How We’re Bringing Power and Industrial Expertise into Canada
Our power program is going global. Last year, we expanded into Canada and the United Kingdom, and Alex Medina (Canada) and Nate Czapski (Scotland) have been leading our growth in the regions.
In Canada, Alex is also leading expansion of our industrial program. He has spent the past several months leveraging connections and creating new ones to showcase how our teams can make an impact. Canada operates a more than CA$2 billion Low Carbon Economy Fund, designed to invest in projects that generate clean growth, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help the country reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
We sat down with Alex for his perspective on how this affects the Canadian power and industrial markets, his goals and other opportunities he’s excited about.
Q: What are you excited about in the Canada power and industrial markets?
It’s certainly exciting times for power and industrial projects in Canada. Because of our carbon pollution pricing policies, government funding and a drive toward environmental, social, governance-friendly programs, most of our major clients are working toward decarbonization. I'm seeing a lot of projects in carbon capture, carbon sequestration, hydrogen small modular reactors, renewable natural gas and hydrogen blending. These are all what we call “new energies.” We’re also seeing a push for electrification in the power and industrial sectors. For example, the move from natural gas compressor stations, which advance the flow of natural gas using traditional gas-powered units, toward electric-powered units. That’s a major emitter in Western Canada and into the United States, where a lot of natural gas is produced and transported. There is a push to build EV charging stations and supporting infrastructure, backed with a robust grid delivering green energy from wind, solar, battery storage, hydrogen and natural gas with carbon capture technology.
Historically, our utility clients were solely focused on traditional power delivery, and industrial clients were focused on the upstream, midstream and downstream of their products. Now you’re seeing both of sectors focus on the same type of work, which are these new energy and decarbonization projects. So, they really are complementing each other, working with each other, and it presents a lot of opportunity. In addition, the Canadian government and provincial government authorities are providing funding for decarbonization technology advancement and green energy projects, including programs that partner with rural and remote, indigenous, and underrepresented communities, through the Low Carbon Economy Fund.
Q: What does HDR offer in the Canadian market?
We’re perfectly suited for this type of work — we’ve been doing it in the United States for many years already. We’re bringing a lot of the lessons learned from the U.S. across the border. Particularly during the pandemic, teams from all over our company refined how they worked on different projects remotely. We have that blended structure where we can work around the globe without being in the same office.
Another part that is attractive to our clients in Canada is our advisory services team. We can help with some of that government funding I alluded to in the first question. We can help clients working through grant applications and create successful funding strategies. Another piece is our strategic communications team, where we have a wealth of experienced people. We can leverage them to help clients with stakeholder outreach and community building.
Q: What excites you about your power and industrial work in Canada?
I’m excited about the challenge. We aren’t as well known in Canada for power and industrial, like we are in the United States and other places. We have folks all over in transportation, environmental, architecture, waste and more, but we’re just starting out in these sectors. So that’s an exciting opportunity for us, to grow something in a new region, and showcase the great work we’ve always done.
I’ve been working to acquire contacts and talents and partnering with local firms to bring it all together and leverage different relationships and skillsets. I’ve had my own business in the past, so this type of challenge excites me.
Q: What career opportunities are coming in Canada?
We’re planning to expand, and if you want to work on a diverse set of projects, including renewable energy, we might have a good fit. You’ll have the chance to work on clean energy, transmission and distribution, industrial-focused projects and others. If I look back on my career, I was very fortunate to have good people around me that allowed me to work on a variety of different projects. That was very attractive to me as I grew my career. You can put a lot of tools in your technical toolbox.
We have some huge project opportunities and are positioning ourselves to work on some cool projects with utility service clients. Our new employees will work with some of our experienced U.S. staff, so they can get used to our systems and management as we expand here.
Q: What are some stories you have from your first few months?
I’ve been meeting with a lot of clients and people to catch them up to speed as on what we are doing here. One client from a major energy utility here in Canada. I explained to them our plans to partner with local firms while expanding our power and industrial team, and they were very impressed. They made introductions to firms that could be great partners that will help offer a complete set of services benefiting both sides including the client.
We’re excited to keep partnering and connecting with people in the industry as we continue to grow. What we’re doing has been very well received so far, and I can’t wait to keep going down this track.