Welcome to my personal website, GordMcKenna.com

Beyond sharing my passion for engineering, design, and photography with you, my main purpose in creating this website is to encourage you to contact me about how I might be able to help you with any or all of these passions. Or if perhaps you are looking for a great place to work and you are one of those people who is rather exceptional and you might fit into our BGC Engineering team, please contact me.



Gord’s CV/Resume Gord’s Bio Gord’s technical papers Gord’s Photos on Flickr Landform design short courses





Recent events….






  • April 21, 2014. Richmond, BC, Canada. I took a one day flash photography portraiture course with 40 other students today. We focussed on using speedlights (camera flashes rather than big studio flashes) to light models and events. There was a day-long classroom style session followed by an evening master session photographing four models and receiving one on one training from the instructors. I learned some new lighting techniques, how to configure my cameras and flashes to all work together wirelessly, and got some good experience shooting. It’s nice to have these extra skills for photographing friends and family events. https://www.flickr.com/photos/gord99/sets/72157644788931363/


  • May 5-6, 2014. Edmonton, AB, Canada. Our Expert Panel on the Potential for New and Emerging Technologies to Reduce the Environmental Impacts of Oil Sands Development, as part of the Council of Canadian Academies, had its second meeting where we focussed on guiding the research and focussing the report. Our task is to answer the question: “How could new and existing technologies be used to reduce the environmental footprint of oil sands development on air, water, and land?” It is a delight to work with such a diverse, talented, and experienced panel and with the keen, professional, and efficient Council staff. http://www.scienceadvice.ca/en/assessments/in-progress/oil-sands.aspx


  • May 14, 2014. Vancouver, BC, Canada. I was honoured to sit on an expert panel at the CIM 2014 Conference ESRS Session: Tailings — Pushing the Boundaries. We had about 50 people in attendance which gave us a good opportunity to discuss methods of making step changes to mine tailings management from  design, planning, environmental, and sustainable mining perspectives. There is talk of a special issue of the CIM Bulletin to highlight work in this area and findings from our session. http://vancouver2014.cim.org/en/Conference/Technical-Program.aspx


  • May 14, 2014. Vancouver, BC, Canada. The Syncrude Sandhill Fen received a 2014 TSM Award for Environmental Excellence for “innovative projects that raise the bar for corporate responsibility in the Canadian Mining Sector”. At BGC, we’re pleased to be part of the design for this instrumented watershed/wetland project and to contribute to the ongoing world-class research at the Syncrude Canada Ltd Mildred Lake oil sands mining operation. http://www.mining.ca/towards-sustainable-mining/tsm-awards


  • June 2014. Calgary, AB, Canada. Presented my 25th short course, Landform design for oil sands, for a BGC client.




Upcoming events….

  •  October  2014. Vancouver, BC , Canada. Sustainable Mining NOW, my website and book with Rob Abbott is due out. Finishing my writing on this new book now. Watch for it.



2013 events….

  • December 11-13 2013. Vancouver, BC , Canada. BGC Engineering has its annual general meeting week where we bring all staff (and their partners) from all our offices around the world for training, communications, and to help keep the “one team” spirit of BGC as we continue to grow. This event is always a major highlight of the year, especially the short talks by junior staff on their projects of the last year.




  • November 12, 2013. Sparwood, BC, Canada. In town for watershed research meetings, I stopped by the Sparwood Big Green Truck for some November twilight photos.


  • November 8, 2013. Vancouver, BC, Canada. I stopped on my way home from work this evening and caught some nice Granville Island night panorama photos. November twilight is my favourite light.


  • November 5, 2013. Banff, Alberta, Canada. Julian McGreevy and Rosa An presented papers we coauthored on creating useful mine closure plans for mining landscapes and creating regional mine closure plans for mining regions, providing insight into how to improve the effectiveness of the mine closure planning process. The papers were well received.  Tailings and Mine Waste 2013  participants noted the inherent challenges inherent with existing planning processes.



  • October 2013. Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  We put on our Landform Design Shortcourse  twice for two large oil sands companies in Calgary, working with staff to design virtual and real landforms and mining landscapes. It is always such a pleasure to work with multidisciplinary teams, to teach and to learn.


  • October 4, 2013. Santiago, Chile. BGC presented “Seminario de Planificación de Cierre Minero: Nueva Normativa Chilena de Cierre de Minas Oportunidades y Beneficios” (Mine Closure Planning Seminar: New regulations for the Chilean Mining Industry — opportunities and benefits). The day-long seminar was well attended and we taught and discussed with the participants (all from the Chilean mining industry) how to comply with the new regulations and how to benefit from creating and following good closure plans. Photos from my trip (and photos from a past trip in 2010). I was fortunate to have a great translator for my two talks in the seminar.



  • June 12-18, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, GTNP.  Just got back from a great photography course in Grand Teton National Park (in Wyoming) hosted by Dan Ballard. It was a great group of ten students and three instructors, on the road every morning at 430am, finishing up most nights at 10pm. The main focus was training, but we also got some really good light and some even better skies, and all returned with numerous great shots and a new way of looking at the world. I’d highly recommend Dan’s courses. My GTNP photos are posted on my Flickr Site.



  • March 2, 2013, Calgary, Canada. I was thrilled to be asked to join the Shell oil sands Tailings Geotechnical Advisory Panel. It is an honour to be a part of this panel and to provide review to the Shell Muskeg River and Jackpine mines.


  • March 2013, Maui, Hawaii. We had a great vacation in Hawaii — photos.



  • February 2013. Calgary, Canada: Kicking off work on the third edition of the CEMA Wetland Design Manual for planning, design, construction, operation, and certification of wetlands in the Athabasca Oil Sands of Alberta. A mix of the team from the end pit lake guide and some new experts from near and far.


  • February 20, 2013. Vancouver, Canada: Presenting my first UBGC Panorama Photography lunch ‘n learn at BGC Engineering for interested staff in Vancouver and with video links to our other offices in North and South America.


  • January 28, 2013. Edmonton, Canada: Held a half-day workshop for the University of Alberta 4th year mining engineering undergraduate class on “Closure Planning and Landform Design.” Terrific bunch of 32 students who worked well in teams working up a real-life landform design. Jordana Fair, also of BGC, was a co-presenter.


  •  January 2013. Phoenix, Arizona: We had a great vacation and enjoyed touring around. My vacation photos posted here





Earlier events








Sunrise on the Badwater Salt Flats in Death Valley, California (USA). (Photo by Courtenay Gilbert http://courtenaygilbert.com/)