Posted: Tuesday March 21, 2023
Recently, Andrew Melchers was named as Young Professional of the Year at the Brockville & District Chamber of Commerce Awards of Excellence Gala. This accolade is given to one young professional each year who demonstrates a commitment to our community to help it thrive. Andrew grew up in Brockville and attended Thousand Island Secondary School before pursing post-secondary education at Carleton University in Ottawa, and has since returned to Brockville to put down roots and give back to his community. We got in contact with Andrew to find out why he made the return to Brockville and learn more about what he does professionally.
What is your professional background?
I am a Structural Engineer and I also serve in The Brockville Rifles as a Second-Lieutenant.
After university, what did you look for in a city to relocate to?
I grew up in Brockville and spent 10 years in Ottawa for school and work. I knew the city wasn’t for me and made the conscious effort to move to Brockville.
What other cities or town have you lived in? What made you come back to Brockville?
Ottawa was too busy; I wanted a more relaxing pace of lifestyle and one where I didn’t have to spend an hour everyday in traffic. Brockville has the great benefit of having rural landscape 10 minutes from downtown. Brockville allows me to live in the country while having only a short commute to work.
What factors were the most important to you when you were looking to relocate back to the area?
I knew I wanted to be back in Brockville – let’s say the main factor is having the river to the South of the City. When I first moved to Ottawa my internal compass was all messed up because the Ottawa River is to the North of the City!
Where do you work now?
I work as an industrial structural engineer at WSP Canada – the largest engineering firm in Canada with global offices. They happen to have an office in Tincap which is just north of Brockville. I also am a member of The Brockville Rifles as an officer where we train for foreign and domestic operations. Finally, I recently started my own company IN Engineering to provide structural engineering services for residential and commercial projects with the main goal of assisting local community projects with engineering expertise.
Can you provide a brief overview of your company and what you do?
Structural engineers design the parts of a building that allow it to hold it up to weight, occupancy, snow, wind and earthquakes. At WSP I work on industrial projects across Ontario and at IN Engineering I do local projects mostly for community organizations but also for residential and commercial construction.
What do you like most about the company you work for?
I enjoy working for WSP as they are a large firm and provide many opportunities to work on large scale projects. It allows me to push myself and my understanding of engineering every day. I also like running my own company as I get to have an impact on my local community. Most recently I volunteered engineering services to the Reconstruction of the Five Mile Lighthouse – I am very excited about this project as it is the exact reason I started my own company.
How did you know that Brockville would be a good fit for you and your business?
“Having grown up in Brockville, I still have a few connections and an understanding of the local environment and geography. I also find that even though I am a relatively new engineer (7 years) I find that my opinions are sought after and respected in the community.” – Andrew Melchers
What is something most people don’t know about your industry?
I think a lot of people find engineers mysterious and are not exactly sure when to call one. Almost any time there is a structure involved you need an engineer to review it. They also think that engineers are expensive but that’s not necessarily a case. Engineers end up saving money by being able to approach the constructor with a well though out plan. The most expensive part of a project is labour and if you have workers standing around because your plan wasn’t finished you are wasting more money than an engineer would cost.
Is there anything you would like to highlight about your business?
I started my own business in June of 2018 so a good place to start is that there is a new structural engineer in town and I’m ready for your project!
What do you like to do when you are not at work?
I have a young family so I enjoy playing with my two girls. We go outside a lot and the girls ‘help’ me in the garden. I don’t think I will have any straight rows of vegetables for a few years!
How do you stay involved in the community?
I mostly get involved with the community through volunteering with Rotary Brockville. I have taken on the role of Director of Memberships and Communications. I believe Rotary is a fantastic organization with a huge impact within our community. As a young professional myself I hope to expand their membership with more young professionals.
What is your favourite part about living and working in Brockville?
“It’s got to be the lack of a commute. When I first moved back to Brockville I remember I had to do a bunch of errands. Having just came back from Ottawa I figured that this would take all day and I was not looking forward to it. However, that day I went to the bank, post office and city hall and got everything I needed to get done before my tea got cold in the car. There really is a higher quality of living when you aren’t spending it all in a car.” – Andrew Melchers
What would you say is the “best kept secret” about Brockville?
I have a number of secret spots in the area. Having grown up in Lyn, the Lyn Pit is definitely one of my favourite spots!
What would you tell other young professionals who are considering moving to Brockville?
It may be a small town with a slower pace of life, but in my experience your career moves fast. I have had some great opportunities here that I would not have had anywhere else!