Growth Opportunity

Growth Opportunity

Where others saw a vacant lot, Troy Barrie (BASc’09) saw a thriving community garden. And he isn’t the type to let a good idea go to waste.


What’s driven me this entire time is that search for meaningful work. And from anything I’ve done, it’s like, “This idea needs to happen.”

My name is Troy Barrie. I’m an Engineering Physics grad from 2009 at UBC. Engineers Without Borders was my escape throughout all the math and the physics. You’re out there, in the field. You’re connected to your community. People are working with each other to accomplish their goals. Part of what triggered my mind when I got back to Vancouver was like, “OK, I’m a part of this larger community we have here and how do I fit in now that I’ve come back.”

Chris…He and I met and we were sitting at Bandidas restaurant looking across the street at the corner. And on that corner was a vacant lot and I sat there for like six seconds and it felt like an eternity and all of a sudden – boom – there it is. This could be used better. We wanted to take what is an eyesore and turn it into a beautiful meeting place within this neighbourhood. That’s really why I wanted to build Shifting Growth. Maybe we’ll only have this garden for four years but hopefully it will have impact when someone looks back and says, “OK, that was a great experience. What am I going to go do now?”

I was realizing that I was throwing myself everywhere. That potentially being an expert in something would also allow me to achieve more. And I said, “Where can I actually solve a problem so that something actually happens and changes out there? Maybe my skills are best suited for my interest in renewable energy.” And this is where I naturally flowed to what I’m doing.

My company builds energy storage batteries. They’ve been described before as the holy grail of renewables, and it’s definitely true. Wind and solar…You can build something that captures that energy and puts it on to the grid but you can’t bank on it. Having a battery hooked up to the wind turbine or the solar cell is really the way to make those useful.

The whole energy problem that’s facing us is complicated. Everyone has these good ideas and what we need is for people to actually go out and make those ideas into something that exists. That’s kind of my approach to life and engineering is that, you know, it’s kind of a ‘no regrets’ quest. Let’s make sure that when we look back at everything we did, that it was meaningful and important, and that I was happy doing it.