Professional Development Conference 2018 Speakers

Keynote: Erin Skimson, BSc., MBA

Erin Skimson is a mom to two active boys, wife to a brilliant husband, and daughter of two passionate community activists. She’s also the Director of Market Development at Miovision Technologies. She has a strong background in management, technology marketing, and business development having served for over 10 years in various management roles at Stryker Canada LP and Serono. Prior to joining Miovision, Erin spent five years as the Director of the Catalyst Centre, University of Guelph’s commercialization office. She holds a B.Sc. in Health Education from Dalhousie University and an MBA from McMaster University. Erin is an alumna of the Guelph/Wellington Community Leadership program and currently serves on the Innovation Guelph Board of Directors.

Theme Related Speech – “The Mindset to Achieve”: Hamid Vossoughi, P.E., P.Eng.

Hamid is a Senior Principal in the Building Sciences group of WSP Canada in Toronto.  Hamid is a structural engineer and graduate of Northeastern University (B.Sc. 1985, Boston) and Cornell University (M.Sc. 1988, Ithaca N.Y).  Hamid’s last coop term in undergraduate studies was his first full time employment, lasting 17 years, prior to venturing to his next chapter of work experience in specialty consulting/contracting.  Hamid immigrated to Canada in 2004, and has been with WSP (formerly Halsall Associates) since 2007.

Hamid’s focus at WSP is exterior façade (i.e. building skin) of existing and new building structures.  Hamid is driven by delivering unique solutions to complex and challenging problems by exploring innovative ideas with each new project.  Hamid has delivered many iconic projects through technical excellence, innovation, and leadership to his team. This includes providing the vision and inspiration necessary to deliver a trend setting service that complies with company standards and is compatible with client needs, while providing training and growth opportunities for team members.  Hamid is the leader of Facade Engineering Center of Excellence in WSP Canada.

A Message from the Dean: Mary Wells, PhD, P.Eng. 

Dean College of Engineering & Physical Sciences

Professor Mary Wells earned her Metallurgical and Materials Engineering degree from McGill University and her PhD from the University of British Columbia in 1996. She joined the University of Guelph in 2017 as Dean of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences.

Prior to the University of Guelph, she was a Professor in the Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering Department at the University of Waterloo. Her research addresses the relationship between processing, structure and properties for advanced metallic alloys used in the transportation sector.

Professor Wells has spent the past decade addressing the continued under-representation of women in the engineering profession. In 2013, she was appointed the chair of the Ontario Network for Women in Engineering. To improve the gender diversity of the engineering profession, she has led initiatives to both understand the root causes of the lack of participation of women in engineering as well as programs to address these barriers.

Active in professional societies, Professor Wells in the past president of the Metallurgical and Materials Society of Canada which is part of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum.

Graduate School: Christopher Beckett

Industry Liaison Officer, Research and External Partnerships – University of Guelph


Panel 1: Robin Puskas, P.Eng.

Robin is a Project Manager with City of Guelph Water Services. During the past 30+ years, he has worked as project manager and project engineer in numerous capacities including: consulting (Earth Tech, Paragon Engineering and Conestoga-Rovers), owner/operator (Region of Waterloo and City of Guelph), and contractor/vendor (Zenon Environmental/GE Water).  He has extensive experience with complete project life cycle, including conception, Class EAs, Detailed Design, Tendering, Construction, Contract Administration and finally Commissioning/Close-out. Throughout his career, Robin continues to enjoy taking the time to mentor and develop young engineers.

Panel 2: Nick Mocan, M.Sc., P.Eng.

Nick Mocan earned his B.Sc.Eng. in Water Resources Engineering from the University of Guelph in 2001. After working with a global consulting firm in the USA, he returned to Guelph to earn his Master of Science degree with the School of Engineering from 2003 to 2005, and subsequently joined C.F. Crozier & Associates Inc. at their startup office in Collingwood. Over the last 13 years, Crozier & Associates has provided him with a tremendous environment for career growth. Nick has advanced from an Engineer-in-Training to a Professional Engineer and Associate, and has helped to open and expand two offices, in Milton and downtown Toronto. While Nick was building his career, he was also building a family. His wife and three children are as much a priority as building his career. While it isn’t always easy maintaining a work-life balance, Nick strives to ensure his personal life is equally fulfilling as his professional life, and is thrilled to be sharing his experiences with engineering students at the Professional Development Conference.

Panel 3: Jim Farrell, M.Sc., P.Eng., MBA

Jim is a Professional Engineer with 30 years’ experience in resource development and conservation projects.

He graduated with a Water Resources Engineering degree from the University of Guelph in 1987.  He completed a Master of Science degree, focusing on environmental chemistry, in 1990 and began working that year for R.J. Burnside and Associates Consulting Engineers in Orangeville, Ontario.

Working in Consulting Engineering was a wonderful opportunity to learn about land development, water management and open channel hydraulics.  After working in Orangeville for 3 years, Jim and family moved to Ottawa where he became the Director of Technical Affairs for a trade association.  This work was an introduction to the new world of government relations, technical working committees and consensus building projects.

In 1999 Jim went back to school full time to complete a Masters of Business Administration degree at Wilfrid Laurier University.  Since graduating in 2000 he has been working for the past 17 years at Hatch in Mississauga.  As a management and engineering consultant he has had the opportunity to work on mining, mineral processing and energy projects globally.

Panel 4: Michele Oliver, Ph.D., P.Eng. 

Michele has a multidisciplinary background with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Kinesiology, and Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering. Michele is a former Canadian National swimming team member who continues to compete at the Masters level. She is a Professor in the School of Engineering and her research area is in Occupational Biomechanics and Ergonomics. She is a former holder of an NSERC University Faculty Award as well as an Ontario Early Researcher Award and an NSERC Accelerator Supplement.  She has been awarded a Guelph-Wellington Woman of Distinction Award in the Science, Technology and Research Category and was member of the team of professors and staff teaching second year engineering students who won a University of Guelph Provost’s Award for Innovation in Teaching and Learning.

Workshop Leaders: 

Workshop 1A: Kallie Auld, P.Eng.

Kallie Auld, P.Eng. is a Water Resources Engineer specializing in Stormwater Management with Novatech Engineers, Planners, and Landscape Architects in Ottawa, Ontario. She has worked for Novatech for close to 6 years and is responsible for completing stormwater management designs and reports in support of conceptual and detailed designs of both rural and urban subdivisions and developments, as well as stormwater management analysis in support of channel flow and floodplain analysis.  Kallie graduated from the University of Guelph in 2012 with a B.Eng. in Environmental Engineering.  During her time at Guelph, Kallie was involved with the Engineering Society starting as a Second Year Representative, and ending in her last year at Guelph as President of the organization.  In her free time Kallie enjoys sewing quilts and her own clothing, as well as camping and canoeing with her husband Matthew in and around the Ottawa area.

Workshop 1B: Nick Walters, M.A.Sc., P.Eng

Nick Walters, M.A.Sc., P.Eng., is an acoustics and vibration engineer at Novus Environmental with a focus on applied building design and construction.  Mr. Walters received his Bachelor of Environmental Engineering in 2011 from the University of Guelph and his Master of Applied Science in Environmental Engineering in 2013 from the University of Guelph.  He works closely with architects and developers throughout Canada and the US to integrate acoustical design, noise control, and vibration mitigation concepts with practical considerations for construction and remediation.  Nick is the condominium construction lead at Novus responsible for project management, site reviews and inspections, and final building performance testing.

Nick also has had active involvement in the acoustic and vibration design of buildings for healthcare, laboratories, institutional, higher education, science and technology, and industrial facilities. This includes siting and vibration control for vivaria, electron microscopes, and MRIs at universities and hospitals across North America.

Workshop 1C: Nawfal Mungroo, BEng, MASc, EIT

Workshop 2A: Ryan Vadori,  Ph.D., P.Eng. 

Ryan received his Bachelor Degree in Biological Engineering in 2011, his Master’s Degree in 2013, and his Ph.D. in 2017. He has worked as a Research Scientist for Ford Motor Company, a Research and Development Engineer at Baylis Medical, and his current position is Research and Development Engineer at Smarter Alloys. His expertise is in materials engineering, namely for medical device applications. Ryan has experience working in manufacturing environments where product quality is paramount. His contributions include project management, product development and validation, process engineering, product ideation, scientific communication, and quality engineering.

Workshop 2B: Mike Thompson, M.A.Sc., P.Eng.

Mike is an Associate at Dillon Consulting Limited, and a registered professional engineer in Ontario.  He has ten years of experience, including project management, project development, technical direction and client relations. His area of expertise is chemical and biological waste treatment processes, including aerobic, anoxic and anaerobic waste treatment processes. His experience is focused mainly on municipal organic solid waste, residuals from wastewater treatment, and industrial wastewater management including large integrated industrial facilities, such as integrated steel mills, lead smelters, pulp and paper plants, food production, as well as pharmaceutical and vaccine production campuses. His contributions include project management, technical scope development, permitting and regulatory support, support for policy development, master planning, bench and pilot scale treatability testing, process concept design, detailed design, construction support, startup and operational support.

Workshop 2C: Oliver Markovski, P.Eng., CRSP

Oliver Markovski is a Guelph native and a 2006 graduate from the University of Guelph’s Biological Engineering (Co-op) program.  Currently, Oliver is the Health, Safety and Environment Manager, and Sustainability Leader at Royal Canin Canada.  Royal Canin is an international company and a Canadian leader in supplying pet nutritional products, with the Canadian headquarters and their manufacturing site located just outside of Guelph.

Oliver is renowned as a Sustainability and a Health and Safety Leader within Royal Canin Canada and their parent-company Mars Incorporated.  Oliver has led numerous projects at the Guelph site and other North American sites which have led to a more sustainable use of energy and water resources, and has led the site in ensuring that zero waste is sent to landfill.  In 2017, under Oliver’s leadership, the Guelph Royal Canin site celebrate 10 years without any lost time safety incidents, and is consistently recognized as a company that embodies the protection of associates and the local environment through safety drives, and by adhering to  international registrations such as ISO 14001, and OHSAS 18001.

Oliver is a strong supporter and advocate of the University of Guelph’s Co-operative program, with numerous former co-op students working under Oliver’s direct supervision.  Past co-op students have nominated Oliver and Royal Canin for the Top Co-op Employer award in 2015 and 2016.  In 2017, the School of Engineering awarded Oliver and Royal Canin with their first Top Engineering Co-op Employer award for their dedication to supporting the next generation of engineers at Guelph.