The Faces of Modern Niagara: Meet 3 of Our VDC Designers

Lopa Shah

Growing up with a father who is a mechanical engineering consultant, CAD sketches and drawings were a familiar sight for Lopa Shah at a very young age. As a child, she knew she wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps and ultimately work with CAD drawings and virtual models.

Lopa Shah Photo

Lopa started her career as a civil engineer at the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology and as a Lecturer and Professor at the LD College of Engineering. Upon moving to Canada, Lopa began taking on roles in BIM/CAD with a focus on mechanical systems. She joined Modern Niagara as a VDC Designer in 2012 and has since focused on coordinating the development of fabricable and installable virtual models, and more recently, sending these models directly to the shop for manufacturing. Her focus includes training junior staff, coordinating modelling for client projects, and supporting the company’s innovative technological initiatives. Her goal is to ensure that collaboration with teams in the field begins early in the game in order to ensure a smooth workflow on job sites.

Outside of work, Lopa hikes, plays piano, and enjoys reading on her swing in the rain while drinking tea. She also spends her weekends giving back to her community.


Steve Murray

Steve Murray PhotoWith a childhood dream of becoming an architect, Steve Murray got into construction after moving to Calgary in 2014 – first in cladding and then in HVAC. His passion for working on larger projects, like stadiums and hospitals, landed him at Modern Niagara in 2016. Since then, he has become a Red Seal Journeyman, working on projects of all scales where he learned how the equipment works and how to install it. Yet, to satisfy a desire to understand why mechanical systems are installed the way they are, he went on a journey to learn 3D design independently, from Blender and Unreal Engine to the CAD software used for VDC, using resources that are readily available online. It did not take long for him to be matched to his current role as VDC Designer working on the same project where he once installed HVAC systems – the Calgary Cancer Centre (CCC).

Steve enjoys working on complex projects, like the CCC. For him, it is the opportunity to use his problem-solving muscle that is most intriguing. On his career bucket list, his dream projects are those which are of great importance to society with the potential to have a positive impact on many lives.

Outside of work, Steve produces music, plays online games, and hikes. If he could go back in time, he would tell younger Steve that he can teach himself whatever he needs to move ahead and to never feel like he can’t change the position he’s in.


Aven Wu

Aven Wu PhotoAs a child, he didn’t know what engineering or architecture was, but he knew he was drawn to nice buildings. Having moved to Canada from China to complete an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at Dalhousie University, Aven Wu’s first real job was at Modern Niagara in 2016. He has since worked on a variety of projects in Alberta and is currently a VDC Designer leading the mechanical room design at the Calgary Cancer Centre. In the future, he hopes to work on a P3 project where he could dive even deeper into the design of building systems and strengthen his understanding of what makes a truly realistically installable 3D model. He especially  enjoys learning about the latest technologies in the construction industry. He finds industry events like Autodesk University particularly eye opening and inspiring. In fact, if he could back in time, he would advise his younger self to begin engaging with similar events earlier in his career.

Aven is motivated and empowered by being able to see the impact of his work first hand on the job site and the vast savings that his work results in.

Outside of work, Aven enjoys hiking and camping. He is also exploring carpentry and working on his home projects.


Join Lopa, Steve, Aven, and the rest of our VDC team.
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