Alicia Du started in international trading

HJT Steel played a substantial role in the construction of the Brucejack mine.

by Jillian Clark
Alicia Du, general manager of HJT Steel Tower North America Co. Ltd., is standing inside a large steel cylinder.

Alicia Du is the general manager of HJT Steel Tower North America Co. Ltd. — Photo courtesy HJT Steel

Alicia Du has worked in international trading for over 30 years. She joined the industry straight out of post-secondary school and immediately took to its challenging, yet rewarding qualities. “I very much enjoy working in this field bringing international customers—some of which are Canadian and Chinese suppliers—together,” she said.

Her foundation of the North American sector of HJT Steel was a deliberate yet natural transition in 2013. “I realized there was a good business opportunity in transmission and communication towers in the Canadian market,” she said. At the time, the parent company tower manufacturer in China was relatively new, and Du was ready for the challenging nature of the company’s projects.

Challenge and success

Now Du is the general manager of HJT Steel Tower North America Co. Ltd., a job that promises its own challenges and successes. “I work on two shifts,” she said. “During the daytime, I spend most of my time meeting with potential clients and doing business development. In the evening, when China starts working on the other side of the world, I get in contact with the manufacturer and manage the current projects on a high level.”

It’s not easy managing the gap between Chinese manufacturers and North American clients. Cultural differences are typically the most challenging hurdle Du deals with on a regular basis. However, her previous experience working with international suppliers gives her the skill set necessary to tackle new situations daily. “I learn something new every day,” she said.

HJT North America’s main products are high-quality steel lattice towers and steel pole power transmission towers for clients across a range of industries and projects. The company also has experience creating off-shore wind farm poles, high-speed train power transmission brackets, solar brackets and heavy-duty structural steel. Aside, HJT’s team provides construction expertise along the way.

Honesty and commitment

Through all her work, Du values honesty and commitment. “Whether at work or in personal life, I strive to be honest with everyone and commit to my responsibilities and promises,” she said. These values contribute to the success of HJT North America.

Her company’s success—and the success of the projects they are involved in—is personally rewarding for Du. “There is nothing more satisfying than receiving a call or an email when our clients inform us that our towers have been erected and are in service,” she said.

HJT Steel Tower North America at Brucejack

On April 1, 2017, Du received an email from Pretivm Resources Inc. stating that the Brucejack transmission line had been energized. “Hearing the completion of the project after a long year of hard work on April Fool’s Day made me wonder if it was a friendly joke,” she said. It wasn’t a joke, but this news ranks as one of her proudest moments.

Completing the Brucejack transmission towers ranks as one of Alicia Du's proudest moments. The photo shows the transmission line crossing rocky terrain.

Completing the Brucejack transmission towers ranks as one of Du's proudest moments. — Photo courtesy HJT Steel

HJT Steel played a substantial role in the construction of the Brucejack mine. They supplied the steel structures and foundations for the transmission line but also took on an active role during construction. “Whenever there were questions for us on site, we would timely fly to Stewart to help troubleshoot and resolve these questions as soon as possible,” Du said.

The project has been labelled “world class difficulty” because of the expanse covered by the transmission lines and elements of the area. “Our structures and foundations had to be very rigid,” Du said. “In addition, all constructions were to be done with helicopter lifting without land access.” This means that all the components of the towers had to be strong but not exceed the helicopters’ lifting limits.

The unique ring-shaped foundations, need for large and strong structures to withstand glacier elements, and the construction limitations made the success of this difficult project extremely rewarding for HJT in the end.

However, Du’s team does not take all the credit for Brucejack’s transmission towers. “Our success in the Brucejack project—and any other projects we have been involved in—can only be achieved because we are surrounded by experts,” Du said, “with their expertise in logistics, design, construction or project management.”

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