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Insights Of sharks, curves, and mega-projects

image of sharks swimming

Jonathan Gouin started out in finance. He also spent many hours on various renovation projects with friends and family, always thriving on learning new skills. Although he had a B.Comm degree and a job to go with it, Jonathan’s love of the transformative process of moving an idea from a piece of paper to a tangible and creative result quickly won out. And so after a six-month stint in South America, where he volunteered with kids, learned Spanish and climbed a few volcanoes, he returned home to start an engineering degree at Université de Sherbrooke.

His current project, the Réseau Express Métropolitain (REM), ticks all the boxes of what Jonathan loves about engineering: being part of the excitement and community-shaping work that comes from building large, once-in-a-lifetime projects. REM’s 67 km of double track will change people’s lifestyles and habits. It will change how they choose to work, live and entertain. In a nutshell, it will change their connection to the world. Being on such a multidisciplinary team and getting it right comes with rewards and challenges, he says. But teamwork remains the key to success. 

When Jonathan is not working, you’ll find the self-described sporty guy cycling or scuba diving. He’s been known to hop on a plane to Mexico for the weekend just to get his diving fix. His most memorable trip so far has been diving with sharks off the coast of South Africa. The attraction lies in the adrenaline rush, but also in the meditative nature of surrendering himself to an experience demanding utmost vulnerability and calmness. Next on his dream diving trip list is Mozambique and Belize. 

Jonathan laughingly compares working on a mega-project to diving with sharks—you have to stay calm, give yourself over to the experience, and allow the process to happen. He currently shares an office with Dr. Roger Woodhead, a veteran engineer and the Design Manager on REM, who has taught him that large projects do not follow a straight line. It’s a road filled with curves, but the important thing is to have a direction and accept the curves. That’s how you survive and, more importantly, enjoy life. 

Jonathan in 5 takes:
Love: Mom 
Food: Tacos 
Song: Anything by Jungle 
Place: Beaches 
Structure: Icône Condominiums, Montreal

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