by Stacy Dunn
Growing up, Dylan MacLennan enjoyed seeing his dad work as a carpenter and enjoyed working for him. Yet he liked science more, especially when he learned that engineering was a good combination of construction and science.
“I like hands-on application of materials and figuring out how they work,” he says. “I have always been interested in renewable energy – solar and wind power and energy storage – and the ability to make your own power. That’s what I focused on as a student at UPEI’s Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering.”
Dylan earned his degree from UPEI in 2019. “It was awesome because it fit with what I wanted to do with renewable energy, and I got to stay on PEI with family and friends.”
As an Engineer in Training, he has completed the required four years (one-year student internship and three years’ post graduate experience) to get a P.Eng. designation. He hopes to have that designation by the end of this year.
To write the National Professional Practice Exam to become a P.Eng., he sought assistance from the Indigenous Skills and Employment Training (ISET) program. It is designed to assist off-reserve Indigenous Peoples to prepare for and determine career paths. “ISET was very helpful with funds to purchase some of the books to prepare for the exam.”
About L’Nu Energy
Dylan recently was awarded a $25,000 Ignition Fund grant from Innovation PEI for his start-up L’nu Energy Inc. The company is focused on helping First Nations people design, construct, and implement cleaner energy systems. He plans to locate L’nu Energy Inc. on Lennox Island.
“I am excited to receive this support to start my business. I think there’s no better time to start your own business, given the current support systems for entrepreneurs.
“The company will be looking at installing solar energy systems in residential and commercial properties, and then eventually we will get into energy storage systems that work with solar, when the sun’s not out.”
Dylan has training in carbon accounting and climate change impact studies and wants to offer those services as well. He plans to hire administrative, technical, and engineering staff in the future.
“As my company grows, my goal is to have First Nations people construct the systems while I offer support and advice. They will turn the actual nuts and bolts of the projects and take pride in how to maintain them afterwards.”
While planning his start-up business, he is working full-time as the Team Lead for Indigenous Projects within Atlantic for Colliers Project Leaders. This role involves the oversight of any Indigenous project in Atlantic Canada. “I see myself developing a lot of growth and experience in that role.
“Concurrent to that, I am also working towards my PhD at UPEI’s School of Climate Change and Adaptation. My studies are going to be about how First Nations communities will transition towards net zero and the role renewable energy will play in that.”
‘Two-eyed seeing’ principle
“There is an Indigenous principle called ‘two-eyed seeing’. This approach combines traditional Indigenous teachings with modern western scientific methods. It uses the best of both worlds.”
Dylan likes being busy with three projects on the go while raising his one-year-old child. He says he is grateful to the people he’s met as a student and as an engineer. Without the support of his wife, friends and family, much of the things he is working on would not be possible.
“I have surrounded myself with different mentors and colleagues and friends I graduated with. It’s always great to have someone to bounce ideas off of. I try to surround myself with individuals who have similar goals, as well as those who are above my level and contribute to personal growth.”
For more information on UPEI’s Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering, visit www.upei.ca/engineering
For more information on the School of Climate Change and Adaptation, go to www.upei.ca/school-of-climate-change-and-adaptation
For more information about Innovation PEI, visit www.innovationpei.com
For more information about Indigenous Skills and Employment Training, contact Nancy MacLean, Employment & Training Coordinator, at 902-629-1541, or email [email protected]
The ISET program is funded through partnership with the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and Employment and Social Development Canada.