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One on One with the 2021 OPMC Winners

Event Highlights

I had a chance to sit down on April 21 and speak with this year's winners of the 2021 Ontario Project Management Competition (OPMC) on Google Meet. We had a great conversation about several aspects of their experience competing in OPMC. Here is a brief understanding of their winning project.

 

The team hails from Durham College and decided to develop a website promoting green initiatives and local products to encourage green living within their school and community.

 

Their project objective aligns with the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) by supporting local green businesses and the use of sustainable products and services:

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  • #9 Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • #12 Responsible Consumption and Production

 

Meet the Team

Let me introduce each member of DC GreenSite.

Lauren Proulx

Lauren was the team lead for this project and comes from a construction background. She is in the process of completing a Project Management course at Durham College and is aiming to achieve her PMP certification.

 

Saif Ahmed

Saif just immigrated to Canada in March 2021 from India and came onto the project with an Electrical Engineering background. He enrolled in the Project Management course at Durham College when he arrived and is pursuing a PMP certification among his other achievements.

 

Matthew Zigelstein

Matthew just recently graduated with a Bachelors in Business Technology Management from Ryerson University. Last year, he decided to pursue a career in Project Management which led him to the Durham Project Management Program and to OPMC.

 

Marc Monfredi (MM)

Marc has a strong background in environment and construction. He previously graduated from the Architectural Technologist Program at Durham and his interest in the Project Management Program brought him back. He too would like to attain his PMP certification.

 

Ian D’ Sousa (IS)

Ian has a finance background and has worked previously for one of top banks in Canada. After some self-reflection during the pandemic he decided to enter the Project Management program at Durham College to challenge himself. By finishing the program, he hopes a Project Management career will be the path to his future.

 

Q&A with the DC GreenSite Team

1.  What was your project about and what were the

      circumstance that brought you all together?

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DC Green Matters – Green Website with initiatives around the Durham region – Passion Project

Lauren Proulx – DC Green Matters was the name of our project and it was our attempt to address several Sustainable Development Goals: 9, 11 and 12. It was to support the local industry and to promote responsible consumption. Our aim was to put a spotlight on the sustainable initiatives at Durham College. We created a prototype website where we helped bring in information, and there were links to sustainable solutions: green lifestyle, Durham College sustainable initiatives, and local business in the same field.

Ian D’ Sousa – It was a passion project for all of us once we got hold of what we wanted to deliver. This was a great challenge to us professionally. It also benefited the local community. In our experience with Durham, we’ve had great mentorship over the course, and it felt right to give back.

Saif Ahmed – Once our professors mentioned the OPMC to us we were brainstorming different ideas and meeting virtually since January of this year. The idea of having a sustainable website was what brought us together. We all met in class and we all attended the same course so that made it easier to work together.

 

2.  What were some of the challenges the team faced during the project?

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Budget, fear of the unknown, and time differences between continents.

Marc Monfredi – Kickstarting the project right from day one was challenging. We were unsure of what we wanted to accomplish. There were lots of questions and not many answers. Fortunately, we had good guidance from our professors who directed us on how we should overcome them. We did not possess experience in a contest before and there was a lot of fear on how it would turn out. At the end of the day we worked as a group, divided the tasks, and conquered every stage of the competition.

Saif Ahmed – Another issue was that there was no budget for this project. Thanks to the available college resources, we were able to make full use of them. Another challenge was the time difference. I was in India throughout the preparation of this project, and the four of them would meet during the day in Toronto which was very late in India.

3.  How was the team structured?

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Leadership in our group was one of our biggest challenges that turned into our biggest advantage. There are 5 Big Brains on this Project!

Lauren Proulx – Leadership in our group was one of our biggest challenges that turned into our biggest advantage. Every member of the team had a strength that I did not possess. For instance, Marc had the creativity (all ideas that had to be brought into concrete ideas), while Ian and Saif aligned the concrete ideas into a real structure. Matthew was brought in after the project initiation, when we realized we needed someone to focus on getting the website up and running.

Marc Monfredi – Lauren’s leadership was very valuable to the team and I am very grateful every member of the team made a huge impact.

Ian D’ Sousa – There are 5 Big Brains on this Project! From ideation to delivery we all had a part in delivering this project and we had great leadership that makes a strong team any day of the week.

 

4.  What were some of the successes your team had during the project?

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Great Mentorship and Support from every member of Durham College. We bonded as a team through the whole experience.

 Lauren Proulx – We would have not gone through this without the great mentorship from Professor Elaine Catell and Mark Lewis. They were our greatest cheerleaders especially with the academic burden we were facing. Us as a team, we bonded very well and spent hours talking about everything in this world.

Ian D’ Sousa – We got the synergy going!

Matthew Zigelstein – The personal side of things really made a difference in understanding and bonding as a team.

 

5.  How did you find your overall experience competing in OPMC? 

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Loved the challenge. The biggest honor was when Max Wideman praised us and mentioned how “Sophisticated” our presentation was.

Saif Ahmed – I enjoyed it a lot, I don’t know how the day passed. It went so fast.

Matthew Zigelstein – To be a little candid, it was a little bit stressful because of the course load. The pressure was encouraging; how in short time we intelligently came up with the product that we had to deliver. I enjoyed the challenge.

Lauren Proulx – There was an excitement as well. We were the first team from the college that got recognized and given the push to take part in this contest. Encouragement from class members, professors and from the whole community. OPMC was the most realistic project in our academic program and it allowed us to experience every stage of a project. A great learning experience.

Ian D’ Sousa – The actual experience of the presentation was very neat. Having professional Project Manager’s giving positive feedback on our presentation. The biggest honour was when Max Wideman praised us and mentioned how “Sophisticated” our presentation was.

Marc Monfredi – I learnt a lot personally and was truly inspired. We did not want to disappoint, and we were thriving to succeed in this competition. OPMC meetings with the group were always my favourite.

6.  How did winning the competition benefit and assist you

      in your career goals?