PSC has more than 200 global employees all contributing to helping power a more sustainable world. Our employee spotlight segment offers a look at what our hardworking people are all about when they’re not serving our clients and each other at work. This spotlight is on North America Associate Studies Consultant Abdullah Al-Digs who works from our Vancouver, BC office.
PSC: How would you describe your role at PSC?
Abdullah: I am involved in the various stages of generation interconnection studies for large transmission companies in North America. Specifically, I develop and test models for renewable generation units such as solar plants, battery energy storage, and wind turbines. Subsequently, these models are then used to perform system impact studies that ensure the reliable and secure operation of the power system.
What’s the most interesting or most gratifying part of your job?
Abdullah: I am most excited about contributing to the transition of the power industry towards renewable and more sustainable alternative energy sources. This paradigm shift from a system dominated by high-inertia fossil fuel-based generators to one with low-inertia renewable energy sources presents its unique challenges. However, my excitement lies in the challenge of developing new operational schemes and tools to accommodate this necessary transformation.
What is something your co-workers would be surprised to learn about you?
Abdullah: I think my co-workers would be surprised to learn that I am quite artistic and create digital illustrations on my iPad Pro which I carry everywhere. I also earned a black belt in Karate and I am an excellent pool (pocket billiards) player.
Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
Abdullah: I was born and grew up in the Middle East and was educated in Canada. Currently, I live in Vancouver, BC, Canada, where I have been for the last 11 years. Growing up in the Middle East where the weather is nice pretty much all of the time, I learned to appreciate the weather here in Vancouver. Apart from all the rain, I am most surprised by the beauty of nature in the province of British Columbia.
Have you ever had a nickname? What was it?
Abdullah: Growing up, I loved playing soccer. I was very fast and had great accuracy as a striker. However, I liked moving around the field quite a bit and popped up in many positions. I was nicknamed “Casper” as a teenager for this ghost-like appearance around the field. However, friends and family now refer to me as “Abu Adam” (meaning “father of Adam”), which I adore.
Do you collect anything?
Abdullah: I mainly collect tools and older electronics. As an engineer, I like to fix things myself, and I think I’m quite good at it. I also advocate for using the right tools, and I have no problem acquiring and collecting tools that I think I will use repeatedly. As for old electronics, I collect them because I think electronic waste is an immanent issue given how rapidly technology is advancing and how quickly electronics can become obsolete. As a result, I like collecting anything from cables, dongles, and older devices, which I have re-used over time in many of my DIY projects. Finally, I am proud to say that I constantly give parts of my collection to people who have promised to recycle or re-use them.
What’s the most valuable advice you’ve ever received?
Abdullah: The best advice I received was to “challenge everything you learn.” I believe this mindset has enabled much of the success I have had in research as I believe challenging what we learn allows us to understand things better and facilitates new discoveries.
What are your proudest accomplishments?
Abdullah: Personally, I am proud of the family of four my wife and I have built. Professionally, I would list the following accomplishments in no particular order.
- My Ph.D. degree which I received from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The University of British Columbia (UBC) in 2021
- My research contributions which have led to more than a dozen publications in top tier venues
- Receiving 25+ awards for research, teaching, and leadership at the departmental, institutional, and national levels during my time as a graduate student at UBC
- Killam GTA Award in recognition of my contributions to teaching and learning at UBC where I currently pursue my passion for teaching as an Adjunct Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering
- Ranking 1st/216 graduating students Electrical and Computer Engineering at UBC in 2015
What is the quality you admire most in other people?
Abdullah: Generosity. I choose this quality because it can be applied to aspects of our lives. When we think of generous people, perhaps charity first comes to mind. However, we can be generous with our time, experience, advice, and much more. It’s a quality I admire very much in people.
What’s your favorite vacation spot?
Abdullah: I don’t have a favorite vacation destination. I like experiencing and learning more about different cultures. I enjoyed my time in South Korea and Hawaii.
What’s a smell or sound you love? Why?
Abdullah: I love the sound of my children’s laughter. Hearing them laugh brings me a special kind of joy.
What do you work toward in your free time?
Abdullah: I spend most of my free time with my wife and children. Especially at their young age, they constantly surprise us with their observations, things they say, and mimicking behavior. I try my best to create as many memories and moments for all of us to cherish.
If you could eat only one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Abdullah: The meal I would eat for the rest of my life is would have to be a traditional Jordanian Mansaf. Mansaf is a traditional Arab dish made of lamb cooked in a fermented dried yogurt sauce and served over rice.