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Recognizing Jennifer Lennox' leadership in the nuclear industry

December 15 2021, 12:07 PM

Recognizing Jennifer Lennox' leadership in the nuclear industry

NB Power is proud to own and operate Atlantic Canada’s only nuclear power plant. Our employees at the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station (PLNGS) work hard every day to produce safe, reliable, and clean power for New Brunswickers.

In October 2021, Jennifer Lennox was named Chief Nuclear Engineer at PLNGS, making her the first female Chief Nuclear Engineer for an operating utility in Canadian nuclear industry history. Being a Chief Nuclear Engineer is an integral role in ensuring the safe operation of the Station within the limits and conditions of its design and operating licence.

Jennifer’s career has prepared her for this role. Prior to joining NB Power in 2009, she was employed as a research Engineer at the Center for Nuclear Engineer Research following completion of her master’s degree in Chemical Engineering focused on Nuclear at the University of New Brunswick. At PLNGS, she has held the positions of Manager of Reactor Safety and Manager of Systems Engineering in addition to various positions within Programs Engineering and Engineering Training throughout her career.

For Jennifer, stepping into a leadership role was an easy decision – she thrives on seeing others succeed, providing coaching and helping her colleagues reach their full potential. As a leader, she contributes to PLNGS’ success by being a mentor, removing barriers to success for her team and working collaboratively with industry peers to identify and share best practices. The New Brunswick culture of helping and learning from others is also a big part of Jennifer’s leadership philosophy.

As a woman in a male-dominated industry, Jennifer recognizes the challenges that females can face when starting their careers in nuclear. Diversity and inclusion in the nuclear industry is important – it highlights different perspectives and brings balance to teams.

Her advice to young professionals is simple “Build relationships with your peers, get involved in industry-wide initiatives, and embrace opportunities to teach and learn from each other."  A key initiative supporting the advancement of women in the nuclear industry is WiN (Women in Nuclear). WiN is a worldwide association of women working professionally in various fields of nuclear energy and radiation applications.

When she isn’t wearing her Chief Nuclear Engineer hat, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her 14-year-old daughter Emma, a competitive dancer, at the dance studio. She also takes care of two furry friends Lola and Macy and is looking to add a third dog to her family before the Holidays.  

Congratulations, Jennifer, and thank you!

Bears thriving a decade after rescue by NB Power employees

November 24 2021, 11:06 AM

Bears thriving a decade after rescue by NB Power employees

Lucy and Desi live a pretty comfortable life at the Magnetic Hill Zoo in Moncton. The black bear siblings have a great enclosure and a steady source of food served to them daily. Like the other animals at the zoo, they receive great care from a dedicated team of professionals.

They lucked out.

Ten years ago, a terrible hunting incident led to deaths of their mother and sibling. The tiny cubs were stuck on top of a power line structure in Allardville, terrified and clinging to safety.

On April 10, 2011, NB Power received a call from the Department of Natural Resources, asking for help rescuing the cubs. Line workers James Doucet and Bruce White (who has since retired) jumped into action.

James still works in the Bathurst area as a Lead Powerline Technician and vividly remembers that day.

“Bruce and I were on call that weekend,” he said. “We sure weren’t expecting to be part of a rescue mission! We drove to the location and realized we needed a bigger truck. We came back with a double bucket truck and went up to help the bears. The cub that had been hanging on was easy to keep hold of as she melted into Bruce’s arms. The other one was a bit more feisty and harder to get down to safety!”

The Department of Natural Resources transported the cubs to the Magnetic Hill Zoo to be with a team of animal care professionals.

Tiffany Bateman is an Animal Care Supervisor at the zoo. She was part of the team that helped with the cubs when they arrived a decade ago.

“When I first saw them, Lucy and Desi were about the size of a loaf of bread,” she said. “It was an incredible experience to bottle feed the cubs and see them gain strength and grow into adolescent bears. They were curious, mischievous and adorable.”

As they grew into toddlers, the bears also became incredibly messy.

“We’d blend up a mix of baby food, puppy chow, cottage cheese and other items into a slurry,” said Tiffany. “In those early months, feeding time was like watching human toddlers eat spaghetti with their hands!”

The newest zoo residents received a lot of attention, and many families came to see them in an indoor enclosure for an up-close experience.

Lucy and Desi adapted well to the zoo environment and transitioned into an outdoor bear enclosure the next year. There they met 18-year-old bear Gary, who was happy to have the youngsters around.

“He was a great friend and teacher to the cubs and their energy gave him a new lease on life,” said Tiffany. “Sadly, Gary passed away last summer. Now Lucy is the dominant one – she definitely makes it known that she’s in charge. Desi is more playful and curious.”

In case you’re wondering, Lucy and Desi don’t hibernate like bears in the wild. They have different diets depending on the time of year and are quieter and chubbier during the winter months. This means they’re often visible during winter zoo visits.

Next time you visit the Magnetic Hill Zoo, be sure to say hi to Lucy and Desi for us!

 


From left; Lucy, Gary and Desi.

National Lineworker Appreciation Day

July 9 2021, 10:00 AM

National Lineworker Appreciation Day

Did you know that July 10 is National Lineworker Appreciation Day? In 2019, utilities and organizations across Canada united in celebration for the first-ever Lineworker Appreciation Day.

Lineworkers are heroes in our books. These dedicated men and women are part of communities in every corner of New Brunswick. They work hard to keep customers connected, often facing challenging conditions and safety hazards. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve continued to provide safe and reliable service for our customers.  

To celebrate National Lineworker Appreciation Day, we’d like to introduce you to Tyler Messer, an apprentice lineworker in the St. Stephen area.

Tyler grew up a proud “country boy” in the village of McAdam. As a high school student, he wasn’t sure what type of career he’d like to pursue. That all changed in 2014, when post-tropical storm Arthur battered the Maritimes and caused about 150,000 customers to lose power in New Brunswick – including his community.

“I always knew that I wanted a hands-on job that allowed me to work outside,” Tyler said. “I saw lineworkers in my town cleaning up from the storm and rebuilding powerlines, I thought – wow, I would love to do that.”

Tyler’s final semester of high school included a co-op placement with NB Power at the St. Stephen District Office. He spent one day per week in the field with a crew, getting to see first-hand what the job was all about. It didn’t take long for him to decide that he wanted to be a lineworker, too.

After graduating from McAdam High School, he enrolled in the New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) Powerline Technician program. This education involves both classroom and on-the-job training prior to graduation, and a phased block approach leading to a Red Seal designation.

Tyler was hired by NB Power as an apprentice in 2020, around the time the pandemic began. Once it was safe to do so, he did his orientation and started working with the St. Stephen team. For the past year, Tyler has been working alongside senior, experienced lineworkers. Throughout his education and work experience, safety has always been the main focus.

“The work itself is complex and very physical,” said Tyler. “It requires teamwork, problem-solving and thinking outside the box. But safety is by far the most important factor. Nothing matters than keeping everyone safe – our customers, co-workers and myself.”

Tyler says the variety of what the job entails makes every day an adventure. Helping with large-scale outages and storm response is especially rewarding.

“This is not a 9-5 job. You need to able to put your life on pause to help others,” he said. “Driving on back roads at 2 AM in winter conditions, looking out for moose and bears is a whole other experience. We never know what we’re going to be up against, but that’s what makes it so rewarding. The pride you feel when you get a customer’s power back on, it’s a rush!”

Tyler is currently working to obtain enough hours for his third block, which will involve more classroom training and testing, followed by his application for a Red Seal Certificate. He attributes the success of his first year at NB Power to his mentors and colleagues.

“The folks I get to work with are out of this world,” said Tyler. “They have been so welcoming and helpful and are always willing to answer my questions and coach me. They’re instilling in me the habits and values to have a long and safe career. Being such a close-knit group, they’re also very supportive beyond work matters, with advice on things like buying my first house. It’s a good feeling knowing they’ve got my back and are rooting for me to succeed.”

The kindness and appreciation customers show Tyler and his team inspire him to be the best he can be.

“I love chatting with people when we’re working around their home or business. Understanding the impact our work can have on their lives is what keeps me going. The icing on the cake is seeing my little niece jump up and down with pride to see ‘Uncle Tyler’ in the big truck,” he said. “There’s no better feeling than driving through my hometown, knowing I’m there to help my friends and neighbours.”

Saving Lives, One Donation at a Time

January 21 2021, 09:56 AM

Saving Lives, One Donation at a Time

With a need for blood donations here in New Brunswick and across the country, we wanted to shine a light on employees giving the gift of life through Canadian Blood Services.

The top obstacle for most new blood donors is getting over their fear of needles. When longtime NB Power employee Erik Matchett started giving blood in 2014, he was admittedly a little nervous, too.

“My wife couldn’t believe that I was going to give blood,” Erik says, thinking back to his first donation. “My family thinks of me as kind of a wuss when it comes to pain and gore. But giving blood was no big deal!”

Erik Matchett, a Change Readiness employee in the Fredericton area.

The first donation went well and Erik never looked back. He schedules regular donations and aims to bring a friend or co-worker to each appointment.

 “I feel it’s really important to give back,” says Erik. “Giving blood definitely isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it works for me. It is really meaningful to know that my blood could help save the life of a fellow New Brunswicker. The average donation can save three lives.”

As a Manager in our Learning and Change Team, Erik supports his colleagues with updates impacting people, processes and equipment. As NB Power works to modernize the electrical grid, Erik’s team is busier than ever, helping employees get used to new technologies and ways of doing business.

Similarly, Erik says that Canadian Blood Services is modernizing to keep with the times.

“They’ve developed this great mobile app that allows you to keep track of appointments and urgent needs for donation,” Erik says. “Even cooler is that the app tracks your bleed time – how long it takes to get your donation – so you see friendly little competitions between regular donors.”

Feeling inspired after chatting with Erik about his experience, Marketing and Communications employee Jackie Leger visited blood.ca to check eligibility and register for an upcoming clinic. But when she heard a radio ad over the holidays asking for donors, she moved up her appointment to December 23.

“I was pretty worried about fainting,” said Jackie. “But from the moment I arrived, the staff put me at ease and walked me through the steps. Even with uncooperative veins in my right arm, a talented nurse was able to get the full 450 ml donation from my left arm. It was pretty amazing to watch that bag fill up.”

Jackie Leger, a Marketing and Communications employee in the Saint John area.

From start to finish, Jackie’s first donation took about one hour including assessments, the donation itself and monitoring before heading home. She says she was surprised by how little the donation process hurt.

“The little prick test for hemoglobin hurt way more than the big needle,” she says. “I felt a little less energetic than normal in the hours after my donation, but more than anything I felt proud and happy to know my blood will help those in need. It is such a quick and easy way to help others – I’m not sure why I waited so long to do it!”

Erik and Jackie have already scheduled their next donations and are challenging other colleagues to join them. While COVID-19 has impacted donation levels, they both felt very safe with the screening measures and enhanced safety protocols to keep donors, staff and volunteers safe.

If you’re interested in giving blood, visit blood.ca today to find a location near you!

NB Power Employee Helps Rescue a Fellow New Brunswicker

August 18 2020, 16:40 PM

NB Power Employee Helps Rescue a Fellow New Brunswicker

Sometimes heroes wear hard hats instead of capes.

Terry Bass, a Construction Manager at NB Power, certainly wasn’t expecting to be part of a life-saving rescue when he went to work on a beautiful summer morning. Terry was working alongside a crew from East Coast Powerline in the forest near Allardville. With the help of a Vortex company helicopter, they were working on reliability upgrades in northern New Brunswick.

While on top of an 80-foot tall tower, a member of the crew heard someone calling out for help. They yelled in the direction of the sound and a woman shouted back that she’d been lost in the woods for days and couldn’t walk anymore.

Terry and the rest of the team jumped into action, starting the emergency response plan they learn before each project. They coordinated with Ambulance NB and the RCMP before setting off in the helicopter. Armed with a backboard and medical supplies, the team was dropped off near the marshy rescue area.  

“The crew waded through knee-deep water, grass, mud, and kept going until they found her,” said Terry. “Amazingly she was able to speak and in good spirits but was not able to get out of there on her own. We worked together to carry her out of the marsh and onto solid ground. Then we figured out the nearest access road and carried her through the dense forest and brush while medics attended to her needs.”

After hiking about 2.4 kilometers, the crew was shocked to discover it was a woman from Saint-Isidore who had been missing for nearly two weeks. RCMP and Ground Search and Rescue had been looking for her.

“I just can’t believe she’s alive,” said Terry. “She said she’d been drinking water on leaves and eating berries she found on the ground. It’s remarkable that she was doing so well after such a terrible experience. We are all so happy that we happened to be in the right place – a very remote one – to be able to help her get home.”

Terry and the crew helped first responders get the woman to an ambulance and she was taken to hospital and treated for minor injuries. She is happy to be back home, thanks to the heroics of our team.

Anyone who knows Terry won’t be surprised that he played a role in this life-saving mission. He is passionate about helping others and is a perfect example of what our employees are all about.

At NB Power, we are proud of our people that are the heart of our company. Working in communities across our great province, our employees have been serving New Brunswickers for more than 100 years.

This story is a powerful example of how a perfectly-timed coincidence, paired with courage and know-how, can change someone’s life.

 

 

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