Michele McClymont, Managing Director of Manitoba Hydro International Utility Services (MHIUS), is relatively new to the energy utility industry. However, her background in strategic marketing has helped her focus on what makes the business work.
She describes her role as one to bring people together – to work in the same direction toward a common goal. She plays to the strength and knowledge of her team while providing a laser-focused approach to success.
You've had a busy year starting new projects. What is MHIUS working on?
We've kicked off a lot of projects recently, and we're focused on getting our teams oriented and everything running smoothly. We are also actively pursuing new opportunities continuing to grow the business.
Overall, we've kept a focus on our management contract business. We're also continuing to explore operations and maintenance work. We are fortunate that our brand story – an operating utility with a solid track record for over 100 years, offering to share knowledge and expertise – has been exceptionally well received in the marketplace. But I feel like we're just getting started.
Are you expanding on what your team offers?
We still offer the same services, but our clients are changing. We are seeing more participation from private funders. The international funding institutions (IFIs) are still very active, and we continue to bid on projects funded by IFIs, but we have the opportunity to work within the private sector as well.
We are also seeing many changes in the competitive landscape. The partners we work with are also our competitors, and we'll continue to have new opportunities to work with them in the future.
What are some of these new opportunities?
There is still a lot of opportunity in the management contract space – everything from having fully delegated authority of a utility, to working in more of an advisory or management strengthening role.
There's a desire within the industry to develop a sustainable model for utilities after a management contract or advisory service contract ends. Our ultimate goal is to build the capacity of the utility, in the management strengthening, policies, processes, and technology so that they can operate independently, once we've completed our contract.
We've done a lot of work in this area, and our staff are respected as leaders – speaking on panels, providing opinions, and regularly answering questions. We also see a lot of interest in our expertise in operations and maintenance and our advisory services.
A considerable part of the reward that I get for doing this work is knowing that we are making a positive change in the countries that we work in.
What motivates you?
There are so many things – with respect to our reliable power – that we take for granted here in Manitoba. Whether we’re providing training and capacity building or access to energy, it’s significant for me to know that we've been a part of making someone's life better. There's always an opportunity for our clients and us to make changes that will not only affect a utility, but the moms and dads, and grandmas and grandpas, and kids who live in the communities we work.
What are the biggest challenges in making these changes?
The changes we work with our clients to make don’t happen quickly. It takes time, but when we stay the course, we're able to see a significant difference.
A big part of it is staying disciplined. When we’re working with our clients, it’s encouraging when everyone stays focused on the plan and executes for change.