Cycling toward a greener future
Published29 October, 2021
Photo credit Alia Youssef
CapU student researching bike-friendly developments in Vancouver.
While mountain biking with her dad as a teen, Capilano University student Grace Hardman never would have guessed that it could someday open doors to a career bridging internship.
Hardman responded to an opportunity, shared with students in the School of Business, to work as a Research Assistant to HUB Cycling’s Bike Friendly Building consultation services team.
“I started this Research Assistantship while still in my last term of school and I’m looking at it as my first contract job,” she said.
HUB Cycling’s business consulting team works primarily with real estate property developers to incorporate active transportation into their designs and conducts “bike-ability” assessments for buildings and workplaces.
As HUB’s research assistant, Hardman is conducting background research and interviewing past HUB clients and stakeholders to develop recommendations aimed at increasing brand awareness and improving social media marketing strategies for the Bike Friendly Building services team.
“In terms for research skills, this experience of doing primary research really informs me a lot,” she said. “The fact that I have ownership over how I do this project is really exciting. I’m really going to know and understand this project.”
The recommendations in her final report are designed to capitalize on HUB’s strengths and identify new partnership opportunities for real estate companies and the cycling community.
Hardman is supported by CapU Business instructor David Kuch and Tim Welsh, director of program development for HUB Cycling, who provide guidance as the project supervisors.
“HUB’s goal is to streamline lead generation and find areas of opportunity for this business stream,” Kuch said.
“The consulting service is strong, and the goal is for CapU is to see how we can make it even stronger.”
Hardman’s paid research assistant position was made possible through a grant from Mitacs, a national organization that connects industry with post-secondary to solve business challenges.
Her research notes a rise in real estate listings that feature bike parking but offer no car parking. She feels it’s both exciting and timely to be involved in consulting on sustainable transportation planning and real estate development.
“Developers are starting to cater to city dwellers who are going carless or only using care share programs,” Hardman said.
“Vancouver real estate is such a hot topic and this focus on active transportation and property development is a really unique sub-category of that,” she said. “I think this project will be something CapU and Mitacs will be proud to be part of.”
She’s also happy to share advice for fellow students on finding their fit in a complicated and ever-changing job market.
“I was so worried about the post-grad job search when I started university that I took every opportunity I could during my time at CapU to get experience,” she said.
“I found a position that I could have a passionate conversation about and on a topic that interests me. I had some passion in [the field] and I think that helped.”