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 Waheed Zaman, Blue Source Methane.
Growing up in Calgary from the age of five, Waheed Zaman’s experience was typical of most kids — school, friends, soccer — but a trip to Bangladesh to visit extended family marked a formative event in his life.
“We travelled and saw the poverty and dirty water and the conditions people lived in. Being 11, it really affected me and motivated me to pursue a career that could make a difference,” he says.
Over time, engineering took shape in his mind as the best way to directly affect positive change in the environment and in people’s lives. He studied Chemical Engineering with an energy and environmental specialization at the University of Calgary, and is currently pursuing a part-time Master’s degree in the same field.
As an engineering intern at the University of Calgary’s Laboratory for Environmental Catalytic Applications, he researched activated carbon used to treat water produced from oilsands mining operations. That work was published in the Bioresource Technology Journal.
For MEG Energy as an environmental engineering intern, he worked on reducing sulfur emissions and later attended consultation meetings and presented at science camps for Aboriginal groups, encouraging students to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) disciplines.
After graduation, Zaman’s first three years were with SKF (bearings and lubrications). He got an assignment in England on a consulting project. Later he became project engineer on an innovative technology that involved five SKF teams from five countries.
“We developed an automated grease gun with a Bluetooth chip connected to a mobile app that tracked a lubrication route for operators,” he says.
The technology extended the life of machinery by providing lubrication point verification through RFID tags fitted to each lubrication site. Patent applications were made on the technology and Zaman eventually travelled to Sweden to accept an SKF Excellence Award on behalf of his team.
Almost four years ago, Zaman’s career aligned more squarely with his core environmental interest when he joined Blue Source Methane as a member of the company’s Methane Reduction Program team.
This Blue Source project delivers an economic and efficient approach to swapping out the oil and gas industry’s high-bleed pneumatic controllers for more GHG efficient units. Starting in November 2017, Bluesource is on track to its target of replacing over 10,000 controllers over two-and-a-half-years in Alberta. Earlier this year, Blue Source won a JWN Energy Excellence Award in the Industry Accelerators category for this work.
Just recently, Waheed has returned to MEG Energy as an Operations Process Engineer. He is thrilled to return to the company where he interned. He will be going to the field to gain hands-on experience and a deeper understanding of how plants operate and processes are optimized. He then plans to be involved with MEG’s continued efforts to reduce their GHG intensity.
Zaman’s passion for the environment is matched by his passion for helping people. He holds Maya Angelou’s quote close to his heart: “When you learn, teach, when you get, give.”
He has coached youth soccer teams. He is a mentor to students at the University of Calgary. He provides volunteer tutoring to students and helps deliver food hampers to families in need with the non-profit Enjoin Good. And he has volunteered as an instructor for computer skills training with the Centre for Newcomers.
But it’s when he can bring engineering into the equation that Zaman’s eyes really light up. He flips through his smart phone gallery to a picture of a bicycle he and a group of volunteers built for a charity called Tikkun Olan Maker. The organization targets unique disabilities that don’t have readily available medical solutions.
“Our team came up with this treadle-powered bicycle for a double amputee with Parkinson’s disease,” he says proudly.
Zaman’s ambition is to be an environmental leader in the energy sector by continuing to combine his passions in engineering, helping others and the environment to make a meaningful impact.