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Katherine Moshonas Cole

What is your current job?

Currently I am an Executive Consultant with the Candesco Division of Kinectrics. I represent the division and the company in national and international nuclear organizations such as the Canadian Nuclear Association, where I participate on the Executive and I chair the Regulatory Affairs Advisory Committee, and the International Atomic Energy Agency, where I participate on the International Decommissioning Network Steering Committee. I also oversee large projects, assist the corporation in developing relationships and partnerships with other organizations and develop business areas that leverage our Canadian skills and expertise.

What made you want to pursue a career in engineering?

I always loved to understand how things work and I have always had a strong desire to connect technology with our planet’s needs. Engineering allowed me to integrate these interests especially as it relates to energy needs. My first passion was fusion energy … and I still do some work in this area!

What’s your favourite part of your job?

Finding solutions to challenging problems! Interestingly, these are often not strictly technical, but often more about enabling people to remove barriers so that they can think creatively and improve synergy among individuals. For example, my work for the IAEA is about finding ways to communicate technical nuclear decommissioning solutions to the world that needs this information in a freer and more timely way than we have traditionally communicated. This is exciting and satisfying when we see results. Also highly enjoyable and satisfying is making partnerships possible so we can leverage and grow our Canadian expertise.

How do you celebrate National Engineering Month?

This year I will be speaking with various university students as we bridge the knowledge gap of students between their studies and the working world. This is one of my favourite activities as I provide them with my experience and learn from their new and creative ideas.

What advice do you have for young women who hope to pursue a career in your field?

Always keep your curiosity! Always ask questions when you are uncertain. If you have a choice, take the position that you find most interesting and not the one that appears to have the most cachet or salary. If you are doing something that is not too interesting to you, look to see what you are learning from it, because there will always be something. Take the time, the years, to develop depth in an area that you are interested in. An expert is not created in 12 months! It is important to have a strong competency, even if you eventually become, like me, a generalist.

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Katherine Moshonas Cole is a senior executive in the Canadian and international nuclear industry, currently engaged as an Executive Consultant with the Kinectrics Inc in Toronto. She also serves as an Executive Board member of the Canadian Nuclear Association, and Chair of the Regulatory Affairs Advisory Committee for the Canadian Nuclear Association. She is an active member of the IAEA International Decommissioning Network (IDN) Steering Committee and chairs an international IAEA project in support of world-wide research reactor decommissioning knowledge sharing.

Katherine entered the nuclear industry after earning a B.A.Sc. in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto. She began her career in pursuit of fusion energy at the Canadian Fusion Fuels Technology Program before moving on to specialize in nuclear materials management and operational health physics at Ontario Hydro.

With an interest in applying her knowledge to other parts of the industry, Katherine went on to work as an independent consultant in regulatory affairs, health physics, radiation protection, waste management, decommissioning, and operational and design safety assessment. She applied this knowledge to a wide variety of existing and prospective nuclear facilities, including among others, isotope production, nuclear power production and fusion research. For the latter, Katherine developed the radiation safety program for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) design during the Engineering Design Activities (EDA) phase of this multi-billion dollar international project, working from the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Garching, Germany. Katherine then returned to Canada to serve as Managing Director of ITER Canada, and Director of Regulatory Affairs for the ITER International Fusion Energy Institute.

In the years between her work on ITER and Kinectrics, she served as Managing Director and Vice President of Business Development for Candesco Corporation where she played a leading role in developing and implementing corporate strategy for the establishment and growth of Candesco into a leader in safety and regulatory affairs for the nuclear industry in Canada.

Katherine lives in Toronto with her husband and her two wonderful daughters, Iliana and Alexandra. In her free time she enjoys travel, reading, music, cooking, yoga, running, cycling and dinner parties with lively conversation.

Through outreach and professional development activities, research, partnerships, thought leadership and online initiatives, we work with industry and academia to educate on the value of diversity for innovation, to inspire women to thrive and to celebrate the contributions of women in science and engineering.
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