Director, Community and Indigenous Projects
David’s unique role is an intersection between community engagement and engineering design, in which Indigenous visions, goals, and aspirations for in-community infrastructure projects are transformed into reality. As the newest member of Hatch’s Community Engagement practice, David supports the development of culturally appropriate projects with community vision at the forefront. David’s already successful delivery of the Stony Point Temporary Housing Project for the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation, and the BC First Nations Housing & Infrastructure Council—along with his background in infrastructure, passion for delivering meaningful work, and a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Leeds—uniquely qualifies him for the role. David Johnson joined Hatch in 2008 as part of the Rail group in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. His work on the Halifax Shipyard took David to Nova Scotia, where he ran Hatch’s Buildings practice for Eastern Canada before starting his new role.
In his spare time, David enjoys spending time with his family and getting outdoors, be it camping, hiking, fly fishing, or canoeing—anything that gets him outside and connected to nature.
What does positive change mean to you?
“Having a positive impact on the world is no longer a choice—it's an imperative. As engineers, we’re at the forefront of creating positive change. Tied together with a community vision, aspirations for a better future, and inclusion of Indigenous traditional practices, we can ensure that development continues in a responsible way. In this role, I’m on the forefront to deliver projects this way and there’s no better feeling.”
How are you changing the world?
“My energy is consciously directed to positively impact someone or something, one step at a time. Added together, it's a larger contribution. As part of my role, I’m thoughtful about the way my work can have a direct positive impact towards reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples—it’s important for me personally, and for all Canadians to consider the impact they can make. Tying that together with meaningful projects and seeing our community clients’ visions ‘come to life’ for the very first time are the moments that I cherish.”
What do you think are the toughest challenges facing your clients?
“In working with First Nations communities, I’m humbled by the challenges faced such as poverty and intergenerational trauma from residential schools. Understanding these hurdles and being open-minded to solutions that help community—including helping to access available aid and build for the future generations—is immensely gratifying.”
What are you most proud of?
“My work on Stony Point’s Temporary Housing Project was one of the most profound project deliverables of my career. Hatch led the engagement process to establish a community housing and infrastructure vision at the former Camp Ipperwash. Now, community members are living in brand new healthy homes with heat, running water, and amenities that we often take for granted. Due to COVID-19, I supported the project remotely but I recently visited the community for the first time. To see all of the new homes and associated infrastructure in person was an incredible moment. I’m beyond fortunate to have been given the opportunity to contribute to this meaningful project.”
What do you like most about working at Hatch? How do you think the Hatch culture is different from other companies?
“The camaraderie and teamwork at Hatch make a difference. People are always willing to go the extra mile to help on projects and deliver unprecedented results for our clients. It’s built right into our Manifesto. The Manifesto sets the direction and tone of the company and what we do. It affects everything in our working lives. Hatch also has such a depth of resources and opportunity for growth. I’m able to move from Hatch Infrastructure to a more socially focused (but still engineering) role. You can do that in a company like Hatch and that’s not always the case elsewhere.”