July 9 2021, 10:00 AM
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.”
January 21 2021, 09:56 AM
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!
August 18 2020, 16:40 PM
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.
July 21 2020, 10:03 AM
Whether he’s presenting a safety case to the nuclear regulator, or showing kids how nuclear power is generated, Paul Thompson is in his element. Combine his extensive technical knowledge with his cheerful personality and great sense of humour, and you’ve got one of our region’s most trusted experts on nuclear power.
Over his 40 plus-year career, most of which at the Point Lepreau Generating Station (PLNGS), Paul has made important contributions, both technical and non-technical, to the nuclear industry. Respected by his peers for his passion for everything related to nuclear safety and nuclear asset management, Paul continues to be an invaluable part of the NB Power team.
He recently received the Harold A. Smith Outstanding Contribution Award by the Canadian Nuclear Society (CNS) and the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) for his extensive contributions to the Canadian nuclear industry. The award highlighted his work involving nuclear power plant safety, plant life extension, and the development of Advanced Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) here in New Brunswick.
“I am truly honoured to be recognized by my peers and am humbled when I look at current and past award recipients,” said Paul. “I have been extremely fortunate throughout my career to work in such a great industry at such a wonderful company. I’ve been able to work on exciting and interesting projects alongside so many amazing energy experts. As they say, it really is not work if you enjoy your job!”
Paul started his nuclear journey graduating from the Engineering Mathematics program at Queen's University, specializing in the fields of Thermal Sciences and Nuclear Engineering.
Paul has led many successful teams at NB Power, including Nuclear Safety, Regulatory Affairs, Emergency Preparedness, Security and Fire and Performance Improvement. A real team player, he has always found time to support other projects and working groups both within the company and the industry.
Paul has also been a regular point of contact with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission at hearings and meetings, has served as a Board Member for the CANDU Owners Group (COG), as well as a Board member for the Centre for Nuclear Energy Research - a research arm of the University of New Brunswick. He also remains an active member and contributor to the CNS, authoring and co-authoring several papers to assist his peers. He has also held the position of CNS President twice and has been involved with the organization of numerous conferences.
“Throughout my years at Lepreau, one of my main objectives has always been to ensure that our values of safety, quality, diversity and innovation are reflected in all aspects of nuclear in New Brunswick,” says Paul. “I believe that this is being demonstrated every day by the dedicated nuclear team at Point Lepreau. Collaboration, teamwork and the expertise of my peers all play a significant part in the successful operation of the station on a daily basis.”
Most recently, Paul was the Station’s Deputy Chief Nuclear Officer, prior to his retirement in 2019. Paul has remained a key part of the team as a Senior Strategic Advisor responsible for assessing the development of Advanced SMRs.
“I believe that nuclear energy has a key role to play in our vision of sustainable energy for future generations,” he indicated. “New Brunswick is well positioned to benefit from new opportunities thanks to the know-how of our people and the tremendous asset we have in Point Lepreau.”
Canadian Nuclear Achievement Award recipients were nominated by their colleagues, community members and nuclear peers for leadership, dedication, and passion for nuclear power.
More information on this year’s recipients is available in a joint news release issued in June.
All of us at NB Power would like to congratulate Paul on a remarkable career in the nuclear industry here in New Brunswick and this well-earned award.
Kathleen Duguay Receives National Award Recognizing her Contributions to Nuclear Education and Communication
July 7 2020, 11:44 AM
Ask anyone in the communities around the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station (PLNGS) who their go-to person is for questions about the plant, and 99% will point you to Kathleen Duguay.
As NB Power’s Manager of Community Affairs and Nuclear Regulatory Protocol, she is often the “face” of the Station and has fostered many important relationships with nearby residents, First Nations communities and stakeholders.
Kathleen was recently awarded with a national Education and Communication Award from the Canadian Nuclear Society (CNS) and the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) to recognize her outstanding career.
During her 32 years at NB Power, Kathleen has demonstrated a sustained and unwavering commitment to external education and communication about nuclear power and the operation of PLNGS. Her work has created and maintained the “social licence” for the generating station. Through Kathleen’s natural ability to actively listen and connect with people, she has put a friendly face on the nuclear community in New Brunswick.
This strong capacity for relationship building with a diversity of groups and individuals has allowed her to build trust and respect with various stakeholders and rightsholders at the local, provincial, national and international levels throughout the years including First Nations, special interest groups, the local community, the general public, workers, contractors, government, regulators and the media.
She is an industry leader in community relations who has cultivated deep roots throughout New Brunswick. By being transparent, trustworthy and accessible, Kathleen has developed lasting relationships with everyone from the lobster fishermen who work the waters near Point Lepreau to members of First Nation communities in all corners of the province.
A great example of her strong commitment to transparency and nuclear education is the establishment of a Community Relations Liaison Committees at Point Lepreau. The Committee has served as a vehicle for two-way information sharing in the communities around the Station for the past 25 years. The fact that Kathleen has co-chaired this Committee for more than two decades is an accomplishment on its own.
“Making sure our neighbours know what is happening at the Station is one of our most important jobs,” said Kathleen. “The relationships we have built with our Committee members are based on trust, respect and transparency. Members know that they can count on us for honest and timely updates on the things that matter to them. Through this Committee and other activities, we demonstrate our personal accountability to community engagement.”
Her work played an important role in bringing an outside perspective into the nuclear industry, to improve awareness and understanding, and to influence the way business is performed. As part of Point Lepreau’s public communication program, she developed various newsletters, brochures, school age-specific materials, plant updates and videos that showcase the power plant throughout its lifecycle, with a strong focus on the safety of workers, the community, and the environment.
For many years, Kathleen was the Media Relations Manager and the voice of NB Power, sharing the utility’s story with the local, provincial and national media. In that role, she also led communications and community relations efforts during the refurbishment of PLNGS.
She has managed community relations programs for other NB Power initiatives and projects across the province. Kathleen is no stranger to the inside of the nuclear plant where she began her career with Point Lepreau and has acted as a Radiation Protection Assistant and Human Performance Manager. She is also a seasoned member of the Station’s Emergency Response Incident Command Team.
A New Brunswicker through and through, Kathleen is also an active volunteer in her community, and she has brought her communication skills and love of New Brunswick to a host of important initiatives of benefit to her community.
Canadian Nuclear Achievement Award recipients were nominated by their colleagues, community members and nuclear peers for leadership, dedication, and passion for nuclear power. More information on this year’s recipients is available in a joint news release issued earlier this month.
All of us at NB Power would like to congratulate Kathleen on this well-deserved award and an exceptional career serving New Brunswickers, employees and the nuclear industry.