Rising Star turns side hustle into new career

Rising Star Jocelyn McMinn

One of this year’s Rising Stars has launched a fast-growing tech company that shows no signs of slowing down despite the difficult times.

Jocelyn McMinn is the managing director of Cevian Technologies Ltd., a software company that develops real-time fracturing data acquisition, visualization, standardization and reporting tools.

In November 2019, she formed the tech start-up within Trican Well Service, where she worked in various roles including manager of technical services for 11 years.

“I really have to credit Trican,” she said. “They always recognized internal talent and choose the best person for the job.”

While managing the various engineering departments at Trican, Jocelyn said she had “a side hustle,” developing software including FracRoom and FracNet for the frac sector.

The technologies were so well accepted it became obvious after discussion with clients that there was a company there, which led to her deal with Trican.

Her expertise in software isn’t the usual course for a mechanical engineer.

“Everyone who does mechanical engineering thinks they’ll build cars or airplanes,” she said. “You don’t realize there are a lot of applications in the oil and gas industry (which require mechanical engineering talent). You don’t have to build an airplane.” 

Jocelyn earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Alberta and is currently pursuing an executive MBA from Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business.

She describes her current role as “exciting,” with the firm’s technology helping to reduce manual efforts, create a completions data standard and lower costs.

“The best ideas we get come from our clients,” she said. “It (Cevian’s software) builds on itself to become great.” 

Jocelyn said she has been very fortunate to have been influenced by many great mentors at Trican and elsewhere.

While the industry has faced its financial and other challenges in recent years, she is an optimist.

“As much as things don’t look great now there is still opportunity in this industry,” she said. “It won’t be the $120-a-barrel heyday, but Canada is well positioned for the energy future.” 

She said flexibility is the key when leading a start-up. 

“Most start-ups fail for two reasons: either cash burn or sunk costs,” she said. “You need to pivot to another strategy (if an approach isn’t working).”

An understanding of what innovation is can also play an important role.

“Innovation isn’t inventing,” she said. “It could involve doing something different within an organization.”

She has shared her enthusiasm for life by being involved in several volunteer roles, including with the Calgary Ski Club.

She has also been involved with the Petroleum Services Association of Canada in offering presentations about fracking for the public.

Jocelyn is very optimistic about the future of the Canadian oil and gas industry.

“Oil and gas isn’t going away, especially natural gas,” she said. “Natural gas is an ally to renewables.”

She sees herself continuing with Cevian far into the future.

“The tech sector has neglected the oil and gas industry,” which is why here is so much growth potential in developing software for the sector.

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