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The energy optimizer

Wayne Burke, BA 10
By Emma Brayley

Wayne Burke, BA 10 “Thanks to Concordia's small class sizes, I got to know a few of my professors really well and it was encouraging.”

The co-founder and president of Dominion New Energy Resources, an award-wining energy consulting firm, Wayne Burke risked it all to ensure the success of his business. Having started it while completing his political science degree at Concordia, Burke had to juggle a full course load while growing a company.

“I invested every dollar I had. We were running the business out of my basement, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to pay rent. It worked out, but it was scary.”

The challenge of feeling out of place

“I think a lot of entrepreneurs suffer from imposter syndrome, so they find themselves thinking, am I really qualified for this? If you're rational, the answer is definitely No. You're usually doing things you haven't done before. Figuring it out as you go was, and still is, very challenging.”

Most inspiring professor

“Julie Norman, who lectured in the Department of Political Science. She would talk about her travels to conflict zones around the world. I took three of her classes because I couldn’t get enough. Thanks to the small class sizes, I got to know a few of my professors really well and it was encouraging.”  

The importance of supportive networks

“Recently, I was able to get into a group called YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization). It’s been helpful because it’s all about peer-to-peer mentoring. It creates a collaborative environment where you can’t be solicited.”

Obstacles while in school

“I did my undergraduate degree in 24 months because I was on a mission. I maxed out the summer course load and was building a business full time, which was doubling every year for its first five. It was definitely a challenge to manage all of that in terms of time management and emotional bandwidth.”

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