Rising Star stresses importance of digital innovation

2020 Rising Star Jill Viccars

Growing up in Calgary with a keen interest in environmental issues, Jill Viccars vowed that she would never work in or for the oil and gas industry, even though her father and two siblings work in it.

“I used to tell my 16-year-old self I would never work in the oil and gas industry,” she said. “But I ended up in it because of its ability to fund innovation.” 

The 2020 Rising Star founded Drift Technological Solutions Ltd. because she saw endless opportunity for innovation in the oil and gas industry.

Jill is the president and chief executive officer of the company that offers a logistics software platform that allows customers to access real time data in fluids management.

She says the industry needs to rapidly develop and adopt “digital innovation” to remain competitive.

“What gets me up every day is that there is so much opportunity (in the energy sector) to enhance value and transparency through digital technology,” said Jill. “There are so many problems to be solved in this industry.”

Before Drift, Jill helped develop software that tracked water use at Cenovus Energy Inc.

She said global pandemic has been the hardest thing she has faced in her career but she considers herself to be fortunate.

 “There has been an opportunity during this downturn to create efficiencies and do things differently,” she said. “I think it’s important, particularly now, to maintain a work-life balance. I’m fortunate in that I have a fantastic partner.”
 


Jill and her partner co-founded a not-for-profit organization, Huddle Up for Suicide Prevention (HUFSP) in 2016 after their brother-in-law died by suicide. HUFSP creates opportunities for dialogue and focuses on de-stigmatizing the conversations around mental health and suicide.

“One in five Albertans struggles with mental health issues and this is magnified by the stresses that have come along with the pandemic,” she said.

As for her future, Jill plans to continue being an entrepreneur and would like to see more women taking the lead on technical innovation.

“I definitely think I will continue to be a part of the innovation that is needed in the energy space,” said Jill. “A big part of that innovation is the involvement of women and we need more dialogue on how to make that happen.”

Jill believes the Canadian energy industry has a bright future if it embraces innovation and change.

“There is a need for every type of energy, but I believe we need to manage our energy resources more sustainably,” she said.

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