My First Month in Prince George – A Real Jaw-Breaking Experience!

First off, I would like to thank Canfor Pulp and The Greenest Workforce for the opportunity to share my experience working in Canada’s forest products industry. I am very excited to be working at Canfor’s Northwood Pulp Mill in beautiful Prince George, BC, where I will be working with the Energy Management Team for the next 7 months. The goal of my blog is to show others how interesting it is to work in the forest products industry, and give a firsthand look at how great it is to be a co-op student at Canfor. Furthermore, I’d like to showcase the city of Prince George and the surrounding area’s many activities in hopes of showing the amazing lifestyle you can have living here in BC’s Northern Capital.

A Little Bit About Me

I grew up in Kelowna, BC, and completed my first year of engineering at UBC’s Okanagan campus. Realizing chemical engineering was what I was most passionate about; I transferred to UBC’s Vancouver campus as this program is not offered at UBCO. I was also fortunate enough to have the opportunity to study abroad for one semester at the Technical University of Denmark in Copenhagen after finishing my second year at UBC. During this time, I met lots of new people from different places and from diverse backgrounds, and was able to travel around Europe to different countries, including Spain, Hungary, Italy, and many more. After finishing my third year of studies, I started at Canfor, and have been here for just over a month now.

View of Copenhagen from the Christiansborg Palace Tower

Breaking my jaw – A small setback one week into my work term!

During my time in Kelowna and Vancouver, I was fortunate enough to be able to play lacrosse, all the way from a minor league level when I was 10 years old, to coming second in the BC Junior B Lacrosse Provincials in 2015. When I heard Prince George had a Senior Lacrosse league (men’s league, not actual seniors), I was really excited to be able to play again after two years off. I joined a team, and was having a blast, until in the second game I took a shot to the face right behind my cage, and broke my jaw. I ended up needing surgery to correct this, and this meant taking a week off work, after I had literally only worked at the mill for one week. As I am writing this, I am now 3 weeks and halfway into the process of having my jaw wired shut to allow the bone to heal, which means being on a liquid only diet, and means I sound ridiculous talking since I physically cannot open my mouth. The time has long passed where I got tired of drinking smoothies and eating soup.

My Job as an Energy Management Co-op Student

The Energy Management program at Canfor consists of finding opportunities for energy savings at the mill and in our operations, and implementing innovative solutions to take advantage of these opportunities. For example, some of the projects here at Northwood include: installing variable frequency drives (VFDs) on equipment to allow for adjustable speed rather than simply “on” and “off” settings, installing photo detection cells on lighting systems to have lights only turn on when someone is working in that area, finding and fixing steam and air leaks, as well as recycling energy, heat, and materials throughout the pulping process. Another important part of the Energy Management program is employee awareness and education. This involves circulating information regarding current and future projects, as well as information on ways everyone at the mill can contribute to saving energy in their day to day work, as well as at home. As a co-op student working with the Energy Management, I am involved with the implementation of these energy savings projects, as well as producing employee awareness content. I am excited to share some of the tips we have developed here at Canfor for employees to everyone reading this blog, and hopefully you will find it not only interesting, but it will also help you save energy in your own work and lives.

That’s all for my first blog, I hope everyone reading found it somewhat interesting, if you have any questions for me about Canfor’s Energy Management Program, or have any suggestions for things to do around Prince George, feel free to leave a comment! Hopefully by next time I’ll be unwired and no longer practicing my ventriloquist act, and can post a video of some of the projects I’m working on, and activities I’ve done outside of work.

Until next time,

-Kevin

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