A Civil Engineering Technology student who returned to St. Clair for a second career has landed her dream job, working for one of the largest infrastructure projects in North America.
Allison Kidd, 47, works as a Field Engineer for Bridging North America, the consortium that is building the new Gordie Howe International Bridge.
“It’s the biggest international infrastructure project that this area is going to see in a generation,” Kidd said recently during a break at work. “It’s so exciting to be part of it.”
Kidd said as a child, she was often awestruck at the infrastructure that surrounded her. When others admired the beauty of nature, Kidd took a fascination in “the roads, the bridges, the tunnels, the arteries that get us and everything we require from one place to another. Railroads, sewers, water systems, all that stuff…Most kids grow out of their fascination with heavy equipment, I never did.”
Kidd, who achieved a 4.0 Grade Point Average, said she found the perfect fit in the Civil Engineering Technology program three years ago when she was laid off from a retail job. Within two weeks of leaving her job, she was enrolled at St. Clair College for the 2018 winter semester.
“It’s very hands-on,” Kidd said of her program.
“The overwhelming majority of the professors have real-world experience so they’re not teaching theory. They know how it’s done.”
“We have hands-on in material testing in the labs, in soils and in surveying. So, every semester, it wasn’t theoretical. You’re not learning the math behind it, but you’re learning the math that is actually required to do it.”
This year’s graduating class of Civil Engineering Technologists included seven women – the highest number program coordinator George Vrantsidis recalls ever having. “Percentage-wise, seven out of a class of 30-something is almost 25 percent. I cannot remember another class that had that many. I think five was the previous high we ever had.”
Kidd’s success came through a lot of hard work. She put in one hour of homework for every hour in class and never left the College during her gaps in classes. What’s more amazing is that she did all of that while caring for a 14-year-old disabled child. Kidd, who also has two other children aged 24 and 21, said she never took her eye off the ball.
“I decided when I was in school, school was my full-time job.”
Kidd worked for the City of Windsor last summer after qualifying for the Award of Excellence program for high-achieving students in the Civil Engineering Technology program. The summer job in the city’s Field Engineering department cemented her decision to work in the field.
Kidd was approached by Bridging North America in February as the company continued to develop its team. The company had noted her Award of Excellence and another award she’d received from the Ontario Good Roads Association.
“Civil is such a fantastic field because it doesn’t matter how automated things are going to be,” Kidd said. “Infrastructure is always going to be built and maintained. And that’s what we do.”