Engineers Care – P.Eng. Day Profile: Raymond Chokelal

P.Eng. day was started by OSPE three years ago as a way to recognize the work being done by engineers all across Ontario. As the voice of engineering in Ontario, we wanted a day dedicated to promoting engineers, the importance of the profession, and highlighting just how much of our society engineers are a key part of.

March 1st, 2020 will mark Ontario’s third annual P.Eng. Day and we’re going to be featuring P.Engs. who exemplify the three main pillars of OSPE’s Strategic Plan – Engineering the Future Together – which are: engineers care, engineers lead and engineers unite.

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With a dynamic variety of projects, engineers require hard and soft skills to be adaptable and to utilize this array of traits. OSPE is trying to highlight an engineer that exemplifies these traits: one that unites, leads, and another that cares – which brings us to our next profile: Raymond Chokelal, P.Eng.

Throughout his career, Raymond has shown that he cares for engineers and the engineering community. From dedicating time to mentoring younger engineers, to spending many years with the PEO Lake Ontario Chapter and sharing his diverse engineering experience with anyone in need, Raymond truly does care for those around him.

Raymond began his education at McMaster University in sciences, which he chose after being deterred by the workload associated with engineering programs. After his first year, however, he realized his mistake. “Over the course of that first year, it donned on me that I was making decisions that mattered with regards to my life.” He then tried to course-correct and take on a number of engineering electives, but after being denied because these electives were outside of his program, he quit his program and focused on soft-skills for the next 6 years with the goal of eventually becoming an electrical engineer.

When it was time to return to academia, he was accepted into Western University’s Electrical Engineering program. Over the next 4 years, Raymond completed that degree and a concurrent Computer Science degree as well.

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Raymond with one of his mentees, Manraj Panu, P.Eng.

In 2003, after Raymond completed his MESc and obtained his P.Eng., he began his involvement with the Lake Ontario Chapter of PEO. Raymond has spent the last 15 years volunteering with the Lake Ontario Chapter, where he took turns serving in all of the various Board roles. In his most recent tenure as Chair, he mentored OSPE Task Force member, Manraj Panu, P.Eng.

Manraj, who recommended Raymond for this feature, said Raymond “inspired me to give back to my profession, encouraged me to join OSPE and my local PEO chapter (of which I am now chapter Chair), and continues to mentor me to this day. He is the kind of leader I aspire to be.”

Outside of the PEO Lake Ontario Chapter, Raymond has mentored many young engineering graduates and EITs in the organizations he’s worked for. As an outdoor engineer with a diverse professional background, Raymond sees value in bringing young engineers on site with him to pass onto them some of his soft skills, but also a lot of his rationale for the way he works.

Raymond recognizes the importance of mentoring and sponsoring women in male-dominated workplaces. Recently, Raymond mentored two young female engineers. He brought them on site visits to familiarize them with the job site and ensured that they received a strong technical base to succeed in their jobs.

As for the future of engineering, Raymond hopes that the next generation isn’t solely reliant on their technical knowledge and can be more adaptable based on each individual problem they face. “My hope is that, as we go forward, engineers learn how to be practical, humble, and useful. They need to continue to make good contributions.”

Through his dedication to mentoring young engineers and the time he spends volunteering within his engineering community, Raymond is clearly an engineer who cares for his profession

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