Carly Duerr













Carly Duerr

Occupation Manager, Operational Engineering, AltaLink

Describe a typical day

My team is responsible for supporting any current or emerging issues related to AltaLink’s assets. AltaLink operates and maintains a power system that includes over 12,000 km of transmission line and 280 substations, so there are a lot of different questions and issues that my team supports. A typical day involves meeting with different members of my team and assisting them with what they’re working on; reviewing engineering reports; responding to inquiries from customers and other utilities; working on improving our processes.

Perks of your job and things you like about your current company.

What I really like about my job with AltaLink are the people and the culture. I started with the company right out of university and at the time, we were just under 300 employees. We’ve now grown to over 800 employees and yet we’ve still been able to maintain a fun, “can do” culture. What I like about my job is that my team covers several different disciplines of power engineering (substation equipment, transmission lines, protection and control, etc.), so there’s a lot of variety in the issues that arise. I also enjoy working with the management team, and learning from leaders within the organization.

Proudest accomplishments both in and outside of work.

My proudest accomplishment was completing my Master of Business Administration at the University of Calgary in 2013. I started my MBA right after taking on my first leadership role, and I completed it over three years while working full-time. It was one of the most challenging and rewarding things that I’ve ever done, but it was great to be able to apply what I was learning directly to my work. 2013 was also a big year for me because I completed two of my bucket list items: running my first half marathon and gorilla trekking in East Africa!

Thoughts on the future of the industry as it relates to your field.

As it relates to AltaLink specifically, we’re currently executing a big build in transmission infrastructure in Alberta. The last big build was in the 1980s, so the transmission system was due for some much needed upgrades. This big build will continue over the next few years. After that, the focus will be on optimizing the operations of our assets while continuing to sustain the high levels of reliability that Albertans have come to expect. The transmission system will also play a critical role in the integration of renewable energy sources. For example, Alberta already has quite a bit of wind power, especially in the Southern part of our province, and sufficient transmission capacity is important for supporting and enabling these intermittent sources of generation.

Current community involvement efforts.

I volunteer with All in for Youth. It’s an initiative with the United Way and the YMCA of Calgary. I tutor Math for high school students who wouldn’t otherwise have access to private tutoring. This initiative is important to me, as it’s been shown that success in Math can lead to success in other subjects. This is my second year with the program, and it’s been exciting to hear from past students that succeeded in their high school careers and are now attending post secondary institutions.

Why YWE?

YWE gives women an opportunity to connect and learn from other women. Although having more senior mentors is valuable, I think it’s immensely valuable to learn from peers that are in a similar stage in their careers. It’s reassuring to realize that we’re all facing similar challenges. I also believe that some of our biggest challenges and opportunities are in the area of energy, and it’s important to have women engaged with and tackling these challenges.

What are you reading?

I’m currently reading Us Conductors by Sean Michaels. It tells the story of a Russian scientist, Lev Termen. It follows his time as an inventor and spy in Manhattan in the 1930s, to his eventual return to Russia. He invented an instrument called the theremin, which I had never heard of before reading this book.