The Art of Building Bridges

Gaétan Couture has been building bridges for 35 years, working on projects that connect people and places. Whether bridges of interpersonal relationships, Gaétan is constantly in his element when serving as a connection and creating connections for the communities of today and tomorrow.

For Jocelyn Voyer, the bond with his mentor, Gaétan, happened naturally. “I remember my first day working at EXP five years ago. When I arrived, Gaétan came to welcome me and said, ‘Come see me. I’ll take care of your junior engineering program.’ That was the first time I met Gaétan – a simple and humble man, with an irresistible sense of humor.”

Photos of bridges, diplomas, awards and certificates line the walls of Gaétan’s office. One cabinet is filled with bid documents. It’s clear that he has many structural and civil engineering achievements under his belt. “Gaétan is an expert at EXP. Every time I go to discuss an issue with him, it never seems like something he hasn’t seen before. It’s like he’s figured out the solution before I even walk into his office with the question. He knows so much and has had so many adventures. He’s our departmental dad,” says Jocelyn with admiration.

A committed mentor, focused on the future

To date, Gaétan has mentored over 30 engineers under the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec’s mentorship program. At the Sherbrooke office, he mentors every young engineer joining the bridges and structures team. “He’s generous, dedicated and he wants to take the time to do it,” says Jocelyn.

Mentoring is an opportunity for Gaétan to sum up what he learned over several years and pass that knowledge on to the younger engineers in a matter of months.

“I explain the role of engineers in a team, a firm and society. I start with the history of our company, our team and the bridges sector. I try to make them understand that the profession is constantly changing, and that it’s important to spot trends fast,” says Gaétan.

Jocelyn confirms that every conversation with his mentor is a lesson. “He’s the person with whom I have the highest ratio of learning to conversation time. His experience and endless knowledge mean Gaétan can explain and condense several elements very quickly. He’s a visionary, and he relies on past learning to plan future strategy. For example, he really likes to show us graphs on his iPad to explain the history of civil engineering works in Quebec. Around the department, we often tease him, asking him to take out his iPad to show us pictures or a graph,” he adds, laughing.

Mentor: Gaétan Couture, P.Eng. | Vice President, Transportation | Sherbrooke, QC
Mentee: Jocelyn Voyer, P.Eng. | Civil Engineer | Sherbrooke, QC

*Originally published in EXP’s Expresso: Mentorship