Angela McIsaac

Environmental Engineer, 3M Canada Company

I was born/grew up in: Orillia, ON, Canada

I now live in: London, ON, Canada

I completed my training/education at: Bachelor of Applied Science and a Master’s of Applied Science from the University of Waterloo

Describe what you do at work.

A big component of my job is sustainability focused. I am required to track toxic substances used, emitted, sent out as waste, recycled and put into our products. I also track water usage in our facility, energy usage, greenhouse gasses emitted, hazardous and non-hazardous waste, etc. report on these metrics quarterly. Additionally, corporate 3M wants us to show we are making an effort to reduce these metrics and make our facility more sustainable. I work with product engineers and chemists to try to improve these metrics anyway we can. There are a number of factors that influence these changes. While a change may be better for the environment, it must be economically feasible and still allow us to produce a quality product. These types of problems can be challenging and fun to solve.

When I was a student I enjoyed:

How does your job affect people’s lives?

My job role involves a lot of reporting. I model emissions at the site in order to ensure at our property line we are meeting government requirements and ensuring our site is not having negative effects on public health. I also sample water outfalls for the same requirements.

What motivates you in your career?

By reducing waste, emissions, and the amount of chemicals we use I believe I am making a difference. Reducing the company’s environmental footprint is very rewarding. There are always ways a company can improve its environmental footprint. Helping figure out solutions to environmental problems is one of the best parts of my job. It is challenging and fulfilling.

When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:

Describe your career path to this career.

I received a Bachelor of Applied Science and a Master’s of Applied Science from the University of Waterloo. I did a co-op program which exposed me to a number of career paths in environmental engineering. I really enjoyed working in industry and knew that this was the path I wanted to take.

What activities do you like to do outside of work?

I have always been very active. I love to play all sports and was a competitive swimmer and swam varsity in University.

What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?

A co-op program is great. If your program provides this option, I would highly recommend it. I graduated with 2 years of work experience, no student debt and a lot of contacts. Also I was able to test out jobs for 4 month periods to see what I liked and didn’t like and use that knowledge when looking for a career down the road.

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