Who is Kevan Donald Jess?
Kevan, and his wife of 42 years, Carolyn have been residents of Pineview in St. Albert for 14 years. Their three children and their spouses reside in St. Albert and North Edmonton.
With over 40 years of public service with municipal and the provincial governments, Kevan recently completed his career as Provincial Fire Commissioner with Alberta Municipal Affairs.
Prior to attending the University of Alberta Kevan worked in the oilpatch across Northern Alberta as well as in building and underground utility construction. He graduated from the University of Alberta in 1981. During his university years Kevan was an active volunteer examiner and board member of the Royal Life Saving Society and the National Lifeguard Service.
Kevan has also worked for multiple Alberta municipalities including the Town of Claresholm and the Cities of Edmonton, Lloydminster, and St. Albert prior to taking on the Director of Recreation position with the Westlock Regional Recreation Board in 1981. While in Westlock, Kevan served on the Volunteer Fire Department and was Grand Knight for the Knights of Columbus. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Alberta Recreation and Parks Association.
Kevan began work in 1990 with Alberta Labour as their Regional Fire Services Advisor for the Southern Region out of Lethbridge. His primary role was providing hazard/risk identification and risk management services to municipal and band councils, administration, and fire departments across southern Alberta. Additionally, Kevan co-managed the implementation of the Safety Codes Act across the province which is still used by municipalities to manage the construction and life safety of buildings and facilities throughout Alberta. Kevan has also conducted multiple fire code inspections, fire origin & cause investigations and provided certified fire department operations and leadership training throughout Alberta and in Nunavut.
A major portion of his advisory risk management work involved the review of fire department operations and the creation/revision of fire and emergency services by-laws, Master Plans and regional service agreements related to fire department operations and emergency management with an emphasis on the Municipal Government Act, the Safety Codes Act, and the Emergency Management Act. He has been a part-time Associate Instructor at the Alberta Fire Training School (now Lakeland College’s Emergency Training Centre) in Vermilion since the mid-1990s and holds most National Fire Protection Association fire service certifications.
Kevan served on the parent’s executive of Lethbridge #11 Squadron - Royal Canadian Air Cadets, as hockey team manager for the Lethbridge Athletic Association and was Vice President of the Lethbridge Y’s Men’s Club in support of the local YMCA while working in Lethbridge.
Kevan transferred to the Edmonton office of the new Alberta Emergency Management Agency in 2007 and temporarily filled the roles of Assistant Fire Commissioner and Provincial Operations Manager before being appointed as the province’s Chief Fire Administrator in 2009. This new position offered Kevan direct responsibility for the development and administration of the Alberta Fire Code and the Fire Safety Discipline under the Safety Codes Act. From 2014 to 2016 Kevan was also tasked to serve as the Manager of Flood Recovery Assistance. This temporary role saw Kevan managing the claims of many residents and businesses in Calgary and High River as well as on the Siksika First Nation and the Stoney Nakoda First Nation following the devastating Southern Alberta floods of 2013. In this role he also managed the collaborative multi-disciplinary Rapid Damage Assessment process in 2016 following the Ft. McMurray (Horse River) wildfire.
Kevan has been honoured with the following recognitions:
Recognition Badge – Commonwealth Council, Royal Life Saving Society (UK)
Fire Services Exemplary Service Medal with Bar, Canada
Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
Alberta Emergency Services Medal with Bar
Kevan served as Chief Fire Administrator for Alberta during my time as Minister of Municipal Affairs. His administration of the Alberta Fire Code and the Safety Codes Act was always focussed on the safety of Albertans, their communities and their first responders from a practical and sustainable perspective. I am certain he will bring this community-based perspective to the role of Councillor for the City of St. Albert.”
President and CEO, 13 Ways Inc.
Minister of Municipal Affairs, 2011 to 2013
MLA Battle River – Wainwright 2002 to 2015
In July 2017 Kevan was appointed to the role of Alberta’s Provincial Fire Commissioner implementing Alberta’s Fire and Rescue Strategy across Alberta. This new role for Kevan involved leading provincial government support to municipal, First Nations and industrial fire services and volunteer Search and Rescue organizations as they implemented new strategic fire safety planning focused on organizational risk identification and community risk reduction, and training as well as fire origin and cause investigation and reporting. His team also managed the Wildland Interface Structure Protection Program in 2017, 2018 and 2019 which included organizing structural fire protection resources for the Chuckegg Creek (High Level), Manning, Peerless Trout, Slave Lake and Wabasca wildfires in the spring of 2019.
Kevan currently works as a part-time fire, life safety and emergency management specialist for a Calgary based consultancy firm. He has served on the National Research Council/Codes Canada’s Standing Committee on Hazardous Materials and Activities in developing the National Building and Fire Codes of Canada. Kevan continues to volunteer with Underwriter’s Laboratories Canada (ULC) within their National Standards of Canada development process serving on technical committees for fire alarms, fire apparatus and fire protection equipment. Most recently he completed work as Joint Task Group Chair for ULC on an international multi-stakeholder project conducted for the Standards Council of Canada to develop International Standards Organization – International Working Agreement 37 - (Safety, security and sustainability of cannabis facilities and operations) which has been submitted to ISO for consideration as a set of draft international standards for the cannabis industry.
Kevan currently spends his spare time with his family, continuing home renovations, building furniture and assisting his wife Carolyn in creating crafts for family and friends as well as craft materials for primary students in some St. Albert schools.