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Sandra Fountain, B.Eng.Mgt. '92

(Engineering Physics) | Flexible Working in an International Industry

Every six weeks, Sandra Fountain swaps hats.

She alternates between working as a Petroleum (Reservoir) Engineer at Chrysaor Limited and being a stay-at-home mother. But while job sharing is hardly a novel concept, Fountain’s arrangement is uncommon in that she shares her jobs with her husband.

For the past seven years, the two have been alternating between the paid engineering position and the role of stay-at-home parent for their two children.

“The job-share enables us to have one parent at home for our children while both continuing our technical careers,” says Fountain. “We can spend school holidays with our kids, help coach their sports teams and get involved with their school, while continuing to develop professionally.”

The reservoir engineering job they share involves computer simulation, fluid characterization and technical evaluation to predict and improve oil and gas recovery.

“I didn’t even know what petroleum /reservoir engineers did until my final summer work term working on a refinery optimization project with Shell in Calgary,” admits Fountain, who earned her Engineering Physics & Management degree in 1992. “But I liked the sound of the job and liked skiing, and the rest is history.”

She’s also liked the opportunities to see the world that have come as a result of working in a truly international industry.

Now based in London, UK with her family, Fountain has worked and lived in the Netherlands, Oman and Malaysia, and frequently travelled to Russia and Algeria for work.

“I also met my husband while we both worked at Shell, me in Calgary and he in Netherlands; we ended up in London, and started a family after most of the travelling with eldest born in London and the youngest born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.”