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Congratulations to the five administrative and technical staff members who were honoured at the 5th annual Celebrating Engineering Excellence reception for their contributions to the Faculty.

This year’s winner of the Agnes Kaneko Citizenship Award is Giovanni Buzzeo, Machine Shop Foreman in the Department of Civil Engineering. Named in memory of a valued staff member, this award recognizes staff who have served with distinction and made contributions to the Faculty’s mission above and beyond their job description. An invaluable member of the machine shop associated with the department’s Structural Testing Facility for almost 38 years, Giovanni brings fresh ideas and solutions to the technical problems encountered in this unique research environment – he was essential in solving many of the mechanical and construction issues that arose during the lab’s extensive renovation. Over the years, Giovanni has aided hundreds of students with their experimental programs and is often acknowledged in published theses.

Harpreet Dhariwal, Instructional Technology Specialist for the Faculty, received the Emerging Leader Award, recognizing a staff member who leads by example and demonstrates potential to assume a more senior leadership role. Harpreet has shown outstanding leadership in leveraging new developments in technology to benefit our instructors and students. He not only implements new technology but helps faculty members imagine and achieve innovative ways of using this technology to improve teaching and learning. Harpreet was also instrumental in organizing an extremely successful Educational Technology Workshop at U of T in May 2011, and has presented on this subject at conferences in Canada and internationally.

The Influential Leader Award, for a staff member who demonstrates exemplary support for the Faculty’s endeavours, has made significant sustained contributions to the Faculty, and inspires others to realize their potential, was awarded to Austra Ozolins. Austra is the Director, Administration and Finance, in The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering. She has kept this very large and complex department running smoothly for more than 15 years, making exemplary contributions to its educational and research missions. Most impressively, she has done so while acting as a leader and mentor to her fellow ECE staff members and to business officers in other departments. She has been a participant in the University’s mentorship program and a role model to staff members throughout the Faculty.

The Innovation Award recognizes staff members who have developed an innovative new method, technology or system, made improvements to an existing technology or system or created an innovative solution to a problem. This year’s recipient is Jay Li, Senior Systems Administrator in The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering. Jay was recognized for the innovation he has shown in managing the department’s computer clusters, which has dramatically reduced the amount of time it takes researchers to perform the computing tasks associated with their projects. Jay’s work with Professor Brendan Frey (ECE), to configure and manage the computer cluster used by his research group to allow for large-scale genome research, was a major contributor to the group’s breakthrough discovery of a genetic splicing code.

Shannon Osborne, External Relations Liaison Officer in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, received the Quality of Student Experience Award. The award recognizes a staff member who has made significant contributions to the quality of student experience in the Faculty. Shannon has contributed to a steady increase in enrolment in recent years, and has developed events which help students to prepare for the world beyond university and foster connections between MIE students and alumni. Shannon encourages student leadership and empowers students to improve their own experience and that of their peers through volunteerism. She has been integral in creating a sense of community among the department’s students and alumni, as well as pride in their alma mater and their chosen profession.

“These outstanding colleagues exemplify the commitment shown by our administrative and technical staff to our educational and research mission,” said Cristina Amon, Dean, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. “I would like to express my heartfelt congratulations to the awardees, and thank all our staff members for their essential contributions and dedication to our  pursuit of excellence.”

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