This is the fourth installment in our ongoing ‘Meet the Parklane Team’ Q&A blog series.
As a rapidly-growing business, it’s absolutely essential to have team members that can stay a step ahead of new project demands and still deliver high-quality work. That’s especially true on the engineering front, where even seemingly insignificant mistakes can have major consequences. We’re lucky to have an Engineering Operations Manager who can handle the pressure—and seems to perform even better when deadlines mount and new challenges cross her desk.
Our latest ‘Meet the Parklane team’ blog introduces you to Laura Fennema. Laura began working at Parklane in 2016, straight out of university, and has been with us ever since. She began her career as a project manager, became a senior project manager as our engineering department began to grow and has now assumed an even more senior role with critical operational responsibilities. Here, Laura explains how she became a part of our team and what she enjoys most about life at Parklane:
Team Member: Laura Fennema
Position: Engineering Operations Manager
Education: Studied Mechanical Engineering at Waterloo University and completed a Masters of Business Administration (with two minors – Supply Chain Management and Finance) at McMaster University
When she’s away from the office: Laura loves spending time with her friends and family. Depending on the season, you may find her on a beach volleyball court, rock climbing, golfing, kite surfing, or snowboarding. She also enjoys hiking with her dogs.
Can you tell us about your professional background?
Throughout my undergraduate degree, I was fortunate to have six unique co-op experiences through different companies and industries. I often tell people how valuable co-op is because it allows you to get a taste for what you do and don’t like before committing to a full-time position prior to graduation. I learned pretty early on that working entirely behind a desk wasn’t for me. I love the knowledge and experience you gain on the manufacturing floor, as well as on-site, and I never want to give that up. I also learned that I have a passion for design and process optimization. There’s a lot that can be learned by getting your hands dirty and speaking to the people that handle design implementation every day.
What’s your current role?
I oversee our engineering department. We have a very talented group of individuals from CAD designers to structural engineering managers, to our dedicated project managers and senior project managers. I help organize our team and work with our production manager to execute projects as efficiently as possible.
At Parklane we ensure consistency of quality solutions regardless of the project’s unique design challenges. Our design work has many different facets, including structural and mechanical engineering and vibration control. There’s also the maintenance and serviceability aspect. It’s one thing to install a silencer, but if it can’t be maintained or serviced, you’re only solving one problem to cause another. There’s also a major logistics component, which can be challenging, because every project is different in some way.
How does your past experience relate to this current role at Parklane?
My engineering degree provided me the technical background I needed to handle the design aspect of the engineering project manager role right out of university. I was working full-time and taking my MBA part-time for the first four years at Parklane, knowing my intention was to eventually manage people instead of projects. I wanted to make sure I understood the business side, as well as the technical side, to be able to properly manage new roles and responsibilities. I quickly learned that I love operations management and finance and use those daily in my position at Parklane. As we grow and I gain even more experience, I get to become a better designer, learning what worked and what didn’t on past projects, and being able to pass that knowledge along. It’s rewarding to know that we’re making lives better simply by quieting things down.
What drew you to Parklane?
Honestly, I think it was luck. I had never heard of Parklane and didn’t know anything about noise control. I was looking through post-graduate positions on the University of Waterloo’s JobMine platform and saw a position in Oakville (my hometown). I read the job description for their new project manager position and was jumping out of my seat with excitement. I think that was the first time I’d written a cover letter for a job. I was sitting in the reception area waiting for the interview time and Dianne must have been able to tell how nervous I was because she looked up from her desk and told me to “Relax, they’re great guys.” And she was right. I sat down with Greg and Matt (Downey, Parklane’s Founder and President, respectively), and I felt like I was talking to family. We clicked and I left thinking this would be a great place to work. The rest is history.
What do you think is the most unique feature of Parklane’s culture?
What truly makes Parklane unique and amazing is the people. I’ve worked on many teams of various sizes throughout my schooling and professional career. The team we’ve built and continue to build here is something special. We take pride in being customer oriented. Everyone that walks in our door is competent, and the ones that stay and flourish are the ones that fit our culture. Parklane feels more like an extended family than a standard working environment. We’re there for each other’s personal and professional problems. We celebrate the highs and work together to handle the lows.
Need to reach a Parklane team member to discuss your noise and vibration control challenges? Contact us now.