A little bit of New Orleans descended on the Round-up Centre at Calgary's Stampede Grounds on April 17 as APEGGA held its 1997 Summit Award to recognize excellence and acknowledge community contributions.
This year's award ceremonies centred on the theme of "Unmasking Excellence" and featured a Mardi Gras atmosphere. In the reception area prior to the presentations, the more than 800 persons in attendance had a chance to mingle to the sound of steel-band music amid carnival-like surroundings complete with buskers, while testing their skills at various games of chance.
The fun spilled over into the main event where dinner guests enjoyed the wonders of magician Lothar and the Latin American music and vocalization of Calgary's Sabor Tropical ensemble.
The ambience may have been festive but the intent was serious as APEGGA went about un-masking the impact members of the Association have on the lives of Albertans. Judy Newbert, P.Eng., who along with Bill Page, P.Eng., served as M.C., drew attention to the event's three-pronged purpose of :
Among those guests was Alberta Public Works Supply and Services Minister Stan Woloshyn, the minister responsible for the EGGP Act. In bringing greetings from the government, the minister congratulated the outgoing Association President, Fred Otto, P.Eng., PhD, and his successor, Dennis Lindberg, P.Eng. Mr Woloshyn referred to APEGGA as "perhaps the finest professional organization in the province and, throughout the country as a whole".
Members of the Association, he said, make a significant contribution in bringing international recognition to Alberta and he encouraged continued commitment to excellence, technical innovation and community service.
The minister added: "Alberta-based engineering firms are being recognized more and more throughout the world for their excellence in such diverse areas as pipelines, offshore exploration, communication, computer technology and infrastructure."
This year's Summit Awards® evening was dedicated to the memory of two former APEGGA presidents, the late Norman J. Allison, P.Eng., who served as Association President in 1962, and the late Joseph B. de Hart, P.Eng., who held that office in 1932.
A Tradition Continues
The contribution of outgoing APEGGA President Fred Otto, P.Eng., PhD, was recognized with an Honorary Life Membership in the Association. In accepting the award, Dr. Otto paid special tribute to his wife, Helen, for her support, and to Don Robinson, P.Eng., PhD, his supervisor at the University of Alberta, for serving as a professional role model.
Later in the evening, John R. Wood, P.Eng., APEGGA's 1995-96 President, presented Dr. Otto with the colorful vest traditionally given to APEGGA presidents upon completion of their term.
Following that "vesting ceremony", Dr. Otto said he has enjoyed the opportunity he has had during the past year to travel throughout Alberta and Canada.
"I have observed the renewed vitality of industrial activity in the province. The expansions that are occurring in the heavy oil, chemical, manufacturing and other sectors bode well vis-à-vis the economic well-being of Albertans."
Travelling across Canada has reinforced how privileged we are to live in Canada. Dr. Otto said that, contrary to what many others experience elsewhere in the world, "we have clear skies, clean air to breathe, disease-free water, safe transportation, safe buildings, comfortable housing and challenging opportunities for our children. Engineers, geologists and geophysicists have a lot to do with this. In fact, throughout the history of Canada, they have played a vital role in giving Canadians one of the highest standards of living in the world." And, said Dr. Otto, these professions continue to generate jobs and wealth. He thanked those who have contributed to APEGGA activities.
The Association's highest award of distinction, the APEGGA Centennial Leadership Award, was bestowed on Laurie Kennedy, P.Eng., PhD, professor emeritus of civil engineering at the University of Alberta (please see pages 8 and 9 for additional information on individual Summit Award recipients). Dr. Kennedy termed the award a "singular honor" which would not have been possible "without the support of my family and my friends, my colleagues and my graduate students. I wish to emphasize that as in any engineering endeavour, we engineers work together as a team and the accomplishments of one are the accomplishments of all."
Other Award recipients were
Honorary Membership recipient David O'Brien, chair, president and chief executive officer of Canadian Pacific Limited and former CEO of PanCanadian Petroleum Limited, spoke of the "thrill of victory and the agony of defeat" present in resource exploration. He jokingly suggested that now that he is a member of APEGGA, he finally could pick an exploration prospect.
Community Service Award recipient David Pickersgill has particularly been involved in projects related to child and youth welfare. In accepting his award, Mr, Pickersgill encouraged others to help our young people not just "as an act of kindness, not just as an investment in the social capital of our province, but try doing it as a gift to yourself."
This year's AGM/Summit Award Committee consisted of
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