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Powertech Labs Inc. Logo

Research & Development Team Lead - Substations Technology & Testing

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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 a Research & Development Team Lead to join a team of professionals based at Powertech Labs in Surrey, B.C.

Business Overview

The Substations Technology and Testing business unit provides substation research and development, consulting and investigations, material and product testing, and site commissioning & acceptance testing. Consulting and investigation offerings include Engineering studies, asset management studies, condition assessment, failure investigation, and expert witness testimony. This business unit has world class laboratories for Applied Chemistry and also High Power and High Current testing of Apparatus, tools and materials.

Position Overview

Under the direction of the Director, Substation Technology and Testing, the incumbent will lead the Research & Development team which has a strong focus on Chemistry as applied to the electric utility including emerging technologies. The selected candidate will be expected to lead every aspect of the team. Responsibilities include establishing an understanding of the global industry trends, developing a long-range strategy, and operationalizing this plan to ensure continued customer engagement and support, growth and day-to-day operational excellence. This leadership role requires teamwork with corporate support functions and the other Managers across Powertech Labs.

Further, the incumbent is expected to be a technical expert in his/her own right and to provide technical leadership and day-to-day management to the team. The selected candidate will be expected to engage customers from around North America and beyond, identify and develop new service offerings to meet emerging and market needs and, collaborate with market participants to advance technology and the associated industry standards. With a relentless focus on quality, the incumbent is expected to pursue policies and activities that constantly raise the quality accreditation and performance of the sector. The selected candidate must have a demonstrated history of participating in national and international forums on relevant technical areas. Authoring and presenting technical publications is seen as important to maintaining and growing this sectors profile.

As a member of the Powertech Team, we are seeking a strong individual with proven capabilities to develop and manage this existing group within our Substations Technology and Testing sector.  This individual shall possess hands on experience and have technical depth to lead and mentor their team through a variety of small to large complex projects and expand our services.  Clients range from those based in British Columbia to equipment suppliers, utilities, and research organizations around the globe. 

Key Responsibilities

  • Manage, lead and support a team of Scientists and Engineers in the Powertech’s R&D department who work on projects of varying sizes and complexities. Accountable for all aspects of the team and department including, but not limited to, financial (P&L), staff, facilities and laboratories, safety, quality, environment, capital expansion, customer interactions, project scoping and scheduling and estimates, and business development.
  • Ensure that qualified internal and external resources are available and have the required expertise and tools to meet work plans; allocate resources to various projects within the work program; assign and coordinate work, and provide instructions, advice and technical guidance to other engineers, project and technical staff; review work in progress and assess completed work for accuracy, required results and compliance with quality assurance standards and procedures; where necessary provide mentorship and coaching to team members.
  • Lead in business development activities by seeking out opportunities in areas of expertise, contacting prospective clients, preparing proposals and conducting client follow-up.
  • Appraise staff performance and provide input into an employee development program in order to maintain the required expertise; assist the business unit director in staff selection, training and recommending promotions.
  • Provide technical leadership and act as an expert technical resource. Responsible for providing professional and technical advice in areas of general chemistry laboratory analytical equipment (UV, tensile and compression testing, FTIR, ICP and SEM), separation analytical equipment (HPLC and GC), thermal equipment for material analysis (DGA, TMA, DSC and DMA), insulating fluid testing and standards (dielectric breakdown, IFT, power factor), non-traditional insulating fluid and material research (i.e. ester based), transformer insulation research and failure analysis (good working knowledge of IEEE C57 series standards), SF gas and degradation products analysis. In addition, lead in the development of standards, practices and procedures.
  • Develop a robust program of new services in support of growing the team and the services offered to Powertech’s customers by monitoring and understanding industry/market trends, issues, and opportunities and assess for feasibility and market size.
  • Work collaboratively with other teams across Powertech, and seek opportunities for cross-discipline projects.


  • Degree in Sciences (preferably Analytical Chemistry) and/or Engineering recognized by universities in Canada
  • Registration as a Professional Chemist with the Association of the Chemical Profession of BC (ACPBC) or Professional Engineer with the Engineers and Geoscientists BC (EGBC) is required
  • Minimum of 8 years of experience as a Chemist (P.Chem) or Engineer (P.Eng); an equivalent combination of education and experience may be considered
  • Demonstrated experience in managing all aspects of a highly qualified team of technical experts
  • Demonstrated proficiency as a Professional Chemist or Professional Engineer

Required technical experience and knowledge

  • Established record of research and development with research, standards and testing organizations (EPRI, CEATI, CIGRE, ASTM, etc)
  • Participate in industry forums such as CIGRE and/or IEEE standards working committees.  Involvement and production in standards committees for the electric utility industry through EPRI, CIGRE, IEEE and/or ASTM
  • A solid understanding of transformer construction and, in particular, insulating board and paper
  • A good working knowledge of polymers, composites, organic and inorganic chemistry
  • Proven experience leading and conducting failure investigations and insurance claims whereby chemical analysis is required
  • Experience testing of components across a broad spectrum of industries (automotive, petrochemical, oil & gas, natural gas, hydrogen power, electrical, consumer products, etc)
  • Experience in coolants, fuels and lubes
  • Develop innovative engineering techniques and apply theoretical and practical knowledge in testing, analysis and problem resolution
  • Prepare and/or review and/or approve detailed technical reports
  • Develop standards, training guides and work procedures
  • Work within our quality program and accreditation and, as required, work to expand our quality accreditation (ISO 9001, 17025, etc)
  • Transportation of dangerous goods and WHMIS experience/knowledge
  • Remain abreast of changes in technology, standards and the evolving global power industry
  • Project management of multifaceted, multidisciplinary, technical projects; this includes a thorough understanding of budgeting, resourcing, scheduling, invoicing, status reporting, documenting, quality management and deliverables through the various aspects of a project; proposal, definition, initiation, planning, execution, reporting, and closure stages
  • Assess, train and ensure your team is adequately competent to undertake the work.  Identify and assess risk hazards to your team and to Powertech as a whole.  Ensure scope of work is clearly defined and within the capabilities of your team
  • Respond to requests for quotations and requests for proposals from clients, provide detailed technical proposals, cost estimates, and work schedules, and insure invoicing and monthly progress reports are submitted in a timely manner to clients

Performance Competencies (Non-Technical Skills)

  • Demonstrated rigor in modeling awareness and behaviours for working safely in laboratories and the field.
  • Entrepreneurial with proven track record in business development success.  
  • Demonstrated management of a P&L and an understanding of annual planning, budgeting and business forecasting.
  • Knowledge of environmental, socio-economic and public interest issues and their impact on area of expertise.
  • Broad technical knowledge of the utility business with recognized technical expertise.
  • Excellent leadership, team building and project management skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage the successful implementation and delivery of products and services to the client on time and within budget.
  • Excellent verbal, written and interpersonal communications skills including the ability to build successful relationships, make presentations to technical and non-technical audiences and liaise with peers in industry.
  • Excellent decision making capabilities.
  • Able to adapt to a constrained schedule and perform under pressure.
  • Detail-oriented.
  • Strong problem solving skills.
  • Ability to work in a dynamic and collaborative team environment.
  • Ability to quickly learn and apply new concepts, principles and solutions.
  • Strong multitasking and organizational skills.

Location:                                   Surrey, B.C.

Job ID:                                       TLRD2019.3

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:                                February 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 learn more about Powertech Labs Inc., visit our website at

Posted: January 11, 2019
Closes: February 5, 2019