Suzanne West, founder and president and CEO of Imaginea Energy Corp., died Tuesday after a short battle with brain cancer. She was 52.
West was well known in the oil and gas industry as an energetic, innovative executive and thinker with a goal of balancing hydrocarbon production and use within the framework of today’s environmental realities by creating a “clean hydrocarbons” company.
“Suzanne embodied this idea of uncompromising understanding. She was willing to hear everybody and where they are coming from and then just be uncompromising in her vision for where we needed to go,” said Matt Beck, who worked alongside West as Imginea’s director of sustainability.
“There are so many people she touched that are committed to a positive future for Alberta and its role in the energy industry. And that’s what, ultimately, Suzanne was trying to achieve,” he added.
“It’s a shame that the industry wasn’t as ready for her as I think we needed to be.”
In November, Imaginea announced it had parted ways with its primary shareholder, Lime Rock Partners, with the latter placing all parts of the company pertaining to its oil and gas assets (including offices, people and contracts) under the management of Cor4 Oil Corp.
True to form, West was looking forward to her new challenge.
“I’m doubling down with what I’m about to do,” she told the Bulletin. “I learned a ton from what I call ‘Imaginea 1.0’ in preparation for ‘Imaginea 2.0.’ That is the exciting part of life: When things don’t happen exactly the way you want, it means you have a great opportunity to learn, get smarter and better.”
In a statement, the Calgary Chamber of Commerce said West “challenged the energy industry to do things differently and pioneered new approaches to existing problems. She was a fearless leader whose passion and energy was contagious, our thoughts are with Imaginea and Suzanne’s family today.”
Beck said that West’s legacy will live on: “Suzanne, her last wish, was that we use her passing in any way that we possibly can to mobilize foot soldiers in pursuit of her vision,” he said.
The following message was provided to JWN on behalf of the Imaginea team
Goodbye Dear Friend
It is with sadness and disbelief that we say goodbye to you, our dear friend Suzanne West. Your fight with cancer was brief, but courageous. It warms our hearts to know that you left us peacefully with your family and your beloved dog Rhea at your side.
Your story is a beautiful one of courage, passion, generosity and commitment. Your infectious energy and spirit touched so many, and with lasting effect. Everyone who had the pleasure of meeting you was drawn in by your vibrant energy and love. You left them with a heightened view of the world, the endless possibilities it offered and optimism that they could make it better. You cared for people and saw potential in everyone, and you always embraced with a warm hug… always. And you were a force, a brilliant business mind that was charged with a purpose to do things differently, to pioneer and drive forward new approaches to problems that had existed unchecked for too long. With an infectious passion and energy, you lived in service to a far greater world than the one close to you.
In every circumstance, you only chose to see the bright side. Even in your final days, you stood strong with courage, gratitude and with a wide, kind smile. You faced unbeatable odds with no desire to seek pity or sympathy. Instead you chose inspiration and that inspired light will continue to shine brightly in all of us.
You have given us a model for how to live with strength and courage. You have taught us vulnerability and empathy. You fuelled our passion and gave us purpose. For all of this, we thank you.
And we will carry your torch forward. This is not the end of your story Suzanne West. Your flame continues to burn bright in the hearts and minds of everybody you inspired.
God bless you. You will be deeply, deeply missed.
Your Imaginea family