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Professor Goldie Nejat (MIE), Howard Goodfellow (ChemE 6T4) and Yin Yu (Rachel) Zhang (BME 0T8) among those honored with OPEA awards this year.

A U of T Engineering professor and two alumni have been honoured by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) and Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) with Ontario Professional Engineers Awards.

Professor Goldie Nejat (MIE) won the Engineering Excellence medal, recognizing overall excellence in the practice of engineering. Alumnus Howard Goodfellow (ChemE 6T4) received the Management Medal, for innovative management contributing significantly to an engineering achievement. Alumna Yin Yu (Rachel) Zhang (BME 0T8) garnered the Young Engineer Medal, for an early-career engineer who has demonstrated professional excellence as well as service to the community.

“These awards demonstrate how U of T Engineers at every career stage are using their skills and talents to make an impact on society that extends well beyond the engineering field,” said U of T Engineering Dean Christopher Yip. “On behalf of the Faculty, my warmest congratulations to the recipients on this well-deserved honour.”

Nejat holds the Canada Research Chair in Robots for Society and is pioneering the development of assistive robots that meet the increasing care needs of an aging population, search for victims in harsh and time-critical disaster environments, and help in both the home and workplace.

Over the past 15 years, she has established a successful research laboratory, trained the next generation of robotics engineers, developed and taught undergraduate/graduate courses, and has been recognized with many honours. Her leadership has led to several collaborations with governments, industry partners in the robotics, healthcare and manufacturing sectors, and healthcare centres and first responder services, who have sought her expertise to improve quality of life and keep people safe.

Nejat has provided distinguished service to numerous international and Canadian engineering organizations. She is heavily involved in knowledge translation and regularly engages in public outreach. She is also a role model and mentor to students and young engineers, and shares her passion for engineering and innovation with them through hands-on training in her lab, workshops, talks, and live demonstrations of her robotics technologies.

Nejat has given a number of keynote and invited talks around the world on her transformative robotics research. She regularly advises government agencies to enable access to the latest advances in robotics and artificial intelligence to help people in their everyday lives. She has received the Ontario Professional Engineers Young Engineers Medal and the Engineers Canada Young Engineer Achievement Award.

As a global leader in clean technology, Dr. Howard Goodfellow has led a number of successful. businesses over the course of his career that provided critical guidance in environmental management and control.

As President of Tenova Goodfellow Inc., he became known internationally for the Goodfellow Expert Furnace System Optimization Process (EFSOP®), technology he developed and commercialized in 1998. This extractive analytical and control system optimizes the furnace process in steel manufacturing and is the basis for significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions due to its worldwide application in more than 100 plants. Its use is now being extended to other combustion-intensive industries to improve energy efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

Goodfellow is a global authority on industrial ventilation and clean technology; through his design guidebooks and technical publications in international journals and conference proceedings, he pioneered new standards for industrial ventilation. He is currently Editor-in-Chief for the second edition of the Industrial Ventilation Design Guidebook, scheduled for publication in 2021.

Goodfellow is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and Engineers Canada. He is a recipient of the Ontario Professional Engineers Entrepreneurship Award and the Canada Award from the Society of Chemical Industry.  The companies he has led have received the Ministry of Energy and the Environment Award of Excellence, the Canada National Energy Efficiency Award, and the Financial Post Environmental Award for Business, among many others.

Yin Rachel Zhang is a clinical engineer at Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, with a focus on developing specifications of clinical equipment.

She is a key contributor in the development of the Ontario Neonatal Transport Incubator, a mobile intensive care unit designed to transport newborns safely to the nearest acute care facility. A result of a collaboration with multiple Ontario hospitals, the transport system is equipped with the latest medical technology that meets Canadian air and ground ambulance transportation regulations.

Zhang also managed a hospital-wide patient monitor system upgrade and provided clinical training of nurses and physicians with an 80 per cent completion rate. She co-led multiple teams on hardware and software installation and conversion. This has made a significant impact on the improvement of communication, collaboration and streamlined processes within departments, resulting in improved patient care.

She presented her approach at the European Medical and Biological Engineering Conference and won the Outstanding Teamwork Award from the International Federation of Medical and Biological Engineering’s Clinical Engineering Division for her Clinical Engineering Department.

Understanding the importance of encouraging young professionals in the STEM field, she participates in conferences, gives guided tours to students at her workplace and mentors young interns into the field of clinical engineering. Zhang was also featured in an Engineering Dimensions article, “Reaching 30 by 30”, as an example of women working in engineering.


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