100 Years, 100 People: 1980 - 1989
Majorie Contenti was born in Drumheller. Her career with the company started in March of 1980 when she was hired as an information representative in the Edmonton Public Affairs office.
Norbert Kilroe was born and raised in Calgary. After graduating from high school in July of 1973, Norbert started a summer job with Calgary Power as a part-time pole tester. At the end of the pole test season, he accepted a position as a district serviceman 1, Consumer Services, at Sherwood Park. Over the next few years, he worked in various locations on the distribution side of the company before settling down on the Transmission crew in Calgary in 1977.
Joe Gourlay was superintendant of Technical Services at Sundance for more than 20 years. Most who worked with him found his expertise and knowledge to be invaluable to the company. He was considered a gas and steam turbine expert. Over the years, he introduced many procedures at Sundance that allow the company to improve productivity and efficiencies. Some of those procedures included:
Harry Schaefer was born in Calgary on 1936. He attended the University of Alberta, majoring in Commerce. Early in his career, Schaefer qualified as a chartered accountant and began working for a chartered accounting firm. He was hired on to Calgary Power in 1963 as assistant controller and in this position he was in charge of overseeing accounting procedures for the company. After five years performing that role, Schaefer became executive assistant Finance. As years went by he continued to move up in the ranks and in 1975, he was appointed chief financial officer. Over the period 1975 to 1993 when Schaefer was CFO the company raised some 4 billion dollars.
Uma Kar was born and raised in India. After immigrating to Canada in 1977, Uma and her young family had to undergo a long process in order to adjust to the new culture, language, and weather.
Dan Nabata was born and raised in Kamloops BC. After graduating with a Mechanical Technology Diploma from the British Columbia Institute of Technology, Dan started at TransAlta, in September 1981, at the Sundance plant. In his first role as plant technologist, Dan’s responsibilities ranged from developing preventative maintenance programs for key rotating equipment and doing vibration analysis and assisting in the implementation of the first version of critical path planning for turnarounds at Sundance.
In 1986, Dan accepted a transfer into the Information Technology (IT) department at the Calgary office where he worked on a project to implement an automated plant maintenance system. Over the next 25 years he continued working in the IT department in many different roles. One project that Dan feels especially proud of was the implementation of a customer call centre for the Distribution department in TransAlta. “I remember this project because it changed the way many people at TransAlta did their daily work,” said Dan. “With this project, a centralized call center was created where all customer care requests were handled and all repair/install work orders were dispatched.”
Throughout the years, Dan’s role has changed at least 12 times. Some of his key contributions include:
• Participating in the roll out of standardized PCs before the implementation of SAP in the late 90s;
• Participating in the creation and implementation of an automated management system for the company’s first Power Purchase Agreements in 2004; and,
• more recently, participating in the development and implementation of the Audiovisual upgrade and Video Conference project.
In his 30 years at TransAlta, Dan has learned to embrace change. “Due to the nature of our business, we need to continuously improve efficiencies and add value,” said Dan. “My career has always been around change and to stay up to speed, I became a fast learner.” Dan’s ability to work well under pressure is commonly recognized among his peers. But more importantly, he is known to be a good listener and very good at handling tough situations in a respectful manner.
In and out of the office, Dan has always enjoyed being physically active. He was head coach for his sons’ hockey teams for about 15 years and has played on many TransAlta Hockey teams.
Dan says what makes him most proud about being a TransAlta employee is the company’s forward thinking. “TransAlta has been working collaboratively with environmental groups and other specialists to develop sound energy solutions for the future,” added Dan. He currently works as manager of IT Business Operations.