Natural gas, green energy trends the focus of Encana visit for SFU MBAs

Sep 30, 2011

VANCOUVER— The role that natural gas could play in addressing British Columbia’s economic and sustainability goals was the focal point of a special public event hosted by Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business at its downtown Vancouver Segal Graduate School campus on September 29.

Among others, executives from leading Canadian natural gas firm Encana were on hand to engage with students to share their thoughts on BC’s role as a significant natural gas producer for local and global markets, and trends related to the usage of natural gas in the province and the country.

During the past summer term, Beedie School of Business students have worked with Encana to bring a real-life dimension to the final semester of their MBA program. In classes devoted to both sustainability and new ventures, the students have focused on understanding the evolving natural gas markets, and more specifically, they explored the potential for natural gas to serve as an alternate fuel in the transportation sector.

“This real world context provides an excellent opportunity to undertake life cycle assessments, investigate the issue from the perspective of a broad range of stakeholders as well as to delve into the dynamics of how industries change and also what prevents them from changing,” said Stephanie Bertels, Assistant Professor in Technology and Operations Management at the Beedie School of Business.

In addition to guests from industry and academia, representatives from Vancouver Greentech Exchange and the green energy and technology space were on hand, along with leaders from associated companies, government agencies and NGOs.

The panelists at the Thursday evening event were:
– Wayne Geis, Vice-President, Natural Gas Economy, Encana
– Matt Horne, Director of the B.C. Energy Solutions Program, Pembina Institute
– Walter Cicha, Strategic Intelligence – Clean Energy Innovation, IRAP Pacific – NRC Canada

The team of Encana executives who judged MBA projects and provided insights on the panels were:

Bill Oliver, Executive Vice-President & Chief Corporate Officer
Wayne Geis, Vice-President, Natural Gas Economy
David Lye, Vice-President, Corporate Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S), Security & Corporate Responsibility
Dario Alvarez, Lead, Communications -Natural Gas Economy

This isn’t the first time SFU’s MBA students have enjoyed a first-hand overview of the key issues facing Encana and the natural gas industry. A special day-long forum with Encana in June gave students a in-depth look at a wide range of industry issues.

According to Daniel Shapiro, Dean of the Beedie School of Business, the Encana visits underscore the commitments of both the school and the company to furthering dialogue around issues such as technology, innovation and sustainability — providing realistic solutions for emerging business, economic and societal challenges.

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