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Kateri Normandeau, ing. P. Eng. M. Env. PMP ASC

Kateri Normandeau: An Inspiring Engineer

With energy to spare and a unique approach of development, Kateri Normandeau is an inspiration to her peers and to younger generation of engineers.

Kateri earned a Bachelor of Civil Engineering as well as a Master of Environmental Management at the University of Sherbrooke. She has held the position of Vice President, Environment and Project Management at gbi since 2018. She has also been the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Project Management Institute (PMI) – Montreal since 2021 and has been active as a board member and the first vice-chair of this organization since 2015.

Why did you choose environmental engineering and project management?

“Since I was 6 years old, I have always been interested in architecture,” explained Kateri. “I wanted to design and build major projects. I was lucky to have been introduced to engineers and architects at a young age, as my father taught project management. My decision to go into civil engineering became clear in college.”

What does being a woman in engineering mean to you?

“At home, we were always encouraged to do what interested us,” said Kateri. “When I started working at job sites, I had to adapt because I was often the only female engineer. I’ve always listened to my heart and done my work without compromising. I seized opportunities and made a place for myself in the business. At the time, I didn’t have any female models to look up to, but I had very good mentors to support me.”

How have you managed to create work-life balance during your career?

“Becoming a mother brought out my leadership qualities,” stated Kateri. “Having twins required a lot of organization and planning. My project management experience really helped me. I created an Excel file to plan the day-to-day activities of the household down to the smallest detail, which allowed me to make the most of my time.”
“Also, because I was the first and only female engineer in the company that I was working for, I was the first to take maternity leave,” she added. “I think that was helpful for my male colleagues, who also began to ask for paternity leave and flexibility at work.”

What have been your biggest challenges?

“My specialized master’s in environmental management, which dealt more specifically with the decontamination and demolition of the Gaspé Mines in Murdochville and Gaspé, was a huge challenge for me,” replied Kateri. “There were more than 800 lots to decontaminate and 40 industrial buildings to dismantle. For me, it was much more than a technical challenge, because there was the whole social component. My master’s advisor really pushed me so that I would understand the reason for the project and to be mindful of the concerns of the public. This experience allowed me to gain in-depth knowledge and provided the expertise needed to create the specialized environment, major project management and hygiene departments.”

What makes you a good leader?

“I’m passionate about my work and I like my team,” said Kateri. “I believe that it’s important to inspire the people around you by loving what you do. Both with my team and with clients, the things that set me apart are my listening skills and my integrated approach.”

gbi in 3 words for Kateri

Human, quality, passion