How old were you when you immigrated to Canada?
Nineteen. I’m from Afghanistan originally, but we moved to Pakistan when I was 13. I came to Saskatchewan by myself to attend university.
What was it like coming to a new country?
My first year here was the loneliest year of my life. It took a long time to make friends. Even though I spoke English, I didn’t know the culture and everything was so different. It was intimidating. I remember being so scared I dropped a class because I didn’t know how to get there.
Did you have a career in mind?
What do you do?
I’m CEO of Noodlecake Studios. We make video games for iPhones, iPads and Android cell phones. Our first product was strictly for iPhones, but since then we’ve built games for a variety of mobile devices.
Is this something you have always dreamed of doing?
If someone would have asked me two years ago if I saw myself building video games, I would have said no way. But here I am today, building video games. That might just be a testament to how quickly things change in the technology business.
How long have you been interested in computers?
Were you thinking of careers in high school?
No, I hadn’t thought about any career. My plan after high school was to take a year off, get a job and maybe travel. I did get a job working at a car dealership washing cars, but I realized pretty quickly I didn’t want to do it for a whole year. When my mom told me about an interesting conversation she’d had on the golf course, I was willing to listen.
So your career came about by chance?
What was high school in the city like?
Scary. I’d gone from Kindergarten through Grade 9 in my small town, so the move to high school in Lloyd was intense—it seemed huge to me.
How did you adjust?
I was able to make new friends, but it took a while. I got involved in choir and drama club. Studying was also a big focus. It was important to me to get good grades, but I always had to work hard to do it.
Did you graduate high school with a career plan?
Why did you want to be a flight nurse?
I work in the medical and pediatric Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Regina General Hospital. I’ve been on road and air transport teams when we pick up critically ill children and either bring them to our facility or transport them to Alberta for more advanced treatment. I saw STARS as expanding on a medical service I was already doing. I enjoyed the air ambulance transports, so I thought, ‘why not a helicopter?’
What kind of training did you need?
How were you injured?
I was part of a crew that was building steel grain bins. I was holding the support beams for the hopper when a crane with cables attached to the hopper hit a power line. Over 14,400 volts of electricity went through me. Somebody said it was enough power to light up a town.
Was it a long recovery?
Nursing isn't a traditional career choice for men, what made you choose it?
Nursing is a lot bigger than people realize. The image of a female nurse in scrubs is just one part of nursing. There are also nurses in regular clothes working in the community. That’s what I’m most interested in. I think nursing care at the community level is pivotal, because if we take care of people at that basic level, we can prevent acute care in the long-run.
What was nursing school like?
What do you do?
I’m a dental administrative assistant/dental assistant in Regina. I work more on the administrative side, but I’m trained in assisting the dentist, so if anyone ever needs help or is ill they can use me to cover.
Why this job?
After high school, I got a job as a receptionist in a dental clinic in Saskatoon. My employers encouraged me to take a course if I this was something I was interested in doing.
What training or education did you need?
What do you do?
I work as an environmental scientist for an engineering and environmental consulting firm called Klohn Crippen Berger Ltd. My job involves soil and groundwater remediation, reclamation and site assessments, mainly for clients in the oil and gas sector. I use my training and my knowledge of soil chemistry, physics and microbiology to better understand how to minimize environmental impacts and optimize opportunities to mitigate the environmental footprint of upstream oil and gas projects.
It sounds like you shifted gears at university, why?
What is your job today?
I am the coordinator of project assessment and approvals for SaskPower’s Environmental Programs. Basically, I help achieve environmental approvals for our projects and put together environmental contingency and mitigation plans for power lines, stations and plants. I’m the go-between for engineers and environmental regulators.
But you started as a biologist?