Just as 2012 Dawson Creek Energy Conference delegates were preparing talk about the achievements of their recent past on the morning of September 19, they were suddenly given the task of considering the future.
Following a speech in which she discussed her lifetime of globetrotting adventures and the associated lessons in sustainability, Tina Olivero, the found and publisher of Oil and Gas Magazine, asked the audience to create vision boards to present their hopes and dreams for the future.
“We’ve been working with vision boards in our company for the last two years,” Olivero told Pipeline News North. “And everybody in our company has a vision and intention for themselves, not just at work, but also at home. So, what we do is we operate vision boards and that becomes like our goal-setting strategy. But it’s with images. So, it’s visual.”
Olivero and her staff then map that vision back to the present day to determine the actions that must be taken now.
“It’s a matter of designing and implementing it. And it works. It’s very powerful,” she said.
Olivero believes that environment, whether that be the home or the workplace, is a function of intentions.
“Architect your sustainable environment,” she told the energy conference crowd, emphasizing the role of creativity in achieving a sustainable future, not just settling for the status quo.
“What we tolerate is what we get every time,” she said.
Rej Tetrault, operations manager for Shell Canada’s Groundbirch natural gas project near Dawson Creek, believes that their new offices in Fort St. John are an example of what Olivero calls “mastering your environment.”
“It helps us layout a bit of a culture … on what we expect and how we expect to work,” said Tetrault.
“A culture of fitness, because we want our employees to be fit. We want a clean environment. That would be air or clean carpets. So, we want a clean, healthy environment so that we can encourage our employees to be healthy and fit, which is why we also have the fitness facility down on the main floor.”
Tetrault also believes the building itself is a positive step toward a sustainable future.
“When I think about our office, I look to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification,” he said. “It’s a LEED Silver building, which means that it utilizes very little energy by definition. And our employees feel proud that they’re part of an office environment that, for instance, in the wintertime, uses very little energy to heat the building, because it’s got very good insulation value.”
Such concerns and initiatives are what Tetrault had in mind when he introduced Olivero to the conference crowd, indicating that the entrepreneur shares many of Shell’s values.
“I think we align along two points,” said Tetrault.
“She really believes that we need to be thinking about what our energy mix is,” he explained. “Is it one energy source? Is it multiple energy sources? And what are they? And what do we need to do to set ourselves up to get there?
“The other piece where we align is around sustainably focusing on developing our energy resources. And that’s one where I think we’re quite proud, for instance, of our Dawson Creek Reclaimed Water Project. … She used the words innovative and creative. And that fits the bill when you’re looking for some innovative projects.
“We need to foster an environment that encourages our people, whether it’s my children or the folks that I work with, to be innovative and creative and help encourage more of these ideas.”
Tetrault didn’t focus on work with his own vision board, but chose to look toward his family and his community.
“It’s more along the lines of getting back to our roots,” he said, adding that it is important to him to teach his children about the origins of the energy they use every day.
“It’s similar to foods,” he continued. “My boys don’t know where their meat comes from. They just know that it comes from a grocery store. And we all know that’s not where your meat comes from.
“And I want to do the same for energy. Where does the energy come from? Do you have a really good respect and appreciation? I think we take it for granted being that we’re in a very fortunate situation here to be living in Canada, which is a very, very good country. It affords us these particular luxuries – I define them as luxuries. And I think we take that for granted.”
Tetrault looks to Olivero’s idea of combining the old world and the new world to create a better world.
“It really struck a chord to me that my role is to actually do more teaching on the old,” he said. “We’re not concentrating enough [on] that. I think we’re always constantly looking for the new.
“The other piece on my vision board is I still think that we’re too wasteful,” he continued. “I still go to cities at night and I see office buildings… lit up. And I know that not all of those lights need to be on.
“She asked [us to] reflect on what do you tolerate. I think we’re still tolerating waste. And we need to cut that out.”
Those comments would likely be music to Olivero’s ears.
“My intention was to plant seeds for sustainability because we tend to talk about sustainability as a concept,” she said.
“Everybody has the opportunity to actually create a sustainable solution,” she continued. “Until we take it back to the individual as opposed to the leadership, we limit ourselves by only having the leadership involved. But when everybody’s involved, then we have a sustainable, creative force working towards sustainability.
“That’s the difference.”