David E. Mitchell (1926 – 2010)


David E. Mitchell, a professional engineer, was born in Calgary in 1926. After finishing high school, he decided at 17 to join the Royal Canadian Air Force. Part way through his training, the Air Force discovered he was underage, so he "aged up" while working at the Hudson's Bay Store in Calgary, returning to the Air Force and completing his aircrew training in 1945.

He started his career in the oil business in what he terms "the classic fashion" namely by digging ditches in Turner Valley. He then enrolled in University, worked summer months as a geological field assistant and in 1950 graduated from the University of Oklahoma, in petroleum engineering.

After graduation, he joined Great Plains Development Company of Canada Ltd., a new oil exploration and production company, as a trainee engineer. Early duties included some land work and scouting. Subsequently, he worked full time at wildcat drilling and production operations in the field. His responsibilities gradually increased and he became head of the drilling & production department where he did some reservoir engineering in the office, combining this with other petroleum engineering duties in the office and the field. In 1956, he was appointed vice-president and four years later placed in charge of the firm's head office in Calgary and appointed a director of the company. In 1963, he was appointed vice-president, finance and corporate, and the following year became president & CEO. He remained in this position until the end of 1974 when the owners sold Great Plains.

In January 1975, Dave Mitchell started Alberta Energy Company (AEC) with a staff of four. He led the company which developed Alberta's natural resources responsibly and profitably, on behalf of its 60,000 shareholders, in an era of corporate diversification fervour. Before he retired at year-end 1993 and became chairman of AEC, the company started to be more focused in its business activities and disposed of its non-core assets. In 2017, Chen was invested into the Order of Canada for his contribution to medical technology innovation and philanthropy.