Melissa Kuechler - Ywe

Melissa Kuechler

Geologist, Laricina Energy Ltd.

Describe a typical day

I’m fortunate to be working in a small, private company, which means I rarely have an ordinary day.  My job is dynamic and evolves from week to week.  In the three years I’ve been at Laricina Energy Ltd. I’ve had the opportunity to perform geological and resource evaluations over various leases; helping collect core samples in the field, performing thin section assessments, and evaluating tons of rocks!  In addition to my daily geological work, I lead our annual four-week Geology 101 course for our newly employed, intern and summer student engineers.

Most recently, I had the opportunity to perform a detailed evaluation of Laricina’s Grosmont project. This involved evaluating and logging carbonate cores, collecting specific geological data and developing 3D Geological Models for simulation use by our engineering team. Experiences like this, coupled with the support I receive from our leadership team, means I  constantly feel encouraged to expand upon my knowledge and professional strengths. The opportunities feel endless!


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

Due to Laricina’s small size and the value we place on innovation, I am able to work with smart, interesting and motivating people!  This means I am continually challenged, as I’m expected to excel! Some of my core responsibilities involve assessing different types of rock and translating that physical information into flexible, digital data sets.  Each day I am challenged to find creative ways to interpret, illustrate, and display my work- forcing me to think outside of the box!  As a result, and due to the small size of our geology team, I am able to experiment and use all the skills I’ve acquired from my previous employment at other Oil and Gas companies.

In addition, determining how our engineers view and utilize data teaches me to adopt new skills and create long-term strategies that will effectively satisfy Laricina’s current and future business needs. My job is exhilarating since Laricina is one of the first companies to produce out of the carbonates. Learning to unlock the potential of this formation will contribute to the future of energy for decades to come and I am fortunate to be part of this new chapter in our history. 

Proudest accomplishments both in and outside of work.

I am a geologist, which for me, means much more than just having a degree. I began my career in Oil and Gas as a Document Manager, transitioned to an Administrative Assistant— the youngest in the company at the time—   before finally deciding to return to school to become a Geological Technologist.  I frugally saved my money while working full time, and put myself through night school to receive my GIS Certification. Once certified, I transitioned to a Geological Technologist role but soon realized I wanted to know more about the work I was doing. Luckily, I was able to convince my organization’s leadership to support me in returning to university to get a Geology Degree.  Once again, I worked fulltime while pursuing my studies.

I had encouragement from many friends to push on but was also discouraged by some who told me that being a geologist is very hard and it’d be better for me to focus on being a good technologist.  I elected to hear the positive encouragement and forged ahead; after  nearly ten years, meeting my goal!  After succeeding and becoming a geologist, I believe that I can overcome any daily obstacle.   In the words of Norton Juster, “so many things are possible just as long as you don’t know they’re impossible.”

Thoughts on the future of the industry as it relates to your field.

Paper and pencils are slowly becoming a thing of the past.  The availability of spatial data is changing the face of geology. Learn the software & be okay with it!

Current community involvement efforts.

Due to the challenging route I took to achieve my goal, it’s become a passion of mine to mentor and support others in their career development.  This year, I have had the opportunity to instigate, as well as lead, our first annual “Operation Minerva” program at Laricina. The program has women in our company mentor and encourage female grade 8 students to consider taking courses and/or pursuing careers in science, math and technology. It’s incredibly important to me to be an open and honest mentor to others, especially young women, as they begin to think about their futures and potential careers.  Partnering with these individuals, who have the  potential to impact our businesses and economy down the road, helps me feel like I’m slowly making our world a better place and contributing to a much more secure future.  I do not believe in wishing for a better life – I believe in creating it. 

Why YWE?

Partnering with other women to encourage and support our developing careers.

What are you reading?

“Smoke and Mirrors: Financial Myths that will ruin your retirement dreams” (some of it is good, some, not so much)
“Silver-Tonged Devil”