Trading Places With an Employee From Across the World

Participating in an international staff exchange with employees in Australia and Canada
Nov 15, 2019 8:00 AM ET
Article

In 2019 two Tetra Tech offices on opposite sides of the earth participated in a staff secondment exchange. Patrick Lynch transferred from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, to Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, from March to September. Emily Messer transferred from Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia, to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, from June to September.

At Tetra Tech, we foster a culture that encourages employees to seek new skills and opportunities. Besides providing employees with the best possible opportunities for personal and professional development, as a company, we benefit from the insights that employees gain in their international secondments, as this also widens the experience and expertise that we can provide to our team and clients.

Patrick's journey down under

Patrick graduated with a Diploma in Environmental Assessment and Restoration from Lethbridge College in 2016 and joined the Province of Manitoba Forestry and Peatland Management department. In 2018 he decided to pursue a career in environmental consulting, moving to the other side of Canada to take a graduate opportunity as a junior environmental technologist with Tetra Tech.

When the opportunity to work with Eco Logical Australia, A Tetra Tech Company, came up, Patrick was excited and surprised. He shared that he did not know what to expect to gain from the experience and was so excited that the experience did not feel real until he had been in Brisbane for about a month.

During his time in Australia, Patrick relished the opportunity to be involved in various projects. Some of Patrick’s highlights while working in Australia included walking through Toohey Forest to assess significant trees, holding green turtles, spending three weeks on the Saraji mine in Bowen Basin, and being taken on a personalized tour of Brisbane by fellow ecologists upon his arrival.

Patrick found the plant and animal species in Australia unlike anything he had ever seen before, proving challenging to identify and requiring him to continually seek assistance from his co-workers. Patrick also was astonished by his colleagues who thrive working in the heat. Patrick explains that he was the “sweatiest I have been in all my life."

Beyond the secondment, Patrick is looking to further his career by continuing his employment with Tetra Tech and obtaining a bachelor’s degree and a professional agrologist certification. He intends to maintain the strong relationships he has built with the Brisbane ecology team and hopes to one day return to Australia.

Emily’s (rainy) Northern adventure 

Emily graduated with a Master of Science degree from Australia’s Wollongong University and worked for the Department of Industry in the Fisheries Department, joining Tetra Tech’s team as an aquatic biologist in 2016.

Emily came to Canada in June 2019 to work with Tetra Tech’s Edmonton office. She enjoyed her role and particularly loved doing wetland surveys, fish surveys, reporting, fieldwork, and vegetation surveys along the Peace River in northern British Columbia. The variety of work and the wonderful team members she worked alongside who were willing to help and give their time made the experience one she will always look back on with gratitude.

Emily left the Australian wilds to live and work temporarily in Edmonton during the summer, and looked forward to fluffy clouds and endless sunny blue skies. However, Summer 2019 in Alberta didn’t exactly turn out that way! When asked what her biggest challenge in Edmonton was she said, “The weather. It rained so much!” 

The secondment allowed Emily to expand her knowledge and skills and also build a strong network of professionals who are experts in their field. Emily can now draw on that expertise and reach out at any time. To anyone considering participating in a staff exchange, Emily advises, “Do it! Go for it! Say yes to every opportunity. I have done and experienced a lot of things I would never have experienced.” 

She is also grateful to everyone who made her feel so welcome. “It has been an incredible experience working with and meeting people at Tetra Tech, and I would love to go back to Edmonton,” she says.