Samantha Oler – Manager New Mains and Services, ATCO Australia
Samantha Oler didn’t know anything about the energy industry when she started an internship with ATCO in Canada but soon came to love the company and the industry.
Over her time with ATCO, Samantha has held seven positions across four cities in Canada and Australia and worked her way up the ladder to eventually manage the construction of new mains and services.
ATCO Australia is part of the ATCO Group of companies that operate globally, with the Australia chapter focussing on developing, building, owning and operating energy and infrastructure assets.
Samantha started in Australia as senior engineer, customer projects, which focussed on new natural gas connections of commercial and industrial customers before being promoted to engineering manager.
“This was an exciting role as I was responsible for developing and implementing the engineering business plan for the gas division,” Samantha said.
“In May this year, I ‘switched teams’ and am now in construction overseeing all new mains and services, from new subdivisions and residential homes to large industrial customers.
“I think I would struggle to pick a favourite between engineering manager and construction manager as they both have been diverse and challenging in their own ways.”
The nature of her job means Samantha is put on a portfolio of projects across WA. “This brings interesting challenges like material issues and availability, contractor training and quality, and project delivery and cost control,” she said.
Out of the four cities Samantha has worked in, her favourite has been Perth. “Perth has given me so many opportunities and I’ve already made multiple connections in the industry who I enjoy catching up with,” she said. “As they say, it’s a big city with a small-town feel and I love how connected the industry is. “Also, I’ve become addicted to the adventurous life Perth has to offer and the various ecosystems you can explore.”
Samantha has a passion for giving back to the community and supporting the next generation of industry professionals and is proud of having introduced a graduate program within ATCO.
She also takes a lot of pride in the incremental achievements she makes towards improving diversity and enabling conversations around women in the workplace.
“Back in 2019, I started conversations around women in the workplace, and as a result, with the help of many individuals, saw a safe space for breastfeeding, women in leadership groups, created changes in role adverts which were more encouraging for women to apply and, overall, just sparked conversation.”
“As many people can attest, I don’t shy away from the difficult conversation and look to work with people to shift mindsets and acceptance. “These are small accomplishments that I believe will make a large impact to the future.”
Over the past few years, Samantha has been mentoring with Engineers Australia and the Energy Club WA. “I have built fantastic relationships with two young women and have mentored multiple women within ATCO on how they can expand and take charge of their careers,” she said.
The positive impacts she can have on people is what keeps Samantha motivated. “This can be in many forms such as coaching peers through challenges, mentoring individuals for self-improvement, finding an efficiency at work, or volunteering to give back to the community,” she said. “I thrive on seeing the people around me happy and growing.”
Samantha has a predilection for the sea, with scuba diving being her biggest passion.“Perth has fantastic diving, and the WA coast is equally amazing,” she said. “I am looking to learn to sail in 2022 as a new hobby and am now a member of Hillary’s Yacht Club. “I love exploring WA and have explored the coastline from Fitzgerald National Park to Exmouth. “I equally enjoy inland locations with favourites being Karijini, Kalbarri (specifically Murchison Station), and the South West region.”
Samantha is also interested in environmental conservation, marine life, mentoring, personal development, and reading, and spends her time mentoring for the Energy Club and Engineers Australia, and volunteering for UWA Under Water Club and UWA Girls in Engineering.
She can’t wait for the borders to reopen so she can visit her family in Canada.