Two members of the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering — current president Donna Jean Kilpatrick and Memorial University of Newfoundland Professor Faisal Khan, FCIC — have been named as Fellows of the Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC). This federation of 12 Canadian engineering societies, with roots dating back to 1887, annually inducts some members with this honour in recognition of their outstanding performance and service to the profession and society.

Pofessor Faisal Khan, FCIC

Memorial University of Newfoundland Professor Faisal Khan, FCIC

The distinction is especially meaningful for Khan, whose engineering career was shaped by the toxic gas disaster that affected more than 600,000 people around Bhopal, India, in 1984. At the time he was going to elementary school, but he vividly recalled how his extended family was affected by the accident. Much later in his education the impact of this event led him to a conscious career choice that would address such threats.

“This was a time when I decided to contribute to a lasting legacy for human life,” he says, referring to his chosen field of process safety and risk engineering. These were not regarded as “glamourous” pursuits at the time, he adds, but they have since become integral parts of any major project’s evaluation, design, and operational decision-making. That change is reflected in the stature of the Chemical Institute of Canada’s Process Safety Management Award, which was given to Khan in 2014 for his contributions in this area.

More than a decade before that he had founded the Safety and Risk Engineering Group at Memorial, which is currently known as the Centre for Risk, Integrity and Safety Engineering, has a team of more than 40 members, including academics, research engineers, and graduate students working on a wide range of theoretical and applied activities. Khan has published more than 350 peer-reviewed research articles, as well as seven books; he is the editor of the Journal of Process Safety and Environmental Protection, ASME-ASCE Journal of Risk and Uncertainty in Engineering Systems, and the Journal of Process System Engineering; and he regularly offers training on safety and risk engineering in different places, including St. John’s, Chennai, Dubai, Beijing, Aberdeen, Doha, and Kuala Lumpur.

Donna Jean Kilpatrick, President, Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering

Donna Jean Kilpatrick, President, Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering

Kilpatrick has also spent much of her career examining matters of safety and risk specifically with respect to human health, environmental impact, and Responsible Care® programs.  Initially working in the chemical industry she completed numerous projects which contributed to improved chemical plant operations as well as advancing industrial health, safety and environmental performance.  Later, at Environment Canada, where she was head of the Chemical Production Industries group, she led the development of new standards and regulatory instruments to reduce air emissions of toxic substances and greenhouse gases from Canadian industrial facilities.  More recently she has held the position of Director, Engineering and Technical Services in the Small Craft Harbours program at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, where her responsibilities have included federal infrastructure asset management, environmental regulatory compliance, developing climate change adaptation tools and addressing issues related to contaminated sites.  Since she began working for the federal government 18 years ago, this work has earned her numerous awards.

Kilpatrick’s career also included nine years as a professor at Ottawa’s Algonquin College, where she taught technical courses and oversaw student design and research projects in chemical engineering, materials science, environmental engineering and mechanical engineering technologies. In fact, over the course of 35 years in both the public and private sector, as well as consulting, research and education, Kilpatrick has assembled a unique blend of experience that has culminated in her election to the EIC. Her record of achievements represent a unique combination of engineering excellence as a practitioner, researcher, instructor and leader.

“It’s very satisfying,” she says, “to be acknowledged by a group whose values I have always shared.”

The EIC expresses those values through its own activities, such as continuing education initiatives, interdisciplinary services, and leading its member societies in building the future of engineering. Kilpatrick and Khan are among 20 new Fellows to be officially inducted at the Institute’s annual gala, being held in Gatineau, Que., on 28 April.