2019 40 Under 40: Mustafa Mirza, M.A.Sc., P.Eng, PMP

Sept. 13, 2019
Mustafa Mirza, M.A.Sc., P.Eng, PMP, Director, Rail Systems Engineering, WSP Canada
  • One word to describe yourself: Passionate
  • Alma Mater: University of Toronto,
  • Favorite TV show: “Seinfeld” (still watch reruns whenever I can)
  • Favorite movie: “The Godfather”
  • Favorite hobby(s): Family time
  • Favorite station or stop that you have ever visited or frequent (and why) – Toronto Union Station at peak times – multimodal station where people are gathering and dispersing, in a hurry to get to work, home, school, vacations and events. I always visualize the “control center” perspective of trains, busses, taxis, bikes to watch the flow of people.
  • Favorite route you have ever ridden or frequent (and why) – TTC Line 2 – I rode almost the entire length of this line every day during the summer of 1999 for my summer job. This was the first time I truly explored the city by learning the station names, which correspond to street names and local neighborhoods. This experience connected me to my city in a new way.

Mustafa Mirza brings more than 15 years of engineering experience towards functional design and development, requirements definition and analysis, and client service and support. Mirza has been part of international teams that have delivered projects around the globe including in Malaysia and Qatar, before moving to Canada to work with WSP Canada.  

Mirza’s notable rail project contributions include Metrolinx Union Station Rail Corridor Signaling (USRC), Metrolinx GO Transit Train Control System (GTCS) and the Edmonton Metro Line Expansion. For both the USRC and GTCS projects, Mirza led the systems engineering effort in planning and managing of requirement generation, analysis and traceability. His experience and lessons learned in analysis work of rail systems in his earlier roles were invaluable assets for his new role on the USRC and GTCS projects.

For the Edmonton Metro Line Expansion Project, Mirza supported the Signaling and Train Control Strategy, taking into consideration the challenging operating conditions on the existing Metro Line at the time. Additionally, he provided support on the Electromagnetic Interference/Electromagnetic Compatibility Study Plan for the project. Mirza continued his role in systems engineering by providing technical leadership towards the development of systems requirements during the project’s preliminary design phase. Mirza regularly traveled between Toronto and Edmonton to ensure that the project proceeded smoothly and that the newly formed team in the west was well managed. His current role finds him regularly traveling between Canada’s metropolitan centers in support of team growth and to apply his lessons learned.

Mirza’s co-workers note he has evolved from a highly skilled technical expert into a motivated leader and credit his ability to practice mindfulness, which has resulted in an inclusive team. Mirza also works to improve corporate culture at WSP through continuous improvement initiatives such as the labor forecast tool to indicate staff utilization and predict future workload, which has been vital for resourcing. He has led the development of an innovative tool for railway design, operations and maintenance, which will be used to modernize the way in which his teams work.

Colleagues describe Mirza as a change-maker with the ability to ignite this same mindset in everyone with whom he works.  

“Working with my team [is what I enjoy about my job]. From juniors to seniors, from analysts to engineer[s], from the team and management to the executives, the people at WSP are very supportive. I look forward to Mondays to take on new challenges every week.”

“I grew up in an immigrant family in Canada with aspirations of becoming an astronaut one day. I followed my passion for space exploration for the first five years of my career. The accomplishment that I’m most proud of is a successful career change from aerospace to public transit. This required tremendous, continuous support from my wife, and positive encouragement from my parents. I really enjoy watching the direct benefit to the public due to my efforts. That sense of satisfaction keeps me motivated. I am proud to be a role model for my son, all my nieces, and the young professionals in the public transit industry.”

“This is not specific to my area of expertise. My advice to everyone is to focus on performance – meaning just do your job well. If you perform well, you will be recognized, and you will get more opportunities.”