By Sean Meyer
Wood is an engineering services company with offices around the world and some 60,000 employees globally, but it also has a solid place in London’s history, helping drive innovation around the city.
Formed relatively recently through the merger of Wood Group (oil and gas services) and AMEC Foster Wheeler (engineering and project management), Wood offers integrated technical, engineering and project services, including environmental and infrastructure services, to its clients from the fourth floor of Innovation Works.
Jennifer Boak is an environmental geochemist, but given there isn’t a lot of mining done in the Forest City, a lot of her work is done through other Wood offices.
That said, she’s also a big part of the company’s local operations as Wood’s assistant branch manager.
“Working in London allows me to get my fingers in a lot of different projects and helps me get to know a lot of the different lines of our business,” she said. “You need a basic understanding of what we do to make sure our clients get the best service for a reasonable price. Do they need a Cadillac or are they asking for a solid Buick?”
Jennifer sums up Wood as leaders in the delivery of project, engineering and technical services — put more simply, she describes herself and her colleagues as “problem solvers.”
Much of the work done in the London office is Environment and Infrastructure Solutions, which she explains fits so well because solutions is in the title.
“For any issues our clients might have, we create solutions for them,” Jennifer said. “We’re in a time where everyone is finding what used to work, even 20 years ago, doesn’t work anymore. The challenge is to be more flexible, more innovative, and to develop new solutions.”
One example of that innovative approach is found in Wood’s place as the Canadian leader in road weather information services. This effort sees the company work with municipalities across Ontario, and the rest of Canada, to embed sensors in roadways so as to better monitor conditions and help guide decisions on how, and when, to treat various weather-related circumstances.
Wood’s presence in London can be traced back to the early 1960s.
Over the years, Jennifer explains, the company has worked on “thousands of projects for many clients,” with some of the initiatives she’s particularly proud of including work on “a lot of buildings, with a lot of clients, who have shaped the way London is today.”
The company works with health care institutions, clients in the education sector, and was even involved with the construction of Bud Gardens. Wood also does a lot of work with the City of London, being involved with roadway projects and infrastructure upgrades.
Given the company’s relationship with London, Jennifer said it was important for them to have a space within Innovation Works.
In fact, one of the things that attracted her to the building was the concept of “conscious collision,” which is a big part of how the space operates.
“Throw a whole bunch of people with different backgrounds into the same building, give it a shake, and see what happens. I really like that idea,” Jennifer said. “This place opens up so many more opportunities and doors we wouldn’t find in the places we usually go.”
Having a different perspective from the typical co-tenant, and being essentially entrenched on the fourth floor, there would be an understandable separation from the energy of the space.
To counter that, Jennifer said Wood employees do feel a part of Innovation Works, but they’re still working towards greater involvement.
“When we were looking at this building, when we’re recruiting new staff, people are so excited to be a part of the programs this building has,” she said. “It’s a bit of a culture shift as well. It’s shaking things up a little for us, but getting people excited about the awesome environment we’re in.”
For more information, visit https://www.woodplc.com.
To spend your time around people just like Jennifer and her team, consider joining us at Innovation Works!