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Alumna looks back, forward as Construction Project Management degree marks 10 years

2017 Outstanding Young Alumni Award recipient recalls how SAIT helped her find a new path.

Avree Bujaczek (B.Sc. CPM '15) started out in the construction industry from what she calls a point of failure.

A false start in her post-secondary education followed by a bit of a slump at work led her to SAIT.

Now, the Bachelor of Science Construction Project Management (CPM) grad spends her day-to-day working on the overall coordination of Calgary’s Rivers District, with a primary focus on the Culture + Entertainment District, as a project coordinator with the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation.

Flash back 10 years to a new adventure at SAIT

“I started my education in engineering at the University of Saskatchewan and quickly learned I was not meant to focus on such a technical discipline,” says Bujaczek.

After leaving school, she worked for a geotechnical consultant in Saskatoon, where she was exposed to construction for the first time and ultimately fell in love with the industry.

“I was feeling stuck in my position at work. After learning more about the different roles possible in construction, I thought project management might be a good fit, but I knew I needed some more education to make the change.”

Six hundred kilometres away in Calgary, SAIT was launching a new CPM degree program — the first of its kind in Canada. After submitting her application for the inaugural class and being accepted, Bujaczek made her move.

Paving the way for a career in construction

SAIT’s CPM program focuses on how the principles of scientific management are applied to construction projects.

“In this field, I’m able to use my strong communication, organization and relationship-building skills to facilitate teams to reach a common goal, which is how I envision project management,” says Bujaczek.

“Construction is a highly collaborative industry. No project can be completed by just one person. It’s also so rewarding — every day is different as there are so many variables and unknowns and you literally see progress every day.”

 Students in the program — one of six degree and applied degree program options offered at SAIT — are prepared to pursue a range of opportunities in the global construction, engineering and energy industries. Instruction is delivered by industry professionals and classroom learning is complemented by extensive industry networking and mentorship opportunities.

“As both an alumna and current chair of the CPM Program Advisory Committee, I can say SAIT graduates are a step ahead when it comes to project scheduling, preparing project plans, understanding stakeholder management and how to read construction drawings, to name just a few areas.”

The evolution of an industry

With the world changing in so many ways, the construction industry is also evolving. The pandemic is pushing digitization in the industry and the increase in virtual collaboration tools has made it easier to access remote expertise.

“The ways in which we work, gather, experience things and travel are all changing, which means the infrastructure and facilities that support these activities also have to adapt,” she says.

“One example of this is communal working facilities. Another example is e-sporting facilities, which I’m still wrapping my head around. These buildings merge the concepts of virtual gaming, professional sporting facilities, theater and event facilities, which is so interesting and exciting — and something I never would have thought would exist when I was growing up playing Super Mario World!”

Paying it forward

After completing her program in 2015, Bujaczek immediately joined the CPM Program Advisory Committee she now chairs to help ensure the program stays aligned to industry needs.

She also served as past chair of the Young Construction Leaders Committee with the Calgary Construction Association, and as a member of a BuildForce Canada advisory panel on promoting diversity in the industry.

Currently, she’s helping create more accessible communities for Calgary’s residents and visitors by assisting other project teams with accessibility reviews and feedback, and serving as a member of the City of Calgary’s Advisory Committee on Accessibility.

In 2017, Bujaczek was named one of SAIT’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award recipients, in large part due to her efforts to give back and contributions to the community. The award still means a lot to her to this day.

“It’s a reminder to keep paying it forward. I started out in this industry from failure and that was really hard to overcome. A lot of great people mentored and inspired me, and I really believe SAIT helped me to find my path.”

Celebrating 10 years

SAIT’s Bachelor of Science Construction Project Management was built by industry, for industry.

The program has received full accreditation from the Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (CIQS), a self-regulatory, professional body that sets the highest standard for construction economics in Canada.

It was also granted the Project Management Institute (PMI) Global accreditation. The PMI Global Accreditation Center (PMI-GAC) is the world's leading specialized accrediting body for project management and related degree programs. 

📨 Stay tuned – you’re invited

Watch for details on a special 10th anniversary celebration of SAIT’s Bachelor of Science Construction Project Management degree program happening late spring.

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