Meredith Conrod, MEng'18
Key role in building the province
My name is Meredith Conrod and I hold a master’s degree in Chemical and Petroleum Engineering from the University of Calgary, and a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Western University. Professionally, I am a senior business development representative at Keyera Corp., one the largest midstream operators in Western Canada. In my role, I manage the business of large engineering projects, such as natural gas processing plants/pipelines or natural gas liquids infrastructure. I get to work with energy companies to determine how best to get their products to market and work with Keyera’s internal teams to create the business case for new infrastructure. Prior to this role, I spent five years in business development with Genalta Power, building power plants fueled by waste heat and flare gas.
The [Master in Engineering] degree is very well respected in industry, especially the Chemical and Petroleum specialty, and played a big role in getting my foot in the door at various companies.
What is your favourite memory from your time at UCalgary?
Walking out of my final exam for my last course was a surreal moment. I completed my master's degree part time, attending classes in the evenings after work, and had spent years working away at my degree. To have finally finished a difficult degree in my spare time was a big moment of pride for me.
What did you learn about yourself while you studied engineering?
While studying engineering, I learned to not be intimidated by hard work. Some courses and schedules that originally seemed intimidating turned out to be quite manageable; all it took was perseverance and a systematic approach.
What is the career highlight or professional accomplishment that makes you proudest?
I’m proud of some of the infrastructure I’ve played a role in building throughout this province. There are power plants, gas plants and other facilities that I played a critical role in developing. As an engineer, it’s cool to be able to point at something and think, ‘I helped build that!’
How did your engineering degree help you get to where you are today?
The Master in Engineering degree teaches you how to problem solve and break down difficult tasks into manageable steps. The degree is very well respected in industry, especially the chemical and petroleum program, and played a big role in getting my foot in the door at various companies. The degree covers a diverse range of topics, but also gave me the confidence to tackle new subjects and industries. That has helped me change industries and take advantage of momentum in my career.
How has your career path evolved and changed since your graduation?
Not many people understand the variety of jobs that are available to engineers. When I finished my undergrad, I started working as an energy analyst for a power and natural-gas distributor and I thought I would be sitting in a technical role for the majority of my career. When my next company offered me a chance to pivot into business development, I enthusiastically accepted, not knowing exactly what the role entailed. I quickly realized that being in a client-facing role and managing large infrastructure projects was a great fit with my interests and skill set. Looking back, I recognize that skills are transferred from one role to the next and I try to keep an open mind about what my next role might be.