The Faces of NEM – Jerome James, P. Eng.

To enhance the National Engineering Month experience, we are profiling Engineers or Engineering Technologists this March. We’ll be focusing on highlighting diversity in the careers and individuals interviewed across Canada.

Today we have a chat with Jerome James, P. Eng., a Conservation and Demand Program Analyst at Alectra Utilities.

Think of a moment from your past when you knew you were meant to be an engineer or technologist.  How old were you and what happened?

I remember being very young, maybe 7 or so; I used to own a Fisher Price tape recorder. I was so fascinated with all the moving parts and the process of how sound was actually being recorded onto the cassette. I just had to take it apart and trace the wires from the logic board to the record head. I was enthralled. I think after this, it must have been my parents that pointed out that engineering would be a good idea.

What was a time when you or your team accomplished something that you were especially proud of? What was the result?

From the perspective of developing Sonya’s Chai, I am very proud of the product that we were able to produce. We set out with a goal to create a process for a product that achieved two critical goals: To have a rich and bold flavor that resembles that of an authentic masala chai and to improve the steeping time compared to similar teas on the market. I think we were successful in both accounts.

Think of one of your biggest successes in your career so far. What was the impact to you personally and how did that success feel?

I feel that the success of completing a project that you were apart of from the beginning creates a big sense of accomplishment. When comparing major projects that I was involved in at SNC Lavalin while working in the power industry to small wins trying to get a tea company off the ground from scratch, the feeling is very similar and very rewarding.

Who is the most inspiring leader in engineering or engineering technology that you have ever known? How did they make an impact on you?

I think like most people, one person in engineering doesn’t always stick out in our minds. Personally, I feel motivated by anyone who sees a major problem in society and is taking strides to innovate and improve the situation in a holistic and sustainable way. Organizations that are trying to improve the way we produce and consume energy are very inspiring to me. If I had to pick one person, I guess it would be Elon Musk and the bold vision he has put forward at Tesla and SolarCity.

What is the most exciting thing going on in your profession?  What have you seen that made you think ‘the world needs more of that’?

Again, I am very excited about the advancing going on around energy and sustainability. Companies are starting to understand that being sustainable is not only a win for the environment but is also a win for their pocket books in the long run. I see a very promising future for our profession going forward because engineers are starting to think about the big picture and how our actions will affect future generations to come the world definitely needs more of that!

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