October 9, 2023

Featured Face – Chris Vaux; HME Survey Lead

Chris Vaux started with AFDE in January of 2019 as a Draftsman in the Technical Department.  Working with the Design Team and incorporating their design to produce formwork drawings for the field, Chris drew (no pun intended) upon both his background in engineering, as well as his carpentry experience to produce drawings intended to be both functional and practical in the field.

Shortly after the initial scale-back of work due to Covid in 2020, Chris moved to the field, taking on a role in the Survey department.  After working with the survey team for a little while, he transitioned over to the HydroMechanical Equipment group to focus exclusively on their survey needs.

Like his experience with AFDE, Chris’ career journey is anything but linear.  He started studying Engineering, but after completing his first year, he wanted to make some money, so he started carpentry work in residential construction.  He moved into more of an industrial setting and ended up working in Fort McMurray for three years.  Working for a smaller company, he found himself splitting his time between carpentry tasks in the field and being in the office working as the Project Coordinator.  He also returned to school, picking up some more Engineering courses as well as some Business courses.  But when he had the opportunity to come and work for AFDE at Site C, he took it – and hasn’t looked back.

When asked what he values most about his experience with AFDE, Chris quickly responds: “The unlimited opportunity to learn!”  Having come from a smaller company, he was initially somewhat intimidated by the number of people – and that was just in the office.  But he has embraced the size and scope of the Project, and values the fact that he has worked with so many people from diverse backgrounds in the industry.  He notes that everyone has different experiences and perspectives on how they approach their work.  He tries to take a little bit of knowledge and know-how from everyone he works with to build on his own skill-set.

Outside of work, Chris likes to be out on the water, skiing, hiking or especially mountain biking – he likes to cover a lot of territory, and combines his mountain biking with overnight camping.  All of these outdoor recreation activities are immediately available in his hometown of Campbell River, BC, where he lives with his partner Teri and his children Kaiden and Kiana.  Kaiden keeps Chris & Teri busy with his soccer schedule, and Kiana was featured in the “Announcements” section of the 1st edition of the “DAM News” in 2021!  Chris does note that while his family is thriving, it is difficult for him to be away for two weeks at a time.

But besides that, he has nothing but gratitude for the opportunity he has had to work on the Project.  His current role with HME is challenging.  At the Generating Station there are 12 Draft Tube Maintenance Gates and 6 each of the Intake operational and Intake maintenance gates.  At the Spillways there are 6 Low Level operational gates, and 3 Radial Arm gates, each with their own maintenance gates.  So there are a total of 42 gates and their guides that need to be aligned with sub-millimeter tolerances in order to maintain their water sealing function.

It’s a challenge Chris is embracing!

Thanks Chris (and family) for taking on the challenge for almost 5 years!