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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.”

Raising Salmon at the Mactaquac Biodiversity Facility

December 14 2018, 10:00 AM

Raising Salmon at the Mactaquac Biodiversity Facility

When the air outside has cooled, and the rest of us begin to bundle up for the winter months ahead, the team at the Mactaquac Biodiversity Facility begin their prep for the next summer.  Every November, the team begins the months’ long process of spawning and rearing eggs and juvenile Atlantic salmon for release into the wild.

This process starts by catching healthy wild adult Atlantic Salmon juveniles, in waters above the head pond in the Saint John River (Wolastoq.) The fish are brought to the facility and reared to sexually mature adults over a period of 2 to 4 years. The majority of these mature fish are released back into the river to spawn naturally, but a small percentage are retained for captive breeding where eggs are extracted and fertilized on site. After being incubated for the next two months at the main facility, the eggs are moved across the river to the incubation building next to the Mactaquac Generating Station. The eggs are kept in large incubation tanks   where they will grow through the coldest months of the year until they hatch.

It’s this step in their journey, when the team at the Mactaquac Generating Station steps in to help. The incubation building is fed with warm water that comes out of the pump house at the Station. Because the temperatures can be unpredictable at times, the operators keep a close eye on the temperatures and adjust as needed so the temperatures inside the building stay at a safe level for the fish.

“There’s daily communication between our team and the team here at Mactaquac,” says John Whitelaw, a Biologist with the Biodiversity Facility. “This facility allows us to get an early start on hatching and feeding the fish. It’s incredibly important that the water temperatures and oxygen levels stay within a defined range, as it could stunt their growth or completely wipe out the eggs if we lose that.”


 

The young fish continue to benefit from this partnership once they’ve fully outgrown the tanks at the incubation building and get transported to the Aquadomes a short walk uphill. These domes are where they’ll spend the next few months growing until they reach their juvenile state and make their way back to the biodiversity facility across the river.

They’re transported in large tanks by truck across the dam where they are released into rock pools that mimic natural riverbeds. They’ll stay here until they’re big enough to be released back to the river to start their journey to the marine environment.

“This partnership began when the dam was built to mitigate loss with the operation of the dam,” says Whitelaw. “Since then, there has been a shift in thinking to conservation and preservation of the species. So in 1984, this early rearing facility was built as an add-on to what we were already doing to help us learn new things on how we use our facilities and how we can incorporate new science to help put more salmon back in the river.”

The Mactaquac Biodiversity Facility also collects migrating salmon and gaspereau at a specially designed fish lift at the Mactaquac Hydroelectric Dam and trucks and releases them upriver of the Dam.

How to make your holidays safe and energy efficient

December 12 2018, 15:52 PM

How to make your holidays safe and energy efficient

The holidays are almost here. For many, that means it’s time to dig out the lights, get out the holiday décor and trim those trees. Did you know it’s also a great time to use less energy? If you’re planning on stringing up some lights inside and outside your home this holiday, be sure to consider switching to LEDs (light emitting diodes.)

Using ENERGY STAR® certified LED lights is a great alternative to save power, since LED lights use less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. Traditional bulbs consume about 7 watts of electricity per hour, per bulb, while LEDs use about 2 watts per hour, per strand.

Let’s take a look at what that translates to in dollars.

Light bulb type

Strands of Lights (50 bulbs/ strand)

Total cost (at $.1059/ KwH)

Traditional

6

$41

LED

6

$1.18

*based on bulbs running for 6 hours a day for 31 days. 

Another way you can control how much energy your holiday lights use, put both your indoor and outdoor lights on timers, and set them to turn on and off at set times.

Keep it safe

If you’ve got a lot of light-up decorations in your home, be careful not to plug too many into one outlet. It could result in heat building up in the wires, which could lead to a fire.

Here are a few other easy steps you can take in your home to help keep your family safe from electrical fires:

  • Make sure all extension cords and electric decorations are marked for proper use.
  • Turn off all indoor and outdoor decorations before going to sleep or leaving home.
  • When decorating outdoors keep yourself at least 10 meters away from power lines to keep yourself safe from electrical arching.
  • Make sure outdoor electric decorations are labelled for outdoor use.
  • Carefully inspect each electrical decoration. Cracked or damaged sockets, loose or bare wires and loose connections may result in shock or fire.
  • Modern lights have fused plugs, preventing sparks in case of a short circuit. Get rid of old lights that don’t have fuses and get a set of newer, safer lights.

By incorporating these habits into your routine each year, you can ensure your family has a safe, energy-efficient and happy holiday season. Visit the safety and save energy sections of our website for more great tips to use in your home.

 

How camping gear can help you in an emergency

November 22 2018, 11:11 AM

How camping gear can help you in an emergency

Camping is a great way to enjoy all the beauty New Brunswick has to offer. But did you know you can use your camping gear during an emergency like a power outage? If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you might have a lot of these items around the house already. Here are 7 items you can use to help you and your loved ones be storm ready!

  1. Lights
    Flashlights, head lamps and lanterns can help light your home at night when the power is out. Whether it’s just for a few hours, or a few days, these lights can spare you some stubbed toes during an outage. Make sure you keep spare batteries in a drawer or container for easy access. Avoid using candles, as they can be a fire hazard.
  2. 72 hour supply of non-perishable food
    Food that you take camping can be a great option during an emergency or power outage. Make sure you have enough food to last 72 hours, as recommended by the Government of Canada. Canned food, freeze-dried meals and ready-to-eat food and snacks are all great options to have on hand. Don’t forget to keep a manual can-opener handy too!
  3. Coolers
    If you lose power during the winter, large coolers stored outside can be a great way to keep food you want to cook that day cool so you don’t have to open your fridge. Make sure you keep your refrigerator and freezer closed as much as possible. The contents should be good for 24-48 hours.
  4. Outdoor grill
    Not matter the season, you can fire up your grill to cook food for your family. Be prepared by keeping spare fuel for your grill around so you can get it going quickly. Never use your grill inside the house- this is a major safety hazard- keep your family safe and only operate it outdoors.
  5. Backpack
    Turn a spare backpack into an easy-to-grab emergency kit that includes the essentials like a first aid kit, water, cash, medications and pet food. Have a multi-tool for your camping trips? You can also add this to your kit. Watch this video to see what other essential items you need to get your kit together!
  6. Radio
    If you lose power during major weather events, you might not be able to get important updates on your smart phone, as sometimes cell service can also be impacted. Having a radio or solar powered radio on hand can be a great way to stay connected to your local news for important updates on the situation. During outages we work closely with local stations to provide updates on restoration progress.
  7. Battery banks
    Portable battery banks are a great way to keep your smart phone charged on your excursions so you never miss a photo, but they can also help you out during an emergency. Make sure your battery banks are fully charged and somewhere handy during power outages. If you lose power, you can use your smart phone to report your outage on our website and check for outage updates on Twitter.


What other camping items would you use in your emergency kit? Tell us in the comments below. And don’t miss your chance to enter our Storm Preparedness contest.

 

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