Omar Masood is a proud Calgarian. He moved to Canada to study chemical engineering and soon after he moved to Alberta, where Omar immediately found himself connected to Calgary. A proud immigrant (and now an even prouder Canadian citizen), Omar is ready to give back to the city and province that welcomed him and to the community he now calls home.
Below is Omar’s story in his own words...
The son of Indian parents, I grew up overseas in Dubai. My parents chose to work in Dubai to pursue their dreams, seek better opportunities for their family, and provide a comfortable life for me and baby sister Zehra.
Everything changed when my dad passed away suddenly in February 1995. At the ages of nine and four, our lives, as we knew them, changed completely. Facing pressures of paying school fees and housing costs in a country with no public education or social services, my mother, who had up until this point mostly stayed at home to take care of us, rejoined the workforce and worked twelve hour days. My mom didn’t take a single vacation day for 15 years and worked diligently to provide the future she and my dad had dreamt of for us. We changed schools, move to another apartment, and slowly started putting our lives back together.
Watching my mom work as hard and as selflessly as she did instilled a deep sense of responsibility and service in both my sister and me. We did the only thing we knew to do at the time; we worked as hard as we could at school and at home so that we could realize our mom’s dreams for the both of us.
Coming to Canada and Finding Home
When I was considering enrolling in a post-secondary program, my mom and family made thoughtful sacrifices to make it possible for me to attend university in Canada. With plans to move back to take care of my family after graduation, I enrolled at McGill University to pursue a Chemical Engineering degree in an effort to secure a career in the energy sector.
That all changed when I first arrived in Canada and the Immigration Officer greeted me with a “welcome home.” Not being a citizen of Dubai, I never felt like I had a place that I could call home. From the beginning, Canada embraced me. I took on various student leadership roles at McGill, including serving on our Engineering Student Association and chairing the Middle East Peace Summit at the McGill Model United Nations.
Studying at McGill opened my eyes to the strength in Canada’s diversity as I built friendships with students spanning a broad range of backgrounds. Where else in the world would a kid like me, with no connections, be welcomed and invited to call such a beautiful country "home"?
Moving to Alberta and Building a Career
After graduating from university, I decided to move west and tackle my first role in Alberta working for Honeywell, a multi-national industrial technology company based out of Edmonton. I loved Alberta’s entrepreneurial spirit and can-do attitude, where the people were generous and all that mattered was how you could make things better.
By the age of 24, I was a Lead Engineer helping execute multi-million dollar projects in process safety and alarm management technology for clients in the energy sector in Canada, the United States, Europe, and the Middle East.
I moved to Calgary at 25 to further advance my career, helping lead a multi-year project for Shell, which provided me a deep understanding of what allowed the best operators in the world to thrive in our province. Through this experience I learned a simple, yet powerful, lesson: Alberta’s advantage, compared to anywhere else in the world I had worked, was its people - the women and men who went to work every day and applied their skills to operate their sites safely and effectively.
I continue to work in our energy sector as a Project Manager for TransCanada, a company deeply rooted in Alberta and working towards transformational projects in the dynamic energy sector.
Finding a Community and Falling in Love
It was moving to Calgary that allowed me to find my true passions. I've learned that I love how our city shares a proud sense of community with locals and visitors alike during the Calgary Stampede, how people from across the country and abroad come together to find opportunity, and the rooted commitment to building our neighbourhoods.
I’ve been a resident of Calgary-Buffalo since I first called Calgary home. I volunteer for the Beltline Neighbourhoods Association as a Director, organize the number one family team for the Mother’s Day Run, and serve meals to our neighbours in need at the Calgary-Drop In Centre.
I also met the love of my life, Ashley, in my neighborhood in Calgary-Buffalo. I was immediately attracted to her strong, independent personality and her thoughtfulness. Ashley introduced me to her love of jazz and old school hip-hop music, hidden downtown gems, and even the Alberta power markets! We’ve been in love for over five years and got married at her family's farm in Heisler, Alberta, surrounded by our family and loved ones. It was the happiest day of our lives - and it couldn’t have been more perfect.
Stepping up for My Community
At the beginning of 2016, I began to reflect on Calgary and just how much this province has provided me. I’m married to the love of my life, have made a life and career in the best city in the world, and found a deep community of friends and family.
Where I am today is in large part thanks to the sacrifices and investment others have made for and in me. From my mom, who strived for a better future for her kids, to a province that welcomes anyone willing to roll up their sleeves, to a city that is both driven and generous.
It’s my honour - and my duty - to give back to this community. I am committed to, and believe in, a prosperous future for our province and want to serve the diverse and engaged residents of Calgary-Buffalo.
I am well prepared to represent this riding, this city, and this province. I am ready to help make it even better, and lead the world as the innovators, trailblazers, and builders that we are.
You’ve believed in me, Calgary. It’s now time for me to give back to this city that has given me so much.
Let’s build Alberta’s success together.