Tuesday, March 24, 2015

And the APEO Gold Medal goes to...

Winning a gold medal is often considered the ultimate achievement of an individual.  In sports individuals and teams earning this honour are held up as heroes and champions - they have aspired to reach this elusive merit and they have succeeded. 

In 1979, Elsie Gregory MacGill was awarded a gold medal - the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario (APEO)'s Gold Medal.  This was not an award she had sat down and devised a training plan for consciously, but it was an award that recognized years of dedicated service and training - years of commitment and service to her both her engineering colleagues and Canadian society as a whole.  In fact, the person selected was considered to have given "outstanding service to the country". (Queen of the Hurricanes, 208)

Elsie's colleagues had chosen her for this honour.  They had recognized the degree of dedication with which she undertook her engineering projects and service duties to the profession while still finding time to contribute to various non-engineering organizations (most notably the Canadian Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs).

Elsie admitted that the honour was such that she went "soaring into the wild blue yonder" as she considered that her name was added to the list of twenty accomplished engineers to have held the gold medal including C.D. Howe who held the first one. (Queen of the Hurricanes, 208)  Ever one to joke - Elsie's famous humour lightened the mood at the awards ceremony where she spoke about cracks in aircraft.

Elsie Gregory MacGill was a dedicated professional engineer.  As national engineering month comes to a close I hope that some of these reflections have given you insight into the world of engineering.  If you are an engineer, I hope that these historical reflections have added to your existing knowledge base, if you are not, I hope that they have you curious to know more about this creative and dynamic profession.  

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