Today’s up-and-coming leaders are helping to shape tomorrow’s energy future. Whether it’s new thinking, fresh attitudes or technical solutions, showcasing their work and vision is of tremendous value to the entire energy industry.
Daily Oil Bulletin’s Rising Stars Class of 2019 is a showcase event of the excellent work done by young emerging energy leaders.
Today, we profile Mikel Sidiropoulos, Fluor Canada Ltd.
Like many students who studied engineering at the University of Waterloo, its 24 months of real-world experience through work terms were a great opportunity for Mikel Sidiripoulos to figure out in which direction he didn’t want to take his career.
A rotation through a Toronto commercial building firm gave him a glimpse of a low-margin, cut-throat business where he was made to feel more like a competitor to the firm’s existing engineers rather than a new team member.
In stark contrast to this, he also worked for Fluor in Calgary for two terms. There he found an open and helpful culture that supported him in learning the ropes and developing as an engineer. Fluor was also impressed with the potential they saw in Sidiropoulos and offered him a permanent position after graduation, which he gladly accepted.
“I have a thirst for learning and this company and the people that work here foster that,” he says.
Sidiropoulos’ high watermarks at Fluor include achieving his P.Eng. certification and learning how the company executes complex projects. He has coordinated between construction and home office engineering and management teams across multiple projects of varying size. He has worked in everything from project proposals to construction support for LNG, SAGD and petrochemical development.
Sidoropoulos’ leadership is evident in his work ethic, attention to detail and his desire to see projects through to successfully delivery as agreed and promised.
“I feel I’ve transitioned from just bringing together and regurgitating the knowledge I’ve acquired to where I am now in a position to influence. People are now looking to me and saying, ‘What should we do here?’” he says.
The guidance and mentorship Sidiropoulos experienced in Fluor now informs his giveback to the profession and the community. An expression of this is his work with youth, encouraging them to pursue engineering as a vocation.
“We have a mentorship program with a school just down the road that I’m involved in, where we go into classrooms during Engineering Week with some very simplistic tasks. For example, we build a car from straws, lifesavers and a balloon to demonstrate propulsion or some other aspect of physics and math and science by making it real,” he says.
In high schools, Sidiropoulos is part of a Fluor pre-engineering program that provides guidance to students who have already made the decision to become engineers. This involves coaching, helping with courses selection and offering practical advice.
“Each year, we also bring students [to the south Calgary Fluor campus] for a day. We show them how the workspace is laid out and try to give them a sense of what an engineering career involves. They ask questions. There’s a presentation. I’ve done the construction portion of that presentation for a few years,” he says.
Sidiropoulos also harnesses his passion for bicycling for the United Way’s Ride to Conquer Cancer. As a member of Fluor Canada’s “Tour de Force” cycling team, he rides in a two-day, 200-km fundraising event that has helped raise $120,000 for cancer research in Alberta.