Popp Melanie













Melanie Popp

Completions Engineer, Paramount Resources

Describe a typical day

I'm up at 5:20 to do a workout, get ready, get my son ready (he's 4) and pack him off to day home before I head downtown to work. As the resident hydraulic fracturing expert at Paramount, I work for four different business units depending on their level of activity, so there's always something new going on, which is exciting! My work usually entails collaborating with the BU on a plan, researching and designing said plan and then providing the analysis back to the team. I like the closed loop aspect of the job, and coming up with theories as to what the heck is going on downhole. At the end of my day I pick up my son and we spend family time together before I put him to bed. Being a single parent, I make a point of hiring a babysitter one night a week so I can do "me" things, which is usually playing hockey, doing my volunteer work, or just getting out with friends. It's busy and I rarely sit still and I'm thankful I have the ability to get by on 6-7 hours of sleep routinely.

Perks of your job and things you like about your current company.

We have a great team that we put in place and I've often said that I could be hauling garbage as long as I worked with people I loved. We have a lot of fun and that helps to balance how hard we work. Paramount has some great assets, all with different challenges, so I enjoy the variety that brings to the job. I also like the fact I work for a small company, as that allows for more flexibility when attempting new techniques or practices.

Proudest accomplishments both in and outside of work.

When I first started at Paramount, we were having major fracture placement issues. It was to the point where we thought we may have to abandon the field. At the time, I did a lot of research to source the multiple issues we were having and made design recommendations, and since, we have had no issue with these wells. The work was actually the basis for my master's thesis, which I defended last December.

My biggest personal accomplishment is my son Owen, by far. I heard once that you're not supposed to have pictures of your children in your office because "people won't take you seriously", but I have an entire photo wall. I tell people he is my greatest work. I'm also proud of the relationship that I have with my ex-husband and his family. My focus is to keep the best interests of my child at the priority and that includes having two parents who love him and respect each other.

Current community involvement efforts.

I am currently the co-chair of MentorUP Calgary, a society aimed at enhancing the careers of educated professionals in STEM. I will be transitioning out of this role in the New Year and taking on a more advisory role to allow someone else to work on their leadership. I am also on the committee for the Women in APEGA, leading a working group on bolstering our "Managing Transitions" document which we will be adopted by Engineers Canada as a national document. I also knit a hat a month for the homeless shelter on my commute to downtown.

Why YWE?

I constantly have to keep reminding myself that I'm not that young anymore. I'm 36 and this is my 15th year of practice. However, my whole career I have struggled to find a strong female mentor who had a successful career without sacrificing her family life. As a result, my peer group has done a lot of mentoring each other. I like the idea of the YWE as it creates that support network that was never there when I was early on in my career. I'd like to see a lot more powerful women that embody that feminine grace that makes us effective in the workforce.

What are you reading?

Is it horrible that I don't really read anymore? I do however, always have a magazine by my bed: either Chatelaine or In Style—hey I'm still a girl!. I'm a huge podcast listener as well, as I have an hour commute every day and it keeps my hands free for knitting on the train. I enjoy some of the trivia/game shows on NPR as well as "This American Life" and "Serial", my new favourite.