Matt Baretich: Old Dog, New Tricks

We’re moving to Canada this summer! My wife, Denise, is a public health nurse, and we both want to experience working in a country that regards healthcare as a right.

There are a few steps to making that happen. Canada is careful about who it allows into the country, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The best option for us was the skills Immigration program, which allows entry to people who can do things that that Canada wants done. Simply put, we needed to find jobs!

If you want to call yourself an engineer in Canada, you need to be licensed as a professional engineer. The licensure process is designed for young, just-out-of-school engineering graduates. I have been licensed in the United States since 1987, so the hardest part of the process was shoehorning 40-plus years of eclectic engineering practice into the right pigeonholes.

Both of my grandfathers were born in Europe, brought to the United States as young children, given little education, and sent to work in the coal mines. Both of them escaped the mines and went on to good jobs above ground. Both of my grandmothers had similar histories of building lives and families in a new world.

There’s precedent in my family for moving on.

Thankfully, with the help of my Canadian biomedical engineering friends, I have found a job with Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) and Lower Mainland Biomedical Engineering (LMBME), where I’ll be sort of an internal consultant. I’ll also keep my Baretich Engineering consulting work running in the background.

VCH is one of the provincial health authorities in British Columbia. I’ll be based at Vancouver General Hospital, the flagship facility. LMBME provides clinical engineering and HTM support for VCH, Fraser Health Authority, Provincial Health Services Authority, and Providence Health Care.

The past couple of years have been challenging for me and for my family. Many times. I have had to remind myself of the Japanese saying, “Fall down six times, get up seven.”

In my experience, getting up often means returning to the track you were on. Less often, getting up means taking a new path. This is one of those uncommon times.

Matt Baretich is president and CEO of Baretich Engineering based in Fort Collins, CO. He can be reached at, on LinkedIn, and on Twitter (@baretich).

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