I was born/grew up in: I was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada but grew up primarily in Red Deer.
I now live in: Calgary, Alberta
What I do at work
My role is to guide and manage diverse teams of people. These teams include engineers, project managers, construction managers, and various subject matter specialists. Subject matter specialists are people who have backgrounds in certain areas. These include environment, operations, supply chain, project controls, community and indigenous engagement, law and regulatory affairs. Our teams plan and execute company projects. They do this by developing designs, purchasing equipment, scheduling construction work, and managing construction companies. As these projects are carried out, the teams make sure everyone, including the public, and the environment is kept safe.
I am involved with personnel management. This involves planning and problem-solving meetings, design reviews and evaluations of cost and schedule. My key goal is to make sure projects get done safely, on time, and on budget. Decision making and problem solving are a constant part of the work I do. To make decisions, I do research, collect data and analyze data. I then consider the options and get expert advice when needed.
The projects our company does are complex. I use my STEM skills every day. For example, my STEM skills help me understand how the equipment works and how it can be best applied into the project. My science knowledge helps me understand the possible effects on the environment. Math and engineering are involved in design development and construction. We use technology to manage the vast amount of data such as survey and construction records. We want our projects to meet the needs of our customers and community stakeholders. We also want them to be reliable during long term operation by providing a quality, cost effective solution.
My career path is
This is not what I expected to be doing when I was in high school. In high school, I had an interest in cars, and electronics. I was generally good at math and I was also very social. I liked learning but I wasn't motivated to study. I thought I would perhaps be working on designing or building electrical parts for cars.
A guidance counselor suggested I look into engineering. I started out doing the engineering program at Red Deer Polytechnic. I found that I liked this area and transferred to the University of Alberta where I did a BSc in electrical engineering. However, careers and jobs were sparse when I graduated and I applied for anything. I landed a job with a pipeline company. I was surprised how much engineering was involved. There was so much to learn! I got involved with whatever I could and helped who ever and where ever I could. There are times of stress when you don't know what you are doing and I have made lots of mistakes. I have found that people are accepting if you always are putting in your best efforts.
I am motivated by
Working with people and helping them to be as successful as possible is very fulfilling. This motivates me to work hard, get involved, and to help and apply my experience as best that I can. It is rewarding to get out into the field to see the planning efforts result in real things being built. For example, pipelines and the associated plants, pump and compressor stations. It is in the field at the construction sites, where you see whether or not the design and the planning matches what can be built. There are many variables and the work is different every single day. Every day there are social, environmental, technical, and financial challenges to balance. It is a pleasure to work with people on these challenging problems. I get a kick out of planning, organizing and helping people.
How I affect peoples’ lives
I love to build things! I also love to see how our projects improve the company and provide opportunities for the communities in which we work and for our customers. To be a part of a project, and to see concepts develop into tangible projects, is exciting and fulfilling. The projects I am involved with provide energy to society which helps to make lives better.
Outside of work I
Having a work life balance may sound cliché but it is essential to bringing diverse thought to your career. You have to give your mind and body time to relax and rejuvenate. Since I work so much with people at work, I find downhill skiing and motorcycle riding allows me time to focus on being my best without reliance on a team or others. I volunteer with APEGA and in the community as well.
My advice to others
Always be learning and interested in your world. The more you help and get involved, the more likely you are to land the career you want. Watch and emulate the industry leaders you admire. Ask lots of questions of persons the field of work you want to be in.