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2019 Engineers Canada Awards Recipients

Challenges facing the future of engineering - presented by Manulife

We asked our award recipients and their supporters “What are the most significant challenges facing the engineering profession?” This is what they told us.


The importance of diversity in engineering - presented by Great-West Life

We asked our award recipients and their supporters “What does diversity bring to engineering?” This is what they told us.



Catherine Karakatsanis, P.Eng.
Gold Medal Award

“We as a profession have the opportunity and responsibility to respond to the challenges facing our planet, and we are in the enviable position that a public otherwise worried about the future can trust us – professionals who put the public welfare above all else.”

As COO of Morrison Hershfield, Catherine Karakatsanis is responsible for the technical and operational delivery of all the company’s projects in its 22 North American offices and one in India. She has helped the firm grow from 100 to 1200 employees, while maintaining the company’s collegiality, professionalism, and reputation for technical excellence. Throughout her career, she has also served as a leader and a change-maker in key engineering organizations at the provincial and national levels. As OSPE chair, she guided the organization’s first strategic plan and ushered in key member services. While serving as president of PEO, she successfully led a push for changes to Ontario’s Professional Engineers Act and implemented the Agreement on Internal Trade in response to Bill 175–Labour Mobility Act. Finally, as president of Engineers Canada, she guided the launch of the International Engineering Graduate Roadmap website and led the Board in setting the audacious “30 by 30” goal, which has been adopted by all the regulatory bodies across the country.

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Dennis K. Paddock, P.Eng.
Meritorious Service Award for Professional Service

“There is no higher calling in an engineering career than public service. It is a chance to make a positive difference in people’s lives.”

Dennis Paddock began his distinguished 48-year engineering career managing innovative projects in transportation and municipal infrastructure for the Saskatchewan Government. In his role as head of northern municipal programs, he worked with engineering consultants to develop and deliver cold-climate water and sewer systems and operator training programs in northern Saskatchewan. He served the profession for 23 years as CEO and Registrar of APEGS, guiding the Council, volunteers, and staff through the revision of The Engineering Professions Act creating The Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act, assuring that the practice of engineering and geoscience in Saskatchewan remained under one Act. During his tenure, he guided APEGS’ growth from 3,600 to over 13,000 members. Throughout his career, Paddock volunteered on APEGS committees, was their President and Engineers Canada Director, and on two occasions the CEO Group Chair. Now retired, he continues serving as Deputy Chief Warden of Kipling Camp #25. He maintains his passion for self-regulation and the important contributions that engineers make to Canadian life.

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Bradley Buckham, P.Eng.
Medal for Distinction in Engineering Education

“The more society tends towards the convenient approach that the internet facilitates, where we perceive that we can source a solution to any problem from what has been done and broadcast before, the more critical it is that there are some who still think independently. We need people who try and take what they are given and make it better.”

As a researcher, Bradley Buckham works with private-sector companies and coastal communities in British Columbia to advance marine renewable energy technology, with a focus on launching demo projects that displace diesel-fueled energy generation on the BC Coastline. As an educator, Buckham particularly prides himself on the more than 3300 first-year students that he’s taught since joining the University of Victoria’s engineering faculty in 2004. He says that if he’s managed to help even one per cent of that group reach its full potential, then their collective accomplishments are going to far outweigh his own technical portfolio of work. By choosing to consistently teach first-year classes even as he’s advanced as a faculty member, Buckham also feels that he’s been able to make increasing contributions to the evolution of the university's engineering programs themselves. In his own words, “I think time and consistency are an exponential factor in the ‘impact’ formula.”

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Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway Project
National Award for an Engineering Project or Achievement

“Engineers should have a focus to ensure that the public’s money is spent in a responsible manner. From an engineer’s perspective, it means our designs should consider the overall life cycle of a project, not just the initial construction cost.”

Graham Wilkins, Project Director The Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway, engineered collaboratively by Tetra Tech and Stantec, was opened in the fall of 2017. Its completion marked the first connection of the rest of Canada’s highway system to the Arctic Ocean and fulfilled a strategic mandate of the governments of the Northwest Territories and Canada dating back to the 1960s. Graham Wilkins, Project Director, Northern and Pacific Transportation for Tetra Tech, says that the project’s biggest contributions to engineering relate to the design and construction of roads and bridges in a thaw sensitive continuous permafrost environment. As this was the first public highway in Canada constructed in this environment, the design team had to address challenges ranging from determining how to aggrade the permafrost into the base of the embankment to ensure a stable foundation; to developing methodologies for placement of embankment and culvert backfill in frigid winter conditions with variable silty borrow material; to the design of bridge foundations using ad-freeze piles that needed both to consider creep considerations and measures to ensure a frozen soil interface bond should the climate continue to warm.

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Jennifer Drake, P.Eng.
Young Engineer Achievement Award

“As a community, we need to create a culture that embraces creativity and life-long learning! The world is constantly changing, and the environmental, economic, and social challenges of the future will be immense. The techniques, skills, and knowledge of an engineer must also grow and change to address the challenges of our evolving society.”

At 35 years old, Jennifer Drake leads a research team at the University of Toronto that aims to mitigate the impact that urban centres have on water resources by improving stormwater management infrastructure. She is cross-appointed with the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, and is also lead researcher with the award-winning Green Roof Innovation Testing Laboratory, also known as GritLab. This combined research work, in addition to her role on the Toronto Region Conservation Authority Board of Directors, has had an enormous impact on improving infrastructure policy, including the the City of Toronto’s Green Roof Bylaw and Green Construction Standards, which drew directly on Gritlab’s work. She says, however, that her biggest contributions to the engineering profession will happen via her current and former students—over 30 graduate and 20 undergraduate and counting. She believes that the work they do as water resources engineers will play a critical role in improving the state of urban water resources long-term.

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Mae Seto, P.Eng.
Award for the Support of Women in the Engineering Profession

"Engineers are the unsung heroes who have shaped modern life. They have earned the right to be proud of that. I know I am.”

Mae Seto is Associate Professor and Irving Shipbuilding Chair in Marine Engineering and Autonomous Systems in Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Engineering. In this role, she has become an international leader in the research and development of autonomous vehicles in marine environments and is currently leading three NSERC projects and four Dept. of National Defence projects. She has also leveraged her experience as a woman in engineering extensively to inspire girls to become engineers. For over 30 years she has volunteered with the Girl Guides of Canada and was instrumental in forming a formal partnership between the organization and Engineers Canada on the delivery of the Girl Guides Engineering Crest program. Dedicated to enriching the lives of those in her community by sharing her talents and passion for STEM, Mae also volunteers for Scouts Canada and is a very active volunteer at her sons’ school, Sacred Heart School of Halifax, and at Dalhousie University.

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Helen Wojcinski, P.Eng.
Meritorious Service Award for Community Service

“As practising engineers, we have a duty of care to the public. My philosophy is to apply that same duty to serving the public in other ways. I take the notion of being a P.Eng. beyond engineering to see how I can make a difference for the betterment of society.”

Helen Wojcinski’s “dual” careers—one in civil engineering, and another, subsequent one in organizational behaviour, are closely linked in her thinking. Drawing on an impressive civil engineering track record, which included the western extension of the Highway 407 ETR—the world’s first all-electronically tolled highway — in her consulting practice, Wojcinski more recently facilitated a major organizational change for Defence Research & Development Canada, an agency of the Department of National Defence, as the Canadian Forces’ research focus transitioned from a peacekeeping mission to an active combat role during the Afghanistan War. She has brought this same approach to helping numerous causes in her community, serving on boards for the Canadian National Exhibition Association, Surrey Place, and Southlake Residential Care Village, among others, in addition to advocating for gender equity in engineering by serving on Engineers Canada’s Equitable Participation in the Profession Committee. She describes her volunteer work for the most vulnerable in Canadian society as not just a way to give back, but an integral part of the responsibilities she’s internalized as a professional engineer.

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Zenon Kripki
Gold Medal Student Award

“We are in a world that is experiencing change at an unprecedented rate, and engineers are problem solvers. Listen to the younger generation. We have become leaders on social issues that will define the future like sustainability and gender equality, and we know how to break down the barriers that exist both in our country and globally.”

Uniting thousands of engineering students across the country to create a collective voice on the issues they face during their education is no small feat, but that’s precisely what Gold Medal Student Award winner Zenon Kripki accomplished during his two years as president of the Canadian Federation of Engineering Students. While leading the organization, he facilitated the development of a three-year strategic plan, a 25 per cent increase in member engagement, and the forging of partnerships with key players in engineering education on the national and international stages. In addition to these accomplishments, Kripki also served as coordinator for Spectrum, a Saskatoon community event that draws together over 6000 people to showcase what engineering is and how the next generation can get involved.

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