Guest Speaker Series: Mary Vasey, Project Manager at Barkley Project Group
On May 12, UBC’s Master of Engineering Leadership and Master of Health Leadership and Policy students attended a presentation provided by Mary Vasey, a project Manager at Barkley Project Group, on the topic of clean energy.
Barkley Project Group provides sustained capacity and technical support needed for communities to navigate the entire renewable energy development process, often related to solar and hydropower. The company prioritizes community-engagement, providing support from idea to operation.
Vasey commented on Barkley’s company mandate of working professionally and ethically to add value to the communities and organizations they serve. For Barkley, each project is more than a capital project, it is an opportunity to put clean energy projects in place by providing the sustained capacity and support needed for every stage of development—while also actively engaging with the communities they are working in.
What does community engagement entail? For Barkley Project Group, community engagement means including the communities in which they work in the planning of the project, educating community members on how to take over the sustainability of the projects, sampling houses to learn about energy consumption, and engaging with interested community members so that the project never feels disconnected from the community.
Vasey commented on the key considerations that the company must face as they grow and develop. Renewable energy projects are impacted by environmental factors (such as climate change), economic factors (especially during stressful economic times amid COVID-19), and social and political factors. Particularly when working within Indigenous communities, Barkley must prioritize building strong and trusting ongoing relationships of support. Company leaders must remain flexible and prepared for any circumstance to remain successful in the future.
In the latter half of her presentation, Vasey shared some personal advice and recommendations with students regarding their career journey:
Vasey encouraged students to explore a variety of opportunities without fear. Early in her career path, she took a position that may not have been a professional step forward but enabled her to learn much and gain invaluable experience that profited for her in the long run.
Relationship building is of the utmost importance in personal professional growth as well as in company interactions with clients and communities.
When on the job search, focus on relationship building. Engaging with peers and potential employers will be beneficial to your career path and prepare you for a variety of experiences.
Vasey ended her presentation with a suggestion for the students in attendance when seeking their dream job: don’t be afraid to reach out to companies you hope to work for, even if they are not hiring. While seeking jobs herself, Vasey both applied to job postings and connected with companies she admired. She believes that this approach enabled her to achieve the job she loves now at Barkley Project Group.
Being a leader doesn’t mean charging ahead, it means creating supportive and sustainable relationships that prioritize a common goal to achieve group success. If you’re ready to become a leader in your field, explore the opportunities offered by UBC’s Master of Engineering Leadership and Master of Health Leadership and Policy.