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Faculty of Engineering, McMaster University

Summer 2009


MacEngineer Faculty Unveils New Strategic Plan Focused on Sustainability

New Building Dedication Scheduled for October The MacEngineer


Dean of Engineering This is turning out to be a pretty exciting year for the Faculty of Engineering, coming off the success of last year’s 50th anniversary celebrations. To start, we have just publicly released a Strategic Plan for the Faculty entitled “Engineering a Sustainable Society: Strategic Plan 2009-2014”. This plan is the culmination of a year-long process that began with a retreat last June. That set the main directions for the planning process and, in particular, the desire to focus on sustainability. Following the retreat, various task forces drafted goals and objectives in several theme areas. I then pulled this into a draft plan that was circulated to numerous stakeholders for comment. The final plan was approved at the last Faculty meeting of the academic year. The plan ensures that future hiring and other investments will be linked to a central vision of the Faculty’s future. The plan defines sustainability in a fairly broad sense as involving not only environmental but also social aspects related, for example, to development of technologies for a healthy society. The plan also embraces the concept of the global engineer. You can see all of the details by downloading the plan from the Faculty website at As I write this, we are looking forward to moving into the new Engineering Technology Building. The new spaces for Level I and the Bachelor of Technology program are ready to roll, as is the space for the School for Engineering Practice. The School for Biomedical Engineering, along with the McMaster Biointerfaces Institute and the Centre for Micro and Nanosystems, will be occupying space that is to be completed over the next few months. The

Dr. David Wilkinson

official dedication of the building and associated activities will take place between October 22 and 24 – which is not only Homecoming weekend but also the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the John Hodgins Engineering building on October 23, 1959. Look for more details on the events we have planned elsewhere in this issue of the MacEngineer. I hope to see many of you at these events. One of our great successes this year came from the last round of applications to the Canadian Foundation for Innovation. The Faculty was involved as leaders or major participants in five large infrastructure proposals. All five have been funded – an unprecedented success. You will find more details on this, along with other news on the research front, in Peter Mascher’s note. This will have a transformative effect on the Faculty and will help us immensely with the goals of the strategic plan as we invest in new capability to support research in nuclear engineering and materials, photovoltaics and semiconductor devices, biointerfaces and biomaterials, and lightweighting of automotive structures. Despite the challenges that face our economy we continue to attract forward-looking investments from industry and alumni. In this regard, we have now received pledges of over $1.25 million to endow a chair in heavy construction, supported by numerous industry associations, individual companies and two labour unions. The most recent contributor to the chair was McMaster alumnus Roy Bot. We have also received a generous gift of $100,000 from Husky Injection Molding Systems to establish undergraduate scholarships. In addicontinued on p. 23

Message from the Associate Dean (Academic)

Ken Coley Since my last contribution to MacEngineer, there has been much going on in the Associate Dean’s office. In addition to our ongoing academic counselling activities, I experienced my first accreditation visit 2

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(Mechatronics Engineering), I experienced my first set of Kipling pranks as Associate Dean (the world looks very different from the roof of JHE), and I have completed my first recruitment cycle. I am delighted to tell you that the Faculty of Engineering continues to be in very high demand. That we continue to increase our cut-off level each year is a reflection of the outstanding environment that all our staff and faculty strive every day to create for our students. I am proud to be part of this team. The two main highlights of the last six months were the publication of the strategic plan for the Faculty, and the appointment of a new Director for Level 1 (Dr. Spencer Smith).The strategic plan pres-

ents an imaginative vision for our faculty and I am impatient to see it implemented. Dr. Smith is an associate Professor in the Department of Computing and Software and a graduate of our Civil Engineering program. He brings an energy and enthusiasm to the job that is apparent to all who work with him, and I believe our Level 1 students are in very good hands. Welcome Spencer. Finally, as I look back on my first year as Associate Dean (Academic), I must thank all those who made the year memorable. The level of commitment from the team has been outstanding, and positions us well as we move forward into a very exciting future for the Faculty.

Message from the Associate Dean (Research & External Relations)

Peter Mascher The Spring of 2009 has seen unprecedented successes by McMaster Engineering faculty in various national and provincial granting competitions: The Ontario Research Fund – Research Excellence (ORF-RE) program supports the cost of research personnel and direct cost of research. In Round 3, a project entitled,“Certification of Safety Critical Software Intensive Systems”, led by Tom Maibaum, Alan Wassyng, and Mark Lawford of the Department of Computing and Software, received almost $7M in funding over five years.The main objectives of this ambitious project are to create methodologies and tools that will revolutionize the process of certifying critical software applications and that will facilitate the development of critical software applications that comply with these new certification standards.The new Centre for Software Certification at McMaster University will establish Ontario as a world leader in the increasingly vital area of software certification. It will train a significant number of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research engineers, and practicing engineers, thereby creating a critical mass of expertise in the development and certification of safety and mission critical software in Ontario. Furthermore, it will directly benefit the targeted biomedical, financial, and nuclear industries. Engineering faculty are also involved in two successful U of T-led proposals:“NanomaterialEnabled Products for the Ontario Manufacturing Sector” (Marek Niewczas, Materials Science and Engineering), and “Therapeutic Biomaterials for Regenerative Medicine” (Heather Sheardown, Chemical Engineering). The Canada Foundation of Innovation (CFI) funds research infrastructure including equipment and the construction and renovation of laboratory space. Even though in the latest round the Canada-wide success rate was only about 35%, remarkably, all three engineeringled proposals received full CFI funding:“Laboratory for Advanced Photovoltaic Research” (Rafael Kleiman, Engineering Physics, $5.1M), “McMaster Intense Positron Beam Facility” (Peter Mascher, Engineering Physics, $2.3M), and

“Centre for Advanced Nuclear Systems” (John Luxat, Engineering Physics, $9.2M).Two additional proposals with significant involvement by engineering faculty also received full funding:The “Biointerfaces Institute”, led by John Brennan (Chemistry) was awarded $7.2M and “Listening, learning and interacting in complex environments: Neural, developmental and applied aspects”, led by Laurel Trainor (Psychology) was awarded $2.3M. Furthermore, Joe McDermid, Mechanical Engineering, leads McMaster’s involvement in the Waterloo-based project “Materials and Manufacturing for Light Weight Automotive Structures and Advanced Occupant Protection”, which received funding at $3.8M. We are now awaiting word from the Ontario Ministry for Research and Innovation regarding their matching funds. The CFI Leaders Opportunity Fund (LOF) is designed to assist universities in attracting excellent faculty to Canadian universities as well as retaining the best researchers for Canada. The LOF enables universities to acquire infrastructure for their leading research faculty to undertake cutting-edge research. In the most recent competition, Jacques Carette (Computing and Software) was awarded $260K for a project entitled,“G-ScalE: Gaming Scalability Environment” and James Cotton (Mechanical Engineering) received $100K for a “Thermal Energy Recovery & Management Testing Platform”. Both projects also received full matching through MRI. Our faculty members are, however, not resting on their laurels and in fact, there are several far-reaching initiatives under development.The Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) Program is a joint program of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Industry Canada. McMaster submitted two Letters of Intent (LOI) to form new NCEs, either led by or with substantial involvement of engineering faculty:“NUCLEUS - A Network of University research for Canadian Leadership in Nuclear Energy Utilization and Sustainability” (Lead PI John Luxat) and “Targeted Biomedical Technology Network – TBTN” (Lead PI David Williams, Department of Surgery and School of Biomedical Engineering). I am delighted to report that both LOIs received very strong reviews and have been selected to proceed to the full proposal stage. Full proposals are due by August 11, 2009. Finally, the objective of the NSERC Strategic Network Grants (SNG) Program is to increase research and training in targeted areas that continued on p. 23

Alumni Profiles


Engineering News


Art Show


News Briefs


Departmental News


Alumni Grapevine


Do you have something to say or news to share? We would like to hear from you. Contact Carm Vespi Tel: (905) 525-9140 ext. 24906 Fax: (905) 546-5492 e-mail: website: The MacEngineer is published by the Faculty of Engineering for its alumni. Distribution assistance is provided by the Alumni Office. Editor: Carm Vespi Art Direction and Design: Jay Primeau Writers: Trudi Down, Eugene Nakonechny and Carm Vespi Contributors: Administrative Coordinators and Terry Milson PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NO. 40063416 RETURN UNDELIVERABLE CANADIAN ADDRESSES TO CIRCULATION DEPARTMENT 1280 MAIN STREET WEST HAMILTON ON L8S 4L7 email:

The The MacEngineer MacEngineer 33


Christine Ermarkaryan – Discovering Work-Life Balance as an Engineer Christine (Pilibbossian) Ermarkaryan graduated from McMaster with a B.Eng. & Management degree in 1990. Her field of study was chemical engineering, a choice she made very particularly. “I felt that there were many options within chemical engineering – from basic chemistry to plastics, oil, food chemistry, heat exchange, water and many more.”Though a close family friend had recommend Engineering to her because of her love of math and science, it was her chemist father’s previous line of work that led her to the chemical option. It was the unique Engineering & Management program that caught Ermarkaryan’s attention and made McMaster University her preferred choice. It solved the dilemma she’d been having of whether to study engineering or business.“It was a win-win situation!” she says. In addition, the University was close to

Burlington where she lived with her family. Unlike many young people entering university, she chose to live at home knowing the support she could count on.“I loved living at home!” In 1995, she received her MBA, also from McMaster.The motive for completing the business degree was the belief that engineering plus business would be a combination sought by employers, and give her plenty of flexibility in her career as well as providing the optimum work-life balance. Ermarkaryan is currently Vice-president/ Senior SR&ED Consultant at Global R & D Consulting Group Inc., a Quebec-based international company that provides R&D tax credit recovery planning, claiming, training, audit and litigation support to companies in the aerospace, automotive, food processing, software, electronics, mining and forest products industries. Working from an office in her home in Oakville, her responsibilities include providing financial and technical claim preparation services for companies filing for the

Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Tax Credit program, supporting clients during technical and financial audits with the Canada Revenue Agency, and offering training to clients, sales agents and other staff regarding the SR&ED program. “An engineering degree offered me the general understanding of many facets of industry, the discipline to research and learn anything that I needed to know, and the confidence to handle challenges.” In addition, she believes it has brought her much respect from those with whom she works currently and previously from her days at Ontario Hydro, Ecodyne Water and Zenon Environmental. Ermarkaryan is married to Arno, a fellow Armenian engineer, and the couple has two young girls who keep them busy with school, soccer, basketball, and piano lessons.The family is active in the local Armenian community, including organizing a children’s day camp and a Saturday language school, while enjoying travelling and sports in their spare time.

John Goit – From McMaster to Michigan Machines and equipment have been a part of John Goit’s life since he was a small boy growing up on a farm.“I seemed drawn to take things apart to understand how they worked,” he says. Not surprisingly, then, when he decided on a career in engineering, he chose the Mechanical stream. McMaster 4

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University was the obvious choice, since it was near his hometown of Caistorville. Goit graduated with his BEng in 1986. He is now Vice President Engineering & Operations at Novi Precision Products, Inc., a Michigan-based company that specializes in the design and manufacture of custom automated and semi-automated production equipment for clients in the automotive, electronic and medical industries. Products include assembly systems, specialized machines for the metal industry (drilling, milling, burnishing,

lathes, etc.), piercing and notching machines, and testing and measurement equipment. The company, which was established in 1971, is owned by Goit and his partners who purchased it in 1997.They manage a state-of-the-art 36,000 sq. ft. office and manufacturing facility that was opened in 1990 in Brighton, Michigan. “As V.P. of Engineering & Operations, I oversee all day to day operations. I am involved in the technical portion of the sales and the proposal activity, and also direct the engineering and manufacturing activities.”

Engineering skills honed through the McMaster program have been invaluable during his career, he adds.“The biggest asset of my engineering degree is the ability to problem-solve and the perseverance to work through difficult situations.” This expertise served the partners well following their acquisition of Novi Precision Products.They have successfully imple-

mented several changes, weathered a difficult economy, and doubled the sales revenue at the company. Goit isn’t an all-work-and-no-play guy, however. Married with two young girls, he and his wife Jana spend a lot of time and energy keeping up with the girls’ sports activities, particularly swimming. Goit himself likes to ski, and two or three times a week

he plays hockey. He has fond memories of his years at McMaster and keeps in touch with engineering alumni events through the alumni website. “Although we live in Michigan now, we still get back to the Hamilton area a few times a year to visit family and friends from Mac.”

Alan Thomson – Goes Global Alan Thomson (Chem Eng ’86) grew up in Whitby, Ontario and decided on McMaster University because it was known for having an excellent reputation in engineering and a campus environment that offered great diversity.“I had options at other good schools at the time but felt that McMaster was a better fit with my interests and personality,” he recalls. Thomson says the decision proved to be a great choice, especially given the various directions his career path took following graduation. His first decision, however, was selecting a specific engineering field. He chose Chemical Engineering. It was the early 1980s, and ChemEng grads were being hired in the oil and gas, chemicals, and industrial goods industries – all areas of interest for him. An engineering training, he believes,

provides a foundation for developing problem solving skills and helping to structure critical thinking and assist with processing of information. It’s a skills set that has served him well in a variety of technical roles as well as in his consulting career, where he has been required to address much broader business and organizational issues. After graduating,Thomson worked for Novacor Chemicals in Central Alberta, and then with Shell Canada in both Calgary and Montreal. He began his consulting career with Purvin & Gertz in Calgary and Singapore. Currently, he is a Partner and Managing Director of The Boston Consulting Group based in Houston,Texas. BCG is a global management consulting firm serving leading companies in most industries and in all parts of the world ( He was based in south-east Asia from 1996 to 2006, relocating to Houston in 2007 to take on a more global role within BCG. His responsibilities at BCG include working

with clients mainly in the oil and gas or energy industries at a senior executive level, focusing primarily on upstream-related topics. He’s also responsible for growing the firm’s internal capabilities. The company hires many business school graduates with a wide variety of undergraduate degrees, and a large number have an engineering degree. Thomson is married to Karen, whom he met in high school, and the couple has four children. Life, he says, is hectic – with family, work, and travel. He also loves to run for fitness, ski, and has recently started sailing in nearby Galveston Bay. “I would strongly encourage engineering as a first degree regardless of one’s ultimate career goal. Whether it is in a technical, commercial or managerial role, the discipline that engineering training develops is a huge enabler.”

Greg Wilson – From Engineering to Business “My engineering degree has been a major influence in my career,” Greg Wilson asserts. A graduate of the electrical engineering stream (B.Eng.’79, M.Eng.’82), Wilson has had lots of opportunities to prove the truth of that statement. Following graduation, he worked in various areas including the defence and space industry, the government agency Airborne Radar Group, and Amherst Aerospace Inc. He is currently CEO of G.B. Wilson Enterprises Limited, which is comprised of a portfolio of companies: Orenex Inc. (develops security intelligence solutions), ClearNeed Information Systems Inc. (provides a turnkey solution for security screening applications), and Reliability Screening Solutions Inc. (RSSI) (an RCMP-accredited fingerprinting agency). “Moving from product development into operations management has allowed me to

use math and logical analysis skills to analyze not only engineering, but also complex business problems – everything from market and financial analyses to technical problems.” Two of his business concerns have been consuming much of his time recently. ClearNeed, established in 2004, is a Hamiltonbased fingerprint brokerage company that provides fingerprint-based criminal history background screening systems to more than two dozen private Canadian fingerprinting agencies. RSSI, founded in January of this year, is headquartered in Ottawa and focuses on providing security clearances for Canadian corporations. Wilson chose engineering on the advice of his father, who was in charge of information systems at the University of Guelph.“He advised me that the future was in communication systems.”Wilson selected McMaster University because it not only offered an engineering program but also an excellent sports facility.“For me, that made it the best overall university!”

After receiving a B.Eng. in communication systems, Wilson decided to continue in the Master’s program. “I had done very well in fourth year communication systems, so Dr. Simon Hakin asked me if I would be interested in doing a Master’s under him. I accepted the offer because, though I had applied for various jobs and had many job offers, I felt that I could do better with a Master’s.” Wilson and his wife Brenda (nee Fox), who is also a McMaster grad (Phys.Ed.’80) just celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary.The couple has three daughters. He does take time off from his businesses - the family has travelled extensively together to such places as Hawaii, Australia and the Mediterranean. Additional relaxation comes from time spent at the cottage on Calabogie Lake in eastern Ontario.There he enjoys fishing, skiing and golf.

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The 2009 Applause & Accolades Awards Celebration attracted a crowd of over 200 engineers, faculty, staff and students to celebrate the achievements and contributions of the Faculty of Engineering. The event was held at LIUNA Station in Hamilton in May. Robert Magee, Chairman and CEO of the manufacturing company Woodbridge Group, was presented with the Faculty of Engineering Leadership Award in recognition of his contributions to the Faculty, community and engineering profession. Vladimir Sobot (Civ Eng ’80) and Chedo Sobot (Civ Eng & Mgmt ’85), co-owners of Sobotec Ltd. in Hamilton, were presented with the L.W. Shemilt Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award. Sobotec is a Hamilton-based engineering and manufacturing firm specializing in building exteriors. More than 30 faculty members and students were recognized for their achievements and accomplishments over the past year. These included professional recognitions, teaching contributions, major funding awards, appointments and competition results. The Faculty of Engineering Leadership Award was established in 2004 to recognize an outstanding citizen who has contributed to engineering, the university and the community. The L.W. Shemilt Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award was established in 2006 to recognize the contributions of leading Faculty alumni. 6

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CFI Awards Transformative for Faculty Solar energy, nuclear safety, antimatter, energy supply for Canada, particularly automotive and biomedical research in exploring the conversion of solar energy the Faculty of Engineering have been directly to electricity. given a tremendous boost thanks to fundMcMaster Intense Positron Beam Facility ing announced June 18 by the Canada Peter Mascher, professor of engineering Foundation for Innovation. physics and the William Sinclair Chair in Three proposals led by the Faculty of Optoelectronics, is the principal investiEngineering were accepted and received gator for this initiative, which is receivvirtually all the $16.6 million in funding ing $2,326,166 from the New Initiatives requested. The Faculty also Fund. This will be a unique participated in two other Faculty achieves facility in Canada and one of successful proposals, one only a few facilities operatled through the Faculty of ing worldwide to combine unprecedented Science and the other by the extensive materials research University of Waterloo. awarding of five capabilities with fundamental “This is a truly remarkable studies of antimatter atoms CFI awards result,” commented David and molecules. Wilkinson, Dean, Faculty of in a single Four Engineering profesEngineering. sors are involved with the “It will have a transformacompetition formation of a Biointerfaces tive impact on the Faculty’s Institute, which received $7.2 ability to provide solutions million through the New Initiatives Fund. to some of the most pressing issues of the Led by John Brennan, associate professor day. All those involved in preparing the of chemistry, the institute aims to underproposals are to be commended on the stand how biological systems interact with high quality of their submissions.” various materials. Engineering faculty The three Faculty of Engineering led involved are: John Brash, director of the projects are: McMaster School of Biomedical EngiCentre for Advanced Nuclear Systems neering; Raja Ghosh, associate professor John Luxat, professor of engineering physof chemical engineering; Robert Pelton, ics and NSERC/UNENE Industrial Research professor of chemical engineering; and, Chair in Nuclear Safety Analysis, is the Heather Sheardown, professor of chemical principal investigator for this initiative, engineering. which is receiving $9,172,600 through The Faculty is also part of research the New Initiatives Fund. The Centre will in Materials and Manufacturing for Light focus on materials, safety and medical apWeight Automotive Structures and Advanced plications of nuclear technology. Occupant Protection, a $3.7 million initia-

Laboratory for Advanced Photovoltaic Research – Rafael Kleiman, professor of engineering physics and Canada Research Chair in MicroElectroMechanical Systems, is the principal investigator for this initiative, which is receiving $5,123,758 through the Leading Edge Fund to further work in developing a clean, sustainable

tive being led through the University of Waterloo. Joe McDermid, associate professor of mechanical engineering, is the lead investigator for the Faculty. More information about the Canada Foundation for Innovation can be found at:

New Associate Dean of Graduate Studies Appointed for Engineering Professor Heather Sheardown has been appointed Associate Dean of Graduate Studies for Engineering. Her appointment is for a five-year term beginning July 1, 2009. Sheardown is a professor of chemical engineering at McMaster. She earned her B.Eng. in chemical engineering from McMaster in 1989 and PhD from the University of Toronto in 1995. She is currently supervising a group of 10 graduate students working in all areas of ophthalmic materials research. continued on p.24

New Strategic Plan Focuses on Sustainability ENGINEERING A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY STRATEGIC PLAN 2009 – 2014

Outreach: Beyond McMaster

Global Engineer

Our Vision The Faculty of Engineering at McMaster University will be known internationally as a leader in research and education supporting the development of engineering practices for a Excellence in Research

Enhancing Undergraduate Education

sustainable world.

Enriching Graduate Education

The Faculty of Engineering has unveiled a new five-year strategic plan that places a heavy emphasis on teaching and research in sustainable engineering. It has also pledged to ramp up efforts to increase the number of female professors in the Faculty in order to attract more young women to the profession. These are two of the overriding themes in Strategic Plan 2009 – 2014: Engineering of a Sustainable Society released in July to all faculty and staff in the Faculty of Engineering, the University community and to the public at large. It is the culmination of more than a year’s work initiated by a one-day retreat in June 2008 where more than 120 participants expressed their dreams, ambitions and goals for the Faculty. “We must imagine the future in light of all the changes occurring in the world today and the role the academic community and the engineering profession can play in achieving a livable society for all,” said David Wilkinson, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering. “The Faculty is committed to providing talented and creative people from all walks of life with the opportunity to impact the world we and future generations will live in.” The Strategic Plan identifies five key themes around which the Faculty will build on existing competencies and develop new ones. They are: Enhancing Undergraduate Education, Enriching Graduate Education, Excellence in Research, Internationalization and the Global Engineer, and Outreach: Beyond McMaster. Each theme area outlines specific goals and objectives to be pursued and implemented by 2014. All support the University’s primary goals as outlined in Refining Directions. The Faculty’s mission and vision statements were also updated to reflect the new priorities. The Strategic Plan can be viewed at Printed copies are also available through the Office of the Dean of Engineering. Posters highlighting the key concepts of the Strategic Plan are also available.

Philips Engineering Gives Back to Mac - Again

Left to right: Paul Pirrie, Ken DePodesta, Angelo Cutaia, George Chow, John Weeraratne, Bob McLaughlin, Hank Huitema, Laurie Davidson, Ron Scheckenberger, Karen Cormack, Lynette Gregory and Paul Smeltzer.

Burlington, Ontario-based Philips Engineering Ltd. is a long-time supporter of Engineering at McMaster. The company, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2006, has enjoyed a close association with the Faculty for almost as many years through mentorships, support of fundraising, social events, and by hiring McMaster graduates. In recognition of this long-standing relationship, the company’s Board of

Directors determined to make a significant commitment to the future of the Faculty by donating to the fundraising efforts for the new engineering building. “It just seemed like such appropriate timing,” says Ron Scheckenberger, a principal with the company. “It is the 50th Anniversary of the Faculty of Engineering and we wanted to recognize our company’s well-established presence in the Hamilton-Halton region, as well as

support this new initiative.” He also notes that, given a pending merger with international project management and engineering firm AMEC Earth and Environmental, the act of making a donation at this time honours Philips’ legacy of commitment and involvement. “Through this gift, longcontinued on p.17

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Trades Establish $1-million Heavy-Construction Chair

New Video Looks at Pluses of Grad Studies The world of graduate study in engineering comes alive in the newly produced video – Your Vision Your Future. Engineering Graduate Studies. Produced by McMaster’s Faculty of Engineering, the five-minute video was launched on YouTube and Vimeo on May 7, 2009. It features students and faculty discussing the benefits of pursuing a graduate degree, and addresses some of the misconceptions about graduate studies which can prevent qualified students from looking at this option. Other topics include suitability for graduate studies, lifestyle and program options. And, of course, there is a quick overview of why McMaster is such a great place to study engineering at the graduate level. “With specialized knowledge becoming essential in many of today’s engineering disciplines and a greater variety of programs available, more and more students are looking at the benefits of graduate study,” says David Wilkinson, Dean, Faculty of Engineering. Alumni are invited to view the video on YouTube, Vimeo or by visiting www.eng.mcmaster. ca/graduatestudies We’d love to hear from you about how your graduate degree helped you in your career. It may help students decide what they want to do with their futures. Email Carm Vespt at 8

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Infrastructure is vital to almost every aspect of society. Infrastructure activities include roads, bridges, public transit systems, and water and sewage systems. The Hamilton & District Heavy Construction Association (HDHCA) believes the time is right to encourage university-industry partnerships that will enhance the profile of civil engineering careers and foster innovation in the sector. The HDHCA partnered with 12 other organizations, associations and unions to raise money for an endowed chair at McMaster. The partnership has pledged over $1.25 million over five years to endow and establish the Chair in Heavy Construction in the Department of Civil Engineering. The University will match the gift. Local businessman and Mac alumnus Roy Bot, President of Bot Construction Ltd., gave a generous donation of $125,000 to help the fundraising initiative. The other partner contributors are: Ontario Road Builders’ Association, Ontario Sewer and Watermain Construction Association, John Deere Foundation of Canada, Ministry of Transportation Ontario, Labourers International Union of

North America – Ontario Provincial District Council, Mechanical Contractors Association – Hamilton, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 793, Ontario Dean Wilkinson, Roy Bot and Terry Milson

Concrete Pipe Association, Greater Toronto Sewer and Watermain Contractors Association, Battlefield Equipment Rentals – The Cat Rental Store, and the Heavy Construction Association of Toronto. In addition to acting as a liaison with industry, the Chair will provide instruction at the University’s undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as in the McMaster-Mohawk Bachelor of Technology (BTech) program.

New Scholarships Announced John Galt, President and CEO

A generous gift of $100,000 from Bolton, Ontario-based Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. will provide four scholarships to qualifying engineering students at McMaster. The Husky Injection Molding Systems Scholarships, valued at $5,000 each, are intended for students who have completed Level II or III of a program in Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering or Materials Science Engineering. Four scholarships will be awarded every year over the next five years. Husky ( ) was founded in 1953 by Robert Schad, the recipient of an honorary law degree from McMaster in 1999. Starting out as a small machine shop in a Toronto garage, the company quickly developed into a leader in innovative, high-speed injection molding systems for thinwall containers. Today, the company is one of the world’s leading suppliers of injection molding equipment and services to the global plastics industry, designing and manufacturing a broad range of injection molding machines, hot runners, robots, molds and integrated systems. Husky customers use its equipment and services to produce a wide range of products for the continued on p.18

Safety-Critical Software Put Under Scrutiny Eliminating the potential for catastrophic medical, energy and transportation disasters due to software failure is the aim of a new $21-million global research centre to be located at McMaster University. It will be one of the first such centres in the world. The Centre for Safety-Critical Software Certification will lead research and development of product-focused certification standards and processes for critical software applications. Applications will initially focus on the operation of pacemakers, health monitoring equipment, banking transactions, financial reporting, and nuclear reactors. Nineteen researchers from three universities and eight industry partners are involved in the initiative. The university partners are: McMaster University, University of Waterloo and York University. The eight industry partners are: AMD, Atomic Energy Canada, Biosign Technologies, Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology, Legacy Systems International, Ontario Power Generation, QNX Software Systems International, and Systemware Innovation. The initiative received $6.9 million in funding from the Ontario Research Fund yesterday. It matches funding to be invested by each of McMaster University and industry partners over five years. “Almost everything we do today relies on software, whether it’s making a heart beat properly, transferring funds or generating electricity,” said Tom Maibaum, principal investigator for the initiative and Canada Research Chair in Foundations of Software

Engineering at McMaster. “Software failure can have catastrophic consequences on our lives and property. This project is about making a major improvement in the way

Dr. W. Farmer, Dr. A. Wassyng, and Dr. M. Lawford.

we build safety-critical software applications, and the way in which we evaluate those applications in order to certify them as safe and effective.” The Centre plans to develop productbased methods for verifying software-intensive systems for certification rather than the current process-based methods. “We believe that the reliance on standards and certification regimes that are process based has contributed to the unpredictable dependability of softwarecontinued on p.19

Alumni contributions in support of the Engineering Technology Building The Faculty of Engineering will soon open the doors to an ambitious building project on the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the John Hodgins Engineering building. The new five-storey, 125,000 sq. ft structure will be a dynamic and inspiring environment – both in design and technology. The building will launch a new era in the Faculty’s growth and development. Many alumni have expressed an interest in contributing to this venture, and have generously made donations specifically in support of the Engineering 1 teaching studio with contributions of $1,000 to $5,000. We are very grateful for our alumni support and thank each and every one of you for joining with us as we grow into the future. The name of each donor will be inscribed on a donor plaque that will hang in the studio, on view for our 900+ first year engineering students to appreciate. If you would like to contribute to the Level 1 teaching studio and enhance the learning environment for our students, please contact Terry Milson, Advancement Officer at 905.525.9140 extension 27391 or email:

Mechanical Engineering Laboratory Fund

With the support of the faculty and staff, the Department of Mechanical Engineering has created a Laboratory Fund. This fund will provide capital support to the Department enabling it to create new learning opportunities or to upgrade existing labs. Proposals for laboratory or equipment funding may be made by students, faculty or staff in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Donations may be made to the fund

through the normal channels such as University Advancement, Alumni donation programs or directly to the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Donations are eligible for tax receipt purposes within the guidelines set out by McMaster University and Revenue Canada. Donations and pledges have already started to come in. “This shows the commitment of our faculty and staff to the educational experience of our undergraduate students,” says Dr. Saeid Habibi, Chair of Mechanical Engineering. “This fund will provide us the opportunity to improve our undergraduate laboratories and to enhance the experiential learning that we offer in Mechanical Engineering.”

The structure of the fund is loosely based on the MACLab model. Petitions can be made on regular basis for the support of projects or the purchase of equipment that will be beneficial to the undergraduate experience. A process of application, consideration and approval has been incorporated in the fund’s terms of reference. Those applying are encouraged to obtain funds from other sources to leverage the fund. Ron Lodewyks, Technical Coordinator for the Department, notes that “we have a great new complement of tenured continued on p.24

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Through your eyes. Engineering as art.

Calling on all McMaster Engineering Alumni who have a passion for art. During the grand opening festivities of the New Engineering Technology Building at McMaster Univeristy, the Engineering Alumni Office will be holding a live exhibit of artistic pieces created by McMaster Engineering Alumni entitled “Through your eyes.” with special category “Engineering as art.” If you are interested in showcasing your artistic talents, have art associated with the Faculty that has an interesting story, and/or would like to donate your artistic piece as a part of a silent auction to raise funds for the McMaster Engineering Living Legacy Project, please mail or fax Carm Vespi, Manager, Alumni Relations Faculty of Engineering, the following details and a photograph.

October 24, 2009 – 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

What details should I provide?

Please provided a 4”x 6” photo and a description of your piece (250 words or less, per entry)



Graduation Year


Discipline Degree Address City Province Country Postal Code Phone Fax

Yes, I would like to donate my artistic piece to the McMaster Engineering Living Legacy Project silent auction.


Please note that space is limited. Participants whose artistic pieces are selected to participate in the exhibit and silent auction will be contacted with more details regarding the event within 4 weeks of October 24, 2009. All entries must be submitted by September 1, 2009. Entry fee for show only is $25 for up to three (3) pieces.


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T: 905 525-9140, ext. 24906

F: 905 546-5492


Ron Brash

HOME COMING WEEKEND EVENTS Symposium – Future of Engineering Education

Engineering Technology Building – Dedication Ceremony

Thursday October 22 from 1:30 to 4:30pm

Friday, October 23 at 10:30am

In the past, changes in engineering education have reflected changes in technology and society. Disciplines were created to meet the critical challenges in society and to provide the necessary talent required to integrate new developments into our economy. Today’s landscape is little different; society continually changes and engineering must adapt to remain relevant. Remarkable opportunities are fast approaching through new developments in areas such as nanotechnology and biomedical, and new challenges such as globalization.

In order to accommodate the rapid, successful growth of McMaster’s Faculty of Engineering, a new engineering building will open in the fall of 2009. The date of its dedication, October 23, has been selected in tribute to the 50th Anniversary of the dedication of the John Hodgins Engineering building, which opened in 1959. This unique LEED facility represents a fusion of sustainability with the highest levels of system performance. Please join us for the dedication ceremony.

Speakers include: Jonathan Fishbein, Globalization Doug Barber, Innovation Peter Topalovic, Policy Integration Eugene Roman, Entrepreneurism Sarah Dickson, Restoration of Ecosystems Gord Irons, Sustainability Contact: Dr. Brian Baetz Web Information and Registration:

26th Annual Hodgin’s Lecture Thursday October 22 at 7:00pm McMaster Information Technology Building, Room 137 Dr. Gilles Patry speaking on the Future of Engineering Education. Gilles Patry was president and vice-chancellor of the University of Ottawa from 2001 to 2008 after serving the university first as the dean of the Faculty of Engineering and then as vice-president (academic). His career as an engineer, academic and administrator also includes a decade as a professor of civil engineering at McMaster University. The J.W. Hodgins Memorial Lectureship was established by the Faculty of Engineering in 1983 as a memorial to Dr. J.W. Hodgins, McMaster’s first Dean of Engineering. The focus of the Lectureship is on the engineer in society, in recognition of the breadth of interest and contributions of Dr. Hodgins. Contact: Terry Milson, or 905.525.9140 ext. 27391

Contact: Terry Milson, or 905.525.9140 ext. 27391

Homecoming Alumni and Student Event Saturday, October 24 1:00 – 4:00pm Alumni and Friends of McMaster, along with past and current faculty members and students, are invited to join in the celebration of the completion of the Faculty’s new technology building during Homecoming Weekend. The events begin at 1:00 p.m. with a tour of this high-tech, eco-friendly facility. During the afternoon, we will recognize the Class of ’61, unveil the Living Wall Legacy and the Kipling painting, and bury a time capsule. As well, the Class of ’08 will plant a commemorative tree and dedicate a bench for the enjoyment of future students and visitors. Everyone is invited to sign the framed rendition of the new technology building, which will hang inside the foyer. Refreshments served. I look forward to greeting you on this special occasion. Contact: Carm Vespi at or 905.522.9140 ext.24906

Memorial Gift

Engineering alumnus Ronald Brash wanted to honour his hard-working Irish and Scottish forebears who settled in Ontario and Quebec during the 19th century. Through many sacrifices and their hard work in non-professional occupations in factories and on farms, they enabled their descendants to aspire to and attain careers in such professions as electrical automotive, mechanical engineering and teaching. Brash graduated from McMaster with a B.Eng. in electrical engineering in 1964. He was also a graduate of Ryerson (technology) and of York (business). He was a manager of engineering support at General Instrument (later taken over by Motorola Inc.). Prior to his death in December 2006, he met with McMaster’s Planned Giving officers and Terry Milson in the Faculty of Engineering to discuss dividing his estate between the three academic institutions; at McMaster, the endowment would provide for an annual grant to an electrical engineering student. This gift would be in honour of his parents. The Gordon and Agnes (Twambley) Brash Academic Grant is given to a student in a Level II electrical engineering program who attains a high Sessional Average and demonstrates financial need. For further information about Plan Giving please contact Terry Milson at 905.525.9140 ext. 27391 or

For complete information please visit our website: engalumni/events/dedication.html

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Flexible Solar Strips Light Up Campus Bus Shelter There won’t be anymore waiting in the dark at this campus bus shelter. Flexible solar cell technology developed by a group of engineering researchers at McMaster has been installed to power lighting at the bus shelter located on the west side of University Avenue, between the John Hodgins Engineering Building and the Life Sciences Building. The flexible solar cell project began as a Master’s thesis for Wei Zhang, who subsequently worked as an engineer in the Department of Engineering Physics. Julia Zhu, a research technician in the Department, and Jesika Briones, an Engineering Entrepreneurship and Innovation Master’s graduate, also helped develop the project. The solar cells can bend to fit the curved roof of the bus shelter. The flexibility is achieved by tiling a large number of small silicon elements into an array, mounting them onto a flexible sheet, and connecting them through a proprietary

method. The two solar strips installed on the McMaster bus shelter are about 90 centimetres long and 12 centimetres wide.  Each strip has 720 one-centimetresquare solar cells and generates up to 4.5 watts of power. With the help of Facility Services, a solar strip was mounted at each end of the bus shelter roof and connected to two energy-efficient, multi-LED light fixtures.  Each light fixture uses only 600 milliwatts of power and produces about the same light output as a three-watt regular tungsten bulb (equivalent to what a small night light would use). The lights are bright enough that people can use them for reading. The solar cells capture sunlight during the day and convert it to electricity to recharge batteries located in each lighting unit.  The batteries can hold enough charge to light the shelter for the better part of a night. The research team is monitoring the

installation to determine how much solar power is required to recharge the batteries based on weather conditions. Winter months will be a challenge – as shorter and overcast days, snow and cold can affect the charging ability of the solar cells and batteries.  The researchers are hoping that the prototype will help boost efforts to commercialize the new technology.  “Our goal is to provide a clean, affordable power source for bus shelters that will let transit companies run Internet-based scheduling updates,” said Adrian Kitai, professor of engineering physics, who guided the project.  “The solar technology can also be used to light up bus shelter signage and provide lighting for general safety.” Funding for the initiative was provided through an NSERC strategic grant and an NSERC I2I grant. 

Safeguarding our Water Supply Everyone agrees that water is a precious resource. That’s why the work done by Civil Engineering Ph.D. student Kevin Mumford is so important. Mumford studies groundwater remediation and works to make practical contributions to safeguarding our supply of water. Specifically, Mumford’s research focuses on identifying contaminants polluting groundwater and finding ways to address the problems encountered. He studies remediation of non-aqueous phase liquids, such as gasoline, PCBs, creosote and chlorinated solvents such as degreasers and dry cleaning fluid. “It’s about understanding the chemistry and physics of how contaminants behave,” he says. “You can’t see the problem 12

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since the water is underground so you’re trying to find out what is there, how it moves and how to address it.” For his efforts, Mumford, who convocated this spring, has received a number of awards. He won the 2008 southern Ontario and the national graduate student presentation competitions organized by the Canadian Geotechnical Society. In the fall of that year, he was invited to present his doctoral research to the hydrology section of the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco and was recognized with an outstanding student paper award. Mumford earned his B.A.Sc. in Environmental Engineering – Chemical Branch and his Master’s of Civil Engineering from the University of Waterloo.

He credits several McMaster people for assistance with his research – including PhD co-advisors Sarah Dickson, assistant professor of civil engineering, and Jim Smith, associate professor in the School of Geography and Earth Sciences. Mumford is currently working on an NSERC post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Western Ontario. He hopes to have an academic career in order to combine teaching and research.

Honorary Degree Recipients – 2009 Convocation Steve Elop graduated from McMaster with a Bachelor’s Degree in computer Engineering and Management. Now, as president of the Microsoft Business Division and a member of the company’s senior leadership team since January 2008, he oversees the information Worker, Microsoft Business Solutions and Unified Communications group. The division is responsible for the Microsoft Office system of programs, servers and software-based services; Microsoft Dynamics; business applications for small and midsize businesses; large organizations and divisions of global enterprises; and Microsoft’s Unified Communications. In total, Elop is responsible for a $16.4 billion business division. Before joining Microsoft, Elop was chief operating officer for Juniper Networks, a leading provider of high-performance network infrastructure and a valued Microsoft partner. As COO, he was responsible for the company’s product groups, corporate development, global sales and service, marketing and manufacturing organizations. Previously, as president of worldwide field operations at Adobe Systems Inc., he was responsible for Adobe’s global sales and customer-facing functions. Elop came to Adobe following its acquisition of Macromedia Inc., where he

was president and CEO. During his sevenyear tenure at Macromedia, Elop held several senior positions, including COO, executive vice-president of worldwide field operations, and general manager of the company’s eBusiness division.

Gilles Patry was president and vice-chancellor of the University of Ottawa from 2001 to 2008 after serving the university first as the dean of the Faculty of Engineering and then as vice-president (academic). At Ottawa, he played a key role in establishing the interdisciplinary School of Information Technology and Engineering (SITE). His career as an engineer, academic and administrator also includes a decade as a professor of civil engineering at McMaster University. In 1985, Patry founded Hydromantis Inc., an international consulting firm specializing in the modeling and simulation of water and wastewater treatment facilities. His paper entitled “Dynamic Modelling of the ClarificationThickening Process,” which he co-authoried and published in 1991, was recently named one of the ten most significant groundbreaking papers in the forty-year publication history of Water Research, the premier scientific journal in the field. Patry has written more than 125 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers, and served as the associate editor of the Journal of Environmental Engineering and Science. Patry is a member of a number of boards, including the Ontario Centres of Excellence,

the Canadian Merit Scholarship foundation, and the National Research Council of Canada. In 2002, he was elected as a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

Grad Creates Game

Stephen A. Elop, Doctor of Laws

Gilles G. Patry, Doctor of Science

A new game developed by Syed Jafri, a McMaster computer engineering graduate, lets iPhone users test their creativity and word power. Stitch’em Words Ultimate Edition is a new and improved version of the popular first-edition word game that involves ‘stitching’ together pictures and letters to form words in a Rebus style of communication. For example, add a picture of a star with the letter E and you have the word STARE. There are hundreds of levels and bonus rounds, so the game will appeal to all levels of users. Visit for more details. Jafri, who graduated with a B.Eng. in 2008, currently works as a design engineer for AZCAR Technologies in Markham and develops games on the side. “I used to hate programming and I would avoid it at all cost,” says Jafri. “However, the interesting and challenging assignments during my time at Mac sparked an interest, and I found myself writing small scripts for every little task that tends to get repetitive. McMaster has some of the best instructors in the world, and you learn so much more than just reading the books.” Stitch’em Words Ultimate Edition 2.0 for iPhone is only $1.99 (USD) and is available exclusively through Apple’s App Store.

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Great Northern Canadian Toboggan Race – Hamilton 2010 McMaster University will be host to the 36th edition of the Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race (GNCTR) in January of 2010. GNCTR is one of the oldest and largest undergraduate engineering design competitions in Canada. Over 400 engineering students will participate in this annual event on January 28-30th. These competitors, mostly senior civil engineering students, come from undergraduate programs across the country. GNCTR brings together the brightest aspiring civil engineers from coast to coast, to test their teamwork and design skills in a unique and challenging manner - to design, construct, and safely race a toboggan with a running surface made entirely of concrete. McMaster Engineering has participated in GNCTR since 1992, sending many enthusiastic teams across the





country with a history of winning both technical and non-technical awards. The general public is welcome at two major events: the technical exhibition and the races themselves. At the technical exhibition, each sled design is put on display to be critiqued and judged by the competition officials based on various stringent design criteria. The technical exhibition will be held on campus at the new David Braley Athletic Centre on Friday, January 29th, 2010. The race itself is planned to be held at Glen Eden Ski Resort in Milton, Ontario the following day. Both events will be free of charge and suitable for all ages. Both events are full of entertainment in addition to showcasing the technical prowess and ingenuity of tomorrow’s engineers. Alumni involvement in GNCTR 2010




teacher and has been nominated for the MSU Teaching Award.

1 Dr. Spencer Smith, associate profes- 3 Dr. Rafael Klieman has been sor of Computing and Software, has been appointed the new Director, Engineering 1, effective January 2009. Professor Smith obtained his B.Eng., M.Eng. and Ph.D. from McMaster University, and has been with the Department of Computing and Software since 2000. Engineering I is the common first-year program taken by all engineering students at McMaster. It also provides support services and programs to help students transition from high school into university. The program offers an introduction to the engineering profession as well as the fundamentals required for continuing into one of the Faculty’s forty-four degree options.

2 Dr. Shiping Zhu has been appointed Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering. His appointment is for a period of five years effective July 1st, 2009. He joined the faculty at McMaster in 1994, and built a strong international reputation in polymer reaction engineering. He holds a Tier II Canada Research Chair. He is also a highly regarded 14

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reappointed Director of the Centre for Emerging Device Technologies. He joined McMaster in 2003 and became a Tier I Canada Research Chair a year later. He is a renowned expert in MEMS devices and has just led a successful CFI application in the area of photovoltaics. His appointment is for a five-year period effective July 1, 2009.

4 Dr. Harold Haugen The department welcomes Harold who begins his tenure as Chair on July 1, 2009.

New Faculty 5 Prof. Dan Centea completed his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at McMaster and has been teaching in B.Tech.’s Degree Completion Program for many years. Prof. Centea will be teaching in the Automotive and Vehicle Technology program.

6 Prof. Monica Sauer completed her Ph.D. in Biology at the University of California at San Diego. She has also completed two postdoctoral fellowships – one

is not only acceptable but encouraged, and there are a few ways in which Mac Eng Alumni can get involved. Alumni can attend any or all of the public events, volunteer to assist with activities leading up to or during the event, or help facilitate corporate sponsorship. As well, in years past there have been many alumni teams that have entered a sled in a category separate from the student division. If you were a part of this great event in your student days, consider assembling a team to represent Mac Eng Alumni! If you would like to get involved as a spectator, volunteer, sponsor, or competitor, or if you are a former GNCTR competitor, please contact Michael Harris (Mechanical ’07) by email at info@ Please visit for more information or to obtain a copy of the sponsorship package.

at the University of California at San Francisco and subsequently at York University. Dr. Sauer was 7 most recently at the University of Windsor teaching in the Department of Biological Sciences. She has also held teaching positions in genetics, genomics and biotechnology at the University of Toronto. Dr. Sauer will be teaching in the Biotechnology program.

7 Dr. Adriaan Buijs – The Department of Engineering Physics is pleased to welcome Dr. Adriaan Buijs, who was appointed as a full professor effective January 1, 2009. Dr. Buijs is an expert in nuclear reactor physics and advanced fuel cycles for nuclear reactors. He comes to McMaster after several years with Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. in Mississauga, where he as the Physics Manager for the CANDU reactor New-Build program. He holds a PhD degree in particle physics from the State University of Utrecht in The Netherlands. He has held positions at the Stanford Linear Accelerator, University of Maryland, and the European Center for Particle Physics (CERN). Prior to coming to Canada in 2002, he was a full professor of experimental physics at Utrecht University. Dr. Buijs will bring additional strength to the department’s teaching and research programs in Nuclear Engineering at a critical time when this area is experiencing very rapid growth.

Engineers Without Borders Update Three former presidents of the McMaster Chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) are working overseas in Burkina Faso, Malawi and Ghana. Their projects span areas such as agricultural business developments, government infrastructure planning, and water and sanitation. Boris Martin (Materials Eng Ph.D. ’07) is based in the West African country of Burkina Faso. There he is managing a team of EWB volunteers in the agriculture development sector, helping farmers manage their farms as businesses. Burkina Faso has a strong tradition of farmers’ groups and unions. Most farmers are illiterate and unable to make farming choices informed by market demand or to calculate their diverse crops’ net returns on investment. Farmers’ unions have identified Family Farm Development Coaching as an important aspect of the services they offer to their members. EWB’s agricultural development sector team is focusing its efforts on four levels: a) improve the quality of coaching services received; b) improve capacity and effectiveness through the design of change management tools, skills diagnostic and development programs and innovationsharing workshops; c) increase relevancy and efficiency through participatory organizational diagnostics, the coaching of local leaders, and the development of program management tools for elected union representatives; and d) make the

impact of programs better known to donors, in order to increase commitment and funding to farmers’ unions. This is done through field evidence gathering and article writing. Boris’ role is to create and maintain relationships with local partner unions and donor organizations, to coach each EWB staff in their professional contribution and their personal development and to drive the team’s constant sophistication of their strategic focus. “It is inspiring to work with dedicated local organizations and leaders, whose drive for self development and the improvement of the lives of their members is only matched by our team’s excitement and hard work. When people are motivated, it takes little to make a lot happen.” Robert Borzychowski (Mech Eng & Society `07) is based in the southeastern African country of Malawi. There, he is supporting a co-operative of coffee farmers take its business to the next level. Mzuzu Coffee Planters Co-operative Union (MCPCU) is a member-owned, completely indigenous group of five coffee co-operatives in the province of Northern Malawi. Based in the city of Mzuzu, the union represents 3,200 farmers and is focused on the sustainable production and processing of Arabica coffee, a high-quality specialty product. At present, MCPCU is undergoing the

process of achieving fair trade certification for its coffee from the independent international agency FLO-cert. MCPCU supplies its members with seeds, fertilizer and chemicals, and manages transportation, marketing, and local and international sales. Farmers receive 60 per cent of the union’s total proceeds. Currently, MCPCU also receives support from the European Union through its Farmer Income Diversification program. The initiative provides funding to help expand businesses and make them profitable. Robert has established a monitoring and evaluation (M & E) team to improve MCPCU’s data management and storage capability and to conduct an annual coffee census, as well as study and propose solutions to a number of member-identified concerns. His role is to develop an enhanced record-keeping system to organize such vital key indicators as membership numbers, production statistics and yearly plans. The overarching goal is to nurture a new culture within the co-operative – one that readily employs careful analysis and effective communication to make more informed, outcome-oriented and impactful decisions for the future. “I met many hard-working people who are dedicated to improving their communities,” he says, noting one particularly gruelling 14-hour day. “When we finally continued on p. 22

$10,000 Scholarship for Civil Engineering Undergraduate Kyla Fisher was days away from boarding a plane to do volunteer work in Ghana with Engineers Without Borders (EWB) when she received the news. She was one of three recipients of the 2009 Vale Inco Undergraduate Scholarship from the Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation (CEMF) and would be receiving $10,000. Kyla is a second-year civil engineering student at McMaster enrolled in the water and environment stream. She is a member of the Engineers Without Borders chapter and active in organizing its very popular high-school outreach program. She had also been chosen as a junior fellow, which meant working in Ghana this summer. One of the scholarship perks that Kyla had to pass up because of her work was being flown by Vale Inco to the CEMF

Annual Awards Luncheon to receive her award. This year they were held in Montreal during the inaugural Engineering Summit and the Engineers Canada annual general meeting on May 22. But for Kyla, it was a small sacrifice to make. Having flown into Ghana on May 13, she was focused on working with the local government in the northern Gushiegu District for the next three and a half months. She describes her work on her blog [http://kylasummer09.] as follows: “My job is to help improve planning processes and data management at the district level with the aim of improving the Gushiegu District’s ability to effectively deliver infrastructure to the area. This is part of EWB’s larger strategy

working with the government in Northern Ghana called the “Governance and Rural Infrastructure” program (GARI). I find this program really interesting and can’t wait to see how it actually works in Ghana.” The Vale Inco scholarship program with the Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation was introduced this year to recognize women in university undergraduate engineering programs who serve as role models for younger women. Students apply for the scholarship and are chosen on the basis of their leadership, extracurricular activities and dedication to encouraging women to enter engineering.

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New Head of BTech Program Alan Murray is the new Executive Director of the Mohawk-McMaster BTech Program. His appointment xwas effective as of April, 09.

Murray is no stranger on the McMaster campus. For seven years, starting in 2000, he was a sessional instructor at the DeGroote School of Business, teaching Strategic Management of Technology, an MBA course. He is the founder of Burlington, Ontario-based TriFusion Consulting, which offers creative approaches to business problems involving the integration of business, technology and people. He has extensive experience in engineering, business and human resource management. He worked for a number of years at Gennum Corporation, located in Burlington, and from 1999 to 2007 served as the company’s VP of Human Resources. In 2004, his responsibilities were expanded to include Quality Assurance. He has also been involved as a consultant between early-stage companies and the Innovative Synergy Centre in Markham. Prior to 1999, he worked in a variety of technology-based industries including microelectronics, plastics, chemicals and automotive. Murray has a B.Eng. degree in Chemical Engineering from Queen’s University, and an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University. He is a Certified Human Resource Management professional.


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Summer Camps Keep Kids Active & Thinking Sure, you can buy Guitar Hero for your kids but they’ll have a lot more fun playing the one they built at camp this summer. They’ll be showing it off to their friends and you’ll be happy knowing that they’ve learned some new skills while having fun. Building a video guitar is just one of several activities available to kids through the popular Venture and LEAP engineering and science camps offered at McMaster University. Other choices for elementary school kids include building an electronic piano, MP3 player, pinball machine, or security alarm. They can design a go-cart, make a video, create a website, dissect a frog, or learn how the eye works. High school students can learn how to program a robot that manually solves Rubik’s Cube, grow cells, experience a motion simulator, or build a miniature solar car. Some can even earn summer credits towards their firstyear engineering program at McMaster. Venture and LEAP are run by university students and professors starting in June and running through early August. Campers get to

work in real research labs and find out what engineering and science are all about. It is personal learning in a fun atmosphere. Last year about 1,000 students enrolled in Venture and more than 70 in LEAP. So there is a chance to make lots of friends. Venture is a summer day camp for students in grades three to nine. Activities are designed to blend engineering, science, computers and technology with hands-on experience and creative opportunities. Venture consists of two streams: Engineering and Science (for students entering grades three to eight) and Computers and Technology (for students entering grades four to nine). Camps are offered starting in July. Visit:

Of Pranks & Ceremony

What would Kipling be without the traditional night-before prank? This year’s highlights included a car wedged in an archway behind University Hall, a giant computer screen dangling from the John Hodgins Engineering Building with a dreaded error message, and a repaved walkway used by Engineering Physics for its annual robot-car race days. The annual Kipling Ceremony or, more formally, the Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer, was held on Friday, March 27. Students were presented with the engineers’ iron ring, which is worn on the pinkie

finger of the working hand. (The Engineering students attended convocation later in April.) More than 500 senior students participated in the ceremony, which was held at the Burridge Gymnasium in the David Braley Athletics Centre. They now join some 12,500 students who have graduated from McMaster’s Faculty of Engineering since it was established 50 years ago. To find out more about Kipling, the Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer, and the iron ring visit:

Philips (continued from page 7) standing Philips employees can look back on that legacy with pride, as well as look forward to the future in anticipation of continued success for Mac engineering.” Of the current 75 employees, 15 received their engineering degrees from McMaster. “Our contribution to the new engineering building represents our way of saying thanks to McMaster – not only for our own personal education, but also for that of our future staff.” In recognition of the $50,000 donation, a classroom will be named The Philips Engineering Classroom. An engineering consulting firm, Philips Engineering specializes in bridges and building structures, highways and roads, municipal engineering, land development, water resources engineering and golf course development. Scheckenberger believes the company’s success is due to its client-focused business practices. “We try very hard to meet clients’ needs. We work one-on-one with all of our clients. People are just as important as the job.” All employees, including the principals, maintain a hands-on

approach to projects. AMEC also holds to these principles. For this reason, Philips’ management team determined that AMEC would be a good fit. “We feel that AMEC and Philips are closely aligned in corporate culture and in business practices that put the client first,” Scheckenberger explains. “We are excited to be part of AMEC offering civil engineering services. This merger allows us to be viable and strong for the future.” By joining with AMEC, Philips will have access to important new markets including the energy, mining, and industrial sectors, as well as the federal government. “It’s business as usual – plus more,” he says. “Our clients will be working with the same people and experiencing the same attention to detail, but they will also have access to expertise and experience from a global player.” The merger of AMEC and Philips Engineering was finalized on May 7, 2009. Combined resources include 5,000 professionals in 63 offices across Canada. In Ontario, the merged company will serve clients from 19 offices employing 1,300 engineers, scientists and other professionals.

Engineering Student on Arab Reality Show For five weeks starting May 29, Mohammed Khalaf, a McMaster Engineering Entrepreneurship and Innovation Master’s student, took part in an inventors’ reality show that was broadcast across 18 Arab television channels. Stars of Science is a new Qatari reality television program that features 16 contestants of Arab origin aged 21 to 31 who compete to turn their ideas into a marketable product and win (US) $300,000. The program is an initiative of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, the Arab States Broadcasting Union, and Qatar Television. The stated aim of the show is to “endorse a healthy competitive spirit, encouraging creativity, teambuilding and innovative careers amongst the youth in the Arab world.” Here’s how it works. The competitors develop their projects at a workshop in the Qatar Science and Technology Park in Doha. They are tutored by experts in business and technology and attend

courses to improve their skills. Over the five weeks of the program, contestants present their projects to a three-member jury. Half the projects are eliminated in each of the prime-time episodes until two remain. Unlike other reality shows, those whose projects have been eliminated stay on the show and become members of one of the remaining projects. Viewers throughout the Middle East then vote for their favourite contestant from the remaining two projects during the final episode on June 26. Khalaf, who was born in Kuwait and is of Palestinian decent, moved to Canada in 1994 with his family. He graduated with a B.Eng. in electrical and biomedical engineering from McMaster in 2006. In September 2008, he began the Master’s program offered through the Xerox Centre for Engineering Entrepreneurship and Innovation at McMaster. More information about the show can be found at:

McMaster Solar Car an Update In October 2009, the McMaster Solar Car Project (MSCP) is travelling halfway around the globe to Australia to race in the World Solar Challenge. The Challenge – a 7-day, rally-style race from the northern coast to the southern peninsula of the continent – brings together University students and researchers in the ultimate test of sustainable energy. Over the summer, this interdisciplinary group of ambitious students, from both the graduate and undergraduate levels, is hard at work completing their fourth generation solar vehicle, Phoenix II. Phoenix II has been designed to be far superior to its predecessors, both electrically and mechanically, and promises to be the best car yet. Major upgrades include a chassis made entirely of lightweight Kevlar composites, an innovative material selection that puts the MSCP at the leading edge of engineering design. Additionally, Phoenix II will make use of a reconditioned electric motor, a more efficient battery pack and high efficiency power trackers, more effectively to capture, store and use electricity produced from the sun. Although a large focus of the MSCP is to build and race solar vehicles in international competitions, it also participates in many community events to educate the public and promote sustainable, green energy sources. The MSCP brings together students from faculties across McMaster to engage in problem-based, hands-on learning and promote student leadership. As a student organization, the MSCP relies on in-kind and cash donations from generous sponsors such as various McMaster faculties and industry leaders. Anyone interested in getting involved with the MSCP is encouraged to contact: or visit

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17 to Success

The 2009 Learning Enrichment Advancement Program (L.E.A.P.) summer camp sessions have been the most successful ever! L.E.A.P. is designed to offer students who have just graduated from Grade 8, along with high school students, an opportunity to explore the subject of engineering and experience university life. Campers engage in lectures, hands-on activities, labs, industry tours, and work on projects specific to their chosen L.E.A.P. stream. Four course streams are offered: Robotics & Mechatronics, Biomedical Engineering, Materials Science & Engi-

neering Design, and Software Engineering & Introduction to Game Design. In addition, the Head Start Program, which runs in parallel with L.E.A.P., offers an opportunity for potential engineering students to earn up to two university credits toward their first-year engineering studies. Elizabeth Halleran, a third-year Chemical Engineering & Management student, is L.E.A.P.’s 2009 Program Director. “This is the fifth year of the program and we have 130 registrations, the most ever!” She adds that enrolment in the Head Start Program had to be capped at 60

registrants. “In its first year (2006), there were only 7 registered. There is a lot of interest in this program.” L.E.A.P. is offered three times during the summer, with each camp running for two weeks. Head Start is offered at two sessions of three weeks each. However, a student may enrol for the full 6 weeks and take any combination of the course streams that L.E.A.P. runs in addition to the university credit courses. Matt Gardner, a third-year Mechatronics & Management student, is coordinator of the Software Engineering & Introduction to Game Design course. He notes that almost every L.E.A.P. stream has been revamped for the 2009 sessions. “In Biomedical Engineering, for example, the labs are more intensive and the students are using labs at the McMaster Medical Centre as well as University labs. These labs are just like those we get in first and second year.” Gardner adds that, for the first time, the Program held in-house workshops in May for high school students, to promote L.E.A.P. and Head Start. (In the past, presentations were made at the high schools.) Students attended a free presentation and were given a tour of the McMaster campus, challenged with an engineering-based project, and provided with lunch.

Enrolment in Computer Science Surges

Husky (continued from page 8) beverage packaging, thinwall packaging, closures, medical and consumer electronics markets. The company supports customers in over 100 countries, has more than 40 service and sales offices and employs approximately 3,350 people worldwide. “We have a history of entrepreneur18

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The Geeks are back – and they’re cool! With a strong possibility of landing jobs in entrepreneurial companies like Ontario’s Research In Motion or with manufacturers that make such components as robotic arms, young people are suddenly thinking of computers as careers. Everything from cell phones to GPS systems requires computer codes to operate. Someone has to write that code. As a result, enrolment in undergraduate

computer science programs throughout North America grew by over 6% last year, according to the Computing Research Association. At McMaster University, enrolment in computer science and software engineering has risen to nearly 500 – more than double the number in 2005. “Almost every company needs a computer geek who can communicate with people in its field,” says department chair Martin Mohrenschildt.

ship and innovation in systems manufacturing,” says Michael McKendry, Husky’s Vice-President, Corporate Affairs & General Counsel. “The goal for Husky is to help our customers stay ahead of the competition by providing them with leading technology, service and support. We achieve that by investing in research and development, supported by the bright minds of our team members, many of whom come from engineering schools like McMaster.”

Approximately 10 per cent of the development engineers on Husky’s Bolton campus are McMaster graduates. Investing in engineering students through scholarships and co-op programs is a “win-win”, McKendry adds. “Husky gains active participation from co-op students and recent graduates who offer a fresh perspective on industry issues. Students and graduates gain valuable hands-on experience while contributing to the company’s success.”

Mini Baja Team Competes with Distinction In mid-June the McMaster Mini Baja Team travelled to Burlington, Wisconsin, to compete in the 2009 Baja SAE Midwest Competition, held at MGA Research Facilities. This is the third year that the Mac team has competed. Engines for all competitors’ vehicles are supplied by Briggs and Stratton. However, the Mac vehicle boasts a unique suspension design and drive train, and a five-speed gearbox. The competition involves a number of events: mud bog (Mac finished in 4th place), pulling (20th), maneuverability (54th), acceleration (48th), suspension and traction (38th). Teams must also pass an inspection and make a design presentation. The competition winds up with an endurance race, held on the final day of the four-day challenge. The Mac Team placed 68th in the race, and came home having placed 54th overall in a field of 100 teams. After three years, the McMaster Mini Baja Team is saying goodbye to many of its senior members. But it has gained a good number of young members and is confident of future successes. Team members would like to thank all of the sponsors that continued their support during this tough financial year. Special thanks to top sponsors: the McMaster Engineering Society, Polaris, and Total Coatings-Powder Coating. Also many thanks to faculty advisor Dr. Nye, as well as to the entire staff of the Department of Mechanical Engineering for allowing us to use their facilities during construction. The Baja SAE competitions are organized by the Society of Automotive Engineers to give engineering students an opportunity to apply learned skills in a real-world challenge.

Safety-Critical (continued from page 9) intensive systems,” said Alan Wassyng, associate professor of computing and software at McMaster. “This situation has arisen primarily because we do not have the fundamental results necessary to evaluate the dependability of software products based on evidence tied to the product itself.” Tools and methods developed by the Centre will be used and commercialized by industrial partners that market software development tools and expertise, or that specialize in the certification and qualification of software. “A key aspect of this initiative will be to lay the foundation for products that can be commercialized by the private sector,” said Mark Lawford, associate professor of computing and software at McMaster. “We will work with our industrial partners to use these commercializable products as certification case studies, thus demonstrating the utility and effectiveness of the tools and methods we develop.” The Centre expects to graduate 10 Master’s and 20 PhD students, and support four post-doctoral fellows and four research engineers over the next five years. Another 25 to 30 students working with researchers on related projects are also expected to benefit from the program. These highly qualified professionals will continue to evolve certification standards into the future.

In Remembrance Brian Mark Moore (Chem Eng ’61) passed away at Country Terrace, Komoka, Ontario on March 30, 2009 in his 72nd year after a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease. A graduate of Burlington High School and the Royal Military College, Kingston, he completed a Chemical Engineering degree at McMaster University in 1961 – making him a member of the University’s first engineering graduating class. During his early career, he worked for both AECL’s Nuclear Research Unit in Chalk River and the Ontario Hydro Nuclear Power Program, where he was technical engineer at the Douglas Point Nuclear Generating Station. From 1973 to 1990, he was Technical and Production Manager at the Bruce Nuclear Station near Kincardine, Ontario. In 1990, he joined the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria, as a nuclear safety specialist. He is survived by his wife Susan Moore, daughters Heather (Kim) and Sarah (Mark), son Andrew (Terry) and six grandchildren. Dennis Henry (Computer Eng ’88) died of cancer on April 6, 2009, at the Kitchener-Waterloo Health Centre of Grand River Hospital. Following graduation, Mr. Henry joined Com Dev International Ltd. of Cambridge and worked there for over 20 years in the areas he loved – engineering and space. He was a member of the Amateur Wine Makers of Ontario and an avid cyclist. He is survived by his wife Jennifer, his parents, a sister and many extended family members.

Professor Patrick Nicholson of the Department of Materials Engineering died on March 25 after a long illness. He is survived by his wife, Ena, and children Natasha, Ian and Lara and their families. Professor Nicholson came to McMaster in July 1969. He was involved at the beginning of the Ceramic Engineering program and remained an innovative researcher in ceramic materials. He initiated and organized a series of conferences held annually in Lake Louise, Alberta, on recent developments on composites. In addition to working with graduate students and research associates, he loved to play bridge and was the author of several books of fact and fiction. Andres (Andy) Vurma - With profound sadness the family

announces the passing of our beloved Andres (Andy) at the age of 63 on June 27th at University Hospital London. Andy was born in Sweden to Alfred (1997) & Valli Vurma (2002) who had fled Estonia during WWII. He was raised in Hamilton and graduated from Electrical Engineering at McMaster where he met Linda his beloved wife of 40 yrs. Andy was the proud father of Jason (Sarah), Laura (Aaron) and Wesley (Jenn). Adored grandpa of Alexander & Shawn and Erik & Anna. He will be greatly missed by his father-in-law Doug Elliott of Welland, his brother Matt Jameson (Patti) of Barrie, and his sister Tiina Mallais (Eugene) of Hamilton. Andy was the special brother-in-law of Susan & Jolle Baltjes of Guelph. He will be missed also by his nieces & nephew Allison, Lindsay, Amanda & Ryan and will be mourned by the Vurma family in Estonia. Andy worked for Bell Canada for 34 years in Ottawa, Saudi Arabia, and London. He will be remembered as a detailed, determined, optimistic leader, who thrived on challenges both physical and mental.

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Founders Award


John Brash, director of McMaster’s School of Biomedical Engineering, is the recipient of the Founders Award presented by the Society for Biomaterials. He is only the second Canadian to receive the award, which was established in 1987. Selection for the award is based on long-term contributions to the discipline of biomaterials. As a result of his work in the area of the science that prevents infection, clots and implant rejection, the use of a variety of devices such as prosthetic heart valves, vascular stents, vascular grafts, heart-assist devices, and heart-lung bypass systems is not only commonplace but has become safer. His research discoveries are being used in some of Canada’s most successful biomedical companies including Interface Biologics Inc. of Toronto and Angiotech Inc. in Vancouver. Brash received the Founders Award in San Antonio, Texas, in April.

Initiatives Receive Funding Two McMaster engineering research initiatives received funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation under its Leaders Opportunity Fund. The project G-ScalE: Gaming Scalability Environment received $258,886.00 to investigate effects that digital display size and resolution have on the user experience in the design of games and virtual environments. A collaborative effort between the Faculty of Engineering, the Faculty of Humanities and McMaster Libraries, the project’s principal investigator is Jacques Carette, associate professor in Computing and Software. Co-investigators are Andrew Mactavish, associate professor of multimedia, and Jeffrey Trzeciak, University Librarian. Associate professor of mechanical engineering James Cotton received $99,493 to develop a Thermal Energy Recovery and Management (THERM) testing platform, to aid in the recovery of waste heat energy.

2009 ARCH Awards Entrepreneurs Nimesh Bahl and Cristian Nunez, 2008 graduates of the Faculty’s Master of Engineering Entrepreneurship and Innovation program, are two of the recipients of the 2009 ARCH Awards. With Adrian Kitai, professor of Engineering Physics, Bahl and Nunez founded Liquid Fiber Display, makers of Hybrid LED indoor and outdoor signs. The displays combine a woven optical fiber array with current liquid crystal display (LCD) and light-emitting diode display (LED) sign technology 20

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to provide high-resolution, high-brightness images at a low cost. The ARCH Awards are given by the Alumni Association to recognize the achievements of recent graduates for their success in their careers and/ or for outstanding accomplishments.

Hamilton-Halton Engineering Week Awards Gala A highlight of the Hamilton-Halton Engineering Week Awards Gala, held at the Burlington Golf and Country Club in February, was the presentation of the Projects of the Year. This year’s winners were all projects developed at McMaster University: the Customizable Dash (customizable dashboard technology for new vehicles) by Tim Pryor of Digital Dash; the CPR Glove (a device that guides users on how to effectively perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) by Corey Centen, Nilesh Patel, and Sarah Smith of Atreo Medical Inc.; the Swingnature (a specially designed golf club shaft that aids in the development of proper swing technique) by Kelly Curry. Pryor and Curry are both Master of Engineering Entrepreneurship and Innovation students; Centen, Patel and Smith are graduates of the Electrical and Biomedical Engineering program. Held annually, the awards event is sponsored by the Hamilton-Halton Engineering Week Committee in association with the Ontario Society for Professional Engineers.

2nd at Canadian Engineering Competition Fifth-year Mechanical Engineering and Management students Lindsey Kettel and Cory Minkhorst took second place for their collapsible bicycle trailer invention at the Canadian Engineering Competition held in Fredericton in March. The collapsible carrier, which is pulled behind a bicycle like a regular rigid trailer, is designed to fold compactly onto a rear bike rack when not in use. Kettel and Minkhorst also received the competition’s Environmental Awareness award. The Canadian Engineering Competition is an annual event that challenges university engineering students from across the country to a series of competitions. In June, Kettel and Minkhorst will be joined by Deborah Lee, Chemical Engineering, and David Russell, Software Engineering and Management, and the team will compete in the first annual Hong Kong Polytechnic University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Student Challenge. The McMaster team is one of seven teams

from Canada invited to the competition. Only 30 teams were chosen from 120 applicants.

MCAH Student Chapter Mechanical Engineering students have formed a Student Chapter of the Mechanical Contractors Association of Hamilton (MCAH). The objective of a Student Chapter is to provide members with a proactive approach to career planning. The Chapter constitution, signed between MCAH and McMaster’s Mechanical Engineering Society, has been endorsed by the University’s Student Union. The MCAHSC is one of only two Student Chapters in Canada; membership is open to first- through fourth-year mechanical engineering students. Chapter members can take part in activities such as site tours and local networking events, and are eligible to apply for scholarships, participate in annual competitions and attend industry conferences offered by the provincial, national and international MCAH network.

Natrix Separations Signs Deal

Natrix Separations, founded in 2005 by then Chemical Engineering professor Lisa Crossley, has signed a distribution agreement with scientific product distributor VWR. This opportunity places the company’s products in front of a wide variety of potential buyers. Natrix is a leading supplier of high performance, single use and multi-cycle disposable chromatography products to the life science, food, beverage and water markets. The company operates from a 24,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in Burlington, Ontario and employs over 30 people in Canada.

McMaster Hosts Russian Delegates

In April, the University hosted a delegation of deans from St. Petersburg State University of Aerospace Instrumentation (SUAI) in Russia. Arranged through the efforts of Konstantin Kreyman, professor of Computing and Software, the visit was coordinated by the Office of International Affairs. The visit further developed contacts established between McMaster and a number of Russian universities as part of the 2005-2008 Engineering Study Abroad Program organized by Dr. Kreyman. The deans represented a number of different Faculties including engineering, science, and economics. They met with representatives from McMaster’s Faculties

New Engineering Building

The new engineering building, which opens in September this year, will not only be environmentally friendly, but will also serve as a teaching tool. Toilets that flush using rain water are one example of the environmentally friendly components being incorporated into the new 125,000 sq. ft. five-storey building. The features provide students with the opportunity to learn first-hand about sustainable engineering. For example, the rainwater collection pipes as well as the heating and ventilation system will be left exposed so that students can study and learn about innovative approaches to environmental design. McMaster is the first university in Ontario to adopt and implement a sustainable building policy. By using concrete

Chemical Engineering The chair of the department, Andy Hrymak, has been appointed Dean of Engineering at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. The appointment is effective July 1, 2009. Dr. Hrymak earned his B.Eng. at McMaster prior to completing his Ph.D. at Carnegie-Mellon University. An expert in polymer rheology and process simulation, he joined McMaster as an assistant professor in 1985. He has served nine years as chair of Chemical Engineering and is the founding director of the Walter G. Booth School of Engineering Practice. Professor emeritus John MacGregor is the recipient of the Nordic Process Control Award, presented in January at the 15th Nordic Process Control Workshop in Porsgrunn, Norway. The award is given for lasting and significant contributions in the field of process control. Professor MacGregor was recognized for his contributions to the theory and use of statistical methods for process monitoring and optimization. His award lecture was titled “Latent Variable Methods in Process Systems Engineering”.

made with slag, a byproduct of Hamilton steelmaking, the building team kept 300 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being produced and emitted into the atmosphere. In addition, nearly all waste from the construction site is being diverted from the waste stream and wood materials are being sourced from sustainably managed forests. When the 125,000 square foot facility opens it will become home to the School of Biomedical Engineering, the Walter G. Booth School of Engineering Practice, the McMaster-Mohawk Bachelor of Technology Partnership and the first-year engineering program, as well as students and faculty conducting research in nanotechnology, microsystems and other emerging technologies. Updates and information on the new building can be found at newbuilding.html.

the adventures of new engineering student Kyle in his battle against sinister sessional lecturer Corneillus Maxwell, who is trying to corrupt students’ minds. The musical provides an opportunity for engineering students to use their nontechnical talents: acting, writing, singing, dancing, playing an instrument or building props. Preparation began last September with auditions, and the cast and crew worked diligently on the script, music and sets throughout the ensuing months. The performances took place in the theatre of the Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School in downtown Hamilton.


The 11th Annual McMaster Engineering Musical, performed during a three-day run in March, was a resounding success. Entitled Mathemadness, the plot revolved around

Doug Keller, lab manager for the department, is this year’s recipient of the Veronika Czerneda Staff Award. A 33-year McMaster employee, Keller has been full-time with the Faculty of Engineering for almost 27 of those years. He was recognized for renovations that resulted in a redesign of department laboratories and graduate student space to help house the bioengineering program; restructuring of the IT support unit for a number of departments in the Faculty; and implementing the idea of offering tours to high school chemistry classes (which has become a very successful recruitment tool). He also supports faculty and students when running experiments and conducting research, and helps at social functions and student recruiting events. The annual Veronika Czerneda Staff Award is given in recognition of a staff member who has made an outstanding contribution. The award was created in 2000 in memory of Veronika Czerneda, a dedicated employee of the Faculty of Engineering.

Congratulations to Kathy Goodram, department administrator, who was nominated for a President’s Award.

On June 2, Professor Robert Pelton received the Macromolecular Science and Engineering Award from the Chemical Institute of Canada during the 92nd Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition held in Hamilton, Ontario. The award is presented annually to an individual who while residing in Canada has made a distinguished contribution to macromolecular science or engineering. Professor Pelton is also the Canada Research Chair in Interfacial Technologies and Scientific Director of the SENTINEL Bioactive Paper Network.


of Engineering, Science, Business and Social Sciences. The potential to build upon this visit was solidified by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. It is hoped that the partnership will move forward with the creation of initiatives such as graduate student exchanges, research contacts and the identification of specific research collaborations.

Civil Engineering Associate professor Paulin Coulibaly is the recipient of a John C. Holland Award for professional business achievement. He was recognized for his research achievements in the area of water resources and hydrologic modelling, as well as for his contributions to the community. The Awards are given annually by the Black History Committee of Hamilton at the beginning of Black History Month in February, in memory of Rev. John C. Holland, an active member of the Hamilton community.

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Professor emeritus Art Heidebrecht is the recipient of an Excellence in Education Award presented by the Industry-Education Council of Hamilton. He received the award at the annual Partners in Education Breakfast in Hamilton on April 30. Professor Heidebrecht retired this month as executive director of the McMaster-Mohawk Bachelor of Technology Program. He accepted that position in 2004 and has been instrumental in establishing the program, which was officially launched in 2006. This will be his second retirement from McMaster. He first retired in 1996 after serving in numerous leadership roles at the university – including professor and chair of the Department of Civil Engineering, dean of the Faculty of Engineering, provost and vice president academic, interim principal of Divinity College and acting director of the Centre for Continuing Education. Ph.D. student Sommer Abdel-Fattah is co-winner (with University of Guelph undergraduate Victoria Sharpe) of the 2009 Student Essay Competition sponsored by the Ontario Centre for Engineering and Public Policy (OCEPP). She received $1,000 for her winning essay, titled “Privacy and Security of Medical Hospital Records: Communications Technology”. Submissions had to focus on subject matter broadly related to engineering and public policy and were judged on originality, quality of research, and clarity. AbdelFattah is studying policy concerns and remedial action regarding climate change in the Great Lakes Region. In collaboration with the World Health Organization, she has also conducted research in the Middle East on health policy, focusing on the identification of health policy issues.

Electrical & Computer Engineering Two staff members have received special recognition for outstanding contributions.

EWB (continued from page 15) made it home, I was absolutely exhausted. Honestly, it was one of the hardest work days of my life.” Dan Olsen (M.A.Sc. Civ Eng ’05) joined the EWB Governance and Rural Infrastructure team in Ghana in 2008 to discover how his passion for engineering and problem solving could be combined with his passion for people and social change.


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Terrence (Terry) Greenlay, Manager of

Facilities, received a President’s Award for Outstanding Service in 2008 in the individual category. Cheryl Gies, Graduate Administrative Assistant, was awarded the Graduate Students Association Award for Contributions by Non-Academic Staff.

Materials Science & Engineering Professor David Embury is the recipient of the Grande Médaille of the Societé Française de Métallurgie et de Matériaux (SF2M), in recognition of outstanding contribution in the field of metallurgy and materials. The medal is to be presented at the Laureate Ceremony during the SF2M annual conference in June.

Engineering Physics Paul Jessop finished his term as Chair after 8 years and was honored at a luncheon in July where his outstanding leadership was celebrated. During his tenure 7 new faculty members were hired and among many other accomplishments he helped establish a new graduate program through the University Network of Excellence in Nuclear Engineering (UNENE).

The department welcomes Harold Haugen who begins his tenure as Chair on July 1, 2009. Ray LaPierre and Andy Knights will continue as Associate Chairs, Undergraduate and Graduate respectively. David Novog was appointed Director of the McMaster Institute for Energy Studies for the period commencing February 2009 and continuing until June 2013.

A research project led by Adrian Kitai has resulted in a new flexible solar cell prototype to provide light being installed in a bus shelter on campus. Funding for the initiative was provided through an NSERC strategic grant and an NSERC I2I grant. Jen-Shih Chang recently received the

2008 Harry White Award for Outstanding

Since 1988, Ghana has been going through a decentralization process, giving more planning and implementation autonomy to government structures closer to the citizens (district assemblies). Dan is working in the Northern Region of Ghana, which has 20 districts. Dan works at the regional office to help lead the team in focusing its efforts on three levels: a) working with district assemblies to create monitoring & evaluating programs to track the progress of their plans and overall district

Achievement for Education & Research from the International Society of Electrostatic Precipitation. In December, the American Nuclear Society and the Faculty of Engineering at McMaster University formally recognized the formation of the fist-ever ANS student chapter in the Province of Ontario and the first in Canada in almost 10 years. John Luxat, the NSERC/UNENE Industrial Chair in Nuclear Safety Analysis, is the faculty advisor for the student chapter. This year the Department hired 38 summer students. Nineteen of those were USRA (Undergraduate Summer Research Award ) NSERC winners and worked in laboratories on various research projects. Andy Knights was awarded an Early

Research Award to carry out his research in implementing novel functionality for second generation silicon photonics. The Department congratulates the following faculty on their recent significant funding awards. Full details of these awards will be found elsewhere in this issue. Rafi Kleiman was awarded $5.1 million through the Leading Edge Fund to further work by the Laboratory for Advanced Photovoltaic Research to develop improved solar cells with higher efficiency and /or lower cost than those currently available. John Luxat was awarded a $9.1 million

New Initiatives Fund award to establish a Centre for Advanced Nuclear Systems to focus on materials, safety and medical applications of nuclear technology. Peter Mascher was awarded $2.3 million to use the McMaster Intense Positron Facility to combine extensive materials research with fundamental studies of antimatter atoms and molecules.

development ; b) working with the planning and coordinating unit to collate and effectively analyze district data to coordinate donor activities and support districts within the Northern Region; and c) working with district and regional staff to communicate field realities to donors. Dan notes that “under an incredibly challenging work environment with few incentives to perform, district and regional staff are innovating and finding ways to strengthen their systems.”



Cormick, Gordon (`74) was included in

Shamji, Shafique (`89) was appointed

the February 9, 2009 Bucking the Trend section of the Hamilton Spectator newspaper, talking about how his company plans to diversify across a range of industries to weather the current challenging economic conditions. Gordon is owner of Hamilton-based Fibre Laminations, which currently has 35 employees, and makes a variety of products using fibreglass.

President of Privasoft in December 2008. The company is the world’s leading provider of collaborative case management software used for managing freedom of information, access to information, and privacy legislation compliance. He is responsible for the company’s overall strategic direction and management.

Mohan, Kris (`71) is serving a second term as Citizenship Judge in Mississauga, Ontario. He was first appointed in 2005. Citizenship judges are responsible for making decisions with regard to citizenship application, presiding over citizenship ceremonies, and administering the oath of citizenship to new citizens. Kris is a professional engineer with 27 years of service in the nuclear energy industry.





Lambshead, Alan (’72) is Vice President of Engineering at Burlington, Ontario-based Tuck, Leanne (‘02): Leanne and ChrisEvertz Technologies Limited. (We apolotopher announce the birth of Kate Ann gize that his position with the company Kimberly on January 22, 2009, weighing 8 was incorrectly noted in the last issue of lb. 6 oz. She is, of course, beautiful! the MacEngineer.) In August 2008, Evertz MacChemEng & Mgmt Technologies received the Philo R. Farnsworth Corporate Achievement Award Remesat, Darius (‘93), Director of Techfrom the Academy of Television Arts & nology and Business Development at Sciences for the company’s contributions Koch-Glitsch Canada LP (Uxbridge, Onto the state of television technology and tario), was recently named as one of the engineering. “2009 Class of Rising Stars” by Oilweek magazine.

Adrienne (`00) & Anton (`01) Osfolk are

pleased to announce the safe arrival of Ellery Mark Osfolk, born June 7 2009 at 9:56 am, weighing 8 lbs 5 oz.

Dean Wilkinson (continued from page 2) tion, alumni have already contributed over $100,000 towards our goal of $250,000 in support of the alumni teaching studio in the new engineering building. This room will provide a unique approach to collaborative learning and will be used primarily by Level I Engineering students. We have made a number of academic administrative appointments over the past few months that will really strengthen the leader-

ship within the Faculty. Heather Sheardown is now Associate Dean (Graduate Studies) for the Faculty and is looking at various ways to better integrate graduate studies within the Faculty. New chairs include Harold Haugen in Engineering Physics and Shiping Zhu in Chemical Engineering. Spencer Smith is now the Director of Level I programs. In addition, Alan Murray has joined us to lead the BTech programs. Finally, Andy Hrymak has left Mc-

Master to become the Dean of Engineering at the University of Western Ontario. While this is clearly a loss for the Faculty, we all wish Andy well and thank him for many contributions to McMaster during his years at Mac. There are, of course, many other new initiatives and achievements to celebrate as you will discover as you read further through this edition of the MacEngineer. I hope you enjoy it.

Peter Mascher (continued from page 3) could strongly enhance Canada’s economy, society and/or environment within the next 10 years. Rafael Kleiman (Engineering Physics and Centre for Emerging Device Technologies) submitted an application to establish the “NSERC Photovoltaic Innovation Network”.The proposal is led by McMaster and includes 6 faculty members from Engineering as well as researchers from 12 universities across the country. A site visit has been scheduled for July 8, 2009. The “External Relations” portfolio remains very active as well. On April 8, McMaster signed an important agreement with the Università degli Studi di Trento that will lay the foundation for collaborations in economics and in science and technology, specifically in the areas of nanotechnology and cognitive sciences.The agreement sees the universities exchanging doctoral

students and faculty, furthering the development of joint research programs and academic initiatives, such as the Masters in International Management and a joint PhD program in nanotechnology.The accord was initialed by the Chancellor of the University of Trento, Davide Bassi, and by the Associate Vice-President of McMaster University, Fiona E. McNeill. As part of McMaster University’s continued engagement with industry, we also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Centro Ricerche Fiat (CRF) - Trento Branch concerning the development of research and academic cooperation in the general areas of materials technologies and info-telematics.The signing ceremonies were part of a “Canada Day” at Trento that brought together the Canadian Ambassador to Italy, the President of the Autonomous Province of Trento, the director of CRF Trento, and senior represen-

tatives of the University of Trento, McMaster, and the University of British Columbia. Back home on campus, we received delegations from the King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM), Saudi Arabia, led by Dr. Khalaf Aidhah Al-Ofi, Manager, Urban Areas Engineering Section, Centre for Engineering Research at KFUPM; Dongguan University of Technology, Guangdong Province, China, led by President Dr. Yang Xiaoxi; and the China Iron and Steel Research Institute, the China Academy of Building Research, the Tianjin Tiantie Zhaer Steel production Co., and the Shanghai Baosteel Construction Design & Research Institute. I wish all of our readers a good summer and look forward to reporting on progress with the recently funded initiatives as well as new success stories.

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Mechanical Engineering Laboratory Fund (continued from page 9) faculty and this is a perfect opportunity to rebuild our lab facilities to reflect the unique and diverse talents that will lead us forward. Technology is changing rapidly and it is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain some of the more costly equipment that enables us to be leaders.” Dr. Chan Ching, Chair of the Laboratory Committee for Mechanical Engineering, adds that “MACLab has helped us

tremendously in the past. The fund has created some fantastic opportunities, such as our 3D rapid prototyping printer as well as upgrades to our computer labs and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine. The creation of this laboratory fund will help us to take up these advantages independently or help us maximize leverage opportunities.” Dr Habibi further notes, “With the help

Sheardown (continued from page 6) “Heather brings a tremendous combination of experience in and understanding of the graduate environment to the position,” said Allison Sekuler, Associate Vice President and Dean of Graduate Studies. “She is highly respected for her research, and fosters a supportive and innovative approach to mentoring graduate students. She is a terrific role model for students and supervisors alike, and I’m really looking forward to working with Heather to advance graduate studies in Engineering and across the University.” As an Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, Sheardown is a member of Graduate Council, which works to further graduate education and research training at McMaster, and provide leadership and coordination of all activities related to those goals. This includes the development and improvement of graduate programs, admissions planning, recruitment and retention, and the enhancement of quality of life for graduate students. “Heather is able and willing to look at things from a students’ perspective, which is critical to attracting and retaining strong students to the University,” said David Wilkinson, Dean, Faculty of Engineering. “At the same time, she is committed to ensuring that the quality and standards required for great research are maintained allowing for advancing knowledge and expertise to future generations.” Sheardown has sat on and chaired numerous NSERC, CIHR, and NSF grant review panels. She is past-president of the Canadian Biomaterials Society, where she helped to secure Canada as a host of the quadrennial World Biomaterials Congress in 2016. She has been Chair of the Women in Engineering Committee at McMaster for nine years and was actively involved in developing the popular province-wide Go Eng Girl event for girls in grades seven to ten. “Graduate study is evolving and taking on an expanded role in our society and in our economy,” said Sheardown. “Communicating this to students and helping them understand the graduate experience is essential. Creating the environment and support structure for them to succeed in their programs and careers is equally important.”


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of McMaster’s engineering alumni, faculty members, staff and other interested partners, we will continue to provide the best facilities for our students.” If you wish to make a donation, or for more information, contact Terry Milson at 905.525.9140 Ext. 27391 or (Please quote E830A Mechanical Engineering equipment fund, when making donations.)



1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995 and 2000

Saturday June 5, 2010

MacEngineer Summer 2009  

The MacEngineer - The magazine for McMaster University's Faculty of Engineering Alumni

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