February 16, 2022
Categories: About Us
Kurt Ruhland | A career enriched by mentoring youth and embracing challenge
What path brought you to MTE?
After completing my Masters with the University of California, I stared working at a small (12-15 people) structural firm in California, where I spent the first 15 years of my career. It seems like ages ago, but I remember that first job fondly. I started as an Engineer-in-Training (EIT). Once I became a fully licensed engineer I was made an Associate with the firm. Following the retirement of one of the owners, I had the opportunity to become an owner and Vice President.
In 2005 life took me to Ontario where I joined MTE as a Senior Structural Engineer. This was shortly after MTE had started offering structural engineering services. Within the first year, I was promoted to Manager of the Building Structures Division operating out of the Kitchener office.
I spent nine years in this role, during which I had the pleasure of helping contribute to growth of the Kitchener team, and expansion of structural engineering services in our Burlington and Stratford offices.
My next role was as Operational Director of the Building Structures Group in Kitchener. And just last year I was honoured to become Vice President of Operations.
Through all of these roles I’ve been challenged and inspired by the members of my team and our collective accomplishments.
What is your most memorable project at MTE?
There are too many to choose from. Here are a few highlights:
The Monroe, Michigan Gerdau steel plant expansion. I’ll remember it simply because of the size and scope of the project. It was big enough to build a new three-storey building inside the new steel plant.
The Gaslight District/Tapestry Hall. I’m proud to be part of a project that had such a transformational effect on the downtown Galt area of Cambridge. Professionally I was challenged with integrating new with old, as this was a heritage building that was being restored by the new owners into a modern events facility.
Over the past number of years, I’ve been challenged with increasing my expertise in precast concrete and its application on various types of buildings. One recent project that I found especially rewarding was Circa 1877, a new 20-storey condo that is a total precast building that also has a heritage element to it. A portion of the original façade was incorporated into the new structure as it was originally the Brick Brewing facility, one of Canada’s first craft breweries.
What’s been the most significant challenge for you as a leader?
Working with relatively small teams, you really develop a bond with the people you work with. That’s why employee retention is important and employee departures are difficult. I’ve had the pleasure of working with many young engineers over my career. I value the opportunities to train, mentor and see them grow, but it’s painful to see them depart if they choose a different path that isn’t with MTE. Although I’m always grateful for the time I had with them, I enjoy seeing them be successful, even if it’s not with MTE.
What do you think sets MTE apart in our industry?
There are two things that I think really set us apart from other firms.
First, as professionals, we have always been focused on providing technical solutions that we can be proud of. This influences our hiring, training and project delivery so that we are enabled to always be striving to raise the bar on our deliverables.
Second, is our attention to business planning. For many years MTE has had a deliberate approach to planning for the future and tracking our progress on that plan. I have seen firsthand how this has led to our strong growth and success over the years.
Where would you like to see MTE in five years?
Expanding on our recipe for success. I don’t see any drastic changes, but rather an expansion of geography and perhaps an expansion in service lines. I would like to see us focus on what we do well and applying our approach and technical standards in new geographies with more offerings.
What would you say to someone considering a career at MTE?
I have never regretted my decision to join MTE, and I can’t imagine wanting to work anywhere else.
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