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Celebrating Inclusion & Diversity in the City of Angels

June 17, 2021

Our LA professionals are making a difference in the industry through their involvement in organizations that champion inclusion and diversity

Los Angeles is one of the world’s most diverse cities, with residents from approximately 140 different countries speaking roughly 86 different languages. With immigrant-friendly laws, LA is a preeminent destination for those seeking a new life and new opportunities in the US. LA also has the distinction of being a place without a majority population, creating vibrant communities and a very talented, diverse workforce.

At Stantec, we create opportunity by inviting, embracing, and celebrating differences. This goal remains at the heart of our efforts to champion inclusion and diversity throughout our organization. LA’s diverse cultural mosaic presents nearly unlimited opportunity for us to engage in all facets of our industry and our communities. To achieve that goal, we must continue to build an inclusive workplace that empowers and inspires—but also attracts and nurtures the very best talent from across the greater LA area. 

We recognize the importance of the distinct experiences and perspectives our people bring to the workplace each day. Inclusion means valuing the distinct talent flourishing within, and that is an important component to building a more innovative and prosperous Stantec. And perhaps nowhere do we have greater potential to celebrate inclusion and diversity than we do in LA.

Inclusion means valuing the distinct talent flourishing within, and that is an important component to building a more innovative and prosperous Stantec. And perhaps nowhere do we have greater potential to celebrate inclusion and diversity than we do in LA.

Here, we’ve highlighted some of our Stantec team members in the LA area who are growing their careers and making a difference in the industry through their involvement in organizations that champion inclusion and diversity.

Asian American Architects/Engineers Association (AAa/e)

Amy Chang, Senior Associate, Buildings

Having been a member for more than seven years, Amy Chang has found a way to positively impact the Asian-American community through the Asian-American Architects/Engineers Association (AAa/e). Now, sitting on the board of the AAa/e Foundation for five years, she’s even more directly involved in making a difference for up-and-coming students in the industry.

“I chair the fundraising committee and last year—even amidst the pandemic—we raised more than $55,000 and awarded 13 scholarships to students studying A/E/C-related subjects,” Amy says. “Education is getting expensive and with these scholarships, we can help reduce their financial burdens. It makes me proud to see this organization championing future Asian-American professionals in the industry.”

Stantec is proud to be a major sponsor of AAa/e’s Scholarship Fundraiser on June 10th and its Awards Banquet on October 7th.

Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) – SoCal Regional Chapter

Jose de Jesus Martinez, Senior Principal, Transit & Rail

COMTO is the nation’s only multi-modal advocacy organization for minority professionals and businesses in the transportation industry. Relatively new to COMTO, Jose de Jesus Martinez is already seeing the impact the organization has in elevating minority transportation professionals.

“As an immigrant to this great country, I see COMTO as a great field-leveler of inclusion and diversity in the transportation field,” says Jose. “They highlight people who may not normally be highlighted—this organization has been a forum for underrepresented communities for decades.”

Jose acts as a technical advisor and mentor to younger members. He’s passionate about elevating their role in the transportation community and mentoring the next generation.

Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) – Los Angeles Chapter

Gilberto Ruiz, Principal Environmental Planner

Once unfamiliar with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) until a coworker alerted him to it, Gilberto Ruiz is now finding deeper meaning in his involvement more than two years in.

“SHPE provides leadership and mentoring to young Latino/as living and working in the greater Los Angeles area who are either directly involved or looking to become engineers where there is typically no such resource available,” says Gilberto. “There are incredible opportunities for networking, learning and sharing experiences in the workplace, collaboration between companies and agencies, and career advancement.”

When asked about SHPE’s impact on the Los Angeles area, Gilberto says, “The organization is really instrumental in providing the next generation of Latino/a engineers with the skillset to directly assist Los Angeles in prospering. In many respects, the organization is providing greater exposure and continuing the legacy of Latino/a engineers in Los Angeles.”

Now into his third year, Gilberto is looking forward to pursuing leadership positions within the organization to further his reach among the Latino/a professional community.

The National Organization of Minority Architects – Southern California Chapter

Jessica Cooper, Associate, Buildings and Larissa Clark, Office Manager

Introduced to the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) student chapter while studying architecture at North Carolina State University, Jessica Cooper went on to become a professional member after graduation. At that time, she had joined one of the largest Black-owned architecture firms in North Carolina and became heavily involved in the NC NOMA chapter. When it came time for Jessica to relocate to the West Coast, she got involved with SoCal NOMA.

Jessica Cooper, Maria Ionescu, and Scott Reed gather together to kick off SoCal NOMA’s 2019 Project Pipeline Summer Camp.

“SoCal NOMA hosts an excellent youth outreach program in the Project Pipeline Summer Camp,” says Jessica. “I volunteered in 2019 and I’m looking forward to participating in the program again this summer.”

With a natural ability to organize large groups and a passion for fostering inclusive and diverse communities that help each other rise, Larissa Clark also found her calling with SoCal NOMA and has been involved for four years. When she began coordinating a partnership with the organization in 2018, Larissa’s job was to spread the word about NOMA and get as many volunteers as possible for different events, but namely the Project Pipeline Summer Camp.

“The Summer Camp opens the doorway for these students,” Larissa says. “It also fosters future volunteers and mentors from the profession to continue SoCal NOMA’s mission with a whole generation—or two—of professionals employed by firms willing to network and mentor students just like themselves. NOMA shows these students what is possible. Some of the kids are learning about architecture and engineering for the very first time!”

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