Mac Eng faculty, alumni elected as fellows of Canadian Academy of Engineering – Faculty of Engineering

Mac Eng faculty, alumni elected as fellows of Canadian Academy of Engineering

Six McMaster Engineering-affiliated professionals have been recognized for their outstanding contributions to their fields.

McMaster University community members elected as fellows into the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

Six McMaster Engineering-affiliated professionals, including professors and alumni, have been elected to the Canadian Academy of Engineering in recognition of their outstanding contributions to their fields.

Fellowship to the prestigious academy is extended to those who have demonstrated their dedication to the application of science and engineering principles to advance social, environmental, economic and technical solutions.

There have been over 800 fellows inducted since the start of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE) in 1987. This year saw 47 new fellows elected.   

“Over the past 35 years, Fellows of the Academy have provided engineering leadership in the fields of education, infrastructure, innovation, energy, transportation, and many more. New Fellows have been selected for their outstanding contributions to engineering in Canada and around the world and for their service as role models in their fields and to their communities,” said CAE president Yves Beachamp in a media release.

The academy’s first in-person induction ceremony since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic will honour the cohort of 2022, as well as the 2021 and 2020 elected fellows. 

It is scheduled for June 27, 2022 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

A virtual ceremony in the fall of last year recognized the cohort of 2020 – which included McMaster-affiliated professionals Waguih Ishak, Faizel Lakhani, Lawrence Tse, Duncan Hannay, Roger Tong, and Peter Mabson – as well as those of 2021 – including McMaster alumni John Saw and Alfred Zeuner.

The Faculty of Engineering is thrilled to celebrate the following 2022 CAE Fellows:

John Preston

John Preston

Professor, Department of Engineering Physics, and Associate Dean, Research, Innovation and External Relations 

John Preston is a faculty member in the department of engineering physics and currently serves as Associate Dean, Research, Innovation and External Relations (ADR) for McMaster Engineering. As such, he oversees the Faculty’s $50 million research portfolio. His accomplishments include doubling the research output of McMaster Engineering, growing its undergraduate research program to be the largest in Canada, increasing engineering startups by a factor of 4 and expanding the Faculty’s international presence. Most recently, at the start of COVID-19, he created a massive effort to support PPE testing and manufacturing leading to the Minister’s Awards of Excellence from the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities.

During his time as ADR, Preston has worked closely with the Deanery, the Forge, and external stakeholders to foster a culture of innovation for McMaster Engineering students and faculty. In recognition of his efforts, and the Faculty’s desire to continue to cultivate a culture of innovation, the terms of reference for his academic leadership role were revised to include “Innovation” in its mandate. 

“I am honoured to be recognized by the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and profoundly grateful to McMaster University for providing so many wonderful opportunities,” Preston said. 

His own research is in the area of nanostructured materials for electronic and optical applications. He is a device physicist and a materials scientist who specializes in the application of laser-based manufacturing approaches for novel device applications. Current activities within the Preston group include a new approach for 3D printing of BiTe to produce high efficiency thermoelectric generators and the pulsed laser deposition of solar cells on oxide crystals.

Brian Baetz

Brian Baetz

Professor Emeritus and Director, W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology 

Over his 34 years as a faculty member in the department of civil engineering and in the Booth school, professor Brian Baetz has taught engineering and inquiry concepts to thousands of undergraduate and graduate students.

Baetz encourages his students to develop into integrated individuals through deep skills development and individual mentoring.

His excellence in teaching has been recognized through seven university teaching awards, including the President’s Teaching Award for Excellence in Instruction and the McMaster Student Union Lifetime Teaching Achievement Award.

“Election as a Fellow of the CAE is equal parts humbling and inspiring.  The Academy is made up of incredibly impactful Canadian engineers, and it’s a real honour to be included in this august group,” Baetz said.

“It’s given me the opportunity to reflect on the amazing mentors and colleagues I have benefitted from along my path, and it has moved me to consider what I need to get working on to more fully justify this distinction.” 

Baetz was raised in the small town of Walkerton, Ont., and grew up with the daily and seasonal rhythms of the majestic Saugeen River.

He has been actively engaged in open space conservation in Hamilton, through 30 years of involvement with the birthing of the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System, Canada’s largest urban park and Canada’s most biologically diverse area for native plant species.  He also led a McMaster-based student club called Infinite Potential for 10 years, with its focus on teaching meditation and related mindfulness practices for raising global consciousness.

His bachelors and masters degrees in civil engineering are from the University of Toronto, and his PhD in environmental engineering is from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.  

Gail Krantzberg

Gail Krantzberg

Professor, Masters of Engineering and Public Policy Program, W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology 

Gail Krantzberg is the program lead of the Master in Engineering and Public Policy Program at the Walter G Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology. 

Her advocacy for Great Lakes excellence has powered her career from its start. The researcher completed her MSc and PhD at the University of Toronto in environmental science and freshwaters. 

During her career with the Ontario Ministry of Environment from 1988 to 2001, as Coordinator of Great Lakes Programs and Senior Policy Advisor on Great Lakes, Krantzberg was intensely engaged in transnational Great Lakes science and policy venue.

Krantzberg, former president of the International Association of Great Lakes Research and director of the Great Lakes Regional Office of the Joint Commission, has served as a leader in environmental regeneration. She has dedicated her time to numerous water-related non-profits, such as the International Joint Commission (IJC) Water Quality Board, Sediment Priority Action Committee, and Indicators Implementation Task Force. 

She is currently Canadian Co-Chair of the IJC Science Advisory Board Science Priority Committee.

“Being inducted as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering demonstrates to me that a career of serving communities engaged in Great Lakes excellence is recognized as deeply valued,” Krantzberg said. 

“My passion for making the lives around me richer as they experience how to regenerate resilience of both the natural and built environment apparently has made a difference to the members of CAE and those with whom I collaborate and mentor. I am deeply honoured.”

Her brilliant career contributing to the renewal, protection and sustainability of natural and cultural heritage has included many highlights; in 2007, she was appointed as an adjunct faculty member of the United Nations University Institute for Water and Environmental Health and participated in the twinning of the Laurentian and African Great Lakes (principally Lake Victoria). She has edited/co-authored nine books and published more than 200 articles at the interface of science and public policy.

Moncef Nehdi

Moncef Nehdi

Professor and Chair, Department of Civil Engineering

Moncef Nehdi, chair of civil engineering, is globally-acclaimed for pioneering research on sustainability, machine learning and data driven models, and cement-based materials.

His seminal work impacted world landmark structures including some of the world’s tallest buildings, largest airports, bridges and water treatment plans. His sustainability research allowed recycling colossal by-products worldwide including agricultural wastes such as rice husk and sugarcane bagasse ash, minetailings, cement kiln dust, tire rubber, leftover paint, and other industrial wastes.

He has mentored dozens of graduate students who now hold leadership positions in industry, academia and government. 

“This truly humbling and honoring recognition is a tribute to my mentors, students and research collaborators, who have been the real thrust for our teamwork,” Nehdi said.

“Joining a small number of highly accomplished individuals who have made impactful contributions to Canadian engineering comes with heightened responsibility to mobilize the engineering profession for addressing the grand challenges facing our communities today, including climate change, poverty and social injustice, preserving a healthy and clean environment, and enhancing quality of life for all Canadians.”

A visionary leader in industry and academia alike, Nehdi was technical manager for three companies and taught in four universities. A prolific author listed among the world’s top scholars, he is a fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada, American Concrete Institute, and Canadian Society for Civil Engineering.

Nehdi has received numerous awards including the Ontario Professional Engineers R&D medal, Ontario Premier’s research excellence award, CSCE’s Holt Lepholz medal, CSCE’s E. Whitman Wright Award, American Concrete Institute award for professional achievement, and UK’s Institution of Civil Engineers Bill Curtin Medal.

He serves on the editorial boards of several technical journals and has chaired technical and grant awarding committees for CSCE, ACI, RILEM, NSERC and FQRNT.

Michelle George

Michelle George

Vice President, New Energy Technologies, Enbridge Inc. 

Alumna Michelle George, ’95 civil engineering and management, is an accomplished engineer and leading voice on “greening the grid.”

George is vice president, New Energy Technologies and is a member of Enbridge’s executive leadership team. She works collaboratively with all business units to advance low-carbon energy infrastructure opportunities across Enbridge and build on the company’s early investments in RNG, hydrogen and carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS), as well as other low carbon technologies.

“It certainly is an honour to be recognized this way. I really appreciate the nomination from McMaster and I’m honoured to have been chosen by my peers to become one of the fellows of the CAE,” George said. “The recognition around the value of the low carbon energy transition work is fantastic because it’s a really critical way of moving the energy industry forward.”

Previously, George served as Vice President, Engineering and Storage & Transmission Operations for Enbridge Gas.  She was accountable for delivering safe and reliable operations of the gas storage, compression and transmission business, as well as the engineering, asset management and integrity functions for the utility. 

George has been with Enbridge for over 25 years and has held various roles in engineering, projects, and field operations.

George was named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 by the Women’s Executive Network in 2019. She is a Professional Engineer and acts on McMaster University’s Industrial Advisory Council for the Engineering and Management program. She lives in Aurora, Ontario with her family.

Lynnette Madsen

Visiting Professor, Materials Science and Engineering, Cornell University

Visiting Scholar, Office of the Dean of Cornell Engineering

Visiting Scholar, Office of the VP Research & Innovation, Cornell University

Lynnette Madsen, ‘94 materials science and engineering graduate of McMaster University, is a driving force of thin film research and innovation in nitrides, carbides, and complex oxides. 

She is currently a visiting scholar at Cornell University, where she has three appointments across the College of Engineering, the department of materials and sciences, and the Office of the VP Research and Innovation. 

Her research spans epitaxial and pseudomorphic thin films, combinatorial nanomaterials science applied to magnetic recording media, contact formation to silicon carbide, and nanoscale graphite intercalation compounds. 

“I am very honoured to be selected for this fellowship. Canada is where my roots are, where I was raised and educated, and where family is so this is deeply meaningful as it signifies a recognition at home,” she said. 

In Madsen’s position of program director at the National Science Foundation (NSF), she has been directly responsible for more than 500 awards totaling more than $180 million. 

During her tenure at NSF, she has substantially grown the annual budget of the Ceramics Program and also negotiated co-funding from other programs at NSF and other agencies. She also leads the cross-cutting activities in materials research. She has completed four detail assignments at NSF dealing with international efforts with Africa, increasing the advancement of women in academic careers, graduate student fellowships, and strategic human capital analysis and planning. Madsen has led new co-operative activities with European researchers in materials; been part of the driving force in program development and initiatives in nanotechnology, commercialization, manufacturing, sustainability, education, and diversity; and has an active independent research program.

From 1999-2002, she held a visiting/adjunct faculty position at Carnegie Mellon University. Before working at NSF, she held positions at Linköping University in Sweden and the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and in industry at Nortel Networks in Canada, and has enjoyed support from industry (ABB, Siemens and Nortel Networks) for her research and consulting.

To date she has published more than 100 journal, conference and magazine articles; been awarded three patents; and delivered more than 100 invited scientific or professional talks. Her efforts have been recognized by awards at NSF, several professional societies and other organizations. 

Madsen was previously inducted into McMaster University’s Alumni Gallery. 

Friend of Mac Eng: Ken Coley

Now Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Western University, Ken Coley was previously associate dean (academic) at McMaster University, as well as a professor and chair of materials science and engineering.

He helped design integrated biomedical engineering and health sciences program as well as the the transformation of McMaster’s undergraduate engineering education: The Pivot