OUR GREAT MINDS

Mark Blackwell

Mark Blackwell

Investment Advisor, Cenovus Environmental Opportunity Fund, Cenovus Energy

Mark joined Cenovus Energy (TSE:CVE) as an advisor within the company’s corporate venture fund in early 2012. Within his role at Cenovus, Mark works closely in scouting new investment opportunities in addition to working with existing portfolio companies and internal operations on assisting with technology transfer. Most recently, Mark worked in the Clean Technology and Utilities Investment Banking Division at CIBC World Markets, where he evaluated merger and acquisition candidates, and assisted in a series of private placements in the advanced biofuels sector.

Mark began his career at Enbridge Inc., where he worked with the Power Generation Business Development team. While at Enbridge, Mark participated in over $1.1 B in acquisitions—most notably the $420 MM acquisition of the 80 MW Sarnia Solar Facility from First Solar. Mark is a graduate of the energy management and finance program at the University of Calgary (UofC) and was inducted into the Order of the UofC, which recognizes outstanding academic achievement, leadership, and commitment to the Calgary community. Mark was also recognized as one of Canada’s Top 20 Under 20 Award recipients, the Inaugural Future Alumni Award, and selected as one of the Top 20 Compelling Calgarians to watch in 2012 by the Calgary Herald. While at the UofC, Mark founded and was president of the Institute for Sustainable Energy Environment and Economy Students Association for four years and the project chair for Alberta’s entry into the highly collaborative U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon competition. Mark recently joined as a director on the UofC Alumni Association Board of Directors.

We asked Mark:

The OGM: Have you had a mentor?

Mark: The biggest mentor in my life has been Richard Haskayne, who has been a great friend and role model for me while at the UofC and into the early days of my career. He has taught me the importance of balance, hard work, and always putting the team first—which are the core areas to his success.

The OGM: What does success mean to you?

Mark: Success is finding perfect balance in my life where I feel that I am making equal contributions to bettering the community that I live in, helping to prosper my career aspirations at a company that shares the same values as I do, and enjoying the ride along the way.

The OGM: If you were to describe your career in three words what would they be?

Mark: Energy-changing. Dynamic. Impactful.

The OGM: What advice would you give to someone looking for a career in the energy industry?

Mark: Find your passion and find a company that allows you to grow and develop that passion.

The OGM: Describe a milestone in your career?

Mark: Biggest milestone in my career was making the move to Cenovus Energy, which is one of the best decisions I have made in my life. Cenovus has provided me an amazing platform to build my career and work alongside some of the most talented people in the business. With my longer-term aspirations to head to Silicon Valley, Cenovus is an amazing stepping stone in learning and development of my skill set within an organization that is determined to embrace new ideas, thinking, and technology.

The OGM: What impact does technology have on your career?

Mark: Technology is the foundation of my career—trying to find and source the most innovative technology providers in North America that could have a meaningful impact on Cenovus’ operations.

The OGM: What do the next five years look like in your career?

Mark: I hope to be able to leverage my learning and experience from Cenovus and start my own technology business in the clean technology/oilfield service space. I think Alberta is going to be a hotbed of activity in the coming decade as it relates to energy and I would move to [be] part of the opportunity by rolling-up my sleeves as an early-stage technology company.

The OGM: Do you have a role model you look up to?

Mark: My parents. They have worked so hard in providing me all the opportunities in my life and could not be more grateful. Both my mom and dad are two of the hardest working people I know and would give anything for my sister and me to ensure we had a solid foundation of education and learning.

The OGM: What is your favorite APP on your phone?

Mark: I would have to say Instagram—however, am pretty stoked to download The OGM app here soon.

The OGM: Why do you love what you do?

Mark: Because I work for a company that shares my values of innovative thinking and new approaches to challenges that the company faces. Most important, however, I was always told to follow the people versus the job, and I can hands down say that I am challenged each day along side some of the most brilliant, motivated individuals I have ever met. With this I love waking up each morning and heading into work knowing that not one day is likely to be the same.

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