This is the personal web page of Gord McKenna, landform designer, geotechnical engineer, lecturer/writer, pilot, and photographer. I'm hoping you'll contact me so we can talk about your experience and possibilities for collaboration. If you're looking for my firm, McKenna Geotechnical Inc, it can be found here.


My self-appointed mission in life is to have landform design as a common activity at most mines worldwide. Landform design operates at landform, landscape, and regional scales. Design teams include planners, engineers, geologists, hydrologists, geochemists, keepers of traditional knowledge, ecologists, and operations and reclamation specialists. I have led the design and construction of 20 large mine reclamation watersheds, with 30 wetlands and 92 km of watercourses. See McKenna Geotechnical for more information  and check out the online version of my new educational pamphlet on landform design.


I run a firm, McKenna Geotechnical Inc, that specializes in landform design, tailings and mine waste management, and reclamation. I have over 30 years of experience providing expertise to mines in Canada and internationally. Working with teams of specialists, consultants, and practitioners, I have developed numerous mine closure plans, landform and watershed designs, and technical guidance documents for end pit lakes, wetlands, covers, tailings, and former mine sites. I am privileged to sit on several tailings review boards for the mining industry.


I love teaching landform design courses and mentoring practitioners. In 2019, I was appointed adjunct professor at the University of Alberta. With colleagues, I've put on nearly 40 landform design courses for conferences, universities, and mining companies. The most enjoyable days were those when courses were held entirely in the field with Alberta First Nations, which allowed us to teach one another, first-hand, the characteristics of the natural and reconstructed landscapes. I've produced 90 published papers and book chapters on sustainable mining, geotechnical engineering, oil sands, landform design, and mine reclamation.


Gord and piper
Flying has been a passion of mine ever since my first flight in a DC3 in the '60s, stoked by three summers in helicopters in Labrador in the '80s, and cinched with a 2009 flight across the country from Vancouver to St Pierre et Miquelon at 2000 feet in a Cessna 182. I got my private pilot's license at Pacific Flying Club at CZBB a few years ago and recently bought a Piper Warrior (C-GWDG). Let's go!


Photography is one of my most cherished pursuits and dovetails nicely with my engineering work. Mine sites are often about five hours or more away from the airport, so I am often traveling at the end of the day looking for the light. Panorama photography is my specialty —  as shown on this site, my Flickr site and on Facebook. The mechanics are pretty straightforward; making it artistic and memorable is the challenge. You will often find me out before the dawn, waiting on the light.