CCE’s Lifetime Achievement Awards: Maurice Brisson
February 16, 2023
A founding—and still active—member of BBA in Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Que., Maurice Brisson was recently invested as a Member of the Order of Canada in recognition not only of his expertise in designing electrification plans and developing major power transmission lines, but also for his philanthropic contributions to promoting education in electrical engineering. He received the honour—the nation’s highest for civilians—on Nov. 3 at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.
Brisson grew up under entrepreneurial parents who owned a bakery in the Laurentians. As he explains, they passed along their values and principles for achieving business success by respecting and satisfying clients’ needs.
“Engineering was a natural fit for me because I loved applied sciences,” he continues. “I also liked the idea of giving back to society and my community, of being part of something bigger than myself, by advancing knowledge and practice.”
He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Polytechnique Montréal, began his career as a high-voltage system researcher at l’Institut de Recherche en Électricité du Québec (IREQ) and then joined Shawinigan Engineering, where he developed close working relationships with colleagues who would go on to co-found BBA in 1980.
During his career, Brisson has been involved in projects around the world (including electrification plans in Ivory Coast, Guinea, Burundi and Honduras), led techno-economic and development programs for rural, urban, public and industrial distribution systems and studied markets, load consumption and forecasting, power generation and transmission planning.
“Engineering was a natural fit for me because I loved applied sciences.”
In recent years, he has completed studies on interconnecting independent power producers, cogeneration projects and medium- and large-capacity wind farms in Québec and Ontario.
“Trailblazing projects in energy efficiency and optimization and in wind and solar farms will help us with decarbonization efforts in the coming years,” he says.
One significant way he has given back to the industry is through education. He has mentored more than 30 junior engineers, many of whom are still working for BBA today. In 2016, l’Association des Firmes de Génie-Conseil – Québec (AFG) named him Mentor of the Year in Consulting Engineering.
In 2009, he created the Maurice Brisson Scholarship through Polytechnique Montréal to promote university education in engineering. In 2015, he made a significant donation to the institution to launch the Maurice Brisson Scholarship Fund and ensure its continuity. In recognition for his involvement, a laboratory at l’Institut en Génie de l’Énergie Électrique (IGEE) has been named after him.
Meanwhile, as an educator himself, he has taught courses about protection relays and systems for power grids as part of the university’s master’s program in electrical engineering.
Even now, Brisson is at BBA’s offices five days a week.
“It’s not like work for me!” he says. “It’s always a pleasure to progress with projects, connect with young engineers and continue to learn.”