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Gina Succi, BEng '89

Civil Engineering | Manufacturing a Composite Solution for a Changing World

Standing beside a group of politicians, together with her business partner in front of friends, family and colleagues, at the grand opening ceremony of their new Simcoe manufacturing facility, the moment struck Gina Succi (B.Eng 1988, Civil).

"It is one thing to get the key to a big, empty building, fill it up with equipment and products and sell them," says Succi, executive vice-president of Westhill Innovation Inc. "But being part of a business recognized by all three levels of government has been one of my biggest accomplishments."  

Westhill Innovation designs and manufactures custom lightweight and environmentally sustainable composites for the transportation and construction industries.  

In October 2017, the W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Design announced a partnership with Westhill. Drs. Seshasai Srinivasan and Mostafa Soliman are currently leading 11 graduate students across the fields of mechanical, electrical and manufacturing engineering, through three new projects with the company which involve recycled materials, advanced manufacturing and solar energy applications. 

"I love the energy these students bring, and their excitement to be working with us," Succi says. "I am in awe of their abilities, their confidence, and in the way they approach their work.”

While always determined to succeed, Succi says she saw herself as someone who had to earn her way. Hailing from Hamilton, she was drawn to her hometown university thanks to McMaster's high academic standing, and the reputation of its school of engineering. Succeeding in such a challenging program was one of the first in her list of accomplishments. 

"It was a different time, the university has changed so much. The diversity in the program wasn’t what it is today. On top of the fact that I was an artistic and creative soul in a highly technical environment," she says, "what I learned most from my experience in university was how to not give up, and how to tap my potential, and not be afraid to be different, and not be afraid to fail."

Upon graduation, she worked as an engineer in the fields of logistics, mining, construction and steel manufacturing. Succi met Westhill Innovations President & CEO Emil Radoslav when they worked together on a special project at a Canadian steel mill. Years later, when Westhill was preparing to launch, Succi joined Radoslav as a business partner and has been instrumental in taking the company to the next level. 

She hopes her 30 years of hard work set a good example for others. "Earning the respect of my peers in industry through my track record, so that terms such as 'women in technology' become outdated, and just accepted as normal, would be a terrific outcome in my view."