Pat Webb admits that he didn't know much about the oil sands before joining Devon Canada for a co-op term in 2008. As a chemical engineering student at the University of British Columbia, his knowledge was based primarily on media coverage – and that tended to be largely negative.
But that changed during his initial eight-month stint in Devon’s Calgary office and was reinforced when he returned for a second eight-month co-op term in 2010. In fact, Mr. Webb was so impressed by the company that he accepted a job offer after graduation in 2011 and is now a project engineer-in-training.
“As an engineer, I was attracted to the oil sands by the potential for innovation, the major projects and the diversity of projects. That’s exactly what an engineer wants,” says Mr. Webb.
Alise Vandersalm (Photo: Supplied)
Alise Vandersalm, a reservoir engineer-in-training in Devon’s thermal heavy oil group, agrees. She joined the company after graduating from the University of Calgary as a chemical engineer in 2011 and after interning at Devon in 2009 and 2010.
“I chose the energy industry because I find it to be the most exciting opportunity for engineers in Canada right now,” says Ms. Vandersalm. “There are many different opportunities for us as new grads and a lot of those jobs are really exciting. Also, being on the forefront of technology, there are so many technological advances in this industry that are far beyond what a lot of other industries are doing.”
She selected Devon in particular as the company she wanted to work for because of its strong recruiting program at the University of Calgary and its emphasis on issues that were important to her like team building, employee morale and community investment.
“I was looking for a company that had a strong asset in the oil sands, where I felt I could be successful and have opportunities for career growth. I also wanted to work for a company that had the right work environment, and that’s why I decided on Devon,” she says.
Mr. Webb has been particularly impressed by Devon’s graduate rotation program that will allow him to rotate to a different position within the company every year for the next four years.
“This means I will get to see different engineering disciplines within Devon, pick one that’s best suited to me and go back to that position at the end of the four years,” he says.
For Mr. Webb, it’s the people at Devon that impress him most.
“Oil sands companies tend to offer similar benefits packages, but the one thing about Devon that really stands out for me is the people; they are smart, outgoing, energetic and fun to work with, which is what I was looking for,” he says.