Professional Development Conference

April 23, 2020 – 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
April 24, 2020 – 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Meeting Level
Edmonton Convention Centre

Staying current in your field and being aware of trends are challenging for every professional. The APEGA Summit’s Professional Development (PD) Conference offers you a choice of 20 educational sessions and 2 plenary presentations over a day and a half, featuring engaging and practical sessions for engineers and geoscientists.

Participating in this annual conference will help you learn and network with your peers while you earn up to 10 Continuing Professional Development hours. Your custom conference session selections support your own unique learning and development needs, and apply to professionals across disciplines and industries.

This year’s sessions fall into 4 different streams. You are welcome to pick and choose sessions from each stream freely—the only limitations are the seats available and that each session is only offered once!

Professional Development Theme: Building Better

Building Better Technical Competence

This stream will focus on technical aspects within a broad range of contexts. Topics that will be covered include the importance of safety procedures, an in-depth study of the Boeing 737 Max and more!

Building Better Members

This stream will focus on the regulatory aspects of APEGA. Topics that will be covered include your role in a self-regulating profession, professional practice reviews and more!

Building Better Careers

This stream will focus on the career development of all attendees. Topics that will be covered include managing career transitions, business etiquette and more!

Building Better Business Knowledge

This stream will focus on business knowledge that will apply to everyone. Topics that will be covered include project management, marketing essentials and more!

2020 Conference Schedule

Check out our full professional development session schedule below. We’ve organized everything by topic, so click each tab to see what’s available.

Conference sessions and speakers are subject to change.

Sessions fill fast and registration closes on April 6, 2020, so be sure to sign up while seats are still available!

Click on any session title for more details.
8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
A Rocket Scientist’s Guide to Innovation through Inclusion

Fostering diversity and inclusion is critical in all professions, including engineering and geoscience. Understanding and capitalizing on our differences will drive innovation in our professions over the next 100 years. By creating diverse and inclusive work environments, we can enable a workforce to be fully present and help it to abandon outdated paradigms, access new markets, and acquire new talent—things that enhance the financial value of a company.

Speaking from personal experience, aerospace research engineer Dr. Wendy Okolo, will explain what it means to bring your full self to work with practical examples and tips to encourage innovation by fostering inclusive work environments.

Presented by Dr. Wendy Okolo, PhD
9:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Boeing 737 Max: A Study in Engineering and Regulatory Failure

The presentation outlines the history of the 737 Max, changes made to the airframe, how the Max flies and is controlled, and how the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) design was a set up for disaster.

Actual flight data from the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 accident will show the role of the MCAS. The presentation will also discuss regulatory issues and how this failure started with air travel deregulation in 1970s.

These lessons are valuable for any regulator, as the failure to regulate an industry could occur in any situation.

Presented by Major Matthew Oliver, Retired, CD, P.Eng., M.Div., M.Eng., CFEI

Creativity is the learnable foundation of innovation in engineering design, problem solving, and interaction between colleagues. Lorenz will provide inspiring ideas, techniques, and perspectives to elevate your ideation to the heights demanded by our challenging times. He will review how the mind wetware works and provide methods for stimulating and collaborating with the “black box” on your shoulders. You will share in lessons learned from his personal interaction with Nobel Prize–winning physicist Richard Feynman at Caltech. Lorenz will scout the use of empowering software and hardware ideation tools, current and future. With his engagingly interactive style and short breakout challenges, you will experience creativity in many applications, not only engineering design. Get ready to grow further and learn how to use engineering creativity for success.

Presented by Professor Emeritus Lorenz Sigurdson, Ph.D., P.Eng.

In this session, Tom will identify the reasons behind his personal lack of preventative action, as well as the actions and behaviours of the others on the fateful flight, including the pilot.

His presentation will look at:

  • Internal and external pressures and how they affect people’s decision making
  • The difference between bravery and courage
  • Risk tolerance and the 10 factors that contribute to a person’s tolerance for risk

Since launching his book, Tom has captivated many different audiences, from front-line workers to senior executives, all over North America and Asia. Tom’s powerful talk inspires understanding of human behaviour—in and out of the workplace.

Presented by Tom Wilson

2:45 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. — Implementation of an Integrated Resource Planning approach for Stormwater Management in Edmonton

  • This presentation will provide an overview of the stormwater integrated resource plan (SIRP) for Edmonton, the risk framework developed, and the resultant recommendations for capital and operational investments to better prepare the community for the increased variability and intensity of storms expected in the Edmonton region in the future.
  • The presentation will also provide details on EPCOR’s engagement methods for sharing the risk information with the public and insurance companies.

3:40 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. — Emerging Technology—Rogue Asteroids Tracking App

  • Winners of the 2019 Canadian Space Agency’s Space Apps Challenge in Calgary, Team Pixel Heroes designed software that can track rogue comets and asteroids using satellite data.
  • Join Team Pixel Heroes to learn about their project and how their app can detect interstellar asteroids and comets, like the recently discovered comet Borisov.
Presented by Susan Ancel, P. Eng. and Team Pixel Heros (Amin Zadeh, MSc., Bahareh Yekkehkhany, MSc., and Parnia Shokri, BSc.)
9:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Licensed Professionals: Know Your Obligations, Know Your Options

Do you know how to ensure you are in good standing with APEGA? Find out what it takes to be compliant as an APEGA licensed professional, and the best option for you based on changes in your career or practice (employment gaps, illness, parental leave). The panel will discuss licensure options, including the pros and cons of practising vs. non-practising, the new annual declaration obligation, and the how-to of complying with the Continuing Professional Development Program, according to your own situation.

Presented by APEGA's CPD & Licensure Team

In this session, members of the Practice Standards Team will discuss how APEGA practice standards and guidelines are developed, and the major role licensed professionals and permit holders play in this critical self-regulatory activity.

You will hear the latest updates on the Relying on the Work of Others and Outsourcing draft practice standard and plans for future standards and guidelines. The panel will also discuss how you can strengthen your regulatory knowledge using APEGA’s online training for the Permit to Practice seminar and the Authenticating Professional Work Products practice standard.

Presented by APEGA's Practice Standards Team

Organizations in Alberta are starting to recognize that companies with a diverse workforce and management team earn more revenue and create more innovative products than companies that have low diversity. Despite this, there is still a perception that engineering and geoscience are male professions. APEGA aspires to have 30 per cent female membership in the workplace by 2030, and we are currently engaged in work to increase the level of inclusion in engineering and geoscience.

Join this session to learn how APEGA is identifying the barriers women face in the professions and how APEGA is collaborating with select permit holders to work on enacting change in their industries. The session will include a panel of diversity and inclusion experts to discuss key considerations when implementing organizational change in the diversity and inclusion space, and to discuss best practices and learnings.


Join APEGA’s Enforcement Department in this session to learn about your role in making APEGA a better regulator through our compliance and disciplinary functions. This interactive session will start with a short and informative presentation, followed by the opportunity for attendees to participate in role plays of different enforcement-related scenarios. This session will be a valuable learning opportunity for you to understand your role as a member of a self-regulating profession.

Presented by Erum Afsar, P.Eng. and Saumya Barua, P.Eng., FEC, MBA
9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Business Polish for Professionals: Gain a Competitive Edge

A good grounding in business etiquette enables you to make clients and coworkers feel valued and respected. This session is designed to help you acquire the polish you need to be a well-rounded professional, make an impact, and be a brand ambassador for yourself and your organization. Delivered in an engaging manner, this session provides interaction, demonstration, and skills practice.

You will learn strategies to:

  • Adopt a ‘host mentality’ to develop strong personal and professional relationships
  • Introduce yourself and others more effectively
  • Master social graces, such as initiating proper handshakes, and remembering names
  • Exchanging business cards with finesse
  • Establish rapport with body language by aligning visual, verbal, and nonverbal communication
  • Build trust and respect with clients and team members
Presented by Joanne Blake, AICI, CIP, CPC

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder, verbal learning disorder, and Asperger syndrome are diagnoses often referred to as hidden disabilities. Hidden, because many of the features are not obviously identifiable. In fact, many of the aspects inherent to a neurodiverse diagnosis may appear to be an attitude or behavioural problem.

This session will help you learn more about neurodiversity and ways to work effectively with people who think differently. Neurodiverse participants will have the opportunity to gain an understanding of how neurotypicals think. Participants will take part in a case-study breakout activity and receive the Neurodiversity in the Workplace booklet.

Learning Objectives

  • Develop an understanding of neurodiversity and how it can appear in the workplace.
  • Develop an understanding of how typically developing minds work.
  • Develop a toolkit of effective strategies for working successfully with coworkers who have different thinking styles.
Sarah Taylor, BA, BD

Transition: the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another (Oxford University Press).

Career transitions can be exciting, challenging, overwhelming, exhilarating, and meaningful. Sometimes we make a planned and thoughtful choice to transition. Sometimes we are unexpectedly forced to transition due to life changes, economic ups and downs, or labour-market shifts. Whether it is planned, impromptu, or forced, practical tools exist to help you managed your career transition, no matter where you are in your career.

Participants in this workshop will learn practical skills for managing career transitions, including:

  • Identifying transferable skills and using them to transition onto different career paths
  • Recognizing that all experience is marketable
  • Evaluating how you can benefit from non-related experience
  • Developing strategies to deal with career transitions
  • Learning how the high five of career development helps manage career transitions

Participants will leave with strategies to manage different career transitions, a greater awareness of transferable skills, how to apply them, and lifelong career-management skills.

Presented by Lise Stransky, CCDP

Today’s work world is often referred to as V.U.C.A.: volatile, uncertain, chaotic, and ambiguous. Being able to manage job and career change in this reality requires a proactive mindset, intention, and focus.
Individuals in this environment will benefit from maintaining a job seeker’s mindset to prevent settling or compromising for something less than ideal. Work that feels satisfying requires ongoing clarity about what brings meaning to your life.
Ideally, the job roles you select along your career journey suit the changes that come with age and stage of life, your expertise, and interests. They also need to fit with your life purpose, philosophy, principles, and values.

This seminar provides tips and tools to reinforce how to find meaningful work whenever you need to make a job change.

The following topics about being ready and staying ready as a job seeker will be covered:

  • Defining meaningful work
  • Reviewing job search ethics
  • Building and managing a strong personal brand
  • Identifying career wants vs. needs
  • Reviewing who is in your career network
  • Preparing for the job interview
  • Negotiating the offer
Presented by Kathleen Johnston, MA, CCC, PCC, Career Strategist
9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Marketing Essentials for Engineers & Geoscientists

Marketing has gained immense importance for organizations and individuals in today’s competitive business world. Professionals play a pivotal role in supporting marketing activities for their organizations, yet they often lack understanding of this important subject. As you engage in major cross-functional projects or enter managerial roles, marketing knowledge becomes critical for individual and organizational success. In today’s challenging job market, marketing knowledge can help you to stand out to employers when seeking employment, or to customers to promote their business ventures.

This workshop will show you how to use marketing strategies, processes, and tools to:

  • Enhance professional effectiveness
  • Boost organizational performance
  • Fast-track career and business development

Learning Objectives

  • Appreciate the relevance of marketing for professional engineers and professional geoscientists
  • Understand what marketing is and isn’t
  • Develop an elementary marketing mindset
  • Be able to develop a basic marketing plan for a product or service
  • Be able to apply key marketing skills and tools in your personal and professional life

Note: Participants will receive a marketing essentials package to assist in developing a marketing plan.

Presented by Ehtisham (Eddy) Anwer

Innovation comes from looking at existing challenges and learning to quickly adapt our current skill sets to meet the changing demands. On a global scale, key challenges can be summarized by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The focus of these 17 goals includes poverty, gender equality, sustainable energy, and food security. Great disparity exists between Indigenous and non-Indigenous metrics in these areas. Professional engineers and professional geoscientists can be part of the solution for many of these issues.

A Cree-Dené-Irish adoptee, Deanna has been on a journey to find her roots, which inspired a passion to reach Indigenous youth and bring Indigenous voices into the sustainability conversation. During this session, Deanna will share her challenges and the effects of inter-generational trauma as a descendant of residential school survivors. She will outline the key lessons she has learned along the way, such as mentoring and inclusion, and share how to find solutions through communication, leadership, and diversity.

In a world where collaboration is more imperative than ever, Deanna will invite participants to safely step out of their comfort zones and explore behaviours that lead to more innovative cultures. This powerful session will ignite the conversation on how to move forward together and transcend differences to serve the future of society.

Participants will learn about Indigenous peoples in history and in an engineering context. They will be introduced to:

  • Unconscious bias, micro-inequities, and the negative effects they can have on successful inclusion
  • A brief history of the Indigenous peoples in Canada, including an introduction to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Indigenous ways of knowing and world-views, and how they can enhance leadership, inclusion, and innovation in engineering and sustainable development.

Participants will be invited to explore:

  • Ways we can all move forward in inclusion and innovation
  • Alignment between Indigenous traditional wisdom and leadership attributes
  • Ways we can collaborate to better honour the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action, and Section 35 of the Constitution Act.
Presented by Deanna Burgart, P. Eng., C.E.T.

In an age when change is constant, the ability to embrace and lead it is an essential competency. Whether you work in industry, government, academia, or the non-profit sector, change is the new normal. As the pace accelerates, it is increasingly difficult to develop approaches to change that will stand out. Bold and innovative ideas to build awareness, influence behaviours, and make change stick will help improve your business and professional outcomes.

Using hard-earned lessons from change-initiative fails and successes, the session will cover:

  • the inconvenient truth about how people really change
  • phases of a change initiative and practical tactics that actually work
  • common pitfalls and bear traps of change and effective strategies for making it out alive
Presented by Shannon Munday

Learn about the characteristics, tools, and processes effective project managers use, including how to effectively assess and communicate with stakeholders.

This session will help professionals develop the knowledge and strategies to successfully manage project outcomes.

Key Takeaways

  • List the key phases of a project life cycle
  • Recognize and explain the key components of a project plan
  • Identify stakeholders and assess how to effectively communicate with them
  • Manage project scope, scope creep, and scope discovery
  • Apply techniques for tracking and communicating progress throughout the project
Presented by Julianna Cantwell, CPHR, SHRM-SCP
No schedule yet.
9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Innovation in the Workplace

Andrew’s lab consists of engineers, scientists, and artists united by creativity and curiosity. He frequently challenges his team to play, allowing them the freedom to explore new possibilities and grow a proactive and innovative mindset. He speaks on the importance of maintaining a work environment that emphasizes creativity more than regularity, and the advantages of cultivating a team of interdisciplinary individuals rather than choosing from a pool of identically qualified contenders. Andrew’s unique approach to the work environment demands a revising of convention and structure to craft real innovation.

Presented by Professor Andrew E. Pelling, PhD
10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Digital Signatures: Looking Beyond the Picture of the Seal

In 2020, digital signatures are still considered an abstract subject. Industry still does not fully comprehend the difference between an image of a seal and a digital signature certificate issued by APEGA.

In this session, you’ll look beyond the picture of your seal and take a deep dive into how digital signatures are made and why they are secure and trusted by government agencies and customers.

Although all digital signatures are issued from a certificate authority, they are not all created equally.

  • What makes one digital signature more trustworthy than another?
  • What standards do you need to follow to develop reliable signature tools?
  • What is the process behind the issuance of digital signatures?
  • Who is involved in managing this infrastructure?
  • How do digital signatures provide security when they are embedded in a document?
  • How can you verify the validity of the digital signature holder?

At the end of this session, you’ll have the answers to these questions and a better understanding of the mechanics behind digital signature certificate technology and how it relates to the engineering industry in Alberta and abroad.

Marc St-Jacques
10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
APEGA Practice Reviews and You

Curious about the practice review process for APEGA permit holders? Learn more about what goes on during a practice review, including the checklist of items reviewed and assessed by APEGA practice advisors. In addition, the panel will discuss major practice issues identified during practice reviews, and the areas in which permit holders and licensed professionals commonly need improvement.

Presented by APEGA's Practice Review Team
10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Where Do I Sit? Fitting In, and Excelling, in an Inter-Generational Workplace

Is your life about simply fitting in to a situation or a workplace, or is it about excelling? Are you satisfied with being ordinary, or are you willing to do what it takes to be extraordinary?

Today’s workplaces are complex organisms, composed of five generations for the first time in history, and growing more and more diverse every day. How does one navigate through these complexities and still excel?

In this session, Herky will present five tips for exactly how to do just that.

Learning objectives:

  • To understand what each generation of worker brings to the workplace
  • To discover what stops you from leading an extraordinary life
  • To take away five tips on how to excel in your workplace and in your life
Presented by Herky Cutler, B.Ed., MA, CCDP
10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Building Bridges to Agreement: The Art of Principled Negotiation

Each of us negotiates every day. We negotiate with family members on what, when, and how things will be done. We negotiate with clients on the scope and cost of work. We negotiate with colleagues and upper management on the allocation of various resources. Negotiating in a principled manner increases the chances that you will achieve a successful outcome while building and maintaining strong relationships.

Session Objectives:

  • Identify the foundation of principled negotiation.
  • Uncover two basic concerns in a principled negotiation.
  • Establish the four important factors for a successful negotiation.
  • Distinguish between positions and interests and explore why concentrating on interests makes it possible to find long-term solutions agreeable to both parties.
  • Realize two important questions to ask yourself before any negotiation.
  • Describe the negotiation model.
Presented by Catherine Armstrong
2020 APEGA Professional Development Conference
Edmonton Convention Centre, 9797 Jasper Avenue,Edmonton,Alberta-T5J 1N9
Start Time
April 23, 2020
End Time
April 24, 2020
A day and a half of professional development and learning for engineers, geoscientists, and industry professionals.
Offer Price
CAD 350