Information Box Group
2022: Duncan Hannay
President and CEO, OLG
Duncan Hannay is the president of OLG and the former President and Chief Executive Officer at Street Capital Bank of Canada and Street Capital Group Inc. Prior to joining Street Capital in September 2017, Duncan held the position of Chief Operating Officer at FINASTRA, the third largest fintech provider in the world. Duncan has more than 25 years of experience building and growing businesses in the financial services and technology sectors with roles including: President, Global Lending Solutions at D+H; Senior Vice President and Head of Marketing at Scotiabank; Managing Director and Head of Online Brokerage at Scotiabank; and President and CEO at E*TRADE Canada Securities. Duncan holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from McMaster University and has also completed the Strategic Management in Banking, Business Administration and Management program at INSEAD. In 2010, he was inducted into the McMaster University Alumni Gallery, and in 2013, was named Strategy Magazine’s “Marketer of the Year.” Duncan currently is a past Chair of the Board of Directors of Covenant House Toronto, Canada’s largest shelter for homeless youth and is a current Dean’s Advisory Board member for McMaster Engineering.
2018: Faizel Lakhani
(B.Eng. Electrical Engineering ’93)
CEO, Guavus: A Thales Company
2018: Faizel Lakhani
CEO, Guavus: A Thales Company
Faizel is CEO of Guavus : a Thales Company. Guavus is a streaming analytics and artificial intelligence company based in Silicon Valley, Montreal Canada and Gurgaon India. Prior to Guavus Faizel was the President, COO and Board Member of SS8; a network intelligence company. Prior to SS8, Faizel was the vice president of Data Loss Prevention at McAfee, where he was responsible for the DLP business worldwide. Faizel joined McAfee through the acquisition of Reconnex, where he was the vice president of products and marketing. Prior to Reconnex, Faizel held executive leadership roles in product and marketing at ConSentry, Caspian Networks and Nortel Networks.
Faizel holds an MBA from The University of Ottawa, an MS in Engineering from Carleton University, and a Bachelor in Engineering from McMaster University.
2017: James Politeski
(B.Eng. Mechanical & Mgmt. ’92)
Group President at Sears Holdings
2017: James Politeski
James Politeski is a growth-driving senior executive. Recognized for his leadership skills and strategic vision, he has dedicated his career to growing and transforming businesses within the consumer electronics industry.
He is Group President of Home Appliances, Consumer Electronics, Commercial Sales and Monark Premium Appliances at Sears Holdings in Chicago. Prior to joining the Sears team, he was President at Samsung Electronics Canada.
In a changing retail landscape, James is driving transformation towards a member and customer focused approach to retail. With over 20 years in sales and marketing leadership roles, he is known for building high performance teams and growth-based cultures.
James holds a Mechanical Engineering and Management degree from McMaster University, and actively supports his alma mater as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board.
James’ commitment to education is deep. For the past couple of years, he has been a judge and speaker for McMaster Electrical and Computer Engineering Final Year Capstone Projects. He is also on the Board of The Learning Partnership, a national charitable organization dedicated to championing a strong public education system in Canada.
James is a dedicated supporter of the Canadian Cancer Society and has been a team leader for the Relay for Life since 2006.
His career has allowed him the privilege of working and travelling abroad, and James is fluent in French. James, nous sommes très fiers de vous!
What I most appreciate about James is his passion about the power of positive culture and his belief that the potential in people and teams should be unleashed. He relies on optimism, creativity and perseverance to successfully implement change.
Friends and colleagues of James have the utmost respect for him. His leadership is inspiring, and everyone who knows James will attest to his positive influence on them.
As mentioned by his friend Ken Fredeen, James lives by the mantra that “if it can’t be measured, it’s not worth doing.” Well, the impact of James’ own life and career can certainly be measured – with positivity, enthusiasm and great success.
2016: Howard Shearer
(B.Eng. Electrical ’77)
Chief Executive, Hitachi Canada
2016: Howard Shearer
Howard Shearer, the son of Jamaica’s third Prime Minister the late Hugh Shearer, came to Canada as an International student to study at McMaster University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1977.
After working at a number of high-tech firms after graduation, Howard moved in 1984 to Hitachi Canada Limited, an International Japanese firm. He moved through the ranks to Chief Executive Officer and President to Chief Executive today.
Considered, a dynamic executive, Howard has not only led Hitachi to success these past 15 years, he has also played a leading role in the community. Mr. Shearer serves on the boards of the following
non-profit and public sector organizations: the Canadian Nurses Foundation, the Principal’s Advisory Council (University of Toronto at Mississauga), the Canadian Studies Advisory Committee (University College, University of Toronto), and Governing Council of the University of Toronto. Mr. Shearer also is a member of other professional organizations, including the Energy Council of Canada, the Canadian Nuclear Association and the Canadian Nuclear Society.
He served on the McMaster Board of Governors and is currently on the Faculty of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Board.
His ambition is to make Canada a global powerhouse in smart systems and big data. He believes that it’s important that Canada build capacity in the digital world right across the spectrum from smart homes, connected vehicles to medical devices.
Although well established as a Canadian business executive Howard continues to maintain his ties to his home country. He is a key player in the Jamaican Canadian Initiative for Disaster Resilience and Response (JCIDRR) chaired by former Canadian Prime Minister John Turner.
Jamaicans and Canadians alike are being mobilized to assist the country in the event of a natural disaster. The organization is committed to putting in place expertise and financial support to “equip Jamaica with an up-to-date counter-reaction to disaster and avoid the type of situation that Haiti has gone though in the last several years”.
Howard volunteers his time on several committees and councils. He serves as the Chairman of the Board of Hitachi Power Systems Canada Ltd. He has been Director of Metrolinx since July 2012. He also has been a Member of HCL’s Board of Directors since 1999. Mr. Shearer served as Director of the Independent Electricity System Operator.
Through the partnership with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy where he serves as Director, he is on the forefront of the nuclear renaissance in Canada. He is advocate for the need for future qualified graduates in nuclear engineering and technology.
Howard is described by his associates as having a common-sense, hands on approach to his work, which has gone a long way in defining his enthusiasm, and his strong technical and leadership skills. To this end, Howard Shearer is recognized as one of the Faculty’s most accomplished alumni.
2015: Sean Donnelly
(B.Eng. ’81, Metallurgical)
President & CEO,
2015: Sean Donnelly
Sean Donnelly is the President & CEO of ArcelorMittal Dofasco after serving previously as Vice President, Manufacturing and Vice President, Technology and a series of other positions since he joined the company in 1981.
After graduating from McMaster with a degree in Metallurgical Engineering, Sean has spent his entire career at Dofasco, and has really made his mark, using his outstanding business leadership and management skills to successfully lead Hamilton’s steel company through its technical and manufacturing transitions.
Tireless advocate for the steel industry, Sean is leading ArcelorMittal Dofasco on the forefront of the steel making renaissance in Canada. Identifying a need for future qualified engineers and technology, he was, and continues to be a strong promoter in the development of academic partnerships. Sean believes that it is important to blend the strengths of industry and universities to train skilled human resources for the current and future needs of Canada. McMaster is proud to be associated with ArcelorMittal Dofasco through its Engineering programs.
Recognized with numerous awards over the years, Sean and his team are proud of winning innovation accolades for its automated steelmaking process. One such project makes Dofasco home to the most automated basic oxygen furnace in the world, according to the company by increasing output of ultra-low carbon and advanced high-strength steels to meet future market demand.
“To have the most automated basic oxygen furnace in the world and the first such furnace that does not require manual sampling of the hot metal is a tremendous achievement,” said Sean Donnelly, when he was vice-president manufacturing at ArcelorMittal Dofasco.
This is an example of an innovation that has been inspired in Hamilton and has found its way to other plants around the world.
His ambition is to make ArcelorMittal Dofasco a global driver of manufacturing innovation. He believes that it is important that Canada build capacity in manufacturing and that we need to build a policy forum by blending together engineering, social science and business awareness.
Considered a dynamic community leader, Sean is a member of several Boards, including McMaster University Board of Governors, McMaster Innovation Park and the Royal Botanical Gardens. He was an active member on the Faculty of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Board.
2014: Terry Fallis
(B.Eng. Mechanical ’83)
President, Thornley Fallis Communication
2014: Terry Fallis
Like most young people deciding on their career path upon graduation, Terry Fallis was somewhat undecided on the direction he should take.
Leaning heavily towards politics, as a result of his undergraduate experience as a McMaster student leader, he ended up switching gears, from Mechanical Engineering to the world of the Legislature. With his strong appreciation of government issues, he was able to utilize his engineering education as a foundation for an incredible journey as a political staff member, communication guru, and famed novelist.
Terry earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree from McMaster University, at which time he became engulfed in university politics. He was elected President of the Student’s Union in 1983, and his student leadership continued after graduation as a member of the alumni magazine advisory board and service on the Board of Directors of the McMaster Alumni Association.
He was recognized early by McMaster as an inductee to the McMaster Alumni Gallery in 1986, and in the same year was founding member of the McMaster Student Union Alumni Association.
After Graduation, Terry joined future Prime Minister Jean Chretien’s full time staff for the 1984 federal Liberal Leadership campaign.
He served on the political staff of the Liberal Minister of State for Youth, the Honourable Jean Lapierre, in the short-lived cabinet of Prime Minister John Turner. He stayed with Lapierre as his Legislative Assistant in the opposition (1984-85) following the victory of Brian Mulroney and the Progressive Conservative Party.
Terry returned to Toronto in 1985 as Legislative Assistant to the Honourable Robert Nixon, Treasurer in the newly elected Liberal Ontario government led by Premier David Peterson. For nearly eight years (1988-95) after leaving provincial politics, he was a government affairs and communications consultant with the international PR firm, Hill and Knowlton, including stints as Vice President running the Ontario government affairs group and finally President of Berger & Associates, a Hill and Knowlton subsidiary.
In 1995, he co-founded Thornley Fallis with Joe Thornley, a full service communications consulting agency with offices in Ottawa and Toronto. Terry is also co-host of the popular business podcast, Inside PR.
For more than 20 years, Terry has counselled corporate and government clients on various fronts including crisis communications, media relations, issues management, marketing communications, public opinion polling, public affairs, and stakeholder relations.
Terry has sustained his involvement in politics and has hosted and produced podcast series for Liberal candidate Michael Ignatieff and Rob Oliphant.
Terry Fallis is the author of The Best Laid Plans, and The High Road, satirical novels of Canadian politics. The Best Laid Plans draws on this firsthand knowledge of the best and worst of Canadian political life. Farmer Canadian UN ambassador Allan Rocks has aptly observed that Terry’s book is “…a great read for anyone thinking of running for office, and especially reassuring for those who have decided not to.”
His debut novel was originally self-published in 2007 and won the 2008 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. Then McClelland & Stewart published The Best Laid Plans in September 2008.
Terry also won the Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards in the Regional Fiction – Canada East category.
In February 2011, The Best Laid Plans was crowned the winner of CBC Canada Reads as the “essential Canadian novel of the decade.”
The sequel The High Road was published in September 2010. It was a finalist for the 2011 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. McClelland & Stewart also published Terry’s third novel, Up and Down, in September 2012. It debuted on the Glove and Mail bestsellers list, was a finalist for the 2013 Leacock Medal, and won the 2013 Ontario Library Association Evergreen Award. Terry’s fourth novel hit bookstores in May 2014.
In June 2013, the Canadian Booksellers Association presented Terry with the Libris Award for Author of the Year
Terry is a sought-after speaker, sits on a number of boards, and lives in Toronto with his wife and two sons.
2013: Kim Woodhouse
(PhD. Chemical Eng. ’93)
Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science, Queen’s University
2013: Kim Woodhouse
Like most young people deciding on their education and career path, Kimberly Woodhouse was somewhat undecided on the direction she thought she should take. Leaning heavily towards medical school, she ended up switching gears once she was introduced to the world of chemical engineering. With her strong appreciation of life sciences, she was able to combine both realms, as she developed her research program on tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
A true formula for success!
Kim earned her Bachelor of Engineering degree in Chemical Engineering at McGill University and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at McMaster University. She was drawn to McMaster’s biomaterials group, studying under John Brash, her thesis supervisor.
Also, while doing her Ph.D at McMaster she became interested in problem-based learning that was pioneered at McMaster medical school, and McMaster’s Chemical Engineering department under the direction of Chemical Engineering professor Don Woods. She strongly appreciates the ground breaking work he undertook to teach academics how to use problem based learning to teach students
In Kim’s own words, “Problem-based learning is a different type of teaching. It allows you to expose students to more open-ended problems with multiple answers, problems that require the use of judgement to solve and which then strengthens the ability of the students to solve complex problems more rapidly than with subject-based learning.”
In addition to her academic background, Dr. Woodhouse has almost ten years of experience in private sector manufacturing. She credits her industrial training as a good foundation for her administrative and teaching skills. While working in industry as a chemical engineer and later as a production manager, running a plant, she became involved in management training. Her strong skills as mentor began to blossom. She gained extensive international experience in management and educational consulting.
She holds several patents, and was a co-founder of a biotechnology company.
Colleagues comment, that Kim challenge students and they in turn challenge her. As an engineering student at McMaster, Heather Sheardown was greatly influenced by Kim. She saw her energy and enthusiasm as a great source of inspiration, encouraging independent thinking and student engagement.
Currently, Kim has less time to teach because of her duties as Dean, but one of the courses she does make time to teach, is the team development and communication section of a first year design course – a course with real projects and real clients. She says, “Design is integral to engineering. Applying creativity and knowledge in science, mathematics, economics and social sciences to solve the world’s problems — it’s what engineers do.”
Administratively, Kim has demonstrated great leadership qualities. When appointed to the Office of Dean at Queens in 2007, outgoing Dean Tom Harris, also a McMaster graduate, said, “Kimberly Woodhouse will do a fantastic job. She has an interesting background that is well suited for being dean. She has a very good research record and industrial experience and has served on many boards and agencies,” he said. “She will energize faculty staff and students in programs of research and teaching. She has a great capacity to motivate others.” And that is indeed what she did, and was reappointed for her second 5-year term on July 1, 2012.
Further to her position as Dean, Kim is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at Queen’s University and holds adjunct appointments in Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry and the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto.
Prior to joining the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Dr. Woodhouse held several positions at the University of Toronto, including a Professorship in Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry and the Associate Director of the Advanced Regenerative Tissue Engineering Centre, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, a multi-institutional centre to bring basic scientists, engineers and clinicians together to develop novel constructs for soft tissue engineering.
Kim has been recognized for her achievements by peers and colleagues throughout her career. Kim has received a the Medal for Excellence in Engineering Education from Engineers Canada, the Premier’s Excellence Award and the Professional Engineers Ontario Engineering Medal, “in recognition of valuable contributions made while furthering the technical advancement of the engineering profession in Ontario and its application to the public welfare”. She is the recipient of Engineers Canada’s Medal for Distinction in Engineering Education and the Premier’s Research Excellence Award. She was named a Fellow of the Society of Biomaterials and a Fellow to the Canadian Academy of Engineering.
Kim has accomplished a great deal as Dean at Queens. Notable among these are the development of the Faculty’s academic plan and strategic plan, the new Innovation and Global Leadership program, a joint initiative with the Queen’s School of Business, which admitted its first students this spring, and the Aboriginal Access to Engineering program. Kim currently serves on the Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation Board and the Ontario Research Fund Advisory Board.
She is a member of the CAE Board of Directors, has been appointed as a member of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). She is also the Director of Product Development for Elastin Specialties Inc. In addition to NSERC, Dr. Woodhouse sits on several boards and committees of Queen’s University and on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Biomedical Engineering: Polymer Edition. She also serves as Vice-Chair on the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Review Panel.
It is with great pride that I present the L.W. Shemilt Distinguished Alumni Award to Dr. Kimberly Woodhouse – an outstanding educator, research and administrator.
2012: Walter Booth
(B.Eng. Civil ’62 & M. Eng. ’65)
Retired CEO of Timberland Group of Companies
2012: Walter Booth
Walter Booth was one of the first leaders of the McMaster Engineering Society, graduating with the Faculty’s second class in 1962. As an alumnus, he has continued to be a leader at McMaster and in his local community.
From serving on the Engineering Dean’s Advisory Board to mobilizing his fellow mechanical engineering classmates of 1962 to make a transformative gift to the Faculty of Engineering, Walter is one of the Faculty’s most engaged alumni.
He is also a leader in his local community in Woodstock where he has served on the boards of the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce, the United Way, the Woodstock General Hospital Expansion Fund and Oxford Youth Action Inc. He is known for his generosity and is admired for his success as an entrepreneur.
Born in Kirkland Lake, Walter began his career with a diploma in mechanical technology from Ryerson Institute of Technology (now Ryerson University), which led him to a job as a designer at Stelco in Hamilton.
A few years later, he applied to McMaster, where he graduated with a bachelor of engineering in 1962 and a master’s in engineering in 1965.
After graduation, he went to work for the Timberland Group of Companies, based in Woodstock, Ontario that is known worldwide for providing utility equipment and machinery to the hydro, telecommunications, marine and mining industries. Walter stayed with Timberland, eventually taking ownership and serving as CEO. He is now retired.
Walter attributes part of the success of the Timberland Group to hiring engineers with an entrepreneurial bent similar to his and others in the company. He feels strongly that Canada needs more entrepreneurs, particularly in engineering and to this end with Walter’s help we created the Walter G. Booth School of Engineering Practice along with the Booth Chair is Engineering Entrepreneurship and Innovation and more recently the Booth Chair in Eco-Entrepreneurship.
This represents a meeting of two complimentary visions – that of McMaster Engineering to create the thought leaders and commerce pioneers of tomorrow and Walter’s own vision for technology-based entrepreneurship as the School’s principle benefactor. Collectively, we have created the only School in North America that connects entrepreneurship, sustainable design and public policy in an engineering context, giving graduates of the School a unique competitive advantage and a distinct skill set.
To know Walter is to realize that his many accomplishments are but one indicator of the mark of the man. He is humble in spirit, generous with praise and persistent in the face of a challenge. His experience as a student leader was a springboard for his professional career and for his involvement as an alumnus, and as one of the University’s most thoughtful philanthropists.
2011: Dr. Pierre Côté
(B.Eng. Civil ’79 & M.Sc.A. ’79) President, Côté Membrane Separation Ltd.
2011: Dr. Pierre Côté
Born in Quebec, Dr. Pierre Côté attended L’École Polytechnique where he obtained a B.Eng. (Civil) in 1977 and a M.Sc.A. degree in 1979. Having accepted his first research position with Environment Canada at the Wastewater Technology Centre in Burlington, he enrolled as a part-time Ph.D. student at McMaster University.
The period from 1979-1986 was rich in learning experiences: the fundamentals of Chemical Engineering as part of his Ph.D. program, the methodology of experimental research, not to mention improving his level of fluency in English. He was awarded his doctorate in 1986, following the completion of a thesis on hazardous water stabilization.
Pierre spent 1987 in France pursuing a post-doctoral program. His studies led to the discovery of membrane processes which held out tremendous promise for water treatment.
In 1989, he joined ZENON, the company created by his Ph.D. supervisor, Dr. Andrew Benedek. For the next three years, he worked on new membrane-based products and processes such as ZenoGem, Moustic and ZeeWeed ® .
ZeeWeed ® is a unique filtration membrane that represents a revolution in water treatment.
In 1992, Pierre left ZENON to accept a position as Research Program Director with Companie Generale des Eaux (the world’s largest water company, now called Veolia) on the outskirts of Paris. He led a team that won a French Academy of Science prize for a project on nanofiltration in 1995. He also introduced ZeeWeed ® to the French company, which soon became ZENON’s R&D partner on immersed membranes.
In 1998, Pierre returned to Canada as Chief Technology Officer at ZENON, where the commercialization of ZeeWeed ® was taking off.
Over the course of his research career to date, Pierre has authored some 100 technical publications and obtained 40 patents.
In 2000, Pierre won the $100,000 Manning Principal Award in recognition of his leadership in developing ZeeWeed ® technology, an honour he was pleased to share with his co-workers at ZENON. The following year, he was inducted as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering.
After Zenon was sold to General Electric in 2006, Pierre became Chief Technology Officer for Vaperma, a company engaged in the development of separation solutions for biofuels and industrial gases until 2009. He is currently President, Côté Membrane Separation Ltd. offering consulting services in water and membrane separation.
Pierre and his wife Pascale live in Dundas. They have three daughters Catherine, Emilie and Clemence, and two grandchildren.
When asked what Pierre does in his spare time, he said that he is a golf fanatic and use to feel bad about spending so much time playing until he realized that the brain does not stop working.
Despite a language barrier, moving from Quebec to Ontario, Pierre realized that science and technology is a universal language that became his anchor. Over the following years, the sweet reward of learning the language and being welcomed by colleagues and professors at McMaster was memorable.
With Pierre’s 30-year career, he continues to dedicate his life to pioneering work in bringing safe and clean water to the world. To this end, in 2005, Pierre was inducted into the McMaster Alumni Gallery.
2010: Tom Jenkins
(B.Eng. Engineering Physics
& Mgmt. ’82)
Executive Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer of Open Text Corporation
2010: Tom Jenkins
P. Thomas Jenkins is Executive Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer of Open Text Corporation of Waterloo, Ontario Canada, the largest independent software company in Canada. He has served as a Director of Open Text since 1994 and as its Chairman since 1998. From 1994 to present, Mr. Jenkins was President and then Chief Executive Officer and then Chief Strategy Officer of Open Text. Mr. Jenkins has also held several executive positions with DALSA Inc., an electronic imaging manufacturer based in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Prior to these positions, Mr. Jenkins was employed in technical and managerial capacities at a variety of information technology based companies in Canada.
In addition to his Open Text responsibilities, Mr. Jenkins is the Chair of the federal centre of excellence Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN). He is also an appointed member of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), past appointed member of the Government of Canada’s Competition Policy Review Panel which reported in June 2008, and past appointed member of the Province of Ontario’s Ontario Commercialization Network Review Committee (OCN) which reported in February 2009. Mr. Jenkins is also a member of the board of BMC Software, Inc. a software corporation based in Houston, Texas. He is also a member of the University of Waterloo Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council, a director of the C.D. Howe Institute, a director of the Canadian International Council (CIC) and a director of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE).
Mr. Jenkins received an M.B.A. in entrepreneurship & technology management from Schulich School of Business at York University, an M.A.Sc. in electrical engineering from the University of Toronto and a B.Eng. & Mgt. in Engineering Physics and Commerce from McMaster University.
2009: Vladimir Sobot and Chedo Sobot
(Vladimir – B.Eng. Civil ’80) and (Chedo – B.Eng. Civil & Mgmt. ’85)
Co-Owners, Sobotec Ltd.
2009: Vladimir Sobot and Chedo Sobot
Vladimir and Chedo Sobot have distinguished themselves throughout their career as outstanding, customer-focused, hands-on owners of a Hamilton-based engineering and manufacturing firm called Sobotec.
Emigrating from Yugoslavia in their formative years in 1971, Vlad and Chedo maintain their cultural roots by supporting the Hamilton Serbian community through church, and sports, mainly soccer and basketball.
Vladimir holds a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from McMaster. Chedo holds a McMaster Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and Management.
They have given both freely of their time and financially to the Faculty of Engineering. As part of a consortium of donors they support a Chair in Effective Design of Structures, and serve on the advisory council for the Centre.
They are proud supporters of students in Engineering by hiring McMaster students for coop terms and as well as graduates of the program. Value added to the student experience, the Sobots have mentored students through capstone projects, providing real world engineering problems to be solved in the classroom.
Vladimir and his wife Dragica who is also a McMaster alumnae, have 3 boys and Chedo and his wife Senka have three children. Sobotec, co-owned by Vladimir and Chedo, is a engineering and manufacturing firm specializing in building exteriors. The company serves commercial, institutional and educational markets across North America. Vladimir introduced the aluminium composite material used in building cladding in the early 1980’s while working for Butler Manufacturing. Since its inception in 1988, Sobotec has developed a number of unique and proprietary attachment systems and manufacturing processes for the use of aluminium composite materials in building cladding.
The award winning product has won design competitions and recognition for its “high tech look” and “futuristic lines”.
2008: Kurt Strobele
(Ph.D. Mechanical Eng. ’73)
President and CEO, Hatch
2008: Kurt Strobele
Growing up in Namibia, where he got his early education, Dr. Kurt Strobele went on to do his undergraduate work in South Africa at the University of Witswatersrand, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree Cum Laude from the Engineering Faculty. He then travelled to Germany to pursue graduate work at Munich University, with a focus on operations research and production engineering.
After moving to Canada, Kurt came to Hamilton and enrolled at McMaster University. His studies here included modeling and optimization of mixed variable systems. He received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from McMaster in 1973.
In the same year Kurt joined Hatch Associates, a multidisciplined engineering firm that counted Stelco and Dofasco as principal clients. Kurt started his career in Hamilton, but was quickly appointed to a major engineering and construction project in South Africa, designing and building a mine and titanium-slag processing facility.
After several years as an executive and project manager at Hatch, Kurt was appointed Vice President, Computer Systems; then Vice President, Engineering; then Managing Director: first of Industrial Minerals, and then of Light Metals.
In 2004, after spending more than 30 years designing and building metallurgical plants all around the world, Hatch’s board of directors appointed Kurt President and Chief Executive Officer. Within two years he was also made Chairman.
As Chairman and CEO of Hatch, Kurt is responsible for approximately 8,000 employees located in 80 offices on six continents, with capital projects totalling more than $50 billion dollars.
In 2007 alone, Kurt led Hatch to nine industry awards, including an Award of Excellence from the Canadian Consulting Engineer and the Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada, earned for Hatch’s work on the Shikwamkwa Replacement Dam, near Wawa, Ontario.
He is fluent in three languages, English, German and Afrikaans, and has a strong appreciation for the outdoors, which he developed while horseback riding as a young man in Namibia.
Kurt is described by his friends and co-workers as having a common-sense, hands on approach to his work, which has gone a long way in helping him earn his hardworking reputation.
2007: Stephen Elop
(B.Eng. Electrical & Mgmt. ’86)
President, Microsoft Business Division
2007: Stephen Elop
Stephen Elop has distinguished himself throughout his career as an outstanding, customer-focused, hands-on executive. Since joining Macromedia in 1998 and prior to becoming chief executive officer, Stephen held a number of positions at the company including chief operating officer, where he was responsible for executing on new growth opportunities in the wake of the bursting of the “dot com bubble”. As executive vice president of worldwide field operations, Stephen was responsible for sales, operations, and services functions.
Prior to that, he held posts in the Web/IT department at Macromedia and was general manager of its eBusiness division. Prior to Macromedia, Stephen previously worked as senior vice president of systems and CIO for Boston Chicken, Inc. He also served as director of Lotus Development Corporation’s Consulting Services Group, with responsibility for Canada and the Midwestern United States.
Most recently, Stephen has joined Juniper Networks, as the chief operating officer (COO). Juniper Networks is the provider of core networking infrastructure for the most advanced computer networks in the world, including those constructed for companies like Bell Canada. In this role, Stephen is responsible for all of Juniper’s operations, including product development, marketing and global sales and service.
Stephen holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and Management from McMaster. He speaks highly of his 5-year Bachelor of Engineering and Management degree. One of Stephen’s best and most memorable McMaster experiences was preparing a plan for and building the University’s first campus-wide Ethernet installation, under the guidance of former engineering dean Art Heidebrecht.
Stephen and his wife Nancy, who is also a McMaster alum, have five children. It is only through teamwork with and support from his wife that Stephen and Nancy have been able to enjoy both business and personal success.
2006: Michael Pley
(B.Eng. Electrical & Mgmt. ’83)
President, COM DEV
2006: Michael Pley
Mike Pley was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1959 and is one of five children of Jacques and Catherina Pley, immigrants from Holland in 1952. He is married to Adele (McLoughlin) Pley and together they have three children, David, Melissa, and Matthew.
Mike graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Engineering and Management degree in Electrical Engineering from McMaster University in 1983. He was a recipient of the McMaster Alumni Association Scholarship and a J. Dermid Prize winner. Mr. Pley was a member of the 1983 Ontario Engineering Championship basketball team that was sponsored by the McMaster Engineering Society.
A registered Professional Engineer with the Professional Engineers Ontario since 1987, Mike is currently the President of COM DEV. He previously held a number of positions at COM DEV since 1983. After a two-year hiatus working as Vice President & General Manager at an electronics manufacturer in neighbouring Kitchener, Ontario, he returned to COM DEV Space in the role of Vice President of Space Programs in 2001. As Vice President of Operations for COM DEV from 1995-98, he was a major force in the expansion of COM DEV’s space business. In various marketing, program management and business unit management roles, he was instrumental in introducing advanced active electronics products and capabilities to COM DEV.
Mr. Pley is a current member of the Advisory Board to the Dean of Engineering at McMaster University.