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Engineering Physicist - Substations R&D, Substations Technology and Testing

Surrey, BC
Full Time
5 days ago

Powertech Labs Inc, BC Hydro's subsidiary that specializes in energy research, consulting, testing, and systems integration, has been serving power utilities, oil and gas companies, automotive, and electrical utility equipment manufacturers since 1989. We operate as a separate, unregulated, for profit, commercial company. In addition to providing innovative R&D, consulting and testing services to BC Hydro, Powertech provides the majority of its services to a large and diverse array of clients across North America, and around the world. Powertech is located on an 11-acre campus in Surrey, British Columbia and has 200+ employees. Our reach and reputation are global, and we are recognized as a leader in technology, testing, and power systems software. Our location places us close to BC Hydro, 25 kilometers from the US border, and at a gateway between Asian and North American markets. Finally, we are located in one of the most desirable locations on the globe, with all the natural beauty of British Columbia on our doorstep. We call this home.

Powertech’s brand and reputation command a dominant position in the power industry. To better serve our clients, we group our services under six market-orientated sectors: Generation, Transmission and Distribution, Substations, Power Systems, Grid Modernization and Advanced Transportation. Powertech’s competitive advantage is enhanced through close collaboration between all sectors.

The company's staff consists of professional engineers, scientists, technologists and technicians from a wide range of disciplines. These highly skilled individuals have access to 21 well-equipped, specialized laboratories. Together, the resources allow us to offer a range of forward-looking technology services to help clients advance technology, solve complex problems, and maximize asset performance.

Finally, we are customer-focused: To ensure our customers have high confidence in our services, we attract the best resources, are highly responsive and constantly strive to improve the quality and value of our services.  

Powertech has an exciting and challenging opportunity for an Engineering Physicist to join a team of Substation Research & Development professionals based at Powertech Labs in Surrey B.C.

Business Overview

The Substation Technology and Testing Sector provides high power and high current laboratory testing of electrical equipment and materials, unit testing of insulating oils, fuels, lubricants and coolants, environmental samples (water and soils), and hazardous materials, field-testing of substation equipment, research and development related to substations, and studies pertaining to equipment applications. It also offers consulting and investigation services, including asset management studies, failure investigations, and expert witness testimony. This team is considered world-class in the areas of electrical, chemical, and mechanical substation testing and analysis.

Role Overview

The Engineering Physicist position plays a key function in the undertaking of chemistry, materials, and electrical related testing and research projects. Such projects are investigative and/or focus on finding practical solutions to complex technical problems for equipment and processes used in electrical power systems. Topics include insulating fluids, materials, sensors, hardware and software integration, low level hardware programming, electromagnetism, optics and electronics.

Major Responsibilities

Assist in the planning and undertaking of projects in the area of research and development including condition assessment both in the laboratory and the field for electrical applications. Specifically:

  • Carry out failure analysis investigations
  • Provide technical direction to technical staff
  • Manage projects of varying complexity and plan and manage resources
  • Provide analysis and interpretation of laboratory and field test data
  • Prepare detailed technical reports, presentations, and publications in technical journals
  • Respond to requests for quotations and requests for proposals from clients, and provide detailed technical proposals, cost estimates, and work schedules
  • Carry out laboratory and field-testing when required in accordance with relevant industry standards
  • Explore new enabling technologies and methods
  • Attract new business opportunities as a recognized expert, once established

Required Education

  • An engineering physics or equivalent related degree recognized by Canadian universities
  • Registered or eligible for registration as a Professional Engineer with the Engineers and Geoscientists of B.C.

Technical Skills and Experience

  • Minimum of eight years related experience; preference may be given to applicants with greater related experience
  • Experience identifying, analyzing and resolving problems associated with hardware and software integration
  • Experience with low level hardware programming, electromagnetism, optics and electronics is an asset
  • Specific experience in conducting applied experimental research in dielectrics (solids and liquids) and high voltage equipment would be an asset
  • Experience associated with design (PFD, P&ID, and specifications) and building of electronic and mechanical control, measuring and processing systems
  • A superior record of academic achievement and applied research
  • Project management skills – with the ability to organize and lead projects of a multidisciplinary nature
  • Quality Management, Assurance and Control skills are desirable
  • Demonstrated experience in the use of the various analytical testing techniques and instrumentation and an in-depth understanding of the physical phenomena and the measurement techniques used
  • Demonstrated successful experience in the design and implementation of experimental test setups from conception to completion (prototyping to commercialization)
  • Demonstrated experiencing on troubleshooting, maintenance and repair of testing equipment
  • Knowledge of relevant international testing standards for materials, chemicals, and equipment
  • Ability to judge the relevance of experimental findings to the solution of complex practical problems
  • Demonstrated experience working in a multidisciplinary environment, with all employees and clients from diverse academic, technical, and industrial backgrounds
  • Computer savvy (i.e. moderate to advanced knowledge of Microsoft products: Excel, Word, Visio etc). 
  • Advanced working knowledge of simulation software (eg COMSOL, Matlab, Labview, Python, EMTP) would be an asset
  • Working knowledge of programming languages (eg C++, C, R, Pearl)
  • Technical knowledge in Electric Utility equipment including but not limited to transformers
  • Experience with data acquisition and analysis equipment is an asset
  • Experience with power tools and shop equipment is an asset

Performance Competencies

  • Demonstrated rigor in modeling safety behaviours and safety awareness for working in laboratories and the field
  • Excellent customer service skills with ability to envision “walking in the customers’ shoes”
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Excellent decision making capabilities
  • Excellent detail-oriented, problem solving skills
  • Good aptitude for marketing and client contacts
  • Ability to work in a dynamic and collaborative team environment
  • Ability to lead and motivate team members
  • Ability to complete engineering tasks independently
  • Ability to quickly learn and apply new concepts, principles and solutions
  • Demonstrates dependability and commitment to projects/tasks
  • Initiative and aptitude/adaptability to solve complex and varying challenges with minimal direction
  • Focus on consistency and quality in all work activities
  • Ability to optimally adapt to a constrained schedule and perform under pressure
  • Strong multitasking and organizational skills

Location: Surrey B.C.

Job ID:  EP2019.33

Job Status: Full-Time Regular

Compensation & Benefits: Powertech Labs Inc. offers a very comprehensive total rewards package based on a healthy work/life balance.

Close Date: August 5, 2019

Please be advised that this role has been assessed as safety sensitive and pre-qualification alcohol and drug testing will be required as a pre-condition to employment. 

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply, however Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

To apply and to obtain more information on Powertech Labs Inc. visit our website at


Engineering Oil, Gas and Utilities