Canadian Consulting Engineer

Chair’s Comments: 36th Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards

November 1, 2004
By Sheri Plewes, P.Eng.

As chair of the selection committee for the 2004 Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards, I found the experience both rewarding and challenging. There were 64 submissions showcasing the expertise and innovation of the profession. The submissions hi...

As chair of the selection committee for the 2004 Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards, I found the experience both rewarding and challenging. There were 64 submissions showcasing the expertise and innovation of the profession. The submissions highlighted the integral role that engineering plays in the economy and daily lives of the public.

The breadth of the projects was inspiring. A group of them focused on buildings for work and recreation; developing unique structural solutions, reducing the use of energy and material resources, retaining valued heritage elements of existing structures, and challenging every aspect of traditional project delivery. Transportation projects presented solutions to problems for every transport mode: pedestrian, cyclist, transit, commuter, goods movement, marine and air. The water resources and energy sector was well represented by projects that increased the output of electricity without increasing greenhouse gas emissions; i.e. they, applied new techniques to improve operational efficiencies, and extended the service life of existing infrastructure through innovative rehabilitation. A number of impressive study projects were sophisticated water resource management plans to improve the health of water courses and water quality in urban areas in balance with land development and recreation opportunities.

The high quality of the submissions provided a pleasant adjudication challenge. They ranged from detailed and innovative designs for specific applications, to the development of broad strategies on technical issues with public stakeholders. Some projects will have an impact on the daily lives of thousands of people, while each submission satisfied a client by getting the job done, on time, on budget.

The entries were received from all corners of this vast country and from around the globe. Evidently, Canadian consulting engineers are held in high regard by clients around the world.

A strong theme of infrastructure renewal was present in many of the submissions. Valued, but ageing, components of our national infrastructure present unique challenges and opportunities. Consulting engineers have shone in their approach to creative rehabilitation programs that economically extend a facility’s service life, while handling its continuing daily operational needs through the construction period.

I would like to thank the members of the selection committee. Each jury member participated by researching every submission, using their expertise to assist the evaluation process.

On the jury’s behalf, I thank all the participants in the 2004 Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards and congratulate the winners.



Sheri Plewes, P.Eng. – CHAIR

Sheri Plewes is Vice-President, Contracts and Acquisitions, with TransLink, the transport authority for the Greater Vancouver Regional District. She has been in the position since September 1999. She oversees engineering design, construction and maintenance of capital assets for the system, including the major road networks, bridges, buses, seabus, rail and ferries.

Previously she was assistant city engineer for the City of Vancouver, managing staff and responsible for planning, designing, constructing and maintaining the water and sewer systems, and managing projects such as the Cassiar Connector Project. She has also worked in the private sector in energy. She has a degree in civil engineering from the University of Alberta.

Ms. Plewes was on the jury for last year’s awards and was invited to return and be chair this year.

Chado Brcic, P.Eng.

A graduate in civil engineering from the University of Akron, Ohio, Chado Brcic is Director of Water and Wastewater Services for the Region of Niagara Public Works Department in Thorold, Ontario. The region services 400,000 people. His current initiatives include updating the region’s master servicing plans and establishing a strategy for watershed management.

Mr. Brcic’s career has included private and government positions. His specialized knowledge is in hydraulic modelling, master plans, design and construction of water and wastewater facilities. He has given papers on a variety of technical and management topics, ranging from watermain replacement, to aluminum in drinking water, to the impact of the Ontario Limitations Act on professional engineers. He won the Professional Engineers of Ontario Order of Honour (1991) and Order of the Sons of Martha. He won a Niagara Regional “Leadership Excellence” Award in 2001.

Michael P. Collins, P.Eng.

Professor Michael P. Collins was appointed the Bahen-Tanenbaum Chair in Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto in 1995 and was selected as a University Professor in 1999.

A graduate of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand in 1964, he is a structural engineer whose research is concerned with the design and evaluation of reinforced and prestressed concrete buildings, bridges, nuclear containment structures and offshore oil platforms. He is the author of over 70 technical papers, eight of which have received research prizes.

Professor Collins has helped to formulate structural design standards for Canada and the U.S. and has investigated major failures around the world. He has also contributed to the design or evaluation of a number of significant structures, including the CN Tower in Toronto, the Hibernia oil platform and nine other internation concrete offshore oil platforms.

He has won several awards for his teaching, and in 1996 he was given the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers Medal for Distinction in Engineering Education.

Said M. Easa, P.Eng.

Said Easa is Professor and Chair of the Department of Civil Engineering at Ryerson University in Toronto. A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, he has extensive experience in highway and transportation design and has spent more than two decades in teaching, research and professional practice. He has authored and co-authored 160 technical articles, and recently initiated and chaired a national transportation conference series for the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering.

Dr. Easa received the 2003 Sandford Fleming Award from the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering and the 2001 Frank M. Masters Transportation Engineering Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

A decade ago (in 1992) Prof. Easa served on the Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards jury and was kind enough to return in 2004 on very short notice after another invited juror dropped out at the last minute.

Ted R. Heidrick, P.Eng.

Ted Heidrick is the Ernest E. and Gertrude Poole Professor in Technology Management at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, where he teaches courses in project management and the commercialization of technology. The position is a joint appointment between the Faculties of Engineering and Business.

Prof. Heidrick has over 25 years of experience managing the creation and implementation of applied research in industry and government. After graduating (gold medal) in mechanical engineering from the University of Manitoba, he worked in research for the oil sands and atomic energy sectors. He became head of the Manufacturing Technologies Department of the Alberta Research Council in 1989 where he helped develop programs in advanced materials and product development, solid waste management and recycling, membranes, oil and gas testing, and specialized analytical chemistry. He has published several studies and articles, and was awarded the Centennial Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for outstanding contributions to mechanical engineering.

Denis Leblanc, ing.

Since 2003, Denis Leblanc has been Secretary and Director-General of the Ordre des ingnieurs du Qubec (OIQ), the professional licensing body for engineers in the province.

A graduate of Laval University in Quebec City, M. Leblanc has a degree in mining engineering and a master’s degree in business administration.

His previous career was in the mining industry, where he held management positions with Queb
ec Cartier Mining and Ivaco Rolling Mills. He has also been a consultant specializing in performance management and in human resources development.

He is a former executive director of Canada’s Mining Industry Training and Adjustment Council (MITAC)/ Conseil canadien d’adaptation et de formation de l’industrie minire (CAFIM). He is also a member of several professional organizations, including the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM)/ l’Institute canadien des mines, de la mtallurgie et du ptrole (ICM).

Bruno Mnard, ing.

Bruno Mnard is Director of International Business Development and Chief of International Projects with Hydro-Qubec in Montreal. He has 25 years of experience in project management, contract administration and marketing for General Electric and Hydro-Qubec International and now develops business opportunities in giving technical assistance for power generation operation and maintenance.

Mr. Mnard graduated in mechanical engineering from the cole Polytechnique of the University of Montreal. He is a certified project management professional with the Project Management Institute.

During his career he managed the Granite Canal project for Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro commissioned in June 2003. In the 1990s he worked in the Middle East and Africa, and before that was main contract administrator on projects such as the 400-MW, $90-million Becancour gas turbine plant.

Michael O’Malley, P.Eng.

Michael O’Malley is Senior Construction Manager with PCL Constructors in Mississauga, Ontario. He has over 35 years of experience in the construction industry and is currently construction manager for PCL on the new $1.8 billion new Terminal Development at Lester B. Pearson Airport due to be completed in 2005. Former projects in Toronto include the National Trade Centre, the Bay-Adelaide Centre and BCE Place. Previously, Mr. O’Malley spent six years in Edmonton and during the 1980s he was involved in projects in the United States.

Mr. O’Malley graduated from the University of Western Ontario in London in civil engineering, and has the Gold Seal certification in project management from the Canadian Construction Association. In 2002 the Canadian Construction Association gave him the 2002 Person of the Year Award.

Carl D. Yates, P.Eng.

Carl Yates is General Manager of the Halifax Regional Water Commission, responsible for 180 employees in five departments: engineering, operations plant operations, human resources, finance and customer service. The utility generates approximately $30 million in annual revenue from the sale of potable water and provision of fire protection services.

After obtaining an engineering degree from Memorial University in Newfoundland, Mr. Yates moved to Nova Scotia in 1984 and worked for the firm of Jacques Whitford and Associates as a geotechnical engineer. He joined the Halifax Water Commission in 1988, which became the Regional Water Commission after the municipal amalgamation.

Mr. Yates is Chair of the Potable Water Committee for the National Research Council National Guide to Sustainable Infrastructure.



The annual Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards recognize outstanding work by consulting engineers on completed projects. They are in their 36th year. The highest award is the Schreyer Award, given for technical achievement.

Eligible projects must have been completed in the past three years. Entrants must include one firm in good standing with the Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada, and there must be someone licensed by a professional engineering association on the team.

Technical awards are given to projects that demonstrate a high quality of engineering, having due regard for imagination and innovation. Consideration is given to the application of existing or new techniques, to the social, economic and environmental impact, to the complexity of the project, and to how well the result met the client’s needs.



This year 64 projects were entered. This is a new record and compares with 50 entries in 2003, and 63 in 2002. The jury met at the Canadian Consulting Engineer magazine offices in Toronto at the beginning of June.

The number of entries per category, with last year’s entries in parentheses: Buildings 15 (7), Transportation 7 (9), Water Resources & Energy Production 17 (5); Environmental Remediation 4 (3); Natural Resources, Mining & Industry 6 (5); Studies, Software & Special Services 6 (11). Project Management 4 (4); International 4 (4); Community Outreach & In-House Initiatives 2 (2). Awards are given according to merit; not assigned as one per category.

Geographical distribution of entering firms, with last year’s entries in parentheses: Maritimes 1 (2); Quebec 16 (10); Ontario 24 (11); Manitoba 1 (6); Saskatchewan 1 (0); Alberta 11 (10); B.C. 10 (11).

The awards were presented to the consulting engineers and their clients at a gala evening on October 28 at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier in Ottawa.


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