Engineer Nadia Temacini charting a varied career at OPG
If there’s one piece of advice Nadia Temacini usually offers to young women pursuing careers in STEM fields, it’s to always follow your curiosity and interests, no matter how unrelated they may seem to what you’re currently doing or studying.
Temacini is walking proof of her own advice.
With a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Ottawa, she has charted an already varied career in and outside of OPG, one that has seen her move from the oil and gas industry in Alberta, to nuclear operations at OPG, to now working as an Associate Market Coordinator at the company.
“Don’t limit your options,” Temacini said. “You can be interested in seemingly unrelated topics such as biology and coding, and still find a program in university, and careers that accommodates the two. There are careers out there that accommodate many intersections, and you don’t have to follow one traditional path.”
In her current role, Temacini finds herself pretty far removed from her chemical engineering degree.
Working in OPG’s Commercial Operations group in the Asset and Transmission Management division, Temacini helps coordinate various outages between OPG’s hydro, nuclear, and thermal stations, while working with the Independent Electricity System Operator to ensure Ontario’s electricity demands continue to be met.
Outages at OPG’s stations usually involve generating units being taken offline for maintenance, inspections, or repair. These work programs are essential to ensuring reliable and safe performance from OPG’s generating facilities.
“My day-to-day job involves a lot of communication with the different plant groups,” Temacini said. “For instance, I’ll talk with OPG’s water managers on a daily basis regarding what the river conditions look like, and use that information along with the market conditions to help operators understand how best to utilize the stations and plan outages.”
For Temacini, she didn’t intend to end up working in the energy sector. It just happened that way.
During her co-op work term, she worked as a research student in a clean energy technologies lab at Natural Resources Canada. That laid the groundwork for the rest of her co-op experience, as she went on to work in pulp and paper with Tembec in Quebec and in the oil sands with Suncor Energy at Fort McMurray, Alberta.
The 2014 oil crash resulted in her looking for other opportunities, which led her back to Ontario in 2016 to join OPG in the new grad engineering program.
The two-year program allowed Temacini to expand on her engineering skills through a variety of assignments at OPG’s nuclear operations. She worked in station engineering at Pickering Nuclear, then plant design at Darlington Nuclear. After that, she spent another two years working in fire protection for OPG’s entire generating fleet before returning to Darlington to provide support to the Outage Operations group.
She took on her current role last year to further broaden her horizons.
“I wanted to learn more about the energy industry as a whole, beyond just nuclear, to take a step back and look at the bigger picture,” Temacini said. “I’ve been fortunate to have been able to move around the company a fair bit to find my niche.”
Outside of work, Temacini makes an effort each year to reach out to young girls and promote careers in STEM through various speaking engagements. Aside from her advice to be open-minded to different opportunities, she encourages young women and racialized youth to never apologize for who they are and what they bring to the table.
“In male-dominated fields, there will always be people who doubt you,” she said. “But you studied just as hard as anybody, earned your degree, and your spot in your career. There’s no reason to stay quiet or small. At the end of the day, nobody can fault you for doing your job, even if makes someone else uncomfortable.”