My Hallam Story
Alicia Racine

Base Office: South Burlington, VT


MEP Engineering

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Alicia Racine | BIM Technician

I was born in North Conway, NH to French Canadian parents who were working there at the time.  Our family returned to Québec when I was five years old where I was raised and did all my education in a French environment.  When I was about nine years old, I used to build Lego towns and wire tiny light bulbs in the buildings and streets. I fed the system with the power supply from my racetrack and controlled it with four low-voltage toggle switches. I also spent my time disassembling/reassembling electrical items. While in high school, I would spend my time drawing house floor plans and dreamt about becoming an architect, but in my final years, I fell in love with computer sciences. Despite my love for computers and electricity, I chose to continue my education in drafting and design at a technical college. After my studies, I worked thirty years for Stantec and WSP, the two largest Engineering firms in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Twenty-one of those years as a building electrical CAD technician, and nine as an I.T. Consultant/Support with office management duties.

I started my career at Stantec doing manual drafting for the building electrical department. Then one day my manager came up to me and said, “Alicia you’re learning CAD today!” … he sat me behind a 386 PC with zero knowledge and said… “learn.” Well, I fell in love with CAD… it was the best of all worlds, electrical, drafting, and computers. I eventually took on the I.T. Consultant/Support position when our office reached 50 employees, and when we reached 135, I realized this was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. So, I returned in building electrical to further my career. On my last day, the corporate I.T. manager called me... “Well, you proved me wrong Alicia! I didn’t want to give you this position nine years ago, but your manager insisted you could do the job. You proved that someone without a degree in Computer Science could do the job and exceed my expectations. You’ll be missed… good luck.” Wow! I was not expecting such a confession and I left the office gloating that day.

At Stantec and WSP, I worked with the Sr. Designers and Engineers to produce and design well-detailed and clear building electrical drawing sets, i.e.: lighting, power, systems, communication, fire alarm, single line diagrams, panel schedules, controls, details, etc. I have developed office Electrical CAD standards, tools, and menus for both companies and supported the CAD staff. Over the years, I have seen a wide variety of building electrical projects i.e.: schools, hospitals, commercial, residential, offices, high voltage distribution, parks, parking lot, museums, monuments, etc. I have also provided CAD services for the transportation, survey, structural, mechanical, and fire life safety departments.

My strengths are AutoCAD, managing large CAD projects, electrical site surveys, supporting the CAD staff, managing the electrical CAD standards, overseeing the quality of the deliverables, and assisting with design and calculations. I am a quick learner, self-taught, curious, and organized. I love the personal reward of a job well done at the end of a project when the client and my colleagues are happy. My most memorable projects have always been the most challenging ones. I strongly believe that it does not take any longer to do something well vs sloppy. It is all about developing good habits.

In my personal life… I love Formula 1, photography, shopping, traveling, kayaking, and cycling.  My go-to happy place activity is rock climbing because it relieves my anxiety and stress, and it makes me forget life’s problems... as weird as that may sound. I have dual citizenship (Canada/USA) and I am bilingual (French/English).  I am openly transgender and love talking about my transition. I started my journey in Jan. 2018, and it has been by far the hardest but most rewarding personal accomplishment in my life.

In March 2020, the pandemic closed the border and my partner, and I were no longer able to reunite.  After 5 months of separation, I sold my house, quit my career at WSP, and moved to Burlington Vermont. After arriving, I quickly realized that there was not an abundance of engineering firms with opportunities here compared to Ottawa.  Then in Nov. 2022, I finally found a CAD/BIM Specialist employment opportunity at Hallam-ICS on Indeed.  I read the company's mission statement and I was so impressed… I just had to work there! I applied and after a long hiring process, I finally landed my first career in the USA.

I am so happy to join the Hallam-ICS family and to spread my recently transitioned wings for an employer who’s never known me previously. I had such a warm welcome and it felt so good being back in an engineering firm after a long absence. There is so much potential for career growth here and I still cannot believe that I landed such an amazing opportunity. I am looking forward to sharing my experience with everyone and tackling the challenges that lie ahead of me, especially to becoming as proficient with REVIT as I am with AutoCAD. I am going to love working here.

Thank you, Hallam-ICS, for allowing me to join your family.