June 27, 2023

PSC has more than 260 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 Power System Studies Consultant Payam Tavakoli who works from our office in Burnaby, BC in Canada.

How would you describe your role at PSC?

Payam: I’m a studies consultant involved mainly with interconnection studies for renewable generation sources for a large U.S. regional transmission organization (RTO). My work helps our clients evaluate proposed interconnections to determine how a unit will impact the network and ensure the continued reliability of service.

What’s the most interesting or most gratifying part of your job?

Payam: One of the most interesting parts of my job is the diverse range of knowledge I am exposed to. Most of the interconnection studies I have conducted are for inverter-based sources such as solar, wind and battery storage. This has allowed me to not only utilize classical power system concepts and planning software but also expand my understanding of renewable energy technologies and their control systems. Additionally, I have gained insights into the procedures and processes followed by different ISO/RTOs. Moreover, I also have the opportunity to sharpen my coding skills in Python by developing automation scripts.

Working at PSC is a great opportunity to learn from many knowledgeable, experienced people. Since I earned my undergraduate degree in electrical engineering, I’ve wanted to work in the energy industry because I’m interested in the energy transition and playing a role in it. Now I’m working on my master’s degree and find my colleagues very supportive and helpful.

What is something your co-workers would be surprised to learn about you?

LEFT: Payam and his brothers when they were little pictured with their mom. Payam is the one on the left in yellow and red.  RIGHT: Recent photo of Payam (pictured in the middle) with his brothers.

Payam: I’m a triplet. I live with my two brothers and so it’s like having my two best friends around all the time. One is studying to be a lawyer and the other a doctor.

Where did you grow up and where do you live now?

Payam: I was born in Vancouver, BC. My parents are from Iran. I lived in Alberta while earning my undergraduate degree from the University of Alberta. I went there because it was the school in Canada where all of us – my brothers and I – were accepted. Now I live in Coquitlam which is really convenient to our Burnaby office.

Payam pictured above in Cancun.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?

Payam: Cancun, Mexico is probably my go-to vacation spot. Specifically, Isla Mujeres, an island off the coast of Cancun. It’s much more laid-back and tranquil than Cancun, with white-sand beaches and turquoise waters. Maybe one day I’ll retire there or at least get a vacation home.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

Payam: So far, I’m proudest of balancing work, life and school. It’s a lot but I have a lot of support and I’m enjoying the journey. Additionally, I recently achieved a significant milestone by submitting my first abstract for a research paper to the 2023 CIGRE Canada Conference, which was recently approved. Being involved in research has always been a personal goal of mine, and this achievement marks an important step towards that goal. I am currently working on the paper and eagerly anticipate the opportunity to potentially present my findings at the conference.

What are your hobbies?

Payam: I’m committed to weightlifting. I go to the gym at least five times per week but have also been trying to implement cardio-related activities as well. For me, exercise is a great way to transition from my work life to my personal life. It’s important to my mental and physical health. As far as sports go, I follow MMA (mixed martial arts), like the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), and enjoy watching soccer. Besides that, most of my time is spent with my family, girlfriend, and cat, Milo!

What is the quality you admire most in other people?

Payam: Generosity. I don’t mean monetarily, but more being generous with time and sharing knowledge. I admire people senior to me who are willing to spend time sharing lessons learned and helping me as I progress in my career.

What is your biggest indulgence (travel, food, music, etc.)?

LEFT: Selfie with his girlfriend at the Weeknd concert. RIGHT: Payam’s cat Milo.

Payam: I like shoes. Right now I am really into New Balance shoes. Listening to music is another indulgence that I really enjoy. I mostly listen to hip-hop but I am pretty open to different genres, including music in different languages. Last Summer, I saw The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar live which were both unforgettable experiences. There’s a certain magic that comes with live performances, and I look forward to exploring new artists and genres.

If you could eat only one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Payam: A Persian dish my mom makes called Ghormeh Sabzi. It’s a herb stew served with rice and is usually made with lamb.

Do you/have you done any volunteer or community service work? If yes, why/how is it important to you?

Payam: When I was in high school, my friends and I used to volunteer at Oppenheimer Park in East Vancouver to give out food and other supplies to those in need.

What makes you proud to work at PSC?

Payam: I feel the work we’re doing aligns with my technical/professional interest and also my personal interest. When people ask me what I do for work, I’m very proud to tell them. I have a greater purpose in my work making a novel contribution toward a more sustainable world. Not a lot of young people are going into the field of power systems because utilities have traditionally been thought of as slow-moving. But the energy industry is undergoing a remarkable transformation with the advent of renewable energy sources. This transformative shift presents unique challenges that I am eager to contribute to. I think it’s an exciting and cool place to be.

My managers believe in me and that makes me proud too. I’ve seen progress at PSC and I see a future here that I’m looking forward to.