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New Syncrude VP credits predecessor for establishing career path

Jan 10, 2019

Syncrude’s newly appointed Vice President of Strategic Planning, Ken Bell, has a long history with the company and the community. In fact, during his first year of Engineering at Keyano College, it was a Syncrude guest speaker, Peter Read, who helped shape his career path. Now, more than 22 years later, Ken steps into his new role as Peter’s successor.

“Peter visited our class in 1996 and spoke about the practicality of mine engineering. He explained how you could really see what you’re doing and what the end results would look like - this really appealed to me.” says Ken. “My father was an electrical engineer at Syncrude and I knew from a young age that I wanted to follow in his footsteps as an engineer. However, it wasn’t until Peter’s visit to our class that I decided to get into mine engineering.”

Ken would go on to receive both his Bachelor of Science in Mine Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Natural Resources, Energy and Environment from the University of Alberta. He then started at Syncrude as a mine engineer in 2001. Throughout his career, he held several senior roles in Production and Technical. His most recent position being the Manager, Tailings and Lease Development.

Ken was appointed to his new role on January 2, 2019 as Peter transitions into his new position as Vice President, Joint Venture Effectiveness Project.

“Each role I’ve held has taught me about different aspects of the business and also helped me develop different skills. I look forward to this new role which will expose me to a new set of challenges and interfaces,” says Ken. “Strategic long-term planning for the company is a big responsibility, but also a great opportunity. I’m excited to be part of setting the path for Syncrude’s future.”

Born in Manitoba, Ken moved with his family to Calgary at the age of four, and then Fort McMurray when he was eight years old.  He’s seen a lot of changes during his time growing up, and is proud of the oil sands industry’s support of the community.

“Fort McMurray benefits from the industry’s support of educational programs and other important services,” says Ken. “I’m proud to work for a company that demonstrates a commitment to the community. I’ve seen and lived it.”

Ken lives in Fort McMurray with his son and daughter, and enjoys bringing them to events such as the Community Christmas Open House. As a Métis, Ken also serves on the Board of Directors for Indigenous Works and is a member of Syncrude’s Aboriginal Relations Steering Committee.