2022 Engineers and Geoscientists BC Award Winners
Pierre Friele, P.Geo., P.L.Eng.
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Throughout his exemplary 25-year career, Pierre Friele, P.Geo., P.L.Eng., principal at Cordilleran Geoscience, has advanced the understanding and knowledge of quaternary geologic history and geologic hazards in British Columbia. He has made substantial contributions to geohazard risk assessment by applying historical geology and dating methods to develop frequency and magnitude relationships for floods, debris flows, landslides, and snow avalanches. He has also performed numerous quantitative risk assessments to provide government agencies and developers with robust estimates of risks from these hazards.
One of Pierre’s most notable achievements was his self-funded research of the Sea-to-Sky corridor. His work significantly advanced the knowledge and understanding of the geological history, natural hazards, and ecology of the corridor and will underpin current efforts to establish it as a UNESCO Geopark. Pierre has also been responsible for alerting the public and government officials to the downstream hazards to Pemberton and Squamish posed by frequent mass movements from the Mount Meager and Mount Garibaldi volcanic massifs.
Pierre has made numerous volunteer contributions to Engineers and Geoscientists BC and other organizations. He has led presentations and lectures at Engineers and Geoscientist BC’s Annual Conference as well as for the Engineers and Geoscientists in the Resource Sector Division, the Emergency Management Program, and the Canadian Geophysical Union. He was also one of the authors of Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s Professional Practice Guideline Legislated Landslide Assessments for Proposed Residential Development in BC.
As a top researcher in his field, Pierre’s contributions to geoscience are reflected in 22 papers in leading peer-reviewed journals, and in 14 additional papers in books and preceding volumes. He is a mentor to youth pursuing careers in geoscience, and actively supports the SFU Department of Earth Sciences. His professional work and volunteer contributions have greatly improved the understanding of landslides and flood hazards in British Columbia and his impressive career has inspired both current and future geoscientists.
Damineh Akhavan-Zanjani, P.Eng., FEC
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Damineh Akhavan-Zanjani, P.Eng., FEC, is a Senior Engineer at De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited, one of the most accomplished aircraft designers and manufacturers in Canadian history. She began her remarkable career at Viking Air Limited (now part of De Havilland) as a trainee in 2006, obtained her professional designation in 2009, and has since become a leader in the aerospace industry.
At De Havilland, Damineh leads the engineering support of De Havilland legacy and CL-series waterbomber aircraft in structural repairs, extensive in-service and production modifications, accident damage assessments, aircraft incident investigations, and testing. She has also actively supported the production of Twin Otter aircraft and the conversion of the CL-215T aircraft, which includes a new avionics suite that has been designed and customized for aerial firefighting missions. Damineh’s work in aerospace engineering directly affects the well-being and safety of many local, national, and international communities. The fleet of aircraft she supports provide essential services, such as firefighting activities, medivac support to remote communities, search and rescue missions, and coastal surveillance.
In addition to her technical work, Damineh is committed to the advancement of women in engineering and the involvement of children in STEM. She is a founder and CEO of Global Women in STEM Inc., promoting human rights and challenging the status quo for women in STEM through education, advocacy, and action. She volunteers with Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s Youth Outreach Program, 30 by 30 Champions Group, and the Women in Engineering and Geoscience Division. In addition, she spends countless hours mentoring young women in STEM through various mentoring programs.
Her impressive achievements in aerospace engineering, contributions to human rights, and commitment to excellence, have made a significant impact on the engineering profession, both locally and internationally. She is an exceptional role model for young professionals and an inspiration to fellow engineers.
Monica Mannerström, P.Eng.
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Throughout her remarkable 40-year career, Monica Mannerström, P.Eng., principal at Northwest Hydraulic Consultants, has established a reputation as a leader in water resource engineering. Her position has evolved from a respected technical specialist in the field of hydrology and hydraulic modelling to a recognized expert and pioneer in the field of flood hazard management and flood mitigation planning.
Monica’s work has contributed significantly to public safety in British Columbia and had a profound impact in the Lower Fraser River region, where there is a substantial risk to public safety from major floods. She has participated in the development of a provincial flood risk strategy, which will help guide future approaches to flood management in the province. She has led hydraulic modelling and mapping of the Lower Mainland for the Fraser Basin Council, improving the understanding of floods, hazards, and management options. She has also worked for many municipalities, First Nations, and provincial government departments in BC on flood related projects.
Monica also volunteers her time with Engineers and Geoscientists BC. She has contributed to Continuing Education courses on flood management and was assigned to review the organization’s Professional Practice Guidelines Flood Mapping in BC and Legislated Flood Assessments in a Changing Climate in BC. In addition, she initiated the BC Flood Management Committee of the Canadian Water Resources Association and is a past board member of the Northwest Regional Floodplain Management Association.
As a result of Monica’s extensive flood management work, communities across the province have a better understanding of local flood hazards. These communities are better equipped to plan appropriate development, construct effective protection, and guide British Columbians during flood emergencies. Monica’s extensive work has made British Columbia a safer and more resilient place.
Dr. Rishi Gupta, P.Eng., FEC
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Dr. Rishi Gupta, P.Eng., FEC, is an admired professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Victoria and a committed volunteer in the engineering profession. He integrates research with learning opportunities and applies both to his extensive volunteer service, setting an extraordinary example for his peers and students.
Rishi has been an active volunteer with Engineers and Geoscientists BC for more than two decades. He has devoted his time and energy to various projects, committees, and advisory groups, including as a Chair and Vice Chair of the Burnaby New Westminster Branch, University of Victoria Faculty Liaison for the Victoria Branch, a mentor in the Mentoring Program, and a member of the Editorial Advisory Group. Currently, Rishi volunteers with Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s 30 by 30 Champions Group and the Academic Examiners Subcommittee.
Rishi’s volunteer contributions to the engineering profession extend beyond Engineers and Geoscientists BC. He has applied his expertise to various organizations including Academics Without Borders, American Concrete Institute, Canadian Society for Civil Engineering, and ASTM International.
Rishi’s calm and thoughtful demeanour and his willingness to lead difficult discussions have earned him immense appreciation and admiration from others in the profession. He is always looking to build camaraderie among volunteers and encourages others to take on new projects and responsibilities. He is a model volunteer that others can look up to, and his contributions have made lasting impacts that have helped strengthen the engineering and geoscience community in British Columbia.
Simon Diemert, P.Eng.
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Simon Diemert, P.Eng., is an exceptional Systems and Software Engineer at Critical Systems Labs Inc., a Vancouver-based engineering consultancy that provides expertise in the development of safety-critical systems across a wide variety of technical domains. He has been an essential contributor to some of the company’s most complex engineering projects, including autonomous vehicles, driverless trains, and space robotics. Throughout his impressive work, Simon continuously demonstrates the highest level of professionalism, ability, and leadership, delivering solutions that are essential to ensuring the safe operations of his client’s projects.
Simon is also an active volunteer with Engineers and Geoscientists BC. He was one of three authors of Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s Professional Practice Guidelines – Development of Safety-Critical Software, which was published in July 2020. During his work on this project, Simon provided valuable topic-specific content, while recognizing and supporting Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s role in protecting the public welfare. Simon is also the Chair of Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s Software Engineering Advisory Group. He was instrumental in the formation of this Group in 2019, providing essential input into its scope and activities. Simon has also volunteered on Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s Science Games Advisory Group and is currently a member of the Scholarship Adjudication Committee.
Simon is currently pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Victoria where he is combining his real-world experience in the field of system software safety engineering with a research program that investigates new methodologies for assuring safety-critical systems. Simon is a model for young engineers who similarly aspire to achieve excellence in their profession. His exemplary work and volunteer service have enhanced public safety in British Columbia.
Anja Lanz, P.Eng., FEC
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For almost 20 years, Anja Lanz, P.Eng., FEC, has been a dedicated advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in the engineering profession. Since early in her career, Anja has been determined to make a difference for women in engineering. In her second year at UBC, she created Women in Engineering Physics, the first undergraduate women in engineering network at UBC. At the same time, she joined Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s Women in Engineering and Geoscience Division (formerly the Division for the Advancement of Women in Engineering and Geoscience), as a student representative on the Board of Directors.
Since then, Anja has continued to work closely with Engineers and Geoscientists BC on its EDI programs and initiatives. In 2013, Anja was the only trainee asked to participate in Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s Women in Engineering and Geoscience Task Force, which examined the causes of gender imbalance in the profession and made recommendations on how to address them. She has also been an active member of the organization’s 30 by 30 Champions Network since 2018, working to increase the number of newly licensed engineers who are women to 30% by 2030.
In addition to her work with Engineers and Geoscientists BC, Anja has volunteered with various other organizations on their EDI initiatives, including Engineers Canada and the Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology. She is a highly sought-after mentor, speaker, and advisor to EDI programs and initiatives in BC and beyond.
Anja’s commitment to EDI has not only made a difference in the engineering profession, but in the larger community. She has helped remove barriers for women and girls in engineering and STEM, challenged the status quo, and continued to inspire her colleagues to break down barriers and create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone.
Maplewood Marine Restoration Project, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority
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Led by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority in collaboration with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, the remarkable Maplewood Marine Restoration Project restored over 4.5 hectares of marine habitat in a previously degraded location. The project work, located on the north shore of Burrard Inlet, is in alignment with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s Burrard Inlet Action Plan, which sets out the priority to restore critical nearshore habitat.
During marine works construction, 230,000 cubic metres, or approximately 300 barges, of dredged Fraser River sand were beneficially reused to restore and raise the Maplewood basin floor so seagrasses like eelgrass can establish. Over 13,000 tonnes of rock were also placed to create a one-hectare rock reef which will support various kelp species and other aquatic species.
After marine construction, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority worked with Indigenous nations to assess and select eelgrass donor harvesting sites as a first step in the largest eelgrass transplant ever performed in Burrard Inlet. By August 2021, 125,000 eelgrass shoots had been harvested, prepared by a shore crew, and transplanted by hand with divers to create a 1.5-hectare eelgrass bed.
Eelgrass is a type of seagrass that forms part of the most diverse and productive ecosystems in the world. These habitats serve many functions for a variety of salmonids, marine and shorebird species, and play a vital role in capturing carbon, which helps mitigate climate change impacts. Eelgrass provides food, shelter, and protection from predators for many juvenile fish and shellfish of ecological, cultural, and recreational importance.
Altogether, the nearly five hectares of restored marine habitat will provide higher-diversity marine habitat for fish, birds, and other wildlife compared to pre-restoration conditions, and supports Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s goal of increasing the health of Burrard Inlet. This project serves as the fisheries habitat offsetting site for the port authority’s Centerm Expansion Project, and its success will be able to inform future large-scale restoration and enhancement projects in the Pacific Northwest.