Canadian Consulting Engineer


June 1, 1999
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

The article "Manners, Please" by Lionel Laroche (CCE March/April) is very interesting and entertaining. However, the author's broad-brush approach could be misleading to readers. As an ethnic Chinese ...

The article “Manners, Please” by Lionel Laroche (CCE March/April) is very interesting and entertaining. However, the author’s broad-brush approach could be misleading to readers. As an ethnic Chinese I have found it disturbing that the author continues to spread the misconception that “Chinese people eat … dogs.” That certainly is not the norm of the eating habits of the Chinese people and some may even be offended by it. To present the readers outdated beliefs may backfire on their business opportunities.

Michael Wu, P.Eng.,



An architect, an artist and an engineer were discussing whether it was better to spend time with one’s wife or a mistress. The architect said he enjoyed time with his wife, building a solid foundation for an enduring relationship. The artist said he enjoyed time with his mistress, because of the passion and mystery he found there.

The engineer said, “I like both.” “Both?” Engineer: “Yes. If you have a wife and a mistress, they will each assume you are spending time with the other woman, and you can go to the lab and get some work done.”

Source: “Comprehending Engineers” joke list,


A plant that produces liquid fuel from sea water is being built in the Dominion Republic. Aquafuel is produced by using a modified electric-arc furnace to separate sea water and create a plasma of ionized hydrogen, oxygen and carbon atoms at about 5,000 degrees C. The atoms are then recombined and cooled into the fuel which bubbles to the surface.


A Calgary engineering firm, J.R. Spronken & Associates Limited, has won an international award for the design of the Stoney Trail, Bow River Bridge. It was one of four projects selected from a field of 48 entries. The award was presented by the Institution of Structural Engineers in London, England in February.

Sproncken were the contractor’s consultants on the design-build project. Stantec, who were the owner’s consultant, won an award from Consulting Engineers of Alberta earlier this year for the same project.


Two of Canada’s largest consulting engineer firms are becoming one. Simons International (formerly H.A. Simons) of Vancouver is being bought by AGRA of Oakville and Calgary. AGRA expects to pay approximately $20.5 million for Simons.

Simons employs 2,100 people in 26 offices. It has expertise in forestry and mining, areas on which AGRA traditionally has not focused. AGRA recently got a new president and chief executive officer, Peter Janson.

Vaughan Engineering of Halifax has opened new operations in British Columbia under the name of Sargent and Vaughan Engineering Limited. The firm is led by Dennis Sargent, P.Eng. and Dr. A.A. Mufti, and will focus initially on bridge and structural engineering. Vaughan Engineering designed the award-winning Salmon River Bridge in Nova Scotia.

Magellan Engineering Consultants Inc. of Ottawa and Jacques Whitford Group Ltd. have formed a new company, Magellan Jacques Whitford (MJW). The company will provide health, safety and environmental risk management services.


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