2024 Outstanding Mentor Award Recipient

This award is presented to APEGA members in recognition of exceptional achievement as a mentor.

Dean Kmech, P.Eng.

Dean Kmech, P.Eng.

Professional engineer Dean Kmech has invested immeasurable time and energy over the past 30 years developing the talents of dozens of student interns and new graduates. His enthusiasm for his profession—and for the success of his mentees—has had a lasting impact.

Former mentees recall his “intoxicating optimism,” kindness, and genuine desire to see them excel.

He fosters an environment where curiosity and innovation are encouraged, and people are inspired and motivated to achieve their full potential. Kmech’s positive influence is often mentioned as the major driving force behind his mentees’ achievements. Many have advanced into management roles early in their careers. Others are making a mark as senior leaders and corporate executives.

In his current role as the lead facility engineer at Cenovus Energy’s Christina Lake in situ thermal facility, Kmech always has engineering student interns, engineers-in-training, and other young professionals under his care. He strives to understand each individual’s strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations, tailoring his guidance to support their needs. Because of his support, some mentees who were considering leaving engineering decided to continue on their professional journey.

While Kmech is keen to share the technical knowledge he’s gained over 40 years as a petroleum engineer, his teaching goes beyond how to size a downhole pump, follow safety codes, or create a construction work plan. He ensures mentees develop strong leadership and interpersonal skills to advance their careers. They’re included in meetings or discussions, given in-depth site tours to expand their technical and operational knowledge, and provided opportunities to lead their own projects.

“My goal is to help build their confidence by empowering them to speak up, question how things are done, and get involved in the decision-making process,” says Kmech. “Giving mentees the freedom to come up with their own ideas and solutions is a collaborative and enriching experience, both for them and for me.”

He’s also a role model on how to effectively balance one’s career and personal life. This holistic approach to mentoring has earned him the lasting respect and admiration of his mentees.

Professional Affiliations and Activities                       

  • Volunteer, Junior Achievement (1994–2008) 
  • Member, APEGA (1980–present)