The triple bottom line: water & environmental sustainability

"You never know when, where, or from whom you may learn your most valuable lessons."

Sean Mercer

Sean Mercer

  • Degree: Master of Engineering Leadership
  • Grad year: 2021
  • Program: Integrated Water Management
  • Campus: Vancouver

Before coming to UBC, I travelled across North America commissioning and starting-up equipment at various water and wastewater treatment facilities. Wanting to learn more about municipal wastewater treatment and the associated pieces of managing this critical puzzle, I completed my degree and transitioned to the next step in my journey. I now monitor flows and levels within sewers across the region, supporting infrastructure upgrades and growing our knowledge through data-driven means. In my spare time I run, hike, and cross-country ski across the surrounding landscape which I’m thrilled to call home.

Why did you choose to go into your field of study at UBC?

When looking for a master’s program, I wanted to broaden my knowledge in the water field, specifically with things related to wastewater treatment. I was also looking to work on personal and professional development, with the hopes to advance my career through beginning to manage people and continuing to move up in a company. The Master of Engineering Leadership degree was very enticing, as it has a great combination of technical and business courses, backed by the strong brands of Applied Science and the Sauder School of Business at UBC.

What has made your time at UBC memorable?

I really enjoyed how my courses tied together the technical aspects of water and waste treatment with the social aspects of applying good practices that are equitable and sustainable. Courses like Water and Wastewater Management Strategies and Sustainable Water Systems reminded me how the human aspects of decisions are just as important, if not more so, than the financial or technical ones.

How do you feel your degree has benefitted you compared to a different field of study?

The Master of Engineering Leadership degree was a great compliment to my previous undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering and my interest in professional and personal development in myself and others around me. The technical components allowed me to brush up on my technical knowledge to help me move into a new area of the wastewater field, where the business courses allowed me to learn about what motivates people, what makes a business flourish, and how to combine the two to get the best of both worlds.

What are your future plans to make a difference in our world?

I’m a big supporter of limiting waste and reusing resources wherever possible. In my current role, I help gather and analyze data about how sewers are used, how much water they transport, and how we can make improvements to protect the environment and health of the public. I aim to continue learning about the wastewater field to aid municipalities in gaining all they can from the waste products they manage, while protecting the environment so that generations to come can experience all the beauty our planet has to offer.

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