Navigating the entrepreneurial and leadership journey
Migo Kelada is no stranger to the world of consulting engineering. In fact, he began his work as a Mechanical Engineer in 1994 after receiving his Bachelor of Applied Science degree from the University of Regina. Since that time, Migo’s career has been diverse and extensive – from working at various reputable firms to exercising his entrepreneurial spirit and co-founding KFR Engineering in 2009 with his two business partners.
Together, they grew KFR Engineering into a premier mechanical consulting firm in the Edmonton region and the company’s 2018 acquisition brought Migo to CIMA+. Today, we are proud to announce his new appointment as the Vice President of Buildings for Western Canada.
We had the opportunity to chat with Migo to learn more about his career and journey that led to his newly appointed position.
You have had a long-standing career. Can you share some highlights or projects you are most proud of?
“When I moved to Edmonton, I quickly developed a niche in designing mechanical systems for bio-containment laboratories after I had the opportunity and honour to be mentored by Harry Wiber, who designed the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health. I went on to design many high containment labs, including VIDO-InterVac in Saskatoon, which will be instrumental in understanding viruses and vaccines like COVID-19.”
What was your biggest learning as an entrepreneur and how has it shaped who you are as a leader today?
“How to manage people was the most important part for me in becoming a successful entrepreneur. I began this journey early in my career from studying my mentors. I had many good examples along the way of what to do, and more importantly; what not to do. This shaped my leadership style to treat people how I would want to be treated. Be honest, provide opportunities, provide feedback, and treat people fairly.”
As a newly appointed Vice President at CIMA+, what is your main priority?
“My biggest priority is to leverage the KFR Engineering and CIMA+ reputations to continue the growth of the Buildings team across Western Canada. In fact, we have already started growing in Calgary and Vancouver in recent months. The potential in this market is tremendous and I am confident that with the right approach and the right people, we can develop the CIMA+ Buildings team into a leader in Western Canada.”
As a member of the CIMA+ Governance and Ethics Committee, can you tell us what this group focuses on and why this is important for the work we do?
“The committee focuses on ensuring that all employees operate in the professional and ethical manner that is expected of us by our clients and our professional organizations. It is my belief that the trustworthiness of a firm and its design is critical within the industry. If a firm can be relied upon, then the design integrity can be maintained and protected throughout the construction process. Additionally, an ethical firm attracts the best employees who understand its values and operating principles.”
What advice would you give to an engineer who is starting their career?
“I would advise a young engineer starting out to never stop learning and tell them that it is crucial to find mentors. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and take calculated risks. A young engineer needs to understand that mistakes will happen; but the most important thing is to learn from them and go the extra mile to fix them. Lastly, an engineer should network and take every opportunity to cultivate numerous relationships, as you never know where they may lead.”
When you are not busy working as an engineer, where do you spend your time?
“My wife and I love to travel, and last year, we had our biggest highlight when we toured the Egyptian pyramids on camels with our two boys. I am also an avid sports fan and enjoy watching the Edmonton Oilers and Saskatchewan Roughriders. Also, nothing beats a good game of golf. This is where I get most of my energy!”