Paula Boucher

Production Engineer - Crude/Vacuum, Distiallate Dewax - Edmonton Refinery, Suncor

Describe a typical day

My day starts by walking my 3 year old border collie, which is usually a nice wake up activity other than when it is -30 degrees out! After this, my work day starts and ends in coveralls; in the morning I review operations logs and check on key performance indicators. I attend morning operations meetings and arrange for changes as required to optimize or improve operation and troubleshoot issues. I monitor my units continuously and work closely with operations and maintenance coordinators, chemical vendors, and other production engineers. When I have spare time, I am executing small management of change activities and planning for unit turnaround/outage work. Additionally, I provide process support for larger projects and process studies.


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

At the refinery, there are many opportunities to build additional skills. For example, I am a trained industrial firefighter on the refinery fire team which is a pretty awesome experience I wouldn’t likely have had access to elsewhere.

Suncor is a pretty dynamic and interestingly integrated company. It is always changing and the factors of how we operate change daily with the effects on upstream and downstream sectors of the company and in the industry.

Additionally, it is nice to wear coveralls every day and not have to worry too much about my attire in the morning!

Proudest accomplishments both in and outside of work.

My proudest accomplishment is completing an engineering degree and attaining the position I hold now at Suncor, I have a lot of learning to do still and I’m lucky to be part of a site team and company that supports my development.

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

My job is all about continuous improvement and safety. At a refinery, there are always processes that can be optimized, designs that can be made inherently safer, and many aspects of operation that need to change with new regulations, new product specifications, or to maintain competitiveness in the market. Luckily, my field of engineering is a major contributor in executing these changes safely and efficiently.

Current community involvement efforts.

Suncor has annual volunteer initiatives in the community that I always like to take part in, such as the Oil Kings Teddy Bear Toss, United Way, and the E4C nutrition program. Once in a while, I will sign up to volunteer for various walk/run events, and am always looking to volunteer at national or international sporting events as I think it is pretty neat to see athletes from all over the world. I recently volunteered at the World Men’s Curling Championship in Edmonton in April and had a blast!

Why YWE?

Generally in the oil and gas industry, females are still outnumbered in my equivalent positions. It is great to browse the YWE website and see how impactful our community of young women is in the energy industry and to learn more about what other companies and roles are like. I am definitely interested in some of the socialization aspects of YWE as well. Give me a shout if you are in YEG!

What are you reading?

Currently I am reading The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling , I’m a little behind on keeping up to date with my childhood Harry Potter addiction.