• Member Feature:
    Q & A with Jamie Eddy

    Jamie Eddy

    Jamie Eddy, B.Sc, is an Engineering Technologist at SNC-Lavalin, Inc., a major engineering and construction firm, based in Canada, that provides services to a variety of industry sectors, including oil and gas, mining and metallurgy, environment and water, infrastructure and power. Currently focusing his career efforts in oil and gas automation engineering technology, Eddy is an April 2014 graduate of Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) Polytechnic in Calgary.

    Q:  Please give us a brief introduction of yourself, your educational background (degree/s received and when) and how and why you became interested in a career in automation?

    A:  My initial degree was a bachelor of science degree from the University of Calgary, with my honors thesis specializing in zooarchaeology. During and after my university studies, I spent several years working for environmental engineering companies in the Alberta Oil Sands. My experiences working on site gave me an introduction to automation and I made the decision to go back to school for instrumentation at SAIT Polytechnic, where I graduated with Honors in April 2014. Currently, I am working in Calgary as an Oil and Gas Automation Engineering Technologist.

    Q:  You were involved in ISA as a student member at SAIT Polytechnic. Please describe your efforts, goals and experiences during this time in an ISA student section.

    A:  SAIT Polytechnic has an ISA student section, although it was generally inactive the few years before I attended. When I started school, I volunteered for the role of 2nd Vice President and then became President of the section my last year. My initial goals were to organize a group that would arrange study sessions, field trips, and give the instrumentation students something to ‘belong to’ while on campus. However, the club went far beyond this.  With the help of the Calgary ISA Chapter, we were able to turn the club into one of the most successful organizations on campus (nominated for the university’s President’s Award for Leadership) and even hosted an international event last spring, the ISA SAIT Instrumentation Student Games.

    Q:  You were selected to deliver a presentation at ISA’s Fall Leaders Meeting (FLM), held earlier this month. Could you provide a synopsis of it for ISA Insights readers?

    A:  My presentation at the Fall Leaders Meeting was centered on ISA Student Sections—how to develop and run a successful student organization, what works and what doesn’t work, keys to engaging students, difficulties that are commonly encountered, and so on. I drew on some of my experiences and the events we conducted at the university. I also wanted to raise a discussion about bringing back the ISA Student Games that used to take place during ISA Week. The feedback received from the students and schools that participated proved what an invaluable experience this was to them.

    Q;  Tell us about your current role and function—both in terms of your career and your involvement in ISA.

    A:  Right now I’ve transitioned from the ISA Student Club into a position with ISA Calgary Board of Directors. I’m learning from Susan Rathgeber, who’s in charge of the section program, Trends Newsletter, and more. Using my connections with students and new grads, I’m working to get more of them participating in section events and coming up with new ideas to get them involved with ISA in general. My project this year is developing a Calgary-based ISA mentorship program. It’s in the early stages but I’ll have an update on it by the 2015 FLM.

    Q:  How would you say ISA has benefited you?

    A:  ISA has given me opportunities that aren’t normally available in school or in the workplace. I’ve been able to greatly expand my professional network in Calgary, Edmonton and across multiple ISA districts. I’ve been trusted to organize an international ISA event. I received my first automation job through my work with ISA. And, of course, the leadership skills that I’ve developed in my time with ISA have proven to be invaluable at work and off the clock.

    Q:  What advice would you give to other young professionals entering the automation profession?

    A:  My initial suggestions are to network, volunteer and step outside of your comfort zone.
    Attending local ISA events is the easiest way to meet automation professionals. Several students, myself included, received summer and post-graduation employment based on contacts we made through ISA.

    Q:  Volunteering is a great way to get relevant automation experience while proving that you have a passion for this field.

    A:  Your peers and senior colleagues will notice your commitment and appreciate your effort. As a student, it can serve as an introduction to future coworkers, clients, and new friends. Plus, it looks great on a resume.

    And I would encourage young professionals to step outside of their comfort zone. It takes guts, especially when starting a new career, to approach others in your discipline. However, once you do, it can pay off in terms of workplace guidance, mentorship opportunities, and career possibilities. Since getting into the field of automation, I’ve never met someone who wasn’t willing to network; you just need initiative to make the initial introduction.