Leadership Team

Francisco spent most of his thirty-two-year career in the industry on applied R&D related to production operations, with Petrobras, in Brazil, between 1983 and 1996, and with C-FER, in Canada, since 1997.

Francisco received the 2013 SPE Production and Operations international award, for his distinguished contributions to petroleum engineering along his career.  He is considered an industry expert in the area of artificial lift, and he has extensive technical knowledge of offshore production systems and heavy oil production operations.  

Francisco became C-FER’s Managing Director in 2012.  In this position, he acts as the company CEO and responds directly to the C-FER Board of Directors.  

Francisco continues to provide senior technical advice to a variety of projects, to try and ensure the quality of their deliverables, and to nurture long-term relations with key clients, including identification of their R&D needs.

Francisco holds a PhD degree in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Tulsa.  He is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Maher Nessim, PhD, PEng, FCAE, is Chief Engineer and C-FER Fellow. Maher has a PhD in structural reliability and over 35 years of experience in engineering design, research and management.  During the past 25 years, his technical work focused on risk and reliability analysis and its applications to a variety of engineering systems.

Between 1993 and 2009, he led C-FER’s efforts in the pipeline research area, developing a strong research and development program in risk and reliability-based design and integrity management of pipelines.  He also held responsibility for all of C-FER’s operations in 1999/2000 and 2009/2011.

He is the initiator and initial manager of the PIRAMID joint industry project, manager of the PRCI series of projects resulting in the development of the reliability based design and assessment approach incorporated in Annex O and the joint industry project that developed the limit states design approach proposed for Annex C of CSA Z662.

 He has authored and presented over 100 papers on risk and reliability analysis, lectured extensively on the subject and provided consulting service worldwide on risk based design and integrity management issues.

 He is a member of the CSA Z662 Design Technical Sub Committee, Class Location task Force, Chair of the CSA Annex C/O Task Force and the Risk Management Task Force, and has been a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineers since 2013.

Cam Matthews, MSc, PEng, obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Manitoba in 1979 and a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Alberta in 1982. He has been working at C-FER Technologies since 1985. He is currently a C-FER Fellow.

He has been involved with Progressing Cavity Pumping (PCP) systems since 1987 and has had a lead role in several Joint Industry Projects that C-FER has conducted, some of which have had upwards of thirty participating companies. He was instrumental in the development of C-FER’s PCP course and has been an instructor in the course since its inception. Some of Mr. Matthews’s earliest and most in-depth work in PCPs has been centered on wear of tubing caused by PCP rod strings. He has extensively studied the effects of how wells were drilled on the run lives of PCPs later installed in them.

Other major projects that Mr. Matthews has led include the development and patenting of a Downhole Oil-Water Separation system, various studies of the issues related to sand control, and a study of the thermal and geomechanical issues related to drilling and producing wells in the MacKenzie delta in the Canadian arctic. In addition, he has coordinated several programs for testing and qualification of equipment intended for use in high pressure, high-temperature gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico.

\Mr. Matthews holds four patents and has published and presented numerous papers on a variety of topics.

Qishi Chen has over 25 years of experience in specialized engineering consulting, applied research and project management.

In technical areas related to pipeline engineering, he has been a project manager or technical lead on compressive strain limits for buried pipelines, seismic vulnerability assessment, reliability-based buckling and collapse models for corroded pipes, pipe-soil interaction modelling for frost heave, surface loading effect, effectiveness of mechanical damage prevention, failure consequence modelling for gas and oil pipelines, risk-based leak detection requirements, and upheaval and local buckling of composite pipes.

In his current role at C-FER, he leads a team of 25 engineers and technologists to deliver specialized consulting, full-scale testing and applied research services to key clients in the pipeline industry.


Jorge Robles, MSc, PEng, has over 25 years of experience in development, evaluation and implementation of technologies for the oil industry in leadership and management roles. He has been an asset for several well-known companies in the oil industry, including ConocoPhillips, PDVSA and Weatherford International, where he has developed strategies and led projects in the areas of production and cost optimization, plant capacity expansions and manufacturing process improvements.

In 2017, he joined C-FER as Director of the Exploration and Production Department where he is responsible for the strategic planning and operations in the areas of Drilling, Completion and Production.  

In addition to his leadership skills, Mr. Robles is acknowledged as an expert in artificial lift technologies. He has co-chaired two SPE workshops about heavy oil and bitumen, and he has also patented two devices for Progressing Cavity Pumping (PCP) systems.

Mr. Robles holds a BSc degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Zulia (1990) and an MSc degree in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Texas (1996).


Dawna Bergum joined C-FER in 2005.  Dawna has over 10 years of experience at C-FER working as a human resources generalist - for the most part as a Human Resources department of one.   She started at C-FER as an HR Assistant which eventually progressed to HR Coordinator, HR Advisor and most recently in the position of Manager, Human Resources.

As a member of the Senior Leadership Team, the Manager Human Resources works to implement HR practices that support C-FER’s long-term strategic objectives and is responsible for providing senior level human resources support in the following areas:  staffing, employee relations, operational and human resource policies, performance management, compensation and benefits, and training and development. 

Prior to joining C-FER Ms. Bergum had numerous previous years of experience as a legal assistant mainly in the areas of financing and corporate commercial law.   She completed the Human Resources Management Certificate (with distinction) from the University of Alberta in 2010 and went on to obtain her Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) designation later that same year.

Ms. Bergum is currently an active member of the Human Resources Institute of Alberta (HRIA), the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the Canadian Payroll Association (CPA) and an associate member of the Consulting Engineers of Alberta (CEA).

Brian Wagg completed his undergraduate degree in Geological Engineering at the University of Waterloo in 1988. He subsequently completed a Master of Science degree in Engineering Geology in 1990 at the same university.

Mr. Wagg joined C-FER in 1990, working in the Production Technology Department on various projects related to cold heavy oil production operations. In 2005 he assumed the role as Manager of the Drilling and Completions Department. His team was involved in projects related to design and qualification of completion equipment for High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT) environments and evaluation of risk related to unplanned releases from wells and gas storage facilities.

In 2009 he assumed the role of Manager, New Technology Initiatives with the mandate to assist C-FER’s Pipeline and Structures Division in expanding their technical offering to industry. His new role of Director, Business Development and Planning, which he took on in 2012, adds the responsibility of identifying strategic initiatives for C-FER as a whole.  



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