building a better world through engineering projects that will empower communities to meet their basic human needs. This creates a more stable and prosperous world and comes through a focus on six project areas: water supply, civil works, sanitation, agriculture, energy, and structures. Each project helps build the foundation for a community to thrive well into the future.

Stantec has partnered with EWB and through our collaboration, we help encourage individuals and organizations from across the engineering landscape to unite and collectively evolve. To advance inclusive innovations, EWB has built diversity into their approach. Today, they invite and empower engineers and non-engineers who value collaboration and cooperation to crossbreed solutions to poverty and inequality.

The Community Engineering Corps program at EWB allows organizations to pull together internal teams to bring underserved communities and volunteers together to advance local infrastructure solutions in the United States. Since 2018, Stantec has been piloting projects where our volunteers provide these communities with pro-bono engineering services to successfully help create healthy, strong, and resilient areas in the cities we live and work.

This year, many of our planned engagement activities had to be canceled or postponed due to COVID-19. However, we have continued to promote our partnership, we have hosted several virtual lunch-n-learns about our activities, and the implementation of remote working has allowed for projects to continue.

We currently have nine projects underway where our Stantec employees have been putting their knowledge and expertise to work. Our projects have taken us all over the United States: Arizona, South Dakota, Puerto Rico, Massachusetts, California, Texas, and Maryland.

In Holbrook, Arizona, our volunteers are supporting the community in Navajo County to develop a donated parcel of land into a much-needed community park. Morristown, South Dakota is a very small community of 50 people. They are experiencing distribution and quality issues with its potable water system. Our project team is working to finalize the alternatives analysis, and is considering small modifications to the distribution system, the addition of water storage in the existing water building and replacing the existing chlorinator.

Two communities in Puerto Rico: Tejas and Los Gomez, had critical assets suffer various degrees of hurricane related damage. The town of Ashfield, Massachusetts is a remote and rural community which has recently run into difficulties attracting qualified treatment plant operators for its wastewater treatment system. Our team is working towards finalizing the Scope of Work and getting approval of the Engineering Services Agreement.

Courtland, California has a community water system that consists of a well with two pumps and a 10,000 gallon above ground storage tank that serves 33 residential connections and two commercial buildings. The community needs a feasibility study for a new source including options of consolidation or drilling a new well, which our team is finalizing the overall workplan.

In Kingsborough Ridge, Texas, Neighborhood and Housing Services is working with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers on building low-income housing in this community. Stantec is helping by giving guidance on flood mitigation and building recommendations. Lastly, in Barclay, Maryland, Stantec is providing a preliminary engineering report to apply for funding to renovate a recently donated church for community purposes.

We love to see employees volunteering and working together to help our local communities. Being able to take your skills used in your career and apply them to work being led in underrepresented communities can only be described as rewarding.

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