Growing on the job

In everyday language, carbon capture is a process to gather and store the carbon dioxide (CO2) generated by burning fossil fuels or biomass (plant-based fuels).

In practice, carbon capture is a scientific feat helping the world reach net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050, and it is one of the fastest growing clean technologies in Canada’s energy industry.

“Getting to work with those technologies and see first-hand how they function and overcome operational challenges is exciting,” Franki Race says.

A graduate of the University of Calgary’s natural sciences program, she was originally drawn to wind energy technology and hoped to work as a nuclear plant operator in eastern Canada. Today, the 26-year-old technical operations associate works at Carbon Management Canada’s (CMC) Newell County Facility south of Brooks, Alberta, where CO2 is stored underground and rigorously studied.

The site brings together industry, technology developers and researchers from around the world to shape best practices in CO2 storage, safety, security and monitoring. Knowledge and innovation are enthusiastically pursued at the station, acting as a playground for leading-edge research.

“CMC has given me the opportunity to grow as an individual as well as a professional. Due to the nature of working in a smaller team, I get the chance to be involved in all aspects of the company and what we do,” she says. 

Always learning

For Franki, learning from and with CMC’s team and partners is one of the highlights of her job.

“I really like learning every day. It’s pretty cool,” the native of Cranbrook, B.C. says. “And there’s no shortage of things to learn.”

She adds, “Nothing is ever the same and there are so many new things going on. The job is never boring and there are always new challenges.”

Since joining CMC over three years ago, she has earned a certificate in transporting dangerous goods; learned to operate a real-time kinetics global positioning system; and became proficient in using the online reporting system for the Alberta Energy Regulator, the agency that oversees public safety and environmental protection in the province’s energy sector.

Balance found

In addition, Franki says she’s learned to balance work and life.

“We worked remotely [during the COVID-19 pandemic], and it was challenging. I’d wake up and go right to work at the kitchen table and found balancing work and life was hard. I had to put a lot of boundaries in place, so I didn’t burn out,” she says.

Setting boundaries has given her more time for a variety of activities. Among them: hanging with her dog, Piper, a two-year-old Lab; skiing in Kelowna and Revelstoke in the winters; and camping on both the B.C. and Alberta sides of the Rockies in the summers. Franki also makes regular trips to visit with her parents at the family’s lakeside home in Cranbrook and has recently taken up crocheting. 

Having left her kitchen table and successfully sidestepped burnout at work, Franki has found a renewed passion and purpose in her job now that she is back in the office and the field on a daily basis.

“Right now, society still needs the oil and gas industry to be functional and the shift [to clean energy] is a much bigger process than people think. Being able to support that transition while maintaining the capacity of energy that society requires to function is vital. By adding new energy sources as well as learning to manage the emissions of what we currently have is a great solution to do that.”

Franki Race, Technical Operations Associate, Carbon Management Canada

A typical day

Based in Calgary and often in Newell County, Franki’s workdays take on different shapes depending on where she is.

“If I am in the office, it is a lot of emails and meetings to coordinate projects, ensuring that things are in order and paid for, etcetera,” she says. “A day in the field changes all the time. Sometimes it will be changing out field equipment or helping set up and organize a project, an installation or tests. Other days it is ensuring maintenance and testing is getting done to report to the AER and ensure everything on site is in good working order.”

In the office, Franki’s job can also range from data collection and calibration to working on budgets, contract signing and invoicing. In the field, she may find herself supporting client projects, doing controlled release testing for methane detection technology and development, and supervising well tests.

Passionate about making a difference in Canada’s energy sector, she recognizes that change and progress take patience.

“I have learnt that everything takes more time than I expected. Even if it is a great idea and will change the world, you can’t just go. It takes time to plan and consult; decisions about change are not made lightly,” Franki says. “I have also learnt that as much public education and consultation as one does, it may not be accepted and that it will take generations of teaching and educating about the energy sector to see a change in the societal mindset.”


Carbon Management Canada


Calgary, Alberta


Post-secondary diploma

Salary, education and advancement may vary from company to company.

Interested in working in Canada’s clean energy sector? Explore the innovative world of cleantech..

Find a role that’s right for you. Review available job opportunities.

Previous Next
Back to top
No results were found.