Education: Master of Engineering, Petroleum Engineering, University of Calgary
Bachelor’s degree in Geological Engineering, University of Saskatchewan
In the face of setbacks, some people get discouraged, but not Melanie Popp. When the industry downturn cost Popp her seemingly stable job, it wasn’t a roadblock – it was a resiliency test, an opportunity to develop and grow stronger. With her determination and passion for the oil and gas industry, Popp realized that the hurdle was a necessary step for her to advance her career.
“I’m grateful I was laid off,” she says. “People laugh when I say that, but it woke me up to the fact that the technical skillset that had worked for me over the last 15 years was no longer going to serve me. I had to diversify. I used my creativity and perseverance and turned what could have been an incredibly dark time into a period of incredible growth.”
Tech star: Flash forward several years and Popp is Director of Engineering at geoLOGIC systems ltd. in Calgary, Alberta. She chose geoLOGIC systems as an employer because the company’s values are in alignment with her own; geoLOGIC makes it its mission to support the industry and the community in every possible way.
Starting as a part-time contract professional, Popp boldly crafted her own job description and made a pitch to be brought on full-time. She presented her skillset and experience to geoLOGIC’s management, making it evident that she would be an exceptional asset for the organization. To date, Popp has played a pivotal role in expanding geoLOGIC’s offerings to engineers and other oil and gas professionals.
“The culture here is amazing,” she says. “And the responsibilities that I have align with my passions which is why I have so much fun at work every day.”
Popp’s work now focuses on developing advanced tools that increase efficiencies and transform the technological space the industry is operating in. From workflow optimization using geoLOGIC’s data offerings to collaboratively building out value-added data sets, Popp seizes every opportunity to help the industry manage its assets and embrace the digital transformation, one organization at a time.
Community champion: Growing up on a farm in Saskatchewan, community has always been one of Popp’s core values. When she’s not working, you might find her volunteering at the Calgary Stampede, or chairing the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Canada’s Education Foundation. She was also recently elected to the council of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA).
She was the recipient of the 2016 SPE Innovation in Calgary Section Award and received a 2017 Women in Leadership Community Champion Award. She is also passionate about mentorship and building diverse and inclusive workplaces.
“Melanie is an inspiration to all women,” says Yarina Moharam, geoLOGIC’s marketing manager. “She is passionate, extremely determined and exudes confidence. Her commitment to excellence is second to none, and you can see that in everything she does.”
Career path: Popp began her career with Schlumberger Ltd. and has also held engineering roles with companies such as Pioneer Natural Resources Co., Nexen Inc. (now CNOOC Petroleum North America ULC) and Sasol Ltd.
She received a master’s degree in petroleum engineering while working at Paramount Resources.
Parting advice: In an industry filled with ups and downs, coupled with the digital transformation, Popp feels that the disruptions are just beginning.
“In today’s changing environment, agility is the key,” she says. “The softer skills of creativity, team work and flexibility are going to be in demand now and in the future. Push yourself in uncomfortable directions, whether it be learning a new coding skill or talking to someone who looks nothing like you. The reward always pays out.”