Technical manager - Hebron project, ExxonMobil Canada
I was born/grew up in: I was born in Carbonear and grew up in Western Bay, NL. We lived there until I was 11 years old and then we moved to St. John’s.
I now live in: I now live in St. John’s, NL.
I completed my training/education at: I completed my training/education at Memorial University where I completed a BEng in civil engineering
Describe what you do at work.
Earlier in my career I used a lot more STEM skills. At that time I was working as a structural engineer. But as I have moved from “individual” contributor to a manager I use them less. I still need to know these areas but not to the same degree of detail. Early in my career I used many tools and spent a lot of time doing calculations. This has changed as I am now overseeing others who do the calculations and reviewing the end products with them. I use these details to make business decisions and to advise other managers on actions we should take.
I work in an office setting so this means I have meetings and email to answer. I use my background in STEM to process the information that is discussed so I can boil it down to make my decisions. I deal with a wide range of problems. Some are technical, some financial, some procedural and some are contractual.
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect people’s lives?
I love what I do! I have been involved in Newfoundland and Labrador’s Offshore Oil Industry since the very early days. I have made major contributions to both the Hibernia project and the Hebron project. The safe design, construction and operation of these platforms is essential to the people who work on them every day. It is also important to the safe and successful operation of our company and the economy of the province.
What motivates you in your career?
Many aspects of my career are motivating. The size and complexity of the projects on which I have worked has been very challenging. My career has provided me the opportunity to work with people from all over the world. It has also provided me with the opportunity to travel to so many places. While the majority of my career has been in Canada, I have also worked for a number of years in Paris, France and Houston, Texas. I have also travelled to Germany, England, Scotland, Norway, Nigeria, Angola, and South Korea because of work. My roles and responsibilities have changed every few years as my career has matured. As a result I am always learning new things and expanding my knowledge. I work with very interesting, motivated people every day and never seem to do the same thing twice. Did I mention that I love my job?!
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
Describe your career path to this career.
I really did not know anything about engineering when I was in high school. I had an older sister who was studying engineering and I happened to look through one of her text books one day during the summer after high school. What I saw looked interesting and I decided I wanted to give it a try. I had not studied physics in high school so I had to take a foundation course in that when I started university. I needed that to get into the engineering program. At Memorial University I completed the 10 academic terms and 6 work terms. During my last work term I was exposed to the oil and gas industry. I loved the atmosphere, the work, and the challenges I was presented with during that term. I was fortunate to get a job in the industry when I graduated. Perhaps the biggest challenge has been balancing career with personal life. There are times when I have been away from home when I would have preferred not to be. As I look back over my career I have never regretted the hard work and personal sacrifices.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
My main hobby outside of work is cooking. I love hosting dinner parties and cooking elaborate dishes. I try to keep myself from gaining too much weight from all that food by exercising regularly. I go to “boot camp” a few times a week and I like to hike. My two most skilled sports are downhill skiing and scuba diving.
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
I would recommend a career in engineering to anyone. It provides such an array of opportunities and can be molded to suite your key interests. I would advise any who are interested to put the time in to get the credentials, not to worry too much about the “grand plan” and let your life experience help guide you along the path.