Kevin Shipley

Kevin Shipley, Civil Engineering - Class of 1985

Kevin Shipley

Graduate program

Master of Applied Science (MASc) in Civil Engineering

Graduation year


Why did you choose your undergraduate program?

I did well in maths and sciences in high school, and I wanted to expand my knowledge and skills in these areas. I knew that engineering would provide excellent opportunities for employment. I thought Civil Engineering would be a good choice because it's such a broad profession with so many interesting career possibilities.

How did you like your experience at UWaterloo?

Waterloo has an amazing engineering program. I think the co-op aspect of the program was the most valuable feature for me in terms of gaining work experience and getting a better sense of what I wanted to do as a full-time career. The intensity of the workload during academic terms was extremely challenging for me and my fellow students, but I believe it is essential training for a successful career in engineering.

What were your favourite classes?

I most enjoyed the courses I took in upper years relating to contaminant hydrogeology and wastewater treatment. That's why my focus shifted from Civil Engineering to Environmental Engineering as I transitioned into my full-time career.

How did the friends you made at UWaterloo inspire you throughout your undergraduate experience?

The academic terms were very hard work. My classmates and I supported each other in many ways--working together on assignments, socializing together, joking and laughing during difficult times, and reminding each other why we were there.

Co-op work term history

  • Two terms with the Architecture and Building Science Division of Public Works Canada
  • One term with Geological Survey of Canada, Energy Mines and Resources
  • One term with Canviro Consultants (Environmental Engineering consulting firm)
  • One term with University of Waterloo doing research on air dispersion modelling

What is the biggest lesson you learned from co-op?

I gained an understanding of what different engineering careers are like and a sense of which career would suit me best. I decided I would like to pursue a career as an environmental engineering consultant.

What is your occupation now?

I am currently an environmental engineering consultant working for XCG Consulting Limited in our Kingston office. I have been with XCG for almost 30 years and have had a varied and interesting career. I was a principal with the firm but am now transitioning into retirement and have sold my company shares. I am now working three days a week and very much enjoying my semi-retirement while still staying involved with the company.

Did your undergraduate program play a role in where you are today? How?

Yes, my undergraduate program was critically important in helping me get to where I am today. I gained knowledge, skills, lifelong friendships, and an appreciation of the value of hard work.

List 3 lessons you'd like to share with the current undergraduate students.

  1. Do not despair when the workload gets you down. The academic terms are short and will be over before you know it. If you work hard and rely on people you trust for support, you will make it through.
  2. If you are struggling, don't hide it from your parents. Tell them what's going on and tell them soon. They love you and, although at first they may be upset, they will help you.
  3. Keep in mind your goal--to finish the engineering program and launch your engineering career. It is a wonderful career with so many exciting possibilities.