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What happens when employees from hundreds of communities tell their six-word stories?

We launched our Six-Word Story Project in 2013 as a way to let employees share their Stantec stories with the world. Hundreds of employees submitted their six-word stories—a genre long thought to have been invented by Ernest Hemingway when he supposedly penned “For sale, baby shoes, never worn.” We thought the project would last about a year, but it took on a life of its own. This new site celebrates our employees and many of the new ways we’re telling their stories.

Project and client stories

Employees told 554 stories related to the creative solutions they provide for Stantec’s clients.

Volunteer stories

We’re active in the communities we serve, as reflected in the 190 stories employees told about their volunteer work.

Stantec culture stories

What do employees love about working at Stantec? The 593 stories they told provide some insight.

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<p><b>Interviewer</b>: so what do you do?</p> <p><b>Drew</b>:&nbsp; my work in community engagement really involves collaborating with stakeholders and communities to understand what they value about the spaces that they live in, and working together to make effective change in those.</p> <p><b>Interviewer</b>: so what kind of tools do you use for that work?</p> <p><b>Drew</b>: our palette of tools is really simple, it’s really just the pen and the drawing board, but we find that combined with a little bit of imagination and the dialogue that we have with them that we can create some effective change in our communities. It’s really about fighting the kind of urban chaos and dysfunction that we often encounter in our communities. Ultimately our goal is to create places that are more walkable, they’re more livable, they’re more sustainable… ultimately, more resilient. My name is drew, and this is my six-word story.</p> <p><b>On screen</b>: Fighting urban dysfunction. Armed with imagination. Drew Ferrari, Community Development. Vancouver, BC.</p>

Flood disaster evaluation; 10,000 sites repaired.

Tanja Lopes, Project Coordinator
Winnipeg, Manitoba

After four months on the job with Stantec, Tanja Lopes was swept up in a flood of work. Literally.

When Tanja was hired in 2011, Stantec was under contract to conduct flood inspections for the Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization (MEMO). Flooding is commonplace in Manitoba, so our Winnipeg office expected a busy spring. What they didn’t expect was a once-in-a-2,000-year flood around Lake Manitoba.

“Work just exploded overnight,” says Tanja. “We inspected 2,500 sites—culverts, roads, bridges, and a lot more. Then we got up to 5,000 sites, then 7,500. By the end of the project, we had inspected just over 10,000 sites in communities all over the province.”

Tanja’s job? To coordinate the ever-increasing number of project sites and the large number of Stantec team members. The original team of 5 grew to more than 40. 

Inspectors came from Ontario, Nova Scotia, and British Columbia to work in about 150 rural towns affected by the floods.

Tanja’s days were filled with health and safety forms, lists of hotels and gas stations in far-flung corners of the province, rental vehicles for visiting inspectors, equipment checklists, and loads of paperwork. Her constant companion? “The most colorful map ever,” she says when describing the provincial map used for tracking inspection progress.

Tanja still has that map. And we’re still working for MEMO, closing out inspections from 2011 and doing new work from subsequent floods. Tanja describes the project as hectic and chaotic—and a perfect example of putting people first.

"We believe our work changed people's lives. I feel proud of my personal accomplishment. More so, I feel proud of the team for overcoming all the challenges and leaving our communities and our client with such an outstanding impression of Stantec."

Bringing healthcare to the Arctic Circle.

Brandon Morris, Mechanical Engineer
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

In Northern Canada, a small team of nurses working out of a small, poorly supplied medical clinic might be the only option for medical assistance—if any exists at all. So we can easily understand why Brandon Morris is excited about three new health centers he and his Stantec colleagues have designed. “They’re a big deal for northern communities,” he says.

Brandon, a mechanical engineer from Pembroke, Ontario, has worked in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, for the past three years. He often travels to communities accessible only by plane or helicopter, where people traditionally assessed their own health problems, then decided whether medical care in a larger center was required. “Now that local care is accessible, that option becomes more attractive,” says Brandon.

The centers—in Repulse Bay and Taloyoak, Nunavut, and in Norman Wells, Northwest Territories (combined population: 2,300)—are in various stages of completion.

They don’t (or won’t) have the facilities of a full hospital, but have examination and trauma rooms, office space for permanent nurses, and residences for visiting doctors.

“A patient in serious condition can be diagnosed in part by a nurse, and, if need be, a medevac can fly the patient to places like Yellowknife, Iqaluit, or further south,” Brandon explains. “If the condition is not critical, the patient can make an appointment with the next visiting doctor.”

The new health centers, as well as new government office buildings, water treatment plants, and fuel tank farms, are being built with new federal and territorial funding. This influx of support is stimulating the otherwise stagnant economy, creating opportunities for local businesses and promoting on-the-job training. “The communities are definitely changing,” says Brandon. “New facilities are helping these remote locations operate more like a southern community does.”

If these walls could talk

If these walls could talk

We created the Six-Word Story Project for the web, but Stantec designs for the physical world. So to bring employee stories into that world, we created story walls in many of our offices, like this one in Edmonton. So if you’re visiting one of our offices in cities like Phoenix or St. John’s, Tampa or Saskatoon, don’t be surprised if you get distracted by a story or two.


“Client said, “Thanks”. A great day.”

Carl Clayton, Executive Vice President, International

“Forensic lab built. More criminals caught.”

Robert Cartwright, Principal

“Feeding the hearts of the homeless.”

Stephen Park, Principal

“That’s a building daddy helped design.”

Mike Desautels, Technologist

“Fish habitat restored. Fish feeling romantic.”

Barry Wicks, Associate, Operational Lead

We're Better Together

Our work begins at the intersection of community, creativity, and client relationships. With a long-term commitment to the people and places we serve, we have the unique ability to connect to projects on a personal level and advance the quality of life in communities across the globe.


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