May 31, 2021
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." - Winston Churchill
The ISA Edmonton Section is delighted to highlight Kelly Wolf, Specialist, Instrumentation Data Technologist, Operations Engineering at Enbridge, as a Featured Member for 2021.
It's about time... she has been committed to helping us out since 2015. First by volunteering to assist and moderate for the 2016 ISA Edmonton Section Automation Expo & Conference (AEC) Cybersecurity Track. In 2018 she took on organizing student volunteers for this same event, and in 2020 she was our brilliant AEC Alarm Management Conference Track Developer (easily adjusting to our online event platform when the pandemic struck). Additionally, she's served as a mentor for our ISA Edmonton Section Mentorship Program since 2017 inspiring four mentees along the way.
If that's not enough, she recently took the time to nominate our Section to the Enbridge Fueling Futures program powered by Benevity; which has already started to (and will continue to) add to our bottom line.
Kelly manages to find time for all of the above while still putting her family first. "My family is very important to me. I am married and have 7 year old twin boys. My parents, sister, brother-in-law and nephew live very close to us, which I am very thankful for. We spend a lot of time together including some vacations".
We reached out to Kelly to learn about her career, how COVID-19 has affected it, and her involvement with the ISA Edmonton Section...
Why automation? What made you choose this industry?
While I was going to the University of Alberta, I worked at a coal mine by Hinton during the summers. I was an electrical laborer doing shift work on a team of all men. I still didn’t know what I wanted to do in life and was contemplating electrical engineering. The men I worked with suggested I look into instrumentation; they said it was a good trade. I wanted to quit University and go to NAIT but my mom convinced me to finish my degree and then go to NAIT if I was still interested. After University I was still unsure; I had been accepted into the NAIT Instrumentation program as well as the U of A’s Bachelor of Commerce after degree program, and was also considering Speech Pathology. I chose Instrumentation for no particular reason, and I ended up loving it.
What’s it like to be a woman in automation (an industry largely made up of men)?
I have been one of few women since being a summer student at the coal mine, so I’m fairly used to it now. I was lucky enough to have a positive experience at the coal mine so I don’t usually mind. It can be a little intimidating in the beginning though. A positive is that I tend to standout so people usually remember who you are😊.
What does your current position at Enbridge all involve?
My role entails providing instrumentation engineering support services for liquids pipelines systems in Canada and the US. I cover a portion of the Southwest regional operations and projects. I also focus on data – ensuring we are collecting and governing the required data to maintain process safety and smooth operations.
What does a day in the work life of Kelly look like?
A lot of meetings and emails! Some of the more specific things you will see me doing are helping regional engineers specify replacement devices, reviewing project design packages, helping users with Smart Instrumentation, creating/updating/reviewing standards/workflows/procedures, organizing events for our Prism Energy ERG, participating in our process safety sub-committee and public relations sub-committee, sending emails to my colleagues about D&I topics, and more.
How has the ongoing pandemic changed your approach to your job?
I wouldn’t say the pandemic has changed my approach to my job. I sat in front of a computer all day at the office, and now I sit in front of a computer all day at home. But, I have had to change my approach to keeping in touch with my colleagues. Now I have to consciously book a meeting with someone instead of just dropping by their office or running into them in the hall. I do miss the human interaction and look forward to being back at the office.
When and why did you start getting more involved in the ISA Edmonton Section?
My first real introduction to the ISA Edmonton Section was in 2015 when Paul Baril (a coworker at the time and member of the Edmonton Section Board) invited me to an ISA St. Paddy’s day event at the Yellowhead Brewery. It seemed like a fun group of people. Paul later asked if I would be a moderator for his AEC Cybersecurity conference track in 2016. I was happy to help out and learn a little something along the way so I volunteered again in 2018. Now the Edmonton section has my number so I’ve gotten more and more involved since then😊.
What was it like to be our AEC 2020 Alarm Management Track Developer (aka: “lead”, “head honcho”)?
I enjoyed being a track developer. Coordinating/organizing is something I like to do and the subject matter was very relevant to me at the time. I was the Champion of an alarm management initiative at work and was excited to link the two and put a slightly different slant on the theme from what had been done in the past. I was grateful for the experience to lead such an important event.
You’ve been involved with our Mentorship Program for several years now… why is this something you’re so committed to?
I’m thankful I am not a recent grad. It’s hard enough to find a job, but in today’s world of lower oil prices and budget constraints, it’s even harder. I was lucky to have an advocate in my corner to make some introductions when it came time for looking for a job after graduation. If I can provide anything to help today’s graduates, I am happy to do so.
"Volunteering is at the very core of being human. No one has made it through life without someone else's help." - Heather French Henry
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