MBAs engage with Encana on natural gas economy

Jun 27, 2011

MBA students from Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business enjoyed a first-hand overview of key issues facing the natural gas industry at a special forum hosted by Encana on June 20.

Held at the Segal Graduate School in downtown Vancouver, the day-long event featured industry speakers from both Encana and Westport Innovations discussing, among other subjects, the growing role of natural gas in North America’s energy mix.

Students from two classes learned about burgeoning opportunities in the industry, issues around stakeholder engagement and communications, and transportation impacts in Metro Vancouver.

“The natural gas sector plays an especially important role in British Columbia’s economy, given the province’s position as a significant producer for North American and international markets,” says Wayne Geis, Vice-President, Natural Gas Economy Strategic Planning.

“These types of events provide a great venue for future leaders in our industry to learn about the energy challenges faced by North America, and the solutions offered by increased natural gas usage in the transportation and power sectors.”

The first session saw panelists outline how businesses in the latter industries can transition to natural gas as a cleaner, more affordable fuel alternative.

An afternoon session on sustainability looked at a range of current issues including sustainability metrics, life-cycle analysis, reporting and responding to concerns about hydraulic fracturing.

“We understand that our stakeholders in British Columbia have concerns related to responsible development – particularly in regards to hydraulic fracturing,” says Dave Lye, Vice-President, Corporate EH&S, Security & Corporate Responsibility. “We appreciate opportunities like this one, where we are able to provide people with a fact-based understanding of hydraulic fracturing and the steps we are taking to protect ground and surface water in our operations.”

The increasing impact of social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter also factored into the day of collaboration and discussion between industry and students. Wayne and Beedie School of Business Assistant Professor Stephanie Bertels discussed social media strategy around awareness of natural gas within North America.

According to Daniel Shapiro, Dean of the Beedie School of Business, the Encana visit underscores the commitment of both the school and the company to furthering dialogue around issues such as technology, innovation and sustainability.

“The client briefing information session with Encana really gets to the heart of natural gas as an economic driver for the British Columbia and Western Canada economies, and the important issues that surround it at both the global and local levels,” he said.

Photo above, left-to-right: Encana’s Wayne Geis, Vice-President, Natural Gas Economy Strategic Planning, Lesley Scorgie, Business Analyst, Natural Gas Economy Strategic Planning and Dave Lye, Vice-President, Corporate EH&S, Security & Corporate Responsibility with Stephanie Bertels, Assistant Professor at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business.