"What I loved about the engineering program is that it’s far more collaborative than it is competitive."
- Degree: Bachelor of Applied Science
- Grad year: 2013
- Campus: Vancouver
Job title as of 2023: Principal, Evok Innovations
Why did you want to study engineering?
I initially thought I wanted to make an impact in the world by being an investigative journalist, perhaps focusing on the environmental side of things. My mom is an engineer, and she helped me see that if you want to make a difference, there is no better degree than engineering to do that. Engineering teaches you how to solve problems, how to look at the world in a very pragmatic way and how to come forward with practical solutions. There’s an infinite number of careers that you can take on, but I found it to be more about developing a skillset and a way of thinking that can serve you anywhere you go and in any career you choose.
Why did you choose Chemical Engineering?
I was initially pointed in the direction of environmental engineering, which was a relatively new discipline at the time. From a job perspective, I decided to pursue chemical engineering and focus on the environmental side of things as it seemed to be a more recognized path across industries and easier to find employment opportunities. I thought the best strategy to make an impact was to be on the inside and from there, I could bring forward improvements from a sustainability lens.
Tell us about your career since graduation.
When I graduated, I had a full-time offer with Cenovus Energy in Calgary. I started with their rotational programs, including production engineering in the field, and then reservoir and development engineering. After receiving my P.Eng designation, I began an MBA at the University of Calgary during the evenings in parallel with my full-time work. This shift enabled me to move into more strategic roles, initially in digital transformation, looking at how tools such as artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies could spark opportunities. After that, I was fortunate to get back to my roots in sustainability with an opportunity to help Cenovus develop a strategy to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
In this role, I began working closely with early-stage companies developing radical solutions to transform the way we use energy and resources in industry. It felt like I had found my calling and I was hooked.
Cenovus had a partnership with Suncor Energy through a venture capital group called Evok Innovations, based in Vancouver. Evok was founded to invest in, but also support and nurture, early-stage companies that could deliver environmental benefits, largely on the carbon reduction side of things. I was assessing early technologies to identify how they could be implemented and adopted long term on a commercial basis. After a secondment (and some time away with my first born), I formally joined the Evok team in March 2022.
I now spend my days talking to early-stage companies that are removing carbon emissions from the atmosphere, producing hydrogen in new ways, enabling industrial electrification and other areas of innovation to decarbonize our industries.
Evok identifies good solutions and strong teams to back them against the challenges of scaling up and integrating them into industry practices. We are looking at the technical and commercial side of the business. When we find companies we like, we make investments and support their growth and development in the years to come.
Any advice for people considering engineering?
If you're somebody who wants to make a positive impact on the world, and you want a degree that gives you the credentials to do almost anything, engineering is a path that opens a lot of doors and can support whatever passions you have.