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Song Zhang of Huawei Canada, Michaye McMaster of Geosyntec Consultants, Inc. and Tony Han of Havelaar Canada share their reasons for partnering with U of T Engineering.

Each fall, U of T Engineering hosts an Industry Partnerships Reception to celebrate the more than 300 external partners that collaborate with the Faculty each year, in sectors ranging from information technology and biomedical devices to resource extraction and environmental engineering.

Three of these companies — Geosyntec Consultants, Inc., Havelaar Canada and Huawei Canada — were recognized with Industry Partner Awards in November. Representatives of each of the awarded companies shared their thoughts on why working with U of T Engineering is essential to meeting their goals.

Tony Han

Tony Han
President, Havelaar Canada

Havelaar received the 2017 Corporate Research Partner Award for its commitment to enabling research in a number of areas including battery technologies, power electronics and vehicle autonomy. Havelaar’s cross-disciplinary partnership was cemented with their founding of the U of T Electric Vehicle Research Centre (UTEV).

Our experience working with UTEV has been very rewarding. One of the results so far is a major NSERC Collaborative Research and Development Grant – one of the largest ever awarded. It recognizes the innovative nature and the calibre of this project and takes into account the reviews of experts across Canadian and U.S. universities.

One of the things we’re doing at UTEV is welcoming new members to join because we believe both collaboration and competition are good. We need healthy competition to drive the technology forward. This is important because we’re facing serious environmental issues in various parts of the world. Targeting transportation is one of the most effective ways to address this without compromising – and while actually improving – the quality of life.

Havelaar wants to be a leader in this effort, and our partnership with U of T is essential. It enables us to work with some of the best professors and students in the world and gain access to experts across a wide range of disciplines.

Michaye McMaster

Michaye McMaster
Senior Principal, Geosyntec Consultants, Inc. 

Geosyntec received the Small-to-Medium Enterprise Partner Award for their long-term support for the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry. Geosyntec partners with U of T researchers on a variety of projects, including developing products that leverage microbes to remediate contaminated industrial sites.

Collaboration to advance research ideas from theory to practice is critical for our firm – Geosyntec’s mission is to be the consultant and engineer of choice to clients and provide them with solutions for their initiatives and challenges involving the natural and built environment.  Partnering with the researchers at U of T helps us achieve our mission and it also keeps our staff excited about applied research and development.

Working with U of T Engineering has been incredibly rewarding on many levels.  Every business has its cycles and when we are faced with challenges, often our research partnerships are what sustain our drive and keep us engaged. More than 50 per cent of Geosyntec’s technical staff hold advanced degrees, so working with U of T Engineering reconnects us with our research and undergraduate days.

We have some of the world’s leading universities on our doorstep – and they attract some of the worlds’ best talent.  Partnering with the U of T provides unprecedented opportunities to sustain our culture of innovation and investment in careers in science and engineering.

Song Zhang

Song Zhang
Director, Technology Planning & Partnership
Canada Research Centre, Huawei Canada  

Huawei received the Corporate Academic Citizen Award for its significant investment in the Faculty through collaborative research, leadership on Industry Advisory Boards and support of graduate students. Last year, the company formalized its continued commitment to U of T through a strategic research partnership supporting a range of diverse projects, from optimized cloud computing to building next-generation internet structures.

We partner with U of T because of its faculty members’ research leadership in key areas of critical importance to us, as well as their breadth of expertise. Many of Huawei’s technology challenges can be addressed by U of T researchers, and they are very supportive and open to working with industry.

A partnership with U of T is most impactful when positioned as a long-term, strategic proposition. We consider it a win-win situation and build joint leadership in research and innovation.

Huawei has deep respect, confidence and trust in our relationship with The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE). We are building our research leadership and talent pipeline together.

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