March, 2000

Volunteering a Natural Extension Of Gary Faulknerís University Role


By Tracy Sopkow

If you have suggested candidates for the series, please forward your ideas to The PEGG.

As a Professor, and Acting Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Alberta, Gary Faulkner, P.Eng., PhD, has a good understanding of the right combination of education and work experience required to be a professional engineer. Since 1990, Gary has volunteered on the Board of Examiners, which considers individuals applying for registration in the professions. As the current chair of the Board, he is one of 300 APEGGA volunteers, whose efforts on boards, committees and in other capacities contribute to the success of the Association.

When and why did you join APEGGA?

I joined APEGGA in April of 1970. As a member of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Alberta, I believe that it is important for us to be associated with the profession which many of our students enter.

Why do you volunteer with APEGGA?

I think that being on the Board of Examiners is a natural extension of being at the university. The Board of Examiners deals with the qualifications necessary for people to join the profession. This is similar to what we do at the university, where we deal with the qualifications people need to get a degree in engineering. It also gives me a chance to reacquaint with graduates, as they become registered professional engineers, and to see what has occurred in their careers in the period between graduation and receiving their professional designation.

What made you decide to become an engineer, and how did you choose mechanical as your discipline?

I was always attracted to math and science and enjoyed building and making things work. Engineering seemed a natural choice. As for choosing mechanical, some of my friends were entering it, but it also seemed to be the most comprehensive and general area.

What is the greatest challenge you face as an engineering professor?

I would have to say the greatest challenge is preparing students for the future. At both the undergraduate and graduate levels, the challenge is to offer programs that combine theory and practice, because we are helping educate people who are going to be in the workforce for many years. We donít want them to be "trained" for todayís world, but rather be able to continue their professional development over their entire career.

Is there anyone who has been instrumental in your professional development?

The individual most influential in my development was George Ford, P.Eng., PhD. As a former Dean and Department Head at the University of Alberta, he offered considerable guidance and encouragement.

What do you feel the next hot trend will be in engineering?

I think development in what I would call bio-engineering, is an area in which we will see considerable growth in the future. As we look to develop aids to living and better understand biological functions, we will be attempting to mimic these functions and replace them with engineered systems.

What is your favorite book?

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

What are some of your hobbies and interests?

I play squash and read. Those are probably the only things I have time for.





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