Project management, European style
By Oksana Yansen
Already by the young age of 29, engineering alumnus Kamil Mroz (BASc ’10) has made his mark as a project manager, engineer, entrepreneur and philanthropist.
In 2014, the Faculty of Engineering presented its Young Alumnus / Alumna Award of Excellence to Mroz, in recognition of his impressive career and social involvement. He has since gone on to undertake one of his most exciting ventures yet—starting his own company.
Mroz graduated from the University of Ottawa in 2010 with two degrees, a BASc in chemical engineering and a BSc in biochemistry. Afterwards, he moved to Brussels to complete a master’s in international relations at the University of Kent’s Brussels School of International Studies.
After graduating, he decided to stay in the Belgian capital, where he worked as a trainee at the European Parliament, a program coordinator with the Healthcare Information and Managements Systems Society (HIMSS), a health and safety officer for the European Cement Association and an engineer at Novo Nordisk Engineering (NNE) Pharmaplan.
In 2013, the International Project Management Association named him Young Project Manager of the Year.
In early 2015, Mroz launched his own project management consulting firm, the European Centre for Project Excellence Scs. Since then, he has developed a name for himself as a top-tier project manager and is often invited to speak to young people about how they too can break into this exciting field.
So why did a young engineering student decide to pursue a career in project management?
“As a student at uOttawa, I started getting involved in many clubs and organizations, eventually managing Quo Vadis, a conference to empower young leaders in the Polish-Canadian community. I would classify this as my first project management experience,” explains Mroz.
The Quo Vadis youth leadership conference was created to help student members of the Polish diaspora to network, gain leadership skills and reconnect with their heritage. It was launched in 2009 and is held annually in Canada. Quo Vadis conferences are also held in the USA and Australia.
Mroz says the experience played a vital role in shaping his career ambitions.
“I learned many lessons, including the value of leadership, as well as having a mentor and intuitive project management skills. Although this was my first exposure to taking the lead on a project, it sparked a passion in me for ‘all things PM.’ It lit a fire in me to strive to become a professional project manager.”
Quo Vadis also illustrated Mroz’s eagerness to help people.
“I deeply believe that we have a responsibility to positively shape the community in which we live. This is something that I’m passionate about. Seeing the results of creating positive social change is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world,” he says.
Mroz took this spirit with him to Brussels, where he organized another successful event-based initiative, called Your Future in Brussels.
“In 2012, I initiated this project in response to the socioeconomic situations in which youth were finding themselves. Young people in Europe have been hit particularly hard by the recession. As a witness to this, I couldn’t just stand around and do nothing.”
The event brought recent graduates together with human resource professionals and role models.
“It was a humble idea that combined inspirational panels, workshops, practical advice and micro-mentoring. Since the inception of the project, it has been able to help more than 1,000 young people in Brussels and has become a successful model for tackling youth unemployment in various parts of Europe, such as Latvia, Poland and the United Kingdom.”
The University of Ottawa is proud to count Mroz among its alumni. Professor David Taylor, chair of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, applauds his former student.
“Kamil embodies the characteristics we seek in today’s engineer: technical expertise, finely honed management skills and a keen sense of social responsibility. As such, he is an outstanding role model for our engineering students and a source of great pride for us all,” says Taylor.
While this multi-talented young professional has had a shining career so far, his greatest sense of accomplishment comes from the people in his life.
“I think that, to an extent, my dreams have been fulfilled. I have a beautiful wife, a family who cares about me and great friends—what more can you ask for?”
And Mroz wants to share his skills with you. His company is currently looking for students or graduates who would be interested in coming to Europe to participate in an immersion program centred on leadership, project management and strategic consulting. If you are interested in such an opportunity, please contact him at [email protected].
Karim Mroz: “I deeply believe that we have a responsibility to positively shape the community in which we live." Photo: Bonnie Findley