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Testimonial: Sustainable Project Group - Green Jobs S&T Internship Program

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My name is Tabor Yastremski. I work with the Sustainable Projects Group and basically, we are an energy efficiency company. We kind of take the design-build approach to energy efficiency. We go into facilities, we do energy audits, see where there's opportunities for cutting energy costs, operating costs, things like that, and then we'll actually go out and implement, install, depending on the size of the project.

My name is Brent Downey. I am 29 years old. I'm working for the Sustainable Projects Group based out of Calgary, Alberta, and I'm working as an energy project manager, with a subtitle of solar specialist. I have a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from the University of Guelph. As soon as I graduated, I was ready to get to work. Some people, right away they find their job or they've had a co-op position through their schooling where they're able to jump into employment right away, but I think for a majority of people that go to university and graduate through the STEM fields, they do initially have to take whatever they can and hope that it's relating to what they want to do. It's not easy, I'll just put it that way, or it wasn't for me. Finally now, after about five years of being out of university, I think I'm in a space where I can use my educational background and I feel like I have a chance to expand on it as well.

We use NRCan's Green Jobs program through ECO Canada. We've actually used that group quite a bit when it comes to hiring a lot of our new engineers or employees. We had been getting requests for solar projects, requests for doing solar designs. So with that program, I guess it was a low investment on my end to hire somebody specializing in solar to explore that market. I mean to be honest, a big portion of Brent's job does fall into some of those other areas. We've got him doing a lot of energy auditing, so he's going to sites where he's looking at the lighting systems, looking at the boiler and HVAC systems. He's looking at the building envelope and then he's also taking a look for solar opportunities. That's kind of a daily, when he's out in the field, and then besides that we're in the office and it's crunching numbers. There's a lot of numbers and data and stuff that we're going through to make our recommendations.

It's been exciting; there's been good opportunity for training. I did a five-day hands-on solar course up in Edmonton. It was three days of classroom time and two days of installing a model solar PV system. There's been a good mix of training and real-world experience in the seven months that I've been here.

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