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Sylvio Tessier

Sylvio Tessier

Thursday, 16 June 2016 05:44

Message from President Sylvio Tessier

sylvioMaman, c’est finiiiiii! (it’s over), well almost…  Less than a month left in my President’s mandate.  But this will be the busiest month so far…  For one, I’m writing to you from some very dry place in Washington State’s Palouse region, quite close to where I took my PhD studies…  Small world!  Just a quick one for my past undergrad and grad students, and work trainees: I’m again tinkering on yet another seeder project, and t’is the time for long days…  Hands on, hands dirty, dust and grease here and there, that’s me all right.  So, some habits are hard to loose… but I am more patient, that I can tell you!

Monday, 14 March 2016 14:07

Message from President Sylvio Tessier

sylvioIt’s March already, for all practical purpose winter storms are behind us in Manitoba, and probably anywhere else in Canada. This is the time of year where it is good to undertake new projects or put the shoulder to the wheel to achieve our goals.

For our dedicated professors, scientists and professionals of all specialties, it is time to ensure that search reports are completed and do some prayers to obtain coveted research grants. It is also time to think about your society annual conference.  The Local Arrangement Committee members have worked hard to put in place all the logistics and venue, as well as an original technical program.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015 09:58

Message from President Sylvio Tessier

sylvioOK, I got it, BioE programs are not quite like old Agricultural Engineering…

In January of this year, Beijing’s mayor announced that his city was no longer “livable” on account of the air pollution levels that take a daily toll on its 21.5 million inhabitants.  Today (November 30, 2015), never mind odours or visibility, airborne particulates reached 976 µgm-3, whereas the safe level is… 25 µgm-3­

My better half and I just returned from a business trip in China’s Inner Mongolia, where I presented some tips for the design of no-till corn planters, at No-Till & Conservation Tillage Workshop hosted by a local manufacturer, and chaired by Professor Li Hongwen, director of the National Soil Conservation Centre, housed in the College of Engineering of the China Agricultural University in Beijing.   We also spent a couple days in Beijing, and we didn’t see the sun shine for very long…

Monday, 14 September 2015 14:13

Message from President Sylvio Tessier

sylvioHere we are, and the summer is almost gone...  Did you notice we had a summer this year?  Many odd weather patterns in several regions of the country.  Record heatwave here, flood there, lengthy drought condition...  Speaking of drought, did you know that our colleagues in the South have made headlines through the use of the code of practice ASABE / ICC 802-2014 Landscape Irrigation Sprinkler and Emitter Standard in the context of the exceptional measures put in place by the Government of California about the use of water by residents of communities?  Kudos to our hydrologists whose experience has been used.

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.

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Volume 56 (2014)
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Available at only 60 CAD each (including shipping).

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