Meet the Speakers

Brett Allen
Manager Shovels and Production | Aurora North Mine Site

Brett Allen began his career in the oilsands in 2004 with a contract company that had work on multiple mine sites in the Wood Buffalo region.

Brett was raised on a small farm in Southern Alberta and is a Red Seal Electrician and Power Systems Electrician by trade. He started and completed his first trade as an electrical apprentice working in Oil/ Gas and heavy industrial sites throughout southern Alberta and Saskatchewan. After joining Syncrude in 2006 Brett completed his second trade in Power Systems and then moved into his first leadership role in 2009. He has held multiple fulfilling leadership roles across Syncrude starting in Utilities Operations/ Maintenance then Capital and Small Projects transitioning to Mine Maintenance and currently mine operations.  

Brett met his wife Shana in 2004 and they were married in 2009. Together they are proud parents to 4 previously used cats and Shana has recently submitted a contract amendment for a K9. They enjoy travelling, camping, gardening (best lawn in the city), wood working, metal work/ blacksmithing and many other outdoor activities. Brett is a past president of the Fort McMurray Shriners and is an active volunteer for the Fort McMurray Fish and Game. 


Ken Bell
Vice President, Production, Mining & Extraction | Syncrude

Ken Bell’s experience in the mining industry spans over two decades and includes a vast amount of leadership across operations, safety leadership, strategic planning, tailings and learning and competency.

His most recent appointment brings him back to Syncrude’s Mildred Lake and Aurora sites where he began in 2001as a mining engineer.     

Born in Selkirk, Manitoba (Treaty 1), Ken’s family moved to Fort McMurray, AB (Treaty 8) in 1984.  After graduating from the University of Alberta (UofA) with a Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering in 2001, Ken began working at Syncrude where his father worked before him. He also holds a master’s degree in Natural Resources, Energy and Environment from the UofA.  

Ken is a proud member of the Métis Nation of Alberta and McMurray Métis 1935 and gives back to the community in many capacities. He sits on the board of the Alberta Chamber of Resources (ACR), Mining Industry Association of Canada (MIAC) Canadian Mining Innovation Council (CMIC), Fort McMurray Airport Authority (FMAA) and Indigenous Works.   

Away from the office, Ken is a father of two teenagers and enjoys hunting, fishing, and sledding. 


David Harcus
Research Engineer, Industrial Sensor Technologies | InnoTech Alberta

David Harcus is a senior researcher in the Industrial Sensors Engineering Team with InnoTech Alberta and has been with the company since 2010. Here, he specialized in the design and development of custom monitoring systems for field equipment and processes, with involvement from conception and design, through to field deployment, monitoring and data analytics.  

Over the years he has led several MARIOS (Materials and Reliability in Oil Sands) Consortium projects, developing new technology aimed at reducing the cost of equipment wear and maintenance. Along the way, he has been instrumental in the developing several hardware systems and methods to test, monitor, and evaluate mining materials and equipment in both the lab and the field.  

He is now the portfolio lead for the MARIOS Mining portfolio. This portfolio looks at the design, materials, and operation of oilsands mining equipment, with focus on monitoring, for the purpose of extending equipment wear life. Some of the portfolio activities that he’s led include developing a method to monitor and objectively compare rope shovel GET wear performance, and a project to develop custom hardware for monitoring haul truck tire integrity. He’s also involved in prototyping and testing of cutting-edge wear protection for ground engaging tools (GETs), as well as a lab-based fullscale shovel GET wear testing platform design.  

David is a Professional Engineer with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alberta. 


Maddy Phaurest
Senior Mine Engineer | KMC Mining

Maddy Phaurest is a professional engineer currently working as a Senior Mine Engineer at KMC Mining. A 2016 University of Alberta Graduate, Maddy also completed a graduate certificate in project management through Royal Roads university in 2021. She has previously worked at both the Muskeg River and Jackpine mines at Albian under Shell and CNRL in dyke, dam, dewatering, and tailings short range planning. She also spent time at Centerra Gold’s Mt. Milligan mine as one of their Senior Tailings Engineers.  Maddy has a passion for safety both at work and at home, and enjoys working with large teams to complete projects safely and efficiently. 

Andrea Bauer
Director Technical Services & Asset Management | KMC Mining

Andrea holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Mining and Mineral Engineering) from the University of Alberta. She began her career as Mine Performance Engineer at KMC’s operations in Northern Alberta, progressing to Manager and then Director of Technical Services & Assets. Through her career, she has been instrumental in leading teams in the development of a robust, multi-component and all season Emissions Reduction Program and Idle Management Systems. Andrea has experience leading strategic teams for Continuous Improvement, Project Estimating and Asset Management including being Chairperson of the Large Tire Users Group of the Surface Mining and Research Technology (SMART) organization. She is a member of APEGA and past member of Canadian Institute of Mining (CIM). Andrea is a volunteer with many non-profit organizations. She has served as a board member of ShareLife Foundation, an organization that sponsors initiatives that enhance education, relief of poverty and offers lasting hope to those in marginalized communities. 


Brent Boutilier
Senior Project Manager | Syncrude

Brent is a Senior Project Manager with R&D’s Reliability & Performance Improvement team.  

He has been with Syncrude for 30+ years and has been with the R&D Department for the last 5 years.  

Brent spent the majority of his career in Mobile Maintenance & Reliability. Prior to his Research assignment he led the Mine Mobile Engineering team focusing on GRS implementation and Equipment strategy development. 

Brent is currently focusing on next generation mining equipment and technology to improve Mining efficiencies and minimize energy costs. 


Gary Fisher
Subject Matter Expert – Materials, Director – MARIOS Consortium, Program Lead – AMFI | InnoTech Alberta 

Dr Fisher is the Subject Matter Expert for materials engineering and Director of the MARIOS consortium at InnoTech Alberta in Edmonton.  His areas of expertise include wear and corrosion-resistant materials and surface technologies for aerospace, petrochemical, energy and mining applications.  Dr. Fisher is co-inventor on three US patents for coatings used in the petrochemical industry and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Alberta.  He is a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining.  His current research is focused on advanced manufacturing and materials for the mining sector. 


Paul McGloin
Director Mine Mobile Maintenance & Reliability, Mildred Lake Site | Syncrude

Paul McGloin possesses 24 years of experience in the oilsands. Beginning his career with a contract company in 1999, working across several oilsand mines in the Wood Buffalo region. Paul is a Red Seal Heavy Equipment Technician by trade, joining Syncrude in 2003. Paul moved into his first leadership role in 2008 and has held multiple leadership roles within the mining maintenance and production organizations at the Syncrude Aurora and Mildred Lake mining sites. 

Born and raised in Fort McMurray, AB, Paul became passionate about mining machinery at a young age. Following his father’s career path as a Heavy Equipment Technician, Paul completed his trade certification at Keyano College and is a second-generation Syncrude employee.  

Paul is a proud husband and a father of two young children. Together with his wife, Lindsey, both born and raised in Fort McMurray, they share a strong connection to the region and are passionate about the community. Paul and his family enjoy the outdoors, spending time at the lake – fishing, camping, and quadding. Paul also enjoys hockey, both coaching and playing in Fort McMurray.  


Hugh Roth
Senior Metallurgy Associate | Syncrude Research & Development

Hugh is a Senior Metallurgy Associate in the Reliability & Performance Improvement Team at Syncrude R&D. He joined Syncrude R&D 14 years ago.  He completed a B.Sc. in Metallurgical Engineering at the University of Alberta and then a Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of Cambridge.  His current areas of focus are the friction welding of tungsten carbide for wear resisting components and the application of robotics for site inspection and maintenance activities. 


Shaofeng Sun
Advanced materials engineer | Imperial oil

Shaofeng Sun, Advanced materials engineer at Imperial oil. Joined imperial oil in 2012, since then she has been focusing on mining surface equipment integrity and reliability improvement to uplift production and reduce Opex. She has steered projects from mine mobile equipment (shovel, truck etc), to plant dry and wet equipment, like crusher, slurry piping, pumps etc.