I was born/grew up in: Botwood, Newfoundland & Labrador (born and raised there)
I now live in: Calgary, Alberta
I completed my training/education at: Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Chemistry, Memorial University, 1996
Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) in Chemical Engineering, University of New Brunswick, 2000
Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) in Postsecondary, Memorial University, current part-time student
What I do at work
As Energy Transition Advisor I spend my days working on solutions in support of energy transition and lower carbon. This collaboration can be in-person in meeting rooms, or in the field at active production sites. Often we use on-line collaboration tools such as Teams or Zoom. We examine a number of energy issues and technologies. These include such things as carbon capture and storage, hydrogen as an energy source, and biofuels.
At work I spend a lot of my time working in multi-discipline teams. These teams can be in Canada or around the world. We work to identify opportunities related to energy transition. We evaluate possible solutions and support their implementation. This requires a range of technical skills in engineering and technology. It also requires many non-technical skills. These include ingenuity, agility, perseverance, communication, and collaboration to name just a few. When deciding on solutions (and we do make many decisions!) it’s important that we consider all aspects. For example, such things as safety, the environment, cost, and schedules all have to be considered.
Making high-quality business decisions requires a strong depth of knowledge in the STEM fields. For example, it’s important that I understand such science concepts as thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and materials science. I don’t spend every day doing detailed calculations (though I have in some of my past career roles). My STEM knowledge and the knowledge of my peers is essential for business success.
My career path is
My career path has not been linear. When I graduated high school in 1992 I knew I wanted to study science. I started my first degree (B.Sc.) as a chemistry major. About halfway through I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I thought about Pharmacy, Business, and even Dentistry!
In my final year of my degree, I decided to apply for engineering at UNB. This degree was a master’s degree program (M.Eng.). I started out studying corrosion in nuclear reactors using electrochemistry. I didn’t want to do this forever so I worked for a couple years. Then I returned and completed my master’s in chemical engineering with a focus on heat transfer and combustion.
My working career started out working at a plant that made polyethylene products. From here I started working in the offshore oil and gas sector. Taking on new career challenges has allowed me to work in London, England for three years and in Bangkok, Thailand for three years. I am really proud to now be working at Chevron Canada. I work with an amazing team of people on the very important challenge of energy transition. My lifelong love of learning hasn’t stopped. I have started to work on my education degree (B.Ed.) with postsecondary focus at Memorial University.
I am motivated by
I enjoy working with a diverse group of people, both within and external to my employer. In recent years I have been able to work with a number of local First Nations to help build their businesses. Over the years, I have found mentoring of junior engineers to be personally rewarding. I’ve often sought opportunities for both formal and informal mentoring. This interest in mentoring is part of the reason I felt motivated to start my journey to obtain a degree in education.
My current role as the energy transition advisor provides me with a direct link to the challenges of climate change. And who wouldn’t be motivated by that!
How I affect peoples’ lives
My career supports providing reliable and ever-cleaner energy the world needs to move forward. Every day I can see a direct connection between the work that I do to the high quality of life around me. This can be in North America, Europe, or Asia. People use this energy to cook their food, heat their homes, and for transportation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s great to know that what I do contributes to the production and distribution of such things as pharmaceuticals and personal protective equipment.
Outside of work I
I enjoy reading, walking my dog, gardening, cooking, road cycling, and doing my homework!
My advice to others
A career in STEM can be very fulfilling and getting there does require a lot of work. I always tell people to keep their options open. Be prepared for opportunities as they can often arise when least expected! A degree in STEM allows for career flexibility. This is because people with STEM degrees can successfully engage in careers in business, law, education, or medicine. That’s in addition to the range of careers available in fields of pure science or engineering.