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Developing our region’s capacity for the future

“I had the opportunity to go other places but you can’t beat the opportunities up here.”

The Callaghan Family At a small university like UNBC, classmates and professors are like family. For the Callaghans, however, there’s no difference between a family gathering and a UNBC alumni event. Dennis Callaghan had no idea when he received his Bachelor of Arts (English) from UNBC in 2001 that all four of his younger sisters would follow in his footsteps. After Dennis came Cortnie, with a Bachelor of Social Work degree, specializing in child welfare, in 2005. Jenilee received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2007 and, a year after that, Tara earned her Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting). Tamara completed a nursing degree in 2012, five years after Jenilee did. Five siblings, five UNBC graduates. “You know, it just happened,” Dennis said. “One day we realized ‘wow, that’s all of us.’” Educated in Northern B.C., the Callaghans remain in Northern B.C., building their families and their careers. Dennis eventually followed himself and his sisters back to UNBC. Like many adults at a certain point in their working lives, Dennis realized that he needed to go back to school to further his professional skills if he was truly serious about reaching his career goals. Dennis

earned his second UNBC degree, a Master of Business Administration, in 2009. “I had the opportunity to go other places but you can’t beat the the opportunities up here with the smaller class size, the cost of living and the accessibility to the professors,” Dennis said. “Another important draw for me going into the MBA program was the access to business leaders in northern B.C.” The success of the five Callaghan siblings at UNBC is a pretty good return on a $5 investment by their parents, Richard and Helen. In 1988, the couple donated $5 to sign a petition urging the provincial government to create a northern B.C. university based in Prince George. That investment continues to pay dividends for Prince George and northern B.C., as all five siblings are living and working on building their own families and careers. Today, Tamara and Jenilee are nurses at the University Hospital of Northern B.C. in Prince George, while Cortnie is a homemaker. Tara is manager of financial planning and operations at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George and Dennis has formed PNL Consulting, offering small and medium-sized businesses with help managing or setting up their businesses in central and northern B.C. For Dennis and his sisters, family ties also run through UNBC.

TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future


Professional momentum

When Cathy Mackay wanted to boost her science credentials, she and husband Shon researched for the best possible fit. They were moving back to Canada from a stint in New Zealand and they found UNBC. It felt like home to her. She is originally from Taylor, so geographically it is very close and familiar, but it was the people and the arrangement of graduate students that caused the deepest feelings of connection. “There was a really good team spirit amongst the grad students. We shared our trials and tribulations together,” she said. “We had some pretty interesting discussions in our colloquium class. All the current Natural Resources students were in it, or at least they were at that time, so questions would come up like ‘is it OK to be an advocate for something?’ as a professional in the field. I don’t know if that is the same in every institution, but there were a lot of people who were there because they had been working in the field and had come back for graduate studies and that brought a lot of realism to those discussions.” Being a returning resident to the region gave Mackay some advantages, she figured. Coming from northern B.C. insulated her from misconceptions and made her ready to face her studies with an easier mind. She didn’t have to wait for epiphanies about life in Prince George.  “I have seen that. I’ve seen the students who realize it,” she said. “They come here grumbling about what they think PG is, and suddenly realize all that this city and this university can offer them.” The mental flexibility gave Mackay a lot of professional momentum. She easily saw the industrial activities gathering around her chosen field - environmental analysis - and wanted to stay in the city that provided her degree.

Cathy Mackay Degree, Major, Year: MSc, Biology, 2007 Hometown: Taylor Job Title: Senior Biologist and Managing Partner Employer: EDI Environmental Dynamics Inc. Location: Prince George


Since then she and Shon have had a son, and Mackay is part of a leadership team doing a robust business at EDI Environmental Dynamics Inc. Taking on business development roles is a new aspect to her career, but one that excites her as she tries to construct a year-round slate of activities for the company rather than the seasonal ebbs and flows to which her industry is accustomed. Mackay has also volunteered as a mentor for entrepreneurial initiatives like StartUp Canada, and she won a place on the city’s first-ever “Top 40 Under 40” list.

TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future

Keeping the North in good health

“That partnership that Northern Health has with the university and the colleges is huge. “

Cathy Ulrich was born in Medicine Hat, the daughter of a university teacher, and she followed her father’s pursuit of advanced education, having lived in all four western provinces and in the U.S. She attained her undergraduate degree in nursing at the University of Alberta and lived in Terrace for 10 years before moving to Prince George in 1996. Ulrich’s UNBC days began in Terrace, where she was among the first intake of students in the master of science program. She took the first four courses as a part-time student, then moved to Prince George to finish the two-year program and write her thesis while working full time with Northern Health. After her graduation, she took duties as Northern Health’s vice-president of clinical services and chief nursing officer, a job she held until she was appointed president and CEO in 2007. Ulrich is responsible for the largest health authority in B.C., a region that encompasses more than half of the province. “Heath issues are very diverse across the North and trying to ensure that the way we organize our services within a constrained budget meets the needs in the best way possible for the people of the North,” said Ulrich. “We still have work to do to really get that right, but I think we’re making good progress.” The birth of the Northern Medical Program was a catalyst for UHNBC to become a teaching hospital. Ulrich, a UNBC donor, said that has been key in attracting talented medical professionals to the city and rural areas. “That partnership that Northern Health has with the university and the colleges is huge and really has made a difference to recruitment and retention of medical professionals in northern B.C.,” Ulrich said. “It’s really preparing northern people for northern jobs.”

Cathy Ulrich Degree, Major, Year: MSc, Community Health Science, 2002 Hometown: Medicine Hat Job Title: Chief Executive Officer Employer: Northern Health Location: Prince George

TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future


“My UNBC education literally opened a door to the world for me.”

Tops in the game of global trade

Christopher Colussi is excited as he points to small rectangles on his computer screen. They’re arranged to mimic the yard full of containers outside of his office at the Fairview container terminal in Prince Rupert, and the graphics on his screen neatly reflect the world of global trade happening right outside. The yellow rectangles are bound for Yokohama; Shanghai is red. Those green ones are heading to Chicago; peach is for Memphis. It’s all a bit like a video game, where the object is to move the maximum number of containers in the least amount of time.

Christopher Colussi

“I was in the lookout area when the first vessel arrived, and I was the first person hired after the initial start-up,” recalls Chris, who is the Marine Superintendent. “I’m very proud of the collaboration between Maher Terminals, our Foreman, and our workforce. Together, we’ve developed a world-class container terminal for the region and for Canada. My UNBC education literally opened a door to the world for me.”

Degree, Major, Year: BSc, Mathematics, 2004 Hometown: Prince Rupert Job Title: Marine Superintendent Employer: Maher Terminals Location: Prince Rupert 6

If it was a game, Christopher would be a champion. He manages and supervises the vessel department for U.S.-based Maher Terminals, which operates the Fairview terminal. Since opening five years ago, the Prince Rupert facility has increased its cargo throughput every year, and the speed with which containers come and go is unmatched in North America. Christopher is justifiably proud of what he and his fellow employees have achieved. Christopher came to UNBC in 2000 and graduated with a mathematics degree four years later. Born and raised in Prince Rupert, he quickly returned after graduation, getting a job in the local economic development agency. Back then – as it is now – economic development was synonymous with port development and the container terminal was the jewel in the crown.

TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future

“I sold everything I owned, moved with two suitcases, and arrived in Prince George with no idea what was in store for me.”

Making her mark

Danielle Smyth always wanted to live in B.C. She grew up in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., with a youthful affinity for the westernmost province, even though she had only been there once on a family vacation. When she completed her undergraduate studies in land resource science at the University of Guelph, she decided to move west for graduate studies. “I love the outdoors, so I was just naturally drawn to that proximity to nature. I was convinced that I would move to B.C., but I needed a reason, and I had always wanted to complete my Master’s. I did not want to go to a large university for my graduate studies. I looked at a few different places, applied to three, and decided on UNBC. I sold everything I owned, moved with two suitcases, and arrived in Prince George with no idea what was in store for me.” Smyth was drawn to UNBC for its emphasis on environmental research and the integrated learning opportunities that were offered by its size, its small classes, easy access to mentors, plenty of degree-related extracurricular activities, and the community feel. She could not have predicted the trajectory of opportunities found at UNBC, however, and she atributes most of her personal and professional growth back to UNBC. She sat on committees for sustainable transportation, community gardens, and composting initiatives. She was also involved in provincial climate action projects, and won the job as UNBC’s first sustainability manager.

Danielle Smyth Degree, Major, Year: Master of Natural Resource Environmental Studies, 2010 Hometown: Sault Ste. Marie Job Title: Regional Director, School of Exploration & Mining Employer: Northwest Community College Location: Smithers 8

“It completely changed my life,” she said. “I moved to northern B.C. as a young woman without a clear direction. My experiences at UNBC helped me define myself and open so many doors in the process. If I had gone anywhere other than UNBC, Prince George and northern B.C., I would not have had even a fraction of those opportunities. It gave me a chance to learn experientially and to really make my mark.” Her mark now includes being a lead creator of the Green University Centre that exists on the UNBC campus, being the manager of Northwest Community College’s young School of Exploration and Mining, being NWCC’s interim regional director for the eastern area of the college’s territory, and being a UNBC donor. She now lives in Smithers, a town she loves, and she attributes part of that to her years in Prince George developing an understanding and appreciation for northern B.C.

TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future

“All our instructors were from the real world. They did those jobs, and that was important to me.”

A real-world experience Kara Biles enjoyed learning at UNBC so much she went back and did it again. After first obtaining a marketing degree, she returned almost immediately and added human resources credentials to her resume. What has impressed her most was how directly applicable her education has been to the real professional world. She knew this immediately because she was already working in her field while going to school, and the two sides were mirrors of each other. “All our instructors were from the real world. They did those jobs, and that was important to me,” she said. “They used real-world examples during their lectures. I worked and went to school the whole time, and I could directly take from my program and apply it to my job.” She was able to use her UNBC experience to get started in her professional career. It was a co-op learning posting with the B.C. Public Service Agency. About two years ago she transitioned to the private sector to a position with Canfor in Prince George, all the while attending classes. Once finished, she took her exams for her Certified Human Resources Professional credential and found that the university experience set her up well to score highly on the exam. So grateful was she for the professional opportunities gained through UNBC and her employers that she is now giving back to the community. She has been a volunteer for the Salvation Army and a facilitator for the Canadian Cancer Society’s leadership development training program. Besides coaching the Human Resources team for the University’s JDC West contingent, she is a board member with the Prince George Chamber of Commerce and she is the chair of the B.C. Human Resources Management Association’s regional advisory council for the north. She was that organization’s 2011 provincial Rising Star award winner, and also made the inaugural list of Prince George’s “Top 40 Under 40” last year.

Kara Biles Degree, Major, Year: BComm, Marketing, 2008 Hometown: Prince George Job Title: Human Resources Recruitment Coordinator Employer: Canfor Location: Prince George Scholarship/Bursary from: Canfor Corporation

TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future


“UNBC prepared me to come back and contribute to this time of growth.”

Being part of “the Family Business” Katherine Voigt Degree, Major, Year: BComm, Marketing & International Business, 2004 Hometown: Kitimat Job Title: Communication Specialist, Kitimat Modernization Project Employer: Rio Tinto Alcan Location: Kitimat Scholarship/Bursary from: TD Bank Group 10

You can’t beat the feeling of coming home. Except when you’re coming home for a great job. Katherine Voigt, who calls Kitimat home, graduated from UNBC in 2004 with a Bachelor of Commerce with majors in International Business and Marketing, and a minor in Psychology. After graduation, she held a variety of jobs in economic development in communities all over B.C. Today, she’s a communications specialist with Rio Tinto Alcan’s Kitimat Modernization Project. The $3.3 billion project is seeing the construction of a modernized aluminum smelter, projected to sustain the aluminum industry in northern B.C. for decades to come. The project is one of the largest private investment projects to date in B.C.’s history. Voigt provides a lead role with all aspects of communication to the project, ensuring external stakeholders and employees have the latest information. “It’s a significant project in terms of its scope,” she says. “It’s nice to be part of something that will move the aluminum business locally into the next generation. The community is also experiencing a time of growth and development and I am thrilled to be a part of such a major initiative in the place where I grew up.” Voigt maintains that her time at UNBC, which was supported in part by an award from the TD Bank Group, was pivotal in her career. Voigt says that compared to other universities she considered, UNBC seemed to be the only one that would provide unique opportunities for learning, and that it wasn’t afraid to be different. And it was close to home. For someone born and raised in Kitimat, and whose father was an Alcan employee, Voigt says coming home was a natural fit. “I felt like I am continuing on with the family business,” she says with a laugh. “The industry is integral to the community. Through my life it’s always had a presence. Seeing this modernization first-hand - it’s nice to be part of this area again. And UNBC prepared me to come back and contribute to this time of growth.”

TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future

“UNBC and the community are one and the same.”

A passion for business In 1989, Kevin Pettersen of Prince George had to leave his home town and travel more than 700 kilometres to the Lower Mainland to pursue a post-secondary education. In 2010, 21 years, three degrees, a wife, and two children later, the Vice President of Finance and Planning for consulting firm Tesera Systems entered UNBC’s MBA program; not out of a need to further his education, but to pursue a passion for business and to help his company expand and diversify. Pettersen had returned to Prince George a few years earlier to join Tesera, which was, at that time, strictly a forestry consulting firm. “It wasn’t a good time to be in a forestry-related business,” says Pettersen. “We had the softwood lumber dispute, the mountain pine beetle, you name it.” Tesera soon went from 24 employees down to eight. “We needed to diversify and decide what kind of business we wanted to be. I started reading all of the books on business I could. Soon I found my way to UNBC’s MBA program.” Pettersen’s first few weeks in the program were intense. “I was tempted to quit, but my wife told me to hang in there. Soon I was able to take my work experience and apply it to my course work and vice versa. My classmates, the business faculty, and the northern B.C. business community were instrumental in our success.” During the course of his MBA, the avid cross-country skier was named president of the 1,800 member Caledonia Nordic Ski Club, the largest ski club in western Canada, based in Prince George. “What I discovered was the value an educational institution can provide in both your professional and extracurricular life.” “This university is different from most because the people here had to fight hard to get it,” says Pettersen. “What makes UNBC special is the community it’s ensconced within and all of the people and opportunities that surround it. This university is in no way an ivory tower taken for granted by the community. UNBC and the community are one and the same.”

Kevin Pettersen Degree, Major, Year: MBA, Business Administration, 2012 Hometown: Prince George Job Title: Vice President Finance & Planning Employer: Tesera Systems Inc. Location: Prince George

TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future


“Farming is not a turnkey business.”

Food, glorious food

There’s a growing desire amongst consumers to source their food locally. For Jillian Merrick, program coordinator at Community Futures Fraser Fort George, this means identifying barriers, overcoming obstacles, and connecting people through her work with the “Beyond the Market” project. Merrick was hired as a result of the Omineca Beetle Action Coalition’s efforts to develop economic development plans for multiple sectors. Through Beyond the Market, she has made personal connections with farmers from Valemount to Terrace to understand the agriculture sector, and has since launched two new initiatives. The New Farm Development Initiative supports existing farmers and attracts new ones. It provides training, mentoring and networking opportunities; showcases what makes agriculture unique in the region; and develops information about alternative ways to access farmland. “Farming is not a turnkey business,” says Merrick. “It takes a long time to get up and running and develop a loyal customer base.”

Jillian Merrick Degree, Major, Year: BA Honours, Economics & International Studies, 2007 Hometown: Halfmoon Bay Job Title: Program Coordinator Employer: Community Futures Fraser Fort George Location: Prince George Scholarship/Bursary from: The Special Education Technology - BC (SET - BC); John and Eileen Bryan and Family; The Rotary Club of Gibsons and Mr & Mrs. Michael Cruise; The City of Prince George; Novak Bros. Contracting Ltd.

The other project, the Regional Beef Value Chain Initiative, helps local producers find local markets, and vice versa. She helps determine quantities, pricing, and delivery logistics, but a big part of her job is education. She provides business coaching, workshops and seminars, then during the farming season, works with buyers to connect the two parties. Merrick has lived in Prince George for the past decade and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and International Studies from UNBC in 2007. The Sunshine Coast transplant was looking for a more rural setting for her post-secondary pursuits, making UNBC a natural fit. She has also worked for a number of not-for-profit organizations, is a director with the Recycling and Environmental Action Planning Society, and president of the Prince George Cycling Club. “I couldn’t say no,” she says of her decision to move to Prince George. “It took a while to adjust, but once I started volunteering with the student society and working in town, I saw there was a lot more in Prince George than I had seen before.”

TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future


James Moore

Robin Austin

Electing to make a difference 14

Garth Frizzell

Currie Dixon

UNBC provides an environment in which young minds can become engaged in governance roles, with several alumni taking on those roles with gusto. Take James Moore for example, who earned his political science degree at UNBC. The MP for Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam was elected in 2000 at the age of 24, the youngest elected MP in B.C.’s history. When named the Secretary of State for the 2010 Olympics, the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Official Languages, he became the fourth-youngest Cabinet Minister in Canadian history, and currently sits as the Minister of Canadian Heritage & Official Languages. While Moore is serving the federal arm of government, provincial and territorial legislatures are also home to alumni. Currie Dixon, who holds a Master of Arts degree in Political Science from UNBC, was elected to Yukon’s Legislative Assembly in 2011 and serves as the Minister of Environment and Minister of Economic Development. At 26, he’s the youngest cabinet minister in Yukon history, and the youngest cabinet minister in the nation.

Andrew Merilees

Further south, another graduate serves his constituents in Victoria. Skeena MLA Robin Austin was first elected in 2005 and is the opposition critic for education, early learning, and literacy. He attained his Bachelor of Social Work from UNBC after completing course work at the Terrace campus. On the local government front, Masset Mayor Andrew Merilees is in his first full term as mayor, following his 2007 by election victory and subsequent re-election in 2008. He received a BA in Geography in 1997. And here in Prince George, City Councillor Garth Frizzell is serving his second term after being elected in 2008. Frizzell holds a master’s degree from UNBC in International Studies, and has taught business courses at the College of New Caledonia, and Computer Science and International Studies classes at UNBC. He is also a UNBC donor. The UNBC environment that fosters creative thinking and leadership development is creating today’s modern leaders, regardless of the level of government they choose to serve.

TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future


“When you’re dealing with a big operation, these small improvements can add up to make a significant impact.”

Sweating the small stuff Nathan Lauer Degree, Major, Year: MBA, Business Administration, 2010 Hometown: Summerland Job Title: Logistics & IT Manager Employer: Ridley Terminals Inc. Location: Prince Rupert


For Nathan Lauer, no detail is too small. This may seem like an oxymoron given where he works: the Ridley Terminals port in Prince Rupert. It’s massive. Originally built in tandem with the development of coal resources in northeastern B.C., Ridley Terminals is one of the largest and most important pieces of infrastructure in northern B.C. “I create and optimize plans for the handling of bulk cargo unit trains and some of the largest deepsea bulk vessels in the world,” says Nathan, who is the Logistics and IT manager for Ridley Terminals. “The bulk cargo consists of metallurgical and thermal coal from mines in B.C., Alberta, and the United States, and petroleum coke comes from refineries in Alberta. The deep-sea vessels carry this cargo to many places in Asia and around the globe to steelmakers, electrical generators, and industry.” It’s a growing industry and Ridley Terminals is experiencing traffic at levels it has never seen before. In 2012 alone, business was up nearly 20%. All of this is crucial to the B.C. economy; a PricewaterhouseCoopers study has shown that coal alone represents more than 20% of the total value of exports from B.C. “This job requires a great deal of organization and coordination with many internal departments and external partners such as the railways, vessels, vessel agents, customers and related service providers. I really like exploring opportunities for small efficiency improvements. When you’re dealing with a big operation, these small improvements can add up to make a significant impact. I feel my UNBC education equipped me with skills to take an integrated approach to management.” Nathan pursued his MBA by driving to Prince George once a month from his home in Prince Rupert. “It was a major commitment from my whole family but the cohort-based format and the quality of my classmates really provided an amazing opportunity for peer-to-peer learning. The program definitely exceeded my expectations.”

TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future

James Adamson

Making an Impact on a world stage “They’re doing great things around the globe.”


TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future

The prospect of travelling thousands of kilometres to help with a humanitarian cause seems daunting to many people. But this group of UNBC grads doesn’t seem fazed at all. Adrian Walraven, a UNBC donor, who earned a BA in International Studies in 1999, works in the Canadian International Development Agency’s Ukraine Program, based at the Canadian Embassy in Kyiv. CIDA is focusing on economic growth and food security in a strengthened democracy, with Walraven playing a key role as the Deputy Director of Operations. Megan Hunter, also a donor, holds a Nursing degree from UNBC, and recently moved back to Prince George after spending eight years working for Doctors Without Borders. Her most recent assignment was as Head of Mission in the eastern Congo, where she helped treat more than 100 women who had suffered severe trauma. Lindsay Harkness (a 2004 International Studies graduate from Valemount and recipient of the Helen Thurwell Scholorship) has worked as a project manager in northern Somalia

Megan Hunter

with the Mines Advisory Group, a non-profit humanitarian organization. She’s now a Programme Officer working with the United Nations Mine Action Service supporting a military mission monitoring the border between Sudan and South Sudan. And the duo of UNBC grads James Adamson and Jeff Boeckler are taking their expertise to multiple locales across the globe. The business partners have worked on projects in Haiti; groundwater supply in northeastern Illinois; and well-water drilling in the Central African Republic. Adamson, who graduated with a BSc in Geography in 2004 (and was recognized as one of UNBC’s Alumni of the Year), has worked in 10 countries, 20 U.S. States, and three Canadian provinces. Boeckler holds a BSc in Environmental Planning. With a diverse range of programming and fields of study, UNBC is enabling graduates to make an impact on international soil. And if these five are any indication, UNBC graduates aren’t just doing great things in northern B.C.; they’re doing great things around the globe.

Lindsay Harkness TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future


“You have to understand how Aboriginal values are tied to the land.”

Stimulating a renewable economy Titi Kunkel Degree, Major, Year: Master of Natural Resource Environmental Studies, 2008 Hometown: Quesnel Job Title: PhD Candidate, Natural Resources and Environmental Studies Employer: UNBC Location: Quesnel Scholarship/Bursary from: UNBC; Westcana Electric Inc.


Finding ways to generate sustainable economic development are ongoing discussions. For Titi Kunkel, a UNBC PhD candidate in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, researching these efforts, with a specific eye to the region’s First Nations, is a discussion worth having. While earning her master’s degree at UNBC, Kunkel worked with the Nazko Band (west of Quesnel). “I got to know the barriers and opportunities that exist for First Nations communities,” she explains. “The people all have one thing in common: they want to close the social-economic gap between themselves and mainstream communities.” This requires an understanding of First Nations cultures, according to Kunkel. “You have to understand how Aboriginal values are tied to the land,” she says. “When I started my research, I wanted to focus on things that don’t impact the environment as much, such as geothermal energy. But travelling from community to community, I discovered that a project’s footprint doesn’t matter as much as the values at the location. “Aboriginal values and their worldviews are different from the mainstream’s, and that helps shape their economic perspectives.” Kunkel’s current research looks at ways remote communities can use renewable energy to stimulate economic development. The Senior Lab Instructor in First Nations Studies at UNBC also applies her learning to her teaching. Her courses help nursing and social work students understand the worldview of the Aboriginal people with whom they will be working. Working in the UNBC environment has been beneficial for Kunkel. Living in Quesnel, and accessing the campus there, created opportunities for her as well. “I didn’t want to move or leave home, yet I was able to pursue my PhD,” she says. “Having the closeknit community here and access to all these professors, who are best in their field, is invaluable.”

TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future

“For people coming out of University, this is the place to come.”

Digging the opportunity Tyler Bowman Degree, Major, Year: BComm, Marketing, 2005 Hometown: Prince George Job Title: Account Manager Employer: Finning Canada Location: Tumbler Ridge

UNBC students often have two choices after graduation: pursue employment in northern B.C. or gamble on landing a job in a big city or even another country. For Tyler Bowman, who was born and raised in Prince George, the bright lights of the south beckoned but the opportunities available in the North were too good to pass up. “For people coming out of University, this is the place to come,” says Tyler, who graduated with a UNBC Commerce degree in 2005 and previously served as Alumni Association president. “There are terrific opportunities to gain great experiences and actually have a voice.” For Tyler, “the place to come” has been Tumbler Ridge and the “great experiences” have come via his employment with Finning as the account manager for all of the mines in the region. There are four operating coal mines in the region, and growth is expected. “When I moved here from Prince George in 2010, we probably had around two-dozen employees including only a handful in the office. Today, we have 80 people here. If even half the projects that are planned go through, this place could double,” says Tyler, who has already been promoted and reports directly to the branch manager. He has also been a UNBC donor since 2004. Alongside growth, it’s his job as the person responsible for the relationship between Finning and its local customers where Tyler feels he can “actually have a voice.” “I really enjoy being presented with challenges by the mine operators and employees,” he says. “When you can come up with equipment solutions that improve the efficiency of these large operations, the effects can really be significant. It’s fast and exciting and there is demand for local skilled, educated people. It feels good to be needed and to feel that you’re making an important contribution to your home region.”

TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future


“UNBC grads bring a perspective on sustainability that is both practical and grounded in our region.”

Connecting the dots with more than just lines

Northern B.C. is made up of diverse ecosystems that include rugged coastlines, mountain ranges, arid plateaus, and fertile river valleys – large chunks of territory. Today, however, many of the developments being proposed and promised are linear in nature: roads, pipelines, electrical transmission lines, and railways. While they often show up as lines on a map, they can also be lines that divide people and communities. The challenge for environmental stewards is to consider these lines within a broader context that includes the environment as a whole and the diverse resources within it. In this respect, UNBC grads themselves are emerging as a critical resource. For Triton Environmental Consultants, which has three branches in northern B.C., UNBC grads make up a sizeable part of the workforce; 50% at the Prince George office, for example. Beyond their numbers, they bring a valuable local perspective. “UNBC grads bring a perspective on sustainability that is both practical and grounded in our region,” says Dave Warburton, Triton’s operations manager in Prince George. “Maybe it’s because they work and play in the same environment. But this is also where they learned and this has produced employees for us that really care about what they’re doing and know why it’s important.” Triton is involved with environmental assessment/monitoring and has seen a dramatic shift in workload. “A dozen years ago, forestry accounted for 80 to 90% of our work,” says Warburton. “Today, linear developments account for that same percentage. Prince George is really in the heart of where a lot of things are going on and I’m leaning on our alumni employees to really strengthen our connection with UNBC around research and education that can enhance communities and the companies doing business here.”

TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future


Interns are often portrayed in pop culture performing menial tasks while performing the office coffee-fetching duties. Nothing could be further from the truth for those participating in the Northern Development Initiative Trust internship opportunities. These programs have trained recent UNBC graduates for economic development and finance positions throughout central and northern B.C. Many past interns have found rewarding and high profile careers in communities such as Terrace, Prince Rupert, Williams Lake, Kamloops and others.

Intern programs strengthen the North

Take Evan van Dyk, for example. The 2010 commerce and accounting graduate interned for four months at the Northern Development Initiatives Trust in Prince George. The UNBC donor accepted the Economic Development Officer position in Terrace shortly after. “I was born and raised in Terrace, so working for the local Government here was a great fit,” he explains. “The program prepared me for real-life challenges in local government. The training provided by the NDIT internship program gave me a leg up to land an excellent job.” And two other UNBC graduates, Derek Baker and Melissa Barcelos, also took advantage of NDIT economic development internship programs. Baker is now the Economic Development Officer with the Prince Rupert and Port Edward Economic Development Authority, while Barcelos is the Economic Development Officer at Initiatives Prince George. These three graduates are evidence of the strength of this type of training, and their success helped identify another internship training opportunity: local government. This year, six UNBC graduates began work with the NDIT’s first-ever local government internship program, which is providing the graduates with the ability to leverage the education and skills they gained at UNBC in communities throughout central and northern B.C. The program represents a partnership between Northern Development, UNBC and the Local Government Management Association. “The need for bright, skilled young workers to support the coming growth across the north is now more apparent than ever before,” says Janine North, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust. “Our hope is that through a partnership with UNBC we’ll find those graduates who are passionate about the north and want to work for communities across the region.” Gary Wilson, internship program developer and UNBC Political Science Professor, helped develop the local government program together with UNBC Geography Professor Greg Halseth, Director of UNBC’s Community Development Institute. Wilson likens the local government internship opportunity to the Northern Medical Program, which was set up to address the need for more physicians in rural B.C. “It really is the local government equivalent to the Northern Medical Program, in that it’s a program hosted in the north to meet a specific local need,” says Wilson.

Derek Baker


TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future

Evan van Dyk

“It really is the local government equivalent of the Northern Medical Program.”

Melissa Barcelos

- Gary Wilson

TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future


Trained in the North, for the North Dr. Jennifer Parker

“I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was six so this is a dream come true for me.”

Dr. Heather Smith 28

TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future

Jennifer Parker, one of the first graduates of the Northern Medical Program, was quick to make her mark on northern B.C. Within days of officially completing her residency in family practice, Parker opened a brand-new practice in Fort St. John, providing a full range of services including maternity, palliative care, and emergency medicine. “I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was six so this is a dream come true for me,” says Dr. Parker. “I’m Cree Métis, born in Fort Nelson, and raised there and in Chetwynd. I love being from a small town and my plan is to stay in the North.” Parker was part of the first-ever class of graduates from the Northern Medical Program who graduated in 2008. She is also one of a dozen NMPtrained physicians now practicing in northern B.C. Heather Smith of Prince George, one of Parker’s classmates, is also now practicing in the North. “When I was ready for my post-secondary education, UNBC opened the doors on its first full year of classes. Then when I was about to complete my master’s degree, I heard the NMP was coming,” says Dr. Smith, who now runs a family practice in Prince George. “Just as one door of my education was closing, UNBC and the NMP opened another.” The Northern Medical Program is part of UBC’s Faculty of Medicine and hosted by UNBC. The NMP came about due to a grass-roots movement to address a shortage of doctors in northern B.C. and was founded in the belief that doctors who are trained in the North are more likely to remain in the North. NMP grad Brian Hillhouse also practices medicine in northern B.C. “I really enjoy the range of opportunities that are available to family doctors in the North and the cost of living and family supports available here made the decision to live and practice here easy.”

TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future

Dr. Brian Hillhouse


“Education is the foundation, but patients teach you the most.”

A prescription for good health

Nurse practitioners independently assess, diagnose, and treat patients. They can also prescribe medication, order tests and refer patients to specialists, all of which go beyond the scope of duties of a registered nurse. Linda Van Pelt, got in on the ground floor of UNBC’s nurse practitioner program when it started in 2005. Having worked as an advanced practice registered nurse in the Yukon and Northwest Territories, she was already prescribing medicine to patients based on established formulas and guidelines. Her job at the time gave her more authority in patient treatment to compensate for the lack of physicians in remote, sparsely populated regions. She gave up her job after one semester at UNBC to focus entirely on her school workload. “We didn’t go to school on campus, so there are many hours working with your computer by yourself when you’re in a distance program. That allowed me some flexibility,” Van Pelt says. “The program is structured as a distance program to accommodate northern nurses who are likely to stay or come back to work in the North. That’s why I came to UNBC.”

Linda van Pelt Degree, Major, Year: MScN, Family Nurse Pracititioner, 2008 Hometown: Carcross, YT Job Title: Nurse Practitioner Employer: Blue Pine Primary Health Care Clinic Location: Prince George Scholarship/Bursary from: UNBC


Her clinical rotations took her to Valemount, Smithers, Haida Gwaii, Whitehorse, and at Oregon State Hospital in Portland. At the time, there were very few clinical sites set up for nurse practitioners, especially ones that suited Van Pelt’s rural, small-town focus. She job-shadowed physicians, and because her licence as a nurse was not limited to B.C., she could look beyond provincial borders for her mentorship. Van Pelt, a UNBC donor, was hired as the first nurse practitioner at UHNBC soon after she graduated in 2007 and moved over to the Blue Pine Primary Health Care Clinic when it opened in downtown Prince George in May 2008. “Through my years of all my different kinds of practice I’ve learned so much about how to be a good provider for patients. Education is the foundation, but patients teach you the most.”

TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future

“My focus has always been on preventative health.”

Helping communities help themselves Lisa Sam Degree, Major, Year: BScN, Nursing, 2000 Hometown: Fort St. James Job Title: Community Health Nurse Employer: Tl’azt’en Health Location: Fort St. James


They say “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and nobody knows this better than UNBC Nursing grad Lisa Sam. The Community Health Nurse works at Tl’azt’en Health just outside of Fort St. James and travels to the community of Tache every day. Sam works on a variety of health issues with a special focus on health promotion in areas such as vaccinations, hand washing, smoking cessation, diabetes, HIV, and screenings for all ages. Sam’s role in her community took on a new urgency when, in February 2012, Fort St. James was down to its last permanent doctor. “My focus has always been on preventative health and I really had to start helping the community to help themselves in order to avoid overburdening the few resources we had at that time,” says Sam. “For example, parents need to know what to do at home to treat a child’s fever, and when to bring them in to a doctor. I needed to remind people about the assets that are available to them, such as traditional remedies, the B.C. Health Guide, and that they can call a 811 number to speak to a nurse, before they go into the clinic or emergency.” In a different time and place, Lisa’s community might not have had her skills to depend on. “If had to go to Vancouver to get a post-secondary education, I wouldn’t have a degree today,” says Sam, matter-of-factly. “Having UNBC here allowed me to get my education while caring for my children and staying with my community in northern B.C.” In 2009, Sam received Health Canada’s Award of Excellence from among 1,200 nurses working on reserves across the country.

TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future

“Some imagine Indiana Jones – it’s close… just fewer aliens and ancient religious relics.”

Northern B.C.’s Indiana Jones Derek O’Neill Degree, Major, Year: BA, Anthropology, 2009 Hometown: Maple Ridge Job Title: Archaeologist Employer: Golder Associates Location: Fort St. John Scholarship/Bursary from: UNBC

Imagine it’s only two days after convocation and you’re already contributing to efforts to uncover the horrors of genocide. That’s exactly what happened to Derek O’Neill. The UNBC graduate, who earned his Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology in 2009, found himself working in Guatemala City using forensic archaeology to unearth human remains and associated items from a mass grave. Two years later, O’Neill worked in Colombia to fortify some of those skill sets, and again last year in Somaliland. And while this work is demanding, he’s also been part of a team charged with the repatriation of remains with the families. “That was the most rewarding part,” he says. “People want the truth about their loved ones because it will provide them some closure. To be part of a community when they try to express their thanks, and see the impact you’re having is a profound, life-changing experience.” But how did such an opportunity come so early for O’Neill? He had the opportunity at UNBC to gain a practical education from professors who took him under their wings. “I wanted to have the small-school approach,” he says. “Had I not gone to UNBC, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do forensic archaeology in B.C.” That experience, combined with the connections he made as the President of UNBC’s Anthropology Student Association led to his national and international work. Most of the time O’Neill, who works as an Archaeologist for Golder Associates Ltd. in Fort St. John, participates in a wide range of projects, from power and infrastructure to oil and gas projects across the province. “Land development that involves disturbing the ground has to undergo an assessment of cultural material,” explains O’Neill. “If development continued to occur without taking into account the cultural heritage of our landscape, we would know nothing about how people got here. As an archaeologist, I aim to facilitate responsible land use and protect B.C.’s cultural history.” And despite the challenges the B.C. backcountry can present, O’Neill enjoys his work immensely. “Everyone has different perceptions about the job,” Says O’Neill. “Some imagine Indiana Jones – it’s close… just fewer aliens and ancient religious relics.”

TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future


“I also picked UNBC because it is kind of a leading force in aboriginal studies and really touts the aboriginal aspect of the school. That was important to me.“

Turning aspirations into actions Rena Zatorski Degree, Major, Year: BA, Political Science, 2002 Hometown: Prince George Job Title: President Employer: Red Earth Management Location: Prince George


One of the bright young leaders of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation, Rena Zatorski has long been motivated by thoughts and aspirations connected to politics. Her UNBC studies turned those into actions. Zatorski has been elected to two terms on the LTFN council, was twice the secondhighest vote-getter for the position of chief, and is an active advocate for her Prince George-area people. “A lot of people think political science is a fluffy degree, but it really enabled me to understand relationships between state institutions, national governance, minority rights, equality, justice, all of that, and it applies to what I do every day,” she said. “And it helped me understand minority equality issues, because I am still actively involved in the Highway Of Tears governing body.” Zatorski was the lead organizer of the Highway of Tears Symposium in 2006 that is now seen as a watershed moment in shining a brighter light on the ongoing tragedy of missing women. She was also involved largely in the LTFN treaty process - which has been a contentious issue for many years. “I studied aboriginal state relations and so I always had an interest in First Nations issues that involved title and rights,” she said. “And I just furthered my education with UNBC in the Continuing Education program. I received my certificate in Project Management. That’s what Red Earth Management’s focus will be, working with First Nations communities. Our current main contract is the 37th annual provincial elders gathering July 9 to 11 hosted here in Lheidli T’enneh territory.” UNBC was her chosen school immediately following her high school time. She wanted to stay in her home community, she wanted a smaller campus, and she wanted close connections to her professors. “I also picked UNBC because it is kind of a leading force in aboriginal studies and really touts the aboriginal aspect of the school,“ she said. “That was important to me.”

TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future

The ability to excel One of the most publicly visible officials in northern B.C., Heather Oland got her Prince George start at UNBC. She and husband Robin moved here because of business opportunities for him, as a result of this being his hometown. Her upbringing was in Toronto and Vancouver, and at the time she was an undergraduate student at the University of Victoria. “I knew I had to make connections in this community,” she said. “I took four or five courses at the BA level - planning and political science - and that was a great ice-breaker. I was nervous about moving to a small town. But the class sizes were so small, the professors so able and accessible, that those connections I made led directly to my later career.” First, L&M Engineering brought her on as a planner and lead presenter to the public of the company’s activities. She eventually left the private sector and now is leading Prince George’s municipal economic development branch. Oland became keenly aware of local economic conditions as soon as she and Robin arrived. Unemployment was at about 17 per cent. Had UNBC not been here, she said, she would have insisted they leave because no jobs were present for her. “I received an excellent liberal arts education, and part of that was the ability to think creatively, think critically, take complex issues and understand their parts, and recognize important issues. It created a foundation on which I have built an exciting career.” The city’s size also played a role in her eventual success, she said. Having realistic opportunities to engage with social development agencies and committees like the Chamber of Commerce, an active development firm, opened doors that would be “unparalleled in a larger centre.” It is anyone’s choice to stay or go from a small hub-city like this one, she said, but the advantages to starting out an ambitious career in such a place are too numerous to count. “I have been able to excel and I thank my community and my university for that,” she said. “I truly believe I would not have had that kind of opportunity anyplace else.” The fact she is surrounded in her daily professional life with others from the UNBC roster speaks loudly, she said, of UNBC’s ability to attract and retain progressive people and make Prince George the northern capital in truth, not just in aspiration.

Heather Oland Degree, Major, Year: MSc, Environmental Science, 2000 Hometown: Toronto Job Title: Chief Executive Officer Employer: Initiatives Prince George Location: Prince George


TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future

“I was nervous about moving to a small town.”

A Role Model for youth

“I’m able to draw a direct line for the young people in my community to higher education.”

Carey Stewart’s life so far has been a testament to the transformative power of education. Born and raised in Prince Rupert, Stewart moved to Toronto and then on to Edmonton working as a carpenter. After a back injury, Stewart found himself in a doctor’s office facing grim news. “The doctor told me if I wanted to be walking in three years, I needed to find a new profession,” says Stewart. And so his journey down the halls of education began. “First I had to finish high school,” laughs Stewart, who went on not only to achieve his high school diploma, but a bachelor’s degree, a teacher’s certificate, and finally a Master of Education degree in multidisciplinary leadership from UNBC. “After returning to B.C., I became a teacher in New Aiyansh and then Vice Principal of Nathan Barton Elementary in Gingolx,” says Stewart. “At that point, someone pointed out that if I wanted to pursue a career on the administrative side of education, I should investigate a master’s degree, which is, of course, where UNBC came in.” At UNBC, Stewart found a welcoming community and support he relies on to this day. “I call [UNBC Professor of Education] Andrew Kitchenham once a week!” says Stewart, who in 2011 became the first Nisga’a person to be Principal of the Nisga’a Elementary and Secondary School. “Not only does UNBC provide a first-class education, but perhaps just as importantly, it provides ongoing mentorship and career advice, which is very valuable to my community.” Since achieving his graduate degree, Stewart has been able to provide inspiration to the students he rubs shoulders with every day. “They all want to know ‘How did you do that? Can I get my degree too?’” says Stewart. “I’m able to draw a direct line for the young people in my community to higher education and show them how their efforts here can get them to UNBC, and that it’s not that far away.”

Carey Stewart Degree, Major, Year: BA, First Nations Studies, 2004 & MED MultiDisciplinary Leadership 2012 Hometown: Prince Rupert Job Title: Principal Employer: Nisga’a Elementary-Secondary School Location: Gitlaxt’aamiks (New Aiyansh) TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future


“Beef, houses, forestry, consulting - all of it is directly related to what I studied at UNBC. It could not be more related. “

A pioneer at home on the range Sam Zirnhelt Degree, Major, Year: BSc, Forestry, 1999 Hometown: Big Lake Job Title: Owner Employer: Zirnhelt Timber Frames Location: Big Lake 38

Sam Zirnhelt grew up working the land. Cattle ranching and forestry were as much a part of his childhood as elementary school. His veins still run with equal parts barbecue sauce and tree sap. He chose UNBC for his undergraduate studies because it had a forestry program unlike any other. “It seemed to look at a broader range of values,” he said. He also appreciated the core courses almost every student had to take, so no matter what degree they received it came with a northern and rural context. “Things were so new, when I started there, that electricians were still hanging off ladders around the campus, and that excitement and energy was contagious,” he said. “I was working with a pretty active student body to start up new organizations that I understand still continue on today like the Natural Resources Society. And I love that it wasn’t segregated into separate schools the way it is at bigger institutions. You got to mix more with people of different disciplines, everyone flowing through the same hallways every day.” He was aware that he was a target student of the freshly minted university: northern youth. He was glad to be retained in the region thanks to UNBC, and he also took pleasure in seeing so many students from elsewhere attend the school and stay on in the region after their student days were done. Zirnhelt said he attended a Williams Lake Community Forest meeting recently and he counted six UNBC graduates in the room, and knew that four of them were married to other UNBC grads not in attendance. Zirnhelt was there because in addition to the home-building business he runs with his brother Damon, based in the 150 Mile House area of the Cariboo, he also still participates with the family ranch and runs a forestry consulting firm. “I would say 60 per cent of my time since graduation has been developing land-use plans, area-based tenures, and strategic engagement agreements for First Nations - everything from mining to economic development to social and cultural aspects of those sectors,” he said. “Beef, houses, forestry, consulting - all of it is directly related to what I studied at UNBC. It could not be more related. UNBC was all about how small communities function, rural economic development, all of that.” He said he still feels the UNBC influence on these sectors of his professional life. Professors he had like Kathy Lewis and Greg Halseth are still producing “a lot of leading work” according to Zirnhelt. “I know that. I just finished reading the book on it. It was written at UNBC.”

TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future

“How UNBC got me to where I am today is the actual discipline of learning.”

Leading the conversations Terry Teegee Degree, Major, Year: BSc, Forestry, 2006 Hometown: Fort St. James Job Title: Tribal Chief Employer: Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Location: Prince George Scholarship/Bursary: Jordy Hoover Award


Terry Teegee did not attend UNBC in pursuit of the leadership position he now has within northern B.C.’s First Nations society. He is the elected chief of one of the largest aboriginal alliances in the province - eight bands spread along most of Highway 16 West. He is a leading figure in many of the environmental issues and the aboriginal governance concerns of the region. His students goals were far more humble. “Quite frankly, no, I could not have predicted then where I am today,” he said. “My goal was to be gainfully employed and working in the forest industry for my people - the Takla Lake First Nation,” he said. “And I did take the position there as the forestry coordinator but that led to an understanding of all the other development work going on within our traditional territories. I felt that happen almost immediately. In any First Nations person’s life you are raised with a certain understanding about your connection to the land, and if anything happens to that land you have to react. You speak up. Some things just aren’t right.” His political activism has led him to demonstrations and rallies in Vancouver, Toronto, Denmark, and frequently in the northern B.C. region. He has been featured on CTV speaking against the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline and on CKNW’s Bill Good Show discussing First Nations forestry issues. He is a leading voice in the local Idle No More movement. He credits the collegial, helpful attitudes of his fellow Natural Resources Management students as a primary reason for his success at UNBC. He felt a comradeship in his department that made him more comfortable on campus, just like the First Nations Centre community did. His path has led back to UNBC a number of times, as a featured speaker at events like World Water Day to guest lecturing in First Nations Studies classes and land-use planning courses. He hopes more local aboriginal people take up these capacity-building studies too, in whatever fields interest them. “You have to be quick on your feet and ready to respond, to advocate for your people,” he said. “How UNBC got me to where I am today is the actual discipline of learning. University helped me understand the western world, understand science, get a grasp of how the western world can be interpreted. But also, anybody going to university soon realizes that for every question you ask, it brings up even more questions. Education at university provides that path from question to question, always exploring not only yourself but the world around you.”

TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future

Playing key roles in promotion “For me, it’s a land of opportunity.”

Sport and tourism are two words often linked. This is why it makes sense that the two people charged with attracting people to the City of Prince George, both as tourists and as spectators during Canada’s premier winter sporting event, have a lot in common. Aidan Kelly, the CEO of Tourism Prince George, and Mike Davis, the Director of Marketing and Communications for the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, are both UNBC grads who left the Lower Mainland to come to UNBC and play for the UNBC Timberwolves. And both say coming north was one of the best decisions they ever made. “With the Games, I see an opportunity to help the rest of Canada discover northern B.C. the way I did: the passion for sport, the quality of life, the tight-knit nature of the community, and the beauty of the natural environment. For me, it’s a land of opportunity,” says Davis. Kelly who recently established the Aiden Kelly Leadership Award and is a Williston Donor, shares this sentiment. He grew up in Chilliwack and came to UNBC in 2002 as a recruit for the Timberwolves. “Making Prince George my home over the past decade has provided me with such tremendous opportunity. Other than family, the most important elements of my life can all be directly linked with my decision to attend UNBC. To now have a career that allows me to share the positive stories of the community every day is very special.” Both UNBC grads will play key roles for the City of Prince George in the year 2015 as the City celebrates its 100th birthday and prepares for a boom of tourists, athletes, and spectators for the Canada Winter Games. “It’s important for me to stay connected with UNBC on a variety of levels,” says Kelly, who received an award as one of UNBC’s Alumni of the Year in 2011. “With all of the value I gained from my UNBC experience, I feel a responsibility to remain engaged and give back.”

Aidan Kelly

Mike Davis

TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future


Andrew McLellan (left) and Tim Hoy (right)

“I see clean energy as a growing opportunity.”

Leaving a legacy of clean energy Andrew McLellan Degree, Major, Year: BSc, Forestry, 2001 Hometown: Kentville, Nova Scotia Job Title: Professional Forester Employer: Clean Energy Consulting Inc. Location: Prince George 42

Waste not, want not. It’s a mantra Andrew McLellan believes in - where some see waste, McLellan sees opportunity. “That could be waste heat, or it could be waste fibre,” he says. “It’s about being smarter with the resources we have, and taking advantage of waste streams in industry; extracting every bit of energy that makes sense.” McLellan and his business partner, Tim Hoy, operate Clean Energy Consulting Inc. The local firm provides project management and engineering services to industrial clients for power generation and energy efficiency projects including biomass, run-of-river hydro, and waste heat recovery. They’re also looking at community energy systems, which would allow communities to utilize waste and become energy independent. Two of the larger B.C. projects they’re involved with include a 36 MW biomass project for Conifex Power in Mackenzie, and a 25 MW power generation project in Skookum Creek, just south of Squamish, for Run Of River Power Inc. McLellan started his studies at Dalhousie University, before transferring to UNBC in 1997, earning a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Management in 2001. “I came for a summer to plant trees, and absolutely fell in love with B.C.,” McLellan says the UNBC presence is an enormous positive for Prince George, enhancing the atmosphere and feel of the community and making a real difference by helping attract and retain professionals. McLellan feels it’s an exciting time to work in the natural resources sector in B.C. “I see clean energy as a growing opportunity in terms of providing energy and infrastructure to communities around the world,” he says. “It’s a great feeling, utilizing my professional skills and experience and working to leave a legacy of sustainable clean energy projects behind.”

TRUE NORTH | Developing our region’s capacity for the future

True North  

UNBC Alumni Profiles