Father’s Day significant for tech whose dad influenced her choice to work in same, male-dominated career

14, Jun, 2023

EDMONTON, June 14, 2023 – For Fort McMurray resident Sharon Lefebvre, Father’s Day is an opportunity for her to take pause and reflect on her beloved father, Donald Elmer Hallonquist, in whose footsteps she followed for her own successful career as a geomatics engineering technologist.

Employed for many decades by Alberta Transportation, Hallonquist had extensive experience in surveying, geological testing, and road building. Well-known and respected for his work ethics, he built many of the highways on which Albertans drive.

“He was for many years an instrument man on the survey crew, responsible for running the crew, and for calculations and operating the instruments,” said Lefebvre. “I did that job for most of my own career. The key difference is he used a slide ruler and I, at first, used logarithm tables and a calculator, then eventually computer software programs.”

Lefebvre believes he attended the first year of what would have been the civil engineering program at the University of Alberta (around 1949). However, getting married and having a family put that on hold. He worked his way up through Alberta Transportation, starting off testing soil or working on a survey crew to eventually becoming project manager, then highways inspector.

He and his wife, Rose Marie, raised a large family of 13 kids - eight boys, five girls - who grew up on an acreage where they all participated in indoor and outdoor chores, such as gardening, caretaking animals, and snow shoveling. In the summer, each of them was allowed to go with their dad wherever he was stationed for a road building project.

When they became adults, many of them carried on the family legacy as employees of Alberta Transportation, including Lefebvre. It was then that she received her initial exposure to surveying work and decided that she liked it.

“My mom and dad always encouraged us to try new things. It didn't matter if the jobs were male-dominated. They believed that everyone was equal to the task,” said Lefebvre.

Her dad ultimately encouraged her to enrol at NAIT in the field of surveying technology, and was always available to answer her questions about calculations, theory or work procedures.

Lefebvre graduated from NAIT in 1986 and worked as a surveyor in road building until 1992 when she moved to Fort McMurray. There, she became employed with legal survey companies, which she is still doing to this day.

Her only note of sadness about her dad, who passed away in 2007, was that he hadn’t been able to complete his university education. On job sites, he endured some ribbing from his co-workers who had their degrees. It was only after his death that Lefebvre’s mom uncovered documents indicating that he had applied to and was accepted to continue his university education. However, he had never told them about it.

“Regardless of his academic achievements, I was very proud to be his daughter and have him as a role model,” said Lefebvre.

She has made a name for herself, doing work that would, in turn, make him proud. She became a member of the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET) the same year she graduated from NAIT. She earned her certified engineering technologist (CET) designation in 1990 and her professional technologist (PTech) designation in 2015. She began volunteering for ASET in 2016, and is currently a prior learning assessment and recognition (PLAR) assessor and advisor, file reviewer, and subject matter expert (SME).

“At ASET, we are always happy to see women pursuing careers in engineering technology - especially in the more traditionally male-dominated disciplines - as a result of their fathers’ love for the profession and leading by example,” said ASET CEO Barry Cavanaugh. “Hats off to the dads out there who, through their guidance, have helped increase the participation of women in the engineering technology profession, and to the daughters who have seen the wisdom in and value of careers in this dynamic profession.”

About ASET
ASET is the professional self-regulatory organization for engineering technologists and technicians in Alberta. ASET currently represents over 17,000 members, including full-time technology students, recent graduates and fully certified members in 21 disciplines and more than 120 occupations across a multitude of industries.

Media Contact:
Michele Penz, Calico Communications for ASET


Subscribe to our Newsletter