News, business and more...

News, business and more…


Meet the woman who does it all! Petra Slifka – Executive Assistant – Fortress Engineering Ltd.

Behind every great man is an even greater woman! We appreciate everything you do Petra.

Hometown: Calgary, Alberta – General Hospital now imploded

3 words that best describe you: Outgoing, Obsessive/Compulsive, Detail Oriented

Favorite meal: Vietnamese Soup, or Vietnamese Sub

What’s on your iPod? Lotsa pictures of my new 1st Grand-daughter 4.5 months old

What do you do in your spare time? Reorganize/Clean

Are you more productive in the morning or afternoon and why? I would say the morning I have more spunk in the morning and get lazy after I eat a big lunch.

Favorite sport: Soccer

Favorite quote: “Live in the Moment”

First job? High school counts! A&W (used to have drive ups back in the day.)

What is the favorite part about working for Fortress? I enjoy Fortress as I have such a wide variety of duties to perform. There is something new and different every day. Always a new challenge.



We are looking for Control Engineers.

About Fortress:

Fortress Engineering Ltd. (FEL) is a multi-disciplined engineering consulting firm based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. We at Fortress pride ourselves on responsibility for higher value, lower costs and greater success on all our projects and relationships with stakeholders. We are currently seeking Controls Engineers for a site commissioning role at a facility based near Fort McMurray, AB.

Key responsibilities include, but are not limited to;

  • Programming, commissioning and troubleshooting of control systems including, safety systems, process control and programmable logic controllers
  • Application of control theory and signal processing techniques
  • Implementation of design documentation including design plans, concept reports, design requirements, design descriptions, design manuals, technical specifications, and technical notes
  • Engineering and technical support during the construction, installation and commissioning project phases
  • Work within a team offering technical guidance and leadership to design engineers
  • Customer liaison


  • Engineering Degree / Technology Certification in Controls from accredited education center
  • 10+ years of experience as a Senior Controls Specialist or Engineer
  • Strong analytical, oral and written communication and troubleshooting skills
  • Ability to work under pressure, multi-task and meet deadlines
  • Operate with minimal supervision
  • Experience with PLC, DCS, HMI, Networks or SIS Commissioning and Systems Troubleshooting.
  • DeltaV, Triconex Control Logix and/or Modicon experience preferred
  • Strong communication skills
  • Willing to work 7 day shift in a camp environment
  • Ability to work within a multi-disciplinary commissioning environment

To Apply:

If you wish to apply to Fortress Engineering please send your resume and cover letter (in DOC or PDF format) to Please note that only those being considered for an interview will be contacted.





Meet Robin Klippenstein, a senior mechanical piping designer who’s been with us for 3 years.

Learn more about Robin and why he loves working at Fortress.


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Before working at Fortress, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

I was backpacking through Australia when I was 21. I got a little low on cash and had to take some sort of job to get by. I went through a local head hunter in Perth. They put me onto a job as a Telemarketer at a Strip Club! I got burned too. I didn’t even get paid in the end. Two weeks down the drain. So I had to fly home. (Does it count as a job if I didn’t get paid?)

If you could pick one theme for Fortress to turn into a book about the company, what would it be?

How a company from Alberta overcame a terrible economy!

How has Fortress helped you in your career development?

I’ve improved my CAD skills, learned a great deal about rail and truck loading facilities, and met some great people.

What are 3 words to describe Fortress?

Engineering, Procurement, Construction

What do you find the most challenging at Fortress?

Document control protocol, and file management.

What has been your favourite project at Fortress?

Pembina NWR – Truck and Rail Loading Terminal

What is the favourite part about working for Fortress?

Great people, and a good location.

How do you balance your career at Fortress and family?

I get into the office early, and try to get home to be with the family as much as possible. They are pretty flexible with people as long as you are in for the core hours.



Fall has arrived and Calgary has a number of great events going on.

The Calgary Zoo will be hosting glowing animals from September 17th until November 1st. An electrical light show, Illuminasia is a lantern and garden festival that celebrates Chinese, Japanese, and Indian culture. This new festival to Calgary will feature 183 lanterns shaped like animals, but there is also many more activities such as cooking classes, art classes and live music.

Roald Dahls’ Little Red Riding Hood – the well-loved story of the little girl in a red cape and her grandma is imaginatively retold with author Roald Dahls’ creative twist in the tale. Accompanied by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and presented with costumes, actors, and puppets, this feisty young heroine proves she’s more than a match for the conniving wolf. This well engineered production is performed on October 4th at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium and includes an Instrument Petting Zoo.

The Halloween events begin early this month with the ScreamFest! At ScreamFest, you will experience less than civil haunted houses, Halloween themed carnival games, creepy and disturbing entertainment, and FEAR. This event is rated 13+. The Grandstand Building at Stampede Park will be hosting the ScreamFest on October 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 25, 29, 30, and 31st.

Halloweekends at Calaway Park. Join Billy and the Boo Crew at Calaway Park on the weekends this month. It will be a spooktacular good time as you take a stroll down Hall-Street. Fun for the whole family.

From September 29th to October 18th, one of Lunchbox Theatre’s most well-loved shows, the Life History of the African Elephant by Clem Martini. This quirky, yet beautiful and touching story of a half blind and highly accident prone woman and the unlikely friendship she forges with a shy, unassuming elephant trainer.

Telus Spark Science Centre will host an Adults Only Night on October 9th to become a CSI for an evening. Help process a grisly crime, attempt to understand a criminal’s psychology and understand how forensics has evolved over the years, all with a licensed bar.

For those who are interested in the paranormal, you can visit the most haunted buildings in Calgary. According the Centre for Advanced Paranormal Investigation, the Deane House, Cross House and Knox United Church are all most definitely haunted. If you visit these houses around October 31st, you might experience a paranormal event.

Are you interested in painting and drinking wine? Grab a friend, get a drink, put on an apron and take a seat. For one price, guests are provided with all painting supplies, instruction and a glass of wine (or beer) to stimulate your creativity at Vin Gogh Paint Sip Studio located at 118, 7004 Macleod Trail. Check out all the information at


Summer is ending and for a lot of people, that means that kids are returning back to school and time will be filled with extra-curricular activities from dance, to hockey, to soccer, and so on.

There are still plenty of activities to participate in with whatever free time you can find.

The first show of Theatre Calgary’s season is The Shoplifters. This comedic show is about a woman named Alma who has made a career out of shoplifting. The show runs from September 1st to September 27th. Visit to see how Alma handles it when she gets caught by a security guard.

On September 3rd, superheroes will be falling from the sky. Well, not quite. The Easter Seals Drop Zone will see many Calgarians dressed up as superheroes rappelling 30 floors down the Sun Life Plaza building. From 7 am to 5 pm on the 3rd at 144 4th Avenue SW. More information at

Monster Trucks will invade the Stampede Grounds on September 12th and 13th. Drivers will take their Monster Trucks through a number of obstacles, jumps and stunts at the Stampede Grandstand during the Maple Leaf Monster Jam Tour. Information can be found at

Beakerhead returns to Calgary on September 15th – 20th. Beakerhead is a smash up of art, science and engineering. There are a number of free and ticketed events. This is a great event for the whole family. A listing of events can be found at

The Calgary Zoo will be hosting glowing animals from September 17th until November 1st. Illuminasia is a lantern and garden festival that celebrates Chinese, Japanese, and Indian culture. This new festival to Calgary will feature 183 lanterns shaped like animals, but there is also many more activities such as cooking classes, art classes and live music.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area will be fundraising at Chrome’15. A luxury car rally from the Grey Eagle Casino through Kananaskis on September 20th. More than a 100 luxury and classic cars will travel from Calgary, past Longview, through the Highwood Pass, through Kananaskis and back in to Calgary. Check out

High River will be hosting the Heritage Inn International Balloon Festival from September 23rd until September 27th. Featuring some of the best balloon pilots from Belgium, the UK, the USA and Canada who will be competing for spots to fly in the Worlds event in Japan. The flights are just after sunrise and just before sunset. will provide all the specifics.

Enjoy September.


July. The hot days and warm nights. The prime time for roadtrips and vacations. The never-ending family fun and outings. July is the month when a drink by a pool is all you need to start contemplating relocating to a part of the world where weather like this is year-round. Also, it’s National Blueberry Month, National Ice Cream Month and National Hot Dog Month. So what’s not to love?!

To kick off the month, celebrate Canada and its past at Fort Calgary, Heritage Park, Prince’s Island Park/Eau Claire or Airdrie. Wherever you choose to celebrate, there will be family-friendly activities, exhibits, performances, parades and of course fireworks!

On July 2, be the first to see what the Calgary Stampede has to offer this year at Sneak-a-Peek night. The next day, Friday, July 3 marks the official kickoff of the city’s 10-day, biggest event of the year.

For the dog lovers, Didsbury will be host to a disc competition for pooches – everything from Frisbee and freestyle to extreme distance. Check it out on July 4 and 5.

For the foodies, Telus Spark Science Centre’s Adults Only Night on July 9 will take a look at the science behind the appeal of fried food and why we love weird food combinations. The night will also include a licensed bar and plenty of music.

On July 10, head over the charming neighbourhood of Inglewood for the Inglewood Night Market. There will be food trucks, artwork, clothing and live music.

Beginning on July 10, Cyclepalooza will bring people together through cycling. It’s a community-driven, do-it-yourself 10-day bicycle festival promoting arts, culture, events and fun in Calgary.

Featuring traditional song and dance acts, as well as opportunities to sample Latin cuisine and browse street vendors, the Fiestaval Latin Festival takes place July 17 to 19 at Olympic Plaza. At the same time, the three-day Market Collective returns to the Chinese Cultural Centre, offering local artisans’ booths and live entertainment.

If you’re curious about our solar system, stop by the University of Calgary’s Rothney Astrophysical Observatory during any of their three Milky Way Nights in July. You’ll be able to take a peek through one of their telescopes and ask the facility’s astronomers questions.

This year marks the 25th Anniversary edition of Historic Calgary Week. Celebrate in this milestone year with 65 events, including several special one-time events such as a History Hunt and a community walk.

Running from July 23 to 26 is the Calgary Folk Music Festival at Prince’s Island Park. The festival is host to more than 70 artists from 14 countries.

On the final weekend of July, walk the streets of Okotoks to sample food from local restaurants, sip on drinks and be entertained by local musicians and arts. Taste of Okotoks takes place on July 25.

That same weekend, Calgary’s most anticipated canine event of the year takes place. At Pet-A-Palooza, you’ll see events such as Dock Dogs Canada and Running Of The Bull(dog)s, there will be on-site anesthetic-free teeth cleaning, red carpet photo ops, bang trims and pawdicures, dog weddings, dog karaoke and hydration stations. Don’t miss out!

And last but not least, the Calgary Fringe Festival kicks off on Friday, July 31. It will host a combination of local, national and international productions – 26 altogether – for a total of over 160 performances over 9 days.

Looking for Work? Network, Network, Network.

Laid off from work? Everyone is telling you that this is the worst time to be looking for work. The economy out there is slowing down. Depending on the day and depending on who you are listening to, the economy / jobs will come back in two to three months or not for a while. It is hard to feel positive about a job search right now. So does any of this really matter? No.

So how do you look for work right now? Most people will race to their computers every morning and apply for every position that is suitable for them. This is a necessary evil of the job search, but a job searcher is competing with hundreds or even thousands of other job searchers. The odds are not in your favour that your resume/application will trigger an interview.

Many people with reach out to every recruiter they know and constantly check with them about opportunities. Recruiters are trained to find people for jobs. Not jobs for people. If you are not a fit for a role they are recruiting for, a recruiter is not very likely to provide you much assistance, if any, in your job search.

The above two job search methods are the most common and should only account for 25 to 30 percent of your job search. The best tool for looking for work is networking.

To start out, you need to let everyone you know you are looking for work. Post it on Facebook, post it on LinkedIn, tell your family, and tell your friends. This is your network. Use it. Don’t be embarrassed by it. We all have had to look for work at one time or another. It is a necessity of life in North America.
Leverage your network. Begin with a small circle of family or friends and go for a coffee. Learn about their industry. Ask questions about their jobs. Ask for referrals of two or three people you can contact that may assist you with your search.

Remember that these meetings are mini interviews. Do not speak poorly of your previous employer. You are trying to leave a positive impression with everyone you meet. You want your network to think of you when an opportunity comes up.

Your job search is Sales 101. You are selling yourself. A typical sales cycle is 100 phone calls, 10 meetings, one sale. In networking, the goal is 100 contacts, 10 meetings, and hopefully one interview. To have success, you have to work the numbers. That should be your goal every week, is to work through your contacts.

Who should you network with? Everyone. Everyone knows someone that you don’t know. You should network with your family, friends, and even people who are looking for work themselves. A person in the midst of their own job search may know someone that can assist you and you can assist them.

Finally, the most important aspect of your job search is your attitude. Stay positive and don’t take it personally. Most of the “No’s” you receive have nothing to do with you. There are decisions being made that have nothing to do with you personally, so do your best not to take it personally.

Remember: It has nothing to do with you. This is a numbers game.


Ahhhhhh. Sweet, sweet June – the month of the summer solstice. The fresh smell of honeysuckle and rose. The happy sound of birds singing in the morning. The many marvels of nature in full-swing.

Welcome back, summer! We’ve missed you. To celebrate your arrival, Calgary has no shortage of fun things to do this month and there’s something for everyone – from festival-goers to parade-spectators and even those ambitious runners. Check out our list of things to do!

On Saturday, June 6, go check out the first annual Bridgeland Cultura Festival hosted by Bridgeland Community Association. Stop by 1 Avenue N.E. to listen to live music, have a drink in the beer gardens and shop at local vendors’ markets.

But if that’s not your thing, head to Turner Valley for the day and be a part of Turner Valley’s Discovery Days and Black Diamond Parade where the year’s theme is “A Salute to the Canadian Forces.” Afterward, head over to the nearby Turner Valley Discovery Days, where face painting, demonstrations by the local fire department, carnival games and a local market await.

Or if you’re in the market for some new artwork or pottery or jewelry, then the place to be is the Leighton Art Centre in Millarville for the Clothesline Festival and Art Sale where you actually get to pick art off a clothesline. There will be 1,500 original, unframed pieces of art and much more from more than 70 Alberta artists. The free, two-day event on Saturday, June 6 & Sunday, June 7 will also have live music, artist demonstrations and food options from local food trucks.

On Friday, June 12, why not take in the Calgary Stampeders vs. BC Lions Pre-Season Game? You won’t want to miss this pre-season matchup, which serves as the kickoff to another exciting CFL season.

Coffee aficionados should definitely stop by Kaffeeklatsch, 223 12 Ave. S.W. on Saturday, June 13 to get a lesson in how to make quality coffee with an Aeropress. The Canadian Aeropress Champion, Nick Hatch, will be a guest barista. Discover how to use this unconventional brewing device and never have a bad cup of coffee again.

That evening, head to Flames Central for the fifth installment of Le Cirque de la Nuit’s circus nightlife series. Expect a spectacular show with high flying aerial stunts, theatrical stage performances and live music.

Running the entire weekend from Friday, June 12 to Sunday, June 14 is something special for the Trekkie in you. The official Star Trek capital of Canada hosts Vulcan Spock Days, a weekend of extra-terrestrial fun. The weekend includes the annual parade, a slo-pitch tournament, beer gardens, fireworks, a fair and star gazing.

Moving into the third weekend of the month, there’s a celebration of Summer Solstice at the Open House at Rothney Astrophysical Observatory in Priddis. Saturday, June 20 is the longest day of the year, so use some of your extra time to stop by one of the main research facilities at the University of Calgary’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. Director Phil Langill will be on hand to talk solar research, as well as the latest work being done with the facility’s solar research telescopes.

That same weekend, pop by the Market on Macleod at 7711 Macleod Tr. S.E. for YYC Lobster Fest on Saturday, June 20 and Sunday, June 21. Treat Dad (or yourself!) to fresh seafood, live music and beer gardens this Father’s Day. Attend YYC Lobster Fest and receive one lobster, a side dish and a bib. All proceeds from the event benefit the Calgary Firefighters Burn Unit.

On Sunday, June 21, take the whole family (even the furbabies!) out for the Spruce Meadows Run Series: Pawsitively Fun Run – 2K & 5K run (untimed) supporting Alberta Guide Dogs. This Father’s Day dog jog held at Spruce Meadows is sure to be a morning full of wagging tails and smiling faces.

Speaking of Spruce Meadows, running from Thursday, June 25 to Sunday, June 28 is the Spruce Meadows Canada One – the third tournament in Spruce Meadow’s Summer Series. Visit the venue for a day and see some of the best show jumpers in the world for free. This four-day outdoor tournament will feature jumps ranging from 1.45 to 1.55 metres high.

Now if you’re looking for some family fun on the last weekend in June, take a stroll through BuskerFest on Saturday, June 27 on Elizabeth Street in Okotoks. See shows by magicians, jugglers, dancers, singers and other entertainers in downtown Okotoks. Stay to see who the judges award the top prizes to, and shop local at the more than 100 downtown vendors.

Or take the kids to experience what it would have been like to live like a Viking between 800 and 1000 AD. On Saturday, June 27 and Sunday, June 28, visit Horde at the Hive to learn how the Vikings were armoured and armed, and to see reenactments each day. There will be hand-to-hand demonstrations with swords, spears, knives and shields. It is the largest Viking reenactment organization in North America and it’s held at Chinook Honey Company, three kilometres west of Okotoks on Hwy 7.


Spring is here. Time to hide away the winter wear. The desire to get outside becomes greater as the weather warms up.

The first weekend has a few events to celebrate the arrival of spring and Easter. Hop on down to the Spring Sparktacular at TELUS Spark! Spring is in the air. Head over for an array of Spring
themed activities to celebrate the season, including making seed paper, building the town of Bunnybotville and the classic egg drop challenge.

Heritage Park is hosting a delicious Easter Sunday Brunch served in the Wainwright Hotel. Drive into the Historical Village and park at the hotel. Easter Egg decorating on the second level (not wheelchair accessible). Call 403-268-8506 to book your table in advance.

Children might get a kick out of the Dinosaurs in Motion at Telus Spark. Fusing Engineering, art and innovation, the late kinetic sculptor and creator John Payne development a new way to engage and explore these amazing creatures through kinetic life-size sculptures. Please check it out at out at

If you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes, or the TV shows Sherlock or Elementary, you might want to check out “It’s Elementary Sherlock” at Jubilations. For more information on the event which runs until April 26th, click here

“Your Town is Our Town” is at the Lougheed House from March 25th to June 14th. Experience captivating streetscapes of an evolving city, frozen in time by Calgary’s top editorial photographers. Curated by renowned Calgary journalist and founder of Swerve Magazine, Shelley Youngblut, this fascinating collection of street photography has been featured in the “Our Town” column of Swerve Magazine. Lougheed House serves as an ideal location in the heart of the city to house this collection that serves as a record of a city constantly changing and evolving. Click here for more information:

The Rose Bud Theatre will be performing the “The Miracle Worker” which portrays the true story of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan. Helen Keller is blind, deaf and mute. In a battle of wills, a young teacher fights to release the child from her dark, silent world. This true story captures the drama of Annie Sullivan’s perseverance and her hard-won friendship with a little girl who no one could save. More information can found here:

If you are a poker player, The Children’s Wish Foundation is pleased to announce the third annual Poker Tournament. Join the tournament for your chance to win a portion of the $10,000 prize pool! Both beginners and experienced poker players are welcome. Registration is $250 and includes a buffet dinner and entertainment throughout the tournament! When: April 7th, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. Location: Cowboy’s Casino. Go All In to help grant a wish! Visit here

The 10th Anniversary of the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo arrives at the Stampede Grounds from April 16th to 19th. Come down and celebrate all things pop culture. Canada’s 2nd largest pop culture convention, featuring the very best in science-fiction, comic books, fantasy, horror, pop culture, animation, and so much more! Visit for all the information.

What ever you do in April, please enjoy.

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Ok, Now What?

So you are suddenly looking for work. The job market in the oil & gas industry is very tight. There are lots of people looking for work. But there are opportunities. If you are looking for work, you need to remember a few essential points.

Tell everyone you are looking for work – It is very important that everyone you know, knows you are looking for work. Post it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Tell your family, tell your friends. The more who know you are looking for work, the more who can help you.

Network, network, network – Networking to the job search is as important as a location is to a restaurant’s success. Leverage your contacts. Get out and meet as many people as you can. Work to constantly expand that network. Everyone knows somebody. Your goal coming out of every networking coffee is to come back with three names you can contact.

Keywords and your resume – When submitting your resume to that rare job posting, ensure you are using the keywords in your resume that are being used in the job posting. Computer programs, recruiters, and the hiring managers are looking for specific keywords. If your resume doesn’t have them, you won’t get that interview.

The Professional Recruiter is the Necessary Evil – The professional recruiter will get paid to find the right candidate for the position they have been given to fill. The professional recruiter does not get paid to find you a job. This is an important distinction. However, the recruiter is an important piece to your job search and you need to be working with as many recruiters as possible. Develop these relationships, but it is your job search, not their job.

It’s Not Personal – Looking for that next job can be a very frustrating, stressful, and extremely hard on the ego, especially if it is a long search. The key that you need to remember, you will face many rejections and most, and we mean most, of decisions have nothing to do with you. Remember…It is not personal! Companies will make many decisions that will affect you, but are not made because of you. They are not personal. They don’t know you personally. Keep your positive energy as much as you can.


Fortress Engineering was recently the focus of a TV program on Enterprise TV. Enterprise TV is an American television show which features interviews with entrepreneurs, CEOs, and industry professionals in Canada and the United States.

This episode focuses on the full range of engineering services that Fortress Engineering provides to midstream and downstream projects. The episode is airing throughout the US and will be on BNN and other news stations in Canada soon.

Much of the discussion is about the effectiveness of the crude by rail to provide oil to different markets and the high level of safety standards Fortress Engineering has for these projects.

Many thanks to Enterprise TV for producing this episode and the participation of GeoMetrix in this episode.  For more information on Enterprise TV, please visit and for information on GeoMetrix, please click on the following


March is shaping to be a great month of things to do. The first weekend features the Home and Garden Show down at the BMO Centre. If you are planning any home renovations or want an idea for your garden this spring, you should check out from February 26th to March 1st.

For those who enjoy a party or curling or both, The Tim Horton’s Brier starts this weekend at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The ten day event begins on the 27th of February with the finals on Sunday, March 8th. Check out the different events surrounding the curling at

If you enjoy great guitar playing, Jonny Lang will be performing at the Deerfoot Inn & Casino on March 14th. has all the information on the event.

ISU World Allround Speed Skating Championships will the featured event at the Olympic Oval on the weekend of March 7th & 8th. According to, Denny Morrison leads the Canadian Team for the world title.

A legend in underwater photography, David Doubilet and aquatic biologist / photojournalist Jennifer Hayes, his wife and underwater partner, take us into the deep with two starkly contrasting marine realms; the colourful underwater paradise of the tropics, and the icy cold depths of the Antarctic ocean. The National Geographic Live event takes place at the Jack Singer Concert Hall on Sunday, March 15th and Monday, March 16th. Details here

A couple of Tuesday nights in March feature Dinner and Mob Movie Madness at the Gasoline Alley Museum at Heritage Park. has all the information. Movies featured this month include Goodfellas and My Cousin Vinny.

The weekend of March 13th through until the 17th will feature many St. Patrick’s Day activities. Comedian Jay Mohr arrives in town in March. He will be performing five shows from Thursday, March 19th to Saturday, March 21st at the Laugh Shop. More information here

Once the Tim Horton’s Brier is completed, the Calgary Flames, Calgary Hitmen, and Calgary Roughnecks will be returning to the Scotiabank Saddledome to continue their respective drives to make the playoffs.

It should be a great month with a spring forward with our clocks on March 8th and spring season showing up on the 20th. Enjoy your March.


A couple of weeks ago, we began discussing Automation and we introduced the area of automation and a brief introduction to Controls and the different characteristics of Control.

In this week’s blog, we will focus on transmitters, control valves and pneumatic controls.

A transmitter measures a process variable and transmits it to a controller. Common process variables measured include pressure, temperature, level and flow. Modern transmitters are electronic and transmit the signal electrically to electronic controllers.


There are a few different control valve designs which include a sliding stem (globe):


Or rotary valves which include butterfly & eccentric disk, ball control valves, or eccentric plug:


Now let’s look at positioners. The main purpose of the positioner is to provide feedback from the valve and ensure that the valve travels to the desired position. Positioners can be installed on sliding stem and rotary valves. The positioner can accept a pneumatic signal or a 4-20 mA (electrical) control signal. The positioner output goes to the actuator as required to position the valve at the requested position.

Pneumatic Controls

Pneumatic or air-operated controls were introduced before electronics. They are still used today for simple or remote control applications.

A pneumatic controller’s purpose is to sense the process conditions and output a pressure signal based on the process condition. The controller converts a change in process condition to a physical movement, which then drives a pneumatic output. The controllers can monitor pressure, temperature, level, flow and differential pressure.

Next week we will move on to electronic controls.


The shortest month of the year may lack days, but there are still plenty of activities to participate in.

The Philadelphia Story is playing at the Max Bell Theatre. This classic comedy, turned Oscar-nominated film (starring Katharine Hepburn), takes a glorious and witty look at love, money and marriage. Check out more information at

Loose Moose Theatre is presenting Treasure Island for the kids. The classic adventure tale of a boy, a treasure map, an island, and pirates! The Loose Moose Theatre Company makes going to theatre an experience that is truly magical for children 4 – 10 years old, as well as fun and entertaining for parents.

The Calgary Boat and Sportsmen’s Show is Southern Alberta’s biggest outdoor show. It will feature boats, marine products and accessories, as well as an excellent selection of fishing gear, destination travel locations, ATV’s and a variety of other outdoor related products and services.

The “2015 Year of the Sheep Chinese New Year Carnival” – a spectacular and colorful event features traditional Dragon & Lion Dance, festival performances, martial art demonstration, folk art demonstration, festival food, games, artworks exhibition, lucky draws, meet and greet the God of Fortune and an indoor bazaar of trade booths selling all kinds of gifts and festival items. This year, we will establish a theme project “Fortune Blooming” – a 12′ tall Cherry blossom tree with hundreds of red envelopes hanging on the tree symbolized prosperity and good luck. This project is meant to bring blessings to the general public and wish everyone have a propitious and fortunate Year of the Sheep.

For the ski enthusiasts, the Audi Coupe Nor-Am Cup is being held at Canada Olympic Park beginning on Tuesday February 17th thru until Sunday, February 22nd. Nor-Am races allow athletes to prepare mentally and technically for World Cup racing. The season-long Nor-Am series comes to a head at the Nor-Am finals in March (February for para-alpine). In alpine, the top two overall competitors for each discipline at the end of the finals win a World Cup spot for the following season in that event.

In addition to the Flames, Hitmen and Roughnecks games, the Scotabank Saddledome will play host to the Tim Hortons Brier at the end of the month. There will be an entirely new look this time around as the best teams in the country compete for the coveted Brier Tankard, emblematic of Canadian men’s curling supremacy.

If you are looking for your music fix, The Tragically Hip, August Burns Red, Cannibal Corpse, Saga, Elliott Brood, Black Veil Brides, Machine Head and the Irish Rovers will be making a stop in Calgary during February.

Enjoy the month.


Last week, we discussed Fortress Engineering and the services they provide as a whole.  This week we turn our focus onto the Automation department.

So “What is Automation”:

“The use of various control systems for operating equipment with minimal or reduced human intervention.”

Before automation, it was necessary to have someone manning a station to turn a switch or turn a dial to get the affected process to occur.

Manual Control
The downside to manual control to an organization are the man hour costs and the potential for human error.  Automation provides a computerized / mechanical process that either reduces or eliminates the need for manual control of a process.

On/Off Control
The simplest example of on/off control is the “on/off” switch in your home’s heating system.  Your home thermostat is designed to turn the heat on when your home gets colder than your chosen temperature and turn the heat off when your homes gets warmer than your chosen temperature.

On/off control is fine for your home heating systems and many other applications, but it is not good enough for processes that require tight accurate control.  Some examples requiring exact control:

- blending of various products,

- control of a nuclear reactor,

- manufacturing to specifications i.e.. Steel, mining, refineries, etc.

Automatic Control

To achieve better control the PID algorithm was adopted; on older style pneumatics to modern control systems.
PID control has been with us since the early 1940’s, nothing exists that improves on it for basic Regulatory Control:

P – Proportional response
I  -  Integral response (also called reset)
D – Derivative response (also called rate)

Characteristics of Control:

  • Simple
  • Inherently stable when properly tuned
  • Easy to tune
  • Experiences offset at steady state

Proportional-plus-reset (PI):

  • No offset
  • Better dynamic response than reset alone
  • Possibilities exist for instability due to lag introduced

Proportional-plus-rate (PD):

  • Stable
  • Less offset than proportional alone (use of higher Kc possible)
  • Reduces lags, i.e. more rapid response

Proportional-plus-reset-plus-rate (PID):

  • Most complex
  • Most expensive
  • Rapid response
  • No offset
  • Difficult to tune
  • Best control if properly tuned

Next week we will move into a conversation on transmitters and valves.


Who is Fortress Engineering?

The simple answer is Fortress is a multi-discipline engineering consulting firm who focus on the upstream, midstream, and downstream aspects of the oil and gas industry.

What type of engineering does Fortress provide?

  • Project Management
  • Process
  • Civil/Structural
  • Mechanical
  • Stress
  • Rotating Equipment
  • Electrical
  • Control Systems
  • Automation & Programming
  • Instrumentation
  • Functional Safety
  • Procurement, Expediting, Inspection and Project Accounting
  • Document Control/Management

What are the areas of Fortress’ expertise?

  • Oil and Gas Facility Projects
  • Oil Batteries/ Satellites
  • Oil and Gas Wellsites Facilities and Gathering Systems
  • Product Treating, Dehydration, Filtration
  • Compressor Stations and Gas Processing
  • Flare Systems
  • Firewater Pump Systems

What type of projects does Fortress generally work on?

  • Rail Loading/Unloading Terminals


  • Truck Loading/Unloading Terminals


  • Pipeline Terminals/ Pump Stations
  • API Storage Tank Farms and Terminalling Facilities


  • Pipeline, Blending, Pumping, Custody Transfer
  • Product Storage – Bullets (Propane, Butane)
  • LACT and Lateral Pipelines
  • Cavern Storage


  • Gas Processing

The size of the projects are dependent on Fortress’ client’s needs.  The projects have ranged from $1M to $470M.

If you are interested in more information on the type of projects Fortress has done, please contact our business development group.


December was a very busy month with running to and from parties, stores, family get togethers, and other Christmas / New Year events. And while the break may be appreciative, there are plenty of things to do in January.

If you are a fan of classic rock, there are a couple of interesting opportunities. High Performance Rodeo is putting on a production of “The Keith Richards One Woman Show” which super fan, Mona, tries to act out Keith Richards’ life story including run-ins with Gram Parsons and Mick Jagger to a drug bust. The Deanna Jones performance runs from January 27th to January 31st and information can be found at

Led Zeppelin fans will have their due when the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra with help from Kanas front man, John Elefante, sings some of Classic Rocks’ greatest songs including Zeppelin’s Kashmir and Aerosmith’s Dream On. John Elefante performs on January 16th and 17th and you can visit for more information.

Are you a fan of the musical genius of Pink Floyd? The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra with the leadership of Adam Johnson will perform some of the band’s favourites from Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall. Visit for more information about the January 28th performance.

If comedy is more your speed, Jon Dore is at The Laugh Shop from January 22nd to January 24th. Dore, who is a Canadian actor and comedian, credits include Canadian Idol, Funny as Hell, and the Jon Dore Television Show. Check out the for more information.

For our sports fans and if you love baseball, you can have lunch with Kevin Pillar, Drew Hutchinson, Aaron Sanchez, Roberto Alomar and Marcus Stroman of the Toronto Blue Jays. They will be coming to Calgary on January 22nd and for $150 per person; you can have lunch with the starts at Fairmont Palliser.

The NLL and the Calgary Roughnecks return to action this month with two home games. The next game is on January 24th at the Dome.

For the beer connoisseurs, Wild Rose Brewery is hosting Beer 101 on Sundays in January. This educational afternoon includes a tour of their Innovation center at AF 23 as well as a “How it’s made video” and a look inside their new 40,000 sq.ft facility. You will receive a tasting of their Core Brands and you get to sample how we cook with their beer as they provide 3 different tacos. Lastly, each participant will receive a 16 oz. Wild Rose Pint Glass. Visit for more information.

January has lots of events and activities. Please get out there and enjoy them.


It is that time of year again…”The Year in Review”! Once Christmas arrives, our televisions, the internet media and newspapers are filled with looking at the year that was. Even Facebook tried to create a personal year in review script for all their users.

Here at Fortress Engineering, we hold events throughout the year that create a team comradry within our organization. Here is a review of some of this year’s past events.

Fortress at Work
While it is important to focus on the clients and assisting them with their projects, the Fortress team does occasionally have some fun around the office. Whether we are talking about good natured office pranks like the decorations in a colleague’s office for their birthday or the tin foiling of when a team member takes a vacation, it is all done in good fun.


Sean Price Desk 0_14

Fortress will also hold a number of in house activities such as ping pong or foosball tournaments.


There was also the BBQ in the spring in the Fortress parking lot or pot lucks at Christmas.


Fortress will also celebrate and keep their teams informed of any new business and the status of the projects with the Gong Ringing event.


Fortress and their Clients
Fortress will host an annual golf tournament for their clients and suppliers. It is a great event for the Fortress team to interact with their clients and supplies outside the work environment.


Fortress in the Community
Fortress is interested in assisting in the Calgary community and will participate in a number of fund raising events throughout the year. Members of the Fortress team have the opportunity to get involved in many interesting opportunities such as the Easter Seals Drop as seen below.


Special Events
Then there are also the special events that are on everyone’s calendars. St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween, and Christmas events outside the office are great for team building and sharing a pop or two with your colleagues.




In the past two blogs, we have discussed how to create goals, set out specific expectations, taking action / tracking, and achieving your goals. All are very important steps to your success.  The final step, and in many ways, the most important, is to celebrate when you achieve your goals.  This step is often forgotten by the most focused and driven of us, as we move to the next goal.

Goal Cycle

The celebration is key to rewarding a person or team for the hard work and sacrifice in achieving the goal.  The celebration needs to appropriate to the goal.  Using last week’s example of weight loss, an appropriate celebration should not be 12 course meal.  Perhaps a trip or renting your favorite car for a day or a day at the spa.

It is also important when you achieve that goal, whether it is in business or your personal life, you need to take time to reflect on the trials and tribulations of achieving this goal.  Understanding will build confidence, knowledge, and create courage to take the next steps to move forward.

The celebration and reflection are great motivators to move to the next goal.  You now have the confidence in yourself to know that you will be successful.

So, what are your goals for 2015?


“Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.”

Tom Landry, NFL Coach

Last week, we discussed setting goals. Using the SMART approach to create effective goals. This week we will discuss how to create a plan and track your goals because a goal without a plan, is just a wish.

When it comes to goal setting for larger goals, like the ones that are often set at the beginning of a year, a person is often looking at very large goals. For example, most people at New Years’ will suggest they want to lose 30 pounds. Unless you opt for a surgery, this is a very large goal and can be very difficult to succeed at. Over time, most people will get frustrated at the difficulty in realize their goal and will give up.

As we mentioned last week, a goal has to have an end date to which you want to have achieved the goal. So you give yourself a year to lose 30 pounds. Unfortunately, that is not enough, as people will often procrastinate, especially earlier in the year and then as the year comes to a close, your goal is no longer achievable.

You need a plan. To achieve your ultimate goal, you need to have smaller, timely evaluated, goals. If you want to lose 30 pounds within a year, you will want to lose 2.5 pounds every month or a pound every two weeks. Those are more reasonable goals and they are easily track able. To be successful, you need to track your goals over smaller periods of time, like weekly, monthly, and bi-yearly. Create a spreadsheet to track your progress and maintain it in a timely fashion.

Tracking is not enough though. Your plan needs to include the behavior change that will lead to your success. For our example, does that mean more exercise, eating less, or eating better, or a combination of all the behavior adaptions? Please remember that these changes need to be achievable.

Your plans needs to be adaptable. You need to beware that if the tracking is not leading to your goals, you need to be able to change your plan to bring you back on track to achieving your long term goals.

If you follow these simple tricks, you will have more success in achieving your goals. Good luck.


Most companies take December to analyze the past year and the companies’ successes and failures.  The next step will be an attempt to set goals for the New Year.  The process is either a top down approach or a bottom up approach.  A board will set large goals, then the executive, then the management team, the departments, and finally the individual worker.  Or the reverse for the bottom up process.

Goal setting is an important process for any company and any person.  Over the next few weeks, we will discuss goal setting from a personal / professional career point of view.

When setting Goals, a person needs to take a S.M.A.R.T approach:

SPECIFIC – The goals you set must specific.  They must be well defined and clear.  The goals should provide you with a clear direction of where you want to end up.  “I want to earn a promotion” is a great goal, but it is not very specific.  A better goal is “I want to be the Team Lead of my department or manager of my team.”

MEASURABLE – The goals must be measurable.  Your goals need to include amounts and dates so you measure your level of success.  If you goal is to increase sales, how will you know if you reached the goal.  A measurable goal is “Increase sales by 10% by December 2015 from December 2014 levels.”  Now you know how much you need to increase sales and by when.

ATTAINABLE – The goals you set need to be realistic and attainable.  They should encourage realistic growth.  Goals that are out of reach will not encourage any success, and in many cases, will cause a setback.  On the flip side, goals easily reached also create lack lustre performance.  You want your goals to push you to success.  Goals that are attainable yet challenging provide the greatest sense of personal satisfaction.

RELEVANT – Your goals must be relevant to the career and life you want.  The purpose of goal setting is to provide you the focus.

TIME BOUND – Goals must have a deadline.  When working with a deadline, you provide that sense of urgency to remain focused.  If your goals don’t have deadlines, how will you know when to celebrate your successes?

The next important step is to write down your goals.  Then place the goals where you will see them and will be reminded to remain focused.

Next week, we will look at your Action Plan for Your Goals.


The Christmas season is upon us.  There are many events this month to put you into the Christmas spirit.

Heritage Park is hosting “Once Upon a Christmas” every weekend.  There will be wagon rides, Christmas carols or even visiting Santa Claus himself.  Four of the historical homes will open their doors to share Yuletide traditions, including the new Famous 5 Centre of Canadian Women.  Check out this link for more information

The Epcor Centre is hosting a long running theatre tradition of “A Christmas Carol”.  This family friendly production runs from November 27th to December 24th.  For more information , click here:

In honour of the First World War Centennial, the Lougheed House Christmas presents a WWI-themed activities and crafts during the weekends.  A Victorian Santa and crafts tell the story of Christmas during wartime.  More information can be found here:

If you are a fan of the Murder Mysteries, Fort Calgary is hosting a couple of events in December.  “Scrooged At Christmas” and “Homicide for the Holidays” are performing at Fort Calgary.  Information can be found here:

“The Nutcracker (in a Nutshell)” is 30 minute children’s version of the classic Christmas ballet. It is being performed at the Cardel Theatre in Quarry Park.  For more information on this family event, click here:!whats-on/c207h

The classic version of the “The Nutcracker” will be performed at the Jubilee Auditorium.  will provide you all the information on these performances.

There are also a number of News Year Eve events.  Highlights include Fireworks, Pool Parties, Family Dance Parties, Zoo Parties, and a number of galas.  All your New Years Eve events can be found here:

All the best to everyone this Christmas Season and Happy New Years.




So you have decided to look for the next great career opportunity. First step in looking for work, putting together your resume. Here are some helpful “Dos and Don’ts” when putting together your resume.

The Dos:

  1. Do Provide Contact Information – Your name, your home city and province, one phone number, and an email. Due to privacy issues, you no longer need to provide your home street address. Pick a phone number where you are easily reached and can respond to voice mails.
  2. Do Create a Brief Summary of You – The first section of any resume should be a brief explanation of you. The role you want to have, the industry experience, sizes of the team you have managed, etc. This is an introduction that compels the reader to read the rest of the resume.
  3. Do List Your Jobs in Reverse Chronicle Order – With dates (month and year), always list you past jobs with the most current first.
  4. Do Use Bullet Points rather than Paragraphs – Bullet points make the resume more attractive and easier to read. Each point should be a brief but impactful. The use of verbs at the beginning of each point helps in concise. No more than five points in each section.
  5. Do Provide Numbers whenever Possible – Numbers quantify your successes. Number of people you managed, size of the project in dollars, increases in sales, etc.
  6. Do Place Your Education after Your Past Positions – If you have been in the workforce for more than five years, the list of past positions is listed first, then your education.
  7. Do Check your digital footprint – Insure that nothing embarrassing and unprofessional can be found by a simple Google search. Your LinkedIn profile should reflect your resume.

The Don’ts:

  1. Don’t use “I”, “me”, “my” – Never use personal pronouns on a resume.
  2. Don’t Use Funny or Controversial Email Address – The resume is a professional representation of who you are. Don’t jeopardize that by using There are a lot of free email accounts, get one that isn’t cute, funny or controversial.
  3. Don’t Put Your High School on your Resume – If you have any college / post-secondary education, your high school degree is no longer relevant.
  4. Don’t make any grammatical errors – Any grammatical or typos send a negative impression, especially if you indicate that you are detailed oriented.
  5. Don’t include personal information – Any information of a personal nature, such as height, weight, race, religious beliefs, date of birth, place of birth, marital status, gender, or even a photo of yourself should never appear on the resume.
  6. Don’t leave off dates – You should always include dates on your resume. Month and year are suitable enough. The omission gives the appearance you are hiding something.

Good luck with your job search.


‘Tis the season for the Office Christmas Party. The OCP is a great time to celebrate with office colleagues and de-stress from the busy work year. However, there are a few pitfalls that the OCP can bring to one’s career.
Most couples have at least two OCPs to attend every year. The first major question when getting ready to go to an OCP, “what should I wear?” There are few things to keep in mind:

1. Never be too casual. Sneakers, jeans, and animal prints are not appropriate
2. Avoid wearing anything that is battery operated or will light up.
3. No mistletoe or jingle bells. Do not wear mistletoe or jingle bells anywhere on your body.
4. Leave your Santa hat, elf ears, reindeer antlers, curly shoes, or quilted Mrs. Claus skirt at home.
5. A daytime Christmas party has a less formal dress than an evening event.
6. Never wear clothes that are too revealing. An office Christmas party is a corporate event and one should dress professionally. For men, that means clean dress pants, dress shirt or a suit. For women, a cocktail dress for an evening event and for a daytime party, a dress or skirt with silk blouse and a cardigan or blazer.

Here is a link with some good suggestions of what to wear:

The second most important consideration for the OCP is one’s behavior. Here are a few dos and don’ts for the OCP:
1. Remember, the office Christmas party is not the place to talk about what you would do if you ran the company or vent about the issues around the office.
2. Get out and interact with people in the other departments. Don’t just hang out with the people you usually chat with at work.
3. Don’t get bombed. If alcohol is being served, enjoy a drink or two. Not 12. It may not get you fired if you are drunk at the party, but it will leave a negative effect with your colleagues and bosses.
4. Don’t flirt. The office party is not the place to pick up your next conquest. This behavior can lead to a very uncomfortable office the next day or worst, construed as sexual harassment.
5. Have your office game face on, but have fun.

Have an enjoyable Christmas season


Welcome to November. It is the month of Remembrance and after the recent events in Quebec and Ottawa, this year’s Remembrance Day will take on more significant meaning. Calgary and area will be hosting a number of events for you to pay tribute to those who gave their lives for our freedom.

Aerospace Museum – 4629 McCall Way N.E.
10:30 a.m. MT on Monday, Nov. 11

Battalion Park – 3001 Signal Hill Dr. S.W.
10:30 to 12:00 p.m. MT on Monday, Nov. 11
The ceremony will centre on the monument at the bottom of the steps leading up to the battalion numbers after which the site is named.

Calgary Tower flame ceremony – 101 Ninth Ave. S.W.
Reception at 6:30 p.m., ceremony at 7:30 p.m. MT on Sunday, Nov. 10
The ceremony on the observation deck will be streamed on Valour Canada’s website as the tower’s flame is lit. Ceremony by invitation only, but people can watch online.

Canadian Forces Memorial Film Festival – 235 24 St. Fort Macleod, Alta
Friday, Nov. 8 to Sunday, Nov. 10
The fourth annual film festival honours the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice and those who serve and have served. The festival will be hosted at Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod, Alta.

Central Memorial Park – 1221 Second St. S.W
11 a.m. MT on Monday, Nov. 11
Remembrance Day ceremonies are held every year in this Beltline park. Pay tribute to troops past and present in front of the World War I soldier statue, a memorial honouring Rt. Hon. Richard Bedford Bennett and the Boer War memorial equestrian statue.

The Military Museums – 4520 Crowchild Trail S.W.
10:45 a.m. MT on Monday, Nov. 11
Containers will be provided for non-perishable food donations to the Veteran’s Food Bank. Coffee and hot chocolate will also be available.

Remembrance Day tours in Union Cemetery – 28 Avenue and Spiller Road S.E.
12:30 to 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. MT Monday, Nov. 11
Union Cemetery tour guides will reflect on the contributions of military units and those buried there.

Royal Canadian Legion – Services will be held at many branches across southern Alberta.

Southern Jubilee Auditorium – 1415 14th Ave. N.W.
Doors open at 9:30 a.m. MT, ceremony is from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. MT on Monday, Nov. 11
Wreaths will be laid by political, veteran, military, civic and community organizations. All others are welcome to lay a private wreath.

As the colours orange and black fade from our stores and turn to the Christmas red and green, there are a number of Christmas markets starting up in November. You can find a list here:

Heritage Park is hosting “Once Upon a Christmas” every weekend starting from November 22 to December 21st. It is your opportunity to experience an old-fashion Christmas. Great for the family to enjoy wagon rides, singing carols or visiting with jolly old Saint Nick.

Calgary is playing host to a number of acts, including Gordon Lightfoot, Tony Bennett, Fleetwood Mac, Sam Roberts, Blind Melon, Theory of a Deadman, Motley Crue, Alice Cooper, The Trews, Tokyo Police Club, Howie Mandel, Nick Carter, John Fogerty, and the Northern Pikes.

The Calgary Stampeders will have two more home games in November, including the November 1st versus the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Stamps will be hosting the Western Final on November 23rd. For those hockey fanatics, the Flames and Hitmen are hosting 10 games this month as well.

Enjoy your November.


So you are looking for work and everyone tells you that you need to have a social media presence. Here are a five important notes to remember about social media:
1. LinkedIn Profile – Your LinkedIn profile is your online resume. Your profile should be a mirror image of the resume you send to prospective employers. It should contain not only your positions, the companies you worked for, but all your successes at those companies.
2. Your LinkedIn photo – Because LinkedIn is your professional social media presence, your photo should be very professional. Please avoid photos that are personal in nature like vacation photos or photos with your favorite pet. Your face should be visible in the photo, not hidden by a hat, hard hat, or bad lighting.
3. Facebook page – While everyone knows your Facebook page is for you and your friends, your future employers will attempt to view the page. Ensure that any embarrassing photos, posts or videos are removed.
4. Google Yourself – One of the checks a future employer will do is a Google search on your name. Do this search on yourself so you know what can be found or seen. If it is embarrassing, take the appropriate actions to try to remove it.
5. Using Social Media to find work – When you are looking for work, especially if you are unemployed, let your network know you are looking. Your friends and network will provide you support and assistance with your job search. Take advantage of this as it can reduce your search time.
6. Job Opportunities on Social Media – Two of the most popular places to find opportunities are on LinkedIn and Twitter. There are thousands of jobs and opportunities posted on these two social media sites. Go to the search functions and enter the role you are looking for.

Good luck.


As the first full month of fall, there are plenty of activities to participate in Calgary.  There are lots of places to see some live music.  There are a number of concerts at the Saddledome and the Jubilee Auditorium, including Demi Lovato, Dierks Bentley, Boz Scaggs, Ryan Adams, the Wynners, Sarah McLachlan & the Black Keys.

The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra has a few family friendly events this month including the Green Eggs and Ham concert on October 5th and CPO plays Disney’s Fantasia on October 11th.  Check out the CPO’s website for more information:

For the family, Calaway Park is going into their last two weekends before they close until next May.  As well, the Calgary Corn Maze is open until October 19th.  You check out the information at

Butterfield Acres is hosting a Harvest Pumpkin Hunts every weekend in October.  You hop on tractor pulled hay wagon and travel through the crunchy fall leaves to find some kid sized pumpkins.  Once found, back to the farm to decorate and the kids will get to keep their pumpkin.  More information is here:

October is a great month for sports as the Calgary Flames season starts on October 8th with the Vancouver Canucks visiting for the home opener.  The Calgary Hitmen season is under way as well.  The Calgary Stampeders will be wrapping up their season with two more home games.  On October 24th, the Stamps host the Saskatchewan Roughriders and on the 1st of November the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are in town.

And finally, October is the month that all the ghouls and ghosts and goblins make their appearance.  The kids will be out ringing bells and collecting candy on the last Friday of October.  If collecting candy isn’t your thing and you are looking for more adult Halloween events, please check out

Have a great month.

AYE! Fortress Team Enjoys an Afternoon of Golf

Aye!  The 2nd Annual Fortress Engineering Golf Challenge, which was held last week at Heritage Pointe Golf Course, is an appreciation event for their clients, vendors, and contractors.

Angus McAngus, Aye, was the day’s appointed course Marshall, who set the tone for a fun and relaxing afternoon of golf.  Angus travels from hole to hole checking on the fun level of everyone and then hosted the evening’s banquet.  The banquet included Angus’ video with all the teams, prizes for the most distinguished performers, and a Scottish dance with Angus and Fortress’ leadership.  You can check out the video here.

A big thank you goes out to the great staff of Heritage Pointe who provided a fabulous day and to all the sponsors of the event.  They include:

  • GVS Manufacturing
  • Safe Rack
  • MRC Global
  • Cansel
  • Apex Distribution
  • Cameron Canada
  • Protek Safety & Controls
  • Comco Pipe & Fittings
  • Unified Alloys
  • Wolseley Industrial
  • LMG Tanks
  • Randstad Engineering
  • Rotork Controls
  • Elite Integrity Services
  • Spartan Controls
  • Tarpon
  • Distribution Now

In addition to thanking our clients and vendors, these types of events are an excellent way for the Fortress Team to have fun and get to know each other away from the office.

The next big event for the Fortress Team is the Fortress Halloween Party at Shank’s Sports Grill on October 24th starting at 3 pm.  In addition to the costume party, there will be the Fortress Mini Olympics.   Prior to October 3rd, please sign up your team to compete in four events:  Virtual Golf; Sega Super GT: Auto Racing; Pro Putt; and Three Ball Pool.  Drag your costume out of the closet and get your Olympic compete on.


Despite the kind of job or position you are applying for, most hiring managers ask the same questions. You, as a potential team member, are an investment for the company since they would be spending money on you if hired. Companies want to mitigate their risk by finding out as much important information about you as possible. This is where the interview comes in.

The interview process will determine whether you are hired. Not only does it tell the interviewer what kind of employee you were at other companies, it also tells them if you are going to be an asset or a liability very early on.

It is important to know and understand the most typical interview questions so you can do a bit of preparation beforehand and give the best possible answer. The worst thing you can do is to be caught with your mouth agape and a blank stare because you really don’t know what to say.

Looking for a job has many components but the interview is the most important one by far. Give yourself an advantage and learn these questions early on.

“Tell me about yourself.” This is not the time to step onto your soapbox and share your personal drama. You are interviewing for a job, you are not on a date. Make sure to tailor your answer to something career related. Highlight parts of your personality that will be perceived as valuable to the hiring manager.

Make sure you conduct a bit of research about the company you are applying with. Find out relevant facts and do your best to relate a bit of your experience to it. Use your personal story to find mutual grounds and commonality. The more similarities the hiring manager feels towards you, the more connected you will be. At that point, you are off to a good start!

“Describe a typical work day for you.” Highlight your specialty and your skill sets from your previous job when answering this question. The interviewer wants to know the kinds of things you can do. Also, talk about how you have benefited the company because of an idea you had or a talent that you are able to provide. Tell this story properly and the hiring manager will be able to picture you working for the company. Be as specific and descriptive as possible.

“Why are you leaving your job?” This question could be a little tricky so proceed with caution. If you are changing careers or industries, highlight the main reasons for doing so. Most common answers that people give are to shorten commute, family reasons, looking for a work/life balance or seeking a new challenge. Looking for more money is probably something you don’t want to say – even if it is true!

“What are your best and worst attributes?” At this point in the interview, the hiring manager has already formed a perception of you but he or she wants to hear how you view yourself. Again, don’t just talk about general attributes and other clichés.

Mention a brief but relevant story that describes you in action. Frame your worse attribute as well as something you are willing to change or something that could benefit the company. For example, being a perfectionist is a negative attribute but because of that you are able to do the job right without many mistakes.

“What interests you about this job?” You have done your research about the company you are applying for, right? So you should be able to riddle off a very compelling answer to this. If not, you are doomed. Before going in to any interview, make sure you have done your homework. Find out as much information as possible about the company and possibly, the hiring manager. With the power of social media these days, it shouldn’t be too difficult. This information will come in handy especially when you get asked questions like this one. The more specific and tailored your answer, the more you’ll stand out from other applicants.

Remember: While the job market might be competitive, learning how to convey yourself and communicate effectively can really set you apart. The hiring manager is a human being just like you – try your darndest to connect both on a professional and emotional level.

(Posted July 10, 2014)


Given the amount of time we spend looking for a job, it is surprising that not enough people prepare for an interview. While your education, background and experience matter, you will have a better chance of getting hired if you are a likeable person. People like to work with people they like. And the fact is, hiring managers make their decision based almost entirely on the interview.

Keep this in mind: Confidence comes from preparation. The more ready you feel, the more effective you will be at conveying that. Set yourself apart from the competition and learn how to prepare. Do this right and the next interview you have might be the one that changes your career.

1) Research The Company

The interviewer will want to know your reason for applying. They will want to hear a compelling “why?” Are you there just because they happened to have a job opening or is there something more to it than just getting any old job?

Research the company you are applying for in advance and tailor your answers to be more specific. Not only does this give the interviewer a great impression of you, it also shows that you really value being there. Tell them why you are interested in working for their company. Appearing to be needy will repel anyone you talk to.

2) Show, Don’t Tell

It’s one thing to say you are hardworking or creative, it is another to prove it. Those words mean nothing to the hiring manager since he or she has probably heard it so many times from other applicants. Instead of merely stating generalized characteristics, take a different approach to stand out. Describe situations or events from your previous jobs where you have demonstrated those things. Telling a story is much more compelling. Not only does it hit the listener on a more emotional level, it is also more relatable. Let them find their story within yours.

3) Do A Drive By

The worst thing you can do is to be late for an interview. Hiring managers are busy and always looking for talent. They don’t have a lot of time to spare. Since you’ve worked so hard to secure a spot for the interview, be sure you don’t blow it by being late. This problem could be easily avoided by doing a test run to the company at the same hour you would on interview day. You’ll get a good feel of where it is, where to park and what the traffic is like. Familiarize yourself and workout all the logistics – it’s worth the gas mileage and time investment.

4) Look Like You’re Hired

You never get a second chance to convey a favourable first impression. Since the hiring manager doesn’t know what kind of person you are, make sure you do your best to take care of your appearance. Other people will treat you based on their perception of you.

Looking like you don’t care will make the interviewer think that’s how you treat your work. While you can’t control the outcome of the job hunting process, your appearance and presentation can definitely influence it in your favour.

Another benefit of doing a drive by before the interview is you may get to see what other employees are wearing and you can dress accordingly. When in doubt, pick conservative colours and clothes. Also, remember that it’s much better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed.

5) Follow Up

Hiring managers have a lot on their plate. If you feel like both of you made a good connection during the interview, there’s no harm in sending a thank-you email and following up. Give it a bit of time though, you don’t want to across too eager or desperate. Wait a week or so. Most interviewers will tell you specifically when they’ll contact you but if you haven’t heard back within that time period, it’s safe to say you should follow up.

Keep these tips in mind as you’re job hunting. Success is when opportunity meets preparation. By learning how to tackle an interview, you’ll stack the probability on your end. Do this properly and you’re guaranteed to stand out!

(Posted June 30, 2014)



Whether you are brand new to the city or a recent graduate from SAIT, U of C or Mount Royal University, figuring out the best way to find a job in Calgary is on top of everyone’s list. Because of the market in this city, people flock here to get their slice of the pie and as a result the job market in Calgary becomes more and more competitive all the time. In fact, Statistics Canada recently found this province the best place in Canada to look for work. Again.

The fact is, you are up against hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants applying for the same job. Some are even willing to take a pay cut just to get their foot in the door. How far would you go to get a job?

Finding the perfect job can feel a lot like a job in and of itself. While it’s important to have a fine-tuned resume, a positive mindset and a go-getter attitude, employers won’t just spontaneously call you for an offer if you don’t take action. Nothing comes from doing nothing.

People who say they can’t find a job are not necessarily the ones who aren’t investing enough time, they could be just putting it in all the wrong places. If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get the exact same result. The perfect job really does exist.

The old saying “it’s not what you know but who you know” also applies when looking for a job. Proximity is power so make sure you’re around people who either have the job you want or know someone who does. Talk to people in the field you’re interested in and ask for any job leads they know about. This is the best way to stay ahead of everybody else. Most companies like referrals from their staff, especially if they’re a good employee. So when a job opening arises, they’re likely to ask their personal network first before making it public. By getting to know people within your respected field, you’ll hear about offers and positions that are not advertised since many of the best job openings never get posted on job boards. Given an internal tip from a company actually looking to hire may mean you have very little competition.

The most difficult part about networking is knowing the right people who can help you out. What do you do? How do you get started?

Well first of all, get out of your house and start meeting people. Make it known to your immediate network of what your intent is and the kind of job you’re looking for. Ask people of influence within your social circle for names who could possibly help you. Trust me, do this consistently and you’ll create the right relationships with those who could possibly lead you straight into your dream job. Most of the time, it happens at the place you least expect. You may meet someone at your gym, grocery shopping or while you’re hanging out at a coffee shop. Be nice, friendly and polite to everyone you meet. You never know who they know.

While you shouldn’t disregard job boards or online job search sites, don’t spend all of your time and effort there. That’s where most people look and apply for jobs. Your best bet is to go where there’s not a lot of competition and stack the odds on your end. Networking and building relationships is the best way to find a job in this robust city, Calgary.

(Posted June 18, 2014)



Aside from packing wisely, there are a handful of other things to be mindful of when jetsetting for work. Though business travel might seem like an endless cycle of meetings, plans and hotel lobbies, it can also be a rewarding and pleasant experience – if properly prepared for. So before you take to the skies for your next business meeting or conference, check these eight things off your to-do list…

1) Go elite. An elite membership is a way to soften the edges of flying. You bypass lines and ticket service charges, your seating upgrades are prioritized, and your bags are the first ones delivered at the baggage claim. As with life, travel is about the little things. So if you can go elite, do it.

2) Be sure your passport is valid for at least six months following the last day of the trip. A passport hang-up can seriously damage or completely ruin travels plans that have been in the works for months.

3) Don’t check the suit or dress you plan to wear the next day, just in case your checked bag is lost or delayed. Also, consider packing clothing in just two colour schemes so everything matches easily and instead of wrangling a hotel iron at 7:00 a.m., pack clothes that withstand being folded. Oh, word to the wise, ladies: a business trip is no time to break in a new pair of pumps.

4) Equip your phone. Plan for communications by contacting your mobile phone company to find out if additional services need to be placed on your account so you can use your phone internationally. Don’t wait until arrival to figure out how to make local and international calls. Make sure you have a backup battery so that you never have to experience the dread of being stuck with 10% left and no charger, and invest in a helpful travel app. A good app can make air travel much more seamless and can help you stay on top of delays, food selection and ground transportation options.

5) Confirm all itineraries and other details. Your trip should be mapped out before you depart. Make certain that you have transportation to and from the airport, know where your meetings and other scheduled activities are and how you will get there and be sure to give your boss or colleague a copy of any travel plans so they know where you are and how to reach you if need be.

6) Catch up on email. Those in-flight hours when you’re strapped to your seat are the perfect opportunity to catch up on the parts of your worklife you’ve let slip. For many of us, that’s email. Many flights still don’t have Wi-Fi, so cue up 15, 20 or however many emails you can on your laptop before the flight, and take the time to write thoughtful replies. Then send them off next time you’re connected.

7) Head to the airport early. Waiting around in an airport terminal can be incredibly boring, but with security checks often adding a considerable amount of time to your boarding routine, arriving early can be the difference between being on your flight and missing it. This especially true during holidays and summer when more people are traveling. Before you head out, make it easy to identify your suitcase at baggage claim by tying a colourful string or ribbon to the handle. This will save you some time at the carousel and get you on your way sooner.

8) Pay attention to your health. To stave off feelings of burnout and jet lag, make sure to be even more mindful of your health than usual while traveling for work. Stay hydrated. Traveling on a dehydrated body is not only detrimental to your health, but it can also increase your chances for bad jet lag. Drinking lots of water, getting proper rest, making time for mild exercise can go a long way in making your travels – and getting back to work – more pleasant.

(Posted June 11, 2014)


So you’ve landed an exciting summer internship in the field of engineering. It was an exasperating and time-consuming task, but you did it! Well hopefully you are fully prepared by now and way ahead of the game. Aside from making a solid first impression on your very first day, here are a handful of things to remember as you navigate through your new job - no matter the industry:

1) Don’t think of it as just a summer job. Instead, think of it as your first opportunity to work in a particular industry, whether it be engineering or construction or finance, etc. This is an excellent opportunity to figure out which direction you want to take professionally.

2) Always ask questions. Your supervisors will likely unload a ton of information on you on your first day. But they know you are new at this, so it’s perfectly OK to ask them to slow down or repeat something. Asking questions will allow you to learn how to do things the right way, rather than having to redo things because you missed the instructions. People who ask lots of questions demonstrate critical thinking skills.

3) Acknowledge that while you may be a summer temp, you are still a part of the organization’s staff so take your responsibilities seriously and professionally. Some of your coworkers this summer may end up being your colleagues and/or references later on. But if you don’t establish lasting relationships, it’s wise to ask for a recommendation before you leave at the end of the summer.

4) Network and talk to people. Let people know your interests. Chances are they can introduce you to someone with similar interests. Link up with friends working in the area, share contacts with them and let each other know about events in the area.

5) Try to do more than is asked of you. Show your manager that you mean business by going above and beyond, especially when you are new. If your manager asks for two examples, provide three. If you find yourself with nothing to do, ask for another assignment. Not only will you be busy learning new things, but also you will impress your managers!

6) And finally – don’t forget to take some downtime before you start work and after you finish, even if it’s just a few days. It’s vitally important to recharge your batteries.

Good luck out there this summer!

(Posted June 3, 2014)

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