Rising Stars 2021: Fluor Canada manager working to break down construction project silos

Shannon DaCosta

Editor’s note: We’ll be running all Rising Stars Class of 2021 profiles over the next two weeks. Today, we profile Shannon DaCosta.

As someone who has always wanted to see the bigger picture, after graduating in civil engineering from Dalhousie University, Shannon DaCosta was attracted to a combination of the construction and engineering industries.

A job with Fluor Canada in Calgary, which also introduced her to the oil and gas industry, offered her that opportunity. “It was really the opportunity that I gravitated to,” says DaCosta, who as Canada regional manager develops and manages the AWP (Advanced Work Packaging) program across all Fluor Canada projects. The AWP process provides a more collaborative approach for detailed project planning and execution.

Offered an opportunity to be part of AWP, DaCosta jumped at the chance. “I said if I can be part of something new and exciting that brings people together and breaks down barriers and shows the bigger picture of what we’re trying to achieve on our projects, then I’m all for it,” she recalls.

“Over time, we have actually been successful in elements of it and we’ve been able to broaden that scope of just the construction planning, which was the Work Force Planning, to the overall planning of the project delivery,” says DaCosta. For the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) company, that has involved integrating the construction and commissioning groups early on in the project planning to really define that work.

“It’s more of: how do we partner with our clients and our vendors and our suppliers and how do we get this information, and really break down the silos that we always see between the disciplines, to come up with a plan and work towards goals and outcomes that are shared, and in sequence.”

DaCosta shared the regional manager and AWP manager position on the Shell-backed, $41-billion LNG Canada export facility in Kitimat, B.C., the single biggest private sector project in Canadian history.

Earlier, she spent a total of 4½ years in design, project and field engineer positions on the Northwest Refining Sturgeon refinery project in Edmonton. “My peers and I were sort of on this journey together and we were really fortunate in the sense to see a project from inception to mechanical completion,” says DaCosta. “And when you learn the life cycle of a project like that, I think it’s incredibly invaluable.”

In her current position, she “really, really enjoys” its collaborative nature. “I get to work with people with all functions and disciplines on the project, and corporately, to build more collaborative environments and ecosystems of information,” says DaCosta. “Making people more efficient and driving [safer] solutions for a client and in the industry — that’s something that’s really fun for me to do.”

  In addition, “the nature of AWP seems to attract people who want to do things differently, want to be innovative, to think outside the box, who want to do their work with a purpose and that really resonates with me,” she says. “And so working with individuals like that [who] share those qualities is really quite great.”

DaCosta enjoys talking to people and understanding where they’re coming from and believes that has become one of her strengths as she has developed some understanding of the challenges and drivers for the trades. Starting in the field at 19 as one of the only females on a site, she found that simply listening and asking questions was her secret weapon in terms of breaking down barriers.

“And so I’ve learned, I think through that, the necessity to engage with people and get people to build that trust and build that rapport with someone,” says DaCosta. “I think in turn it’s really strengthened my ability to ask the right questions in the way that someone feels comfortable answering them or understands, perhaps, the greater perspective that I’m trying to get to.”  

On the personal side, the first shut down due to COVID that sent everyone home to work remotely occurred the week that DaCosta was supposed to return to work from maternity leave and her son to start daycare. But it also brought her husband, who also works in the industry, home from a project. And while working from home at times has been challenging, “it’s given me the ability to continue my career but also be there for my family.”

Rising Stars: Sponsors

Fluor Canada

Fluor has provided engineering, procurement, fabrication, construction, and project management services to Canada’s energy industry for 72 years. Its 43,000 employees globally (and 3,000+ across Canada) deliver comprehensive services — from conceptual design through to commissioning and maintenance — for all types and sizes of facilities. Fluor applies its broad expertise, extensive experience, and proven technology to benefit Canada’s energy transition in areas such as liquefied natural gas, carbon capture, hydrogen, renewable fuels, small modular reactors, and minerals mining. Fluor is committed to positively contributing to Canada’s energy tomorrow by focusing on safe and sustainable solutions today. This commitment includes focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion to ensure opportunities represent the diversity of Canada’s population and support reconciliation, partnerships, and benefit-sharing with Indigenous peoples. 


 geoLOGIC systems ltd.

geoLOGIC systems ltd. is based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and has been providing high-quality, integrated data and analytics to the upstream oil and gas industry in Western Canada and elsewhere for almost 40 years. geoLOGIC’s relentless focus on innovation, quality, and service has made it the trusted standard in the upstream Canadian industry. Customers include exploration and production companies in oil & gas and related products; pipeline and midstream companies; service companies; the financial sector government and regulatory organizations, and educational institutions. Key products include geoSCOUT, a decision-support tool providing high quality data and analytics for all disciplines within the oil and gas industry, and gDC, geoLOGIC’s comprehensive upstream oil and gas database. 

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