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S P R I N G 2 0 0 9 WWW. ENG I N E E R I N G . U A L B E RTA . C A

Keeping in Touch with



student project

Faculty’s CalgaryConnection

International studentto university president

Stepping intoManagement Roles

How a third-year project shapedcareers and changed lives

Randy Marsden(Electrical ’89)

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Spring 2009 U of A Engineer2

As the second century of engineering education at the University of Alberta begins tounfold, we reflect upon and celebrate the success of Campaign 2008. The incredible

support received over the course of this campaign from our alumni, corporate partners,friends, and government entities has allowed us to carefully manage our growth so thatwe can meet the strong demand for our programs—while continuing to provide the highquality education for which our Faculty of Engineering is known.

The real lesson of this campaign has been that every gift, no matter howlarge or small, has played a part in the transformation of our Faculty. Overthe course of Campaign 2008, we have received over 20,000 gifts from ouralumni—on average one for every engineering graduate since 1908. We wereable to multiply the collective power of these gifts in discussions with othersupportive groups such as government agencies and foundations, which thenmatched or otherwise augmented the significant cumulative amount. A keyexample of what can be made possible through this type of amplification ofprivate support is our scholarship program—one of the most comprehensiveavailable to new engineering students in all of North America.

The generosity of our alumni and corporate partners has also helpedconstruct the classrooms, laboratories, and administrative space to facilitate

our growth. It is impossible to underestimate the importance of our physical facilities increating a strong identity and sense of community within the Faculty of Engineering. Overthe past nine years, as the walls of our new buildings have gone up, separations betweendepartments and disciplines have come down. The physical interaction between students,faculty and staff has led to collaborations and connections never before imagined.

The success of Campaign 2008 has allowed for an integrated transformation where allareas—teaching, research, and infrastructure—have grown simultaneously, resulting in awhole that is greater than the sum of its parts. The truly outstanding support receivedfrom our students, our alumni, our corporate partners, and other friends has shown usthat we are on the right course.

On behalf of the students, faculty, and staff of the Faculty of Engineering, I express ourheartfelt appreciation for the commitment you—our alumni and friends—have shown andcontinue to show for one of the premier engineering programs in North America. Wewould not be the Faculty we are today without your assistance. Thank you!

David T. Lynch, PhD, PEngDean of Engineering

VISION To be one of the

largest and most accomplished

engineering teaching and

research centres, a leader in

North America.

Message UofAEngineerU of A Engineer is the Faculty

of Engineering alumni magazine.It is published three times a year bythe Dean’s Office and is distributedto Faculty of Engineering alumni,

friends, students and staff.

Dean of EngineeringDavid T. Lynch

(PhD Chemical ’82), PEng

Acting Assistant Dean,External RelationsLaurie Shinkaruk

External Relations teamStephan Bogner, Peggy Hansen,

Nena Jocic-Andrejevic, Linda Kelly,Leanne Nickel, Jamie Reid

Publisher/Managing EditorRichard Cairney

Copy EditorScott Rollans

Art DirectionHalkier + Dutton Strategic Design

Contributing writers and photographersBlue Fish Studios, Andrea Collins,

Phoebe Dey, Judy Monchuk,Julia Necheff, Mike Sadava, Bruce White,

U of A Creative Services

Send Comments to:Richard Cairney

Faculty of EngineeringE6-050 Engineering Teaching

and Learning ComplexUniversity of Alberta

Edmonton, AB T6G 2V4Tel: 780.492.4514 or 1.800.407.8354

Fax: 780.492.0500E-mail: [emailprotected]

Website: http://www.engineering.ualberta.ca

Change of address:[emailprotected]

Spring 2009 Issue 26

Publications Mail AgreementNo. 40051128

Return undeliverable Canadianaddresses to:Faculty of Engineering,University of AlbertaE6-050 Engineering Teachingand Learning ComplexEdmonton, AB T6G 2V4

e-mail: [emailprotected]

MISSION To prepare top

quality engineering professionals,

to conduct world-leading research,

and to celebrate the first-class

reputation and outstanding

accomplishments of alumni.

VALUES Dedication, integrity,

professionalism, and excellence

in teaching, research, and service

to the global economy and


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of ContentsTable S p r i n g 2 0 0 9

5 Calgary presenceA new street-level office in down-town Calgary is strengthening theFaculty of Engineering’s connectionsto alumni and partners.


6 Big ShoesEngineers are applying theirmanagement skills in the boardroomand in service to the community, andthe Faculty of Engineering is helpingequip students with managementskills early in their careers.


11 Discover E DiscoveriesThree former Discover E engineeringcamp instructors learned somethingabout themselves: they love to teach.Today, they follow that passion asFaculty of Engineering professors.

14 The Never-EndingStudent ProjectRandy Marsden and Michael Tanneset out to help a disabled man withtheir third-year project. It changedlives, created new technologies, andshaped careers.

19 A History of ServiceDoug Dale’s family has a historywith the U of A. Knowing the impacteducation had on his father’s life andon his own family, Dale takes pride ingiving back in any way he can.

22 From Student to PresidentGuaning Su seemed to cherish everychallenge that has come his way, fromworking on a beet farm asa student in the early 1970s, topresiding over Singapore NanyangTechnological University today.


4 Letter to the Editor

34 Crosshairs —State of MindThe Peng-Robinson Equation ofState is simple and elegant and,unlike many such equations,it works. Developed in themid-1970s, it has had a remarkableimpact on the way oil and gasindustries work.

38 In Memoriam

39 Kudos

26 Guru of GadgetryPete Pachal’s career has takenan interesting twist, fromengineering to journalism.Pachal edits DVICE, a technologyreview blog run by NBC. The sitesates his curiosity about allthings high-tech, from solar-powered submarines to “shockresistant” watches.

28 Canada’s FirstEnergy MegaprojectFrom the 1960s to the early1990s, Canada’s nuclear industrywas on a roll, with 22 reactorsbuilt across the country. U of Aengineers played a significantrole in the industry’s develop-ment and success.

32 The GiftGary and Graeme Wicentowichstarted the Engineering HeadShave when their father wasdiagnosed with cancer in 2003.Today, it’s an annual event thathonours their father andprovides support to cancerpatients at the Cross CancerClinic.

37 Thank You!The Faculty of Engineering putsyour gifts to work—and offerssincere thanks for all gifts greatand small.




Spring 2009 U of A Engineer 3


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Spring 2009 U of A Engineer4

Most of us see convoca-tion day once. Most of

us listen to one honorarydegree recipient’s address. Inone day we share what isquite likely the biggest day ofour lives with family and withclassmates. We celebrate ourachievements. We celebratewho we have become; we

celebrate who we will become. We bid ourschool and friends good-bye.

For most of us, this day comes but once.Therein lies its beauty. Convocation is a dayamong days. It is a magical day, like no other.

Those of us who make our living on cam-pus, though, see this ritual like clockwork. It

Convocation draws near

Dear Richard,

Thank you for sending the 2009U of A Engineering Calendar andthe Fall 2008 issue of the U of AEngineer. Great to have them back!You must be on a steep learningcurve about the Faculty, taking overfrom Sherrell Steele, who did a veryfine job.

I was an undergraduate studentin E.E. at U of A from 1955 to 1959,which then resided in the Old PowerHouse. From 1966 to 1996 I was amember of the academic staff in theDepartment of Electrical Engineering.I am now enjoying life as ProfessorEmeritus at the coast in B.C.

If I may, I would like to add anadditional brief historical perspectiveto the article on the ECE Department.First of all, the first head of the EEDept. was Dr. Hector MacLeod,from 1924 to 1936. He was a truepioneer. He subsequently went on to

Letter to the Editor



never loses its mystique, its sense of purposeand tradition.

Convocation reminds us of better daysahead. The potential each of our graduandscarries bursts the seams of convocation week.This sense of possibility is a potent force notcatalogued in textbooks or labs, but it isexpended in every success and every failure(for surely failures offer lessons) that theseyoung men and women have experienced. Thissense of possibility is what carries us forward.

Even in these uncertain times ourgraduates have unlimited possibilities. Beforethem lie more options than they know. Theyare equipped to meet the challenges ahead.They possess drive, curiosity and creativity,and a way of thinking, a way of approaching

problems, that will serve them and theircommunities well.

This is the first full issue of U of AEngineer I’ve had the pleasure of editing. Itspages are filled with stories of potentialfulfilled. Our alumni demonstrate their abili-ty to overcome challenges, to innovate, toweather storms, and to follow their passions.

I hope you enjoy this edition as much asour team has enjoyed producing it.

Please send comments, story ideas, andsuggestions to [emailprotected]

Richard Cairney


UBC to become the first head of EEthere, and subsequently Dean.

The two references above are justtwo of a large number that refer tohim. For his pioneering contributionto Electrical Engineering Educationin Western Canada, MacLeod wasawarded the MacNaughton GoldMedal by the Canadian Region ofthe Institute of Electrical andElectronics Engineers (IEEE).

Until the Leduc No. 1 oil wellblew in after the Second WorldWar, Alberta was a poor province,even defaulting on a maturing bondissue during the Depression. Thepossibilities open to the universityleaders to grow their departmentsin those days were constrainedcompared to the plenty that has fol-lowed subsequently, so must beviewed in context. For example, theEE Department when I was a stu-dent in the late 1950s had one war-

surplus typewriter; it was highlyprized, as it had a wide carriage, sothat a standard page could be putin sideways as well.

The department had also justsuccessfully completed the challengeof educating a huge post-war under-graduate class in shifts, includingSaturday classes. Professor Harle,who was then the department head,finally had some resources to makeappointments to expand the field ofexpertise of the department. Yourarticle rightly did mention the contri-butions of Professor Porteous in thefield of electronics and communica-tions. Professor Ron Philips becamevice president of facilities and ser-vices, and oversaw the constructionof many university buildings. Thesecond initiative of Harle was theappointment of Professor Y.J. Kingmain the area of controls. Subsequently,resources became more readily

available to expand these areas andadd others, such as microwaves, etc.,as mentioned in the article.

Two illustrious early EE gradu-ates of note are George Sinclair(MSc 1935) and Edward C. Jordan(MSc 1936). Both did research fortheir graduate degrees under thesupervision of MacLeod on the pio-neering CKUA transmitter. Sinclairbecame a leader in the field of elec-trical engineering in Canada andfounded Sinclair RadioLaboratories. Jordan became aleader in electrical engineering edu-cation at the University of Illinois,Urbana; he authored many highlyregarded books. Both men receivedmany distinguished awards for theirprofessional contributions.

Best wishes,Paul A. Goud (Electrical ’59)Professor Emeritus

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Anew street-level office in downtownCalgary is strengthening relationshipsbetween the Faculty of Engineering

and its alumni and partners in southernAlberta. On January 28 and 29, the Universityof Alberta officially opened its newU of A Calgary Centre, celebrating relation-ships old and new. The Faculty of Engineeringcontinues its presence in Calgary with itsCo-op Education Program and externalrelations staff.

“The Faculty of Engineering has recog-nized the importance of being closely connect-ed to our alumni and corporate partners insouthern Alberta by having staff in this areafor the past 12 years,” says Dean ofEngineering Dr. David Lynch. The new office,he adds, “dramatically improves our ability tointeract with our many alumni and partners.”

The Faculty has some 4,000 alumni inCalgary, and it is important that the universityrecognizes their talents and achievements, andremains connected with them, says Lynch.“Our alumni are among the most eminentcommunity leaders in Calgary, and thousandsof our alumni here have done tremendouswork to build Alberta. They have helped ustransform what we do in the Faculty ofEngineering—they’re behind a major transi-tion in the Faculty over the past 15 years.”

Reviews of the Calgary Centre office areglowing. “You walk into the place and rightaway you feel like—‘Hey, I’m back homeagain,’” says Neil Camarta (Chemical ’75).“It’s like an embassy. You know you’re at theU of A.” Camarta has always been aware of

the university’s presence in Calgary but saysthe new office—at street level near thePetroleum Club—bolsters the university’simage. “The U of A has always been inCalgary but now you’ve got this great facilityright in the centre of the action, right down-town, and it lives up to U of A standards.”

Dr. Ken Porteous, who oversees theFaculty’s Co-op Education Program, says theFaculty has long felt it necessary to hold officesin Calgary to connect with employers, poten-tial employers, and students who are on co-opplacements in the Calgary area. The co-opprogram provides about 1,400 work terms peryear, and it’s important to nurture relationshipswith partners in industry, and to ensure stu-dents are well served. “If students have a ques-tion about their program, they’ve got someoneright here who can help them,” says Porteous.

Students with the Autonomous RoboticVehicle Project (ARVP) were also on handduring a January 29 open house, showing off‘Bearacuda,’ an autonomous robot designedto think for itself and perform tasks under-water. The student group and Bearacuda willtake part in an international competition inSan Diego this summer.

University bolstersCalgary presence

There, Bearacuda will run an underwaterobstacle course where it is required toenter an area through a gate, dock with abuoy, follow a pipeline, drop a marker,detect a beacon, and retrieve a payload—allwithin deadline.

Leslie Reinke (Electrical ’88, MEng ’95)was impressed by the students’ level of work.“For an undergraduate program I think it’sfairly ambitious—it’s not an easy thing at all,and it’s multidisciplinary,” he says. “I’m quiteimpressed.”

Reinke, who attended the open house andhas taught electronics technology at thecollege level in Atlantic Canada, says theARVP program gives students an outstandinglearning experience. “This is a level ofcomplexity that college students—at a SAITor NAIT, for example—wouldn’t be doing.”

With nearly 7,000 square feet of space, theCalgary Centre boasts a 48-seat classroomand breakout rooms. Engineering shares theoffice with the School of Business, the Facultyof Rehabilitation Medicine, the Camrose-based Augustana Campus, and ExternalRelations. The Calgary Centre is located at120, 333 – 5th Ave. SW, and can be found on-line at www.calgary.ualberta.ca .

Staying in touch with the Faculty'sCalgary staff is easy. You can contact ActingAssistant Dean, External Relations LaurieShinkaruk at 403.718.6394 or by e-mail [emailprotected] and Co-opEducation Program co-ordinator LindaLewington can be reached at 403.718.6393or by e-mail at [emailprotected].

by Richard Cairney

Dean of Engineering Dr. David Lynch withHeather Lau and Husky Energy President andCEO John Lau at the Calgary Centre opening.At right: Electrical Engineering student BrodiRoberts explains the workings of ‘Bearacuda,’an underwater robotic vehicle, during theCalgary Centre Open House.

“You walk into the place and

right away you feel like—‘Hey,

I’m back home again.’ It’s like

an embassy. You know you’re

at the U of A.” —Neil Camarta

Spring 2009 U of A Engineer 5

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Spring 2009 U of A Engineer6

ocean liner because it’sso complex. How can yourefocus the troops? Rallythe troops?”

These are sobering times for a generationwhose only experience with “dire economicconditions” may be a passing referenceto the Depression in a history class.Engineers by definition are problem solverswho build new things and implement newtechnologies. They always face some sort oftest, but this trial doesn’t come with a senseof excitement.

More than one-third of engineers willtake on a management role at some pointin their careers. Not all will grapple withhistoric challenges such as the 2009 economyor projects with billion-dollar ramifications.

Yet, with dramatic shifts in workplacescenarios and workforce expectations,graduating engineers must have at least abasic understanding of business concepts.

The payoff is an improved ability tounderstand the workings of an organization.

Gonzales had no management trainingprior to the advanced programs provided byhis employers about five years ago. He saysthat formal business training has refined hisability to be a more effective leader.

“There seems to be a mindset that youeither become focused on a technical pathor you are a people leader,” says Gonzales.“My feeling is that as an engineer you have tohave both.”

Peter Flynn couldn’t agree more.Flynn, Poole Chair in Engineering

Management for Engineers at the Universityof Alberta since 1999, pushed to add finan-cial management to the undergraduate cur-riculum. He also reactivated the U of A’sgraduate program in engineering manage-

od Gonzales (Chemical ’97) hasa knack for flourishing inuncharted territory. In 2007, asbusiness manager for Calgary-

based Colt Engineering, he helped lay thegroundwork for a $1-billion sale toWorleyParsons, an engineering consultingcompany. Prior to that, he led global marketdevelopment for NOVA Chemicals’ propri-etary plastics technology.

But Gonzales may now be facing his mostdaunting challenge yet. In October, he becamePetro-Canada’s director of oil sands businessand strategy development.

“It’s quite an entertaining time to join anorganization,” Gonzales wryly observes. Inthe last six months of 2008, oil plummetedmore than $100 US a barrel: from an all-timehigh of $147 US to $35 US in December.As financial markets collapsed around theworld, Alberta energy projects that justmonths ago seemed unstoppable have beenpostponed or scaled back.

Yet Gonzales isn’t about to push the panicbutton.

“What makes you a better leader ishow you deal with that; leading yourpeople through a precarious time anddirecting things that may occur,” he sayscalmly. “Understanding your people,recalibrating goals—it’s like steering an


BigHelping engineers step into management roles


“There seems to be a mindset that you eitherbecome focused on a technical path or you are a people leader. My feeling is that as an engineer youhave to have both.”– ROD GONZALES

by Judy Monchuk

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Rod Gonzales(Chemical ’97)has taken hismanagementskills beyond the boardroom.

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ment, which had been scaled back during theAlberta government’s funding cuts in the1990s.

Flynn was adamant his students wouldn’tface the frustrations he experienced as ayoung chemical engineer. “I learned manage-ment by the seat of my pants,” he says. “Iwas asked to run a company and I couldn’tread its balance sheet.”

Once he grasped management basics,Flynn oversaw high-powered projects includ-ing the $200-million revamp of Shell Canada’sScotford refinery to process upgraded bitu-men. By passing on lessons learned from thoseexperiences and entrepreneurial tips, he helpsgive graduates a competitive edge.

“I had a gratifying experience where oneformer student said that, because of my class,he felt capable of setting up his own enter-prise when the bottom fell out of the dot-comboom,” says Flynn.

That extra dose of confidence can beinvaluable—especially in a tough economicmarket. Today, many engineers seek manage-ment training at both the undergrad andgraduate level. Traditionally, engineers wouldspend several years working in their chosenfield and fine-tune their skills before decidingto examine the management path. At thatpoint, many would begin to pursue MBA

programs. But the Faculty of Engineering islooking to set itself apart with its master’sdegree in Engineering Management.

“My definition of engineering is the com-mercial application of science, where ‘com-mercial’ means creating value,” says Flynn.“We give them a much better set of skills.”

The popularity of engineering economicsprompted the department to add a course inadapting technology to meet social needs,and another focused on engineering and theenvironment.

Gonzales believes adding elements ofmanagement training to the basic engineeringdegree will help new graduates fit into theirprofession and rise through the ranks faster.

“I think the U of A is being very, veryastute in understanding the needs of indus-try,” says Gonzales. “Needs changed in thelast 10 years.”

For one thing, today’s engineering students

have different expectations. Few expect tostay with a company for 20 years, as theirparents might have done. Instead, they wantthe tools and skills to carry them along careerpaths far more self-directed than those ofpast generations. Students view their univer-sity educations in a more transactional man-ner, assessing each course on whether itdelivers value.

“The needs of students have changed,”says Gonzales. “As soon as they can get ahandle on what management and an organi-zation is about, they will be able to insertthemselves into a company.”

Mark Hlady is part of a new generationlooking to revamp and expand the engineer-ing profession. He sees management trainingas a key component in that transformation,and likes the different perspective that camewith an engineering management course.

“It was more business-focused,” saysHlady, a 20-year-old Saskatoon native in histhird year of materials engineering at theU of A. Hlady doesn’t like the term “real-world” experience, although the courseis aimed at just that: giving students moreinsight into how their work can affect a corporation’s financial bottom line. Thosewho learn to understand potential conse-quences—that engineering decisions can costa company millions of dollars, or that a billion-dollar infrastructure project may beshelved based on a financial analysis—become more valuable to employers.

“It’s the details that allow you to makethe financial decision that determineswhether a project goes ahead or not,” saysHlady. “I appreciate the real examples,because it shows the importance of otherclasses we’re taking, like math or science.”

Banker-turned-angel-investor Amit Monga(PhD Mechanical, ’96) agrees wholehearted-ly. After Monga earned his PhD, his firstmanaging consulting project was a detailedanalysis for Canadian Airlines. In a presenta-tion to CEO Kevin Jenkins, he identified sig-nificant inventory cost savings if theCalgary-based carrier were to be acquired byAir Canada.

Monga felt the mood in the room changeas he presented his conclusions. “I could seehow my little analysis was being translatedinto shareholder value, that ‘if this inventorycan be managed better, this can impact on

“At the graduate level we are the pre-eminentengineering managementschool in Canada andamong the top 10 inNorth America.” – PETER FLYNN

Dr. Peter Flynn, with students DominiqueLeger and Mark Hlady. Flynn says the Facultyof Engineering is positioned among the top10 in North America in terms of teachingengineering management.

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9Spring 2009 U of A Engineer

shareholder value,’” he says. Suddenly,Monga realized that sophisticated problem-solving skills could be utilized in business. “It was a career moment. That’s when Ithought ‘Wow.’” Monga began training him-self to think from a shareholder or big-picture perspective.

“There will be a time in every engineer’scareer where someone will say, ‘Your analysisreally helps us and gives us a range of optionson how we will be going forward,’” saysMonga, founder of Toronto-based NytricBusiness Partners, an international ventureadvisory firm. Monga wants to pass alongthat insight.

Today, Monga writes an investment column in the National Post. An executiveprofessor of finance at the U of A’s School ofBusiness, Monga helped launch the MBA infinance specialization and taught corporatefinance to U of A engineers for two yearswhile working on his PhD. He believes thoseintroductory business courses are enough foryoung graduates.

“The focus should still be engineering,”he says. “I think we need to bring industryleaders into the classroom to inspire students.It would be nice to get perspectives fromengineers who have done well.”

“We need to bring people aged 35 to 40into the classroom, including alumni whohave moved beyond their training to non-engineering management,” says Monga. “Weneed more mentors—people who are willingto come back on campus, willing to talkabout what they’ve done and make that con-nection early on in their careers.”

Hlady views management training asvitally important to his future prospects. It helps him to better assess organizations as he gauges employment opportunities and considers setting up his own company. Itmeans options.

“We’re designing the technologies that aregoing to change the world,” Hlady says. “Wehave to know how to manage these projects.”

Electrical engineering student DominiqueLeger says an engineering managementcourse on financial management changed heroutlook on the future. “It was necessary baseknowledge,” says Leger, who holds theU of A Women in Engineering Chair for IEEE(Institute of Electrical and ElectronicsEngineers), a professional association that

advocates advancing technology. “Everyoneshould know these things if they plan to besuccessful financially.’’

Being able to read a balance sheet andspot its ramifications beyond a particularproject is a useful skill for anyone—whetheror not they end up in management. SaysLeger, “It makes me more valuable as apotential employee.”

Engineering graduate student MohammedAli came to Canada in 2006 from his nativePakistan, where he had earned a master’sdegree in electrical engineering. He soonbegan working at Magna IV Engineering inEdmonton, where his duties involve conveyorsystems and the automation of bulk materialhandling. It’s similar to the work he wasdoing in Pakistan. Ali quickly realized hiseducation wasn’t enough if he wanted oppor-tunities in his new country.

“Three or four years ago I was not awarethat engineers had to be good managers atsome part of their career,” says Ali. “I wasnot exposed to that back home. There, I wasdoing technical stuff, not management. Here,I think management training is a must. Atsome point, you have to know how to man-age the work and the people involved.”

The transition is not always smooth.Engineers find solutions to problems usingtechnical skills that don’t always translatewell into managing staff. Ali has becomeacutely aware of that struggle as he pursueshis Master of Engineering in EngineeringManagement degree at the U of A. Since thefall of 2007, he has been combining his workschedule with a graduate program focused onproject management.

Understanding management proceduresalso creates opportunities to champion causes, says Hlady, who serves as commis-sioner of social issues for the CanadianFederation of Engineering Students. The federation wants to attract a more diversegroup of people to engineering. Through aproject dubbed “social engineering,” it aimsto show high school students they can pursueideals in a discipline more associated withblending scientific and technical knowledge.

“Management training empowers us tomake more holistic decisions,” says Hlady,conceding his statement seems at odds withthe traditional view of engineers. “Most peopledecide in high school to go into engineering.

If they’re good at math and science and wantto make money, it’s the way to go.”

Yet, Hlady argues that more starry-eyedoptimists who want to reshape the worldshould also consider the profession.

“It might be more appropriate to gothrough engineering rather than take theirpolitical studies course,” he says. “People don’tunderstand the breadth of engineering workout there. They think we build cars, buildroads. And we do.” But it’s important to knowthat engineers can impact a broader range ofissues, including social problems. Hlady main-tains it will be engineers, not politicians, whowill devise solutions to food shortages andenvironmental crises facing the planet.

“If more people went into engineeringaiming to solve particular problems they felt were important, there could be cleanwater around the world,” he says. “If wewere as efficient at capturing water as wewere getting oil out of the ground, thousands

“I could see how my littleanalysis was being translatedinto shareholder value, that ‘if this inventory can be managed better, this canimpact on shareholder value.’It was a career moment. That’swhen I thought ‘Wow.’ ” – AMIT MONGA

Amit Monga’s management skills haveextended into a monthly column with theNational Post, and a supporting role in theToronto International Film Festival.

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Calgary freelance writer JudyMonchuk covered the 21st centuryoil patch boom, its impact on business and Albertans outside the energy industry.

of people wouldn’t be dying of water-bornediseases.”

Indeed, engineers are taking on communityleadership roles in areas far removed fromtheir jobs. And the management skills theyapply in their professional lives also enrichthe greater community.

Gonzales, the oil sands strategist, is a self-described over-achiever. The first of threeCanadian sons born to Filipino teachers whoimmigrated to provide their children withopportunity, Gonzales grew up in the north-ern town of Hay River, N.W.T. He thrivedwith each challenge placed in front of him,whether it was holding high school executivepositions, competing on the national stage asa figure skater, or becoming a classicalpianist. But it was Larry Benke (Electrical’73) at Colt Engineering who told a youngGonzales that it was important as a businessleader to show leadership in community caus-es. Gonzales is now on the board of theHonens International Piano Competition inCalgary, where young pianists from aroundthe world compete for cash prizes and alucrative career development program. He’sinvolved with the United Way. And eachweek, he leads the music ministry at St.Luke’s Catholic Church.

“Through these networks, I started tomeet amazing people who were involved inphilanthropy, people in oil and gas,” saysGonzales. “All of these people have enrichedthe greater community, and within a week,new opportunities to contribute to the com-munity came my way.”

Monga, who is Indo-Canadian, is a keyfigure in bringing Bollywood films toToronto. He views his volunteer work withthe Toronto International Film Festival as away to raise cultural awareness. That con-nection was forged when festival organizerssought out more Main Street and Bay Streetpartners; instead of targeting major corpora-tions for large sponsorships, the festivalfocused on more donations from people mak-ing $500,000 to $1 million a year.

Monga committed to hosting 25 fundrais-ers for the festival. That’s allowed him to rubshoulders with movie stars Brad Pitt andAngelina Jolie. But he says the greatest thrillwas being able to take his boys, now 6 and 8,to the world premiere of Terra, an animatedfamily film with a message of peace and envi-

ronmental concern. He hopes the film festivalwill become an established launch pad formovie funding deals.

“My focus is social issues,” he says. “Ifthere’s a way to portray that through film, great.”

As investors seek more opportunities withphilanthropic goals, Monga sees much closerworking relationships developing betweenengineers and businesspeople. “Can youmake money-making devices that can makesafer water? Absolutely.”

In the coming months, Monga will bepitching the idea of business students takingengineering courses and vice versa, aimingfor a cross-pollination of perspectives andideas. And despite his own experience withgeneralized business courses, Gonzales feelsthat specialized management training with anengineering focus would be beneficial.

“The world involves dealing with manydifferent functioning groups,” he says.“There are subtle nuances: there is managingwith other leaders in an organization, thenthere’s managing the engineers. Generaltraining provides more fundamental trainingof leading an organization, but to customizethings that are specific to the engineering pro-fession would be great.”

But you can’t learn everything in a classroom.“Can you teach people entrepreneurship?

I don’t think so,” says Monga, who leftinvestment banking in June, 2008. “But hav-ing that option available to engineers, I thinkit’s good. I wish it had been available to me.”

He still believes that students can be besttaught through the words of engineers who arein business and putting their training into action.Despite the push towards more managementtraining, that alone can’t guarantee success inthe boardroom or a larger bank balance.

Peter Flynn acknowledges that manage-ment skills can’t always be taught.“Management is a bit of an art. You can

learn to be a better painter, but no trainingcan make you a Monet.”

Still, the Faculty’s strength in engineeringmanagement can be traced to the real-worldexperience of its staff and other professionalswho teach in the program.

Joel Nodelman draws on 15 years ofwork in climate change initiatives when heteaches undergrads sustainable developmentand engineering economics. Touray Nasseri,who teaches a graduate course in knowledgeand innovative management, has extensiveexperience with industry, government, andresearch. Suresh Jaisingh, a PhD in industrialengineering, puts his lean manufacturingexpertise into practice at Canada Post.

The growth of the engineering managementprogram indicates the thirst for engineeringmanagement training. In 1999, the programhad four students. In 2008–2009, it had grownto between 80 and 100 students, eight full-timeprofessors and four adjunct instructors. Whilesome choose to pursue research, the majorityare working engineers seeking to expand theirknowledge and prospects.

“At the graduate level we are the pre-eminent engineering management school in Canada and among the top 10 in NorthAmerica,” says Flynn, noting the quota program has been turning away applicantsfor years.

“There’s certainly more of a technicalflavour in our type of management than youmight find elsewhere.”

Gonzales says few people see the widepossibilities management training can offerbeyond business. Many don’t realize thatonce engineers move into leadership roles,their influence can move far beyond theboardroom. Corporate leaders who getinvolved with community programs have theopportunity to connect with the public andtheir staff in a whole different way, especiallyif it is a cause close to the employee’s heart.

“It makes them see this person as multi-dimensional,” says Gonzales. “It’sanother way they can be further inspired bythat leader.”

“I think managementtraining is a must. At some point, you haveto know how to managethe work and the peopleinvolved.” – MOHAMMED ALI

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ritual takes place at the Universityof Alberta every Monday morningduring July and August. A cadre ofenthusiastic students waits with

anticipation as parents arrive on campus anddrop off scores of children for Discover Ecamp. For the next five days, the studentsbecome teachers, engaging their youngcharges with fun and interesting activitiesdesigned to bring out the children’s inner sci-entists.

And so it has gone for the past 16 years.Since 1993 the Faculty of Engineering’s stu-dent-initiated and student-run Discover E pro-gram has reached out to children and youth toraise their awareness of and interest in engi-neering, science, and technology. Discover Einstructors offer classroom science workshopsin elementary and junior high schools duringMay and June, and run camps during the sum-mer. The program enjoys strong support fromthe Faculty, industry sponsors, schools, andthe communities it serves.

Discover E has grown tremendously since1993, when a handful of U of A studentsorganized hands-on activities they hopedwould make engineering and science fun andinteresting for a couple of hundred

Edmonton children. Since then, it’s estimatedthe program has reached more than 125,000children and youth.

In 2008, nearly 18,000 children in Albertaand the Northwest Territories participated in Discover E activities. A staff of nearly 40students ran 633 school workshops in 31 communities and 85 week-long camps in 14 communities. Most camps are still held atthe U of A campus in Edmonton, but Discover Eholds others as far away as Tuktoyaktuk andInuvik in the Arctic. Last year there were 22 workshop topics, each designed to complement a science unit in the provincialschool curriculum. Camps were offered onpopular topics such as animal science, forensics, Lego robotics, and 3-D game design.

Year after year, positive testimonials fromparents and campers show that Discover E isinteresting and enjoyable for many youngpeople. One camper sums up his summerexperience by saying, “I learned you can do asmuch on the computer as you can think of.”Another learned that “actual CSI on TV is notthe same as in real life. And you have to get allthe evidence first. Then you get your suspect.”

Discover E doesn’t have an impact on justthe children. The engineering students who

become their role models and mentors alsocarry away special memories. “One of thesix-year-olds told me that she wanted campto last for 93 days and that she wanted us tocome back and be her science teachers,” onepleased instructor reports.

Three U of A engineering alumni who are new members of the Faculty each spent one summer as Discover E instructors while they were undergrads. As the professors look back on these earlier experiences, it becomes apparent that successfully educating university students is alittle like keeping a bunch of elementaryschool kids entertained.

DR. ANIA ULRICH, Assistant ProfessorDepartment of Civil and EnvironmentalEngineering

Discover E was a fledgling initiative whenAnia Ulrich (Chemical ’99) saw an “instructorswanted” poster in one of the engineering build-ings, back in 1994. “I needed a summer job. Ihad been a Parks and Recreation playgroundcoordinator before and thought this would befun,” Ulrich recalls. “I hadn’t heard much aboutDiscover E; it was new then. There were onlyfive instructors running the whole program.”

Discover E discoveries

Former engineering camp instructors take teaching

to highest level

by Julia Necheff


Drs. Anastasia Elias, Amos Ben-Zviand Ania Ulrich discovered a

passion for teaching while servingas Discover E camp instructors.

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Spring 2009 U of A Engineer12

Those five had to develop their own pre-sentations for the school visits, so Ulrich andher fellow instructors set out to create someexperiments that would not only demonstratescientific principles but would also entertainschool children. The instructors incorporatedthe “glowing pickle trick”—which hasbecome a program classic—into the Discover Erepertoire. “You take a pickle and stick a fork

in it and then run a current through it,” Ulrichexplains. “The voltage ionizes the sodium inthe pickle to create a yellow glow—the sameprinciple behind street lamps.”

Ulrich, a chemical engineer, can take cred-it for the “exploding toilet” experiment. “Icreated a water trap with a miniature guy sit-ting on top of it. We would mix baking sodaand vinegar and it would explode, and theguy would go flying off the toilet. The kidsloved our presentations. And if they didn’t, itwasn’t hard to tell. Kids are so honest.”

Ulrich and the other instructors were alsoentirely responsible for all aspects of theweek-long day camps they ran. “I have to say,when I look back, I’m so glad I did it,” shesays. “A camp may not look as impressive ona resume, but it provided so many valuableskills. The interactions helped develop inter-personal skills; having to stand in front of acrowd boosted the confidence level; thepreparations and co-ordination taught usmanagement skills.”

Ulrich’s Discover E experience solidifiedher decision, by her second or third year of engineering, to become a professor. Sheespecially remembers the connection she feltwith the students from Grades 4 to 6 duringthe school workshops. “Even though theywere so young, they were soaking it up. It has affected my view of education at the university level and how important it is toengage students.”

At the Discover E camps, the studentinstructors designed free-form projects forthe kids. “Grad school is also very much likethat,” Ulrich says, noting that, whereasundergraduate engineering education is verystructured, grad school is very creative.

Sometimes things didn’t go as planned.Ulrich remembers one project in which thecampers were supposed to grow crystals.“The kids all did it, but it didn’t turn out.They were pretty good about it,” Ulrichrecalls. The experience taught her anothervaluable lesson about teaching, she says.“You need to be honest with students. Youhave to let them know that you’re learning together. They (the university stu-dents) respect me more when I can admit I don’t know something or that I’ve made a mistake.”

Ulrich is in her first year of teaching environmental engineering students. It would

appear her decision to be an educator at the highest level was the right one. “I’m very energized by teaching. I really enjoyinteracting with my undergraduate and mygraduate students.”

She’s also looking forward to the daywhen her two young sons are old enough togo to Discover E camp.

DR. AMOS BEN-ZVI, Assistant ProfessorDepartment of Chemical and MaterialsEngineering

Amos Ben-Zvi (Chemical ’99) was aDiscover E instructor in 1995. “We were ona shoestring budget,” he says, so the teamhad to scavenge materials for the variousactivities it was planning for campers.

“I’d go around campus getting junk—I’dfind cardboard, or I would lug back these bigsheets of plywood. I found some Styrofoam. Iremember sitting there, cutting Styrofoaminto shapes. I had to be very independent. Ilearned from that experience that I was pret-ty resourceful.”

Like Ulrich, Ben-Zvi has fond memories ofboth the school visits and the camps. “It wasa fun job,” he says. For their school scienceshows, the instructors did the glowing picklenumber as an electricity demonstration. “Forkids, that’s kind of cool.” Or the Discover Eteam would have an oscilloscope and demon-strate how sounds can be visualized as shapes.“I’d go to a school, and by the end of the dayI was friends with all the kids. I thinkDiscover E reinforced for me that I was thekind of person who could enjoy teaching.”

During camp, the days would go byquickly. Ben-Zvi says instructors purposelydesigned activities so the children could learnby exploring and learn from their mistakes.“We’d give them a bunch of stuff and say,‘See what you can do with this.’ I think thelack of structure was good for the kids.”

In one memorable activity, the campersfired eggs from a homemade cannon made byone of the other counsellors, Patrick Zdunich(Mechanical ’99). A parachute was attached tothe egg. The goal was to land the egg safely. One of Ben-Zvi’s most gratifying memories was when, after failing time andagain to prevent the egg from breaking, agroup of campers finally achieved sweet success. “One of the kids really got into it. He and the other kids were trying to figure outhow to get it to work. Finally he fired one, the

Since that first all-girls Discover E camp in1999, female enrolment in the Discover E campshas grown to 35 percent, well on its way to reach-ing its goal of 40 percent. Discover E has alsomade an effort to target other populations under-represented in the field of engineering—aborigi-nal and inner-city children and youth—and toreach kids in remote communities.

2008 was a period of expansion for Discover E.It increased the number of communities it servesfrom 20 to 31, and expanded its bursary programfor families in financial need. This year, programorganizers hope to launch an urban aboriginal bur-sary program.

Discover E now has a full-time director,Shelagh Pyper, and has become a year-round ini-tiative. In January, it launched a new club calledGirls, Engineering and Mentorship (GEM) for girlsGrades 3 to 8. Participants met for four hoursevery Saturday for eight weeks, learning aboutengineering and technology. Thirteen femaleundergrad student volunteers—all studyingEngineering—served as role models and mentorsto their young counterparts. Toward the end of theprogram older girls became mentors themselves,hosting Girl Guides who visited the Faculty.

In partnership with Edmonton Public Schoolsand the Edmonton Catholic School District,Discover E hosted the first annual CO2-poweredcar races in March. The competition complement-ed the CO2 car-building project in junior highschool Career and Technology Studies classes.

“Looking back over the past 16 years, thegrowth and success of the Discover E program isastounding,” Pyper says. “This tradition of excel-lence, innovation and the desire to achieve biggerand better things can be directly attributed to thecommitted and hard-working staff, the Faculty ofEngineering and the generosity of our loyal funders.”

For more information on Discover E visithttp://discovere.ualberta.ca/ .

New girls’ club, car races,on 2009 DE schedule

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Spring 2009 U of A Engineer 13

Discover E instructors, including Dr. Anastasia Elias, bottom right, and participants at the 1999 overnight camp.

parachute opened and everyone was quiet asthe egg slowly descended. When it landed with-out breaking, the kids all broke out cheering. Ithad been such a collaborative effort.”

It was a challenge for Ben-Zvi to learn howto deal with children who didn’t want to be atcamp. He says he didn’t adjust very easily tothose kids who needed a different approach. Inhindsight he realizes patience and understand-ing are key in such situations. “Kids needtime,” he says. “They’re not like adults.”

Nowadays, Ben-Zvi, 31, who was trainedas a chemical engineer, teaches fourth-yearand graduate-level courses in process controland statistics. He has been teaching for threeyears. Some of the lessons he learned as aDiscover E instructor have carried over to thepresent. “I learned that for people to remem-ber things, they have to have an emotionalresponse to it. If you can show them some-thing in a way that’s creative and they say,‘That’s neat,’ they remember it. That’s anemotional response.”

DR. ANASTASIA ELIAS, Assistant ProfessorDepartment of Chemical and MaterialsEngineering

By the time Anastasia Elias (EngineeringPhysics ’02; PhD Electrical & Computer ’07)became involved with Discover E during thesummer of 1999, the program had about adozen instructors and nearly 1,000 campers.It had expanded beyond Edmonton; the organizers were taking their science shows toclassrooms in Fort McMurray, Red Deer andGrande Prairie. Some computer instructionhad been added to the topics covered.

As an assistant director, Elias was one of the program administrators but also hadthe opportunity to present workshops to students in Red Deer and Fort McMurray. As always, the instructors came up with fun activities and explained the sciencebehind them while letting the young studentsbe hands-on and creative. “We made lava

lamps and the kids just loved it. We also gotthem to design web pages and helped themset up e-mail addresses.”

Elias’s group moved the Discover E pro-gram a significant step forward when it cameup with the notion of setting up a camp forgirls only. “When I was in first-year engineer-ing, only 22 percent of the students werefemale. I never understood why that was. Ithought it would be great to expose moregirls to engineering. The idea was that, likeour other camps, we’d show them the univer-sity and have them become more familiarwith engineering and science, and hopefullyget them interested in the field. The dean’soffice was very supportive of the idea.”

At one of the camps, students did a lessonon geometry using origami. The kids foldedorigami pieces and then fit them together tomake six points, 12 points, and so on. One ofthe girls went home and folded all night, andcame back the next morning with a hugestructure. For another activity, the instructorsorganized a talent show for the campers. “A

girl solved a Rubik’s cube as her talent. Thatwas cool.”

Elias, 29, also grew in many ways. “I real-ly did have to learn how to manage a class. Ialso learned you can’t control everything, youhave to adapt.” And Elias acquired strategiesto make her pupils participate in their learn-ing. With the focus at the university levelbeing on active learning, this will be a valu-able skill for Elias as she progresses in herprofessorial career.

Like Ulrich and Ben-Zvi, as she looksback Elias is struck by how much responsi-bility was placed on them. “The Faculty puta lot of trust in us,” she says. Elias hired otherDiscover E staff, booked class visits, andadvertised the program to teachers. Thoseorganizational skills are coming in handynow that she runs a lab and supervises under-graduate students.

Elias, who trained as an electrical engi-neer (on the materials side), says one of themost rewarding aspects of investing time withDiscover E that summer was the feeling ofcommunity with her fellow staff members.“We were ambassadors for engineering, andthat made you think of what it meant to bean engineer.

“Now it’s great to be part of the Faculty.”

Julia Necheff spent nearly twodecades with The Canadian Pressnews agency before becoming afreelance writer/editor.

“A camp may not look as impressive on a resume, but it provided so many valuable skills. The interactions

helped develop interpersonal skills; having to stand in front of a crowd boosted the confidence level; the preparations

and co-ordination taught us management skills.”


UofA Engineer Spring 2009 - [PDF Document] (14)

Madentec founder and PresidentRandy Marsden (Electrical ’89)embarked on a career thatwould change lives before heeven graduated.

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busted boom box—part of athird-year electrical engineeringproject aimed at helping a quad-riplegic friend communicate—inadvertently launched two

careers and a very successful business, andended up playing an important role inadvancing technology that has unlockeddoors for disabled people around the world.

Randy Marsden (Electrical ’89) is president and CEO of Madentec, a companythat specializes in assistive technology to help disabled people communicate usingadapted computers.

While the company is located in humbledigs in a nondescript industrial strip mall on the south side of Edmonton, its products

are used around the world. One ofMadentec’s innovations, an on-screen keyboard,is included in every PC running MicrosoftWindows. Madentec’s technology has beenused by celebrities such as Christopher Reeveand Muhammad Ali, and by thousands ofdisabled people worldwide. The company’sspinoffs are also developing widespreadapplications for cellphones and computers.

It all started with a student project in1987. This was the Jurassic period for per-sonal computing. Macs were new, Windowshad just been invented, and the Internet wasstill limited to a small circle of academics andmilitary people.

Marsden and his lab partner, MichaelTanne (Electrical ’88), faced two choices for

Atheir third-year project: to design a system topush a button and generate a random num-ber or to spin a wheel and count the numberof times it goes around. Fortunately theywere also given a third option of designingsomething that was their own idea.

Marsden had a friend, Si Peterson, whohad been a quadriplegic since a gymnasticsaccident in junior high. Si couldn’t move hishead or hands, and he couldn’t speak becausehe was ventilated. He could communicateonly by mouthing words and gesturing withhis eyebrows.

Peterson’s parents asked if the electricalengineering students could design a powerwheelchair for the young man. Marsden andTanne suggested approaching mechanical

The never-ending student project

How a third-year

project shaped careers

and changed l ives

b y M i k e S a d a v a


student project

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engineers for that task, but offered instead tocreate a speech synthesizer.

The challenge was to build a small com-puter that would enable their friend to atleast communicate basic needs such ashunger and thirst.

It took much more time than the averageclass project, but Marsden and Tanne cameup with a gizmo, mounted on a microphonestand, that enabled Peterson to communicate25 different commands by touching switcheswith his lips. The pre-recorded digital sound,a new technology at the time, was playedthrough a boom box.

“It was pretty rudimentary, but we basicallybuilt a laptop computer before they existed,”says Marsden. Their supervisor, ProfessorNelson Durdle, could see his students were onthe cusp of some serious innovation, and heeven wrangled them some space in a graduatelab—a rare privilege for undergrads.

With the bugs worked out of their project,Marsden and Tanne entered the CanadianEngineering Competition, the first of severalcompetitions they would go on to win. Whenthey arrived in Vancouver, the two sufferedthe fateful mishap that would reshape theirdestinies. On a sidewalk ramp outside theVancouver International Airport, the twoyoung engineering students were behavinglike, well, like young engineering students.

“I rode the luggage rack down the ramp,and of course it crashed,” says Marsden.When the boys surveyed the damage, theywere horrified to discover that the boom box,a vital component in their presentation, wasbroken. They got to a UBC engineering lab fora quick repair. Then, as they walked through adim corridor in the engineering building, theyglimpsed a poster inviting student presentersto apply for a conference of the RehabilitativeEngineering Society of North America. Theyjotted down the contact information.

To make a long story short, they applied,were accepted, and ended up showing off thefruits of their labour in Montreal, in front ofmany of the major players in assistive tech-nology. Before attending that conference, nei-ther Marsden nor Tanne had known that theyhad been dabbling in an emerging field ofengineering, and that they could make acareer in assistive technology. After their pre-sentation, the job offers began pouring in,even though the pair still had a year to gobefore receiving their degrees. The flood ofinterest sparked a new notion in them. “Ithought that, if what we’d done was so greatthat people wanted to hire us, maybe weshould just do it ourselves,” recalls Marsden.

Tanne remembers the day he fully com-mitted himself to the project. “We both hadjob offers through the engineering recruit-ment office—I had one from IBM and Randyhad an offer from NovaTel,” he says. “I wasin the IBM lobby in North York where I wasgiven the job offer, and they were giving me a

tour of the place, and I got on the phone withRandy to say, ‘Are we really going to do thisthing? Because if we are, I’m going to tellIBM to forget it.’

“It kind of dominoed and created mywhole career, really.”

Tanne politely turned down the IBM joband flew home. Madentec soon started to takeoff. The company received grants from theAlberta Heritage Foundation for MedicalResearch and the Alberta OpportunityCompany and started partnering with SymSystems in San Jose, California, developingvoice synthesis software. While Marsden com-pleted his degree, Tanne packed up and movedsouth, and continued working with Madentec.A year later, however, he amicably parted wayswith Marsden to work for Sym full-time.

Tanne, who now lives near Palo Alto,California, is still amazed at what he andMarsden did with a third-year project, and atthe impact it had. “It’s a lesson in life—youwalk a journey and you never know where itwill lead,” he says. Much groundbreakinginnovation has started from university pro-jects, Tanne says, pointing out that Googlewas originally a campus project at StanfordUniversity. An assignment like his 1987 stu-dent project “gives engineers a chance tosolve a real-world problem—to solve some-thing that a business person would. It forcesyou to look at it not just in an academic wayor an engineering way, but what problemsdoes it solve and what are the constraints?”

Like Marsden, Tanne had a knack forbusiness. He temporarily left the high-techindustry to earn an MBA at Stanford. Next,he joined the Enterprise Corps, a businessversion of the Peace Corps, to help formercommunist countries develop a businessframework. Tanne has since built a thrivingcareer in the dot-com world, starting, devel-oping and then selling companies. In 1996 hestarted Ad Force, the first Internet advertisingcompany, which he later sold to CMGi. Thenit was XDegrees, a data storage company,which he eventually sold to Microsoft. Morerecently he started wink.com, the world’sbiggest Internet people finder and one of thetop 100 visited sites on the Internet. Winkwas recently merged with Reunion.com.

Meanwhile, Marsden and Madentec madetheir own mark. As personal computersbecame more sophisticated, so did the compa-

“It was pretty rudimentary, but we basical ly bui l t a laptopcomputer before they existed.” – Randy Marsden

Si Peterson (top) benefitted enormously from technology developed by Michael Tanneand Randy Marsden. Peterson wrote an autobiography, gave public speeches, andgained enough independence to move backhome for the last three years of his life afteryears in a nursing home.


os cou


y Ran

dy M



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ny’s innovations. By 1991 Madentec haddeveloped the on-screen keyboard, which waslicensed by Microsoft. The life of Marsden’sfriend Si, the impetus and first benefactor ofhis ideas, became more complete and produc-tive. With the help of the technology, Si wrotea book about his life and gave public speech-es. He was also able to move back home forthe last three years of his life after years in anursing home. Unfortunately, Si died of pneu-monia in the mid-1990s.

Currently, Madentec’s technology is usedby about 20,000 individuals—includingSeattle-based Steve Harper, a man with cere-bral palsy who maintains Madentec’s compa-ny website. When he was 11, Harper learnedMorse code. He used it to communicate bybanging head switches, and was fortunate tohave been given a Morse code communicator.In the ’90s, a company in the United Statesdeveloped software called Ke:nx that allowedusers of Morse code to operate a computer.Ke:nx changed Harper’s life, but when the newgeneration of Macs—running OS X— cameout, the software was no longer compatible.

“So I found out that Madentec bought theold Ke:nx technology,” Harper says by e-mail. “I e-mailed Randy in 2004 and told himall about myself and I told him that I neededan updated Morse code system that wouldwork on the Mac OS X. Quickly Randy and his brother found out how persistent I am. I wasn’t rude but I kept on e-mailing and e-mailing them.”

A mutual friend (“with Randy’s blessing”)made a Morse code system for the Mac OS X.This year, Madentec is coming out with acommercial version of the Morse code for theMac OS X, with more features. Harper final-ly met Marsden face-to-face in April 2007,when “really right out of the blue,” Marsdeninvited him to go on a cruise to Mexico withMadentec. During the cruise, Harper made apresentation on the great potential Morsecode has for Madentec. A couple of monthslater, Harper e-mailed Marsden, asking him ifhe wanted help on the company website. Helanded a job as Madentec’s webmaster.

“I love the job,” Harper says. “WithAmerica’s economy basically down the toilet,

a lot of ‘able-bodied’ people are unfortunate-ly unemployed. However, I’m employed.When I think about that, I just laugh inamazement.”

Marsden talks a lot about how Madentec’stechnology “just gives people their livesback.” Bill Miller is another example. Miller,an Edmonton visual artist and former indus-trial arts teacher, suffers from multiple sclero-sis. As the disease progressed he lost use of hisright hand, then his left. “When I met Randyin 1995, I was at a point in my life where asan artist I was left expressionless because atthe time I had lost the use of both hands,” hesays. Within a week of being outfitted withequipment that allows him to manipulate acursor through head movements, Miller wasback creating art on the computer. He nowdoes it four or five hours per day. He hasbecome part of an on-line network of like-minded colleagues and has deliveredPowerPoint presentations at conferences.

In 2000, Marsden thrilled Miller by invit-ing him to play in a special golf tournamentat the famed Pelican Hill golf course in

Edmonton artist Bill Miller, strickenwith multiple sclerosis, used GPS andvideo game technology to participate

in a golf competition staged byMarsden’s company, Madentec.

Artist Bill Miller longed to use his power wheelchair as a paintbrush. One morning as he and his wife Evelyn were leaving thehouse, Miller looked at his driveway, covered in snow. “What I sawbefore me was a 15 x 80-foot unbelievably white, virgin canvas,” hesays. “My wheelchair was a new mid-wheel drive Quickie 424 thatallowed me to turn a complete circle like I was on a turntable.Therefore I was able to turn complete circles without going over mytracks. As a result I ended up with a series of connecting circularpatterns that were impossible for me to create any other way.”

That morning’s work was the inspiration for The Chairbrush ProjectI and The Chairbrush Project II, a series of works based on imagesMiller created by wheeling through snow, and documented in photos taken by Evelyn. Miller uses computers to artistically buildon the images.

Miller has lost the use of his hands and without technology provided by Madentec, the artist’s creative voice would be silenced.

At left: In the Eye of the Dragon, by Bill Miller.

Bill Miller

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Newport Beach, California. Each foursomehad one quadriplegic golfer who used a com-puter simulation and assistive technology tomake shots, and the best shot of each four-some of every hole was counted. Miller, anavid golfer before MS set in, made the bestdrives of his group. Golf carts were equippedwith a GPS, and the ball would be placedwhere he “drove” it on the computer. Theevent received coverage from all the majorAmerican television networks.

Much of Madentec’s activity is builtaround its TrackerPro technology. A cameramounted on a computer tracks the movementof a small dot of reflective tape worn on theuser’s forehead, glasses, or hat brim. The usercan then use head motions to do anything acomputer mouse can do, or to perform wordprocessing with the help of an on-screen key-board. Other Madentec options allow usersto operate computers with blinks, toothclicks, puffs, or touching with lips. It mayseem like a laborious process, but with practice people become adept at using thesetechnologies, says Marsden. “It’s slower thanwhen you or I use a mouse, but they get surprisingly fast. If you were like my friendSi, you’ve got the time.

“I get upset when people say we’ve giventhem a gift. We say we enable extraordinarypeople to do ordinary things. Just about inany case, anything made for people with dis-abilities ends up helping everybody.”Marsden cites the example of on-screen key-boarding, which has become a feature ofdevices such as iPhones.

Madentec’s achievements have madeMarsden a key figure in the field of assistivetechnology. Kelly Fonner, a special educationteacher who trains teachers and therapiststhroughout the U.S. in the use of assistive tech-nology, has known Marsden and the productsof Madentec since the early ’90s. She says he isa leader in the trade association to whichdozens of companies belong. Fonner says thatmany assistive technology companies, likeMadentec, got started because someone knewa disabled person who needed help. The inno-vations created by these companies have notonly changed lives; they have changed societyas a whole. By expanding the ability of disabledpeople to communicate, they have shatteredthe misconception that people who cannotspeak have nothing useful to say. This in turnhas allowed more people to enter the labourforce and become more productive citizens.

In her days as an educator, Fonner sawthis happen to her own students. “It isthrough this technology they can be indepen-dent, have employment, lives and families,”she says. The technology allowed Fonner to“know what these students know.” It alsoallowed her students to participate moreactively in the classroom.

Marsden is often amazed by the path hiscareer has taken. He grew up in the smalltown of Magrath in southern Alberta, wherehis father was a TV repairman and telephonelineman. He received a circuit kit forChristmas when he was 10, and spent thenext year immersed in his present. He didn’tsettle on his chosen career until he wasalmost finished high school, when an apti-tude test showed that he had the most poten-tial in engineering. As a kid, he had thoughtengineers were the people who drive trains.

Professor Durdle, who has taught in theFaculty since 1982, remembers Marsden andTanne being very energetic and motivated bythe needs of their disabled friend. Other stu-dents have gone on to form companies based

on work they started during their projects,Durdle says, but he doesn’t know of anotherthat has had the success and impact ofMadentec. It is generally difficult for compa-nies to survive in rehab areas, a fact Durdleknows from experience—he had his owncompany that he had to wind down for eco-nomic reasons.

“There is a big need in our society forcompanies to take on these things,” saysDurdle. “The rewards are not that big—youdon’t have the world-wide market.” But as hepoints out, many computer innovations in themass market, including voice recognition,pop-up toolbars and speech synthesis, all hadtheir origins in assistive technology.

Today, Madentec is branching out to newareas, some of which could eventually provequite lucrative. One spinoff is called cleankeys,a touch-sensitive glass keyboard, similar to amicrowave oven keypad. Studies have shownthat more bacteria lurk between the keys ofregular keyboards than on toilet seats. Thecleankeys keyboard, which can easily be wipedoff with disinfectant after use, is proving pop-ular with doctors and dentists who would oth-erwise need to change gloves every time theytapped a keyboard. Marsden is also a co-developer of Swype, a new system that speedsup on-screen text-messaging using a pointer,and he is in discussions with cellphone compa-nies about licensing the technology.

These new advances will likely have apositive impact on Madentec’s revenue,which in turn will allow the company todevote more resources for serving peoplewith disabilities. Assistive technology willalways remain the core of Madentec, whichwon a prestigious ASTech Societal ImpactAward from the Alberta Science andTechnology Leadership Foundation in 2008.

“It’s easy to get up in the morning whenthis is your job,” says Marsden. “You have alot of rewards but it’s not like it’s a mass mar-ket and you’ll take off and make millions. It’senough to have a viable business and help alot of people.”

It has been an amazing journey, launchedby a student’s joyride down a sidewalk ramp.

“I get upset when people saywe’ve given them a gi f t . We saywe enable extraordinary peopleto do ordinary things.” – Randy Marsden

After 28 years covering everythingfrom crime to politics with theEdmonton Journal, Mike Sadavahas embarked on a freelance career.

Marsden with boxing great Muhammad Ali,whose ability to communicate is seriously compromised due to Parkinson’s disease. New technology, Marsden says, allows “extraordinary people to do ordinary things.”

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he way Dr. Doug Dale tells it, theFaculty of Engineering has bene-fitted his family for decades,spanning three generations. At

the beginning of the Great Depression Dale’sfather, Graham, moved to Edmonton fromCranbrook, B.C., to study electrical engineeringat the University of Alberta. Graham’s decisionto attend the U of A was pragmatic: rather thantry to scrape by on his own elsewhere, he couldlive with an aunt in Edmonton.

Still, he struggled financially, leavingschool to work and save enough money tocomplete his degree. After graduating,Graham spent a summer working forNorthwestern Utilities (now ATCO Gas) as asurveyor and wound up in the company’semploy for his entire career.

The Dale family’s involvement with theFaculty of Engineering didn’t end there. Doug

enrolled in the second graduating class in theDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, con-vocating in 1961. Campus was a differentplace then. There were about 7,000 studentson campus—today in the Faculty ofEngineering alone there are some 3,800undergraduate and nearly 1,200 graduate students, and about 36,000 students in totalon campus. The section of campus now occupied by the Faculty of Engineering wasan orchard. Dale and his classmates wrotetheir Christmas and final exams in theuncompleted top floor of the then-new wingof the Engineering building.

Like his father, Doug worked as a surveyorduring the summer. He staked out the sitesfor the Chemistry/Physics V-Wing complex,the new power plant behind the JubileeAuditorium, and the fill-in for the Dentistry-Pharmacy Building and Education Building.

Dale worked as a surveyor for two summers.The job didn’t set him on his father’s careerpath, but it did solidify his relationship withhis future wife, Lynn. Dale had met Lynnwhile both were on campus and, smitten, hedecided one day to “just drop in” to see herat her home in Fort Saskatchewan while hewas surveying there.

“She wasn’t home, but I met her father, andshe and I talked on the phone later and wentout,” says Doug. The relationship stuck, sur-veying went by the wayside, and Dale workedas an HVAC consultant for a period beforereturning to campus as the department’s firstmaster’s student, specializing in thermal sci-ences. After working as a sessional instructor atthe university and as a research officer at theAlberta Research Council, Doug and Lynnmoved to Seattle, where Doug earned his PhDat the University of Washington.



Doug Dale knows

his family has benefitted

from its association with

the Faculty. He wants

to help future students

feel the same way.


A family history of Mechanical Engineeringprofessor emeritus Doug Dale.

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Doug applied to a federal programdesigned to lure Canadian academics back toCanada, but found few opportunities worthinvestigating. So how did he end up teachingat the U of A?

“I think my parents ran into George Fordand my mother buttonholed him. Georgewrote me a letter asking if I was interested incoming to work at the U of A. So without aninterview, he offered me a job.”

Doug began his teaching career in 1969, atabout the same time as Dr. Sieg Wanke(Chemical ’64, MSc Chemical ’66) and Dr. GaryFaulkner (Mechanical ’63, MSc Mechanical’66), also former students who had earnedtheir PhDs elsewhere.

“We were known quantities,” says Dale.His career as a professor and researcher flour-ished. Dale served as Chair of the Department

of Mechanical Engineering from 1990 to 1994and again from 2000 to 2002. His researchhas had major impacts on science and society.In 1977 Dale and Electrical Engineering pro-fessor Dr. Peter Smy were the first to use alaser to ignite a gas mixture in a cylinder of agasoline engine. The technology is now viewedas the only way to improve thermal efficienciesof large natural-gas-fuelled engines.

During the late 1970s Dale was part of agroup that established the Alberta HomeHeating Research Facility. Research findingsfrom this facility resulted in changes to theNational Energy Code, which in turn havesaved Canadians at least $100 million inenergy costs annually.

Dale was also instrumental in upgradingtesting standards for materials used in thermoprotective garments. Dale, MarkAckerman (Mechanical ’79, MSc Mechanical’83) of Mechanical Engineering, and HumanEcology professor Dr. Betty Crown wereresponsible for constructing the second man-nequin garment-testing facility in the world.

Through volunteer activities of his father,Dale learned it was important to help society inone way or another. Among other volunteeractivities, his father served as secretary to theEdmonton Art Gallery from 1947 to 1974.

Over the years, Dale has affected the livesof thousands of students as a teacher, admin-istrator, and researcher. He’s also aware ofthe financial challenges students face.

“When I was an undergraduate, therewasn’t a lot of scholarship money around,”he says. “Everything was means tested, andin our fourth year we took a poll of our classand found that they were graduating withdebts equivalent to about one and one-half totwo years’ worth of an engineer’s startingsalary, about $100,000 in today’s terms.”

Fifteen years ago Dale established a fundfor student scholarship, and today that fundhas grown large enough to distribute awards.He has also written a provision into his willthat could benefit students even further. The“last survivor” clause directs the assets of hisestate to the Faculty of Engineering, in theevent that no other beneficiaries are alive toaccept the inheritance.

Without such a clause, the federal govern-ment becomes the sole beneficiary, and Dalehas simply exercised his option to directwhere his assets will go.

“It’s easy to say that it is nice to give backto society, to give to a society that supportshigher education, to a society that benefitsfrom higher education. A well-educated societyjust helps everyone. You live in a better place.

“Putting the University in your will doesn’t take away from what you want to do with your estate,” Dale says. “And I can’tsay that all educational institutes have idealsthat I’d agree with, but giving to an educational institution like the U of A is pretty easy.”

For more information how yourestate can secure various tax saving,please contact the Faculty's GiftPlanning Counsel, Nena Jocic-Andrejevic at 780-492-8969 or e-mail [emailprotected].

MAKING A BEQUESTthe simplest way to leave a Legacy Gift to the Faculty of Engineering

Bequests or naming the Faculty of Engineering in your Will are the most common legacy or planned gifts. The gift may be designated a number of ways:

• As a percentage of your estate,

• As a specific dollar amount or description of property,

• A residual of your estate or the percentage of the residual, or

• Contingent upon a certain event happening.

Dale’s father Graham (second from left) in a surveying class on the U of A Quad,circa 1933.



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Thanks to our creative alumni who contributed to the 2009 EngineeringCalendar Looking Forward.

Are you interested in contributing to the 2010 Calendar?

Next year’s calendar theme is Connections. Send us high-resolution imagesthat illustrate the idea of connectivity. For details on image size and how tosubmit images, e-mail Richard Cairney at [emailprotected].

2009Engineering Calendar

Connect with

Individual Class GatheringsMany Engineering reunion classes will be holdingprivate class dinners, social evenings, or other eventsthroughout Homecoming Weekend. For informationon individual class events, please call your departmentcontact as noted below:

Chemical, Materials, MetallurgicalLeanne Nickel 780-492-4159or [emailprotected]

Civil, Environmental, Mining, PetroleumStephan Bogner 780-492-4004or [emailprotected]

Electrical, Computer, Engineering PhysicsJamie Reid 780-492-8351or [emailprotected]

MechanicalLinda Kelly 780-492-4160or [emailprotected]

ALUMNI WEEKEND 2009You’re invited

Alumni Weekend brings our Faculty of Engineeringfamily together. Here, Howard Moss (Civil ’58) tries hishand at the Punch Punch Revolution System, anElectrical Engineering student project.

All Faculty of Engineering events are FREE to alumni and their

guests. Unless otherwise noted, events will take place in the

Solarium, located on the 2nd floor (Maier Learning Centre)

of the Engineering Teaching and Learning Complex (ETLC).

Class of 1949 EngineeringAlumni LuncheonFriday, Oct. 2, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Dean’s Engineering ReceptionFriday, Oct. 2, 4:30 – 7 p.m.

Dean’s Engineering Alumni BrunchSaturday, Oct. 3, 9 - 11 a.m.

Open House, Tours, and LecturesSaturday, Oct. 3, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.Place: Engineering Teaching & Learning Complex (ETLC), MaierLearning Centre (ground and 2nd floors)

An information booklet will be mailed to alumni in late April.For further information visit www.engineering.ualberta.ca/alumni

Spring 2009 U of A Engineer 21

ENGMAGwin09.23:2 ENG ALUMNI W05 3/20/09 5:49 PM Page 21

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Nanyang Technological

University President

Guaning Su embraced his

engineering education

experience, from working

on a farm during the

summer to developing

a radar system well

ahead of its time.


From international student to

university president

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Spring 2009 U of A Engineer 23

ven 38 years later, John Foong(Electrical ’71) remembers sweat-ing nervously over a math

exam and looking up to see his relaxed-look-ing classmate, Guaning Su (Electrical ’71),hand in his paper and breeze out the door.“I’m still just trying to understand the questionand he was already done,” says Foong.

Not only did Su usually finish first, he fin-ished on top. Writing his mathematics examsin pen (“he didn’t make any mistakes,” saysFoong), Su went above and beyond the call ofduty. If an instructor required the students tofill out six of 10 questions on a test, Su wouldcomplete all 10 of them and get them allright, says Foong.

“He was head and shoulders above every-one else,” says Foong. “We expected greatthings from him.”

And he delivered. Today, Dr. Guaning Suis president of Nanyang TechnologicalUniversity in Singapore, following an illustri-ous career helping to shape his country’snational defence. But his academic path start-ed at the University of Alberta in 1967.

As a recipient of a Colombo PlanScholarship, Su was chosen to study inCanada. He admits he knew little about thecountry at the time and even less aboutEdmonton or Alberta, except that it wascold. “I have a vivid memory of landing inCanada, in Vancouver, and finding brightsunshine and big cars, and then later landing

at the Edmonton International Airport andwondering where the city was,” says Su.“The airport was quite far from downtown,and all I saw were fields. I remember won-dering if the city was underground due to thecold winter.”

Before he came, Su learned Canada wasbilingual. So, ever the diligent student, he stud-ied French at the Alliance Francaise inSingapore to prepare. Of course, Albertaturned out to be quite different than he expect-ed, and the relative absence of French was justone revelation. “I was surprised to learn thatUkrainians were a significant ethnic group,” hesays. “And at the time Premier Ernest Manningmaintained a ban on movies on Sunday.

“But everything was so new and wonder-ful. In those days Singapore was a Third Worldcountry and Canada already a very developedcountry. And it was so warm indoors, whatev-er the weather outside. My parents were sur-

university president


“Lots of people in our crew were bright, but he was a step above. He wasgetting straight nines whileeverybody else was trying to play catch up to him.” — ALAN HAWRELAK



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L-R: John Foong, Guaning Su, and Foong's mother during 1971 spring convocation.

UofA Engineer Spring 2009 - [PDF Document] (24)

prised at my photos in the Henday Hall dormroom when I was wearing shorts.”

Su spent his first two years on campus inLister Hall and then shared a house off cam-pus. He still keeps in touch with his formerclassmates and his tight-knit group of friends.Dr. Dominic Leung (Chemical ’71) shared mostof his first-year classes with Su and knew, eventhen, he would make a name for himself. “Hewas very smart, very courteous and helpful toeveryone, when he could have been arrogant,”says Leung, now a physician in Edmonton.“He was very different from other people weknew, and I really looked up to him.”

Alan Hawrelak lived with Su in residenceand then later in rented houses. “He couldtake some ribbing, because we called him Su,

which eventually led to us singing ‘A BoyNamed Sue’ to him,” says Hawrelak. “Butmostly he was a level-headed guy. Lots ofpeople in our crew were bright, but he was astep above. He was getting straight nineswhile everybody else was trying to play catchup to him.”

Su enjoyed a good laugh but didn’t horsearound as much as the Canadians, saysFoong. Whenever someone had a birthday inresidence, for example, the other floor-mateswould fill up a tub with water and throw the person in. When it was Su’s turn, he simply climbed into the cold bath on his own accord. “He said, ‘there’s no way I’ll beable to fight off a group of you so I might aswell get it over with,’” says Foong. “He wastoo logical.”

Su embraced Canadian culture, attempt-ing to learn how to skate and ski, and takingroad trips when he could. On one such holiday, the young crew was carefullysearched when crossing the U.S. border on atrip to Yellowstone National Park (“I think it was because of Al Hawrelak’s long hair atthe time,” says Foong).

After the first year, Su and three otherSingaporean Colombo Plan Scholarsapproached Foong, telling him they wantedto soak up as much of Alberta as possible.Foong suggested heading south, since he livedin Lethbridge and knew many Mennoniteand Japanese farmers around the Vauxhallarea. The young, perhaps naïve, men piled in Foong’s white VW Beetle and drove to a beet farm.

“I dropped them off and then came backto visit them a week later and they said,‘Damn you, Foong, why did you leave ushere?’” says Foong, laughing now. “It nearlykilled them. It was hard work.”

Even so, Su still manages to find somethingpositive about the experience. “For a fewweeks, the four of us spent our days workingunder the scorching sun, hoeing unending rowsof sugar beets,” he says. “The pay we receivedwas a pittance, but the experience was some-thing I found worthwhile, as many of themigrant workers at the job were aboriginalsand I got to know them well. It was somethingI would not get to experience otherwise.

“And the endless prairies were somethingto behold.”

Guaning Su today (centre, above) with theNanyang Technological University dragon boatteam. Below (front row, second from right),with a dragon dance group in Edmonton.





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Spring 2009 U of A Engineer 25

While at the U of A, Su became interestedin research. As project chairman of the IEEEstudents’ branch, he led his team to receive aVincent Bendix Award for their proposal tobuild a collision avoidance radar. However,the idea was ahead of its time. Only today,nearly 40 years later, are such radars becom-ing technologically feasible, says Su. Even so,the students managed to build the circuits.

After graduating from the U of A, Suentered graduate school at the CaliforniaInstitute of Technology, studying electricalengineering. He had finished his master’s,completed his PhD qualifying exams, and was on the verge of starting his work on integrated optics with Dr. Amnon Yariv,an authority on lasers and optics. Then,Singapore suddenly requested he return to the country. It might have been a missed opportunity—Yariv went on to start an optical device company that he later sold toLucent for $2 billion—but Su tries not todwell on this fact.

Back in Singapore, Su started working onradars and electronic warfare with theMinistry of Defence, which was more inter-esting work than the normal compulsory military service. In those days, radar wasmostly analog. So, when Su had a chance to

do his PhD in 1980, he went to StanfordUniversity and focused on signal processingrelevant to radar and communications.

When he returned to the defence researchand development laboratory in Singaporethree years later, he tried to squeeze in what-ever time he could on his own research. Buthe devoted most of his effort to boosting thelaboratory’s reputation for innovation,allowing Singapore to collaborate with othercountries on research projects.

He also worked as an adjunct engineeringprofessor at the National University ofSingapore in 1991, and later taught manage-ment of technology at the University ofSingapore Business School from 1998 to2000. He organized his laboratories tobecome a not-for-profit corporation, DSONational Laboratories, serving as chief exec-utive. And he somehow found time to workin a post-graduate program in businessadministration at the University of Singaporeand Harvard Business School.

Su was also appointed deputy secretary(technology) in the Ministry of Defence,heading the procurement, IT, constructionand R&D funding arm, the DefenceTechnology Group. He would stay with theministry until 2002, when NanyangTechnological University began a worldwidesearch for a new president. His name wassubmitted and, in July of that same year, Suwas offered the job.

Despite earning an international reputa-tion in the field of defence, Su decided toreturn to academia. Since the inception of histerm, he has raised the profile of NTU, madeup of 20,000 undergraduates and 8,700graduate students from around the world.The institution is ranked among the top 25technology universities globally.

Su says his work with the government andas a researcher taught him that the quickestway between two points is not necessarily the straight line. “I learned a lot more about human behaviour and especially managing outstanding engineers and scien-tists,” he says. “It was useful preparation formy role as president of NTU, but there wasmuch more to learn. Academia is very differ-ent from corporate life, and academics aremuch more complex than corporate engineers and scientists.”

Next, Su would like to continue laying thegroundwork for a “truly great university” byrebuilding the university governance systemsand processes, and by recruiting innovativeand creative people. Singapore is in a uniqueposition along two axes, Su says—on oneside, the cultural fusion between East andWest, and on the other, the research andinnovation needed to create a knowledge-based economy.

“I would like to build our university into acentral driver in both these axes and in doingso, leave a legacy for future generations,” hesays. “My present role as president of NTU isa great challenge. My goal is to completelytransform it from a large, teaching-dominantengineering university to one of the outstand-ing universities in the world, with greatresearch and teaching in a wide range of disciplines. This will take time to accomplishand we are just in the middle of the process.”

Looking back on his career, Su has muchto be proud of but he points to his 30 yearsin the defence community where his contri-butions, many of them classified, help makehis country more secure. “This provides astrong foundation on which to build politicalstability, prosperity and happiness.”

Su credits the U of A for his own strongfoundation, helping him to build the soundfundamentals needed to excel in his graduatestudy and subsequent career. “To this day,returning to Edmonton gives me a warmglow from inside—even if it’s 40 below outside. I made lifelong friends and the mem-ory there lasts a lifetime.”

“For a few weeks, the four ofus spent our days workingunder the scorching sun, hoeing unending rows of sugarbeets. The pay we receivedwas a pittance, but the experience was something I found worthwhile, as many of the migrant workers at the job were aboriginals and I got to know them well.” — GUANING SU

Phoebe Day is an Edmonton-basedfreelance writer.

NTU Campus is a sight to behold. Above,the elegant Nanyang Auditorium; below, a bird’s-eye-view along the North SpineComplex.

UofA Engineer Spring 2009 - [PDF Document] (26)




Pete Pachal (Eng Phys ’96) is editor ofDVICE.com, a tech blog that reviews the verylatest in technology, from solar-powered sub-marines to home electronics. Although heisn’t working as an engineer, Pachal creditshis engineering degree and the problem-solv-ing skills it equipped him with for the direc-tion his career has taken.

What has your career path been fromgraduation until now? When did youdecide on media-journalism?

After graduating from the U of A, I took anentry-level job at an Edmonton firm that hadbig dreams but seemed to lack the where-withal to execute. Thanks to my experienceas an editor of the Gateway, I was assignedthe task of producing the company’s businessplans. I also did a lot of writing on the sidefor various publications around Edmonton,like SEE Magazine.

My day job was unsatisfying and, after ayear, I resolved to apply to journalism school.I began attending classes at the University of

King’s College in fall 1998. During my yearat King’s, I worked as an intern for New YorkMagazine for a month and a half, which gal-vanized my desire to move to New York Cityand work in the media business. After gradu-ating King’s, I moved back to Edmonton tosort of “regroup,” then moved to New Yorkin October 1999.

When I arrived in Manhattan, all I had wasabout $400 and a MasterCard. Three weekslater I had found my first job in NYC, assistantmanaging editor of Sound & Vision magazine.I worked at that publication for six years, rosethrough the ranks, but began to lose interest.While searching for a different job, I happenedto interview at the SCI FI Channel when theywere in the process of creating a tech blog.They hired me to run it. Since then, it’s growna lot, and now DVICE garners over 750,000unique visitors every month.

How did your education or experience atthe Faculty of Engineering and theU of A equip you for your career path?

My time spent at the Gateway wasn’t justextremely beneficial to my journalism

career—it sparked it. I didn’t intend tobecome a journalist when I started at theU of A. But my engineering degree certainlyhas shaped the kinds of jobs I’ve had: Sound& Vision was a magazine dedicated to A/Vequipment, and DVICE is about technologyof all kinds.

Having an engineering background ishelpful for DVICE in particular. Often, techcompanies try to oversell their products, tout-ing some esoteric tech feature. With my tech-nical knowledge, I’m in a better position tocall out their BS. If some startup claimsthey’re going to create a battery that lasts 50years, for example, I just inherently knowthat something’s not right.

Pete Pachal followed hispassions, and advises youngalumni to do the same


b y R i c h a r d C a i r n e y

Pete Pachal (Eng Phys ’96) is editor ofDVICE.com, a tech blog that reviewsthe very latest in technology, fromsolar-powered submarines to homeelectronics. Although he isn’t workingas an engineer, Pachal credits hisengineering degree and the problem-solving skills it equipped him with forthe direction his career has taken.





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Spring 2009 U of A Engineer26

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What unique professional challenges doyou face daily, and how do you measuresuccess?

The most challenging thing is continually find-ing ways for DVICE to stand out among techblogs, and as a brand of NBC Universal. We trynot to give predictable stuff, but it’s challeng-ing; the blogosphere is very oversaturated now.

iPhone or BlackBerry?

iPhone all the way, baby! The apps are somuch fun!

PC or Mac?

Mac, definitely. Better in every way, unlessyou’re a gamer.

What’s the next big thing?

Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) TVs aregoing to take off in the next couple of years.

What’s your proudest achievement, personally, professionally or socially?

Moving to New York with little money andno real job prospects, and finding myself witha job and a place to live just a few weeks

later. It’s been quite an adventure. I just wishthat first job was as good as editing DVICE.Editing a blog is so much fun—you neverknow what cool tech stories will come up onany particular day.

What fosters pride for you as an alumnus?

Seeing the campus when I come back to thecity, hearing about the Bears and Pandaswhen they win championships, and readingthe Gateway online.

What emotional/sentimental/intellectual/professional connections doyou have with the Faculty of Engineeringand the U of A?

I’ll always remember Fred Vermuelen as one ofthe best teachers I ever had at any level. And

my engineering education has certainly mademe look at the world differently every day.When parking on an icy incline, for example,I’ll wonder what the coefficient of friction isfor the ice and how much my car weighs,thinking about whether or not it’ll slip. It’s notlike it helps me predict whether my car is actu-ally going to start sliding around, but at least Iknow how to express what’s going on in prac-tical, problem-solving terms.

What messages do you have for potential students, undergraduates, and young professionals who are juststarting their careers?

Don’t be afraid to take control of your careerpath. When they’re just starting out, I think alot of new grads think they have to take what-ever comes their way, especially in this econo-my. Don’t just take or do whatever’s in front ofyou. Often, decisions that you intend to be“temporary” end up lasting a lot longer thanyou ever imagined. Consider things carefullyand take the route that feels right to you. Ofcourse, be realistic, but don’t settle for some-thing that isn’t really what you want to do. Youprobably have more options than you think.

Just some of the gadgets featured onDVICE. Previous page: 1) Vuzix video

eyewear; 2) Steampunk Cylon contestcharacter. This page: 3) quirky

concept bus for London; 4) the DVICEwebsite; 5) the Robotrac multipurpose

robotic farmhand; 6) TeleNav full-featured GPS navigation system for

Android: 7) the Noah personal vehicle.






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Canada’s first energy megaproject

Canada’s first energy megaproject

U of A engineers helped

Canada’s nuclear power


by Bruce White

A worker readies for retubing workat AECL’s Sheridan Park facility.


o co


sy A


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Spring 2009 U of A Engineer 29

oday’s development of theAthabasca oil sands is among thelargest engineering projects inCanadian history. But, a genera-tion ago, an energy developmenttook place that was every bit asimportant for its contribution to

the country’s economy and technologicaladvancement.

From the late 1960s through the early1990s, 22 Candu reactors were built inOntario, Quebec, and New Brunswick togenerate electricity. If they all were to be builttoday, Canada’s Candus could cost as muchas $150 billion—an amount similar in scaleto the investment currently contemplated forthe Alberta oil sands.

Like the oil sands, the Candu grew out ofa desire to exploit uniquely Canadianresources. Our fresh water yields heavywater: about one water molecule in 10,000carries deuterium (heavy hydrogen) atomswith an extra neutron. The Canadian Shieldhas substantial deposits of uranium, which innature is more than 99 per cent U238; about0.7 per cent is the highly fissionable U235isotope. Canada had no desire to get into theproduction of enriched uranium, which couldbe used in nuclear weapons.

What evolved out of necessity turned outto be “a fantastic system,” says BobHemmings (Chemical ’62). The Canadiandeuterium uranium reactor technology wasbased on the principle of using heavy waterto slow down the neutrons, permitting a con-trolled fission to be sustained using naturaluranium fuel.

Although the Candu’s roots date towartime research at Chalk River, Ontario,development of the peacetime technologylater branded CANDU began in earnest in1954. That year Ontario Hydro and AtomicEnergy Canada Ltd. (AECL) joined eightother utilities, engineering, and manufactur-ing firms in a consortium to design and buildreactors that were meant to be economicallycompetitive with coal as a source of steam togenerate electricity.

As with the oil sands today, thousands ofCanadian engineers, including graduates fromthe University of Alberta, enjoyed rewardingcareers in Canada’s nuclear industry. Theyworked on research reactors at Chalk Riverand in Whiteshell, Manitoba, and commercial

generating stations at such places asPickering, Ontario; Gentilly, Quebec; andPoint Lepreau, New Brunswick. The openingin 1968 of a 220-megawatt power-generatingunit at Douglas Point, Ontario, marked thebeginning of commercial nuclear power inCanada. That took place one year after thefirst viable oil sands plant was up and runningnear Fort McMurray.

Four decades later, both industries facesimilar challenges as they mature—high capi-tal costs and serious concerns about environ-mental impacts—but in the go-go yearsaround Canada’s centennial, optimismseemed limitless.

Jim Saltvold (Electrical ’64) spent 39 yearsat AECL, mostly involved with research anddevelopment. He joined the industry in 1967,when many people in the industrialized worldsaw atomic energy as the thing of the future.

“You felt there was prestige,” Saltvoldrecalls of his early days. “The glamour was stillthere, and there was still quite a bit of publicsupport, but that diminished rather quickly.”

Saltvold earned his master’s at theUniversity of Wisconsin and worked in R&Dat research reactors in Whiteshell and ChalkRiver, and raised a family in the companytown of Pinawa, Manitoba, and at DeepRiver, Ontario. While at Whiteshell, Saltvoldand his colleagues developed special-purposeinstruments for use in reactors—“anythingyou couldn’t buy off the shelf,” he explains.

One was a device to measure internal fric-tion in specimens of the metal used for reac-tor pressure tubes and fuel cladding, to studydefects and their interaction. (Internal fric-tion is what causes a vibrating flat spring tostop vibrating.) Another was an automateddevice to measure the diameter and profile ofthe pins in a fuel bundle that had been irradi-ated inside a reactor. The device dramaticallyreduced the amount of time that techniciansneeded to spend making these measurementsby hand in heavily shielded containmentboxes known as “hot cells.”

Hemmings, who earned his PhD at theUniversity of London, arrived at Whiteshelltwo years before Saltvold and worked with acompany-wide team on a problem thatplagued early reactors: the migration ofradioactive corrosion products within thereactor’s heavy-water core and light-watercooling systems. Tiny amounts of oxides

would accumulate on uranium fuel, becomeradioactive, and then break away to build upagain in undesirable places within the reactor’szirconium guts. That buildup created extremeradiation levels in the boiler room at DouglasPoint after only three years of operation.

As a chemical engineer working on R&Dat Whiteshell, Hemmings helped to identifythe chemical bases that were used to create adecontamination system known as CANDE-CON®. That process used small concentra-tions of organic acids to dissolve the oxides,which were then removed from the water bya purification system. The system reduced theradiation problem at Douglas Point by a fac-tor of six, and was employed in later Candudesigns and marketed internationally.

After two years on site for the commission-

ing of the Gentilly-1 reactor in Quebec,Hemmings moved during the early 1970s tothe Toronto area, where most of AECL’s designwork was going on in Mississauga, Ontario.

There was never one Candu reactor;rather, over the decades a series of modelsevolved, each delivering more capacity andbetter performance. Hemmings worked onOntario Hydro’s Pickering and Bruce projectsbefore moving to Montreal in 1975 to openAECL’s new Candu-6 reactor design office.Later, he joined Canatom Ltd. (now part ofSNC-Lavalin) to continue to work on thedesign of Candu-6, a second-generationseries. These were commissioned at Gentilly-2, Point Lepreau, and Darlington as well as


Workers at AECL’s Sheridan Park facility prepare for remote tooling development.


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for international customers in countriesincluding Argentina, Korea, and Romania.

Hemmings’ friend Jerry Sovka (Chemical’58) is another nuclear engineer from Alberta.After earning a PhD from MIT, Sovka alsoworked in R&D for AECL, then moved intodesign work for Ontario Hydro’s nuclear sys-tems group through the commissioning ofDouglas Point, Pickering, and Bruce.

Demand for engineers—especially on thedesign side—was dependent on the state ofthe company’s order book for Candu reac-

tors. By the 1980s, domestic demand fornuclear power dried up, due in part to costoverruns and a growing public fear of atom-ic energy, especially in the wake of the 1979Three Mile Island event in Pennsylvania andthe 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe in Ukraine.

During this employment drought,Hemmings found a series of opportunities inthe U.S., starting at Niagara Falls, New York,in a successful venture with an SNC compa-ny (London Nuclear) to commercialize CAN-DECON technology in the States. In thepost-Three Mile Island environment, he alsoworked on a dozen “prudence audits” of U.S.reactors. These studies were done in responseto heavy regulation of the industry and weremeant to sort out which proposed safetymeasures were prudent and which wereunnecessary. Canadian engineers, with theirroots outside the U.S. nuclear establishment,were seen as reliable, unbiased, and compe-tent for this work.

Sovka’s career took on an internationalarc after he joined Canatom to work in project management on Candus in SouthKorea and China. He left the industry brieflyto run an international telescope in Hawaiibefore returning to the nuclear world in the1990s to work on a proposal for Canada tohost an experimental fusion project known as

ITER (for International ThermonuclearExperimental Reactor), a project that alsoinvolved Hemmings.

“Canadians worked very hard to get theITER project built in Canada instead ofFrance,” Hemmings says, blaming federalpoliticians for refusing to support the project.He adds that the jobs created and taxes col-lected would have more than repaid the invest-ment in the multinational research project.

Sovka joined the multinational fusionresearch project ITER in 2001, first takingover an assignment from Hemmings in Japanand then moving to Bavaria and, recently,Provence. Now 72 years old, Sovka leads thesite preparation team, which will achieve amilestone this summer when excavationbegins for buildings housing the 10-storey-high fusion vessel known as a tokamak. Hiswork involves travel among the ITER group’spartners in Asia, Europe, and theU.S.—resulting in what he calls alot of “short nights,” such asreporting to the office at 3 a.m.for a teleconference hosted inIndia. The project aims to pro-duce its first fusion plasma in2016.

Hemmings continues towork in the industry. His cur-rent projects include commer-cializing a Canadian technologythat removes tritium (3H orhydrogen with two neutrons)from heavy water.

Saltvold continued in R&D, havingmoved to Chalk River. He left the industry in2005 after four years on loan to OntarioPower Generation (formerly part of OntarioHydro) to work on site at Pickering, and isnow semi-retired.

The Camrose native lives in Red Deer andworks part-time for Stantec on municipalwater and sewage projects around Alberta.“One thing I find now is that it’s easier toexplain to people what I do than it was whenI worked in the nuclear industry,” he sayswith a chuckle.

Saltvold and others believe that theCandu, launched when Canada had fewerthan 20 million people, has created a tremen-dous national legacy. It accounts for aboutone-sixth of the electricity currently producedin Canada, including half of Ontario’s power.

It created business spinoffs for large industri-al companies such as Canadian GeneralElectric, expanded the market for Canadianuranium, and built expertise in advancedmanufacturing. The industry also providedsolid careers for thousands of engineers.

In recent years, as concern has risen overthe carbon generated by coal-fired powerplants, many people in and around the indus-try have predicted a renaissance of what’s

described as “clean”nuclear energy. Proposalsare being considered tobuild third-generationACR-1000s in northernAlberta or west-centralSaskatchewan to providepower to the oil sandsindustry, similar to a planthat Hemmings rememberspitching unsuccessfully inCalgary during the 1970s.(See sidebar.) So far, theseenvironmentally motivated

orders for new Candu reactors have failed tomaterialize.

Nevertheless, the Canadian NuclearAssociation and its U.S. counterpart predictthe industry will face a serious shortage oftalent for years to come, as the older genera-tion of nuclear engineers retires, reactors cur-rently in service come up for midliferefurbishment, and new reactors are eventu-ally built.

Hemmings encourages young engineers toconsider the field. He describes his career as“a fantastic career that took me to all kindsof places—chemical engineering applied tonuclear energy.”

Bruce White is an Edmonton-based business writer and editor.([emailprotected])

the industry will face a serious shortageof talent for years to come, as the oldergeneration of nuclear engineers retires,

reactors currently in service come up formidlife refurbishment, and new reactors

are eventually built.

Bob Hemmings (Chemical ’62)

The Whiteshell Nuclear Research Establishment(Whiteshell labs) in Manitoba.


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lmost four decades ago, a distin-guished University of Alberta scientistaddressed the province’s energy

future in the light of the M. King Hubberttheory of petroleum depletion, which formsthe basis of today’s “peak oil” theory.

In 1971, Dr. Robert Folinsbee, a nativeEdmontonian and wartime RCAF pilot, wasa professor of geology and former head ofthat department. His honours would laterinclude the Order of Canada and the presi-dencies of the Geological Society of Americaand the Royal Society of Canada. Folinsbee’sconclusions about energy in Alberta are sur-prising, especially given the way the provincehas developed in the 38 years since he wrotehis paper.

“It is clear that Canada will make only asmall splash in the world’s petroleum pool,and that the fossil fuels will be only a shortinterlude on the rocky road of modern man.Energy for the future must be nuclear, andcars electrical,” Folinsbee wrote.

“The donut cloud of a major oil fieldcoming into production, as at Redwater in1950, may not be seen again over thePrairies. For the genie of the energy lamp ofthe future will be nuclear. Let us work tomake him a good genie, confined to his caul-dron, so that this blue planet that is Earthmay remain a fit abode for all mankind.”

Folinsbee certainly underestimated therole the oil sands would have in “the world’spetroleum pool.” He likely did not foreseethat nuclear energy would be more controver-sial today than it was during the early 1970s.And he had no way of realizing that the yet-unappreciated threat of global warmingwould make the burning of hydrocarbons forenergy equally controversial. Yet, ultimately,he may be proved correct about atomic ener-gy playing a role in Alberta’s energy future.

The fission of very large atoms into small-er ones remains a tantalizing source of power;splitting one uranium atom releases approxi-

mately 50 million times as much energy as theburning of one carbon atom. That is beingpromoted as the solution for Alberta’s growingelectricity needs, especially for the oil sandsindustry. Ontario-based Bruce Power, thecountry’s only private-sector reactor operator,is developing plans to build multi-billion-dollar power plants in northern Alberta orwest-central Saskatchewan, possibly employ-ing newly designed ACR-1000 reactors.

Federally owned Atomic Energy of CanadaLtd. is developing the ACR-1000 as the thirdgeneration of the Candu series, which it pro-motes as having produced safe, carbon-freeelectricity for more than 40 years. The compa-ny highlights a number of new design featuresthat it says make it more reliable and econom-ical than previous generations of Candus:• The ACR-1000 is a cost-competitive

nuclear reactor that will produce 1.2gigawatts of electricity, more than twicethe output of the 1970s-era Candus atPickering.

• It can be refuelled while online, resultingin higher operating efficiency.

• Its design, based on the Candu-6 that has been built for customers on four continents, incorporates the latest safetyfeatures.

• The ACR-1000 uses low-enriched urani-um and alternative fuels, including blendscontaining plutonium recycled fromdecommissioned nuclear weapons.

• Slightly enriching the uranium makes asmaller reactor footprint possible. It alsoreduces the amount of nuclear waste perwatt of electricity produced.

• The use of ordinary “light water” as acoolant will reduce the need for costlyheavy water, which is still used as a mod-erator (slowing uranium neutrons toallow fission to take place).However, Dr. Mark Winfield, an assistant

professor of environmental studies at YorkUniversity, disputes claims that nuclear ener-

gy is clean. He points out that greenhousegases and contaminated wastewater are pro-duced during reactor construction and in themining and processing of uranium.

“Each stage of the nuclear energy produc-tion process, from uranium mining to powerplant operation, generates large amounts ofradioactive and otherwise hazardous wastesthat will require care, in some cases for hun-dreds of thousands of years,” he wrote in a2008 article for the Pembina Institute.Winfield says nuclear energy also createssecurity, safety, and weapons proliferationrisks unlike any other energy supply options.

He also questions the economics, notingthat consumers in Ontario are paying off amultibillion-dollar “stranded debt” througha monthly charge on their electricity bills.Existing reactors require large, midlife refur-bishments such as the $5.25-billion projectcurrently underway at Ontario’s Bruce plant.Builders of new projects (only one is underconstruction in the western world, inFinland) not only contend with steep costoverruns, but also a very long time horizon.

“Given a 10- to 15-year planning and con-struction horizon, and a 60-year facility life,you are committing your system to that pathfor 70 to 80 years,” Winfield said recently.“This is not necessarily a wise choice, giventhe pace of technological developments on thealternatives such as renewables, conservationand demand management, carbon captureand storage, and so on.”

Folinsbee died last year at the age of 91,but his vision of Alberta’s energy future stillgenerates debate. General Motors plans tomass-produce fully electrical cars in less thana decade, which would mark a turning pointtowards his prediction that electricity willdisplace petroleum on the roads. As forFolinsbee’s belief that atomic energy will bethe source of that electricity—it could beanother 40 years before we finally knowwhether or not he got that call right.


Alberta’s nuclear futuredebated for decades

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y the time Ron Wicentowich hadbeen diagnosed with stomachcancer, in September of 2003, itwas too late. Exploratory surgery

revealed that the disease had spread and Ron’sprognosis was grim. Two of Ron’s sons, Garyand Graeme, were studying at the Faculty ofEngineering. Gary was in his third year, hav-ing chosen Electrical Engineering as the disci-pline he’d follow. Graeme was in his firstweek of studies, trying to adjust to universitylife, when Ron was originally diagnosed. Asthe news sank in, the family was understand-

ably shaken to its core, its very foundationsrattled. It is during such times that friendshipsand community strengthen and unite us all.

Without the family’s knowledge, a groupof Gary and Graeme’s friends began organiz-ing a cancer fundraising event in Ron’s name.They planned to take pledges, then shavetheir heads, and donate the funds to theAlberta Cancer Foundation (ACF).

“Friends of mine who I’d known since ele-mentary school started this,” says Gary.“And a group of my engineering classmatesgot involved too. They tried to organize it as

a surprise, but word got out and after thateven more people got involved.”

Southgate Centre shopping mall donatedspace for the November event, dubbedRazored for Ron, and a barbershop in the malldonated its time. The Hudson’s Bay depart-ment store dragged out a large recliner for Ronto relax in and watch as family, friends, andstrangers lost their locks. The goal was to raise$1,000. The event achieved much more, col-lecting nearly $12,000 for the ACF.

“It was pretty amazing. Even our three-year-old cousin came and got shaved. Dad’s


thegiftA modest plan to raise $1,000 has taken on a life of its ownby RICHARD CAIRNEY

Gary Wicentowich returned to campus to watch the carnage atthe annual Engineering Head Shave. The event’s roots stretch backto 2003, when Gary’s father, Ron, was diagnosed with cancer.

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friends from work—guys in their 50s whohad hardly any hair—came. Two girls showedup and had their hair shaved,” says Gary. Ayoung woman, a U of A student passing by,asked about the event, then started her ownfundraising drive. She raised about $800 andshaved her head a month later. “We’d nevermet her before,” says Gary.

The fundraising took on a life of its own.Some of the Razored for Ron event organiz-ers planned another event, Rockin’ for Ron.Local bands played on campus at the PowerPlant in a fundraiser for palliative care atEdmonton’s Grey Nuns Hospital.

“There was this one guy there with theselong dreadlocks. He shaved his hair,” says Gary.

Ron passed away in February 2004. Hehad been, says Gary, “really touched” by thefundraising events that sprang up on hisbehalf. “We’ve always been pretty philan-thropic through the years as a family,” saysGraeme. “We’d done the MS Bike Tour, the

Terry Fox Run, the Jingle Bell Run, and somework for Habitat for Humanity.” So the fol-lowing summer, Razored for Ron became anannual event, now known as the EngineeringHead Shave. “It was June or July when wedecided to organize this—that was the lasttime I got my hair cut, until it was shaved,”says Graeme. “For a few years there, theHead Shave was the only haircut I’d haveevery year—I’d just grow it out.”

The Engineering Students’ Society tookon the job of organizing the event and, in November of 2004, with approximately 40 participants, the first annual EngineeringHead Shave was held, raising close to$13,000. It was also the first year the eventincorporated a hair dye—and for the firsttwo years, students would assemble at theWicentowich home to watch football and dye their hair, leaving a pink tinge to the bathtub.

The Engineering Head Shave has flour-ished, becoming an important part of theACF’s fundraising events and raising animpressive $146,603 for the Cross CancerInstitute over the past five years, saysCharissa Spencer, an annual fund develop-ment officer with the ACF.

“Without the support of events like this,many of the projects and pieces of equipmentthat make the Cross a world leader in cancercare and research simply would not havebecome a reality,” says Spencer. “We aredeeply grateful to the organizers and partici-pants of this event, and we are so proud that100 percent of the funds that they raise staynot only within the province of Alberta, butright here within Edmonton at the CrossCancer Institute.”

Gary and Graeme, naturally, feel someownership of the event. They were heavilyinvolved in organizing the Head Shave until2008 when they took a step back from theevent (they were busy establishing their owncareers and, on their free time, running adrafting company of their own). “It has neverbeen just Graeme and me on the committee,”says Gary. “We prefer to give the ESS all the

2008 Engineering Head Shave participantsCurtis Sand (above), and ElizabethDunning-Smith (bottom left) sacrificedtheir hair to help raise funds for theAlberta Cancer Foundation.

The Engineering Head Shave has flourished, becoming an important part of the Alberta Cancer Foundation’sfundraising events and raising an impressive $146,603for the Cross Cancer Institute over the past five years.

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credit anyway. There were just a few of us atthe beginning and it has really bloomed.”

But Ron’s sons remained involved. Garyattended the 2008 Engineering Head Shave,visiting with friends, but passed on the actualhair cut. “I was starting a new job a weeklater, and just chose not to do the Head Shavethis year,” he says.

Graeme, meanwhile, was working oncontract in the Czech Republic, and hadmade a pact with one of his cousins backhome: both men grew “unwieldy” beards andtook pledges from family members to eithershave their heads, shave their beards but con-tinue to wear moustaches, or shave theirbeards and moustaches completely. Backhome for Christmas 2008 and clean-shaven,Graeme reflected on the enduring impact ofthat first fundraising event.

“It’s really great that even though it’scalled the Engineering Head Shave, you getstudents and faculty members and employeesfrom all over the university taking part,” hesays. “It kind of feels like a legacy now, anda tribute.”

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Cross Hairson History

Spring 2009 U of A Engineer34

State of

our Grade 10 teacher was right:math is important. It’s especially truehere in Alberta, where mathematics

plays a key role in oil and gas explorationand development. Mathematical formulasintegrated into sophisticated software pro-grams can model conditions at a gas reser-voir, refinery, or processing plant, enablingengineers to predict multiple factors includ-ing volume, pressure, and temperature.

One of the most significant of these formu-las was developed at the University of Albertain the 1970s by Dr. Donald B. Robinson, aprofessor in Chemical Engineering from1948–80, and one of his research associates,Dr. Ding-Yu Peng. The Peng-RobinsonEquation of State (EOS) was published in1976 and is recognized as one of the most suc-cessful thermodynamic models for calculatingthe properties of fluid mixtures.

The Peng-Robinson Equation of Stateallows engineers to calculate the properties of

MINDhydrocarbon mixtures. For example, engi-neers tapping into a gas field can use theequation to determine the state and composi-tion of the gas when they bring it to the sur-face: they will know how much of the gas willbe in liquid form and how much of it will bein vapour, and they will know what the liquidand vapour are composed of.

This knowledge affects everything thatneeds to be done from the moment gas or oil is drawn from the ground to themoment you pull up to the gas pump—everything from sizing pipelines to designingentire refineries.

The model transformed the way engineersconduct routine design calculations, with ashift from tables and nomographs to moresophisticated software used in process simu-lations. Dr. Fred Otto, a former student, co-professor, Dean of Engineering, and a colleague of Robinson's at both the U of Aand the engineering firm DBR & Associates,

says, “The Peng-Robinson Equation of Stateis used for modelling the properties andbehaviour of hydrocarbon gases and liquids.It enables engineers to produce a lot ofdesigns in a very short time frame.”

The Peng-Robinson EOS quickly becamea standard tool in the design of gas process-ing plants and enhanced oil recovery systems.It has been incorporated into many commer-cial software simulation programs used bythe gas processing industry.

The development of the Peng-RobinsonEOS was the signature triumph for a brilliantresearcher and educator, but it is only one of Robinson’s many achievements. He beganworking on gas hydrates in the 1950s, motivated by the needs of the developing gasprocessing industry in Alberta. A specialist inthe area of thermodynamics, Robinson was behind many advances in chemical engineering and gas processing technologywhile at the U of A and later at DBR &

P= –RT— ——av(v+b)v-b

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Associates, the technology company hefounded in Edmonton.

“Don had many interests and excelled atthem all,” says Otto. “In particular, heexcelled in his chosen field of chemical engi-neering as an educator, researcher, business-man, and entrepreneur.”

Robinson was born in Calgary, and raisedin B.C.’s Okanagan Valley. He obtained hisBSc and MSc in chemical engineering from theUniversity of British Columbia and his PhDfrom the University of Michigan. His mentorat Michigan was Dr. Donald Katz, a worldleader in natural gas and gas processingequipment, and the educator of many techno-logical leaders in this field.

Robinson’s PhD focused on heat transfer,but his time at Michigan kindled a newenthusiasm for phase behaviour. This passionled to the Peng-Robinson EOS.

Robinson’s association with the U of Abegan in 1948, when he was hired as an assis-tant professor. He went on to become anassociate and full professor, and the head ofChemical and Petroleum Engineering from1959 to 1970. “Many classes of students rec-ognized his ability to present technical mate-rial in an understandable way, and fondlyregard him for the quality of his contributionto their education,” says Otto.

Besides teaching thousands of undergrads,Robinson also contributed to the bricks andmortar of the university. He advocated for and

helped design a new building with expandedfacilities for Chemical Engineering in the1960s. During the same decade, he led the for-mation of the Canadian Society for ChemicalEngineering and became deeply involved withthe U.S.-based Gas Processing Association(GPA). Both organizations, as well as APEGGAand the Alberta government, gave him awards.The GPA provided one of Robinson’s proudestmoments, by awarding him the newly mintedDonald L. Katz Award in 1986. (Five otherCanadians have subsequently received thisaward and all were significantly influenced bytheir association with Robinson.)

In 1970, Robinson stepped down asdepartment chair to focus on teaching andresearch. He attracted top-flight people fromaround the world as research associates, andmentored the work of 27 graduate students,many of whom have made their own marks inscience, technology, and education.Robinson’s work resulted in the publicationof 190 research papers and reports.

Robinson began his own engineering com-pany in 1980, DBR & Associates, to providetechnology transfer initiatives based on U of Aresearch work. The company evolved to pro-vide three primary business services: specializedlaboratory and research services (with anemphasis on phase behaviour and specializedfluid property measurements), the design andmanufacture of high-pressure laboratory equip-ment and specialty software products, and engi-neering and technology consulting services.

A 1985 Edmonton Journal article on DBRextolled Robinson’s leadership. “Robinsonhimself is recognized as one of the world’sforemost authorities on the behaviour of oiland gas when it is being produced, transport-ed or processed into petrochemicals.”

Those who knew Robinson as family,friend, teacher, faculty colleague, or business-man also appreciate his personal qualities. As Dr. Otto said in his 1998 eulogy forRobinson, “Life for him was always full to the brim and he loved every minute of it. He treasured his family and had manyinterests outside of his engineering work. Hewas admired and respected by all he touchedwith his genuine interest, bubbly enthusiasm,competence, fairness, professionalism, andwise counsel.”

Robinson remained the president of DBRuntil 1989, chair of the board until 1993, anda board member until his death in 1998. DBRhas now been absorbed into the internationalconglomerate Schlumberger but retains thecore activities and name of its predecessor.

In 2006, the Schlumberger DBR Technol-ogy Centre in Edmonton honoured Robinson’smemory with a 30th anniversary celebration ofthe Peng-Robinson Equation of State.

Now widely used, and cited in more than2,600 published works, the Peng-RobinsonEOS continues to enhance the work ofresearchers and engineers in the petroleumfield world around the globe, as doesRobinson’s other research and developmentwork. For example, one of Robinson’s formerresearch associates, Dr. Heng-Joo Ng (MScChemical ’71, PhD Chemical ’75), who worksat the DBR Centre, is considered a worldexpert on hydrates, a potential new energysource under investigation in the MackenzieDelta and other areas of extreme cold.

Robinson’s legacy lives on through thememories of former students, research associ-ates, and faculty who knew him—and throughthe four scholarships and endowments offeredin his name: D. B. Robinson UndergraduateThermodynamics Prize Fund, D. B. RobinsonResearch and Environmental EngineeringFund, D. B. Robinson Graduate ChemicalEngineering Scholarship, and D.B. RobinsonChemical Engineering Initiatives EndowmentFund. For information on ways to support anyof these funds in honour of Dr. Robinsonplease contact Leanne Nickel at 780.492.4159or via e-mail at [emailprotected].

(With files from Richard Cairney)

Andrea Collins is an Edmonton-based freelance writer and publicrelations consultant.

“Robinson himself is recognized as oneof the world’s foremost authorities onthe behaviour of oil and gas when it isbeing produced, transported orprocessed into petrochemicals.”—EDMONTON JOURNAL

Drs. Donald Robinson and Ding-Yu Pengmade an enduring contribution to their profession and the oil and gas industrythrough the equation that bears their name.


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n 2004, when the university officiallylaunched Campaign 2008, it expected(in the words of founding president

Henry Marshall Tory) that “great things areabout to happen.” And the support theFaculty of Engineering received can only bedescribed as transformative.

Out of a staggering $580 million donatedto the university in total, an incredible $116million was donated specifically to theFaculty of Engineering.

“It has transformed the intellectual envi-ronment with new chairs and professorships,it transformed the physical environment withstate-of-the-art equipment and labs, and ittransformed the teaching environment

through extracurricular projects andresearch,” says Dean of Engineering Dr.David Lynch (PhD Chemical ’82).

“We are thankful for the generous sup-port and trust our alumni, friends and part-ners have shown in us.”

The impact of giving is felt where it mat-ters most—in the classroom.

Nemanja Danilovic expects to completehis PhD in materials engineering this fall. Aswell as researching solid oxide fuel cells,Danilovic has been learning about teaching.

With the support of the TW Fraser andShirley Russell Teaching Fellowship,Danilovic is being mentored as a teacher byDr. John Nychka (Metallurgical ’97), an

assistant professor in the Department ofChemical and Materials Engineering.Danilovic and Nychka share teaching dutiesfor the 190 students in Materials Engineering202, an introduction to materials science.Nychka teaches the first and last few classesof the semester; Danilovic teaches the rest,including organizing labs.

And from the sounds of it Danilovic islearning as much about teaching as his stu-dents are about materials.

“John teaches half the course and I teachhalf the course, so I don’t get thrown into thefire—I have a mentor to turn to,” saysDanilovic.

“John takes the mentorship very serious-ly,” adds Danilovic. “He comes to all of mylectures and we sit around for a half-hour oran hour talking about what I could have donebetter, improvements I could have made. Wetalk about upcoming lectures and we designdemonstrations ahead of time.”

Danilovic also sits in on classes Nychkateaches, to pick up different teaching tech-niques. “It has been an amazing experience,”Danilovic says. “This fellowship lets youteach a course with the safety net of a men-tor.”

Students in the class benefit from the fel-lowship because it puts students first, andtheir instructor is getting expert advice.Danilovic finds the experience rewarding.

“I get to really experience teaching, tolearn what teaching is like and what theworkload is like. The best part about it isfeeling this joy of teaching and educating stu-dents. You get to see students progressthrough the semester, and in their exams, andin the questions they ask. That’s somethingI’ve always been curious about.”

Robbie Sharma knows that the classroomisn’t the only place learning takes place. A


Nemanja Danilovic and Dr. John Nychka in a post-lecture analysis. Danilovic is a recipient of the TWFraser and Shirley Russell Teaching Fellowship, and is being mentored as a teacher by Nychka(Metallurgical Co-op '97).

ThankThe Faculty of Engineering offers its thanks for all the gifts great and small

You!by Richard Cairney





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second-year electrical engineering student,Sharma is a member of the AutonomousRobotic Vehicle Project. The student group isbuilding an underwater robot (affectionatelynamed “Bearacuda” in reference to theGolden Bears) designed to “think” for itselfand perform tasks underwater.

At an international competition in SanDiego this summer, Bearacuda will run anunderwater obstacle course, where it will berequired to enter an area through a gate,dock with a buoy, follow a pipeline, drop amarker, detect a beacon and retrieve a pay-load—all within a set time.

But getting to the competition requires thesupport of external groups, and Sharma saysstudents and donors alike benefit from giftsto these student projects. Students who par-ticipate in the Faculty of Engineering’s stu-dent group projects become better engineersand better employees, Sharma says. Andcompanies who donate to these projects mayultimately hire students who have valuabledesign, teamwork and problem-solving expe-rience in their discipline.

Working in teams provides students witha chance to apply the knowledge they learn inclassrooms and labs, and it helps studentsdevelop their communication and leadershipskills.

“Donors who support these projects aresupporting the science and technology out-reach programs we run, and they enhancetheir own identity,” says Sharma. “And asstudents, we are flourishing.”

While students benefit from the generosi-ty of alumni and friends of the Faculty, theyare also among the Faculty’s most importantbenefactors, having collectively pledged near-ly $2 million since 1994 to support teachingand learning.

In 1995 the Engineering Students’ Societysaw a way of helping the Faculty financially,and established the Engineering UndergraduateEquipment Fund after a vote of Engineeringstudents. Through the fund, Engineering stu-dents contribute $25 per term to help maintainand upgrade lab equipment. The cumulativeeffect is impressive. With approximately 3,800undergraduate students enrolled this year, thefee raised an impressive $190,000 during thefall and spring terms alone.

“It’s easy to see that if everyone con-tributes just a little bit, it makes a big differ-

ence,” says Daryl Tran, a fourth-year electri-cal engineering student and president of theESS. “This money goes to enriching the stu-dent experience, to enhancing the academicquality of the program, so I am totally finewith paying that extra money.”

Giving, it seems, begets giving. SaeidAmiri, a graduate student from Iran who isresearching hydrogen fuel cells, understandsthe personal aspect of giving. A recipient of the Captain Thomas Farrell GreenhalghMemorial Scholarship in ChemicalEngineering, Amiri says the scholarshipstands out.

“This one feels personal,” says Amiri. “Itisn’t from an institution, it comes from a per-son. It makes you think that one day, it is thekind of thing you might want to do as well.”

In many cases, gifts do trigger a sort ofcascade of giving. The cumulative effect ofone small gift, says Lynch, can be enormous.

“The multiplication of support from gener-ous donors that attracts further support fromgovernment bodies, foundations, researchorganizations and others literally turn an ini-tial donation into one several times larger—and without that initial donation, the othersupport wouldn’t have come,” says Lynch.

As an example, Lynch cites growth in thenumber of entrance scholarships the Facultyoffers. “A large number of modest donationswe received from our alumni cumulativelybecame a significant resource, and it was pos-sible to use that resource in discussion withother groups and multiply that amount untiltoday we have more than $1 million in schol-arships and entrance awards available to newstudents every year.

“So what can be seen as a modest gift of$20 or $50 or $100 has become a $1-millionper year scholarship program.”

Another instance of building a gift comesin the recent establishment of the Ron Nolan-Hatch Chair program in Sustainable Energyand Mineral Process Technologies. Fundedby Hatch Ltd. and its former CEO RonNolan (Electrical ’60), the professorship willhelp educate a new generation of engineers insustainable technologies.

“It’s a way of giving back to an institutionthat had a part in any success I might havehad,” says Nolan. “Students benefit becauseof the future demand for this expertise, andbecause they are doing something for the

world and the future. Industry will benefit byhaving engineers with this expertise availableto them.”

Lynch says the Faculty is poised to solidifyits position as one of North America’s top engineering schools and adds that, while the campaign has ended, the Faculty’splans remain ambitious. Meeting new goals requires support for students, teachersand research.

Specifically, the Faculty has plans for anew facility designed for faculty and staff, sothat existing buildings can be used as effi-ciently as possible, in the service of studentsand researchers. Alumni, visitors and otherguests will have a single location to go towhen visiting the Faculty, “and we canreclaim space in the existing buildings andconvert it into teaching and research labs andstudent spaces,” says Lynch.

For a cause like that, the Faculty can turn to its own students, according to ESSpresident Tran. “This is a part of the servicethat ESS provides. We were the ones whocame to the Faculty in the ’90s and said, ‘Weknow the economic situation is terrible;maybe this will help.’ Our relationship withthe Faculty is interconnected. We have towork well with each other and pull in thesame direction to achieve something great.

“And there is an unwritten rule or factthat members of the ESS executive, whenthey become alumni, are something like fourtimes more likely to give back to the Faculty,”Tran adds. “Students who feel they have got-ten something more than an education, whohad a very positive experience, are the oneswho feel it is OK to give back.”

“We are thankful for the generous support and trust our alumni, friends and partners have shown in us.”—Dean David Lynch

UofA Engineer Spring 2009 - [PDF Document] (38)

Spring 2009 U of A Engineer38

in memoriam

Ajayi-Obe, Folake Bolanle(MSc Computer Process Control ’02)Anstruther, Robert William(Chemical ’76)Balko, Peter Nicholas (Civil ’60)Barton, Jim (Electrical ’46)Bick, Roland Walter (Mining ’49)Bishop, Albert Allen (Electrical ’49)Brown, R Clive (Chemical ’43)Burgess, James (Civil ’58)Chinneck, Macrae (Mining ’52)Cotterill, Melvin James (Electrical ’50)Crosby, Russell Kneen (Civil ’63)Cullen, Gerry (Chemical ’49)Decker, Robert Michael (MSc Petroleum ’86)

Dixon, Thomas W (Chemical ’39)Fulton, John (Jack) (Mining ’39)Glowa, Paul Julius (Chemical ’41)Gray, Robert John (Chemical ’46)Howard, S Grant (Electrical ’56)King, Egerton Warren (Electrical ’43, LLD [Hon] ’88)Kotyk, Michael Albert (Mechanical ’77)Lee, John Cong Ng (Civil ’72)McLean, Patrick Blair (Petroleum ’91)Neelands, Hamilton Howse(Electrical ’48)Pelletier, Robert Eugene (Mining ’49)Pool, Marie A. (Civil ’61)

Rama, William (Chemical ’56)Rogers, Harry Frederick (Electrical ’49)Schultz, Wayne Lindsey (Civil ’79)Seneshen, Dr. Maurice Julian(Chemical ’53)Sim, Lawrence Gregory (Civil ’73)Stevinson, Harry Thompson(Electrical ’44)Stroud, Earl Louis (Electrical ’50)Taylor, Ronald Keith (Chemical ’59)Van Fossen, Edward John(Chemical ’08)Willis, Ernest G (Electrical ’35)Worobec, William Daniel(Mechanical ’66)

The Faculty of Engineering sincerely regrets the passing of the following alumni and friends.

Horte, Vern L (Chemical ’49)Osberg, Gustaf Lawrence(Chemical ’39)Pawliuk, Alec (Electrical ’49)Probert, James Francis (Electrical ’50)Rabusic, Frank (Chemical ’50)Ripley, Charles Farrar (Civil ’44)Spankie, John Allan (Mechanical ’64)

The Faculty of Engineering wasrecently made aware of the following alumni who passedaway more than a year ago.

Franz was born in Vienna, Austria, on

June 7, 1921, and passed away on

February 10, 2009, in Victoria, B.C. Franz is

survived by Elfriede, his wife of 67 years,

sons Heinz (Powell River, B.C.) and Ernst

(Fresno, California), and grandsons Karl and

Thomas.Franz’s youth was happy despite the severe

austerity caused by the First World War andthe Depression. His father hand built a housein the suburbs of Vienna to escape from theirtwo-room basem*nt apartment in the city. Itwas here that Franz developed his strongwork ethic and love for music.

Franz obtained a degree in MechanicalEngineering at the Junior Engineering Collegein Vienna, and this became very influential forhis survival during the Second World War.Franz met his future wife, Elfriede Waldhausl,in 1939 at a dance organized by the Red Cross.They were married in 1942. Following the war,Franz took a job teaching mathematics at theJunior Engineering College and studied at theUniversity of Vienna where he took a Doctorof Technical Sciences degree. Franz worked atthe Experiment Station of the University ofVienna, published numerous scientific papers,


1921 - 2009and was appointed “Private Docent inMaterial Sciences” by the university.

In 1952, Franz accepted a position asassistant professor at the University ofMinnesota in Minneapolis, and Franz,Elfriede, and their two young sons moved toNorth America. Although Franz was soonpromoted to associate professor, he welcomed the opportunity to further develophis skills as a scientist, researcher, and educa-tor and accepted a position as Professor ofMetallurgical and Nuclear Engineering at theUniversity of Wisconsin in Madison in 1958.Franz always claimed that the years inMadison were the happiest of his life. In1965, Franz and family moved to Edmonton,Alberta, when he was appointed Chair of theDepartment of Mineral Engineering at theUniversity of Alberta.

Franz’s contributions to scientific literaturewere considerable, and his research led to 83major publications amongst numerous otherarticles. He maintained contact with many ofthe graduate students he mentored, and hiscontributions will long be remembered as hisenthusiasm for discovery was infectious. In hislate years Franz was honoured by receiving the

Golden Engineering and the Golden DoctorsDiploma from his University in Vienna.

Although Franz officially retired in 1986,he remained extremely active. He andElfriede retired to the Saanich Peninsula inBritish Columbia. Franz’s love of researchinspired him to conduct genealogical researchinto his ancestry. The document he produced, which traces the Vitovec familyhistory back to 12th Century knights inSouthern Bohemia, can be found in Salt LakeCity at the Genealogical Institute and at theNational Library in Ottawa.

In his retirement years, Franz was able torekindle his interest in the Arts that was initially inspired by his parents in his youth.He kept up his mental activity by attendingmany Elderhostels where he and Elriedecould select topics of their interest such asancient history, religions of the world, andart. Franz was attending an Elderhostel inSan Francisco when he became ill and washospitalized in January 2009. He returned byair ambulance to Canada on February 9thand died the following day. Throughout hislife, his family took first place in his thoughtsand actions.

UofA Engineer Spring 2009 - [PDF Document] (39)

T a k i n g p r i d e i n a c h i e v e m e n t

CHEN, TONGWEN PEngHas been named a Fellow of theEngineering Institute of Canada.A professor in the Departmentof Electrical and ComputerEngineering, Chen’s researchcontributions lie mainly in com-puter and network based controlsystems, including sampled-datacontrol, multirate systems,process control, networked con-trol systems, and their applica-tions to industrial problems.

HARDY, DARREN (Chemical ’89) PEng

Has been appoint-ed vice president,operations, ofCanadian OilSands Trust, effec-tive September 2,

2008. Previously, he was withSyncrude Canada Ltd.

HANI HENEIN PEngChemical and MaterialsEngineering professor HaniHenein, director of theAdvanced Materials andProcessing Laboratory, has beenappointed to the board of direc-tors of the Minerals, Metals &Materials Society.


Has won theShell/ASTechOutstandingAchievement inEnvironmentalTechnology and

Innovation Award. Hettiaratchihas designed a revolutionarylandfill ‘biocell’ that can helpcontrol climate change by reduc-ing methane emissions and create energy from waste.

KING, WILLIAM (Chemical ‘75)Has been appointed as vice pres-ident, major projects, with OPTICanada Inc. King joined OPTI in2004 and brings over 25 yearsof experience on internationalonshore and offshore gas andpipeline construction projects inthe oil and gas industry.

KVISLE, HAL (Civil ’75) PEng

Has earned theUniversity ofAlberta School ofBusiness 2009Canadian BusinessLeader Award.

Kvisle is president and CEO ofTransCanada Corporation, aleading North American energyinfrastructure company rankingin the top 500 publicly tradedcompanies worldwide.


Has won theASTech award for OutstandingLeadership inAlbertaTechnology.

A professor emeritus in theDepartment of Chemical andMaterials Engineering, Masliyahmade ground-breaking discover-ies about the interaction of bitumen with solids and water.

MARKIN, ALLAN (Chemical ’68, LLD [Hon] ’02) PEngHas been inducted as a Memberof the Alberta Order ofExcellence for his considerableservice in the oil and gas indus-try and his great support ofAlberta hospitals, post-sec-ondary schools and social serviceinitiatives. Markin currentlyserves as chairman of the boardfor Canadian Natural ResourcesLimited.

MARSDEN, RANDY(Electrical ’89) PEng

Has won theASTech SocietalImpact Award forhis contributions toassistive technology(see story page 14).

The president and CEO ofMadentec Limited, Marsden hasdeveloped numerous technolo-gies that have significantlyimproved the lives of disabledpersons.

OLEKSHY, ANTONY(Electrical ’77)Has won the AVAC/ICORE/ASTech OutstandingAchievement in Information andCommunications Technologyand Innovation with his long-time collaborator H. JamesHoover, of the U of ADepartment of ComputingScience. The two are founders ofAvra Software Lab Inc., a U of Aspinoff company.

PETHER, DONALD (Metallurgical ’70)

Has been appoint-ed to the Board ofDirectors of EmeraInc., an energy andservices companywith $4.7 billion in

assets. Prior to his position asChair, Pether was the Presidentand Chief Executive Officer ofDofasco Inc.

TANG, TIANAn assistant professor in theDepartment of MechanicalEngineering, Tian has beenselected to receive this year’sAdhesion Society’s OutstandingYoung Adhesion Scientist Award,sponsored by the Adhesive andSealant Council Inc.

RUSSELL, T.W. FRASER (Chemical '56, MSc Chemical '58)Has been selected to receive theLifetime Achievement inChemical EngineeringPedagogical Scholarship Awardfrom the American Society forEngineering Education (ASEE).Russell has established the T.W.Fraser and Shirley RussellTeaching Fellowship in theFaculty of Engineering. He is theAllan P. Colburn Professor ofChemical Engineering at theUniversity of Delaware.


Has been named aFellow of theEngineeringInstitute ofCanada. Xu is aprofessor in the

Department of Electrical andComputer Engineering, holdingthe NSERC/iCORE AlbertaPower Companies IndustrialResearch Chair in PowerQuality.

ZHAO, VICKYAn assistant pro-fessor with theDepartment ofElectrical andComputerEngineering, Zhao

has been awarded the IEEEYoung Author Best PaperAward. The award honours theauthor of an especially meritori-ous paper dealing with a subjectrelated to the society’s technicalscope. Recipients are under theage of 30.

Send your news of awards, appointments, and other successes to [emailprotected]

Do you have news to share?


METZNER, ARTHUR (Chemical ’48)The Society of Rheology hasestablished a prestigious awardfor young rheologists in thename of the late Arthur B.Metzner, H. Fletcher BrownProfessor Emeritus of ChemicalEngineering at the University ofDelaware at the time of hisdeath in 2006. Metzner earnedhis doctorate from theMassachusetts Institute ofTechnology. He joined theUniversity of Delaware facultyin 1953. He was elected to theNational Academy ofEngineering in 1979 and wasrecently named to the AmericanInstitute of Chemical Engineers’list of 100 Chemical Engineersof the Modern Era.

Spring 2009 U of A Engineer 39


UofA Engineer Spring 2009 - [PDF Document] (40)

Postage paid Port payé

Publications Poste-Mail publications


Publications Mail Agreement No. 40051128

Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to:Faculty of Engineering, University of AlbertaE6-050 Engineering Teaching & Learning ComplexEdmonton, AB T6G 2V4

e-mail: [emailprotected]


Your donation$100 $500 $1,000 $2,500to the U of A

Your tax credit$50.00 $250.00 $500.00 $1,250.00for your gift:

I wish to make a gift of:

$100 $500 $1,000 $2,500 Other $________

Cheque (made payable to the University of Alberta) VISA MasterCard

__________/___________/__________/__________/ expiry date: __________

Name (please print): ________________________________________________

Signature: _______________________________________________________

I have also enclosed:

a corporate matching gift form from my (or my spouse‘s) employer

If you were an Alberta resident on December 31, 2008 and have already given $200 elsewhere, your combined income tax savings will be:

* To best meet Faculty of Engineering’s needs, donations may be directed to endowed funds. Donations made to endowment funds are invested in perpetuity and the investment earnings are used to advance the specified purposes of the fund within the University.

I would like my gift to support:

$ __________ Areas of greatest need as determined by the Dean.

$ __________ Chemical and Materials Engineering Fund*

$ __________ Civil and Environmental Engineering Fund*

$ __________ Electrical and Computer Engineering Fund*

$ __________ Mechanical Engineering Learning Laboratory Fund*

$ __________ Mining and Petroleum Engineering Fund*

I would like information on how to make a gift of publicly traded securities to support the Faculty of Engineering at the U of A.

I would like information on how to include the Faculty of Engineering at the U of A as part of a will, life insurance, or other planned gift instrument.

I have provided for the Faculty of Engineering at the U of A in a will or trust agreement.

Please return to: Office of the Dean, Faculty of Engineering University of AlbertaE6-050 Engineering Teaching and Learning ComplexEdmonton, Alberta T6G 2V4

Mechanical Engineering Professor Doug Dale wanted to ease the financial strain on

future Engineering students. One of the things he has done is made a charitable

bequest to the Faculty of Engineering.

If you would like more information on how you can support future U of A

Engineers through a planned gift, please contact:

Nena Jocic-Andrejevic,

Planned Giving Officer, Faculty of Engineering, University of Alberta

E6-050 Engineering Teaching & Learning Complex

Edmonton, AB T6G 2V4

Tel: 780.492.8969 Fax: 780.492.0500

E-mail: [emailprotected]

Planned Giving

U n i v e r s i t y o f A l b e r t a ENGINEERING

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