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Jennifer Defreyne, B.Eng. '96

(Chemical Engineering) | A Career of World Travels Leads to a Newfoundland Micro-brewery

Ah, the joys of engineering. First you get an interesting career, and then in retirement, you have the skills to build yourself a micro-brewery.

At least, that’s been the path for Jennifer Defreyne (B.Eng ’96, Chemical).

After graduation, her research interest in developing new and more environmentally-friendly refining methods led her to the world of mining and metals. From research, she moved into design and construction work, then into commissioning and operations.

Over two decades working with resource companies, Defreyne has travelled the globe working on projects, seeing different countries and experiencing different cultures.

“That has been a real highlight of my career,” she says. “I was on a project in Brazil for a couple of years, then I started one in Germany, and I got to enjoy two completely different cultures. And now I have great friends all over the world.”

Her most recent career posting, with mining and metals company Vale, landed her in Newfoundland.

After working for nearly four years as start-up lead and then refinery manager with the Long Harbour Processing Plant in Newfoundland, Defreyne decided it was time to follow her passion for beer.

Engineering and construction are now underway on Landwash Brewery, a micro-brewery in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland. The plan is for beer to be flowing by the end of 2018.

“Craft beer is just starting to taking off in Newfoundland, so the timing is right,” she explains. “And I teamed up with a couple of brewers originally from the island who wanted to return from Ontario, so it all came together to make a great opportunity.”

The career change is a real-life example of Defreyne applying the simple advice she offers to students: “Have the confidence to say yes to every opportunity you are given; each one comes with new learning, skills and friends.”