Powerhouse moves to Ottawa

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Denise Carpenter

If history is any indication, the Canadian Nuclear Association is about to get booted from obscurity into the limelight.
That’s because Denise Carpenter is coming on board as the association’s new president and CEO.
No pun intended, but Carpenter is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to getting the message out.
This public relations diva honed her skills in the 1980s and 1990s at Palmer Jarvis and Weber Shandwick Worldwide. Since 2003, she’s been the senior vice-president of public and government affairs with EPCOR and, until July, she guided the company through many hot issues.
Twice chosen as one of Alberta’s 50 most influential people, Carpenter is now setting her sights on Ottawa. Her task is to build public confidence in one of the most controversial industries in Canada.
When asked what someone from a province devoid of nuclear power could possibly bring to the industry, Carpenter replied, “I have a very strong track record of developing and executing really strong strategies for industry. And I also think they may have picked me because I have advocated for almost every fuel source in Canada. So I understand the importance and the regionalization of fuel sources.”
Carpenter looks upon the nuclear industry as one that is not well known to Canadians. Nor are its benefits, she says. “The reason people are interested in nuclear energy quite frankly is because it is an emission free method of producing power.”
And, what about the public’s concern over nuclear waste?
“That’s certainly something I’ m going to want to learn,” says Carpenter. “I certainly don’t know a lot about it right now, other than the government has put together a commission and there is a body that is working quite aggressively on solving that problem.”
Carpenter takes a global view when it comes to the immediate challenges. “The world needs energy… how do you produce energy that people want to consume? I don’t see that people will stop driving their cars or stop heating their homes. The consumption of energy is growing and growing. So how do we do that in a responsible manner as a society? On the other side, there are special interest groups that advocate for and against every energy source. So that’s the challenge. How do you meet the industrial and the residential need for individuals and companies, and at the same time, build bridges with all the special interest groups?”
With the current interest in developing nuclear power to supply Alberta’s oilsands development, there’s no doubt the nuclear industry is gearing up for a major campaign.
Carpenter will be missed by the many people and organizations she has helped over her years in Edmonton. She’s lent her energies and PR expertise to the arts community and many boards like the Space and Science Centre, to name but a few of her commitments.
“I cherish all the relationships that I’ve developed and people I’ve worked with more than I could ever express. And I really cherish the fact that there were a lot of people along the way who taught me a lot: Eric Newell, Jim Carter and George Ward, they were always great mentors. So I think I had the privilege of being mentored by a lot of people in this community.” √

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