Negin Mahmoudi followed her engineering dream to Canada and OPG
Growing up, Negin Mahmoudi didn’t have to look very far for inspiration.
Born and raised in Iran in a tight-knit family, she looked up to her dad, an electrical engineer. Her two older sisters also set a high standard, with the eldest becoming a doctor and her other sibling becoming an industrial engineer.
So it was almost natural that she would also pursue a career in engineering, studying Chemical Process Engineering at the Iran University of Science and Technology.
“My dad is my role model. For him, there was always a challenge or problem to solve through engineering,” said Mahmoudi, who has worked at OPG as a Pressure Boundary Specialist for the Darlington Refurbishment project since 2016. “And my sisters helped me through everything. Even now when there is a challenge at work, I go to them for advice on how to deal with it.”
After graduating in 2005, she spent time working in the oil and gas industry in the Persian Gulf. Three years later, seeking new adventures, Mahmoudi and her family packed up and moved to Australia, where she found work as a Chemical Process Engineer for a mining services company, upgrading ammonia production plants.
In 2010, she moved again, this time to Toronto, to pursue postgraduate studies in Wastewater Treatment at Ryerson University, with a focus on eliminating pharmaceutical traces. But her passion for engineering led her to leave her studies to work as a Process Project Engineer at Praxair Canada, a company specializing in cryogenics.
Today, as a Pressure Boundary Specialist for the refurbishment project, she makes sure all work done within the pressure boundary – which includes all pressure-containing components of a nuclear reactor such as pressure vessels, piping, pumps and valves – is done to OPG standards and government regulations.
It’s a job that involves navigating relationships with regulators, as well as vendors, partners, and employees.
In the last few months, she has done double-duty on the refurb project, helping project partner Canatom work through any issues during the installation of feeders on the Unit 2 reactor.
The experience has been invaluable.
“I’ve been exposed to different sides of OPG, from the vendor side of things, to how the engineering happens, to the execution, and how we approach problems and prioritize resources and time to address them,” she said.
After years on the move, Mahmoudi now feels settled in her life in Canada. She lives with her husband in Markham, Ont., and makes the daily drive to work at Darlington. But she’s not satisfied sitting still, for herself or for the next generation of young female engineers looking to enter the industry.
Mahmoudi helped start PowerUP, a group within OPG that focuses on helping young engineers, particularly women, reach their goals. One aspect of PowerUP is empowering more women to apply to leadership positions within the company.
Her message is simple: If you make a mistake, don’t worry about it too much. Own up to it, learn from it, and move on.
“Everybody makes mistakes. The best you can do is acknowledge it, find a solution, and learn from it. Put all your energy into doing your job to the best of your knowledge. It worked for me, and hopefully it can work for everyone else.”
Employee spotlight: Negin Mahmoudi
Position: Pressure Boundary Specialist
Work location: Darlington Nuclear GS
Years of service: Three
Favourite place to visit in Ontario: Bruce County
Favourite TV show: The Handmaid’s Tale
Favourite hobbies: Playing squash, pottery, and travelling