Elio Dicorato chose to pursue an engineering degree at Queen’s due to his passion for problem solving, puzzles, and collaboration. An Engineering Chemistry student, he is currently interning at ACCIONA, a global sustainable infrastructure company.

Engineering Chemistry can be challenging, as it is a mix of both a chemical engineering degree and a chemistry degree,” he says. “I realized quickly that I had to closely collaborate with my classmates to be successful. The teamwork aspect has been a highlight of my studies, and so I envisioned a job where I was able to combine my collaboration and problem-solving skills. I found that in ACCIONA.”

At the end of his third year of study, Dicorato decided to undertake an internship to expand his skillset and business acumen. For the past nine months he has worked full-time as a Business Development Coordinator for ACCIONA in North America, based in the Toronto office.

ACCIONA is a global, sustainable infrastructure company that designs, builds, finances, maintains and operates mega projects that make a positive impact on society and the environment, including in transportation, renewable energy, and water treatment. It is building some of the biggest infrastructure projects in British Columbia.

“I am part of a team of over 40,000 international professionals in more than 40 countries, and it is rare to be able to tap into that breadth of knowledge and expertise,” says Dicorato.

The Business Development Coordinator role involves working with two departments – Business Development (BD) and Bids – and project managing both BD and pre-construction tasks. It is a unique opportunity to gain exposure to the earliest stages of a project, and to understand how these key business functions work together.

“Every day is different, and I am always learning,” he says. “I research and track project opportunities in key markets across North America, from Ontario to Vancouver and Miami to California. I also support the bids and proposals team to pre-qualify and submit proposals to win new projects. As well, I attend industry learning and networking events to represent the business and create connections.”




On the BD side, Dicorato works with the Vice President of Business Development for North America to create Joint Venture (JV) teams for each project, which can involve meeting other construction companies and engineering firms. In tandem, he supports the Bids team by compiling information for all aspects of a project pursuit: scope, the proposed JV team, sustainability analysis, contract model overview, preparation of the submissions, and more.

“ACCIONA is always undertaking something exciting,” he says, “whether a corporate initiative or a project, and my academic studies have helped me more than I could have anticipated. I have been able to balance competing deadlines, respond to changing priorities, collaborate with colleagues across various departments, and communicate with individuals at various levels of seniority.”

Dicorato has been able to develop skills in collaboration, leadership, critical thinking, problem solving, networking, and general organization. A valuable lesson he’s learned is how to manage conflicting tasks and prioritize. “ACCIONA has helped me develop the confidence to ask questions if I don’t understand or need further information to complete a task.”

He recalls an incident during his first month on the job when he sent an introductory email to a senior executive at an engineering company saying he worked for Martin Landry, the Vice President of Business Development (a Queen’s alumni from 2000). “When he learned of it, Martin immediately came to my desk to correct me. He said, ‘you don’t work for me. You work with me.’”

Dicorato found this approach fostered a positive and motivating environment, especially for those more junior in their careers like himself, and that it encourages personal and professional development.

“I would highly recommend a career in Infrastructure. The opportunities to learn are endless and there are so many knowledgeable, interesting people to meet. Seize every opportunity you can!”

 Learn more about a degree in Engineering Chemistry here




This article is relevant to the following Strategic Actions as defined in the Queen's Engineering Strategic Plan:

r r