Councillor Candidate

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N.F. (Nathan) Ozog, P.Eng., FEC | Vancouver, BC

I am running for EGBC Council because I am passionate about the betterment of our profession. I have volunteered with EGBC for more than 10 years in many capacities. Each of these opportunities has given me different insights into this Association and has allowed me to discover diverse perspectives apart from my own.

Legislative Bill 49 will replace the Engineers and Geoscientists Act and has put in place a Superintendent of Professional Governance to oversee EGBC. In this period of unprecedented change that Bill 49 has created, my understanding of membership issues such as dues, limited membership, corporate regulation, professional development, and member engagement will be invaluable. I am invested in these issues, and while I believe this new governance model offers opportunities for progress, I also fear that uniformed changes may create unforeseen challenges. The new Superintendent has many powers related to public disclosures, qualification practices, and audits, to name a few, that need to be applied reasonably. Council must advocate on behalf of the EGBC membership to emphasize to the Superintendent what a reasonable and balanced approach to protecting public safety looks like, and I am committed to doing that.

My roles with BC Hydro, UBC, and EGBC have allowed me to develop a strong foundation of leadership, collaboration and communication that I will bring to Council. I also have practical knowledge of interpreting and applying regulation, as I now lead a regulatory team at BC Hydro. This experience will help Council to be effective during this critical period. As a Councillor, I will work to continue to advance our Association and advocate for you, the Engineering and Geoscience membership. I look forward to that that opportunity.

Education

M.A.Sc. (Electrical and Computer Engineering), UBC, 2008
B.A.Sc. (Electrical Engineering), UBC, 2006

Professional History

Team Lead (and previous roles), Protection Control and Telecommunications Engineering, BC Hydro, 2009–present
Adjunct Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UBC, 2008–2018

Engineers and Geoscientists BC Activities

Chair, Branch Representatives Committee, 2016–present
Member, Registration Committee, 2016–present
Chair, Limited Licence Subcommittee, 2014–present
Member, Nominating Committee, 2016–2017
Executive Member, Vancouver Branch, 2007–2013 (Chair, 2011–2012)

Related Professional Activities

Member, Technical Review Committee, IEEE International Power Electronics and Application Conference, 2015
Member, Technical Review Committee, IEEE Electrical Power and Energy Conference, 2008

Community Involvement

Treasurer, Vancouver Squash League, 2015–present
Member, Squash BC Nomination Committee, 2018–2019
Big Brother, Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver, 2015–2016

Awards and Honours

Young Professional Award, Engineers and Geoscientists BC, 2018
Fellowship, Engineers Canada, 2018

Q&A with Candidates

Engineers and Geoscientists BC is the regulatory authority charged with protecting the public interest with respect to the practice of engineering and geoscience in the province of BC. What is the key challenge facing the association?

By replacing the Engineers and Geoscientists Act, through Bill 49, the BC Government has brought about unprecedented change for EGBC. This legislation empowers the Superintendent of Professional Governance with a number of new government oversight tools, such as the ability to directly audit members, the power to qualify members for specific work, and the ability to publically disclose potential conflicts-of-interests.

While public safety is paramount, these oversight powers have the potential to be very intrusive if exercised too cavalierly to their full extent, and could adversely affect the ability of EGBC members to meet the continuing infrastructure demands of British Columbia, serve the public interest and provide the professional standard to which Engineers and Geoscientist of BC are renowned. It is therefore important that Council is able to work with the Superintendent’s office to ensure that Engineers and Geoscientists are able to perform work without unreasonable barriers. The EGBC Council must work to demonstrate to the Superintendent that existing controls, which are core to our practice, are best in class, provide the public with protections, and do not require excessive additional oversight.

What are the key issues facing the engineering and/or geoscience professions?

Two issues that could have the greatest impact on our professions are: regulation of Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC), and regulation of Engineering and Geoscience corporations.

Applied Science Practitioners: Defining the boundaries of ‘Professional’ is a very challenging issue that will become more prominent as the government makes a decision, per Bill 49, as to how Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC will be regulated, i.e. whether they will receive their own rights to title and practice; whether they will remain as their own entity; or whether they will become part of EGBC. While there are clear differences between the roles that Technologists, Limited Licensees and Professional Engineers and Geoscientists play, the precise dividing lines are not easy to draw. The speed of technological change, the emergence of new disciplines, and the evolving definitions of existing disciplines have made the picture even blurrier. I believe it is important that we establish an open dialogue and share ideas so that we can work collaboratively, rather than competitively.

Corporate Regulation: The government has proposed the implementation of corporate regulation by EGBC. While this model is common in many jurisdictions, it will be a shift within BC that will significantly impact small and large Engineering and Geoscience firms. EGBC’s Organizational Quality Management (OQM) program has a great deal to contribute to successfully regulating corporations and it is important that its learnings are considered in the model that the Superintendent chooses to adopt.

Looking five years ahead, what is your vision for Engineers and Geoscientists BC as a professional regulatory body in BC?

In five years, I would like for EGBC to have achieved the following:

  • A demonstrated clean record of public safety;
  • Greater recognition, locally and globally, of the world class expertise of our membership;
  • Stronger dialogue and collaboration with emerging Engineering and Geoscience disciplines;
  • Better defined relationships with other Applied Science practitioners, such as Technologists and Technicians;
  • A healthy relationship with the Superintendent of Professional Governance, such that excessive oversight measures are not considered necessary; and
  • Reasonable member fees.

For Council to achieve its goals and meet its fiduciary responsibilities, Council has identified the need for diverse voices on Council, with a blend of the following skills and competences: leadership, financial literacy, risk management, human resources, strategy, regulatory understanding, governance and technical proficiency. Please highlight the areas of strength you bring to the role.

My experience as a Professional Engineer is my most important qualification for this position. Having practiced for a number of years in the technical area of power system protection & control (P&C), a specialty critical to public safety, I have a strong understanding of the challenges that EGBC professionals face and that Council must be vigilant in keeping front of mind.

Regulatory understanding and strategic planning have also been key themes in my career. I have had the privilege of leading project and sustainment teams to help bring BC Hydro into compliance with a very strict body of new regulation. From this experience, I have witnessed first-hand how extensively regulation can affect practice. I have seen that while it can positively affect change, if not applied carefully, it can also have unintended outcomes. This lesson will be valuable while serving on the EGBC Council.

My leadership roles at BC Hydro, instructor roles at UBC, and chair and member roles with EGBC branch executives, committees and task forces, have also given me a breadth of experience in financial literacy, governance and human resources that will be essential for contributing to Council. While I will learn a great deal serving you, the value my experience and skills will also help us succeed.

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