Mathieu Côté

Director of the Operations Program 

Clean Energy Career Profile

Ever wonder what it would be like to work as a wind turbine technician, 500 feet in the air? Or to work as a solar farm electrician, harnessing the power of the sun and using it to charge a massive on-site battery system? CanREA’s Clean Energy Career Profiles series asks Canada’s renewable energy and energy storage workers what they do, how they got into this line of work, and what advice they have for others looking to join the renewable energy and energy storage sector.  

In 2023, CanREA spoke with Mathieu Côté, Director of Operations Program, Canadian Renewable Energy Association, to find out more about his occupational journey. 

Name:Mathieu Côté
Job:Director of Operations Program
Company:Canadian Renewable Energy Association

Career journey 

Better renewable than nuclear. That was the decision made by Mathieu Côté, who started his career as a commissioning specialist (engineer) at a nuclear processing plant. The physics graduate at Dalhousie University realized just how expensive nuclear is, and how many regulatory hurdles there are to building nuclear plants. Hence the move to something more sustainable, efficient and economical — renewables. Starting his career in renewables as a customer relations coordinator in Halifax, Matt has had many roles and venues in the sector. Commercial Manager, Operations Manager, Managing Director and Business Development were all stops on his career journey through Halifax, Matane, Montreal, England, France,   and, finally, back to Montreal, where he now lives and leads CanREA’s Operations Program. 

A day in the life

Matt’s position at CanREA is constantly evolving, ensuring that no two days in his week are ever alike. Engaged with a variety of organizations, Matt plays a key role in facilitating connections between these groups and CanREA members. In leading the Operations program, Matt is engaged in files relating to health and safety, workforce development,  data collection and analysis projects. In addition, he not only organizes but actively participates in regional operator group meetings throughout Canada. Through this work, Matt engages with various stakeholders to identify challenges and host discussions on solutions, lessons learned and operational experiences. During the fall and spring, Matt frequently takes the stage as a speaker and actively participates in a diverse array of conferences, covering topics ranging from workforce development and operational experience to emphasizing the critical importance of safety within the realm of renewable energy.

Quick advice 

“Renewable energy has grown at a tremendous pace thus far and looks to grow even more in the future. This underscores the importance of engagement and communications across the sector to learn from each other, get more people involved, and keep the momentum going!” 

—Mathieu Côté

Important skills 

  • Communication: Effective communication is crucial, as Matt interacts with various stakeholders, facilitates connections, and leads discussions on complex topics within the renewable energy sector.
  • Coordination: This skill involves prioritizing activities, allocating resources effectively, and ensuring that all stakeholders are aligned and informed to achieve common goals.
  • Flexibility: This skill enables Matt to navigate uncertainties, embrace new opportunities, and adjust strategies as needed to drive success in his role.
  • Understanding complex concepts: This involves synthesizing information from diverse sources, analyzing implications, and making informed decisions to address challenges and drive innovation.

Jordan Regnier

Operations and Maintenance Manager, Kruger Energy L.P.

Clean Energy Career Profile

Ever wonder what it would be like to work as a wind turbine technician, 500 feet in the air? Or to work as a solar farm electrician, harnessing the power of the sun, and using it to charge a massive on-site battery system? CanREA’s Clean Energy Career Profiles ask Canada’s renewable energy and energy storage workers what they do, how they got into this line of work, and what advice they have for others looking to work in the renewable energy and energy storage sector.

In 2023, CanREA spoke with Jordan Regnier, Operations and Maintenance Manager, Kruger Energy L.P., to find out more about his occupational journey.

Name:Jordan Regnier
Job:Operations and Maintenance Manager
Company:Kruger Energy L.P.

Career journey 

After earning a diploma in Electronics Engineering Technology, Jordan worked as an electronics technician, repairing, installing and commissioning 2-way radio systems. At the time, Jordan was living in Southwestern Ontario with an abundance of wind turbines in the landscape, and his brother had a job with an original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Wanting to try something new, Jordan applied for a job as a site technician at Kruger Energy, where he has now spent nearly 10-years as a Site Technician, Site Lead, and now, O&M Supervisor. In these roles, Jordan has leveraged his previous education, on-the-job experience and OEM training to gain the confidence, competence and skills required for his roles. 

A day in the life

Jordan oversees day-to-day operations and works closely with OEM and service providers to maintain wind turbines. In addition, he engages in contractor project management while accounting for costs, safety and quality. He has seven direct reports and is responsible for budgeting and the monthly reporting of key performance indicators (KPIs). He drives continuous improvement on a daily and monthly basis, exploring solutions to wind turbine challenges and balance of plant (BOP), and ensuring he considers ergonomics and health and safety in his work.

Quick advice 

“If looking for college choices, pick a renewable program or something that is mechanical or electrical. (electronics, millwright, machinist, industrial electrician) They are all good bases and can be transferable years later.”

“Apply! My team has hired people fresh out of school, as well as people who have 10 years of experience in other fields.”

—Jordan Regnier

Important skills 

  • Interpersonal – having constant communications with OEM/Service provider.
  • Leadership — acting as a supervisor to technicians
  • Analytical – having the ability to look at problems and find or help find solutions.
  • Organizational – with a lot of things going on, the ability to stay organized and to not let anything be forgotten or missed is key.
  • Time management – the ability to prioritize and schedule is important as well.

View all Worker Profiles here

Phil McKay

Senior Director of Technical & Utility Affairs, Canadian Renewable Energy Association

Clean Energy Career Profile

Ever wonder what it would be like to work as a wind turbine technician, 500 feet in the air? Or to work as a solar farm electrician, harnessing the power of the sun, and using it to charge a massive on-site battery system? CanREA’s Clean Energy Career Profiles ask Canada’s renewable energy and energy storage workers what they do, how they got into this line of work, and what advice they have for others looking to work in the renewable energy and energy storage sector.

In 2023, CanREA spoke with Phil McKay, Senior Director of Technical & Utility Affairs at the Canadian Renewable Energy Association to find out more about his occupational journey.

Name:Phil McKay
Job:Senior Director of Technical & Utility Affairs
Company:Canadian Renewable Energy Association

Career journey 

Phil began his career working in the automotive industry as a powertrain engineer. While he was always aware of renewable energy as a potential career path, it became clear that it was a real possibility when he saw the large wind turbines along Highway 401 in Ontario. Phil attended the University of Windsor where he obtained an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering, followed by a Master’s degree focused on wind-energy applications, researching industrial-scale wind-farm dynamics. In 2016, he joined the Canadian Wind Energy Association, which became the Canadian Renewable Energy Association in 2020. Formerly the Director of the operations program, he now leads CanREA’s Electricity Transition Hub.

A day in the life

Phil works remotely from a home office, but regularly travels to conferences and events to present, build his network, and collect knowledge that can be passed along to the industry. He starts his morning with a scan of industry news to stay up-to-date. He spends the better part of the morning writing reports for the industry, developing processes and methods for transferring knowledge across the sector, and developing events and internal programs. In the afternoons, he engages in meetings with his small team of experts, as well as industry members, government agencies and academics.

Quick advice 

“The renewable energy sector is growing rapidly, not just in size but in scope. As I found with my start in the industry, there are ways to create the opportunities that best suit an individual’s skill set. This can involve leveraging existing training and education programs, or taking a tailored or customized approach. You have to be willing to take the time to get to know people in the industry.”

“Working in this industry is fulfilling because, at some level, most of us are working towards the larger effort of fighting climate change. Everyone who is interested should come and join us!”

—Phil McKay

Important skills 

  • Collecting and summarizing technical, market and regulatory information into something useful for the people in CanREA’s networks.
  • Interpersonal skills, such as active listening and the effective communication of concepts.
  • The ability to work across various digital platforms for aggregating and analyzing information from a wide variety of sources.
  • I manage a small team of ambitious individuals, which requires planning and foresight to challenge and support them in their work.

View all Worker Profiles here

Emilia Ligeti

Senior Manager, Partnerships, Asset Strategy, Liberty Power

Clean Energy Career Profile

Ever wonder what it would be like to work as a wind turbine technician, 500 feet in the air? Or to work as a solar farm electrician, harnessing the power of the sun, and using it to charge a massive on-site battery system? CanREA’s Clean Energy Career Profiles ask Canada’s renewable energy and energy storage workers what they do, how they got into this line of work, and what advice they have for others looking to work in the renewable energy and energy storage sector.

In 2023, CanREA spoke with Emilia Ligeti, Senior Manager, Partnerships, Asset Strategy, Liberty Power to find out more about her occupational journey.

Name:Emilia Ligeti
Job:Senior Manager, Partnerships, Asset Strategy
Company:Liberty Power

Career journey 

Before entering the renewable energy industry, Emilia worked as a certified public accountant in Europe, auditing financial statements of publicly listed energy and utility companies. She first encountered renewables when driving by a Rotterdam wind farm. When she came to Canada, she found employment with Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp. in Oakville, Ontario. Emilia has made career changes when needed, learning new skills on the job through experiential learning. She has held a variety of roles since joining Liberty Power in 2010, including financial reporting, accounting policy research, utility acquisitions, internal auditing, commercial asset management, and now, management of tax equity partnerships and joint venture partnerships of wind generation facilities in Canada and the US.  

A day in the life

In a typical day, Emilia is called upon to manage cooperation and working relationships with partners, to own effective internal communication channels with corporate and business services groups to enable reporting on commercial, financial, and operational performance, to ensure compliance with contractual obligations, to liaise with project financing functions; execute extensive governance tasks of the partnerships, to participate in strategic discussions of commercial asset management to support, monitor and provide risk mitigation strategies, to advise leadership in understanding and managing risks associated with the partnerships, and/or to identify opportunities for performance improvement and synergy capture. 

Quick advice 

“Change your career if that will enable you to land the job you desire. I changed my career four times! If you are passionate about the renewable energy industry, you can make your way into any role you want, step by step, no matter your preceding career or existing skillset. If you are disciplined and self-motivated and believe in experiential learning, then nothing can stop you.” 

“Trust the value of your interchangeable skills. Locate academic resources to enhance your existing knowledge and build on your skills.” 

“Use LinkedIn for networking with professionals already working in renewables and seek their advice. Follow renewable companies on social media and set up job alerts.”  

“Many jobs are remote; be open for relocation.” 

—Emilia Ligeti 

Important skills 

  • Renewable energy technology and operations 
  • Project financing for development 
  • Commercial asset management/contract management 
  • Stakeholder relationship management 
  • Financial reporting, risk management, governance, compliance 

View all Worker Profiles here

Dan McSween

Operations Supervisor, TriSummit Utilities Inc.

Clean Energy Career Profile

Ever wonder what it would be like to work as a wind turbine technician, 500 feet in the air? Or to work as a solar farm electrician, harnessing the power of the sun, and using it to charge a massive on-site battery system? CanREA’s Clean Energy Career Profiles ask Canada’s renewable energy and energy storage workers what they do, how they got into this line of work, and what advice they have for others looking to work in the renewable energy and energy storage sector.

In 2023, CanREA spoke with Dan McSween, Operations Supervisor, TriSummit Utilities Inc, to find out more about his occupational journey.

Name:Dan McSween
Job:Operations Supervisor
Company:TriSummit Utilities Inc.

Career journey 

Dan attended the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) and obtained a Blue Seal Certification for “Power Systems Electrician” (an Alberta trade dedicated to High Voltage Substations). He worked as a supervisor specializing in high voltage substation construction and maintenance, including some renewable energy projects. His passion for sustainability pushed him to look for opportunities to apply his training, skills, and experience in a more direct way with renewables. He researched opportunities reached out to multiple renewable companies, landing at TriSummit Utilities Inc. He started as a wind farm operation supervisor and now manages a site of 34 wind turbines, a high-voltage substation, and a collector/transmission power line. This role as an Operations Supervisor allows him to continue learning and take on more responsibility.  

A day in the life

Dan’s day typically starts with driving through a site and looking for any anomalies on the road, wind turbines, powerlines and substation/shop. His next task is to update his daily reports to provide management with the previous day’s production numbers and the plan for the day, which can include managing O&M contractors, doing inspections and maintenance on the substation, utilizing software to analyze data from the power grid and the wind turbines, leading safety meetings, and more. As needed, Dan will also perform high voltage switching, climb wind turbines for periodic inspections, clean up fallen trees, work with his team on WECC compliance tasks, and carry out administrative work such as project planning, budgeting and managing invoices.  

Quick advice 

“Renewables are the future!  It is a very malleable industry and skills from all different backgrounds can become an asset to a lot of organizations. Set goals based on your passions and your job no longer feels like work.”

—Dan McSween 

Important skills 

  • Contractor management – Being able to communicate with different people from different trades and backgrounds. 
  • Attention to detail – Being able to read procedures, follow procedures and act in emergency situations with safety as a priority. 
  • Organization – This role brings multiple ongoing maintenance and new projects which Dan has to manage daily. Multiple standards apply, including the North American Electrical Reliability Corporation. 
  • Resourcefulness – “Knowing everything does not necessarily make you a smart person. Knowing where to get the answer does.” —Dan McSween

View all Worker Profiles here