2020 Award Recipients

President's Award Winners

C. J. Westerman Memorial Award

Dr. Dan Moore

Dr. Robert Daniel Moore, P.Geo.

Throughout his exemplary career, Dr. Robert Daniel Moore, P.Geo., has been a dedicated researcher and teacher at UBC as a professor in the Department of Geography. With a passion for engaging in work that contributes to real-world issues in environmental management, he has made outstanding contributions to the practice of geoscience, specifically in hydrology.

One of the biggest challenges in hydrology is the collection and analysis of high-quality stream discharge data. Dan refined and popularized a technique that uses salt as a tracer to estimate discharge in small, steep streams. This method is not only more accurate, but often far safer than other measurement techniques.

Dan has made many other technical contributions to the profession. He helped advance the ability to predict streamflow in ungauged catchments by evaluating and improving how regional temperature and precipitation estimates are downscaled over complex mountainous terrain, and by improving the theoretical basis of the predictive models themselves. He contributed to the development of a novel technique for estimating flows in ungauged watersheds by using a robust water balance approach. And, he helped develop various open-source software tools intended for use by consulting geoscientists in their analysis of hydrological data.

Dan has a long history of service to the community. He is a former board member and past president of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s BC Chapter. He was an active member of the Groundwater Advisory Committee for Galiano Island and provides technical advice on hydrology for ecological restoration projects run by the Galiano Conservancy Association. Over the years, he has also provided technical support to the Burns Bog Scientific Advisory Panel and the City of Vancouver.

Dan’s unwavering scientific integrity has earned him the respect of scientific and professional colleagues alike. He has been an outstanding mentor to many who have gone on to become professional geoscientists in BC and beyond. He is truly a leader in his field.

R. A. McLachlan Memorial Award

Dr. Loretta Li

Dr. Loretta Li, P.Eng.

Over the past 25 years, Dr. Loretta Li, P.Eng., has advanced the field of environmental engineering through her research and leadership as a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at UBC. Her outstanding contributions to environmental quality and sustainable remediation have significantly enhanced public safety and had an impact on policy decisions in Canada and around the world.

Loretta’s work on sites contaminated by per- and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances and polybrominated diphenyl ethers has led to three publications within the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and contributions to the Stockholm Convention. This research has also resulted in 12 refereed publications, including the first reported study of leachability, absorption, desorption, and mobility of PBDEs from wastes to soils. It also generated new knowledge on how brominated flame retardants are entering the environment and their impact as by-products in surface and subsurface soils.

Loretta’s findings on metals dispersion and distribution along highways have helped shape our province and have led to collaborations with the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. Based on her research, the Ministry revised one of their highway rights-of-way and subsequently saved over $40 million in soil handling costs. This research was also used in environmental assessments along the Sea-to-Sky, Okanagan Lake Bridge, and Highway 37 widening projects.

In addition to her technical expertise, Loretta volunteers with 14 technical associations, has helped organize 28 national and international conferences, and has been a guiding mentor to high school and young engineering students. She is passionate about bridging the gender gap in engineering and has been involved in many women-in-engineering initiatives. She has organized and led small group discussions with female high school students to cultivate the next generation of female engineers. Loretta’s leading-edge research, paired with her passion for inspiring the next generation, will undoubtedly change the landscape of environmental engineering in BC.

Meritorious Achievement Award

Dr. Tony Yang

Dr. Tony T.Y. Yang, P.Eng.

Dr. Tony T.Y. Yang, P.Eng., has made remarkable contributions to the field of structural and earthquake engineering. As a professor at the UBC, his work focuses on the advanced simulation and experimental testing of complex structural systems under dynamic loads. He has worked with many top structural engineering firms and research institutes worldwide to push the boundaries of structural and earthquake engineering and is well regarded as one of the leading experts in the world.

One of Tony’s most significant contributions is the development of the fundamental underpinnings for performance-based earthquake engineering (PBEE), which has resulted in the implementation of PBEE in numerous design codes worldwide. Over the last 20 years, Tony and his research team have developed multiple innovative structural components and systems which have significantly improved the safety and economy of infrastructures in Canada and worldwide.

Tony is a dedicated teacher and is committed to finding new ways to inspire his students and educate the public on earthquake safety. He has given over 100 public seminars on earthquake engineering to both technical and community groups and has worked closely with the national and international communities to improve public safety. Tony’s exemplary commitments to his professional field has made the world safer from future earthquakes.

D. C. Lambert Professional Service Award

Don Dobson, P.Eng.

Throughout his nearly 50-year career, Don Dobson, P.Eng., has made significant contributions to the field of water resource engineering. As Principal of Dobson Engineering, his expertise in the Okanagan Valley—a water-stressed region that is being further impacted by climate change—is highly sought-after and respected.

Don’s ability to stay calm and confident is invaluable during extreme events such as wildfires and floods. One of the best, most recent examples of Don’s leadership was his role as a Subject Matter Expert during flooding in Grand Forks in 2018 that devastated the community. During the emergency, Don provided technical leadership and expert hydrology advice, conducted engineering assessments, and provided recommendations for flood mitigation.

Don also played a significant role in the 2003 Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park fire when he recognized that the creation of water-repellent soils represented a public safety threat. Under Don’s leadership and direction, the City of Kelowna was able to mitigate damages associated with the fire, including an intense rain event that was occurring over one of the burned drainages.

Don’s watershed management work has informed and guided many initiatives, including forestry impacts on watersheds, flood protection, fish habitat restoration, and water supply management. His leadership and technical guidance have ensured a safe and secure water supply in the Okanagan and has helped the region stay safe from flooding.

Community Service Award

Dr. Gord Lovegrove, P.Eng.

Dr. Gord Lovegrove, P.Eng., is passionate about his community and works tirelessly to make it a better place for everyone. He is an associate professor at UBC’s Okanagan Campus School of Engineering, where he was instrumental in the school’s launch and development in 2004.

Gord’s teaching focuses on using innovative engineering approaches to planning and designing communities that sustain a high quality of life while protecting the environment. He created the first Go Global programs for the School of Engineering, which enables students and professionals to study the planning and design of new communities in the Netherlands. The course teaches participants the importance of protecting the environment, maximizing green space, and achieving biodiversity.

Committed to improving the campus community, Gord was instrumental in launching the UBC’s award-winning student U-Pass BC, which provides students with access to public transportation as part of their student fees, and a similar program at the Okanagan campus. He is currently working on long-term strategies to promote smarter growth neighbourhood design and increase active transport choice, intending to reduce traffic crashes, congestion, and injuries for all road users.

Both personally and professionally, Gord works to promote sustainability wherever possible. He is active in serving on several related boards in the Okanagan, including those related to heritage, neighborhood associations, homelessness, and co-housing.

Whether it’s through his teaching, his advocacy, or simply his contagious enthusiasm for creating a happier, healthier future, Gord has made a lasting impact on his community.

Teaching Award of Excellence

Dr. Peter Ostafichuk, P.Eng.

Dr. Peter Ostafichuk, P.Eng., (or Dr. Pete, as he is known across UBC) is a Professor of Teaching in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UBC. He is a passionate teacher, innovator, and role model who strives to create lasting connections with students. He is among the first UBC faculty members to be promoted to the rank of Professor of Teaching, which requires a proven track record of outstanding teaching, educational leadership, and curriculum development.

Peter is highly regarded for his work developing the Mech 2 program, the cornerstone program of the UBC Mechanical Engineering Department and a revolutionary new way to think about undergraduate education. In Mech 2, rather than take six or seven concurrent courses per term, students take four consecutive courses over the entire academic year. This helps them learn the principles of mechanical engineering in an integrated and more practical context. With Peter’s visionary leadership, Mech 2 has dramatically improved student learning outcomes and has received national and international recognition.

In 2014, Peter took on a newly created role as the Chair of First-Year Engineering at UBC, where he brought his experience to the redevelopment of the first-year curriculum. This redevelopment included a new introduction to engineering courses and a strong focus on engineering practice, design, teamwork, sustainability, communication, professionalism, and ethics.

Equally admired and respected by both his students and peers, Peter is strengthening engineering education in British Columbia for generations to come.

Young Professional Award

David Ellis, P.Eng.

David Ellis, P.Eng., has made significant contributions to the engineering community, demonstrating technical excellence and delivering high-quality, innovative projects throughout the first 10 years of his career.

David joined McElhanney in 2017 as an intermediate bridge engineer; he’s since led a variety of projects, including highway bridge replacements, seismic retrofits, and conditional renewal projects.

Most recently, David took on the challenge of managing McElhanney’s Bridge Engineering Division in Victoria. In this role, David leads a team of 16 bridge engineers, technologists, and site inspectors, and is responsible for developing solutions to address complex site-specific challenges.

An accomplished structural engineer, David was recently named the 2019 Young Professional of the Year by the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies British Columbia. His contributions to the Telford Bridge Replacement project and the Highway 99 – Bridgeport Road Culvert Rehabilitation Project resulted in recognition through the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure Deputy Minister’s Awards in 2016 and 2018.

In addition to his professional accomplishments, David is a tireless volunteer both within the profession and the community-at-large. He is an inspiration to younger staff at McElhanney, taking it upon himself to create a program for young professionals within the firm. He is a collaborative teammate, a willing mentor, and a positive influence in the engineering industry.

Sustainability Award

The City of Vancouver’s Green Infrastructure Plaza at the intersection of 63rd Avenue and Yukon Street is awarded the 2020 Sustainability Award. The plaza in the Marpole neighbourhood of South Vancouver treats and manages runoff from more than 1,170 square metres of adjacent impermeable areas, such as roads and sidewalks, and supports the diversion of 2,200 cubic metres of rainwater from the sewer system each year. Green infrastructure projects such as this one play an important role in supporting rainwater management utilities in building an environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable city.

Mentor of the Year Award

Deyanira Dominguez, P.Eng., is awarded with the 2020 Mentor of the Year Award for her leadership and support of future professional engineers. Deyanira joined Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s Mentoring Program in October 2018, and is currently a mentor to two engineers-in-training. She is passionate about empowering young professionals with tools, resources, and knowledge so they can take charge of their careers. At the same time, she provides her mentees with tangible professional advice, puts them in touch with industry contacts, encourages professional development, and meets with them regularly to ensure they are on the path to achieving their goals.

Editorial Award

The 2020 Editorial Award is shared by Pattie Amison, P.Geo., Nick Sargent, P.Geo., and Jacqueline Foley, Geo.L, for their co-authored article “Taming a Rogue Well”, which appeared in the March/April 2020 edition of Innovation magazine. The article outlines the experience of the authors and their colleagues as they investigated and mitigated an artesian well located on the Coldstream Ranch near Vernon, BC. This particular artesian well had been flowing with limited control since 1965, and had undergone many mitigation attempts during that period. The well was finally successfully plugged in 2015. In their article, the authors outline the nature and dangers of flowing artesian wells and explain how they approached and completed the plugging project.