I was born/grew up in: Edmonton/Calgary, AB
I now live in: Edmonton, AB
I completed my training/education at: Professional Engineer, Engineering and Construction Manager, Imperial Oil, Strathcona Refinery
Describe what you do at work.
As construction manager I oversaw all aspects of the plant startup and ongoing maintenance of the projects. I analyzed and assessed the project needs and worked to identify potential problems. I also oversaw the environmental and safety inspections to make sure our workers were safe and that we met all environmental guidelines. Later in my career I worked with teams to develop personnel coaching plans for new employees. This included career, safety, quality, time management, leadership skills, and communication techniques.
The key to all of the above is communicate, communicate, communicate along with TRUST. People can never accept anything you have to tell them if they do not trust you. Trust takes a very long time to build and one must have high integrity and consistency. However it can be destroyed in almost no time at all with deceit, or inconstancy.
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect people’s lives?
The key activities/results of my position were important to a variety of people. I helped ensure that everyone working for me worked in a safe manner so that they could all go home to their families. As a professional engineer I worked to ensure that the work undertaken was done to the highest quality possible. This helped ensure the safety of the workers, the environment and the public.
What motivates you in your career?
The most enjoyable part of my work in the end turns out to be helping people and organizations to excel in whatever they choose to do. I felt great satisfaction in helping others achieve their career goals and assisting them in balancing their work and personal lives. This helped make sure they had time for their families and themselves and not just the work they did.
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
Describe your career path to this career.
I went into Engineering with the thought that I would make the world a better place though things I could design and build. I attended the University of Alberta and completed a B.Sc.in Mechanical Engineering. As an engineer I worked in the oil industry. I started off at lower level engineering jobs. As I gained experience I started taking on management and supervisory roles. Toward the end of my career I spent a lot of my time working with new engineers to help them be the best they could be at their work.
While I was in university I took flying lessons. I became a pilot to test myself against my father's career as a WWII fighter pilot/test pilot who unfortunately died when I was an infant. I wanted to become a leader as my father was to make a difference. I found that while I could make things, helping people develop to their potential was the most gratifying activity of all.
Today, as a retired person, I continue to be active in my community. I’m still using my engineering skills as a volunteer at amusement parks in the Edmonton area. Here I help with the building and maintaining of the different rides. I also volunteer with a group that looks after Social Housing units in Edmonton.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
Outside of work I was involved with my daughters’ activities when they were growing up. I also spent a lot of time volunteering in the community using my engineering skills, my leadership skills and just my time. I donate Plasma/Platelets for Canadian Blood Services every week or two. I had an exercise program for many years swimming and now I regularly go to the Fitness Centre.
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
The STEM skills will get you started in a career and offer a great variety of jobs. Once your career has begun it will involve working with or leading others to make things happen and improve everyone's situation. As the old flight instructors axiom states "Attitude determines Altitude, not Power”!