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Empowering women in non-traditional roles

March 8 2019, 08:41 AM

Empowering women in non-traditional roles

Today is International Women’s Day, a day that celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, while also making a call to action to accelerate gender balance. This year’s theme is building a gender-balanced world. Coleson Cove’s Plant Manager, Kate LeBlanc, believes that creating gender balance within the workplace begins with supporting women in all fields.

Originally from Fredericton, Kate has a chemical engineering degree from the University of New Brunswick. She received her professional engineering qualification while working with NB Power and has been with the company for over 28 years. Her career began at the Chatham Generating Station where she was a contractor working on research projects. In 1990, she was hired to work with NB Power’s Plant Technical Services group in Fredericton.  She was transferred two years later to the Belledune station to join the commissioning team. From there, she moved into the Operations Group and then the Technical Department working primarily at the Belledune and Dalhousie Stations. She became the Chemistry and Environmental Supervisor at Coleson Cove in 2005, and the Maintenance Superintendent in 2015. Two years ago, she became the plant manager. 

 “As plant manager, I review the station’s status each day to make sure there are no issues and that the plant is reliable and running smoothly. I attend meetings, deal with the budget, work on long-term goals and objectives, and on project development,” explains Kate.

What Kate loves most about her job is its diversity. “From Finances, to helping employees, my job is so diverse. One of my favourite things is doing walk-throughs of the station and getting to talk to the great people I work with,” said Kate.

Kate explains that NB Power has always been supportive in allowing her to move into various roles throughout the company. She wants all women to have the opportunities she has had and believes in the importance of supporting women in all non-traditional roles, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. "Having gender-balance in the workplace is important in helping companies thrive. It’s great that NB Power continues to have an increasing number of female engineers, contractors, operators, chemical technicians, structural maintenance workers, and mechanical crew members throughout the company,” says Kate.  

“Women have a lot to contribute to STEM and all other non-traditional career fields. I’m happy to share my story in hopes that it encourages young women to pursue their interests and show them that they too can do anything they want to do.”

NB Power offers Cybersecurity Internship to High School Graduate

February 12 2019, 10:44 AM

NB Power offers Cybersecurity Internship to High School Graduate

In today’s digital age, the need for cybersecurity is at an all-time high. Companies must constantly adapt to evolving technology in order to protect themselves against cyber threats. Because of this, cybersecurity experts are in increasingly high demand.                                             

Studies show that globally, there will be a shortage in the range of 2 to 3 million cybersecurity people by 2021. In Canada alone, there will be a need for more than 15 0000 new cybersecurity workers by 2023 (ISACA).

In response to the growing demand, NB Power has taken initiative by creating a Cybersecurity Internship Program for recent high school graduates interested in the Digital Technology field. The goal of the internship program is to build cybersecurity interest and expertise in New Brunswick while providing the intern with education and meaningful work experience in the field.

NB Power welcomed its first cybersecurity intern, Paul Rosal, in June of 2018.  After learning the foundations of cybersecurity through training, Paul began working closely with NB Power’s cybersecurity team.

“So far, it has been nothing but unbelievable,” said Rosal. “Learning the foundations of cybersecurity first hand in a workplace filled with extremely experienced workers feels surreal. Being involved in team discussions and projects makes you feel as if you have a say and a responsibility for the team you are working for,” he added.  

NB Power is one of only a few utilities companies to offer this type of program. It was Jamie Rees, NB Power’s Chief Information Security Officer, who had the idea to start the program. Rees recognized the benefit of getting more young people interested in cybersecurity as the opportunities in this field continue to rise.

“There is a lot to learn and only more to come as NB Power continues to digitize and modernize the power grid,” said Rees. “Paul started his internship by training with the professionals at Knowledge Park as part of NB Power’s partnership with Siemens. He comes with us to meetings to get to know people and learn about corporate culture. He works on independent projects and gets to see first hand how security design decisions are made and which elements besides the straight-up security of something come into play.”

Building expertise in the cybersecurity field is very important in the utility industry as there will only be more technological advancements to come, meaning the way cybersecurity is handled must also continue to advance and adapt.

“Accepting this internship instead of going straight to university after high school was a big decision, but it’s not every day that a seventeen-year-old graduate is given an opportunity to work for a big and respected company, and learn the ins and outs of the business,” said Rosal. “I really do believe that kids coming out of high school wanting to enter the Digital Technology world should consider this internship as a means of both post-secondary education and work experience, because it really does give you the best of both worlds.”

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