SoE Alumni Honours and Awards

2020 SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING

ALUMNI HONOURS & AWARDS RECIPIENTS

This year, the School of Engineering has honoured alumni who acted quickly and have demonstrated exceptional leadership throughout this pandemic. In the New Year, we will host a panel discussion webinar with Heather, Dave, Attilio and Bill about the impact that these engineers are having on the solutions and response to COVID-19. Stay tuned for details!

YOUNG ALUMNA OF HONOUR AWARD

Heather Murphy

PhD ‘10

After Dr. Murphy obtained her PhD in Environmental Engineering, she left academia and worked overseas with UNICEF as a Water Sanitation and Hygiene Specialist in Mali and Madagascar. She returned to Canada in 2012 and did postdoctoral research with the Public Health Agency of Canada and the University of Guelph. In 2015, Heather joined Temple University’s College of Public Health in Philadelphia as an Assistant Professor. In September 2020, she returned to UofG as an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathobiology in OVC. Heather’s research interests involve understanding and addressing water and health challenges in both developed and developing countries with a focus on One Health. She leads the Water, Health and Applied Microbiology (WHAM) Lab. Once the pandemic hit in March 2020, Heather worked with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and Water Department to start monitoring sewage at three wastewater treatment plants for the City of Philadelphia for SARS-CoV-2 as an epidemiological surveillance tool and this work is on-going. She is also collaborating on a similar project at Guelph with Drs. Ed McBean and Larry Goodridge.

MID-CAREER AWARD

Dave Bullock

BSc ’99, MSc ‘02

Dave has built a career on building businesses. A strategic leader with the unique ability to translate technological innovation into sustained business success, Dave is currently leading RWDI Ventures, a startup incubator within the world-renowned, Guelph-based engineering firm, RWDI. Most recently, Dave’s group at Ventures launched Songbird Life Science, a company utilizing science and technology to keep shared spaces, and the people inside them, safe from pathogens, including COVID-19. Within three months of operation, Songbird was extending the capacity of provincial testing programs across the country to service remote communities and essential workers with the only commercially available Point-of-Care testing device approved by Health Canada. Dave is especially proud of Songbird’s team of building-performance engineers and genomic scientists committed to developing new tools, including R&D in air and water testing, to battle today—and tomorrow’s—pathogens.

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE

Attilio Di Fiore

BSc ‘92

Attilio is the Co-Founder, President and CSO of ATTWILL Vascular Technologies as well as the Managing Partner and COO of its manufacturing and development sub-division, ATTWILL Medical solutions. The 35,000 sq. ft. Wisconsin facility houses seven - ISO 7 clean suites and six industrial lyophilizers. Attilio is engaged in medical device design, medical and drug freeze drying process development, and solution chemistry manufacturing. Attilio and his team have just received their first 510(k) from the FDA and are involved in a number of CDC and BARDA (US government funded programs). They have also submitted proposals to the US government under project WARP Speed and the initiative to onboard critical drug manufacturing back to US shores. They currently have six COVID-19 diagnostic (PCR) programs, one COVID-19 clinical drug treatment program (ATTWILL patent – Canadian Technology), and one COVID-19 vaccine development (phase 1 Clinical) program in play at the facility. The vaccine is the first and only tablet-based vaccine that will be available on the market with the potential to fulfill worldwide vaccine needs.  

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE

Bill McLean

BSc ‘83

Having spent over 30 years in manufacturing and operations, Bill was no stranger to business challenges and operational issues. Then, the pandemic hit.  As the Chief Supply Chain Officer for LIXIL Americas region, Bill led the COVID-19 response to keep 5000+ employees safe. A dashboard of COVID-19 data at the country, state, county and plant level was developed. Safety protocols were documented, implemented and audited. When the data became compelling, sites were shut down to protect employees. Employees went home with pay, PPE for their family, a comprehensive information package about the virus, access to medical support, health benefits and access to an information website. Dedicated bus transportation was provided for workers at LIXIL’s Mexican plant so public transit could be avoided. Bill’s group provided free tooling to assist an outside firm to produce face shields and gave away 50,000 face shields. Bill shares that this was the most challenging time in his career, however the approach to managing the response to COVID-19 was similar to what he learned during his time at UofG:  with clear values in mind, assess the problem and apply the appropriate data to solve the problem.

CO-OP EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR

WSP Canada Inc. (Aurora office)

The relationship between UofG and WSP (Aurora office) was established over ten years ago by UofG Environmental Engineering alumnus, Mike Varty, and has continued to thrive, now with recent Water Resources Engineering co-op grad, Paisley McDowell, supervising co-op students on their work term. During this time, WSP has ensured engineering students gain a better understanding of the consulting culture, both in the field and in the office. In addition to increasing their hiring rates of UofG Environmental and Water Resources Engineering co-op students, WSP has retained many of these students after graduation. They have also been actively engaged on campus through facilitating information sessions, alumni participation with Engineering Career Nights, and volunteering at many 41X judging competitions. During the challenging times of COVID-19, the Aurora WSP office retained their co-op students throughout the Winter term and continued to offer outstanding opportunities for UofG students. UofG looks forward to continuing our strong co-op connection with WSP in the years to come.

 


For more information please contact Melissa Woo, Alumni Advancement Manager, CEPS at melwoo@uoguelph.ca or 226-820-3401.