Handiss Spotlight - AKM

Handiss Spotlight: AKM Saiduz Zaman – Engineering Director

Dr. Zaman has over twenty two years of professional experience working in civil, building, environmental, water and wastewater engineering, as well as hydrodynamic and water quality studies. Over the course of his career, he has designed and conducted storm water management systems, functional servicing, environmental site assessments and environmental building audit. Currently, he’s director as Save Our Environment, a multidisciplinary design company based in Toronto, Canada.

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Q: Currently you’re director at Save Our environment, a sole proprietorship Engineering office in Toronto, Ontario. What factors did you consider while opening your own business in Canada? And what advice would you give to professionals looking to take this step?

A: Independence, control and freedom from routine – Companies or individuals I work for are my clients, not my employers. As clients, they can state what results are expected from me, but they do not direct my work. This is one big advantage.

On the other hand, a business may or may not become very profitable, so it is very challenging. The location of operating the business is very important as well as the marketing strategy. Our goals can only be reached through a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.

Q: Please tell us about a challenging project you have worked on in Canada.

A: I think every project is somewhat challenging. Every project is focused on assisting property owners and developers, and is faced with the challenge of creating technically sound, economically reasonable solution in an atmosphere of budget reduction challenges. I am always looking toward the future, trying to account for the next set of regulations or the next level of services that I can provide to clients. That’s what my continuous quality improvement process, called Leadership through Client Satisfaction, is all about and it is all very challenging.

Q: You’re a licensed civil engineer in Ontario. Can you please walk us through the process you had to follow to gain your licensure?

A: I applied for licensure in Ontario. Professional Engineers Ontario examined my qualifications against their academic requirements, and I passed. It is noteworthy I was doing PhD at the time and later awarded a PhD in Civil Engineering from Concordia University, Montreal, Canada. I then wrote and passed Professional Practice Exams: 1. Ethics and 2. Law for Professional Engineers. After I had worked for URS corporation as a Civil Engineer for about four years in the US and one year in Canada, meeting the PEO experience requirements, I got my license.

Q: You’ve acquired professional work experience in Azerbaijan, Russia, and the US before moving to Canada. Did you notice any differences in the work culture between the four countries?

A: I had lived and worked in the former USSR before and after the collapse of Soviet Union. There wasn’t any noticeable differences in the work culture between Azerbaijan and Russia. Similarly, there is no big differences between Canada and the US. However, construction of houses varies significantly between Azerbaijan, Russia and North America. In Azerbaijan and Russia, houses are typically built with mostly concrete and masonry. Whereas in North America, houses are usually made of wood.

Q: During the lockdown, how did your team cope with remote work from home? Was it something new to your company?

A: During the lockdown, our clients have been very cooperative. They provided as much data as possible such as photographs and measured data. This has greatly helped the team.

Q: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

A: Don’t give up, and stick to your plans. Most importantly, create a good business plan as it is the key to your success.

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