Home Month and Year August 2020 APEGA: Rising to the Challenge of Recovery

APEGA: Rising to the Challenge of Recovery


For 100 years, APEGA has built a strong foundation for the regulation of the practice of engineering and geoscience in Alberta. APEGA works every day to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all Albertans by holding members to the highest standards for ethical, professional, and technical competency. In return, they earn the right to explore new frontiers in engineering and geoscience and continue the remarkable legacy set in motion a century ago.

“Over the past 100 years we’ve seen our fair share of adversity – but the education and skills of Alberta’s engineers and geoscientists have always helped us bounce back as a province,” says Jay Nagendran, registrar & CEO of APEGA.

Nagendran highlights several times when these professions shone brightest in the darkest moments of crises. These include bringing irrigation to drought-ravaged parts of the province in the early 20th century, keeping Fort McMurray’s water treatment facilities up and running during the devastating wildfires of 2016, and pivoting their skills to produce hand sanitizer for the COVID-19 crisis.

As Alberta starts to plot a 2020 COVID-19 pandemic recovery, Nagendran knows Alberta’s engineers and geoscientists will be relied upon to help once again.

“Whether it’s through engineering new infrastructure projects or finding more efficient ways of getting our resources out of the ground and to market, APEGA members are hard-wired to solve problems and see past the challenges,” he says. “Over the past century, members have demonstrated their commitment to safety and building a better quality of life for Albertans – a responsibility they take very seriously. From playing a key role in local and provincial infrastructure builds to supporting local businesses preparing to welcome back employees to a safe workplace, I continue to be impressed and inspired by the creativity of our members in solving complex problems and I know they’re up for the challenge of economic recovery.”

The past 100 years have shown us many examples of how Alberta’s engineers and geoscientists have contributed to the economic recovery of our province. These include:

Leading COVID-19 recovery

Just days after being laid off as a geologist in training from a large oil and gas company in April 2020, APEGA geoscientist-in-training Morgan Keane pivoted to building a local startup called YYC Local Wipes and supplying anti-bacterial wipes to companies preparing for the return of their employees to the office. Ms. Keane’s story is an example of not only the ability of Alberta’s engineers and geoscientists to solve pressing, real-world problems but also the resilience of the professions to pivot to meet changing conditions.


Leading drought recovery

After a prolonged drought in the 1920s that pushed many Southern Alberta farmers to the brink, Alberta’s engineers helped create a complex irrigation system to serve over 50,000 hectares of land previously deemed uninhabitable. Much of it was led by mechanical engineer Penrose Sauder, P.Eng., also known as Mr. Irrigation, who managed the St. Mary River Irrigation District – today Canada’s largest irrigation district.


Leading natural disaster recovery

In the midst of the Fort McMurray fires, engineers like Dawny George, P.Eng., worked to keep water flowing to firefighters, helping them save 90 per cent of the city – including major infrastructure like the hospital, airport, and city hall. Then, during recovery, engineers like Travis Kendel, P.Eng., worked around the clock for six weeks to bring water operations safely back online so residents could return.