Canada’s Catherine Karakatsanis makes history as FIDIC’s first woman president
October 27, 2023
Karatsanis joined FIDIC’s board in 2020, was elected vice-president (VP) in 2021 and was named president-elect in 2022. Now, she becomes the first woman president in the 110-year history of the global advocacy federation for national associations of consulting engineers, which represents the business and commercial interests of more than 40,000 firms in more than 100 countries.
In her new role, Karakatsanis says she looks forward to working in partnership with the federation’s member associations to advance important work, facilitate collective action to advance the engineering profession and deal with the prevailing issues facing the planet.
“The world is facing pressing challenges on many fronts, including climate change, water, energy, health and infrastructure needs, amid wide disparities in standard of living,” she says. “We are in the enviable position that the public, otherwise worried about the future, can trust us as professionals who put public welfare above all else.”
Karakatsanis’ FIDIC tenure continues her career of industry involvement and volunteer work which has spanned more than 30 years. She has held leadership roles with Engineers Canada, Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) and the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE); served on boards and foundations for Hydro One, Engineers Without Borders Canada, the Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation (CEMF) and the Hellenic Heritage Foundation (HHF); and served on the board of governors, engineering advisory council and various outreach and student programs for Western University, her alma mater.
“As an engineer, I have a deep love and immense pride for the profession,” she says. “Engineers are in a position to directly enhance the well-being of society through our work and that is incredibly rewarding. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the most talented professionals in the field, who have inspired me with their vision, expertise and commitment to excellence.”
“She is a visionary, transformative force who thrives on making things happen,” says Ken Coley, P.Eng., dean of Western’s faculty of engineering. “She has had an immeasurable impact on Canadian society and her achievements in this traditionally male-dominated field have paved the way for other women to follow in her footsteps.”
Earlier this year, she won a Lifetime Achievement Award from Canadian Consulting Engineer.