Media Release | Apr 15, 2014

Engineering Excellence Awards 2014

The Faculty of Applied Science congratulates the 2014 Engineering Excellence award recipients. The awards celebrate outstanding accomplishments of UBC Engineering alumni, future alumni and faculty emeriti. This year marks the fifth annual presentation of awards in the following categories: 
Lifetime Achievement (alumni); Community Service (alumni); Young Alumnus (alumni under 35 years); Future Alumnus (current UBC engineering student) and Faculty Emeritus (retired or emeriti).

Lifetime Achievement

This year’s Lifetime Achievement award goes to Dr. Gordon Forward (BASc ’60). Dr. Forward made major contributions to engineering research, industry, education and sustainability since his graduation from UBC in 1960. After graduating from MIT with a Doctor of Science in 1966, he embarked on a successful career in the steel industry, working first for the Steel Company of Canada then for Lake Ontario Steel before moving to Chaparral Steel in Texas, where he was President and CEO for 16 years. During his time at Chaparral Steel he was named 1997 US Steelmaker of the Year and in 1999 was recognized as one of the top 10 most influential executives in the UBC Steel Industry in the 20thCentury.

In addition to his work in industry, Dr. Forward has sat on several industry boards; received several awards for his engineering research; through volunteer work; contributed to environment and sustainability work through volunteering on the US business Council for Sustainable Development, and leant his expertise to a number of universities through advisory councils.

Community Service

Brent King (BASc ’96) has forged an admirable career in biomedical engineering. His work with Tenet Medical Engineering, a company he co-owned and co-founded, won him Canada’s prestigious Manning Innovation Award in 2009. But he is equally well-known for his community work. In 2009 King, a self-described “serial philanthropist,” started Got Ginch, a cross-Canada underwear drive. Annually, King and co-pilot Robb Price drive from Vancouver to Halifax to deliver clean underwear to shelters and promote public awareness. King’s community service doesn’t end there: while at home in Calgary he is an angel investor for Deliver Good a non-profit that matches “charities who need stuff with people and companies who have stuff,” and he supports the Mustard Seed, a non-profit organization that assists impoverished and homeless adults towards a sustainable life change. When King is not driving across Canada delivering underwear or undertaking directorship work for one of the two start-ups he is involved with, he is inspiring young engineers as he volunteers and lectures at the University of Calgary.

Outstanding Emeriti Faculty

Born and educated in Romania, Dr. Martha Salcudean (DSc ‘01) graduated with a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the Institute of Polytechnics in Brasov, Romania in 1969.  She immigrated to Canada in 1976, coming to UBC in 1985 where she broke a barrier for women in engineering by becoming the first woman to head an engineering department in Canada. She led the Department of Mechanical Engineering starting in 1985 and became Associate Vice-President of Research in 1993 before taking a position as Weyerhaeuser Industrial Research Chair in 1996.

Dr. Salcudean’s expertise is in fluid flow and heat transfer, with particular emphasis on modelling of transport phenomena in industrial processes. She has published extensively, and has collaborated with numerous industry partners including Weyerhaeuser, Cominco, Pratt and Whitney and Atomic Energy of Canada. Her expertise has led to her serving on a number of nationally significant committees, including the Governing Council of the National Research Council; Director and Chair of the BCFRST Foundation (2006-present); Member of Royal Society Panel “Review of the Canadian Foundation for Innovation” (2001)

Over her career, Dr. Salcudean has been a tireless champion for engineering education and research, working with government and industry to promote engineering and UBC. For this, and for her many contributions to research, to the department, to UBC Engineering, to UBC as a whole, and to Canada, we are pleased to recognize her work through the Outstanding Emeriti Award.

Outstanding Young Alumnus

After graduating from UBC Stephanie Gnissios (BASc ’10) joined Hatch and quickly became a Project Engineer. She is an advocate for lifelong learning and develops training materials and activities for her fellow employees. Stephanie’s commitment to the community is shown by her continual involvement with United Way. As both Co-Chair and Chair of the Hatch United Way Campaign Committee, she helped raise over $110,000 in 2010 and 2011. Stephanie has also given back to UBC since her graduation, serving as a mentor and role model to engineering students.

In 2003,Duncan McNicholl’s (BASc ’09) life was changed by a trip to Antarctica, when he was able to see how the enormous challenges of global warming and vast poverty were affecting humanity globally. He was left with a deep desire to directly tackle these challenges, and has pursued his goals with admirable drive over the past 11 years. He is an active member with Engineers Without Borders and is currently in Malawi working to develop water and sanitation solutions. He has been commended by the Malawian Government for his keen understanding and professionalism in navigating the space between policy and practice. Duncan will be leaving Malawi in May 2014 to pursue a PhD in Engineering at the University of Cambridge in England. He is anticipating his thesis work will focus on water access issues in Africa.

Outstanding Future Alumnus Award

During Shannon Hoekstra (BASc’14) 2013 TEDx Terry Talk Shannon spoke of her journey through her seven years of undergraduate education. Her message? Above all, own your degree. Known as a committed student leader and advocate Shannon has “owned” her time at UBC. Her five years at UBC has been filled with accomplishments. She consistently placed top of her class, has served as both President and VP Communications for the UBC chapter of Engineers Without Borders and is currently the President of the Materials Engineering Undergraduate Club. She has completed four successful engineering co-op terms – earning her title of 2013 Engineering Co-op Student of the Year. In addition to her leadership, academic and co-op successes, Shannon is also a dedicated role model for women in engineering, volunteering for the National Conference on Women in Engineering, the WWEST Women in Engineering Day, and the UBC WiE “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” event. 


ErinRose Handy
UBC Faculty of Applied Science

Tags: Alumni engagement, APSC, awards, engineering

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