Our economy is powered by natural resources, and there is a real need for people who have the technical training and leadership skills to manage these resources in ways that take into account economic, environmental and social impacts. In addition, the challenges associated with managing natural resources are not constrained by traditional disciplinary boundaries – which is why employers in industry and government are seeking engineers who can adopt a multidisciplinary approach to find solutions to complex problems.
The Resource Engineering Management program was designed to meet these needs. Students will take interdisciplinary technical courses in environmental risk analysis, lifecycle assessment and regulatory issues for resource engineers, and they can take specialized electives from the School of Engineering. These technical classes are balanced by courses in leadership, team building and communication, which are essential skills in any work environment.
I am a civil engineer who did a PhD in project management, and this dual perspective guides my work and research interests. I came to UBC Okanagan in 2008 after working in the oil and gas industry as a project cost specialist. Here at UBC, my research focuses on lifecycle thinking – looking at engineering products and processes from material extraction to end-of-life – and taking into account environmental, economic and social issues.
I think students will benefit greatly from working with the dynamic faculty members who bring extensive talent and knowledge to the program. This is a close-knit community with strong connections to industry. All engineering programs at UBC Okanagan – civil, mechanical and electrical – operate under one faculty and one director, and we have a long history of incorporating multidisciplinary, project-based approaches within our research and classrooms.
Finally, our location here in Kelowna offers a distinct advantage. Students will find that this is an easy access point to BC’s resource industry, which is heavily concentrated in the province’s interior and north.
Dr. Kasun Hewage is a professional engineer with multidisciplinary project experiences in Canada and internationally who holds a PhD in project management from the University of Calgary. Prior to joining UBC in 2008, Dr. Hewage worked as a business management cost specialist in Alberta’s oil and gas industry, and he has also worked as a civil engineer on hydropower and infrastructure development projects. He has led several research projects in lifecycle management, green construction, green energy and sustainability and he leads the UBC Okanagan’s Life Cycle Management Laboratory. Dr. Hewage is widely published in technical journals and conference proceedings.