Meet the team: Gord Scobie

Gordon Scobie Meet the Team Graphic

At RVA, we’re building a close-knit community where professionals are empowered to bring their best selves to work, lead at every level in their careers, and form connections that last a lifetime. None of this would be possible without our people. That’s why, as part of our Employee Spotlight series, we’re giving you a chance to learn about the dedicated individuals who make it all happen – their careers, day to day life, and the passions and philosophies that inspire them.

In this interview, we’re thrilled to introduce you to one of our exceptional teammates: Gordon Scobie, our Transportation Lead in our Ottawa office.

Born and raised in our Nation’s Capital, Gordon (Gord) joined RVA in 2023 to continue his passion for safer streets and mindful transportation planning that considers all walks of life. A passion he discovered decades ago while delivering pizzas! As an industry leader and volunteer, Gord’s experience has taught him the importance of continually building networks, listening, and understanding the ‘why’. Learned experience that as a mentor, he now shares with so many up-and-coming young professionals looking to chart their own journey.

Here’s what Gord shared with us.

1. Tell us about a bit about yourself and your role at RVA.

I’m the Transportation Lead in Ottawa, responsible for growing our business and presence in the Nation’s Capital. With a young family, it’s never been more important for me to make our streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists. A nice thing about being in the Capital region, is the focus on active transportation and keeping our city beautiful, and a big part of my work is to help our clients make the most of the transportation options available to them, and to reduce car dependency.

Another big part of my role at RVA, is mentoring – taking time to show people how things are done, giving them ideas to improve current processes, and letting them explore that by always telling them, “This is the way we do it, but could we do it better?” I focus on maintaining an open-door policy and being approachable so we can all work through ideas and problems together. One piece of advice I always give young professionals is to continually build your networks. I encourage them to go to industry events, and when I get invitations, I’ll invite them to come with me. It’s all about being present and available for my team!

2. How did you get into transportation planning and what keeps you interested?

I used to live in the country, near the Village of Metcalfe, and because of that, I used to drive a lot. I even had a job as a pizza delivery driver back in the day, which required me to drive even more, and that led me to ask questions like, “Why is that traffic light red?” and I kind of fell into transportation planning that way!

I like the challenge of looking at a transportation problem through different lenses. Often people see a problem through their own eyes. For example, it might take me 15 minutes to get to work, but what about the person who is blind, or in a wheelchair, or 8 years old, or riding a bicycle? It probably takes them longer to get to where they’re going, and it’s likely a less comfortable journey. A huge part of transportation planning involves listening to people and acknowledging that everyone has unique obstacles, and then being the voice for these people who aren’t at the table where decisions are made.

3. How do you stay current with the latest advancements in your industry and use them in your work?

I’ve been volunteering with the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Canada since 2012. It’s a membership that brings together transportation professionals from across the country to learn, grow, and connect. I’m currently on ITE Canada’s Board, as the District Director representing the National Capital Section. Being a part of this organization has opened my eyes to what other cities are doing with their mobility networks, including successes and lessons learned. It’s a great place to build a network of colleagues and see a world outside the bubble you live in. One of the things I’m currently working on, is to increase the participation from students through our local chapter. I love the energy, enthusiasm, and the fresh ideas that students bring right out of school, so we’re looking to organize more industry networking events to help get them involved.

4. Can you tell us a little bit about the places you’ve visited and what struck you about their transportation networks?

Vancouver has a Skytrain network that I found very intuitive to use. It’s also nice that when you ride this train and look out the window, you see a scene from a postcard!

Iqaluit is another unique place I’ve been to. There are no traffic signals, roundabouts, or very many roads for that matter. An impressive amount of people walk despite there not being any real sidewalks.

The Prairies are impressively flat, and their transportation system is greatly influenced by that. Everything is very straight, and any curve in the road requires more warning systems than we’re used to in Ontario. There are also massive intersections, which is a luxury we don’t always have.

It’s so interesting to see how much landscape affects how things are built.

5. What do you see as the top benefits that your team can provide to clients?

Diversity – whether it’s age, gender, ethnicity, background, or different walks of life. We have a local diverse team, and that goes back to the core of transportation planning, which is being able to view things through different lenses. This also allows our team to engage in cross-marketing and connect clients with disciplines outside of transportation planning. When I’m meeting with a client and I see they have a water treatment problem, I know who to talk to because RVA has the resources in-house from our experience in delivering large, complex infrastructure projects.

We also provide training and growth opportunities through our Professional Development Hours. That helps our teams stay familiar to the latest advancements and it incentivizes them to continually innovate and improve how we do things.

Our team’s modelling capabilities are another one of our strengths. For example, we’re able to create traffic simulations using a program called PVT Vissim, which is a tool that can help clients visualize and observe the performance of intersections in real-time and in 3D.

RVA also has a number of sophisticated automation/macro tools developed in-house that help us manage data very effectively and accurately, which allows us to focus on developing the story. With every transportation project, there’s a story you’re trying to tell. What are today’s issues? What are the things we can do to mitigate those issues? What is our final recommendation? We can lay out the answers to those problems in current conditions, qualitatively and quantitatively, and then we can use our modelling capabilities to predict how we can improve and optimize things. We can test solutions thoroughly before implementation and deliver results accurately.

Finally, we’re also just very nice people to work with!

6. What’s your favourite thing about being part of #OneRVA?

Everyone’s on the same page: that’s the mantra here. Your success is my success, and vice versa. I’m Ottawa born and raised, but I have many opportunities to work on interesting projects outside the city I live in, like Toronto, Niagara, Sudbury, the Maritimes and our northern Territories. There’s an open-door policy with senior management here, and my favourite part is being able to work with great people, mentoring, and watching young staff grow into strong professionals.

7. What would we most likely find you doing in your spare time?

Chasing after my kids – 10 and 6 years old – playing hockey, and going snowboarding! I also play ultimate frisbee in the summer. I’ve been part of two different hockey leagues since my 20s, the Ottawa Travelers League and the Carleton Adult Hockey League, which other RVA members are part of too! I started snowboarding in my 20s, and me and my family visit Mont Tremblant every weekend, where my oldest snowboards and the youngest skis. Once a year, we also take a trip to Maine to ski at Sunday River. It’d be nice to take them all to the Canadian Rockies to ski Banff and Lake Louise!

Curious to learn more about the people behind the logo? Follow #RVAlife on our LinkedIn and Facebook as we continue to spotlight our team members, discover their stories, and follow their journeys.

If you’re already feeling the excitement, why wait? Take the next step in your career with us! Explore our current openings on our Careers page and join a team that is as diverse as the challenges we solve every day.