British Columbia’s professional engineers and professional geoscientists work diligently to enhance public safety and wellbeing in the province. From advancing the understanding of geohazards in BC, to restoring high-diversity marine habitat, to revolutionizing flood management and flood mitigation strategies, their contributions often take place behind the scenes without much recognition or fanfare.
The Engineers and Geoscientists BC Awards have been developed to recognize the exemplary and outstanding professional, technical, and volunteer contributions of BC’s engineers and geoscientists. These awards honour six individuals and one project that has improved the safety and wellbeing of the people of British Columbia.
“The Engineers and Geoscientists BC Awards are a chance to celebrate the outstanding talent and expertise of engineering and geoscience professionals,” said Heidi Yang, P.Eng., CEO of Engineers and Geoscientists BC. “This year’s award winners are pioneers in their field. They have developed new technologies and engaged in research that has benefitted communities across BC and around the world.”
This year, to capture the wide range of contributions made by engineers and geoscientists, two new award categories have been added to the awards program: The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Award and The Innovation in Sustainability Award.
The award recipients, their respective categories, and city of residence are listed below:
The Westerman Award for Outstanding Achievement in Geoscience - Pierre Friele, P.Geo., P.L.Eng. (Squamish, BC)
Throughout his exemplary 25-year career, Pierre has advanced the understanding and knowledge of quaternary geologic history and geologic hazards in British Columbia. Notably, Pierre conducted self-funded research that significantly advanced the knowledge and understanding of the geological history, natural hazards, and ecology of the Sea-to-Sky Corridor, which will underpin current efforts to establish the corridor as a UNESCO Geopark.
The McLachlan Award for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering – Damineh Akhavan-Zanjani, P.Eng., FEC (Vancouver, BC)
Damineh is a leader in the aerospace industry and the founder of Global Women in STEM. Her work directly affects the well-being and safety of many local, national, and international communities. The fleet of aircrafts she supports provides essential services, such as firefighting activities, medivac support to remote communities, search and rescue missions, and coastal surveillance.
The Meritorious Achievement Award – Monica Mannerström, P.Eng. (Vancouver, BC)
Monica is a leader in water resource engineering and an expert in the field of flood hazard management and flood mitigation planning. Her work, including the development of a provincial flood risk strategy, has contributed significantly to public safety in BC, especially in the Lower Fraser River region, where there is a substantial risk to public safety from major floods.
The Lambert Award for Volunteer Service – Dr. Rishi Gupta, P.Eng., FEC (Victoria, BC)
Rishi is an admired professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Victoria and an active volunteer with Engineers and Geoscientists BC for more than two decades. He integrates research with learning opportunities and applies both to his extensive volunteer service, setting an extraordinary example for his peers and students.
The Young Professional Award – Simon Diemert, P.Eng. (Victoria, BC)
Although still early in his career, Simon has worked to advance a number of complex engineering problems, including autonomous vehicles, driverless trains, and space robotics. He 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.
The Equity, Diversity, And Inclusion Award – Anja Lanz, P.Eng., FEC
For almost 20 years, Anja has been a dedicated advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion in the engineering profession. 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.
The Innovation in Sustainability Award – Maplewood Marine Restoration Project (Vancouver Fraser Port Authority)
Led by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority in collaboration with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, this project restored over 4.5 hectares of marine habitat on the north shore of Burrard Inlet, which will provide higher-diversity marine habitat for fish, birds, and other wildlife compared to pre-restoration conditions.
For biographies of the award winners and more information on the Engineers and Geoscientists BC Awards program, visit egbc.ca/awards.