Sarah Vandaiyar has been a project engineer with TransCanada for four years. She also leads the Young Pipeliners Association of Canada, and is working to help develop the industry's next generation of leaders.
Each new pipeline project presents interesting challenges and something new to learn, Vandaiyar says.
“Sometimes landowners are big factor in how we are designing and constructing. Sometimes it’s the sheer technical challenges that come up. It’s ever-changing, especially as the regulatory landscape and stakeholder relations side of things evolves very rapidly,” she says.
A chemical engineer by training and currently working on a Masters in civil engineering at the University of Calgary, Vandaiyar moved to Alberta from Ontario for a job with Suncor in Fort McMurray, after a co-op term with the company. Shortly after, she joined TransCanada in Calgary.
“What attracted me to TransCanada was that there was a lot of opportunity. It wasn’t going to be just a technical role. As a project engineer I could work with other groups in the company such as supply chain, commercial, and regulatory. It has really given me a holistic view of how projects are developed,” she says.
Seeing firsthand the regulatory and stakeholder challenges that pipelines face, Vandaiyar is passionate about positioning the industry in the most positive and objective light, highlighting its rigorous maintenance of infrastructure and the extent of environmental and safety planning that goes into new projects.
As the current president & CEO of the Young Pipeliners Association of Canada, she takes an active role in the conversations with groups such as the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) and is helping to shape the industry’s safety, environmental and performance objectives.
“I want to be part of that evolution into the future and make sure that the public, politicians and the major stakeholders are aware that there is a lot of due diligence that goes into pipeline projects,” she says.
Vandaiyar joined YPAC two years ago after talking with a friend who was enjoying her YPAC volunteering experience. When Vandaiyar got involved, she found many opportunities to work with stakeholders and industry organizations that she wouldn’t have otherwise had exposure.
“One of the most significant parts of volunteering with YPAC is the opportunity to work with CEPA on what they involved in,” she says. “That relationship between the two associations has been really integral but for the organization and myself as we work to develop the next generation of leaders in the industry.”