I was born/grew up in: Kitchener, Ontario
I now live in: Red Deer, Alberta
I completed my training/education at: I attended the University of Guelph, where I completed a B.Sc. in Environmental Engineering.
What I do at work
I work for a large petrochemical manufacturing company called Nova Chemicals. We make the chemicals that are used to make plastic and plastic pellets. In my work, I lead a team of environmental professionals that manage all the environmental programs at our plant. This includes everything related to the air, water, waste, soil, groundwater, and wildlife.
I make sure my team has the right resources in place for when we need them. I also manage our budget and review our environmental monitoring results. I coach my team on their work performance. I communicate with internal and external stakeholders who have an interest in environmental performance.
I use my math, chemistry, physics, biology, and engineering knowledge every day. This knowledge helps me understand the materials we use and the products we make. Understanding this helps me manage our potential impact on the environment. I use my skills in problem solving, innovation, inquiry, and collaboration. I make decisions based on facts and data. We problem solve on how to improve our environmental performance. I work with a group of peer coordinators in the health & hygiene, safety and emergency response fields.
My career path is
I was not expecting to be in this field when I was in high school. I job-shadowed a politician because I thought I might go into this area. Later I thought I might run my own greenhouse. I did well in science and math. Because of this, my high school teachers and counselors encouraged me to consider engineering. I picked environmental engineering because I was passionate about protecting the environment.
My career path has taken me from government jobs to the consulting field to the manufacturing industry. I have found that I can be most influential in improving the environment by working directly for industry. I moved to Alberta after a few years working on a government contract. At first, I had difficulty finding a job. I overcame it by taking any type of experience that was available to me. For example, I took a short-term contract working in a lab setting. Later I worked for a small consulting company. I did not sit around waiting for that “dream” job to come by. In this way, I was able to build my network. I learned a lot and moved to other positions that led to the job that I have now.
I am motivated by
I am excited when I see environmental improvements being carried out. I am very passionate about environmental conservation. I find it very fulfilling to work for a company and its people that have the same values. I have been able to learn and grow through my career. I have been able to take on many differing types of assignments and projects. My career in environmental engineering is right for me as it aligns to what I am passionate about. It is personally rewarding to see positive change happening.
How I affect peoples’ lives
I am proud to work for Nova Chemicals. We produce plastics and chemicals that make everyday life healthier, easier, and safer. I help make sure my company meets its environmental goals and is operating correctly. I’m also proud that my work helps create new opportunities for environmental improvements.
Outside of work I
I like to read fantasy fiction in my spare time. I enjoy being outdoors, either hiking, canoeing or just going for walks with the dog. I volunteer on some external boards for non-profits that have an environmental focus. I have also worked with organizations on promoting STEM activities.
My advice to others
Find what you are passionate about, so you are fulfilled at work. Find opportunities to continually learn new things and keep yourself challenged.