Confidence and Trust are Earned

This story begins in the summer of 2006 in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Joshua Wludyka, a fresh-faced engineering student looking to gain some practical experience in the field and still figuring out what he wanted in life, joined EXP as a summer student. Gary Landry, supervising field work on a variety of sites, was working on a parkland project with the Earth and Environment team.

Little did they know that this project would be the beginning of a connection that would shape their careers for years to come.

The project involved inspecting the stone size and layer thickness of rock lining in the creation of a new fish habitat stream as part of the Coke Ovens Brook re-alignment. Ensuring a healthy fish habitat was important for its success, requiring precision in the size, shape and placement of each rock and boulder.

“Gary had me confirming dimensions and slopes. I was out there for a full day measuring rocks,” recalls Joshua. “By the end, I was just like, man, this guy is thorough!”

And it was precisely that comprehensive attention to detail that signaled to Josh that he could learn a thing or two from Gary. Once he graduated, Josh knew where he wanted to be and started in a full-time position with EXP as an engineer-in-training.

To Gary, it came naturally to offer what he has learned, citing a number of people who have influenced his career and approach to work.

“I’ve been fortunate to have some great mentors in my years. Some by example, and others by direct involvement, but I owe them all an equal debt,” says Gary. “I’m at a point now in my career where I’m starting to hand over a lot of my longstanding client relationships, and I can see that they have the same level of confidence and trust with Josh as I do. It’s great to see.”

Over time, Josh and Gary have developed a strong working relationship, with Gary always making time to answer questions, offer his advice or a different way of looking at a situation. Gary saw the potential in Josh to lead, and actively looked for opportunities for him to succeed.

One such opportunity came early in Josh’s career, when Gary asked him to take charge of regular construction meetings for a client. Josh remembers the intimidation factor was high, running a meeting with senior engineers and other capable people when he was so green. But with Gary by his side to provide support, Josh handled it all in stride.

“Josh has harnessed the best parts of his personality – he’s always been quite a character – tempered with outstanding professionalism and levelheadedness that will serve him well in the future.”

“To be honest, I think that’s what I’ve learned most from Gary: the ability to read a situation and respond accordingly. Sometimes the best thing you can do is listen.”

As Gary contemplates his options for winding down his career, his confidence in Josh and the rest of the Sydney team has reached an all-time high.

Mentor: Gary Landry, P.Eng. | Project Manager | Sydney, NS
Mentee: Joshua Wludyka, P.Eng. | Project Engineer | Sydney, NS

*Originally published in EXP’s Expresso: Mentorship