How an electrician is powering up the next stage of his career

Photo by Dan Toulgoet

For over three decades, electrician Glen Pedersen has worked on countless residential, commercial and industrial projects in B.C. and Alberta. But as the years rolled by, he says, the physical demands of the job began to take their toll. Ready to move to the next stage of his career, he signed up for SFU’s Project Management Certificate program.

“I felt it was time to use the experience I’ve had running jobs and leading people, and put an official bow on it,” he explains. “That’s what led me to project management—to get the technical skills and knowledge to complement other skills I’ve gained over the years.”

Glen now works at Windset Farms, a major supplier of naturally grown produce based in Delta, B.C. Combining his electrical expertise with his project management training, he’s been able to lead or help manage a variety of projects for the business, from the installation of a new weigh-scale system to a power-smart lighting upgrade.  

When he started searching for a suitable project management program, SFU always stood out for Glen. After all, his uncle George Pedersen had served a term as the university’s president back in the 1980s. But family connection aside, says Glen, the main reason he selected SFU was for its solid reputation.

His choice seems to have paid off. “I found the program really helpful,” he says. “There are so many skills I didn’t even realize I needed. It’s been mind expanding, showing me how much I didn’t know, which is always fascinating.”

While he considers himself a naturally organized person, Glen learned new methods and tools that are helping him to plan, schedule and communicate more effectively: “A lot of it was putting a finer point on things I knew. It was nice to know the path I was on was the right one, but it also showed there are a whole lot of other paths that can be taken.”

Glen says he also benefited from his classmates and instructors, who came from a variety of fields and shared their unique perspectives during online classes. “Coming from a construction and trades background, I had a very good concept of physically building things,” he says. “But it was interesting to meet folks from the software industry, which I really don’t know much about. It was quite fascinating hearing them talk about how project management works for them.”

Glen recalls he was about a third of the way through the program when he learned about the StrongerBC future skills grant that had become available. “It was a fantastic opportunity,” he says. “It took a lot of the money stress away. It took so much pressure off, so I could just hammer right through the remaining courses.”

Having graduated from the program, Glen is now preparing for the prestigious Project Management Professional certification from the Project Management Institute—adding yet another notch to his toolbelt.

“I like to think that I’ve been much more than an electrician for quite a while,” says Glen. “But having the certification and this education behind me is going to be a huge benefit.

“Everything’s just coming up roses,” he adds with a smile.

By Kim Mah