Max Lysyk

Max Lysyk, Civil Engineering - Class of 2018

Max Lysyk

Why did you choose your undergraduate program?

As a kid, I always enjoyed building and creating structures using LEGO and K’NEX. I remember spending hours at my grandparent’s house building whatever idea popped into my head. Additionally, with my family being in the construction business, I was exposed to the industry at a young age and was hooked. I knew Civil Engineering was the perfect fit for me but took advantage of my co-op’s to decide which industry to specialize in.

How did you like your experience at UWaterloo?

Looking back at my experience at UWaterloo now, I can honestly say that it has helped shape me into who I am today. In 1st year, my experience was overwhelming; it was the first time I lived away from home, I learned quickly that mom was not around anymore to stock the fridge and do my laundry and for the first time, the concepts I was being taught did not come easy to me! However, I still got myself involved in the UWaterloo community with numerous extra curricular activities. At first, there were struggles and growing pains balancing everything, but not only did it set me up for success in the upper years but also for my career after UWaterloo.

During my time at UWaterloo, I co-founded the Civil Environmental Geological Engineering Society within the Civil Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department. The goal of this society was to provide all CEE Department undergrad students with networking opportunities, guest lecture events, social events and site visits to various facilities that were created thanks to a team of civil, environmental, and geological engineers (i.e. Toronto Pearson International Airport, Waterloo Regional Waste Management Facility). I was also fortunate enough to represent the University of Waterloo at various conferences and events throughout Canada and the United States of America. It was a great honour in doing so as it allowed me to make connections with fellow students and incorporate some of their successful events back at UWaterloo.

What were your favourite classes?

Funny enough, my favorite classes at UWaterloo were courses that I was not too fond of at the time but now I use them everyday. These classes are:

  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Hydraulics
  • Hydrology
  • Urban Systems Design
  • Construction Engineering

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

Looking back on my experience, the friends I made at UWaterloo were a large reason as to why I was able to graduate with distinction. Due to the method in which courses are taught at UWaterloo, specifically how the professors come to the classroom instead of the students moving around to other lecture halls and taking courses with other engineering departments, I was able to develop a close bond with my classmates. In the end, we lived together in upper years, studied together, and partied together. We formed intermural sports teams (hockey, basketball, slow-pitch and dodgeball) and ultimately became a family! The friendships that we developed will last a lifetime as we still regularly get together today.

Co-op work term history

  • 1. Ivan B Wallace, Ontario Land Surveyors – Survey Assistant
  • 2. University of Waterloo – WEEF Teaching Assistant
  • 3. Urbantech Consulting:
  • I. Construction Administrative Assistant (Co-Op)
  • II. Contract Administrative Assistant (Co-Op)
  • III. Municipal Design Assistant (Co-Op)
  • IV. Junior Water Resource Designer (Co-Op)

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

The biggest lesson that I learned from co-op is that it is okay to ask questions and ask for help! When starting my co-op positions, I was nervous as these were the first “real” jobs that I ever had. However, I quickly realised that employers were not expecting their students to know everything about the industry. They were looking for students who are eager to learn.

What is your occupation now?

After graduating from UWaterloo, I was offered a full-time position at Urbantech Consulting. I am currently a Municipal Designer in Urbantech’s land development design team and I run Urbantech’s hiring program of UWaterloo co-op students.

Urbantech prides itself in providing the highest quality land development engineering services throughout the Greater Toronto Area, while ensuring timelines and fiscal responsibilities are met from a client’s perspective.

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

Without the education and experience I obtained from UWaterloo and the co-op program, I would not be able to do what I do today. UWaterloo provided me with the technical skills that I need to complete my job however, it also strengthened my soft skills such as critical thinking, time management and attention to detail.

As for my co-op experience, it provided me with practical experience and ultimately convinced me that the land development industry was the proper career path for me. In addition to obtaining a degree, I finished school with two years of work experience. This was enormous as it set me ahead of others that graduated at the same time without any practical engineering experience.

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

The three lessons that I would like to share with the current UWaterloo undergraduate students are:

  1. Enjoy your time at UWaterloo and try to meet as many people as you can during your time there. You never know what the future holds and the connections you might make could pay dividends later in life.
  2. When starting a new co-op position, do not expect to be given a lead role on a file right away. Begin every co-op with an open mind, eagerness, and desire to learn. Do not be afraid to ask questions and ask for help when you do not understand the task. Employers will reward you with tasks and files once you have gained their trust.
  3. I strongly recommend spending some time after graduation for yourself. You just went through a difficult five-year engineering program and deserve sometime to celebrate. If you can, I strongly recommend traveling the world as this will also make you a better person. Do not worry about work, once you begin full-time, you will be working for a long time.