The mechanics of generosity

Gerry Price at the Oct. 25, 2018 event. The Price Scholarships in Engineering are the fifth student awards established by the Price family.

October 26, 2018 — with files from UM Today

When the current Engineering & Information Technology Campus (EITC) was under construction, Gerry Price stepped forward with a generous offer: he would supply all the ventilation equipment required for the project. He joked that when students looked up, he wanted them to see a Price diffuser.

All humour aside, the gesture was characteristic of Gerry Price and his wife Barb’s decades-long support of the U of M which is far-reaching and large in scale, and a gesture that was replicated last night at a reception in EITC.

There, 66 students were celebrated as the first recipients of the inaugural Price Scholarships in Engineering: the Price family’s latest gift of $1 million.

This is not the first time Price [BSc(ME)/70, MSc/72, LLD(Hon)/17] – a member of the President’s Campaign Team – has given back to his alma mater or to the Front and Centre campaign. In 2016, the Price family and Price Industries donated $1.25 million towards teaching and learning spaces, scholarships and ENGAP, Canada’s most successful engineering access program.

Gerry Price (sixth from right in front row) at the Oct. 25, 2018 event celebrating the first recipients of the inaugural Price Scholarships in Engineering.

The Price Scholarships in Engineering are the fifth student awards established by the Price family.

Price has said that money has never been his objective in life but rather a by-product of a successful business. He is happy to grow a legacy measured not by wealth but by how many people have benefitted, and it is clear that he and Barb [BHEc/69, CertEd/70] believe the U of M is beneficial – for students and Manitoba.

In addition to providing financial support for engineering education – which Price has said “teaches you work ethic, persistence and a systemic approach to problem solving” – he has also strengthened the link between the U of M and professional engineers, architects, designers and the business community in Manitoba.

He is a founder of Friends of Engineering, the Partners Program in the Faculty of Architecture and the Associates of the Asper School of Business.

In 2011, Gerry and Barb were named Outstanding Philanthropists of the Year by the Manitoba Association of Fundraising Professionals.

“To have watched the global rise of the Price Group of Companies is to know that Gerry Price is one of Manitoba’s most successful innovators,” says Jonathan Beddoes, Dean of Engineering and Dean, Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba. “We are honoured that he has chosen to shape the next generation of innovators here in the Faculty of Engineering through his generous support of our students from the moment they join our faculty through to their final year of education.”

15 Years Strong – IEEQ Welcomes back Alumni to celebrate accomplishments

October 9, 2018 — The Faculty of Engineering was delighted to welcome back alumni from the Internationally Educated Engineers Qualification (IEEQ) Program as part of the 2018 Homecoming Celebrations. The IEEQ Program is a program designed for Internationally-educated engineers as a pathway to be considered academically qualified by Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba, as part of the process toward a professional Engineering (P.Eng.) license in Manitoba. The evening was to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the program at the faculty, but to also recognize the outstanding accomplishments of the many alumni which the program has seen since its inception in 2003. Joined by Dr. David Barnard, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manitoba and Dean Dr. Jonathan Beddoes, alumni came together to reflect on their time in the program and collectively celebrate their many notable accomplishments since graduation.

“It’s an honour and privilege to be a part of such a meaningful program. Each alumni of the program is remarkable.” Nusraat Masood, Director, IEEQ Program

The evening program was led by IEEQ Program Director, Nusraat Masood and included congratulations and reflections from past Director Dr. Marcia Friesen, Grant Koropatnick, CEO & Registrar of Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba and IEEQ program supporter, James Sinnock, Human Resources Advisor at Manitoba Hydro.  Ethel Fernandez (P.B.Dip.Eng., 2013), spoke at length to those gathered about how she felt when she first arrived in Canada and not being qualified to obtain work in her field. Coming from the Philippines, Fernandez praised the IEEQ program and staff for their help and guidance throughout her time at the University. She said both the academic and cultural components of the program changed her life.

Dr. Jonathan Beddoes, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering described the IEEQ program as “imaginative and unique” and also praised the program for allowing new Canadians to obtain work in their field faster upon arrival. He said the stories he heard from alumni were inspiring.

The program’s former Director, Dr. Marcia Friesen said that she has seen continual growth since 2003 when the program was first launched at the University of Manitoba.

Dr. Friesen, who was in attendance at the event, said, “It was wonderful to see so many years of IEEQ alumni attend the homecoming and to hear of the exciting developments in their professional lives, their involvements in service to the engineering profession, and to see the community that they’ve developed with one another.  It’s truly a pleasure to have been a part of the program for so many years”

For more information on the IEEQ Program visit us online at

Homecoming Throwback: Civil Engineering 1968

(L-R) Bruce Piercy, Douglas Holmes, Rick McKay and Edward Klemm.

October 2, 2018 — Files from from Heather Olynick at UM Today

The 1960s were an influential time to be young. Hippies and counterculture were in vogue; rock and roll had invaded the airwaves; and the ongoing Vietnam War sparked protests in schools across North America.
In Canada, four young men – Bruce Piercy, Douglas Holmes, Edward Klemm and Rick McKay – were about to graduate from the University of Manitoba to pursue careers in civil engineering.
Last Friday, the four reconnected with others from their class at Homecoming to celebrate their 50th graduation anniversary. UM Today joined them to reminisce about student pressure and social life in the 1960s.
MCKAY: I was always good in math, so I went in for the mathematical end of it. I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into.
KLEMM: I had a cousin that graduated civil engineering three years previous to me finishing high school. Then, during the summer, I got a phone call from a good friend of mine and he said “what are you doing this fall? Going to university?” And I said “Yeah, I guess so.” He says “well, I’m going into civil engineering.” And I said “OK! Sounds good.” I went through school, grade one all the way through, with no problem whatsoever. I wasn’t that concerned about anything.
PIERCY: When I applied to go to university, I applied for architecture. They wouldn’t let me in because my English marks were too low, but they said “we’ll let you in to engineering”. That’s how I ended up in engineering. Thank goodness.
HOLMES: I didn’t know what to take after high school and I thought, “oh an engineer, that sounds good”. I won’t have to work in an office; I’ll work outside. So I wasn’t in it because it was the thing I loved or aspired too. That’s probably why I found it difficult. I went through high school and it wasn’t too tough, but engineering – I had to study a lot. You had to work hard.
HOLMES: It wasn’t as difficult as it is now. You had to have a certain average. I know of a young guy who graduated from St. Paul’s High School last year. I think he was the valedictorian, he won all kinds of awards, had a high grade point average, applied to engineering and didn’t get in. It gives you an idea – it’s really difficult.
MCKAY: Once you were in you’re in. But oh, you had to put time in, for sure.
KLEMM: I missed the lecture on ‘you have to do your assignments’. Because in high school, like Doug, I just breezed through. I didn’t even study for exams, I just passed. Then I get to university, and I thought it’s the same thing. I didn’t do the assignments and they’re worth 50 per cent of your mark or something. I didn’t hand in my first assignment in electrical to professor Halil.
MCKAY: Oh, he would have crucified you.
KLEMM: He says, ‘Ed, what the hell’s the matter with you?’ And I said “I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t come up with the right answer.” And he said “I don’t care. I want to see how you think. Just show me how you think and you’ll get a good mark for it. “You guys don’t remember this, but I became his favourite.
MCKAY: If you say so, Ed.
KLEMM: After one mid-term, we’re all sitting discussing the exam that we had written and he said “Ed stand up.” There was a question on the paper that you could answer two ways. You could answer with a three page answer or with a three line equation. I still remember to this day when I saw the question I thought “that’s worth 20 marks? Three lines?” I got an 86, the highest mark in the room. But he made me stand up and I was so damned embarrassed. We’d drink every Friday night at Champs and he’d always be there.
MCKAY: He hung with the students, yeah.
KLEMM: He’d challenge one of us to an arm wrestle. He had a barrel chest on him and arms like anything.
PIERCY: Oh yeah he was a tough guy.
HOLMES: We had computers.
KLEMM: Well, just. The handheld calculator was just coming out. Remember that? It cost about $890 bucks. And you couldn’t bring it into the lab.
MCKAY: No, they wouldn’t allow it. We were hands on, it was that type of an education. We had slide rules to do our calculations. We would look upon the computer as a tool and even with those you had to program them with punch cards.
PIERCY: And if you screwed up the cards, it wouldn’t work. It was ridiculous, I got turned off it right away.
HOLMES: I was in the same boat. I hadn’t a clue about those computers. I don’t know how I got through that course, frankly.
MCKAY: When I was taking my masters, one of the courses I had to take was structural vibration. We were given a computer program and the solution was an iteration process. But it didn’t converge. Well, I walked into the lab one day and there were stacks of cards and paper wrappers everywhere. Because nobody had told the computer to grab the next number and put it in so it just kept going. They had to shut the system down to stop it because it would have been calculating still. That’s what I remember – if you made one typing error on those cards, that was it.
MCKAY: They had the Gestetners [duplicating machine].
KLEMM: Yeah, but we weren’t allowed to use them.
PIERCY: We had what were called c-jobs.
MCKAY: C-job is the guy that’s now in second year. Because you keep your labs, he gives you his labs so now you have a copy job. A c-job.

Present-day members of civil engineering ’68: (L-R) Doug Holmes, Bruce Piercy, Rick McKay, Ed Klemm.

KLEMM: I think it was just the guys. It was so much fun. It was the same guys in every class.
HOLMES: I don’t know how big the faculty is now but our class was big for its size at the day.
PIERCY: It was, yeah, we had 49.
HOLMES: But it felt more like being on a football team. A football team’s a larger team so you didn’t really know everybody in the class closely but you had groups. You stuck together.
PIERCY: More or less so. You knew something about everybody. I was surprised to read about how many guys were married which I didn’t know about!
HOLMES: And if they weren’t married they were getting married the year we graduated which must be pretty rare nowadays, I imagine.
KLEMM: We were the last class to not have women in it?
MCKAY: Probably. There were definitely women in the faculty behind us. But there were no women in any of the disciplines in our year.
MCKAY: It gets instilled in you right from the start. I can remember first year, first day, when the Engineering band came through the graphics lab. They just grabbed you and you grabbed an instrument and marched. We went out, over to home economics, and they’re doing classes! We went into the rooms and walked around singing. That was day one. So that atmosphere gets ingrained in you right away. You have to understand, it was a different place.
HOLMES: The drinking age was different, too. It was 21.
PIERCY: No, we used to go to St. Charles, straight at the end of Notre Dame.
HOLMES: It was a pretty rough place, and it was old, really old. We found that if you went there in the afternoon and then wanted to come back at 6:30 you’d never get in.
So we all chipped in one night and tipped the manager $5 each. About eight of us come back at 6:00 and he takes us behind the registration desk where there’s a trap door. We go down into this basement that you can’t even stand up in, scurry around, find another trapdoor, and come up in the pub! We got first row seats.
KLEMM: Back in those days, you couldn’t go from one table to another with a beer in your hand. And when you went to the liquor store you had to sign your name and address.
MCKAY: You filled out the green form and you took it up to the counter and someone went and got you the bottle and brought it back to the counter. There was none of this open display stuff. That was the way it worked.
KLEMM: That’s why there were so many bootleggers in those days.
MCKAY: We might have partied a lot, but as a group, we were serious. This was your education. You were going to come out as a PEng. We were serious about it.

U of M team takes home first place at Canadian Satellite Design Challenge

The University of Manitoba Space Applications and Technology Society (UMSATS) after earning first place at CSDC.

July 4, 2018 — For the first time, the University of Manitoba Space Applications and Technology Society (UMSATS) scored a top spot finish at the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge (CSDC).

CSDC launch simulation testing took place at the Canadian Space Agency’s David Florida Laboratory (DFL) in Ottawa at the end of June, for the fourth edition of the competition.

“As the competition drew to a close, the judges (and several of the DFL employees) were impressed by the level of design maturity and understanding, preparedness, and professionalism of the UofM team throughout the test campaign,” said Larry Reeves, president of the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge Management Society.

The CSDC launched in January 2011 as a competition for teams of university students (both gradate and undergraduate) to design and build a “Cubesat” – a small, fully-operational satellite that can conduct a science mission.

“We would like to thank our sponsors and advisors for their support and congratulate our members and alumni for all of their hard work that made this achievement possible,” said UMSATS following their win.

Along with earning first place for 2018, the U of M team has previously captured two second-place finishes.

“We are always amazed by the camaraderie between the teams and the strength of their designs. We look forward to competing again in CSDC 5!”

Engineering students soar to 1st place at international aerospace competition

The University of Manitoba’s winning entry is a 12-pound craft that successfully carried 38 pounds of cargo — tennis balls inside the hollow body. (University of Manitoba SAE Aero/Facebook)

March 13, 2018 — As CBC reports: 

A team of engineering students – mechanical, electrical and computer – from the University of Manitoba is flying high after earning global bragging rights.

The students beat out aircraft design teams from around the world at a competition over the weekend in Lakeland, Fla.

“I was just in awe — could not believe it for a while, to be honest with you,” said Jasjyot Barmi, who led the University of Manitoba SAE Aero team against 35 other teams from universities all over the world.

The SAE Aero Design is a series of annual competitions that challenge teams from across the world to design, build, and fly fixed-wing radio-controlled aircraft capable of achieving different objectives, such as flying well while carrying as much payload — passengers and cargo — as possible.

“We’re pretty much replicating the real live airliner but on a much smaller scale. Each passenger gives us points,” Barmi said, but noted that in this case, each passenger is represented by a tennis ball.

The competition is popular because it gives engineering students a chance to get out of the classroom to design and build airplanes, Barmi said….

The U of M’s winning entry was a 12-pound craft (about 5.5 kilograms) that successfully carried 38 pounds (17 kg) of cargo.

​”University of Manitoba doesn’t offer a specialized aerospace degree and a lot of the other universities do, so beating them and taking an aircraft that’s been able to overcome what they’ve been able to design is really special,” said Barmi.

The team that won is part of the University of Manitoba Society of Automotive Engineers, a non-profit student organization that offers extra-curricular opportunities to develop, design, manufacture and build a vehicle in one of four teams — aero, baja, formula electric and formula.

Read more

Check out a test flight on the team’s Facebook page

Past success

Experiential learning, into outer space

Friends pledges $100,000 to new engineering building

It was announced at the Friends of Engineering AGM & Dinner on February 28th that the Friends have pledged $100,000 towards the new Stanley Pauley Engineering Building at the University of Manitoba.


The new 46,100 square foot building will include:

Engineering Innovation and Prototyping Centre
(design team prototyping facilities)

New Co-op/Industrial Internship Program Office

New Internally-Educated Engineers Qualification Program (IEEQ) Office and Facilities

Student Study Space (undergraduate and graduate)

Undergraduate Teaching and Research Laboratories

Biomedical Engineering Laboratories

AND in recognition of their support, the Stanley Pauley Engineering will also be home to the Friends of Engineering Centre for Engineering Professional Practice and Engineering Education.

Construction on the new building is set to begin this spring, with occupancy expected in mid-2018.


Engineering Reverse Career Fair


The Friends of Engineering is proud to present the 4th annual Engineering Reverse Career Fair on January 23rd in the Multi-Purpose Room at University Centre. Come meet top engineering students as they set up booths and market themselves to you! There is no cost to attend, and refreshments will be provided. We hope to see many members of Friends attend this fun and inter-active event.