Engineering Challenge - United Way Alberta Capital Region

Engineering Challenge

The Engineering Challenge is a collaboration of companies in the engineering community who come together annually in partnership with United Way to challenge each other to strengthen the Alberta Capital Region through workplace campaigns and a community engineering project.

Engineering Challenge hero image

United Way brings together companies wanting to do local good with opportunities to make a bigger impact and supports them throughout their projects.

Participating companies challenge each other to provide a greater connection between employees and their community.  

The collaboration has resulted in 15 successful projects and over $24 million funds raised over the past 16 years.

Engineering Challenge Day of Caring Projects

Over 70 United Way volunteers from 16 Edmonton-region engineering firms came together to transform Camp Yowochas, a year-round outdoor education centre and campsite run by YWCA Edmonton.

This September, more than 70 volunteers from 16 engineering firms across Edmonton came together for United Way’s 16th annual Engineering Challenge to transform Camp Yowochas, a year-round outdoor education centre and campsite on Lake Wabamun, for YWCA Edmonton.

This year, United Way’s Engineering Challenge renovations included upgrading multi-use campsites, refurbishing staff cabins, and creating a brand-new archery range for campers.

These upgrades will enhance visitors’ experiences while creating a nurturing, healing space to promote mental and physical wellness, says Katherine O’Neill, CEO of YWCA Edmonton.

The Engineering Challenge is back for its 15th year!

To celebrate this milestone, our team of volunteer engineers selected two community agencies to support with a renovation project.

The new e4c Alberta garden space will feature Indigenous medicine plants, a new layout and space for Indigenous ceremonies and programming, and better accessibility for those in wheelchairs and with limited mobility. As well, the residents at Operation Friendship Society’s Pioneer Place will see a refreshed backyard with a new gazebo, safer pathways, and an improved seating area.

We know that getting outside has a bright spot for many, and we hope these refreshed spaces for e4c & Operation Friendship will help the community continue to enjoy the great outdoors.

The Engineering Challenge partnered with the Canadian Mental Health Association of Edmonton in 2020 to revitalize their resident building, Northern Arms which was in need of a space to promote health and wellness for the families that it serves.

Over 70 volunteers and 10 in-kind sponsors came together to create a safe and welcoming outdoor space complete with garden beds, a gazebo, patios, and storage lockers.

“I can’t believe this is my yard. It reminds me of those makeovers you see on TV, the kind of yard rich people have. I never thought I would have such a beautiful space to enjoy with my child.” – Building Resident

“One resident told us how much this space will do for her mental health and wellbeing and how she needed something like this to happen in this hard time in her life. Other residents were calling family in Jamaica, showing off the space with pride via FaceTime and squealing and crying.” – CMHA Staff Member

More than 70 volunteers from 16 engineering firms came out to reconstruct the courtyard space for the senior residents at Operation Friendship Seniors Society (OFSS). OFSS has been working with Edmonton’s seniors to create a community and improve the quality of life for seniors in the inner city since 1969. At their McCauley Lodge, the agency provides housing for 58 low-income seniors.

The renovation projects included:

  • Newly constructed raised garden beds for accessibility
  • New concrete walkways and patio pad for wheelchair and walker safety
  • New turfed games area for sociability and activities
  • New deck and gazebo space for all year round outdoor enjoyment and improve social wellness
  • New light fixture for evening ambience and mental relaxation
  • Repaired fencing and access gates
  • Pruning and cutting back trees to open the space
  • Adding outdoor seating that includes a rocking swing, bench repairs, and table seating
  • Even creating a level platform for their storage shed

engineers work on widening sidewalks for day of caring

Youth Empowerment and Support Services (YESS) provides immediate and low-barrier shelter, temporary housing, and individualized wraparound support for youth ages 15—24. They focus on working collaboratively with our youth supporting partners on prevention and diversion out of homelessness.

In the Fall of 2018, the Engineering Challenge Day of Caring completed their 12th community project. Working with YESS, our extraordinary group of 50 volunteers completed renovation projects that rejuvenated the property and created new spaces for the youth to enjoy. The Engineering Challenge Day of Caring was a success thanks to volunteers like these; dedicating their skills, time, and hearts into the project each year. This year’s project impacted hundreds of youth who use the facilities and services at YESS.

Thank you to our sponsoring engineering firms!

Committee Members

The Engineering Challenge is made possible through the dedication of volunteers committed to ensuring individuals and families in the Capital Region can thrive.

Jasmine Tohme – Chair, Worley
Adam Firth, City of Edmonton
Brent Stang, Fluor
Camille Chalifoux, Stantec
Dan Serediak, Local Engineering
Geoff Ballard, Enbridge
Greg Wengreniuk, Enbridge Contractor
Heather Toepfer, NDT Global
Kevin Smith, Enbridge

Get Involved

To get involved in the Challenge, call us at 780-990-1000 or email [email protected].