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Somto Ibe

Engineer, Renewable Energy
Sombto Ibe

Somto Ibe

Sombto Ibe

Somto Ibe

Location Now
Education Pathway

Somto Ibe is responsible for ensuring that wind turbines and solar panels operate safely.

About me

I was born/grew up in: Benin City, Nigeria. I grew up in several cities across Nigeria including Lagos, Ibadan and Kano.

I now live in: Calgary, Canada.

I completed my training/education at:  Chemical Engineering (CO-OP) with a minor in Management at University of Ottawa.

What I do at work

I work out of the office (now my home since COVID-19) and every week is a little different. I work alongside other engineers, including electrical and mechanical engineers. We each look after different parts of the wind and solar facilities. While reviewing data, sometimes I will notice a problem with a piece of equipment. Often I will have to work with other engineers and technicians on site to fix the problem.

Math and physics are very important in the type of work that I do, especially statistics. There's also a lot of creativity involved. We often have to think out of the box to solve a problem. As an engineer, I make decisions based on facts and data. Safety is my number one priority. I have to make sure that whatever decisions I make do not put any person or thing at risk.

My career path is

In high school (in Nigeria), I had plans to become a doctor. My mother and grandmother worked in healthcare so it seemed like the obvious thing to do. I was also very frightened by calculus and any complicated math. When I arrived in Canada, I had to complete Grade 12 again because I was too young to go to university. I had a great teacher, Mr. Cressman, who helped me fall in love with calculus. He encouraged me to study engineering.

I picked chemical engineering because I thought it was the most interesting and useful type of engineering. My plan was still to go to medical school after my chemical engineering degree. In my third year at university, I completed a 12-month internship with an energy company and fell in love with engineering. That was how I knew that I wanted to work as an engineer in the energy sector. I highly encourage everyone to consider co-op terms and internships. They're a great way to find out what you like and what you don't like.

I am motivated by

I like the people I work with and the company I work for. To me, those things make a huge difference and make me excited to come to work. I like that my job allows me work on a variety of exciting projects and that no two weeks are the same. Some days, I'm working as a 'detective' and looking through tons of data to try to solve an issue with a piece of equipment. Other days, I'm preparing reports to present to senior managers. Some days I'm creating a safe work procedure so that we can train new folks. There's never a dull moment and I appreciate that about my work. Most of all, I love that I work in the energy sector, helping provide the electricity people want and need in a clean and sustainable way.

How I affect people’s lives

I find my work with wind turbines and solar farms to be very rewarding. I help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save the environment. At work, the other engineers and I ensure that our wind turbines and solar panels are operating in the best shape. The helps them produce clean energy to power our daily lives.

Outside of work I

I love exploring all my interests and talents. In a typical weekend or evening, you can catch me reading African historical fiction, volunteering to promote STEM activities or at a local food bank, narrating an audio book, trying a new recipe, cycling or trying new arts and crafts like making jewelry.

My advice to others

Two pieces of advice: 1) Stay curious and ask lots of questions. 2) Be afraid but do it anyway! Engineering may seem like a scary program to study but it's not. With practice, anyone can learn to fall in love with, and excel at, math and science.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Business & Economics
  • Geography
  • Literature and Language Arts
  • Home Economics
  • Foods & Nutrition
  • Science
  • Technology
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Brought People Together
  • Liked helping people
  • Was motivated by success
  • Liked being given specific instructions
  • Engaged in volunteer activities
  • Liked reading
  • Was really creative
  • Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades
  • Wasn't sure what I wanted to do
  • Learned Best by Doing

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