News & Events

Guest Speaker Series: Clean Energy Trends

June 1, 2020
UBC MEL Guest Speaker Ron Monk

On May 19, Ron Monk, the Energy Sector Leader at Kerr Wood Leidal connected with the Master of Engineering Leadership students to discuss clean energy trends and the opportunities and challenges that have arisen during the COVID-19 epidemic. 

Monk began by sharing what gives him the energy and drive to get out of bed each morning: his strong conviction to make the world a more sustainable place. He explained to the MEL students in attendance that it was this passion that ultimately enabled him to become a leader in the energy sector. 

During his presentation, Monk shared his professional insights into the various trends in clean energy that he believes all engineering leaders must be aware of. Students were encouraged to research and understand the causes and implications of global warming, even the lesser-known implications that arise due to climate change. 

Further, MEL students were introduced to the concept of “shovel ready” projects. Shovel ready projects are projects where planning and engineering are advanced enough so that, with sufficient funding, construction can begin within a very short amount of time. It is important to note that the money invested in shovel ready projects will have a far more immediate impact on the economy in comparison to projects that require a great deal of time for preparation. 

Monk shared his knowledge of clean energy trends, as a leader within the sector. His advice on energy trends aimed at enabling students to direct their career paths towards areas of growth. 

Some of the trends that Monk commented on were the upward trends in petroleum and natural gas and the stagnant nature of nuclear and coal industries. He also drew a comparison between electrification versus fossil fuel trends to emphasize how electric cars are beginning to surpass gas-powered vehicles in their efficiency and value. 

During the latter half of his presentation, Monk discussed the impact of COVID-19 on his work and industry. He shared how projects have been cancelled, and the challenges Kerr Wood Leidal has faced in enabling construction projects to continue in a socially distant manner. He encouraged students to take the time to consider what challenges and opportunities have arisen for them in the wake of this global shift due to COVID-19. Monk suggested that students might take advantage of any government funding that becomes available in an attempt to stimulate the economy, to advance projects that might typically be hindered during times of higher traffic, and to take the time not to build and strengthen personal and professional relationships. 

Monk concluded with advice for MEL students on becoming a good leader. For him, a leader has skills as a team player, can demonstrate initiative in their position, has accumulated strong references throughout their career, and can remain flexible even when under pressure. 

What does being a good leader mean to you? If you are ready to become a leader in your field, explore how the Master of Engineering Leadership can provide you with the skills to achieve your professional goals.