On March 8, the world celebrates International Women’s Day with the theme of “balance for better.” University of Saskatchewan (USask) engineering alumna, Angie Bugg, is the epitome of what it means to balance work, life, and passion, all while succeeding in a field traditionally dominated by her male colleagues.
“We've moved forward so much, but engineering still isn't 50 per cent women. It lags way behind the other professional colleges. I think it's something we need to be paying attention to because so many people don't have the same privilege that I do,” said Bugg.
Bugg has always taken this can-do attitude into every aspect of her life. Two of Bugg’s passions are volunteering and energy conservation. And luckily she’s been able to do both during her career.
Bugg is the Energy Conservation Coordinator for the Saskatchewan Environmental Society. She works part time and is able to volunteer the other half of her time to four different organizations throughout Saskatoon, Sask.
“My parents have always done a lot of volunteering and viewed volunteerism as an important part of how they lived their lives,” said Bugg.
After completing her degree from USask in 1985, Bugg made her way to Alberta where she worked in the oil and gas industry for five years. Just before she left, she was part of creating an internal environmental auditing program for the company she was working for, a first for her and the company.
Bugg and her husband, who is also an engineering grad from USask, returned to Saskatoon in 1990. She began to dive into an area she was always interested in – using her engineering training for environmental protection.
While Bugg consulted for various companies, she worked with waste management regions, which is where RMs and towns get together to manage their garbage and recycling.
In 2003, she started at the Environmental Society. Since then, Bugg has trained over 900 building operators in Saskatchewan, helping them make their buildings efficient and comfortable.
She’s also provided over 100 energy audits for non-profit organizations and small businesses in Saskatchewan. It is common for these organizations to go on to achieve energy and water savings of 10-30 per cent.
“When I started at the Environmental Society we kind of had to beg people to participate in environmental programs,” said Bugg. “But now we have lots of people interested in our programing because there's so much more recognition of the importance of the work we do.”
Bugg also does a lot of work with K-12 students and teachers, focusing on energy conservation for the next generation. And in doing so, has been able to show both young girls and boys how they can make a difference.
“Whenever we go into classrooms I make sure to point out I'm an engineer, partly to show the kids that women can be engineers. But also to let them know that this cool stuff we're about to be doing is something that relates to engineering and that if they find what we're doing fun, engineering might be for them,” said Bugg.