I grew up in Plaster Rock, New Brunswick and completed my engineering degree at the University of New Brunswick. I am a Civil Engineer and came to Hay River fresh out of university. My parents lived in Pine Point, NWT in the 80s, so I grew up hearing stories about it. Still, 30 years is a long time ago and I didn’t really know what to expect. I saw a job posting online with NTPC, (Northwest Territories Power Corporation) got called for an onsite interview so I could see the place, and accepted the job. Since I wanted job experience, I figured why not check it out? I was thinking two years, but this place has grown on me.
On my first day I was given responsibilities that some of my engineer friends are still waiting to try – and you can bet they’re envious when I tell them what I’m up to. There are a lot more open doors up here. From June to September about 80% of my time is spent out of the office. I’m working on various projects in small communities and remote hydro sites, which means I take a helicopter and various other small aircraft to lots of remote locations. It’s been a great learning experience so far. In the winter I do some work on the winter roads, but mostly we’re planning for the upcoming summer season. The job is always interesting and there’s never a dull moment.
My girlfriend, Roxanne, came with me to Hay River. She works for DOT Licensing, and as a massage therapist, so she had no trouble finding work either. We both grew up in small towns, so it hasn’t been that much of an adjustment to live in Hay River. The winters are longer and colder, but I just suck it up and deal with it – no one listens anyway! Actually, it isn’t hard to pass through the winter if you get involved in the community. I play lots of sports, like hockey, volleyball, curling, and we also go fishing and hunting.
Before I came here I thought of the North as a big place with few people. That’s definitely true, but we’ve met so many great people who are welcoming and helpful. Sure there’s not as much shopping here and it’s more remote, but since we’re on the southern side of the Mackenzie River we can drive to Grande Prairie or Edmonton whenever we like. I would recommend this place to anyone. It’s definitely given me a step up in my career.