March 2, 2020
Leave Ordinary Behind: Q&A with Laureen Lok
Whether she is managing the upgrade of a system that helps aircraft safely navigate the skies in Canada or singing one of her favourite songs, Laureen Lok has discovered that her voice can move people.
With more than a decade of experience working in technical operations at NAV CANADA, here’s how Laureen leaves ordinary behind.
WHAT IS YOUR ROLE AND HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING AT NAV CANADA?
I am a technical operations coordinator and have worked at NAV CANADA for 15 years. I have a degree in Telecommunications Engineering Technology, which helped me secure my role with the company.
HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE WHAT YOU DO FOR A LIVING TO YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS?
As a technical operations coordinator in Edmonton, I am part of a team that provides technical support coordination for Edmonton’s Flight Information Region. In Canada, Flight Information Regions are large sections of airspace that NAV CANADA uses to coordinate safe, efficient and orderly flow of air traffic. Edmonton is one of seven Flight Information Regions in Canada
There are many complex systems and separate pieces of equipment that are required to ensure the safe movement of aircraft. Some of these systems, for example, display the location, speed and altitude of aircraft, and other systems allow air traffic controllers to communicate with pilots. My colleagues and I ensure that these key systems, along with all of NAV CANADA’s navigational equipment, are operational. If a system or piece of equipment requires maintenance, we make sure they are serviced in a safe and timely fashion.
Our team is responsible for monitoring the integrity of all surveillance, navigation, communication, radar and power systems across Canada. We also coordinate and initiate service restoration if there is any kind of failure, degradation, or loss of data to any of these systems.
These responsibilities help to ensure the integrity of the systems and data used to provide air navigation services to pilots flying in Canadian airspace.
Whenever we are assessing or repairing a system or a piece of equipment, we maintain constant communication with both external and internal agencies. We ensure everyone involved is kept informed and provide solutions to minimize the impact on our operations, while maintaining a high level of safety.
WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO WORK AT NAV CANADA?
The technology and the uniqueness of working in the aviation industry is what attracted me to NAV CANADA. My job can be fast paced and exciting.
WHAT HAS SURPRISED YOU ABOUT THE CAREER PATH YOU HAVE CHOSEN?
The opportunity to experience working in the different areas of the Air Navigation Services Technology group has allowed me to expand my knowledge of modern air traffic control systems. No day on the job is ever the same.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE CONSIDERING A CAREER AT NAV CANADA?
Don’t limit your dreams. Follow your passion. If you are someone who likes to solve unique challenges and are prepared to work hard, success will follow with a career at NAV CANADA.
HOW HAS COVID-19 IMPACTED YOUR WORK?
Even though the volume of air traffic has reduced since COVID-19 started, my duties and responsibilities as a technical operations coordinator have remained the same. My team’s daily tasks continue with unplanned and planned equipment outages, coordination with internal and external agencies, and most importantly, ensuring equipment and system service availability with prompt restoration for our air traffic controllers and the flying public. We utilize different workstations and equipment to physically distance our team members and follow strict cleaning protocols to ensure all employees stay safe and healthy. Hopefully these unfortunate events will soon pass, as we all work together to get through these challenging times.
HOW DO YOU RECHARGE?
I recharge by hitting the gym. I’m also passionate about music and enjoy playing the piano and singing.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT TO DATE?
Over the last couple of years, I have been working with a vocal instructor. My biggest personal achievement to date would be the great amount of time, dedication and commitment I have put in to preparing for my first singing competition. One of the biggest challenges I had to face in this whole process was overcoming the fear of singing in front of a crowd.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF AS YOUR CAREER PROGRESSED?
I learned to take opportunities as they are presented. This approach has allowed me to develop both personally and professionally.
Leave Ordinary Behind is an ongoing series that shines a spotlight on people who have pursued unique careers at NAV CANADA.
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