Vivianne Mansour, B.Sc., P.Eng., EP(GHG)
As an Air Quality Engineer with RWDI Air Inc., Vivianne Mansour, has acted as Lead Verifier for over 20 greenhouse gas emission verifications and verification audits for facilities and Offset Projects across Alberta (with a few facilities/projects located in other provinces). These facilities range from coal fired power stations to oil sands facilities. Her main responsibility as Lead Verifier includes developing risk-based verification and sampling plans which are to ISO 14064 standard.
She also provides training, direction, and guidance to the verification team. In 2011, Vivianne led the creation of an internal training program at RWDI and conducted it in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario. She spends considerable time shaping the GHG policies and procedures at RWDI and ensuring that these policies conform to relevant ISO standards. Vivianne has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Calgary.
In this month’s profile, we had the opportunity to learn more about her career path and her outlook on the greenhouse gas reporting profession.
1. Could you tell us a little bit about your background? How did you get to this point in your career?
I attended the University of Calgary in the Faculty of Engineering. In my fourth year of study, I chose an environmentally focused elective and found it very interesting. This resulted in my decision to pursue a career in environmental consulting which led to my application for a Junior Engineer position at RWDI. While working at RWDI, I was exposed to many air quality assessments for various facilities across Alberta but it was greenhouse gas emission verification work that really sparked my interest.
After progressively gaining experience working on GHG verifications, I eventually became a Lead Verifier and trained many other staff members who are now part of RWDI’s verification team. I also took several training courses through the Canadian Standards Association to build on my knowledge of GHG verification. After working as a Lead Verifier for several years, I pursued the CSA Inventory Quantifier certification and subsequently obtained my ECO Canada Environmental Professional (GHG) Verification Team Lead designation.
2. What do you enjoy most about your job?
I really enjoy working in a team setting. I love training new verifiers and also learning from them in return. We discuss the issues surrounding each facility or offset project and work together to complete our verification work.
The site visits for GHG verification are also a highlight. It is nice to get out of the office and visit a new facility. Facility workers usually know their facility inside-out and hearing from these on-site employees provides an invaluable understanding of the site specific processes and data handling procedures.
In addition, as a detail oriented and organized individual, I am well matched with the work required for GHG verification – I feel like it’s the perfect fit!
3. What challenges do you face working in Greenhouse Gas Reporting?
I find the biggest challenge in GHG reporting and verification is understanding the different facilities that we work on. I have completed GHG verifications for small sour gas plants and large oil sands complexes. Often you are limited to a certain amount of time to complete a verification and within that time you need to understand the facility or offset project, its boundaries, its processes and data handling procedures. Luckily, most GHG authorities provide specific quantification protocols and guidance procedures that can be relied upon for GHG verification.
4. Where do you see the industry in 5 to 10 years? What are some of the challenges and opportunities for Greenhouse Gas professionals?
In 5 to 10 years I see real growth in the GHG reporting and verification industry. As more and more provinces implement GHG reporting regulations, even if they are all different, the demand for qualified Greenhouse Gas professionals will be high.
Challenges for GHG professionals include:
• Understanding the facility boundary and processes;
• Remembering that GHG verification is more than reviewing calculations and numbers – data handling procedures must also be assessed; and,
• Determining how many data and calculation checks you need to complete in order to meet the relevant level of assurance, and how far to dig. This is where a risk-based approach is necessary.
New and exciting opportunities will present themselves to GHG professionals. I think being able to work on a range of facilities and learning how each facility functions is rewarding and keeps you engaged.
5. Why did you decide to pursue your EP(GHG) designation? Why do you think certification is important?
I saw the opportunity to pursue an EP(GHG) designation as a way to formally confirm my skills as a GHG verifier and provide me with recognizable credentials.
Certification helps to ensure consistency among GHG verifiers. As more people become involved in GHG verification, it is important that their skills are reviewed and their qualifications assessed. With ECO Canada, an Expert Reviewer is used to determine whether or not an applicant meets the necessary requirements in addition to the written examination.
6. What important professional bodies or resources do you look to for information or resources on your career?
I often find myself browsing various websites for networking and training events – I believe that you should never stop learning. I consult the Canadian Standards Association, Alberta Environment and Water, and ECO Canada websites for these types of opportunities.
I’ve also been paying attention to the Western Climate Initiative as provinces such as British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba join in and build their own provincial GHG regulations.
GHG Management Institute is another good organization to keep track of. They have interesting GHG articles, a discussion forum and GHG related news updates.
7. If you could offer one piece of advice to someone looking to begin a career in Greenhouse Gases what would it be?
I would suggest that someone starting their career in GHG ensure that they receive training and guidance from an experienced GHG professional in addition to attending external training courses. This will ensure that they start their careers on the right path.