Wednesday, 15 June 2016 11:18

VP Technical Annual Report 2015-2016

The past year has been exciting and very challenging for the society. Serving as a VP (Technical) and as a Program Leader/Chair for Biological & Biomedical Engineering unit at the University of Guelph for almost 3 years, I have seen both sides of the coin.  For this 2015 to 2016 period, working closely with the CSBE Local Arrangements Committee and also looking at other operations, I must have spent at-least over 200 hours in the past several months on this volunteer position for the society.

In addition to serving as the Associate Editor for the Canadian Biosystems Engineering journal, the duties of the VP (Technical) involves preparations, arrangements and development of the technical program towards hosting the annual meeting. I served as a member of the Local Arrangements Committee of CSBE Halifax 2016 as an ex-officio.

Briefly, my activities over this past 12 months can be summarized as below for this past year.

  • Worked on a history project to create an album showcasing some fine aspects of the CSBE History with John Ogilvie - the Past President of CSBE and a Professor Emeritus of the University of Guelph
  • Liaised and obtained in-kind sponsorship with Elsevier on the 'Poster in My Pocket' service
  • Reviewed abstracts and put together the technical program – This involves extensive co-ordination in the technical arrangements, local arrangements, sponsorship and other activities
  • Prepared and sent several visa invitation letters for international delegates
  • Worked in the design and development of two display banners for the society events

The CSBE AGM 2016 will kick start on Sunday July 3, 2016 with a FREE workshop on 'Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Commercialization' offered by Paul Richards and Kevin Dunn of Dalhousie University. A total of 94 papers has been accepted for presentation from 115 submissions for this upcoming CSBE AGM 2016. Out of which, 66 papers will be presented as oral presentations and the remaining will be presented towards posters.

We have received a total of $8,000 in cash as sponsorship; thanks to a number of organizations including Wild Blueberry Producers association, Doug Bragg Industries, InnovaCorp, Dalhousie - Faculty of Engineering, Agriculture and the Department of Process Engineering and Applied Science, Consumaj, and the School of Sustainable Design Engineering of UPEI along with the in-kind contributions from Elsevier. 

As a voluntary organization with only a handful of local technical activities, committees and programs, CSBE is providing professional and technical as well as administrative services to all members at large. The quality of the technical program and activities are the direct product of contributions by the participating members and act as a thread that connects and binds the membership-at-large.

Similar to our sister societies, our CSBE society is facing several challenges including shrinking membership, lack of active participation at the local level and other related issues. These are tough times for the society, considering sustainable development. It is high time for us to prioritize and revamp the society activities, for sustainable functioning.

I extend my sincere thanks to all the LAC members of CSBE 2016, for their unwavering contributions and efforts in putting together this upcoming conference. As the society seeks new face for this VP (Technical) position, I would like to thank the chairs and members of the involved committees, technical as well as sponsorship teams for their hard work, dedicated support and their help in running this technical section of the CSBE.

Respectfully submitted,

Suresh Neethirajan, PhD., P.Eng

Wednesday, 15 June 2016 10:30

Webmaster Annual Report 2015-2016

Last year was quite busy, especially with the Annual Conference in Halifax where a new system for paper submission and registration was implemented and more tasks were transferred to me. I managed the website as usual and I'm now looking for a major version update to ease future maintenance, enhance mobile compatibility, and improve security.

Annual General Meeting 2016 in Halifax

I was involved in the meeting organization at different levels:

  • Contracting, configuration, management, and support of the new system for paper submission and registrations (Conftool).
  • Configuration and maintenance of an event section on our website (http://www.csbe-scgab.ca/halifax2016).
  • Sending of several emails to current members (list of about 600 emails) through our mail server platform (Mailchimp) and to conference’s delegates and authors (through Conftool mail server).
  • Training of members of the committee for the use of the paper submission system and registration management (sessions, database, reports, Paypal, online invoices).
  • Updating the conference program (online and printed version).
  • Participation in committee’s meetings.

Newsletters and Notices to members

A total of 20 newsletters and notices were sent between July 2015 and June 2016 to a list of 605 members. The opening rate increased from 30% last year to nearly 40%. We now use the Mailchimp online service to send mass mail.

Executive Council Election

For the 3rd year, CSBE used the ElectionBuddy online service for Executive Council elections. With the help of Grant Clark (communication with nominees), the online system was set up and voting tokens sent out to members.

Website statistics report (www.csbe-scgab.ca)

Between June 2015 and June 2016, CSBE website was visited 16617 times (1384 monthly average) with 42000 pages viewed which is 15% more than the previous year (about 14500 visits). An average of 2.55 pages per visit with duration of about 2:15 minutes was met.

The audience was mainly English (70%) and French (8%) and came from Canada (53%), USA (10 %), China (8%), India (3%) and many other countries (Brazil, Germany, UK…). 

Main traffic came from organic search (53%), followed by direct access (27%), site referral (18%) and social media (1.2%).

Main pages/sections viewed were the home page, Halifax 2016 portal, Publications, Edmonton 2015 portal, CBE Journal information page, and Join CSBE page.

Visitor browser preferences were Chrome (49%), Safari (16%), Firefox (15%), and Internet Explorer (14%). 82 % of visits were from a desktop/laptop station while 15 % were on mobile (phone and tablet). Mobile access increases from previous years (11% in 2015, 8% in 2014).

Social Medias. About 200 visits were referred from social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Research Gate…)

Help needed for Social Media management

My tasks as webmaster are mainly to manage the website, to publish the newsletter, and to assist the CSBE Council and the Conference LAC with online services. That said, I have only limited time to manage our Facebook and LinkedIn account. I would appreciate some help from one of our member who is comfortable with social media management. It’s a great opportunity to get involve in the CSBE. The time devoted to this activity is 2 to 3 hours per month.  This task involves:

  • Post news items, announcements and job opportunities on Facebook and LinkedIn
  • Initiate discussions and interact with members online;
  • Manage access requests to our social media pages.

Please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to seize this opportunity!

Wednesday, 15 June 2016 11:17

VP Membership annual report 2015-2016

Vice-President (Membership) – Harry Huffman

Another busy year for me but I did manage to participate in most of the CSBE-SCGAB Council meetings via conference call as well as the ASABE Membership Development Committee meeting in December (also via telephone conference call).

We were able to introduce a new membership fee category for international members working in countries with lower income status which began for 2016 memberships.

New membership certificates and a welcoming letter were prepared and distributed in November, 2015 and again in May of 2016 for those people first joining our organization in each of these years. Thank you to our very capable Society Manager, John Feddes for doing all of the paper work.

Any current members who do not have a membership certificate and would like one should contact our Society Manager, John Feddes or myself.

The term of initial membership for students was clarified as being between 5 and 16 months. A membership application made in September at the start of fall school term would run until December 31 of the following calendar year. Any application received between January and August in the current year would only be effective until December 31 of that same year.

Along with Ontario Regional Director, Hugh Fraser, we promoted membership in the CSBE-SCGAB at a careers night held at the University of Guelph in January 2016 and gave out 10 free 1-year student memberships to CSBE/SCGAB as a way to introduce them to our organization.  

I was in contact with Mark Crossley, Membership Director of ASABE regarding the possibility of streamlining membership renewal with the use of automatic credit card debiting after email communication with the member. However, ASABE was not receptive to the idea given a number of pit falls that they have discovered with this type of approach. Mark’s response was as follows: “We have discussed this in the past, and while it seems easy enough, other organizations that do this have told me it’s nothing but trouble. Not only do you have to worry about outdated credit card information (exp dates, security codes, updated card numbers, etc…), there’s also the security issue. As it currently stands, we don’t retain credit card information (it’s encrypted), as it goes through PayPal. While I know PP has been problematic for a lot of Canadian members, we’re very close to having an alternative processing system in place for taking CC payments going forward. I’ll keep you posted on that.  Regards – Mark”

Again this year (2016) our big concern was the large number of members who did not renew their membership for 2016. As of the end of March 2016, 53 members and 118 students had not renewed their membership (total of 426 paid memberships received to date). I requested that the Regional Directors try to make a personal contact with these potential members as I did with all of the unpaid international members to give them a gentle nudge to re-join the fold.

It would appear that the various personal contacts by Regional Directors and the Vice President (Membership) were effective, since the over-all 2016 membership numbers did rebound significantly but are still lower than 2015 final numbers by about 14%. It is likely that we will pick up a few more student members once the fall semester begins but that does not address the decline in the general membership category.   




Number of Members

December 2013

692 including 288 students & grad students

December 2014

689 including 300 students & grad students

December 2015

632 including 265 students & grad students

May 2016

541 including 223 students & grad students

I believe that declining membership numbers is an issue that will need to be addressed by the incoming vice president of membership and the rest of council.

Ending on a bright note, we have welcomed 3 new full members, 52 new student members and 10 new graduate student members for 2016.

The University of Manitoba has been hosting the Open Journal System (OJS) free of charge since 2009 to help with the online review process.  Over the past six years, I have customized and updated most of the pages in the OJS system to help with the review process of papers submitted to our journal.   

        The entire collection of past journal papers are now available online and can be accessed here: http://www.csbe-scgab.ca/publications/cbe-journal/browse.   The scanned papers were Optical Character Recognition (OCR) processed to enable them to be searched using keywords.

        Section Editors have management level access to the Open Journal System (OJS).  When papers are submitted to the journal, the Section Editors assign it to three other persons on the Editorial Board to review the paper through the OJS online system.  Those assigned the paper can either review the paper themselves or get it reviewed via a personal email to one of their colleagues who are more likely to oblige to review in a timely manner.  Each person serving on the Editorial Board is expected to review about 6 to 8 papers in a year.  If you are interested in serving on the Editorial Board, please contact the Section Editors who are listed below:

  1. Soil and Water Systems Engineering:  Dr. Mano Krishnapillai, Memorial University, NL
  2. Machinery Systems Engineering:  Dr. Hubert Landry, PAMI, SK
  3. Bioprocessing Systems Engineering:  Dr. Valerie Orsat, McGill
  4. Biological Systems Engineering:  Dr Stefan Cenkowski, UofMb
  5. Building Systems Engineering: Dr. Qiang Zhang, UofMb
  6. Waste Management Engineering: Dr. Grant Clark, McGill
  7. Information Systems Engineering: Dr. Suresh Neethirajan, Guelph
  8. Renewable Energy:  Dr. Amit Kumar, UofAlberta

        The Section Editors will also serve as the Technical Committee of our Society to help with the evaluation of the conference paper abstracts, formulate Technical Sessions, and solicit worthy papers for submission to the CBE journal.  Beginning in 2014, the processing time lines for the accepted papers have been published.  To further improve the timeliness of the publication of manuscripts the Council has unanimously voted to approve the following incentive policy:

(a)  Reward each reviewer with a credit of $50/manuscript towards page charges of their own manuscripts published in the CBEJ. A credit will be given for a review of acceptable quality and detail, as determined by the Section Editor, received within THREE weeks of assignment of the review. The total credits used by a reviewer towards publication of a single manuscript shall not exceed $100. The credit must be used within two years of being awarded. 


(b)  Reward each reviewer with a credit of $50/manuscript towards registration in the CSBE-SCGAB Annual Conference. A credit will be given for a review of acceptable quality and detail, as determined by the Section Editor, received within THREE weeks of assignment of the review. The total credits used by a reviewer towards registration at a given conference shall not exceed $100. The credit must be used within two years of being awarded.

        In 2012, the Canadian Biosystems Engineering Journal was registered with CrossRef (www.crossref.org) as a member organization allowing the assigning of Digital Object Identifier (DOI) to a paper published in our journal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_object_identifier). I have used the following system to identify our papers.  The http://dx.doi.org is the DOI resolving website. The number 10.7451 identifies our journal.  Following that, I have used CBE.year.volume.first_page_number as the format to identify each paper.  When you type this URL into a web browser, it will take you directly to the .pdf file of the paper.  Therefore, please publicize your papers by providing the DOI link of your paper instead of sending the .pdf file of your paper.  This will help properly register the access count with the DOI system.   By providing the DOI link you can help improve the impact factor of our journal.   

        I thank all the authors, reviewers, and the Section Editors for their support in making the publication of our journal possible.  We need your continued support in a timely manner to make our journal a successful vehicle for disseminating your research.  

The annual report for the president “in waiting”, aka President-Elect ought to have been a daunting task for all of my predecessors.  Actually, my review of past Perspectives seems to suggest that the task might be as recent at Ron Macdonald’s turn as President Elect.  Our by-laws dictate a number of tasks for the President Elect to fulfill, such as membership to the Nominating Committee and the Bylaws Committee, carry out a forward planning process, and reporting to Council for the Awards Committee.

So, this report will cover the forward planning task associated with the job.  Mainly through past experience in various government offices, and my time at Université Laval, time in agricultural equipment manufacturing industry, and some 10 years involvement in grants selection committees (Mechanical Engineering, Discovery Accelerator Supplement, etc…) serving the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council, I came to appreciate the evolution breath of biosystems engineering.  The VP membership will assuredly report that our membership is stable, which is good news.  What is not so good is that while Biosystems Engineering/Bioresources Engineering/Génie Agro-alimentaire department are churning relatively large number of students, we fail in recruiting them into our Society.  This issue is not new; it has been contemplated by my predecessors for a long time.

Few of you recall that my original specialization plan was food engineering, and that my M.Sc. was squarely in that area.  How many practicing and recent graduates with food engineering interest do we cater to?  I know quite a number, but do we retain them all?  Do we “serve” them appropriately?  By looking at the Technical program for our AGM 2015, we could conclude: not bad…  Now, what do we do for our Environment stream graduates?  There again, I know a number, but do we cater to all of the Environment Engineering graduates?  And again, the technical program of AGM 2015 does cover that territory.  Last winter, I taught a class of 44 Biosystems Engineering students at University of Manitoba; about half of them had in mind Environment Engineering, the other half Biomedical Engineering:  I did try my best to tweak the course content to keep their interest, that is quite a department from the original Civil Engineering content in that class.  But I unfortunately cannot report that the Society will count 44 new members two years down the road on their account.  Recently, a couple students graduating from Biomedical Engineering made it into the Faculty Medicine, and study towards an up and coming new breed of physicians.  Not the beginning of a new trend: I reviewed a number of top notch Discovery grant applications for NSERC prepared by M.D. with an engineering degree as backbone to their practice.  Will they abandon their Engineering skills once MD’s?  But how can we offer them something more than a banquet to “chew” on?  That is the question. 

I used the word “cater” often enough to suggest that the Society is there for the members.  My forward planning will focus primarily on building on the work from Qiang, Grant and Bernardo, both in terms of Council membership, technical programs, and promotion of the profession with the engineers we collectively train and mentor, and the Societies that seem to attract them based on focus.  This effort will begin with a brainstorm session in parallel with the AGM 2015, and I am specifically inviting department heads, undergraduate program chairs, and interested engineers practicing in Food, Biomedical, Environmental Engineering to come and share their interests, with the objective of making the Society a better care taker of their professional development and needs.

Le rapport annuel du Président "en attente", alias le Président-Elu aura certainement été une tâche ardue pour l'ensemble de mes prédécesseurs.  En fait, ma révision des dernières Perspectives suggère que la tâche pourrait avoir à son origine le "tour" de Ron Macdonald à titre de Président-Elu.  Nos statuts dictent un certain nombre de tâches pour le Président-Elu, telles que les membres du Comité des candidatures et le Comité des règlements administratifs, mener un processus de planification à long terme et la communication au Conseil pour le Comité des Distinctions. 

Ainsi, ce rapport couvre donc la tâche de planification à long terme, qui sera amorcée dès l’AGA 2015.  De mes expériences dans divers bureaux du gouvernement, mon temps Université Laval, brefs moment au sein de l'industrie de fabrication de matériel agricole et certaine implication de 10 ans dans les comités de sélection des subventions (comité génie mécanique, Discovery Accelerator supplément, etc...) qui dessert le Conseil de Recherches en Ssciences Naturelles et Génie, j’en suis venu à apprécier l’étendue et l'évolution de l'ingénierie des biosystèmes.  Le VP au recrutement vous rapportera que le nombre de membres est stable, ce qui est une bonne nouvelle.  Ce qui n'est pas si bon est le rapport entre le nombre croissant de gradués de programmes de  Biosystems Engineering/Bioressources Engineering/Génie Agro-alimentaire et nos difficultés à les recruter au sein de notre Association. 

Peu d'entre se rappellent que mon champ initial de spécialisation était le génie alimentaire, et que ma maîtrise était carrément dans ce domaine.  Combien diplômés pratiquants et récents de programmes de génie alimentaire desservons-nous ?  Je connais un certain nombre, mais n’y a-t-il plus?  Sont-ils représentés adéquatement dans nos activités et notre Conseil?  En regardant le programme technique pour notre Assemblée générale annuelle de 2015, nous pourrions conclure : pas mal...  Maintenant, que faisons-nous pour nos diplômés de flux de données d'environnement ?  Là encore, j’en reconnais un certain nombre, mais répondons-nous convenablement aux attentes des diplômés de génie de l’environnement ?  Et encore une fois, le programme technique de l'AGM 2015 couvre ce territoire.  L'hiver dernier, j'ai enseigné une classe de 44 élèves pour le département de Biosystems Engineering à l'Université du Manitoba ; environ la moitié d'entre eux avait à l'esprit le génie environnement après leur graduation, l'autre moitié le génie biomedical: j'ai bien essayé de mon mieux pour peaufiner le contenu du cours pour répondre à leurs intérêts.  Toutefois je ne peux malheureusement pas vous déclarer que notre Association comptera 44 nouveaux membres deux ans…  Récemment, quelques étudiants diplômés de génie biomédical ont fait leur entrée dans la faculté de médecine à l’Université du Manitoba, pour devenir une nouvelle "sorte" de médecins.  Pas le début d'une nouvelle tendance : j'ai évalué plusieurs demandes pour le CRSNG préparées par des docteurs ayant un diplôme d'ingénieur comme épine dorsale de leur champ de pratique médicale.  Abandonneront-ils leurs compétences en génie une fois MD?  Je ne crois pas, mais la question pour notre Association est " comment pouvons-nous offrir quelque chose de plus « à croquer » qu'un banquet?

Notre Association  est là principalement pour ses membres.  Ma planification à long terme se concentrera principalement sur s'appuyant sur les travaux de Qiang, Grant et Bernardo, tant en ce qui concerne les nominations et les activités du Conseil, les programmes techniques des prochaines AGA et promotion de la profession avec les ingénieurs que nous formons et encadrons collectivement et les associations vers lesquelles ils gravitent par défaut.  Cet effort commencera par une séance de remue-méninges en parallèle avec l'AGA 2015, et j'invite spécifiquement les chefs de département, des directeurs de programme de premier cycle et ingénieurs intéressés pratiquant en alimentaire, biomédical, et le génie de l'environnement à venir partager leurs intérêts, dans le but permettre à notre Association de mieux répondre aux besoins des générations futures d’ingénieurs des biosystèmes.

I became Ontario Regional Director fall 2014 and it has been challenging, fun and interesting. I have participated in most Council and Membership conference calls when able. In my opinion, our relatively small technical organization, with such a diverse and changing membership, two languages, spread over such a huge country, with membership that cannot attend all technical meetings because of distance, cost or time, it is important to find ways to connect with grassroots members. For this reason, for the on-line newsletters of December 2014, March 2015 and June 2015, I randomly called (yes, using that thing called a telephone that seems to be so seldom used anymore) about five Ontario members per newsletter to solicit a little information (about 100 words) about what they were doing, how long they had been a member, and what advice they had for younger members. It was easy and painless, using a short template I sent to them. This has been both interesting for me and also for those I call because I find members are genuinely pleased, but surprised to hear from someone on Council. I plan to continue doing this in the coming year. Check out what members have told us at http://csbe-scgab.ca/

I also participated in a Jobs Fair at the University of Guelph in January 2015. Along with Vice-President Membership, Harry Huffman, we spoke to undergrads about jobs in Agricultural Engineering and opportunities joining CSBE. It was fun event and students were very interested in learning from a couple of grizzled veterans. There were perhaps 30 companies involved and perhaps 100 students attending.

I look forward to the coming year.

This was an extremely busy year for me but I did manage to participate in most of the CSBE-SCGAB Council meetings via conference call as well as the ASABE Membership Development Committee meeting in December and the CSBE Membership Engagement Committee meeting in April (both also via telephone conference calls).

I have reviewed the Bylaws and Procedures Operational Manual regarding “member emeritus” and have recommended some additions to be considered at the annual meeting.

I prepared a welcome letter for new members who joined our organization in 2014 to accompany the Membership Certificate that was prepared by John Feddes and mailed to each new member.

This will be done again this summer for new members joining in 2015. Any others who would like a membership certificate can contact Society Manager, John Feddes or myself.

The term of initial membership for students was clarified as being between 5 and 16 months. A membership application made in September at the start of fall school term would run until December 31 of the following calendar year. Any application received between January and August in the current year would only be effective until December 31 of that same year.

I promoted membership in the CSBE-SCGAB at an engineering meeting hosted by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Affairs in October 2014 and again at a careers night held at the University of Guelph in January 2015.

I researched the possibility of adding a sub-category of International Member to recognize the reduced ability of potential members from low income countries to afford the standard international fee to join CSBE-SCGAB and ASABE. A reduced fee schedule, similar to that used by ASABE was approved by Council at our April 15th, 2015 meeting starting for 2016 fees.

Our big concern early this year was the large number of members who did not renew their membership for 2015. As of the end of February 2015, 158 members and 95 students had not renewed their membership. I requested that the Regional Directors try to make a personal contact with these potential members as I did with all of the unpaid international members to give them a gentle nudge to re-join the fold. At the April meeting of Council, I was given approval to send out a letter via email to all unpaid members asking for them to reconsider or failing that a reason for not renewing. I sent out 210 emails to unpaid members on May 1st, 2015 with 9 invalid emails being bounced back to me. Of the potential 201 recipients, I received 14 responses (7%) with 7 not interested in renewing for the following reasons; 4 – no longer relevant to my work, 1 – budget cut at company, 1 – unemployed for 3 years so cannot continue with cost, 1 – retired for 4 years & no longer interested. For the 7 positive replies; 3 – payment processing issues, 3 – just did   not get around to it yet, 1 – department no longer covering my membership so will now need to pay myself.

It would appear that the various personal contacts by Regional Directors and the Vice President (Membership) were effective, since the over-all 2015 membership numbers did rebound significantly and are now essentially the same as last year. Not sure why members do not renew in a more timely manner.  




Number of Members

September 2013

660 paid including students

May 2014

570 paid including 125 students

May 2015

574 paid including 107 students


Ending on a bright note, we are welcoming 10 brand new members, 30 student members and 19 graduate student members for 2015.  

Friday, 12 June 2015 13:47

Annual Report from President 2014-2015

The role of President is sometimes likened to that of ship’s captain. The captain is in charge of day to day operations on the vessel. S(he) interprets the directives from the ship’s owners, makes decisions about how to implement those directives, and conveys orders to the crew. On the surface, a president’s role may seem similar, but in a democratic organization there is a curious difference: the ship’s owners are all the members of the organization, including the crew themselves! The president’s role in such a society is to try to understand the will of the entire membership and translate those ideas into action. But even the task of understanding and implementing the will of the membership can’t be done well by a single person. Just as a captain can’t hope to run a ship without a good crew, one person does not comprise an executive committee. Fortunately, the CSBE-SCGAB has an excellent crew on deck and the results are apparent. What follows is evidence of some of the good work of your executive committee. It is an incomplete list in no particular order and I must emphasize that every member of the committee, whether they are mentioned here by name or not, is valued and appreciated.

Our Annual General Meeting and Technical Conference in Edmonton is on the launch pad and ready to rocket skyward! Rick Atkins and his energetic team have toiled diligently to build a great program of technical and social activities. The turbulent and uncertain economy has restricted travel budgets for many of us but, nevertheless, the meeting is shaping up to be a dynamic one. Make sure that you are registered for this flagship event!

The efforts of Editor Sri Ranjan, Associate Editors, Reviewers and Technical Committee in modernizing the operations of the Canadian Biosystems Engineering Journal are paying off. This success is shown by dramatically shorter review and publication times (printed on the articles themselves) and rebounding submission numbers. The online, open-source CBEJ  is now well positioned to thrive, especially considering statements by NSERC and other government funding agencies that they will require all publications from research that they support to be freely available to the public.

Vice-Presidents Regional, Fahimeh Yazdanpanah (outgoing) and Chella Vellaichamy (incoming) are working together with the Regional Directors to revitalize the grassroots activities of the society across the country. My vision is to have a small, informal committee in each region that supports local CSBE-SCGAB activities and catalyzes new ones. The committees provide continuity, “corporate memory”, and a sustained level of activity and enthusiasm. This revitalization can be a challenging task that requires the engagement of many people at the regional level, and it is progressing more rapidly in some regions than in other. This is a good entrance to the society’s activities for members looking to become more involved.

The membership of the CSBE-SCGAB is stable in a time when small, volunteer-run societies everywhere struggle to remain viable. This is due in large part to efforts spearheaded by our conscientious V.P. Membership, Harry Huffman. Membership numbers in the CSBE-SCGAB, as I’ve written elsewhere, are not for me an end in themselves. They are, however, one piece of evidence of to show that the members value the organization and that they feel engaged in and informed about the society. Harry is instrumental in making sure that this is the case.

Our linkages with sister organizations, particularly the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) and the Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC) are strong and mutually valuable. We should work to cultivate those friendships and we will both strengthen those organizations and enjoy the rewards. Please see my recent report to Council for details about how you can become engaged with those organizations.

I will close this report by appealing once again to you, personally, to invest in your society. You can do this in small ways, as your time allows, by becoming involved with your local committee and Regional Director. You could alternatively choose a bigger role by volunteering on any of a number of committees at the national level, or even standing for election to an executive position. It is up to us to come together to strengthen and reinvent the way that we live and work together. No one else can do this for us as well as we can do it for ourselves, if we only make the effort.

As the Society’s Past President, I was involved in a number of things, including serving as Chair of the By-Laws and Nominating Committees, as well as of the Advisory Council of Past Presidents. As such, I convened the Council of Past Presidents last 23 October 2014, which was attended by 5 Past-Presidents, the current President and President-Elect, and our Society Manager. We discussed critical items for the Society from the point of view of each participant, including those initiatives from past terms that may have been lost in transition but still have significant potential value to the Society. As Chair of the By-Laws Committee, I have been compiling throughout the year any needed amendments to the By-Laws that has come up, in particular those pertaining to eligibility to Member Emeritus status as well as those needed to be in compliance with new requirements of the Canada Corporations Act. These proposed By-Laws amendments will be put forward for approval by the general membership at the upcoming AGM. At the same time, I have compiled the changes needed for the Procedures & Operations Manual to keep it up-to-date, particularly those dealing with procedures related to Member Emeritus and the guidelines for Fellows nomination. As part of the tasks of the Nominating Committee, I have worked with the Council to identify positions with term ending this year, and to search for suitable nominees for the impending vacancies. The slate of candidates will be standing for elections which will be held in time for the AGM. Finally, as an ex-officio member of the Awards Committee, I have worked with the committee Chair in evaluating the nominees and selecting the awardees for the various Society Awards to be given out at the upcoming AGM.

The duties of the Society Manager include the following:

  • Record the minutes of Council meetings and the annual business meeting and distribute the minutes to Council members within one month of the meeting.
  • Carry on correspondence for the Society.
  • Serve as the office liaison with ASABE office.
  • Assist in preparing CSBE awards, commendations and student awards for the Annual meeting
  • Pay Society expenses.
  • Arrange for preparation of auditors report for AGM.
  • Serve as the office liaison with affiliate societies.
  • Report election results to Council and the annual business meeting.
  • File an annual summary with the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs Canada.
  • Preserve all documents of the Society except those assigned to other officers or committees.
  • Carry out general secretarial duties including keeping of committee lists, bringing appropriate documents to meetings and correspondence.
  • Receive all By-law changes but not responsible for making the changes.
  • Publish and supply in quantity the Awards Booklet to the AGM.
  • Invoice the authors for page charges
  • Print and mail the CBEJ
  • Serve as Secretary-Treasurer for the CSBE/SCGAB Foundation
  • Send out Foundation donation tax receipts      

As you are aware, CSBE-SCGAB Society and CSBE-SCGAB Foundation offer several awards every year. Please email me for information.  Applicants must be a student member of the Society. The Foundation will pay the membership dues for first-time-ever Graduate Students. Email me for information.

The minutes of the 2014 AGM at the Montreal CSBE/SCGAB ASABE conference are posted on our web site


In 2012, the Foundation established a new program. To help our students with their travel to our CSBE-SCGAB Technical Conference and AGM, the CSBE-SCGAB Foundation will pay the fees for base conference registration for the winner(s) of student awards. In addition, the Foundation will provide $100 per student to a maximum of $400 per academic unit (biological/bioresource, biosystems,... eng. programs), to be used to defray the costs of travel and accommodation for attending the conference. The students must be members in good standing of the CSBE-SCGAB in order to be eligible for the awards, fee waivers, and travel support. Eligible academic units (biological/bioresource, biosystems,... eng. programs) are asked to contact the CSBE-SCGAB Foundation (John Feddes) by June 1st of each year, and provide the name, CSBE-SCGAB membership number, and project or thesis title of each winning student who are planning to travel to the conference site. I need a copy of base conference registration receipt for each student who is requesting support. I will issue a cheque to each student at the Edmonton Annual meeting. 

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