Meet OSPE’s Newest Board Directors

OSPE’s Board of Directors are the elected members who decide OSPE areas of advocacy interest. The group is diverse in education, expertise, and region. OSPE sat down with the three newest members to have a brief chat about their different backgrounds, goals, and hopes for the engineering community.

Dave Carnegie,  M.Sc., MBA, P.Eng.

What drew you to engineering as a young student?

Carnegie

I was drawn into engineering late in my academic career. I loved science and was interested in using science to make a positive impact on communities. I grew up in a rural community, didn’t know any engineers or what they did. My undergraduate studies were in life sciences with a focus on biochemistry, microbiology and toxicology. Towards the end of my undergraduate studies I started learning about research that was being done to use microorganisms to clean up the environment, found a professor that was doing research I was interested in, and ultimately pursued a masters degree in chemical engineering. My thesis project was co-sponsored by an engineering firm that had implemented a phytoremediation test plot on a contaminated site and I spent two years studying microorganisms that like to live beside tree roots and eat chemicals roots exude, and then coaxing them to eat human-made chemicals as quickly as possible – converting them into more benign chemicals along the way.  The firm that co-sponsored my research ultimately offered me a job. I started learning about the broader practice of environmental engineering, was mentored by more senior professionals, completed additional coursework and exams, and become an engineer.

What do you find fascinating about engineering?

That engineering is a practice, which means you are always learning and trying to be better. That we get to interact with a wide variety of people with different training and experience and are often ambassadors for science in everyday life.  In my discipline we work closely with the natural environment which is always different in place and time, so you rarely if ever solve the exact same problem twice.

What do you feel the engineering community is lacking currently?

As science and technology have evolved I think engineers and the public have become less clear about what the profession of engineering is. In part I think this is because we sometimes define engineering by what we design and build – which is a lot of different things.  The values and qualities of a professional are engineering discipline agnostic, they are the ballast for navigating a quickly changing landscape. It would be healthy for our community to identify and communicate a common understanding of the values and qualities (professional ideals) that guide our work across disciplines, the path we will follow as professionals to demonstrate and reinforce these ideals, and how we will meet the responsibility of developing the next generation of professionals.

What do you hope to focus on during your tenure on the Board of Directors?

OSPE’s vision resonates with me, I want to help our profession be “a diverse and inclusive profession where engineers are bold, courageous and respected leaders who come together to collaborate with government, industry, and academia to seize new opportunities and solve Ontario’s problems with evidence-based, innovative solutions.”  I am passionate about engineers taking greater leadership in navigating society through the immense environmental challenges we face and finding opportunities for our profession to be better communicators.

Nicholas Burgwin, P.Eng.

What drew you to engineering as a young student?

Nicholas Burgwin

There have been engineers in my family for generations, and I grew up with it. My father worked for Imperial Oil and provided good exposure to chemical engineering, and it was fascinating. He also provided my first access to computers, which brought my attention to electronics and software. This would be the eventual path that I’d focus on, but I’ve always had a toe in mechanical engineering with experience building robots (US First in high school) and race car (FSAE at the University of Toronto).

What do you find fascinating about engineering?

It’s all about solving a problem and finding the way to do it. I believe that engineering is more of a way of thinking about how to tackle a series of problems to come up with a viable solution. It is exciting to be with a group of engineers, especially multidisciplinary, and to try and work together to solve a complex problem.

What do you feel the engineering community is lacking currently?

Networking between engineers. The amount of expertise that is present within the engineering community is exciting, but getting access to that experience is hard. There must be a better way to connect individuals of like minds.

What do you hope to contribute to/focus on during your tenure on the Board of Directors?

I hope to provide input on how to better connect engineers within Ontario. I think it is an opportunity for OSPE to better serve current members and also grow the membership base by providing easy and beneficial networking opportunities for engineers. For instance, finding an engineer with experience in mining would require me to ask within my network, look through LinkedIn, or contact researchers at universities because their information is public. Why can’t OSPE make this easier? It would be great to allow easier networking and I believe it would be valuable to the OSPE membership.

Mark Frayne, P.Eng, MBA, PMP

What drew you to engineering as a young student?

I was an active and curious child.  I always explored my surrounds, take things apart and try to find answers for the many questions I had.  In addition, I grew up in a farming community which endowed me with a good work ethic and the ability to solve problems in practical ways.

My neighbour was a paleontologist with a large collection that I would often spend ours examining and asking questions how bones would become rock.  This was the beginning of my love for geology and how the earth formed.

As a student I found that math and science further fostered my passion for discovering the unknown and enhanced my problem-solving evolved abilities.  In school I was able to merge my curiosity and problem-solving abilities with my love of geology.  This path led me into a geological engineering career.

What do you find fascinating about engineering, as a discipline?

It provides daily opportunities to explore the unknown and solve problems that may help someone be better off.

What do you feel the engineering community is lacking currently?

The engineering community is lacking self-esteem and recognition.  No one will speak up for us as a profession.  There is no reason why engineers should be held in the same high regard as doctors and other professions.

What do you hope to contribute to/focus on during your tenure on the Board of Directors?

During my tenure I will focus on enhancing OSPE’s advocacy effectiveness for the engineering community and help the public.  Working collaboratively, I hope to help identify avenues of communication (i.e. marketing campaigns, webinars, etc.) that we can increase the public’s awareness on the multitude of things that engineers actually do and how we contribute to improvements in our society.

Have any questions for our new Board Directors? Let us know in the comments!

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