When Mike Samilski’s grandma heard he wanted to be an engineer, she was over-the-moon proud. She was a draftsperson in an era when women in construction often struggled, and Mike remembers her working extremely hard to break into the business. “Reach for the stars and do whatever you can to move up,” she told Mike, even while close friends and family questioned his decision. After all, he already had a good job as a draftsperson. If you know Mike, you also know the naysayers spurred him on. “I feel like life without challenges is pretty boring, so I never want a job that doesn’t have a new challenge for me every day,” he says. “I’ve been very lucky that my bosses here have let me chase whatever challenge is to my liking—in the field and in the office.”
After joining SNC-Lavalin six years ago, on the Evergreen project (rapid transit line), Mike is now managing a Design-Build extension to the storage-facility. He loves leading a team, and is in awe of the talent and creative solutions he sees in his group and all around his floor. The two things he likes most about his current project? First is the team he has around him—where mentorship isn’t a top-down experience, and where everyone is in sync because so many people who worked on his first project are back at the table. Second is taking the project paperless with BIM360. Walking around on site with iPads instead of giant stacks of paper is making everyone’s life easier and helping the project too.
Not surprisingly, Mike’s love of challenge makes him a sports fanatic who plays hockey and soccer. He admits to dominating the radio when the family is in the car—“it’s sports all the time”—and loving that his older son Noah plays hockey now as well. Noah drives his mom absolutely crazy by memorizing and constantly repeating all the Vancouver Canucks stats he hears on the radio, Mike reveals. Underneath the laughter is definitely a proud dad. Asked about the most interesting thing he’s heard lately, Mike replies, “My five-year-old counting to a hundred.”
Mike in 5 takes:
Love: My kids. “I love my wife, but my kids are my life. The sun rises and sets with those guys.”
Food: Sushi. “We like to gorge sometimes at an all-you-can-eat place. You get the meat sweats in the afternoon because they have barbeque too. It’s disastrous!”
Song: Hip hop and punk rock. “Okay, don’t judge, but I like Bruno Mars, Cardi B kinda stuff.”
Place: Maui, Hawaii.
Structure: “When I think of a structure I think of a project. You can’t be too loose; you’ve got to have a basic backbone to run it.”