Meet John Robert MacKenzie, one of the practice leads on the Customer Experience (CX) team at Copperleaf™. John Robert sat down with us to provide some insight into his current role, how his professional journey led him to Copperleaf, his experience working here, and how his skill set has grown during his time at Copperleaf.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at Copperleaf? What is the focus of your team?
I’ve been part of the Copperleaf team for over two years, starting as an implementation consultant before becoming Practice Lead for the Electrical Generation team earlier this year. My team is responsible for ensuring the successful implementation of Copperleaf C55™ for all our Electrical Generation customers.
I have the privilege of managing an outstanding team of project managers and consultants. My job is to ensure that the team has the resources they need to be successful and deliver extraordinary experiences and exceptional value to our customers. In addition to providing consulting services for our customers, we also continuously develop Copperleaf’ expertise around our customer’s business areas and make sure our practice is maturing to meet the industry’s demands. This includes keeping up to date on industry best practices, soliciting C55 feature requests from our customers, and ensuring that our solutions, including the Copperleaf Value Model Library, reflect the needs of current and future Electrical Generation customers.
Can you tell us about your professional journey that has led you to Copperleaf?
My professional journey began while pursuing my degree in Integrated Engineering at the University of British Columbia. Following which, I was predominantly employed in asset sustainment and management, specifically, developing maintenance strategies and conducting mechanical and electrical system design. While this work was interesting, the value was limited to the system or assets I was working on. When I was approached by Copperleaf, I saw an opportunity to have a much greater impact on society. To me, this represented the choice between helping a company make one good decision for a specific group of assets versus helping a company improve the way they make strategic investment decisions across the entire organization.
"When I was approached by Copperleaf, I saw an opportunity to have a much greater impact on society. To me, this represented the choice between helping a company make one good decision for a specific group of assets versus helping a company improve the way they make strategic investment decisions across the entire organization."
How did you find the transition into this industry and how was your training and growth supported when you first joined the company?
Participating in Copperleaf’s New Grad program was an excellent way to bridge the gap between the tremendous amount of theoretical knowledge I had attained in school and the practical skills required for the job. The New Grad Program includes a training program that gives new team members the chance to experience different jobs in their first year of employment: from software testing to implementation to technical sales.
In addition to the New Grad Program and the company’s standard three-week orientation training, I was provided with many opportunities to work with others outside of the Customer Experience team. These experiences helped me understand the full picture behind what Copperleaf does and how it all relates to the success of our customers.
While I developed the skills to manage my own projects, I assisted other project managers and consultants who were valuable mentors. To this day, I still rely heavily on the advice and support of my colleagues when learning to deploy new features in C55 or existing ones that I haven’t used before.
What have you found to be the most unique aspect of working at Copperleaf?
Copperleaf is unique because we have worked very hard to develop a culture that we can all get behind. Having our culture written down and taught early in the on-boarding process ensures that our actions are all driven from the same core values. This unique culture has created the most results-oriented, agile, respectful and fun company I’ve ever worked for.
Another unique aspect of my job is the many opportunities to travel. I have worked on projects in Tennessee, Arizona, Ontario, and Iceland. While abroad, I always try to put time aside to visit the local sights and attractions.
How has your skill set grown since you’ve been at Copperleaf? What are some of the key things you’ve learned?
My skill set has grown tremendously since joining Copperleaf. I have developed and refined my project management and consulting skills in addition to expanding my knowledge about our customer’s industries. As a Practice Lead, I’ve broadened my leadership skills in order to manage client meetings consisting of people from all levels within an organization.
What are some of the projects you’ve been working on?
I am currently working to deploy C55 for use by Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) Nuclear Fleet. This has been particularly interesting as the deployment of C55 has been occurring in parallel with the rollout of their new Asset Management Program. This has given us the opportunity to not only guide how OPG uses C55, but also influence and streamline their greater process around Asset Investment Planning and Management (AIPM). Other customers I have worked with include Tennessee Valley Authority, ARMS, and Salt River Project.
Outside of direct customer work, I have recently been working on selecting and refining the Value Models (the calculation engines used to evaluate and optimize enterprise value for an organization). These are commonly used across Electrical Generation customers for inclusion in Copperleaf’s Value Model Library and upcoming Copperleaf Value product.
What do you feel is the most fulfilling part of the job?
The most fulfilling part of my job is being in the room when the concepts and methodologies we propose initially “click” for a customer. Often this is the first moment our customers see the value of C55. A recent example of this was a workshop where we showed a new group of customer stakeholders a set of investments that had been evaluated using their newly developed Value Framework. One of the project sponsors exclaimed, “I wish we’d had that ten years ago!” when he saw one of his past projects defined with a comprehensive value-driven business case.
What is one of your favourite activities outside of work?
Outside of work, I do my best to get out of the city to go camping or just explore the outdoors. I recently completed an amazing 10-day white-water canoe trip down the Petawawa River in Algonquin Park, Ontario.
As one of the fastest-growing software companies in Canada, Copperleaf is always looking for talented individuals to join our team! Check out our current job openings here.
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