Setting a new course: It’s never too late to make a career change

Originally appeared on  APSC News.

“Ships are complex systems of systems that require naval architects to use creativity, innovation, and leadership to deliver vessels built to operate in the future maritime environment.”

Yves-Etienne Landry, Rising Stars Fall 2022

Yves-Etienne Landry

I was born and raised in Jonquière, Québec and decided to join the Canadian Armed Forces straight out of high school to serve as a Naval Combat Systems Engineer. I received a B.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering from the Royal Military College of Canada and a Master’s Certificate in Project Management from Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business. My naval career has spanned over nineteen years, serving as the Project Integration Engineer for the Protected Military Satellite Communications project, the Weapons Engineer for the Canadian Surface Combatant project, Head of the Combat Systems Engineering Department onboard the HMCS Montréal, and most recently as the Project Security Manager and Information Manager for the Canadian Surface Combatant Project.

Why did you choose to go into your field of study at UBC?

The Royal Canadian Navy undertook a large scale, high-priority initiative of revitalising its fleet through the National Shipbuilding Strategy. I was at a turning point in my career and was seeking a new challenge. I wanted to work at the forefront of this initiative by contributing to the successful delivery of ships for Canada. The M.Eng in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering program at UBC provides the necessary foundation to work in the field immediately upon graduation. What appealed to me most was the diversity of hands-on experience of the various professors, who imparted both technical knowledge as well as professional and life experience in their teaching.

What has made your time at UBC memorable?

People would have to be at the top of the list! The industry experience of each professor allowed them to provide real-world examples and exercises that would benefit everyone when joining the industry. They consistently strived to pique our professional curiosity, challenged us to achieve our full potential and were always there to support us during difficult times. Our cohort had a wide array of knowledge and experience, which made every lecture more interesting since we were always encouraged to share stories with fellow classmates. Coming from a naval background, I particularly enjoyed learning more about the practices and operations in the commercial side. Besides people, I think another aspect of the program that should be mentioned is the ship design project. It gave us a chance to navigate the design process as a team while providing the opportunity to consolidate the knowledge we gained during our studies. As a finale, the student design celebration was a unique event where we were able to showcase our design in front of representatives from local shipyards and naval design firms.

What have you learned that is most valuable?

Other than all the knowledge acquired during the M. Eng program, I would say that I learned a lot about time management and the need for strong work ethic. The one-year program is intensive with five courses per term; therefore there are many assignments, quizzes, mid-terms, and exams to contend with. With two young children at home, I had to carefully plan my week to ensure I could get everything done. This allowed me to gain a better appreciation for how long an assignment would take. Learning to be more effective at estimating your time to complete a task is a valuable skill in any industry.

What advice would you give a student entering your degree program?

Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering is a vast field of study. I have learned so much this past year and I often feel like I barely scratched the surface. Be curious, be engaged, ask questions and have fun!

What are some contributions you would like to make when it comes to the future of work in your field?

Following the completion of my program, I returned to work at the Department of National Defence for the Director General Maritime Equipment Program Management as a sub-section head responsible for Ship Stability and Hydrodynamics. I look forward to the many challenges associated with managing the stability and weight growth as the Halifax-class ships approach the end of their design life. The International Marine Design Conference (IMDC 2022) provided a great opportunity to expand my knowledge in new aspects of naval architecture and marine engineering. I am particularly interested in the integration of digital twin technology as a collaborative tool to facilitate decision making during the design, construction and operation of a given vessel.