SANDY MUNRO. The Most Interesting Man in the World (Critical Control Edition)


For a man that doesn’t look like he’s any older than 40 he sure has done a lot. Sandy Munro has been in the measurement industry for the last 21 years, spent 23 years in the forest service, and 10 years volunteering with Hockey Calgary.  He’s been a firefighter pilot, a VP of Operations, an association President and now is the NetFlow Product Manager at Critical Control, which brings him full circle, back to working with SCADA.

In 1994 Sandy did his first SCADA work. He was flying planes on contract and started servicing remote sites in Alberta. Eventually the need for planes disappeared, but he enjoyed the SCADA work and had a natural talent for it. Over the next two decades he would work for a number of big and small players in the industry, including Spartan Controls, Bristol Babcock, Surepoint and Sigit. Sandy did everything from commissioning wells and rtus in the field to building plant and host systems, to business development, and a whole lot in between.

Sandy is a gifted storyteller, and has more than his fair share to tell. One of his favorite stories from his work in the industry is when he replaced a huge wall of dials and gauges with three overview screens. The operator had never worked with a SCADA system before and was trying to control all of his valves manually. He was frantically trying to keep everything on pace during his 12-hour shift. At the end of his shift he sits back and says, “This video game kicked my butt”.  Eventually Sandy was able to convince the operator that he could master the ‘video game’ if he selected an easier level and let the system do what it was designed to do. When he tells a story you can’t help but be enthralled. He has a quiet, deliberate way of telling that makes you want to hear what he has to say.

This past spring, after 21 years in the industry, Sandy found himself looking for something new, some where he could stay for a while. He was searching for a job that he could look forward to doing every day. And he thinks he’s found it at Critical Control. He was attracted to our company based on our reputation and the quality of our service and products. Sandy met with Karim Punja, VP Operations and Alykhan Mamdani, President & CEO and was sold on the position after that meeting.  Karim’s calmness and Alykhan’s vision and energy solidified his feelings towards the company.

Before coming to Critical Control Sandy was already experienced using NetFlow.  As soon as he starts talking about it you can hear the excitement in his voice. He loves that it’s about the data, not about being a pretty package with graphics. “We built our own tools, we built our own protocol drivers. We’re in control of every piece of it, it gives us the flexibility to do what we want with the product”. He points out that the analytics we do on communications, meter run configuration and gas composition are a key feature of the system that really put us ahead of the competition. NetFlow has benefits that no one else has, and that makes it a clear choice for customers.

A great product doesn’t stay a great product without growing and adapting to the needs of the user. Sandy has set long term goals for NetFlow and is keen to keep our SCADA offering ahead of the pack. Over the next few years you can expect to see upgrades to the graphics, as well as a number of technical additions, including AGA recalculation of data, and improved protocols. The focus on being a leader in this industry is at the forefront of Sandy’s long term goals for the product.

He is no stranger to being a leader both professionally and personally. Sandy was the sports director for his community association, then came a role as a community hockey President. He became involved in coaching community hockey when his son was young, and now coaches both his son and daughter in hockey. Before he had kids Sandy was a pilot, and for most of his years flying he was in the forest service fighting fires where, as the Air Tactical Group Supervisor (aka ‘air attack’), he came up with the plan to fight the fire and his team executed it. He gives high praise to the team he worked with, knowing that his plan couldn’t come to fruition if they didn’t each do their job. It was a lot of fun flying planes, but when asked if he misses it he says “not really, it was good for then”.

For Sandy, working at Critical Control feels like coming home.