Why I went from Engineering to Digital Asset Management
Hi, I'm Ryan Versteeg-Biln, Director of Asset Management, Operations & Maintenance at AtkinsRéalis in Vancouver, Canada. In my role, I draw on my own 13 years of experience in operations and maintenance (O&M) in AtkinsRéalis with the Canada Line team, as well as best practices and subject matter expertise from across the organization.
A day in the life…
I'm responsible for ensuring that assets are managed consistently and effectively for SNC’s O&M projects, as well as external clients across Canada. I work with operators to craft policies and processes, checking what needs to be done and where we can gain more value. I also support operations projects by ensuring they have the right skills, technologies, and expert advice to meet their needs.
When I explain what I do to friends and family, I do it with some difficulty! I say I’m basically a management consultant specializing in infrastructure operations and maintenance. If their eyes haven't glazed over yet... I may describe some examples of asset management decision-making and total lifecycle costing, such as whether or not to keep a certain maintenance program or invest in new technology to reduce lifecycle costs.
How I became interested in digital
In my previous role as Engineering Manager on the Canada Line in Vancouver, I drove efficiency in asset management and optimizing the total cost of asset ownership. This led me to get involved in digital asset management, Digital Twins and Building Information Management (BIM) development across the organization.
Winning at twinning on the Canada Line
The Digital Futures team had been looking to create a proof-of-concept digital twin for Transportation Operations. So, I was delighted to be able to bring them and the Canada Line together to develop the Canada Line digital twin. Our goal was to create the first large scale digital twin of a transit system, using only our own staff at AtkinsRéalis , and to show how useful this can be.
Now, our O&M team is using this digital twin to help them do their maintenance work better and reduce the overall cost of operating and maintaining the Canada Line. The twin will also help reduce the time spent on maintenance, avoid disruptions to the travelling public, and improve our operational health and safety.
One of my favourite quotes is, "It is impossible to be curious and judgmental at the same time." A former mentor shared it with me, and it often pops into my mind.
The Canada Line digital twin is designed with the user in mind. An online dashboard gives our staff access to all available asset information, with asset easily identified on a system map. We've also created a user-navigable 3D representation of the tracks built around a LiDAR scanned model of the system and displayed using video game-inspired software.I'm pleased to say that Phase One of the Canada Line digital twin recently went live. Everyone is eager to start using it and to keep adding new functionalities and capabilities.
Proud to lead projects led by our values
It's easy to think of digital twins and digital asset management as focusing primarily on innovation and how to do things better. And yes, innovation is vital, but our other values of safety, integrity and collaboration are also a big part of this project. Taking the Canada Line digital twin project as an example, we had team members from Canada, the UK, the Middle East and the Global Design Centre (GTC) all working collaboratively to build the twin. Fostering a collaborative spirit on projects like this is vital, leading to a much better result than the alternative. What's more, the display and analytics of safety information is a crucial capability under development for Phase Two.
Making everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.
One of my core values is continual improvement. Within my working life, this is about making processes more efficient by reducing wasted effort. In the context of the digital twin project, this was about developing a user interface that gets the right information to the user in the most accessible and easy way. When a user comments on how a complex system just makes sense to them, that makes me proud.
When I'm not working, find me on the water.
Out of the office, I'm passionate about sailing. I love being out on the water. My family and I enjoy going out in our sailboat or small sailing catamaran, and I race locally with some fellow enthusiasts. People say a boat is a hole in the water you pour money into, and it's true. Thankfully I'm just as passionate about projects as I am about sailing, so I get great satisfaction from both the sailing and the boat work.
How about working where you can follow your interests and lead? Browse our digital page for more information.
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