Edgar Llanes loves his adopted city of St. Albert, is delighted with the opportunities and amenities the Edmonton region has to offer – and is working very hard to contribute his considerable professional talents to support our economy.
Edgar, his wife and children emigrated from Manilla, capital city of the Philippines, in April 2008. “We timed our arrival so we would miss the cold weather, but we were not spared.”
Instead of retreating from Alberta life, Edgar and his family embraced their new realities. “We are getting to know winter sports. The kids like tobogganing. I go ice skating. And I can tell you that skiing is harder than it looks.”
Edgar’s enthusiasm for embracing life goes well beyond recreation. He earned a graduate science degree in civil engineering and later his masters of business administration (MBA) at the University of the Philippines. He has years of experience in planning, developing, building and marketing residential projects, and also some commercial and industrial projects, in the Philippines, honing his project management skills along the way.
Both Edgar and his wife, an industrial engineer, got jobs quickly after arriving here. His wife manages a ladies’ wear store, and Edgar worked as project manager with Canus Construction, which fabricates quality architectural millwork and metalwork projects. At Canus, Edgar put the full range of his contract management, coordination and project management skills to work. The recession hit Canus hard, however, and Edgar’s talents were no longer needed.
He made good use of his extra time. Edgar enrolled in the Engineers’ and Technologists’ Integration Program (ETIP) offered at the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers (EMCN) and NAIT. “It was a good investment of time. The course helped align us with the Canadian engineering context and the Canadian engineering and design codes. It’s a huge help to see how things are done here in Canada. The codes are different. Winters require a lot of adjustments and innovative ways of doing things as opposed to how they are done in a tropical country.”
Edgar then heard about The Career Mentorship Program. “It had strong appeal. I want as much guidance as possible from Canadians, particularly those guiding foreign-trained professionals.”
The appeal for the program grew with every session he had with his mentor, Jay Riat. “I enjoy our sessions very much. Jay is very professional and very humble despite his status as a senior engineer. He’s like an elder brother. I can feel his sincerity and his genuine concern for me. He listens with an open mind and knows how to share his vast experience.”
Jay has offered Edgar practical assistance on many topics including job search techniques and information about office culture. “These things are very, very important. I was quite surprised about some of the perspectives he was offering. In the Philippines, for example, the practice is to stay in one job for many years. You express your loyalty to a company and rise up the corporate ladder. Here, the average Canadian changes jobs quite frequently. Jay offered a fresh perspective about that. He said when you stay in a job for years and years, you don’t learn new things; you don’t grow. You become more well rounded when you experience difference companies and different assignments. Looking at the issue this way surprised me, but he’s right.”
Edgar doesn’t hesitate in describing the best thing about The Career Mentorship Program. “I have won a friend, a very good friend. Jay taught me patience and gave me hope. He has been very encouraging. And the time with him has flown. I thought we were just beginning our weeks together, and now, we have only three sessions remaining. I treasure our relationship.”