Robyn Renaud is an electrician on the facilities maintenance team at Vancouver International Airport.
Photos courtesy Vancouver International Airport
We Are YVR: Robyn Renaud
Published 12:22 PDT, Tue April 13, 2021
Last Updated: 2:13 PDT, Wed May 12, 2021
We Are YVR follows a day in the life of people who work at YVR but also do great things in the community. Today, we are following Robyn Renaud as she shows us her electric world.
5:45 a.m.—Up and at ‘em
She’s not a snoozer. Robyn’s xylophone ringtone goes off at 5:45 a.m. and she is up and at ‘em on the first ring. Her morning routine is always the same. Wake up, read the news, take a shower, breakfast of peanut butter and jelly on toast and a quick browse of the refrigerator to figure out what to bring for lunch. Today—it’s veggies and dip.
When she gets to YVR, it’s still dark. Unsurprising since it’s only 7 a.m. But first things first, coffee. It’s a long walk from her desk to the coffee machine. As she makes her way around the office (following all the COVID protocol one-way arrows), she picks up milk at a nearby fridge, waves hello to two colleagues in the office (hello, Steve and Shirley!), and finally she makes her coffee.
9:30 a.m.—Alright stop, collaborate and listen
Robyn spends a lot of time with her colleagues. She is an electrician on the facilities maintenance team at YVR, and much of their work is collaborative. So much so that Robyn recently received a teamwork badge thanking her for her thoughtful collaboration.
A positive of taking most of her meetings virtually now means Robyn can keep all of the technical drawings she needs right on her desk. Her cubicle is larger than standard because she needs the space to look at technical drawings that span a few feet long.
Her coworkers playfully tease her for being “too helpful.” That’s a real quote from an actual co-worker (we promised to conceal their identity). She is the go-to resource on the team to fix anything from blown fuses to helping people set up new printers. There’s nothing she can’t do! Robyn perfectly represents the collaborative spirit at YVR.
11 a.m.—Dodge Grand Caravan, beep! Beep! Beep!
As Robyn picks up her notebook and laptop to prepare to her next meeting, she starts to tell us about some of the aspects of her life that have changed. “That’s why COVID has been so sad. No sports teams, which is a lot of my social circle,” said Robyn with a sigh. “It’s a lot of interconnection and relationships…and the dodgeball, softball and beach volleyball leagues I play in, they’re all Queer leagues. It’s not just my team I see, it’s a big community.” Robyn is hopeful she’ll soon be able to get back in the action alongside her friends and teammates. Because she says, what we are all missing out on is the epic cheer her dodgeball team concocted. Their team name? Dodge Grand Caravan. Their cheer? BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
As she talked about her relationships here in Vancouver, she also told us that her whole family actually lives in Edmonton. Robyn chose to move to Vancouver 13 years ago after her dad took her and her sister on an August long weekend trip to watch the annual Celebration of Light fireworks show. It just so happened to coincide with Pride weekend. The vibrance of the city and the exciting buzz of activity from Pride events in downtown Vancouver drew her in.
12:15 p.m.—Robyn meets RuPaul (but not really)
Over lunch (safely distanced—the aforementioned veggies and dip), Robyn tells us about her new favourite TV show. Like she said earlier, it’s hard to stay social during COVID, but the one and only RuPaul has helped her stay connected.
Robyn’s best friend lives in Edmonton and is an avid RuPaul fan. Robyn didn’t even know who that was prior to the start of the pandemic, but her friend decided that it was a great time to teach Robyn the ways of the drag world. Now? They have a weekly Facetime date that now revolves around watching episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race together. Highly recommend!
1:15 p.m.—The Flash
Robyn has work in the field planned for the afternoon at the new Pier D Expansion electrical substation. As we drive towards the work site she says, “Getting my D/A was the best decision for me. I learned so much more about the airport learning how to drive airside.”
And she’s right. There’s a lot of safety training and testing before you can drive on the airfield, but it definitely helps her get where she needs to go and there’s something special about cruising airside. We arrived at one of the Pier D substations where Robyn needs to audit and ensure all the required protective equipment is where it needs to be. This includes the Arc Flash suit. An Arc Flash suit looks a lot like Homer Simpson wearing his nuclear protection suit in the introduction of The Simpsons. It’s hot to wear but a necessary piece of safety equipment.
3:30 p.m.—Speed reader
By the time we made our rounds and headed back towards the office, Robyn’s shift for the day was over. Without her many post-work activities like dodgeball, she decided that she needed to find a new way to pass the time. And what better than to take up an old hobby, reading. In 2020, Robyn read a whopping 42 books. That’s approximately one book every eight days. “I love biographies and historical fiction, but I kind of read anything,” said Robyn. “I love reading, but usually don’t have much time because I’m pretty active during the week. But COVID gave me that space.”
Robyn lives in the West End of Vancouver and her favourite thing to do when the weather is nice is to take a walk to the beach nearby and read. Today is a very rainy day, so instead of the beach, she’ll opt for the couch.
5:00 p.m.—Winding down
At home, Robyn cuddles up on the couch with her cat Louie and her partner Cyntia, she tells us our time with her is over. She said, “I realized today that I am terrible at taking pictures of myself and will never be an influencer!” We beg to differ. But she did want us to share with you a couple more things:
1. She wanted to share her top five reading list suggestions:
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Truong
My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward by Mark Lukach
Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper
Finding Gobi by Dion Leonard
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
2. If you ever see her out and about at the airport, shout “Dodge Grand Caravan” at her and she’s sure to respond to you with Beep! Beep! Beep!
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