Provincial Engineering & Geoscience Week


A Salute to Professional Engineers & Geoscientists

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A S U P P L E M E N T T O T H E W I N N I P E G F R E E P R E S S 1 SPECIAL SECTION MARCH 1–7, 2020 PROVINCIAL ENGINEERING & GEOSCIENCE WEEK C E L E B R AT I N G 1 0 0 Y E A R S O F M A K I N G L I F E W O R K B E T T E R I N M A N I T O B A ! H owever, just as the province has evolved since it was formed in 1870, so has the role of engineers, says Glen N. Cook, P.Eng(Ret.), chair of the Heritage Committee for Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba. "The Canadian Society of Civil Engineers was formed in 1870 to oversee the development of roads, railroads and water," says the former civil engineer, who practised his profession for Manitoba Hydro. "As time went on, people put their shingle up in Manitoba as an engineer. There wasn't a lot of formal training, and there were few rules that governed the practice of engineering." Eventually, Manitoba's Civil Engineering Act was passed in 1896, followed by the creation of the province's first formal engineering program at University of Manitoba in 1907. Then, in 1920, the Association of Profes- sional Engineers was incorporated, formal- izing the profession in Manitoba. "A regulatory body was formed, the idea being that it would protect the public," says Cook. "Early on, most engineers that practised in Manitoba came from outside the province. That changed as the program at the university started turning out more homegrown engineers." From the 1920s on, engineers began to oversee the development of the city and province in a bigger way. Not only did they design roads, railroads, electrical and water supply systems, but they also ensured those systems were properly designed to ensure public safety. "A good example is the fire protection systems civil engineers designed for the Exchange District in the early 1920s," notes Cook. "Many people had been killed by fires, which caused insurance rates to go up. The engineers designed a system that distributed water by fire hydrants. Having ready access to water to put out fires protected the city, people and people's investments." As the years progressed, engineers from a variety of disciplines — civil, mechanical and electrical among them — became involved in bus design, aircraft maintenance, aerospace, mining and agriculture. "Mining was also a big driver of Manitoba's economy, so of course engineers were involved in that, too," he says. "In 1998, geoscientists were added into the Association. Today, they not only operate mines, but also look after the environment while finding new resources in the ground." Jitendra Paliwal, president of Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba, says the profession has come a long way in 100 years. "In the beginning, Manitoba was basically the wild west — there weren't any real safety or building standards, everything just happened," he says. "Engineers changed all that. Once the profession was established in the 1920s everything was overseen by engineers, from roads to grain elevators to electricity and water delivery." Essentially, engineers — with their attention to detail and strict quality standards — created order where there was once disorder. "Engineers ensured everything was done right with all the different systems so the public would be kept safe," says Paliwal. "Today, pretty much everything we use in our daily lives has been touched by an engineer." Cook concurs. "It's our job to make sure things are done right," he says. "We enter every situation with a plan — we don't just figure things out as we go. Engineers have been trained to make sure everything around us is well-designed and safe. Members of our profession are always there in the background ensuring public safety. People don't necessarily see us, but we're always there doing our job." By Todd Lewys For more than 100 years, engineers have quietly played a pivotal role in the development of our provincial infrastructure — and public safety. Engineers are unsung heroes in province's development THE UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA'S 1911 GRADUATING CLASS OF ENGINEERS. ENGINEERS GEOSCIENTISTS MANITOBA PHOTO JITENDRA PALIWAL IS PRESIDENT OF ENGINEERS GEOSCIENTISTS MANITOBA. PHOTO BY LEIF ANDERSON MANITOBA'S ENGINEERS AND GEOSCIENTISTS HAVE PLAYED MAJOR ROLES IN PROJECTS INCLUDING THE RED RIVER FLOODWAY, ENERGY-EFFICIENT TRANSPORT AND HYDRO-ELECTRIC POWER. ENGINEERS GEOSCIENTISTS MANITOBA PHOTOS " Today, pretty much everything we use in our daily lives has been touched by an engineer." — Jitendra Paliwal View online at For advertising information, call 204-697-7389

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